Best Internet Browsers of 2018

Nicole Johnston ·
Internet Security & Appliance Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

After 80 hours of researching and testing, we found Mozilla Firefox is the best overall internet browser because of how fast pages load, how quickly it navigates to websites and, most importantly, how secure this browser is. Using live malware and only the browser’s default security settings, we tested its safety features – Firefox correctly stopped more malicious downloads and warned of more dangerous websites than any other popular web browser. Google Chrome is also a very good browser with the same toolset as Firefox, and while it typically comes down to personal preference, Mozilla Firefox did do slightly better in our speed tests and proved to be much more secure than Google Chrome.      

Best Overall
Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox had the fastest times when navigating to new pages and loading full pages. It has a clean design with settings and tools that are clearly marked and easy to find, as well as security tools that stop malicious downloads and block dangerous sites.
View on Mozilla
Best for Mobile
Google Chrome
Google Chrome is compatible with all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. It syncs your devices so changes made and saved in the browser can be accessed from other devices. It also recognizes and blocks both Windows and Mac malware.
View on Google
Best for Mac
Safari
Safari is designed specifically for Apple computers and mobile devices. It is a fast browser when loading webpages and navigating between sites. It isn’t very customizable, but it does come with live tech support. It also blocks dangerous websites.
View on Apple Store

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Product
Price
Overall Rating
Speed & Compatibility
Features
Security
Help & Support
Ease of Use
Initial Startup Time
Average Startup Time
Navigation Time
Mobile Browser App
Synchronization
Tabbed Browsing
Bookmarks
Integrated Search Engine
Customization Options
Password Manager
Autofill
Automatic Updates
Mouse Gestures
Voice Interaction
Parental Controls
Open-Source Development
Pop-up Blocker
Antispyware
Antivirus
Antiphishing
Private Mode
Online Knowledgebase
User Guide
User Forums
FAQs
Tutorials
Email Support
Telephone Support
Windows 10
Windows 8
Windows 7
Mac OS
Android
iOS
Check Price
9.8 10 10 10 8.5
95%
1.55 sec
1.09 sec
3.21 sec
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9.8 9.8 10 10 8.5
95%
1.56 sec
1.7 sec
5.29 sec
-
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9.6 9.8 9 10 10
85%
1.85 sec
1.3 sec
3.87 sec
-
-
-
-
-
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9.5 9.5 9 10 10
85%
2.2 sec
1.8 sec
3.29 sec
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9.1 8.8 8.3 10 10
80%
4.53 sec
2.72 sec
9.88 sec
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-
-
-
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8 9.3 6.3 8 8.5
80%
3.68 sec
1.65 sec
3.45 sec
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7.5 5.8 7.3 10 8.5
75%
2.45 sec
1.7 sec
4.16 sec
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5.5 5 7.3 4 5.8
75%
6.6 sec
5.4 sec
6.4 sec
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Best Overall
Mozilla Firefox is the fastest internet browser we tested for navigating between sites and for fully loading pages. It is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems, and with Android and iOS cellphones and tablets. It has synchronization, so when you save passwords, bookmark pages and change browser settings, you will have access to these – as well as your search history – on other computers and mobile devices that have Firefox installed.
When we tested with live malware, Mozilla easily detected dangerous websites and displayed a warning message so we could avoid any traps, including links or downloads. And when a malware download was detected, Firefox stopped it. Mozilla includes a privacy browser, so you can search online without cookies or other trackers looking at your browser history. And it has pop-up ad blockers. This browser is nicely laid out and has a clean interface, so it’s easy to figure out where the tools and features are, and to navigate to them. You can have multiple browser tabs open at once in a single window, and rearrange their order by dragging and dropping the tabs into your preferred order. If you accidentally close a tab, Firefox will recover it for you. It’s difficult to contact live tech support since Mozilla doesn’t offer telephone or chat support. Its email support doesn’t always return messages, so your best bet for one-on-one help is through the user forums. You can also find a lot of good information and resources, such as FAQs and tutorials, through the searchable knowledgebase.
Pros
  • Navigates the web very quickly
  • Blocks malware reliably
  • Includes a private web browser
Cons
  • Live support isn’t available
  • Bookmarked webpages aren’t easy to find
  • Landing page has a lot of ads and suggested links
Mozilla
Read the full review
Best for Mobile
Google Chrome is a fast, dependable and powerful web browser that is easily the best choice for mobile devices. It is the default browser on most Android smartphones and tablets, though it is compatible and works just as well on iPhones. Any changes from one device will be seen and accessible from others also running Google Chrome.
This web browser recognizes a lot of known malware and will scan downloads for these threats. It does a good job warning you of dangerous websites that may have malware downloads, phishing schemes or dangerous links hidden on them. However, during our in-house security tests, we noticed that Google Chrome didn’t identify as many threats as Mozilla Firefox. Also, it depended on third-party antivirus programs and their browser extensions to help it identify certain malware before tagging it as a threat. Chrome is fast at getting you to the webpages you need, though it does come behind Mozilla Firefox, which is just a few milliseconds faster. Chrome lets you set icons on your toolbars so you can get to the pages you visit often more quickly. You can also pin them to the Google Chrome homepage, which gives you more room than the toolbar. It has tabbed browsing, so you can have multiple pages open at once and easily toggle between them in a single window.
Pros
  • Compatible with all platforms and devices
  • Synchronization makes settings available on every device
  • You can search the web from the address bar
Cons
  • Isn’t as fast at navigating between sites as other browsers
  • Telephone support isn’t offered
  • Extensions not searchable from the browser menu
Google
Read the full review
Best for Mac
We found Safari to be the best choice for Mac devices, because it is designed specifically for Apple’s machines. It is fast at connecting you to websites and loads full sites in under 2 seconds.
Safari takes a moment to learn to use if you’re not already familiar with Mac computers, and you can’t customize this browser with toolbars or icon shortcuts, but you still get tabbed browsing just like the Windows browsers. Safari lets you tag favorite sites and has a reading list where you can save articles, or parts of websites, to read later. While you’re reading an article, Safari has a tool that pushes ads and other distractions aside so you can read just the article without texts or images breaking in. This browser is the default for iPhones and iPads and has synchronization, so any changes to the browser from one device will be available in Safari from other devices. During our testing of its default security settings, Safari warned us of malicious websites that had phishing schemes or dangerous links on them. But it didn’t stop malicious downloads, so we had to depend on a Mac antivirus program to gather up these threats during the download process. This is one of the few browsers that has live support. It also has great online resources, like tutorials and searchable FAQs, so you can find answers on your own. A Safari user forum allows you to connect with other users about issues you’re having with the Mac browser.
Pros
  • Designed exclusively for Mac devices.
  • Loads webpages quickly.
  • Offers telephone support.
Cons
  • Voice interaction works only with mobile devices - it isn’t an actual tool of the browser.
  • Isn’t compatible with Windows and Android operating systems.
  • You can’t customize the toolbars.
Apple Store
Read the full review
Microsoft Browsers
Microsoft discontinued development on its Internet Explorer web browser after releasing Microsoft Edge as the official browser for Windows 10 in 2015.
However, because several older applications, websites and intranets are not yet compatible with Windows 10, Internet Explorer is still available on Windows 10 computers and is maintained by Microsoft, though no new versions will be released. We tested both Explorer and Edge, combining our findings in our review of Microsoft Internet Explorer. One difference we liked in Microsoft Edge is its Notes. This tool lets you highlight words or passages on any webpage while Edge automatically saves it so you can come back to it later. Edge doesn’t support third-party web extensions, so if you want to use an adblocker or language translator you need to find one developed by Microsoft. If you have issues using a Microsoft browser, you can reach support by telephone. No other browser developer offers phone support, so this is a nice feature.
Pros
  • Telephone support
Cons
  • Some compatibility issues
Microsoft
Read the full review
Open Source Web Browser
SeaMonkey is an open source browser, so you have access to the code and can customize it to have the features you want.
Users in the SeaMonkey community share ideas and code for features they want to add, and you can join the discussion whether or not you write code. Because this is an open source web browser, SeaMonkey releases a new version each time someone adds a new feature, but you don’t have to add new features to your browser for it to work. There isn’t a central management team that oversees these add-ons or version updates, so you have to be vigilant about exactly what’s being added, if it’s safe or necessary for your internet browsing needs. The current version of SeaMonkey includes a password manager, customizable tools and session restore. It isn’t compatible with smartphones or tablets, feels clunky and outdated, and is much slower than other web browsers we tested.
Pros
  • Open source web browser
Cons
  • Clunky and slow
SeaMonkey
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

We have been testing and reviewing internet browsers for 12 years. In addition, we work so much online, we’ve come to learn a thing or two about web browsers and which ones are the best for certain tasks. For example, internet programs and intranet networks tend to work better on Mozilla Firefox, but most software downloads more easily when using Google Chrome. For Mac users, our testers prefer using Safari even though both Chrome and Firefox are compatible with Mac computers.

How We Tested
After downloading the browsers to our test computers, home computers, laptops and mobile devices, we recorded the time it took for the browser to navigate from one page to another, and the time it took to completely load the page. We repeated this several times so we could get a good average time to compare against all the browsers we tested.

We also tested how well each browser recognized dangerous websites and warned us about them, and if malware downloads were stopped before they could infect our computers. We used the default security settings in each browser for these tests because we understand most users don’t know, or take the time, to adjust these. Using over 300 live malware samples, we tested each browser multiple times to get a decent and accurate result. We also tested these browsers in conjunction with several antivirus programs to see if the browsers played nice, or if more malware was detected while sharing information from the antivirus threat databases.

After testing the speed and security of each browser, we looked at the common, and not so common, features. Tabbed browsing, bookmarking favorite pages and the integrated search engine were all used to get a feel of how each browser works. We learned that some multi-tabbed browsers let you drag and drop open tabs to reorder them; others take several steps to bookmark a site; and some have all available security tools set from the moment the software is installed.

What We Learned During Our Research of Internet Browsers

Every internet browser we tested let us access the internet, but there was a big difference in their quality and the experience of using them. A fast and secure browser keeps you safe and makes being online enjoyable. While personal preference ultimately drives browser choice, any one of the options we compared are worth taking a look at.

Speed & Dependability
Speed and security are two of the most important features to consider when choosing an internet browser. We tested each web browser multiple times to determine the average time it takes to get you to a website and how long you must wait until it is fully loaded. We also confirmed whether it saved our settings so we could access them from our mobile phones and other computers using the same browser. Opera is one of the fast browsers that we were impressed with because if its speed and compatibility with multiple devices.

Security
We searched each browser’s privacy and security settings for pop-up blockers, privacy browsers, whether search history could be cleared and if the browser saved our passwords. The best internet browsers have these tools and settings clearly marked and easy to find listed in setting folders. We did discover that several browsers hide these tools, and we needed to click through several folders and settings before finally finding them.

Customer Support
We didn’t spend too much time looking at the support options since all the browsers we reviewed have email support, a searchable online knowledgebase and user forums available. We were surprised to learn that only three of the browsers we reviewed, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer, offer telephone support.

A Word on Microsoft Edge
Microsoft discontinued development on its Internet Explorer web browser after releasing Microsoft Edge as the official browser for Windows 10 in 2015. However, because several older applications, websites and intranets are not compatible with Windows 10, Internet Explorer is still available on Windows 10 computers and is maintained by Microsoft, though no new versions will be released.

We didn’t include Microsoft Edge here because it is only compatible with Windows 10 systems, but we did test and evaluate the program. You can learn more about Microsoft Edge in our full review of Internet Explorer.

Do I need to pay for browser extensions?

Browser extensions are program shortcuts that are designed to work alongside your browser to enhance your online experience, much like the apps you download to your cellphone. At one time these extensions cost about $5 per year, but most are now free. We had a hard time finding any paid extensions. We did notice that the most popular browser extensions downloaded by users in Firefox were adblockers and expense trackers while most Chrome users downloaded educational apps, like Grammarly, and games. Keep in mind that Microsoft Edge doesn’t support third-party browser extensions.

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