The fact that browsers can consume a big chunk of your computer’s memory is certainly no secret. Most websites you access run web applications that can take up as much memory as regular desktop apps. So whether you’re running a high-specs gaming PC or a battered laptop, it’s important to manage your memory consumption.
Knowing which browsers use less RAM memory is vital if you want to improve your workflow or simply not to worry about your games lagging because your browser is too greedy for RAM space. That is why we have put together a list of the usual suspects so you know the most RAM-efficient browsers in 2023.
Which Browsers Use the Least Memory?
In this section, we are going to talk about which browser uses less RAM. They are ordered from the most browser memory usage to the least so, buckle up!
Now, seeing Safari here on this list may be a shocker to many people. And there are indeed things to be said about why Safari could actually perform better than any other option on this list. However, the reason why it ranks so low on today’s list is not the fact that it performs poorly but rather how it performs.
Safari is Apple’s own developed browser that is only available on Apple devices such as the iPhone, different MAC OS systems, iPad, etc. So while the performance of Safari as an Apple-developed browser is incredibly well synced with their devices as part of the famous Apple ecosystem, you are only going to get this world-class performance if you are part of this ecosystem. This may not be a major issue in the North American and European regions where Apple’s expensive hardware are commonplace in almost every user’s hands, but as soon as you step out of these regions, you are probably going to see a huge chunk of other OS options at work that can’t even run Safari, to begin with. This limited aspect of Safari earned it the bottom spot on this list. However, as mentioned, the performance is as smooth as it can get.
Google Chrome, the world’s most widely used browser, is famous for crazy RAM guzzling and if you have a habit of leaving too many tabs open it can seriously damage your PC’s efficiency.
According to our tests, having 10 tabs open will cost your RAM just a bit shy of 1000 MB. Its memory use rises to unbelievable amounts as the number of tabs increases, with Chrome using about 1.9 GB of your computer’s memory for 20 tabs. Chrome is also big on CPU usage so that makes it even more likely to impede your workflow.
It’s even likely to interrupt whatever you might be doing at the moment by causing your OS to crash. Despite all its disadvantages, Chrome comes with more features and it has a lot more extensions than other browsers. Also, it looks cool, with a great visual design almost making up for what goes on behind the scene. Another cool thing about Google Chrome is that you can silent install it. Basically, you can silent install Google Chrome if you don’t have the time to go through the installation process. For example, when you need to install Google Chrome on ten computers at work, you can silent install it through your company network without the need to interrupt what your coworkers are doing.
Also read: “Chrome Remote Desktop Security Risks”
Coming in at number 5 is Mozilla’s popular and privacy-minded browser, Firefox. And no, despite the browser’s reputation for efficiency, it can take up almost just as much RAM as Chrome.
When tested with 10 tabs open, Firefox occupied about 960MB of memory, which is only slightly less than Chrome. At 20 tabs, the number went up to 1.6GB: certainly, a lot even if it is 300MBs lighter. Few users leave 40 tabs open at once, but we tested to see just how much RAM that would take. The answer: if you run 40 tabs on Firefox, it’ll devour 3GBs of your memory, which will hurt the efficiency of just about any computer.
Are you the type of person who’s so deeply embedded in the Google environment and ecosystem that you see yourself putting up with Chrome’s intensive hardware usage? Or maybe you simply enjoy Chrome’s UI and looks and put up with its intense usage of resources because of that. Whatever the case may be, It’s clear that Chrome could use a helping hand in many different areas in order to be better. Enter Chromium. Chromium is the open-source base code that Chrome and many other browsers are based on.
Chromium emphasizes privacy and has proprietary codes that Chrome uses omitted to that end. Chromium is overall more of a “wildcard” option for people with a hand in developing themselves who can use it to customize and tailor the program to a browser that they themselves can enjoy. The UI is identical to Chrome’s, so if that was what kept you coming back to Chrome, you can use Chromium to still enjoy the program while enabling yourself to endless personalization and customization opportunities at the developer level.
However be mindful that as far as performance goes, Chrome is surprisingly lighter compared to Chromium since it is the optimized version of Chromium. But the other aspects of Chromium are enough to override this.
Meet the (somewhat) new browser on the blog: the privacy-minded Brave. It’s actually one of the best ways to stay in control of your data without putting in the time to become a hacker-level Linux genius!
This browser even has a feature where it pays you tokens for watching ads. Brave is definitely worth a try for these and so many other reasons, but how resource-efficient is it really?
Brave consumed a lot of RAM, almost as much as Chrome when it was in the earlier release versions. Brave continued to improve its memory management and in 2023, it uses a lot less memory than Chrome.
Brave ties with Firefox in terms of RAM usage, so if you’re stuck between these two choices, you have to find some other way to decide.
Remember Opera? It used to be a top contender back in the day and in many ways, it still is. Opera is a great browser for older or low-spec PCs since it doesn’t put much strain on the system. Its webpage-loading speeds are within acceptable limits, especially if your computer isn’t exactly on the cutting edge. Let’s see how it did on our tests.
With 10 tabs left running, Opera used 899 MBs of RAM, which is somewhat better than the browsers above. We did expect Opera to perform much better, however, since it’s supposed to be a lightweight browser that trades user-friendliness and features for efficiency. Opera occupied 1.5GB of memory when we tested it with 20 open tabs and that makes it only slightly better than Firefox.
The dark horse topping our list which browser uses less RAM is none other than Microsoft Edge. Gone are the days of Internet Explorer with bugs and exploitations galore; now, with a Chromium engine, things are looking up for Edge. Although not exactly the most popular browser (with only 3.39% of the browser market share), Microsoft Edge has proven to be much better than its reputation would have you believe.
Based on our test results, Edge occupies only 790MB of memory with 10 tabs open, much lower than all the other browsers on our list. Open 20 tabs at once and Edge will take up only 1.2GB RAM, which shows great optimization of browser memory consumption.
Even though Edge uses the same Chromium engine as Chrome, it is much more efficient in using memory and as such is the ideal browser in terms of RAM use. Using the least browser memory, however, does not necessarily mean that it’s the best browser. There are many other factors to take into account when analyzing a browser’s general efficiency.
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Browsers RAM Usage Comparison 2023 (What Browser Uses the Least RAM)
Up to now, we have underlined the 7 worldwide popular browsers which are distinguished for their low RAM usage (of course they hold other beneficial features as well). Now, we want to draw your attention to a comparison we prepared on the different features of the above-mentioned browsers.
As in this post, our main concern was the amount of RAM each browser occupies. We organized the below list from least-RAM-usage browser to most-RAM-usage (among these 7) browsers.
|Browser||RAM usage||Current layout engine||Security & Privacy||Utility||Portability||User-friendliness|
|Microsoft Edge||790 MBs with 10 tabs||Blink||4/5||4/5||4/5||4/5|
|Opera||899 MBs with 10 tabs||Blink||4/5||4/5||4/5||5/5|
|Brave||920 MBs with 10 tabs||Chromium||5/5||5/5||5/5||4/5|
|Chromium||930 MBs with 10 tabs||Blink||3/5||5/5||5/5||4/5|
|Mozilla Firefox||960 MBs with 10 tabs||Gecko||5/5||4/5||5/5||3/5|
|Google Chrome||1000 MBs with 10 tabs||Chromium||3/5||5/5||5/5||4/5|
|Safari||1200 MBs with 10 tabs||WebKit||3/5||4/5||5/5||5/5|
Apart from this, it is also worth it to quickly evaluate the RAM usage of the most popular browsers in a quick one-on-one comparison. We are going to compare Chrome, notorious for its RAM usage, against the other two most popular choices, those being Edge and Firefox.
Edge vs Chrome RAM Usage Comparison
We are going to run the test using each browser to see which browser uses less ram 10, 20 and 60 tabs open. This will enable us to quickly see how each browser uses your RAM but also how each one of them scales as the number of tabs increases. First, we ran the test on Chrome to see if it still gobbles up the RAM as it is well-known to do.
At 10 tabs open, Chrome consumed 950 MB worth of RAM, and this scaled to 1.8 GB at 20 open tabs and finally it peaked at around 3.7 GB at 60 open tabs. Chrome has no doubt improved compared to the past iterations of the browser. But it still certainly has a good punch.
Then we got to Edge. Edge Scored 870 MB worth of RAM usage at 10 tabs opened and then scaled this to 1.4 GB at 20 tabs and finally 2.9 GB at 60 tabs. Not only is Edge better at every single instance, but it progressively gets better from a scalability standpoint as you add more and more tabs. At 69 tabs, Edge beats chrome by approximately 800 MB worth of RAM which is definitely considerable.
Firefox vs Chrome RAM Usage Comparison
Now we are going to run the same test with the difference that this time Firefox is going to substitute for Edge against Chrome. Chrome lost the last round quite badly against Edge even with the recent updates that Google has implemented to prevent it from being so RAM-hungry.
Firefox is well known for its smooth performance already. Let’s see how it matches up against Chrome in RAM usage. As already mentioned, Chrome consumed 950 MB worth of RAM, and this scaled to 1.8 GB at 20 open tabs and finally it peaked at around 3.7 GB at 60 open tabs. So this is going to be the metric that Firefox needs to perform in comparison with.
Firefox began the test on a surprisingly low note. It scored a RAM usage of 990 MB at 10 open tabs which is actually worse than Chrome. It then managed to improve its performance by using 1.6 GB of RAM at 20 tabs open. And finally, it reverted back to being the loser by consuming a whopping 3.9 GB of RAM at 60 tabs. I guess this indicates that Firefox is the better browser only if you have an average of 15 to 20 tabs open in your browser. But on the extreme sides of 1 to 5 tabs and 50 to 60 tabs, it performs worse than Chrome.
Which One Is the Lightest Browser?
There are two factors to consider when choosing the lightest browser — RAM and storage. Considering the fact that Chrome, Firefox, and Edge are nowhere near being light, I did a little more digging, and found out that the lightest browser on our list is actually Opera. As you already know, Opera is light on memory; it also doesn’t hog CPU or storage. In fact, Opera comes comes with a RAM/CPU limiter and even has a battery saver feature that helps improve battery life by 35%. I mean, Opera is truly the best option if you need a lightweight browser that would still give you tons of features and extensions.
Why Is Chrome So RAM-Heavy?
Here’s the billion-dollar question; while being the most user-friendly browser, why can’t users enjoy Chrome without worrying about their computers’ well-being? The main reason why Chrome takes up as much as 50% of your RAM is simply that it’s fast. To ensure smooth and fast performance, Chrome relies on your hardware resources and takes as much RAM as possible. Another factor is caching. Chrome burns off RAM by caching all the web pages you visit. Yet, another reason can be the extensions. Chrome owns the biggest library of extensions and every Chrome user has at least two active extensions. These factors, alongside cookies, are all reasons why Chrome is so hungry for RAM.
Honestly, it’s understandable. But keeping Chrome on the good side of your memory solely depends on how smartly you use it. By clearing cookies and caches, and closing unwanted tabs and extensions, you can enjoy using Chrome and decrease it’s browser memory usage
Scraping the Barrel: Best Browser for a Low-End PC?
The intention of this blog posts was to cover the best browsers out there regardless of the hardware at hand. However with the prime choices all getting heavier to use over time, I believe there is a solid ground here to also evaluate some of the options for the best browser for low-end PC users.
Going by any different metric, K-Meleon remains as one of the best options for the best browser for low-end PC users. The interface does not look ancient compared to other more heavy browsers and the cherry on top is of course the incredible performance that it offers. K-Meleon is free and open-source. It uses the Gecko layout engine to make the performance as light as possible on your hardware with each new tab averaging at around 20 MB which is incredibly low. You are going to need a Windows XP-SP3 or later version to run it and there is a large online community as well!
UR Browser is another ideal browser for low-end PC users. Surprisingly, unlike many other light browsers out there, it also comes with a macOS version as well. It completely eliminates features such as trackers, cookies, targeted ads, etc. in order to maximize performance efficiency for the user. UR Browser also prioritizes your privacy. It comes with its own privacy mode selector that enables you to choose one of the three offered privacy settings. You can see all the ads in the world if you opt for their minimal privacy options, but there are medium privacy and “Ninja” modes which will block ads and make you completely untraceable respectively.
Remember when we said UR browser is also available on macOS? Well Midori takes this game into a whole new level and allows you to download it on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android, with the iOS version also in the works. Midori is similar to UR browser in many aspects. It will come with dedicated security and privacy features. To top it all off, Midori has excellent user support, which is often missing in many other lightweight browsers. Midori has a similar RAM and CPU usage similar to K-Meleon and will make life significantly easier for low end PC users.
SeaMonkey is not a browser on its own. Rather it is an application suite that also features a web browser and a lightweight one at that. It uses the same Mozilla base code as the famed Firefox. However unlike Firefox it does away with a lot of heavy added features and also uses optimization to maximize the capability of the browser to run on low-spec PCs. It can run on PCs that run the legacy Pentium processors. I need a bare minimum of 1GB total RAM and it’ll run like a charm. Low-spec PCs crash often, so SeaMonkey has a restore session feature as well. A great browser overall.
Originally released in 1992, Lynx is the oldest browser in the world that has continued support in 2023. This is not the only thing that makes it unique. Lynx also uses a text-based system to browse the web as opposed to using a graphical user interface (GUI), which means that you will not be able to see any images on it. This terminal-oriented approach of Lynx makes it the most lightweight browser on today’s list, but it also makes it the hardest for the average user to get into. Still, it remains a great option for coders and back-end developers who want to maximize their resource allocation while working.
What Can You Do if You Need to Use a Resource Consumer Browser?
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Run as many applications and open as many tabs as you want without having to worry about your system slowing down or crashing. Whether you run a company with loads of coders and developers or are a gamer looking for a better gaming experience, just choose one of our myriad VPS plans and you will never be concerned with your RAM space again.
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As we talked about which browsers use the least memory, does the result of our test mean that you should use Edge as your default browser? By no means. A lightweight browser is great but as we said, it’s not all there is to it. You need to carefully analyze the balance of memory use against other aspects like user-friendliness, extensions, CPU usage, loading time, and a heap of other factors.
A good browser must protect you against unwanted cookies and trackers, keep you secure against malware and leaks, and of course load your favorite websites without too much trouble. Even though Edge uses the least RAM space among browsers, it may fare less well in other regards. So besides asking “Which browser uses the least RAM” you may need to think about “Which browser suits your needs“.
What browser should I use in 2023?
There is no fit-for-all browser. Different browsers, due to their different features, can be employed for a particular use. The important thing here is to be aware of the features of each browser and consider your specific needs to choose the best one for yourself.
What browser uses the least RAM?
New competitors have entered the game this last year, and in 2023, there are more candidates for the most resource-efficient browser than ever. The data, however, shows that Edge continues to defy expectations by being the least resource-hungry.
Firefox vs Chrome: Which Takes up more CPU?
Both browsers consume a good deal of memory, and Chrome has Firefox beat when it comes to RAM usage. But what about CPU usage? According to our tests, Chrome gets to keep its rule as the most resource-intensive browser even when it comes to CPU consumption. So, Firefox is a better bet if you don’t want to overburden your CPU.
Why is Google Chrome so heavy on RAM?
Because of the plugins and extensions you’ve probably added to your browser. The more plugins and extensions you have on your Chrome, the more RAM it will occupy.
How can I reduce my browser’s RAM usage?
- Reduce the tabs
- Remove the unused extensions and plugins
- Turn of the Site Isolation feature
- Enable the prediction service
- Do a malware scan from time to time
Is Mozilla better than Chrome?
Both Mozilla and Chrome are known to be highly beneficial and practical to use as a browser (by experts). However, there are some distinctions between them that particularize their usage for different situations. For example, if you are only looking for lower RAM usage, Mozilla can work better for you.
What is a really fast browser in 2023?
There are different ways a browser can be considered “fast,” including how soon it loads a page or how much RAM it takes to load the browser itself. In terms of the page-load speed, Chrome definitely takes the lead by a wide margin. But things are entirely the other way around. When it comes to memory management and loading the browser itself, Chrome is dead last, with Edge as the leading champion of the list. If you’re going for a balance, you can always decide on Firefox or Brave.