Browser benchmark battle July 2018: Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Edge

It’s been more than 20 months since our last browser benchmark battle, and we really wanted to avoid letting two years elapse before getting a fresh set of a results. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have all improved significantly over the past year and a half, and as I’ve argued before, the browser wars are back.

A single benchmarking program that definitively tests desktop browsers does not exist. As such, we ran nine separate benchmarks to give you a broader overview of what you can expect. We’re using Windows in order to maintain a common platform, and because that’s what the larger majority of desktop users browse on.

Setup

Unlike in past tests, this time around we’re using a Surface Laptop (Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD). Most people use laptops as opposed to desktops nowadays, and the computer we used in the past has simply become too outdated.

We split off a new 100GB 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 (and to fix some issues). We then ran all nine tests on each browser, taking screenshots along the way. We used the latest browser versions available for Windows 10 at the time of testing: Chrome 67, Firefox 61, and Edge 42.

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 across browsers.

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

Chrome looks to be ahead of the pack according to these tests. That said, browser performance was solid across all three contestants, 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.

Note: If you’re wondering why we didn’t include Oort Online and Peacekeeper benchmarks this time around, the simple reason is both were discontinued and are no longer available. We did, however, add new tests to our list: MotionMark, Speedometer, and BaseMark.

SunSpider is a JavaScript benchmark, probably one of the oldest ones around. We ran version 1.0.2, the latest and last version released (Sunspider is no longer maintained).

For this benchmark, a lower number is better.

Chrome started off OK:

Firefox did worse:

Edge destroyed them both, finishing in less than half the time:

This is an old test, but the reason I keep running it is because I find it interesting that all three browsers bring in consistently worse results as time goes on. The placement has stayed the same lately though: Edge wins by a wide margin, followed by Firefox, and then Chrome.

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

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome set the bar high:

Firefox couldn’t match it:

Edge did the worst:

Given that Octane was developed by Google, maybe it’s not surprising that Chrome won this test. In past years, however, Edge did beat out Chrome. Not anymore.

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 pretty slow:

Firefox was a bit faster:

Edge was faster than Chrome but still slower than Firefox:

Kraken is Mozilla’s benchmark, and Firefox won this test. But again, this is not the result we’ve seen in past tests, and all three browsers were actually quite close.

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

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome did OK:

Firefox did better:

Edge blew past both:

Looks like Microsoft still knows Apple’s benchmark the best. That’s right: Edge has consistently won this one over the years.

MotionMark is a graphics benchmark developed by the WebKit team. We ran version 1.0.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome did OK:

Firefox did a little better:

Edge blew the competition out of the water:

This benchmark took the longest to run, and it looks like Edge was the clear victor.

Speedometer is a performance benchmark that repeats the same actions using DOM APIs. We ran version 1.0.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome again set the bar:

Firefox could not match it:

Edge couldn’t either:

This benchmark, which is all about measuring how long it takes for a browser to execute repetitive tasks, showed Chrome as the clear winner.

Basemark includes various tests that use the newest web standards and features. We ran version 3.0.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome set the bar:

Firefox could not keep up:

And Edge couldn’t even complete the test due to WebGL 2.0 limitations.

This benchmark also shows Chrome as the clear winner.

WebXPRT is an HTML5 and JavaScript test developed by benchmark maker Principled Technologies. We ran version 3.

For this benchmark, a higher number is better.

Chrome did OK:

Firefox did better:

Edge did the worst:

This benchmark has changed quite a bit over the years, and it looks like Firefox has come out on top this time.

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:

Firefox does as well:

Edge is catching up, but still in third:


Nobody got a perfect score, though Chrome came the closest. Over the years, Edge has made the most progress, although that’s because it was the furthest behind.

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

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