It’s been more than a year since our last browser benchmark battle, and the competition remains fierce. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have all gained a variety of new features and improvements over the past year. It’s time to see if any of them have managed to pull ahead of the pack.

A benchmarking program that can test browsers in a definitive way does not exist. As such, we’re once again going through eight separate benchmarks. We’re also only looking at Windows, so as to maintain a common platform and because that’s what the larger majority of desktop users browse on.

Setup

We used a custom desktop PC for each benchmark. It features an Intel Core i5 4440 processor (6M Cache, 3.10 GHz), 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM, a 500GB SATA hard drive (7200 RPM), an Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics card, and a 24-inch widescreen LED monitor (1920 x 1080).

We split off a new 75GB partition for a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro (64-bit), downloaded the browsers, and ran Windows Update a few times until it had all the latest patches. We then ran all of the eight tests on each browser, taking screenshots along the way.

Please remember that if you try to replicate the tests, your numbers will naturally differ because you’re using a different computer. You will not get the same figures, but you may get similar results.

We used the latest browsers versions available for Windows 10 at the time: Chrome 54.0.2840.71, which was released this month, Firefox 49.0.2, released last month, and Microsoft Edge 38.14393.0.0, released this month.

Results

Finally, the part you’ve been waiting for. Again, please remember that the exact numbers aren’t important: How they compare between browsers within a given test is what counts.

Here’s the rundown (click on an individual test to see the nitty-gritty details):

Final thoughts

It appears that Edge has made the biggest gains since last year. That said, browser performance is improving at a very rapid pace, and it shouldn’t be your only consideration when picking your preferred app for consuming Internet content.

As long as you’re using one of the Big Three, you can expect performance to be solid. There is certainly room for improvement, but Chrome, Firefox, and Edge are all quite capable.

SunSpider is a JavaScript benchmark, probably one of the oldest ones around. We ran version 1.0.2, the latest and last version released.

For this benchmark, a lower number is better.

Chrome started off OK:

sunspider_chrome_october_2016

Firefox did worse:

sunspider_firefox_october_2016

Edge destroyed them both, finishing in half the time:

sunspider_edge_october_2016

This is an old test, and interestingly all three browsers did worse than last year. But that’s not really a big deal — what’s notable is that Edge still won by a wide margin, and that Chrome passed Firefox for second.

sunspider_october_2016

Octane is a JavaScript benchmark developed by Google. We ran the latest version, 2.0.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome set the bar high:

octane_chrome_october_2016

Firefox couldn’t match it:

octane_firefox_october_2016

Edge jumped right over it:

octane_edge_october_2016

Given that Octane was developed by Google, it’s surprising that Chrome isn’t winning this test. This is the same order of results as last year: Edge first, Chrome second, and Firefox third.

octane_october_2016

Kraken is a JavaScript benchmark developed by Mozilla. We ran the latest version, 1.1.

For this benchmark, a lower number is better.

Chrome was very quick:

kraken_chrome_october_2016

Firefox was a bit slower:

kraken_firefox_october_2016

Edge was faster than Firefox but still slower than Chrome:

kraken_edge_october_2016

Despite the fact that Kraken is Mozilla’s benchmark, Chrome still won this test. And again, the order remained unchanged from last year.

kraken_october_2016

JetStream is a JavaScript benchmark developed by Apple. We ran the latest version, 1.1.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome again set the bar high:

jetstream_chrome_october_2016

Firefox couldn’t keep up:

jetstream_firefox_october_2016

Edge beat both by a lot:

jetstream_edge_october_2016

Looks like Microsoft still knows Apple’s benchmark the best. That’s right: Same result as last year.

jetstream_october_2016

Oort Online is a WebGL benchmark created by the developers for the game of the same name. We didn’t see a version number.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome did well in this visual benchmark:

oort_chrome_october_2016

Firefox left it in the dust:

oort_firefox_october_2016

Edge couldn’t beat either:

oort_edge_october_2016

When it comes to graphics, Chrome was the king last year, but this year it’s Firefox. Edge did a lot better than before, but still placed third.

oort_october_2016

Peacekeeper is a general browser test developed by benchmark-maker Futuremark. We didn’t see a version number.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome did pretty well:

peacekeeper_chrome_october_2016

Firefox did even better:

peacekeeper_firefox_october_2016

Edge failed miserably:

peacekeeper_edge_october_2016

Just like last year, Firefox won this one, followed closely by Chrome. Edge was way behind.

peacekeeper_october_2016

WebXPRT is an HTML5 and JavaScript test developed by benchmark-maker Principled Technologies. We ran version 1.998.2.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome did OK:

webxprt_chrome_october_2016

Firefox did better:

webxprt_firefox_october_2016

Edge blew past both of them:

webxprt_edge_october_2016

This benchmark took the longest to run, and although Firefox ended up on top last year, this time Edge was the clear victor.

webxprt_october_2016

HTML5Test is exactly what its name says. We saw no version number, though a perfect score is 555.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome loves HTML5:

html5test_chrome_october_2016

Firefox does as well:

html5test_firefox_october_2016

Edge is catching up, but still in third:

html5test_edge_october_2016

Nobody got a perfect score, though Chrome came the closest.

html5test_october_2016

Browser standards are a moving target, though according to this benchmark Google is pushing the envelope harder than Mozilla and Microsoft.