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Chrome vs Edge: Which web browser is better?

Chrome vs Edge
(Image credit: Microsoft/Google)

When it comes to accessing the internet, Chrome vs Edge might not have been a real battle a few years ago - the pair were miles apart in terms of quality. But these days Microsoft Edge is a real contender to Google Chrome’s throne as the best web browser. Now Edge offers everything that Chrome does, with a few extra features thrown in that mean it might just have stolen Chrome’s crown.

But how can that be? Microsoft is famously bad at making web browsers, right? We all remember the humble Internet Explorer, which served as the default browser on Windows computers for nearly 20 years. It was functional, and fine when we didn’t know things could be better, but eventually other web browsers like Firefox and Chrome came along to show us how good things could be.

Microsoft eventually saw the light after IEs huge decline in popularity and released a replacement - Microsoft Edge. At first, it wasn’t great. Don’t get us wrong, it was a huge improvement over IE, but it still lagged far behind Chrome, which had at this time asserted market dominance. But then Microsoft overhauled Edge in 2020 and rebuilt it using the Chromium architecture - the same engine that Chrome is built on.

So how does this new and improved version of Edge fair against Chrome? What features does it offer that Chrome doesn’t, and is it missing any of Chrome’s key features? We’ve broken the battle down into four key categories as we compare Chrome vs Edge: features, extensions, performance, and security.

You can also check out our full thoughts on both of these web browsers in our Google Chrome review and Microsoft Edge review respectively. Alright, let's ring the bell and get this battle started. 

Chrome vs Edge: Features 

So again, both Chrome and Edge are both based off the same Chromium architecture and as a result, their feature sets are nearly identical too. Nearly, but not exactly. Edge actually has a few neat extra features that you won’t find on Chrome.

For starters, Edge lets you import all of your Chrome settings, bookmarks, passwords, etc, over when you first install and start using it. This is brilliant as it makes the switch from Chrome to Edge as painless as possible.

Google Chrome

(Image credit: Future)

Edge also has a feature called Collections, which allows you to save webpages, images, notes and other online content into a single folder. This is amazingly useful when you’re researching a particular topic and want to group things together. So if you’re searching for an anniversary gift for your partner, you could save all your ideas together in a single Collection.

Both Chrome and Edge feature integration with their respective creators' other online systems. That means you can link your Chrome to your Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Google Drive for easy access to all your content within that ecosystem. Edge offers a similar feature, connecting you to your Microsoft account, Outlook, Office and the like. Here we’d say Chrome has the edge, as it links with more ubiquitous and commonly used tools.

But overall, Edge has the better feature set precisely because it has everything that Chrome has, and a little extra bonus in the way of Collections

Chrome vs Edge features winner: Edge

Chrome vs Edge: Extensions

It feels like we’re banging the same drum over and over here, but again, as Edge is based on the same background architecture as Chrome, all of Chrome’s extensions work on Edge by default. The only downside is that you’ll have to go to the Google Play store and download them manually, but that’s a minor inconvenience.

What’s more, Edge actually has a few of its own extensions available through the Windows store, so technically it has more extensions than Chrome does. In reality though, there aren’t a huge number of them and they don’t offer anything you can’t get on Chrome, so we’ll call this one a tie.

Chrome vs Edge extensions winner: It’s a draw

Microsoft Edge web browser

(Image credit: Future)

Chrome vs Edge: Performance

This is another camp where Edge sneaks out the lead, despite the similarities between the two web browsers. As we noted in our Microsoft Edge review, Edge uses significantly fewer system resources than Chrome when running equivalent tasks. This was confirmed by both our own testing and LaptopMag, who found that Edge has half the CPU and RAM draw of Chrome.

What does this mean? Well it means your home computer will run faster with Edge than Chrome, and you’ll be able to have more programs running alongside Edge than Chrome without causing slowdown on your system. This is especially important on older and less powerful computers and laptops which have underpowered hardware by today’s standards. So that’s a comfortable win for Edge in this category.

Chrome vs Edge performance winner: Edge

Chrome vs Edge: Security

Online security is incredibly important these days, and this is sadly one of the areas where Chrome really lags behind the competition. Chrome has some limited security settings that you can enable including the ability to automatically block third-party cookies, but this isn’t on by default and must be manually enabled. 

Chrome also has Safe Browsing modes with three settings: Standard, Enhanced and No protection. Standard mode warns you about potentially malicious websites, downloads, and extensions before you proceed and scans URLs against a list of known unsafe sites. Enhanced mode takes this further by automatically opting you into password breach warnings, so you’ll know immediately if your password has been compromised. This mode does require you to send browsing data to Google though.

Microsoft Edge web browser

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft Edge’s solution looks similar at first glance, with three security options to choose from: Basic, Balanced and Strict. Balanced mode blocks tracking programs from any website you haven’t visited before, as well as known harmful trackers too. Strict mode basically slams the door shut and blocks all tracking software, though this can affect how some sites function. Basic mode lets most trackers through, but still blocks the known bad ones.

Both Edge and Chrome let you install ad-blocking extensions, both let you use VPN services and both offer a version of private browsing, which lets you browse without saving your search history or visited web pages.

We’re going to give this one to Edge. Chrome has basically all the same tools as Edge, but it chooses not to enable them as standard, which means less tech savvy users aren’t as well protected by default. Edge is also far more granular in its customization options, letting you choose the security options that best suit you.

Chrome vs Edge security winner: Edge

Which is the better web browser: Chrome or Edge?

We never thought we’d be saying this, but we have to give this one to Microsoft Edge. Both are excellent web browsers, and they’re nearly identical looking at first glance, but when you get down into the nitty gritty details, Edge is just the better option. It has better performance, better security options and a few exclusive features like Collections which help it sneak out in front of Chrome.

Regardless of which browser you choose, be aware that no web browser will protect you entirely from online threats. You’re still going to need one of the best antivirus or internet security software to keep your device secure when you’re browsing the web. 

Ian Stokes is a writer with a varied background - from academic publishing through to video games journalism. In fact the only thing he doesn't enjoy writing about is himself.