Firefox is the best browser for PC gamers
Unlike game consoles, PCs are versatile machines. We use them for productivity work, watching media, browsing the web, gaming, and more. PCs are also great for multitasking, which is often a big plus for PC gaming – you can quickly change playlists in a music player between games, or search for tutorials for a section. difficult without changing devices or leaving anything.
However, not all software works well with PC games. Web browsers can be demanding on system resources, especially on RAM, which many PCs already lack as games move to a minimum of 16GB of memory. Most web browsers also use your GPU to rendering of pages and multimedia content, which is a cool feature most of the time, but maybe not so much when trying to play Call of Duty: Warzone.
There are also other factors to consider that improve certain browsers during gameplay, such as game-specific features or integration with popular services and platforms. In this guide, we’ll highlight the best web browser for PC gaming, based on performance tests and available features.
The best browser
The winner: Firefox
Whether you’re in the middle of a game or just browsing the web normally, Firefox is the answer. Although Firefox scored slightly lower in benchmarks compared to Chromium-based browsers like Microsoft Edge and Vivaldi, it tended to use the least RAM in all of the apps we tried. This is an important factor when games want to use as much available memory as possible.
Firefox is also just a great browser in general. It has an easy to understand interface, lots of extensions, cloud sync, and mobile versions for Android and iOS. Mozilla also has a good track record with defend user privacy and security, and unlike most other browsers, all of its code is available for free. By comparing, Chromium and Vivaldi are only partially open-source, and Edge and Opera GX don’t make any of their code available for viewing.
Firefox is available for download on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.
The finalist: Opera GX
Opera’s games-focused browser Opera GX gets honorary mention here. The interface isn’t for everyone – it honestly looks like a BIOS on a gaming motherboard – but Opera GX is a good browser for checking information or streaming music while you have a game open. Limiters for RAM, network bandwidth, and processor are great to have.
Opera GX supports synchronization with other Opera browsers, so you can also use the company’s other software for regular browsing / productivity, and only open GX when you need the gaming features. ‘is only available for Windows and you can download it from its official website.
How we tested the browsers
The most important factor here is performance: not only how fast a web browser is on your PC, but also how resource-efficient it is. Ideally, the best browser in this scenario should load pages and content quickly, without slowing down games that might be running at the same time. It also needs to do things in the browser.
It is important to note that each browser has been tested with its own user profile: no data synchronized, no extensions running, etc. When you change browsers, it’s common for the new one to be much faster, but the difference may just be that your thousands of history entries, bookmarks, and extensions weren’t moved to the new app.
The browsers we tested performed almost the same, which isn’t too surprising. Most web browsers now share a common engine (Chromium), although some browsers lag behind the latest engine improvements than others. Microsoft recently made headlines for improvements to the speed and power efficiency of its Edge browser, but most of these changes are returned to the main Chromium code base so that Chrome and other browsers can benefit from it.
The main exception is Firefox, which uses its own engine called Gecko. Apple’s Safari web browser also has a different engine, WebKit (which Chromium is based on), but Safari is no longer available for Windows.
With that out of the way, it was time to test another hotly contested data point: RAM usage. Chrome’s memory requirements have become a meme over the years, but are other browsers really different? In short, not really.
To test RAM usage, we opened three tabs with the same pages on all browsers: a YouTube video playing at 480p, and the homepages of two news websites with various videos, images, and ads. This should simulate pretty much what most people may have opened in a browser while gaming: music or videos streaming in the background, along with a few guides or wiki pages. Content / ad blocking has been disabled in all browsers and we left tabs running for a while (while scrolling / clicking items) to determine minimum and maximum usage.
Vivaldi ended up being the most RAM hungry in this test, consuming just over 1GB of memory just to keep all three tabs running. Firefox had the lowest RAM usage, using around 700MB with the same three pages. Chrome, Edge, and Opera GX all performed pretty much the same.
So why do web browsers need so much memory, you ask? The answer is Sandbox, a security mechanism to separate applications or tasks from each other. This blog post from Google explains why sandboxing is necessary:
Chrome was one of the first web browsers to implement tab sandboxing to improve security, which led to increased memory usage compared to other browsers (hence the origin of memes). All other browsers have subsequently implemented this functionality.
Besides RAM usage and overall performance, features are also important in determining the best browser for gaming. Every web browser we tested has all the basic features you would expect (cloud sync, cross-platform support, picture-in-picture, theming, etc.), but there are a few notable features on every browser that are useful during the game. Edge and Vivaldi both support vertical tabs, making it easier for you to see page titles with a large number of tabs open. Vivaldi also has a notepad, which can be useful for quickly jotting down game information without reaching your phone or Windows Notepad.
Opera GX has the most game-oriented features of any web browser available today. The “ GX Control ” panel allows you to limit the network bandwidth and CPU / RAM usage that the browser can maintain, although the RAM limit cannot be less than 1 GB.
Opera GX also has a default dark theme (with customizable highlights), a quick-access sidebar for Twitch, and other features. Most of the extra features are also available through extensions or themes on other browsers, but it’s nice to have everything in the main browser.