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6 Best Browsers for Mac in 2022 (Tested on Intel & M2 Chip)

Your web browser is probably the one app that you will use the most on your Mac computer, be it for browsing websites, checking up on social media, productivity, and research, or even watching videos or listening to songs. So it becomes a crucial yet tough decision to choose the right browser. In this article, we will showcase the six best web browsers that you can use on your Mac with performance pros, cons, and benchmarks for intel and Apple’s M2 chip.

Best Browsers for Mac in 2022

Best Browsers for Mac OS with Pros and Cons

Mac users prefer the right balance of productivity and performance and based on this, we have curated a list of six web browsers that should suit your needs. We have also tested all the web browsers with Speedometer 2.0 benchmark on our MacBook Pro mid-202o with i5 (16-512GB) and MacBook Air M2 (16-256GB) to give you a clear overview.

During testing, the machines were running on battery and low power mode was disabled. Read on.


1. Google Chrome (Best Performing)

Google Chrome Browser for Mac

Google Chrome is a widely beloved web browser on all platforms. And if you are looking for an all-around great browser for your system then Google Chrome should be your top preference. It has a simple and easy-to-navigate interface, and comes with Chrome Web Store gives you access to a variety of extensions and themes to customize your browser.

Our Performance Test

A few months back, Chrome claimed that it has recorded the highest score of over 360 in Apple’s Speedometer 2.0 browser benchmark test in a tweet and we wanted to test it out for ourselves. So we tested Chrome on Speedometer 2.0 and here are the results.

As you can see from the results, Chrome on the Intel MacBook Pro comes out with a decent 158 score which is the highest among all the browsers that we tested on this computer. While on the MacBook Air with an M2 chip, Chrome reaches a score of 413 which is more than the claimed score of 360 proving that when it comes to raw performance, Chrome is the best browser on Mac.

Pros:

  • Best performing browser for mac OS
  • Massive library of extensions and plugins.
  • Easy access to Google Apps and Services.

Cons:

  • Can run into issues and slow down the machine with background services.
  • It falls behind when it comes to privacy and user security.

Download | Chrome for Mac

2. Apple Safari (Most Optimized)

Safari Browser for Mac

Safari is the native web browser that you get out of the box with your Mac. It offers a nice mix of performance and battery life as it is optimized to run smoothly on your Mac while also consuming less battery compared to other browsers. Apple has also added privacy features to prevent cross-tracking, hide IP addresses, Privacy reports, and strong password suggestions.

You will also find other useful features within Safari like dark mode, quick tab switching, Safari suggestions, and support for extensions that you can download from the App Store.

Our Performance Test

Safari uses the built-in website rendering engine on Mac devices, so it is no surprise that it comes out as one of the best-optimized web browsers on Mac. But the question is how good it is compared to Chrome and other browsers. This is why we will run the Speedometer 2.0 benchmark in Safari to test its performance.

Safari was not far off Chrome when we tested it on our Intel i5 MacBook scoring a respectable 154 which is the second-best browser score on the i5 MacBook. But the results were quite different on the M2 MacBook as Safari scored 392 which is still decent but far behind Chrome. It goes to show that even on Apple silicon, Safari is not the best-performing browser for Mac OS.

Pros: 

  • One of the most battery-efficient browsers.
  • Optimized for macOS and Mac hardware.
  • Clean and modern interface.

Cons: 

  • Does not match the performance of Chrome.
  • Lacks customization options.
  • A limited set of extensions.

3. Mozilla Firefox (Reliable Safari-Alternative)

Firefox Browser for Mac

Mozilla Firefox is among the oldest web browsers in this list but still stands out as a reliable and snappy browser on Mac. Firefox is light on RAM and other resources so if you are using an older Mac then Firefox should be your top consideration. It is also battery efficient and offers privacy-related features like tracker and cross-site cookie blocking. You also get support for extensions in the form of Firefox Add-ons.

Our Performance Test

Firefox has always been known for being less resource intensive while outperforming Chrome in terms of speed. While those days are long gone, we still wanted to test out how it performs now on our MacBooks.

Running the benchmark on Firefox, it is visible that it is not able to keep up with the likes of Chrome and Safari in terms of performance. The result is evident on both Macbooks but there is a major difference in performance on the M2 MacBook compared to other browsers. This shows that Firefox needs to improve its performance on Macs.

Pros: 

  • Great selection of privacy tools.
  • Consumes fewer system resources.
  • A decent set of Add-on extensions.

Cons: 

  • Updates have been known to cause issues.
  • In certain instances, it can take up a lot of RAM.

Download | Mozilla Firefox

4. Brave Browser (Private, Fast, and Futuristic)

Brave Browser for Mac

If you prefer an ad-free experience then Brave could be the right choice for you. It heavily focuses on privacy with advanced options like Brave Shields, trackers, cookies blocking, social media blocking, and even features a built-in Tor browser. Since it is based on Chromium, you can also take advantage of all Chrome extensions.

Brave also offers support for Web3 applications and comes with IPFS and a built-in crypto wallet. You can also earn BAT which is Brave’s cryptocurrency by just using the browser. Overall Brave is a sound option if you are concerned about privacy and looking for a Chrome alternative.

Our Performance Test

Brave takes up very less RAM even when several tabs are open on Mac. It is generally known for its good performance as it blocks out most resource-consuming ads and programs. To see how well it does in terms of performance, we benchmarked the browser on our MacBooks. These are the results.

Brave performs surprisingly well on both MacBooks. It scores 130 on the Intel i5 MacBook which is decent but when testing it on the M2 MacBook Air gives us a score of 398 which is second to Chrome’s even outperforming Safari. So if you are using a Mac with Apple silicon then Brave is a must-have alternative to Chrome.

Pros: 

  • Fast and battery-efficient browser.
  • Web3 compatible.
  • Privacy-centric features.
  • Let’s earn BAT tokens for simply browsing the web.

Cons: 

  • Some privacy features are unpolished.
  • The bookmark sync feature does not work properly on Mac.

Download | Brave Browser

5. Opera Browser (Loaded with Features)

Opera Browser for Mac

Opera is a feature-rich web browser for Mac OS. It gives you a built-in adblocker, battery saver, VPN, screenshot tool, and sidebar to easily access your social media and messaging apps. You can also use My Flow to send texts and files between the browser and your smartphone. This can come in handy to send files, especially for Mac owners that use an Android smartphone.

Opera is also a chromium-based browser although heavily modified but you can still download and use Chrome extensions on Opera. It is also quite light on RAM and works well on Mac devices.

Our Performance Test

Performance is not Opera’s strongest key point but with recent updates Opera has seen a bump in performance. But we wanted to test it out for ourselves on our MacBooks with the Speedometer 2.0 benchmark.

According to the results on the Intel MacBook, you can see it does slightly well than Firefox but on the M2 MacBook, Opera achieves the lowest scores. It shows that there is still some work needed when it comes to performance but it is still a good option for those who prefer its features.

Pros: 

  • Offers a variety of features and customization options.
  • Built adblocker, VPN, battery saver, and more.
  • The My Flow feature lets you easily communicate with your smartphone.

Cons:

  • Not all Chrome extensions work well with Opera.
  • RAM consumption can get high in certain scenarios.

Download | Opera Browser

6. DuckDuckGo for Mac (Privacy-First)

DuckDuckGo Browser for Mac

DuckDuckGo for Mac is a browser designed to offer a completely privacy-focused and secure browsing experience. It comes with DuckDuckGo private search engine, blocks trackers, cookies, and cookie pop-ups on 50% of websites, and also blocks trackers on emails with its Email protection service.

It updates websites to HTTPS, stores your data locally, has a built-in password manager, and a fire button to instantly clear all browsing data and cookies. The browser is still in closed Beta so to download it you need to apply for the Beta invite by downloading the DuckDuckGo mobile browser.

Our Performance Test

Since DuckDuckGo is new to the scene and their browser is still in Beta, it is unlikely it will be able to outperform the other browsers on this list but we still wanted to see how it would perform on the Speedometer 2.0 benchmark on our Mac.

Speedometer 2.0 Results

On the Intel MacBook Pro, it scored 121 while on the M2 MacBook it received 335 which is close to the score of Firefox and Opera. This shows that DuckDuckGo still needs to work on the browser to improve its performance.

DuckDuckGo vs. Chrome in Motionmark 1.2

DuckDuckGo on its website claimed that its browser beats Chrome in the Motionmark 1.2 test scores. We wanted to give it a try as well and here are the results on both Macs.

DuckDuckGo browser even though it is in Beta clearly scores more than Chrome on our Intel MacBook. We ran these tests twice to ensure that these results are constant. Let’s check how DuckDuckGo does on the M2 machine.

On the M2 MacBook Air, Chrome did remarkably better than DuckDuckGo. This goes to show that the browser has potential but needs to improve the browser for Mac devices with Apple CPUs.

Pros: 

  • All privacy-related functions are enabled by default.
  • Complete private browsing experience.
  • Lightweight and fast browser.

Cons: 

  • Limited to no customization.
  • No Google sync, unlike other Chromium-based browsers.

Wrapping Up

These were some of the best web browsers to use on Mac in 2022. We compared all major browsers with respect to features and benchmarked them on both intel and Apple’s own M2 silicon. In the end, it is best to go with one that suits your needs and preferences. But when it comes to pure performance, our best pick is Chrome, followed by Brave and Safari. And for privacy-conscious users, we’d recommend sticking with Brave, Firefox, and DuckDuckGo. Stay tuned to Browser To Use for more such articles, guides, and How To’s.

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