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What Browser Should I Use in 2022?

An ever-changing landscape looks pretty good right now.

It's difficult to go wrong when selecting a browser these days.
Which Browser?
(Image: askleo.com)
What browser are you using, and is it the latest and most secure one?

I’m the wrong guy to ask that. As I type this, I have four different browsers running.

I’m an edge case (no pun intended).

However, if you’re looking to run only one browser, the news is pretty good.

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TL;DR:

What browser should I use

It would be difficult to go wrong using the latest versions of any of the major browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Brave, Vivaldi, Safari, Opera, Pale Moon, and Konqueror. If you have issues with a specific browser or company, try a different one.

Chromium

Before we get into specific browsers, I want to point out that many browsers are related and may not be quite as different as you think.

A browser “engine” is the underlying technology used to display webpages. Many different browsers share the Google Chromium engine.1 Then they can focus development efforts on other features, like user interface, synchronization, and more.

The reason this matters is that all browsers using Chromium should, in theory, display webpages the same way. If you’re diagnosing a webpage display problem, switching from Chrome to Edge may not tell you anything because it’s the same engine underneath.

Chromium-based browsers

The following browsers are all based on Chromium:

  • Chromium (the default browser in many Linux installations)
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Brave
  • Vivaldi

They differ in outward appearance and additional features. For example, Brave is specifically privacy-focused, Microsoft Edge is well integrated into the Windows ecosystem, and Google’s own Chrome is designed to work well with all Google properties and services.

Other browsers

The following browsers generally use their own underlying engine — or engines which, while perhaps open source, aren’t shared by as many well-known browsers.

  • Mozilla Firefox. The Thunderbird email program and SeaMonkey application suite also share a significant portion of Firefox code.
  • Safari, from Apple
  • Opera
  • Pale Moon
  • Konqueror (an alternative browser in many Linux installations)

When diagnosing issues with Chromium-based browsers, it’s a good idea to try one of these since they use different technologies.

But which one should I use?

First, the latest versions of all the mentioned browsers are the most secure.

If you’re particularly concerned about privacy, use Brave.

If you want maximum website compatibility, try Google Chrome. It’s been the most popular browser for some time.

If you’re looking for maximum integration with Windows or you just don’t want to download another browser, use Microsoft Edge.

If you happen to like the features offered by a specific browser, use that one. Any of the browsers I’ve listed above will do just fine.

If you have problems

No browser is perfect. Some people swear certain browsers are complete junk, based on their experience. You’ll hear that from different people for each of the browsers I’ve listed above.

Similarly, some people will swear that this company or that is completely evil, and you shouldn’t trust the browser they provide.

And, of course, you may experience problems — either with a specific browser or with a specific website used with a specific browser.

My advice in all these cases is simple: try one of the others. As I said, any of them will do. Heck, have more than one installed and ready if you like.

But what do you use?

OK, ok… here’s what’s running on my machine right now.

  • Microsoft Edge. Call this my primary browser, as it’s where my personal email and general web browsing happens.
  • Google Chrome is where I isolate my Ask Leo! email and work; I’m typing in it right now.
  • Mozilla Firefox. I use this to isolate my volunteer work and email accounts. (And occasionally test things, since it’s the only non-Chromium browser I have installed.)
  • Brave. I’ve been using lately this to keep an extra window open for streaming music so I don’t lose my place or accidentally shut it down when one of the other three browsers needs to be restarted.

Why so many? In general, it’s to keep Google accounts straight. While you can sign in to multiple different Google accounts within a single browser, I find it easier to keep things completely separate by using separate browsers.

Do this

If you’re not sure, just use whichever browser you feel most comfortable with of those mentioned above. If you’re still not sure, use what’s pre-installed on your system: Edge on Windows, Chrome on Android, and Safari on Apple products.

The browser landscape does change. Even five years ago, my answers would have been different. Subscribe to Confident Computing, my weekly email newsletter, to stay on top of moving targets like this. Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

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Footnotes & References

1: Technically, Chromium is a complete browser with Blink as the engine, but given how many other browsers are based on Chromium, it’s the term you’ll see more often.

47 comments on “What Browser Should I Use in 2022?”

  1. I’ve been using Firefox for many years. I like the available extensions and the ease of use until recent updates. If I login to may bank, iCloud and other various websites I can’t open pop up’s because they have a blocker that I can’t find and if I create an exception their pop ups still won’t open so I’m forced to use another browser and go through the authentication process for that browser. If someone has the solution I’d appreciate the help.

    Reply
    • I normally use Brave. However, it will not open the monthly statement page of my bank account so I have to jump over to Edge (maybe Chrome will work as well??) each month just to get that one thing.

      Reply
      • Unfortunately, many sites aren’t tested for compatibility with all browsers. There are too many browsers to make that practical. Most work on the big three, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, but that’s no guarantee they will work on all three.

        Reply
  2. Another use for using more than one browser is to stay logged in to a website for more than one account. For example, if you have more than one Facebook account, you can log in to each account on a different browser and have them all open. Now, Facebook allows you to easily switch accounts, so this is less important than before.

    One factor in choosing which browser to use is the available extensions. Firefox has more available extensions and Chromium based browsers might have extensions which don’t have a version for Firefox.

    I use Edge as my main browser. I started using it as my default to test it out and have been using it ever since because why not? I just works.

    Reply
  3. When using the Brave browser, you may have issues with some sites that send you to affiliated pages….some e-merchant sites or banking sites, for instance. If this is a problem, you can turn off some brave protection (“shields” using the lion face icon to the right of the address bar, where the URL is listed. I have sometimes had to use a different browser to complete an intended action.

    Reply
    • and I read that Brave is privacy focused, well that all is lost when it steers you to places you have not selected to go to, like “…. e-merchant sites or banking sites…”

      the one safe and privacy minded one is not mentioned, Librewolf, based on the Firefox engine.

      and if you want to go for anonymity and privacy the only good one is Tor Browser.

      Reply
  4. I tend to lean towards Edge. I was told that Edge has a smaller operating footprint than Chrome which I’m told is a space hog. I am quite often using Photoshop and Lightroom, so space is an issue.

    Can someone verify my understanding? Is there something better to use when using Photoshop and Lightroom? I tend to go online to review some Photoshop how-to (usually a video) and check emails. Not much else open.

    Reply
  5. The article lists Opera as a non-Chromium browser. This comment seems to suggest otherwise. Perhaps different versions?

    Reply
  6. What can you tell me about the Avast browser? I use it as my ad blocker generally but it seems to change sometimes to not ad blocking.

    Reply
    • Avast is a Chromium based browse modified by Avast for better security and ad blocking. Unfortunately, I don’t know how well it does security, but as they are a reliable company with a reputation to maintain, I’d trust it to be at least OK.

      Reply
  7. Leo: You actually did mention Opera in the article under “Other Browsers”. You stated it had its own engine like Safari, etc. So I’m confused when Douglas Brace stated Opera was based on Chromium & you didn’t correct him.

    Reply
  8. Some links require use of a specific browser (probably a chrome-based browser). My default browser is Thunderbird. I receive emails from political or charitable groups asking for donations. Sometimes if I try to make a donation, it does not work. However, if I go to the site using chrome, the donation process does work. This is also true of some commercial vendors when trying to make a purchase.

    Reply
  9. I switched from Chrome to Brave for the added privacy features. I don’t use Edge because it’s Microsoft, and typically, if there are two ways to do things, Microsoft will choose the way I don’t want.

    I tried Vivaldi. I liked it except for one thing. When I pinch-zoom in Brave, it zooms the entire window so that if, for example, the right side of a web page contains ads or (like youtube and many news sites) preview pics of other videos or articles, I can zoom and scroll so that what I don’t care about (the distractions) are off the screen. In Vivaldi, pinch-zoom does the same thing as CTRL+ or CTRL-SCROLL. I zooms the page but keeps all content on the screen.

    Reply
  10. Is anyone else finding certain websites running up CPU/RAM to where the browser can only be shutdown using Task Manager. In my case they’re newspaper sites. Used to be only Firefox affected, but now sometimes Chrome and Edge as well.

    Reply
  11. RITTER: You don’t have to depend on hearsay. Use the task manager to see what the CPU and RAM usage is for each browser with equal number of tabs open on the same websites. Also check out how many processes each leaves behind after it’s closed. There isn’t a significant difference, given that both Edge and Chrome have the same engine.

    Reply
    • I concur. Amazon’s Alexa uses Bing instead of Google, so that asking her questions actually performs a Bing search in the background. Alexa’s answers are often very inferior to what I get when I perform the same query on Google. Despite all of its poor privacy practices, there’s no question: Google is still your friend.

      Reply
  12. I generally use Chrome but sometimes i use Edge. When i run CCleaner it stalls in trying to remove Edge and says it’s still in use even tho i’ve shut it down. Does this mean MS is spying on me ?

    Reply
    • I had the same problem. In Settings/System and Performance/System toggle off the statement “Continue running background extensions and apps when Microsoft is closed”. I had multiple of occurrences of Edge running after closing the browser.

      Reply
    • No, it means some program is using a component of Edge. Nothing new. Used to be the same situation with Internet Explorer. It’s also possible Edge is still running, but not visible. Check task manager’s details pane.

      Reply
  13. I am an Edge user primarily and Firefox as my second choice. But, there is something that it is annoying me from time to time: Edge gets updated automatically, “just like that” when I am in the middle of something.

    Reply
  14. Which uses the least memory, and will still function normally? I have Win7 with only 2Gb ram.
    Also, the freight broker MercuryGate (also called TMS) states that you must use Chrome to use their website functions. I was using Edge, and could not log in.

    Reply
  15. I dual-boot Windows 11 with LMDE5. When I’m using Windows, I use Edge (the Windows default) as my primary browser. When I’m using LMDE, my primary is Firefox (the LMDE default).

    I have Firefox installed in Windows and Edge installed in LMDE to use as secondary browsers in each OS. Overall, I find that the default browser seems to work the best in any OS I have tried. I avoid using GNU/Linux distributions that have Google Chrome as their default, and I don’t ever use Google Chrome because I simply don’t trust Google. I suppose Chromium is OK because it is Open Source, so AFAIK, Google does not have as much control over what goes into it is they have over what goes into their Chrome web browser.

    In the end, we all have our preferences (and reasons for them), so which browser is the best mostly depends on what you prefer/like.

    My2Cents,

    Ernie

    Reply
  16. What about Tor Browser? Seems to be good for VPN Surfing, not sure what it is based on, but has always done a great job of allowing private surfing!
    Also, Opera is based on Mozilla, latest 5.0 (so FireFox!).

    Reply
  17. If you want to know the relative safety of browsers, than have a look at https://privacytests.org/
    this open-source software compares each month the browsers on many safety, privacy security issues and give clear tables.
    IMHO it indicates as safest Tor Browser, runner up Librewolf followed by Brave.

    Reply
  18. I use Edge mainly but have to fire up Internet Explorer to view and save images from my CCTV system. There doesn’t appear to be an update to the (Chinese?) CCTV software.

    Reply
  19. I have used Firefox or Seamonkey for years and find both to be excellent in all ways. I also have Pale Moon (uses main engine of the older versions of Firefox, but updates have taken it further away from the current version of Firefox). If you would like a browser that contains an email program as well, Seamonkey is a good bet.

    Reply
  20. I find it ironic that you use several browser for different accounts have you ever heard of Firefox containers you can make as many containers as you like. If you want you could have a different browser for every page you go to, or do what I do, keep social media in one, shopping, banking, games, and e-mail in a another. Why not just do that?

    Reply
  21. It seems that pinch-zoom (as it works in Chrome and Brave) is also available in Vivaldi. To enable it you must go to settings, select webpages, scroll down to Default WebPage Zoom, and unselect Use CTRL+Scroll to zoom page.

    Reply

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