Which Browser Uses the Least Memory?

Periodically I like to streamline my machine to keep things running light and lean.  My recent investigation was into how much memory my browser of choice devours.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a Chrome fangirl since it launched.  It was back in the days when I was still on a Windows PC, and Chrome was a quick, clean godsend from the browser heavens.  Firefox was promptly shelved and I hadn’t looked back.  Until now.

These days I’m on a Mac (so please bear in mind that you may experience different results to the below if you’re on a Windows machine), and I’ve noticed that Chrome has become more and more of a memory hog (sometimes with glorious crazy moments where it spirals out of control), so I figured it was time to revisit my options and do some testing.

The below results are for Chrome, Firefox and Safari (I avoid touching Internet Explorer unless I absolutely have to) all running a single tab with the same Gmail account loaded.

Chrome memory usage
Firefox memory usage
Safari memory usage



Chrome: 351.5 MB, 69 threads.

Firefox: 316.2 MB, 57 threads.

Safari: 290.4 MB, 39 threads.

This makes Safari by far the lightest and leanest of the three browsers running on a Mac, which makes sense considering Safari is part of the Apple eco system.

So, I’ll be switching to Safari for now and keeping my eyes open for any new browsers which are light and nimble whilst still maintaining a great user experience.

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2 thoughts on “Which Browser Uses the Least Memory?

    1. Sara Thornton Post author

      Hi Alberto,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      I switched from IE many years ago when Chrome was still young.

      Do you have any performance results showing IE against the major browsers that you could share? If IE outperforms Chrome, Firefox and Safari, I’d be willing to give it another go.