Both Chrome and Firefox are excellent web browsers in their own right, so choosing the best browser was a tough call. There were a few areas where one browser was clearly better than the other, but their relative equality means user preference will determine whether you should use Firefox vs Chrome.
- Chrome and Firefox are close to being even in most of their capabilities.
- Chrome is faster and has a larger library of extensions, but Firefox is more private and secure.
- Firefox is fast, but suffers from inefficient RAM consumption.
Google Chrome is the most widely used browser in the world, proven by the fact that Google owns the vast majority of the global browser market share. Its simple user interface set the standard for contemporary browser design, and its open-source Chromium engine is the basis for most browsers. Much of the internet is optimized for Chrome use.
Meanwhile, Firefox remains one of the few major browsers not based on Chromium (read our Chromium vs Chrome guide to learn more). It’s an older browser than Chrome, but it’s adapted well to the modern age without completely ceding ground to Google technology.
Firefox occasionally runs into compatibility problems with some websites since many websites are formatted in favor of Chrome, but it’s far superior to older browsers it once competed with, like Internet Explorer (or its successor, Microsoft Edge). If you want to learn how the two compare, read our Microsoft Edge vs Chrome comparison.
02/13/2022 Facts checked
Completed a fresh comparison of Mozilla Firefox vs Google Chrome. Added the browser performance tables, and expanded the privacy and security sections.
No, Chrome is significantly faster and more memory-efficient than Firefox.
Firefox is a more private and secure browser than Chrome, but Chrome is faster and contains more features.
Both browsers are safe, but Firefox’s tracking protection is more comprehensive than Chrome’s.
Yes. Firefox is developed by Mozilla, a nonprofit company that does not make its money from ads, so it’s less incentivized to collect user data. Chrome profits from collecting as much user data as possible for the creation of targeted ads.
Firefox vs Chrome: Which Is Better?
In this article, we’ll compare how each of these browsers fare in the following five categories: features, ease of use, performance, security and privacy. A point will be awarded to one browser in each round, and the victory will go to whichever browser scores at least three points.
It was challenging to select a victor for most rounds because these browsers are so closely matched in most of their capabilities. If you want full reviews of the individual browsers, you can read our Firefox review and our Chrome review.
Among the most important features a web browser should have are extensions, device sync and the ability to accommodate multiple users.
Long before the creation of Chrome, Firefox had already introduced the idea of browser extensions. Firefox’s extensions library may not be as extensive as Chrome’s in numbers, but it still contains thousands of browser extensions that serve all kinds of purposes.
Chrome is evenly matched with Firefox on most features. Its most obvious advantage over Firefox is its vast library of extensions — the largest in the world. Chrome’s collection includes any kind of extension you can think of: auto-refresh, tab management, password management, privacy extensions and browser security extensions.
Device Synchronization & User Profiles
Firefox and Chrome both allow users to synchronize their bookmarks, tabs, settings and other browser data between devices via device sync. Read our how to backup Firefox bookmarks to learn how to save your valuable articles.
Chrome and Firefox support multiple user profiles. You can create separate user profiles in the browser, which will keep each user’s history, bookmarks, settings and other browser data separate and private.
Another one of Chrome’s advantages is its integration with other Google services like Google Drive, Gmail and Google Docs. With Chrome, users can manage all of their Google services from within the browser.
Chrome also has a task manager where you can see every process, tab and extension running in the browser, and how much memory each process is using. If any single process is consuming too much memory, you can terminate that individual task with the “end process” button.
There aren’t too many differences between the browsers’ mobile apps, but Chrome comes with a “lite mode” that limits how much data you use by scaling down images and removing unnecessary elements. Firefox doesn’t have a dedicated data-saving mode, but it does have a setting to disable images that serves much the same function.
Chrome and Firefox are even on almost everything. They both have essential browser features like device sync and user profiles, plus plenty of convenient minor features.
We decided to award Chrome a point for this round because of its large extensions library. It’s the largest in the world, and new extensions are added all the time. It only wins by a narrow margin because Firefox’s extensions still number in the thousands, which is more than enough for the vast majority of users.
2. Ease of Use
In this round, we’ll take a look at how both browsers are designed and how user-friendly they are. We’ll consider the design of the interface, the organization of UI elements, tab management and the context menu. Both Firefox and Chrome scored highly, but Chrome had a slight edge over its rival.
Firefox and Chrome have simple interfaces that keep most of their tools stowed away in the settings menu, so as not to clutter the screen. Other than an address bar at the top and a few buttons and navigation controls, the window is mostly filled by the web page itself.
Firefox handles a large volume of tabs by enabling horizontal scrolling instead of shrinking the tabs, unlike many other browsers. It’s a little easier to distinguish one tab from another when the tabs aren’t crowded together and part of the page’s name can be read.
There’s also a dropdown menu that displays the name of each open tab. You can mute tabs, pin tabs and send them to other connected devices.
Chrome responds to a large number of tabs by shrinking the tabs as more are added. The tab bar gets crowded and slightly difficult to navigate, but Chrome will at least display the favicons fully in the minimized tabs, even if the tab headings are truncated. A vertical dropdown tab menu makes navigation much easier when there are too many tabs open.
Chrome has a fuller context menu than Firefox. Among the standard context menu features are options for translating an entire web page, reverse image search and a QR reader. You can also send web pages directly to other devices, which is a huge convenience.
Once again, Chrome and Firefox are matched in almost every way. Both are designed to be as simple to use as possible, and emphasize visual simplicity by storing most of their tools in menus rather than filling the window with too much detail. Neither suffers from any compatibility issues to speak of and both can access any website including streaming services.
We must award the point for this round to Chrome once again — but it wins by a narrow margin. Most of the web is optimized for Chrome users, and its context menu has more useful features than Firefox. That means Chrome pulls further ahead as we reach the third round of Mozilla Firefox vs Google Chrome.
Useful and easy-to-use features are great, but slow speeds can hold back an otherwise good browser. We ran Firefox and Chrome through three benchmark speed tests to assess their capability for handling certain types of tasks.
Firefox is neither the fastest nor the slowest browser we’ve tested. It’s a fast enough browser for everyday use, and we encountered no latency when browsing the web, watching videos or sending emails. However, Firefox is not efficient with its memory usage and consumes a lot of RAM at once.
|Firefox Speed Tests:||Runs per Minute|
We put several browsers through multiple speed tests and Chrome was almost always the fastest browser (at least without extensions). Even at high loads, pages loaded quickly with Chrome and we experienced no latency. Chrome used to have a serious problem with heavy RAM usage, but an update in March 2021 curbed its resource-hungry tendencies.
|Chrome Speed Tests:||Runs per Minute|
Both browsers are fast, but Chrome is the winner for this round. It’s the fastest browser we’ve ever used and has become much more efficient in its memory usage than it used to be. If you’d like to see a more detailed analysis of browser speed, we recommend reading our article on the fastest web browsers.
Next, we’ll take a look at each browser’s security features. We’ll examine how they protect their users against ads and malware, and how often the developers update their browsers.
Firefox and Chrome include a built-in HTTPS Everywhere feature. When enabled, the browser will automatically connect to websites over a secure HTTPS connection if HTTPS and HTTP are both available. If HTTP is the only option, the browser will issue a warning before connecting to the website. In Firefox, HTTPS Everywhere is disabled by default.
Both browsers contain password managers. The master password is disabled by default on Firefox, so all locally stored passwords could be exposed to malicious third parties if your browser or device is infected with malware. Google makes Chrome users store their passwords in their Google accounts (i.e. the cloud) rather than local memory.
Firefox does a lot to protect users against tracking. It has enhanced tracking protection enabled by default, which will block social media trackers, cross-site tracking cookies, fingerprinters and other malicious content. This is covered under the “standard” level of protection, but Firefox also offers “strict” and “custom” settings as well.
Neither browser blocks all ads by default, but you can easily download an add-on.
Firefox and Chrome both use the Google Safe Browsing database to detect malicious websites. It checks web addresses against a database of known malicious URLs and alerts the user if it detects a threat. It’s the industry-standard security mechanism for browsers, so you’ll find it in almost every browser.
Google’s Safe Browsing feature is a double-edged sword because it’s a great security protection, but comes at the cost of privacy, as some of your browser data is sent to Google for analysis.
Firefox and Chrome receive regular updates and automatically install them when you close the browser. Google is one of the fastest developers when it comes to patching vulnerabilities, and Mozilla isn’t far behind.
Firefox has all of the security protections Chrome has, but its tracking protection is more comprehensive than Chrome’s. Leaving some security protections disabled by default could leave less diligent internet users exposed to some security threats, but this is a minor complaint in the big picture. With that, Firefox earns its first win.
Even if a browser has plenty of security mechanisms to protect you against external threats, that’s no guarantee your privacy is protected at the same time. Security and privacy are often confused with one another, but they mean different things. They can even be mutually exclusive when data collection is necessary to provide a security service.
Google is infamous for disregarding its users’ privacy. As an advertising company, it makes the majority of its money from ad revenue. This involves collecting the data of Chrome users and using it to create targeted ads.
Firefox wins on the privacy front. Chrome may be a great browser in other respects, but it falls behind Firefox when it comes to privacy. Firefox’s financial structure limits the incentive for the company to collect user data, and it includes settings to further control how much of your data the company can access.
The Verdict: Google Chrome vs Firefox
Even though Chrome won three out of five rounds, it mostly did so by the slightest margin. The two browsers are equally matched in almost every way, and your preferences will ultimately determine whether Firefox or Chrome should be your primary browser.
If you’re looking for the best browser for Android, the two are great options. Chrome is a faster and more full-featured browser for everyday use, but many will prefer Firefox for its privacy and security.
If you have a Safari browser on your Apple device, be sure to check our Safari vs Chrome guide to learn how your current browser compares to the faster option. While still at it, you can read our Opera vs Firefox comparison guide. We also have a guide on the best browser for Mac just in case you want a better experience on your Apple device.
Do you prefer Chrome or Firefox? Does Chrome rightly deserve the victory, or do its problems with privacy outweigh everything else it has to offer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.