Firefox vs Google Chrome

Firefox and Google Chrome are two of the most popular and widely used browsers in the world. They’re both solid choices for browsing the web, with excellent add-on libraries, clean user interfaces and great performance.

To help you make a more informed decision when choosing which one you want to use, we decided to pit them against each other in this Firefox vs. Google Chrome showdown.

In terms of market share, Chrome is definitely dominant, but Firefox has been around for a much longer time and has always been something of an underdog. They receive similar scores in most of our categories, with the exception of privacy, so this is going to come right down to the wire.

This article will only compare the two browsers against each other, so if you want a more detailed breakdown of each and how they fare when looking at the entire lineup of available web browsers, you can read our Firefox review and Google Chrome review.

Setting up a Fight: Firefox vs. Chrome

We’re going to put the browsers through five separate categories, awarding one point for each round’s win. The rounds include: features, ease of use, performance, security and privacy. 

The browser that manages to score at least three points will be declared the victor. As mentioned, this will be a close one, so we doubt we’ll see a clear winner emerge early on.

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      Features

      For the first round, we’ll be looking at features. Important factors include extensions, customization, syncing and mobile features, as well as minor convenience features, like capture tools and reading modes.

      Firefox

      Firefox has a large add-on library, and though it’s not as large as Chrome’s, you can still find pretty much anything you want there.

      The browser also comes with a decent number of minor built-in features, such as the capture tool. This is incredibly useful for taking screenshots, allowing you to take a picture of the full screen, choose a specific area or create an image of the entire webpage, regardless of length.

      FirefoxCaptureTool

      Other minor features include a reading mode that strips out all content not related to the article’s main text, creating a clean interface that is ideal for reading, as well as a basic PDF reader and plenty of alternative search engines available at all times under the address bar.

      There’s also quite a good range of customization options available, as the browser lets you move most UI elements wherever you want them to be.

      On mobile, Firefox definitely leans toward a clean and simple user experience rather than packing the browser full of features. However, there are a few neat features included. There’s a built-in QR reader, which can be useful, as well as a night mode to spare your eyes and a desktop mode, if you’d rather not deal with some websites’ poorly made mobile versions.

      Google Chrome

      As mentioned, Chrome’s extension library is second to none, so the browser gets full marks in that category.

      The browser is also very well integrated with other Google services, such as Gmail, Google Docs and — perhaps most significantly for the browsing experience — Google Translate. This is the best automatic translation service available at this point, allowing you to easily translate webpages in almost every language.

      The browser is very easy to set up and access multiple users. This is great even if it’s just you using the computer, as you can customize user profiles for different purposes, like work or entertainment (find out how to change your default Google account). Chrome also has a built-in PDF reader, although it’s rather basic.

      In terms of customization, there’s not much that Chrome allows you to change, so if you want to change the browser’s appearance, it will have to be through third-party extensions.

      On mobile, there’s not a lot of features to mention, but there is a desktop mode and a reading list that allows you to save and organize webpages for later reading, even if you’re offline.

      Round One Thoughts

      Right off the bat, we have a very close round. Neither browser is particularly feature-heavy, but they make up for it with large extension libraries, although Chrome’s is larger. Chrome then increases its lead with solid integration with other Google services and support for multiple users. 

      However, Firefox does better on mobile, featuring a night mode and a QR code reader.Firefox also comes with more minor features than its competitor, such as its reading mode, alternative search engines and capture tool. 

      It also allows users to customize large parts of the interface, something that Chrome doesn’t do except through third-party extensions. All this lets Firefox snatch the victory in the first round, though not by much.

      Round: Features Point for Firefox
      2

      Ease of Use

      Next up, we’re going to compare the browsers’ ease of use, taking into consideration things like interface design, navigation, tab management, and any potential website compatibility issues.

      Firefox

      Firefox sports a very clean user interface that’s easy to wrap your head around and navigate. The layout is simple, and the different functions are located where you’d expect them to be. 

      Tabs are easy to manage, as once you have too many open at the same time, the browser uses horizontal scrolling, rather than continuing to minimize them. You can also pin and mute tabs, as well as send them to another device.

      Unfortunately, Chrome’s incredible market share among web browsers means that some developers create their website with only it (and, by extension, other Chromium-based browsers) in mind. 

      This means you may occasionally run into websites that work poorly with Firefox. On the flipside, very old sites can sometimes work better with Firefox, if they were designed prior to the rise of Google’s browser.

      Google Chrome

      Chrome’s interface is also well designed and responsive. Because a lot of browsers are based on Chromium (read our Chromium review), most people will find the UI familiar and easy to use. When you right-click an image, you’re given the option to do a reverse image search on Google for it, something that’s very handy.

      Tab management is also good, as you can pin and mute tabs. Unfortunately, though, Chrome does not come with tab scrolling, meaning that it continues to minimize tabs when you open a lot at the same time. 

      The tabs are still quite easy to distinguish, though, as Chrome always displays the tab’s favicon in its entirety, and there’s a clear change in hue between neighboring tabs.

      You can also easily access your open tabs on desktop via your mobile device, as they’re saved in a separate tab menu. This means you don’t have to send them to a specific device beforehand to access them.

      Round Two Thoughts

      The battle remains neck and neck in the second round, as there’s not a lot separating the two browsers in this category, either. Both have well-designed, clean and easy-to-understand user interfaces.

      Although Firefox has horizontal scrolling for tabs, they’re still easy to manage on Chrome, as well. However, the context menu option for doing a reverse image search on Google is incredibly useful and is something that Firefox lacks.

      Chrome on mobile also lets you see all the tabs open across your devices right in the tab menu without manually sending them, making it easier to pick up where you left off if you’re switching from desktop to mobile. These minor advantages give Chrome a slight edge and the victory in this round.

      Round: Ease of Use Point for Google Chrome
      3

      Performance

      With the two browsers tied, we will move on to measuring each one’s performance. This means taking a look at their speed and resource consumption. Data usage is also important, as well as whether the browsers come with built-in ways to limit it.

      Firefox

      Firefox is among the fastest web browsers, both on desktop and mobile. Although RAM consumption is high, the browser does well when under heavy load (more than 20 to 30 tabs), using relatively few resources per tab in such scenarios.

      Although there’s no data saving mode, you can choose to disable images on mobile, which can save you a significant amount of bandwidth if you’re on a limited plan.

      Google Chrome

      Google Chrome is also a very fast browser on all devices, but especially so on desktop. However, RAM consumption is incredibly high, which is an issue that Chrome is notorious for. There’s also nothing in the way of data-saving features, which is a problem for mobile users with limited bandwidth.

      Round Three Thoughts

      This is yet another close round, as both browsers score high in this category. Both browsers are very fast, with Chrome being a little faster on desktop and Firefox a little faster on mobile. They’re both also resource-hungry, though Firefox becomes more efficient than Chrome the more tabs you have open.

      The story is similar for data usage, where both browsers are pretty much identical. However, Firefox allows you to disable all images on mobile, which is a useful feature if you’re low on data. This functionality, paired with better performance under heavy load, allows Firefox to edge in another victory in the third round.

      Round: Performance Point for Firefox
      4

      Security

      With Firefox retaking the lead, it’s time to have a look at what kind of security each browser offers. We’ll be taking a look at pop-up and ad blockers — whether they’re built-in or available as extensions, safe browsing databases or unsecure connection warnings — and how well the browsers protect your login info, as well as their update frequency.

      Firefox

      Firefox comes with a built-in pop-up blocker, but no ad-block. However, you can choose from a multitude of options among the large library of Firefox add-ons, including some of our best pop-up blockers

      The browser uses Google’s safe browsing database to protect users against websites with known malicious content. This feature is turned on by default, which is good for security but bad for privacy. In addition, the browser receives frequent updates that download automatically.

      Firefox warns you when you’re accessing a website through an unsecure (non-HTTPS) connection, but the warning is pretty small and easy to miss, as it doesn’t include any text.

      You can set a master password to protect all your login details stored in the browser. However, you have to do this manually, so there are probably a lot of users with passwords completely unprotected from anyone with physical access to their devices. If this is something you’re worried about, check out some of the best password managers.

      Google Chrome

      Many of the same things said above about Firefox are true for Google Chrome, as well. There’s a built-in pop-up blocker and plenty of third-party ad-blockers available in the Chrome webstore. Unsurprisingly, the browser also uses Google Safe Browsing to block malicious websites.

      The warning you get when you use Chrome to connect to a website over a regular HTTP connection is clear and easy to notice. In addition, the browser receives frequent updates, usually every few days, which install without requiring user action. Chrome also protects your passwords well, requiring your device’s system credentials to access them.

      Round Four Thoughts

      This was another close round, as both browsers include most of the same security protections, such as Google Safe Browsing, pop-up blockers, dozens of ad-blocking extensions and unsecure-connection warnings. They both also receive frequent updates and patch security flaws whenever they are discovered.

      As we concluded in our article about which web browser is the most secure, Chrome has a slight edge, as it does a better job of protecting users’ passwords, locking them by default behind the device’s system credentials, rather than having the user manually create a master password. 

      Chrome’s unsecure-connection warning is also much easier to spot than Firefox’s. These two factors let Chrome pull slightly ahead and win this round, leaving the browsers tied.

      Round: Security Point for Google Chrome
      5

      Privacy

      It’s time to decide this competitive battle, and it all comes down to this final round on privacy. We’ll be looking at the track record and reliability of each company, their privacy policies and any built-in privacy features, like tracking protections, VPNs or proxies.

      Firefox

      Firefox is great with privacy. The company is a nonprofit and doesn’t derive any revenue from ads, which means it’s much easier to trust what Firefox says about protecting your data. 

      Mozilla’s privacy policy clearly lays out what information it collects and what it is or isn’t used for, as well as that it never sells or gives your data to third parties for any reason.

      The browser also has excellent tracking protection controls, which are very flexible. You can individually block trackers, cookies, crypto miners and finger printers, letting you pick and choose exactly what you want to allow.

      Google Chrome

      Privacy is probably Chrome’s biggest weakness as a browser. Google is well known for collecting all the data it can on its users, and its entire business model is based on using that data to generate revenue through ads. 

      Although it’s possible to delete the data Google has on you (read our guide on how to delete your Google history), it’s difficult to trust how effective this is. That’s because the company has been involved in various privacy scandals, such as cooperating with the NSA’s PRISM program and continuing to collect location data, despite users turning off location services.

      There’s plenty of Google services enabled by default in Chrome that collect tons of data on users, such as URL prediction and search suggestions. The privacy policy is also needlessly complicated and hard to read, making it difficult for most users to track exactly what of their information Chrome collects. The browser does have strong tracking protection, though, so that’s a small silver lining.

      Round Five Thoughts

      This was the first round where there was really no contest. Chrome — and indeed Google, itself — is well known for disregarding  its users’ privacy. Meanwhile, Firefox has been much more above board. 

      Both browsers have pretty good tracking protection built into them, but you have more control with Firefox over exactly what kind of trackers you want to block.

      Neither includes any kind of VPN or proxy, but this isn’t exactly a standard feature of most browsers. If this is something you’re looking for, check out our list of the best VPN providers

      Furthermore, Google’s various privacy scandals and, frankly, terrible privacy policy stands in stark contrast to Mozilla’s much cleaner record and its very concise and easy-to-grasp privacy statement. Even if you use Firefox, though, you’ll want to read our anonymous browsing guide to ensure you’re protected.

      Round: Privacy Point for Firefox
      6

      Final Thoughts

      This battle was neck and neck right from the beginning, with very close results in the first four rounds, leaving the browsers tied. Firefox eked out narrow victories in the features and performance rounds, while Chrome did the same with the ease-of-use and security rounds.

      Winner: FireFox

      However, Firefox managed to bring it home in the end by besting Chrome in the privacy round, making it the winner of this comparison. The final round was the first one that wasn’t an extremely narrow win, making it a fitting end for our battle.

      What do you think of Firefox and Chrome? Do you agree with our assessment that Firefox carries the day, or do you think Chrome deserved it instead? Let us know in the comments below, and check out the result of our Edge vs Chrome piece. As always, thank you for reading.

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      51 thoughts on “Firefox vs Google Chrome: Outfoxing the Competition in 2020”

      1. A very fair and unbiased comparison. I think for a while Chrome was out in front but Firefox seems to have revived and moved ahead. I think it boils down to privacy vs. extension library. Depends on your needs and desires.

      2. As a web developer, My first and last choice is Firefox.
        it provides versatile developer tools and the best engine to work with.
        besides, it entirely supports all web features and other stuff.
        This non-profit Foundation has been made for greater purposes, not just a browser.
        that purpose is “The Future of the Internet”.
        So it is more precious because it has been made by thousands of people around the world (Thanks to MDN).
        They didn’t have such a giant company like Google to support them. only people’s hands!
        and that hard works is paying off.

            1. Eeeh. No. This is not true. Especially not considering firefox has a special edition JUST for web devs(the one I use currently). It has way cleaner and more responsive web dev tools, uses less ram, and is overall just better. Take this from someone who has been using chrome for 4 years, then switched to opera for a month to end up on firefox dev edition. I recently had to reinstall chrome to use a website that didnt let me open it cus i wasnt using chrome 🙄. I installed chrome and opened it. Untill that moment my pc was perfectly silent, and i had like 10 tabs open on firefox. I open the one tab i needed on chrome and BOOM! Suddendly my pc sounds like a jet engine. Ram and CPU usage over 50%. ONE TAB! I did what i had to do on the site and uninstalled chrome immediately.

              1. Once you started it “eeeh”, childish sounding, I almost ignored your whole comment. Then your use of “cus”, lower case “i”, terrible spelling and punctuation leads me to believe that you are not professional at all. So your comment has no merit in my book. Time to grow up.

              2. True, but they still get the point across.
                Chrome does occasionally decide to hog 50% of my CPU, and I couldn’t find an easy way to stop Chrome’s searching (since that’s what it was)

          1. i have also the same experience in Google Chrome,, it eats a lot of ram,, im using my both old and new pc,,, and i also have an old laptop 2012,, in my both old laptop and pc google chrome is laggy, fire fox run smoothly without eating a lot of ram,, in my new pc both firefox and chrome runs smoothly but if you look at the memory usage you’ll see a huge difference between the 2 of theme,, chrome eats a lot of memory,, although it runs smoothly because its a new pc and it has a dicent specs thats why its not that laggy,, if you dont believe me try it yourself, use chrome and old pc compare firefox memory usage and responsiveness,,

            by the way i used web browser for a simple task like faceboik youtube and netflex like what normal people usually do…

      3. I am not a techie. Merely a comuter user. Firefox will do me. Especially if it brings a modicum of competition into the general browser market

      4. The only thing that I miss about Chrome is the reverse image search, although I have only used it a handful of times over the last decade.

        The fact that Mozilla functions better than Chrome under high tab loads is a winning point for me – I generally have about 70 tabs open at a time. It uses less RAM and does not affecting gaming as much (simultaneous use).

        The customizability of Firefox is another added bonus.

      5. Attempted to transfer to Firefox from Chrome. But I truly believe…Chrome made it DIFFICULT for me to transfer to Firefox. There were so many interferences from Chrome !

      6. This article was right on the money. Google Chrome is fine, but they really ARE collecting massive amounts of data on each of us. I recently discovered that YouTube is owned by Google, so anything you click on in YouTube is added to your Google database. I tried using a VPN to access YouTube, but Google required me to log in with my Google account AND they required two-factor authentication with either my email account or my cell phone. That’s WAY too intrusive, and it defeated the point of having a VPN.

      7. I think the overall feel of Firefox is ahead of Chrome and uBlock Origin (by Raymond Hill) should be a default install for everyone as no one should be browsing the internet without it.

        Firefox wins in privacy and it uses noticeably less RAM especially when you got a bunch of tabs open all of the time like I do.

        for us Linux users… Firejail makes Firefox that much more secure as anyone running Linux should be using Firejail as you get a solid boost to security and it does not really interfere with general use and is not hard to setup.

      8. Firefox: “In addition, the browser receives frequent updates that download automatically.”

        You minimized the impact of the Firefox auto update which takes over the PC, often 30 minutes or more! During that time the machine is basically frozen.

        To be fair you write: “In addition, the browser (Chrome) receives frequent updates, usually every few days, which install without requiring user action.”

        “They both also receive frequent updates and patch security flaws whenever they are discovered.”

        1. “You minimized the impact of the Firefox auto update which takes over the PC, often 30 minutes or more! During that time the machine is basically frozen. ”

          Where did you got that from? lol

      9. There is one thing to know about Firefox that is not bad but horrible. To stop people from getting saved passwords you are supposed to use the master password. Does it show up when you open Firefox? NO. It takes an hour or two. So it seems like Mozilla wants hackerst o have a lot of fun.

        1. An hour or two? It happens within seconds for me, always has. You need to look for a solution to that issue 🙂

      10. Mobile is a dodgy thing anymore. Every browser on an iOS device is actually safari, so there’s not really anything to analyze other than android.

        It’d be a tie if you added a developer category, as Firefox’s dev tools are kind of a joke. They were great back when IE9 was king, but they haven’t kept up with Chrome’s dev tools.

      11. I have used Chrome since for as long as I can remember, however after reading this, I feel like it might be time for me to make the switch to Firefox.

        1. Ahem, maybe open both the browsers and check in task manager which one is using more system resources.

      12. With Google now officially neutering ad blockers within Chrome, I am making the switch to using Firefox as my primary browser.

        The ongoing privacy issues with Google continue to be a concern, which make the tough decision of switching from their browser a necessity.

        Always remember, Google makes their money from ad revenue, and many sources have shown they track everything done with their browser.

      13. Chrome is very demanding browser. Even on dual core 1,8Ghz with 4GB RAM and SSD disk Chrome will not rewind pages smoothly. Firefox otherwise is functioning perfectly smoot even on old notebook like Acer 1,6Ghz Atom single core with 2GB RAM and HDD drive. After few hours of testing Firefox I didn’t notice another difference between Chrome and Firefox.

      14. Hi, please help me with my FF thread! I am a non-geek user, who recently was forced (due to nomore MS support) to switch from a Win7 laptop to a Win10 laptop.

        I’ve been finding the transition Hell, in my attempt to easily get bookmarks transferred to the new laptop. (please see below link). In the past, i don’t recall it being so hard to communicate with the Mozilla board’s support tech.

        But now, it’s been dragging out for weeks & weeks without resolution!

        My question is – is the internet these days intended to be mainly geared to tech-savvy people? Are non-geeks in a tiny minority, and intended to not be offered clear communication anymore?

        And should they not have validated (vs. disagreeing) my opinion that lack of clarity by programmers should be considered a bug??

        My below thread demonstrates the huge learning curve due to lack of user-friendly programming & support. When i asked why there’s no WikiHow-style instructions, the guy didn’t seem to consider that important.

        https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1275800?page=2#answer-preview

      15. TECHNOPHOBE.
        Can I continue using Firefox as my default but add Chrome as a secondary option for those sites not accessible on FF. For example HealthNet. Please keep it simple. Thanks.

        1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

          Sure, just install both on your system and switch to Chrome whenever you need to.

      16. I HATE CHROME, it’s never gentle on memory, every time I run chrome for website that needs translation, the computer begins humming with lots of noise no doubt memory is being used heavily, 3 tabs in chrome is equivalent to 10 tabs in firefox in memory usage

      17. After being a Chrome user for years, I switched to Firefox in 2019 on my PC and android device. I have been extremely happy. I find the toolbars and history access to be quite handy. Love the fact that I have access to my desktop toolbar from my phone and everything updates seamlessly. Private search tab is also a nice feature. Google Chrome was great back in the day but it’s good to be open to change.

      18. You can get an add-on for Firefox that will do a reverse image search for Google, Bing, Tineye, and Yandex, etc. Just search for “reverse image search” in Firefox extensions.

      19. Beware that even using FF, if you use Google search engine and have a Google account all the search info is available to Google.

      20. I always used Chrome. Then I started to use it on a laptop with lower memory (8GB) and it would wail. Turns out it was Chrome that was making the laptop do that I guess by hogging memory.

        I started using FireFox. I do not hear the noise anymore. I am going to be using FireFox now on.

      21. I agree. I used to use Chrome, until I found out that the new updates made my laptop unstable (I have 4GB RAM) so I was on the hunt for a new browser that would be more gentle on my system. I tried many of them, Firefox derivatives, Chrome derivatives, then I settled with Firefox. What makes Firefox more popular is that it comes pre-installed on many Linux distros (the Linux term for Linux variants) such as Ubuntu.

      22. I use Firefox every day also because it’s my company suggested browser. I think it’s overall a solid browser although i don’t agree with the performance score – with Chrome i have a better performance when using cloud software s.a. Salesforce

      23. Firefox’s profiles are backed up for use in case of system crash or windows reset, not sure chrome does that.

      24. I have used Firefox for years and will continue to use it. One advantage I found in Chrome: it can print directly from any Google Docs file. In Firefox, you first have to create a .pdf file and then print it.

      25. You are sort of wrong about Chrome and tabs. So if I open enough tabs in chrome it will actually just not show the tabs that exceed the display limit based on the window width, they will exist, but you won’t be able to get to them via the bar. If you are able to widen the window, these tabs will appear on the right end. Also, technically it will smoosh the favicons a bit to make the most room it can before failing to show tabs, thought that is being pedantic.

        See the linked image, there are the same number of tabs open in each, but more of them become accessible as I widen it.
        https://i.imgur.com/LCNPg9U.png

      26. The article didn’t mention the trouble Chrome has with Certificate revocation and validity, or the reliance on the host OS for basic security services, while Firefox brings with it a OS independent suite of security features that outmatch Chrome at any level. Chrome has one thing going for it though: certificate pinning for all google domains, so it will “phone home” when it detects a hash discrepancy on any of the Google certificates.

      27. I had been using firefox since the age of 14 and now I 24, the thing is I never got any issues till now. I support Firefox and will keep supporting.

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