Chrome
Chrome

Best browser overall

If quick page loads and tabbed browsing are your priorities, reviewers recommend Google's Chrome browser for its blazing speed, easy-to-use search and features like voice search and syncing tabs, passwords and more across devices.
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Free Estimated Price
Firefox
Firefox

Best customizable browser

Mozilla Firefox is a strongly recommended customizable web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux users. Though it's not the fastest browser, Firefox has thousands of add-ons and plug-ins that allow you to truly create your own browsing experience. Firefox's mobile app is well-liked in reviews and its privacy settings are top-notch.
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Free Estimated Price
Opera
Opera

Best browser for slow Internet connections

If you are using an older computer or have a dial-up Internet connection, some of the current browsers, which are tailored for broadband connections, could actually slow your browsing. The less well-known Opera web browser is recommended because it can take up less memory and load faster on older computers than other browsers.
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Free Estimated Price
Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer

Best browser for privacy

Internet Explorer has come back from the dead, stunning the tech world with a browser that excels in protecting privacy and blocking malware. Internet Explorer 11 is quick as well, beating many top competitors like Chrome in benchmark tests.
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Free Estimated Price
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See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Web Browsers Runners Up:

Dolphin Browser Free

7 picks including: Engadget.com, PCMag.com…

Opera Mobile Free

5 picks including: Arstechnica.com, Engadget.com…

Safari Free

4 picks including: DigitalTrends.com, Macworld…

Maxthon Cloud Browser Free

3 picks including: Macworld, PCMag.com…

UC Browser Free

2 picks including: PCMag.com, Download.com…

The race for best browser tightens

Web browsers aren't just about navigation anymore. A decade ago, Internet Explorer was pretty much the only game in town and browsers were simply a way of getting around the World Wide Web, as it was called. Today, a web browser is much more than that; it's a center for your most crucial information and day-to-day activities. You can store your passwords, shop, catch up on the news, share links (with your other devices or friends) and download (or upload) your essential files. Used on our phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, our choice of web browser is critical to our daily lives -- and, increasingly our privacy.

The good news is that browsers are faster, boast more features and are safer than ever before. Internet Explorer was the first major browser to hit the market (remember the little "e" icon in every PC and Mac?). After losing market share to rivals like Firefox and Chrome, it has seen a resurgence of positive reviews in recent years thanks to its stellar privacy and security settings. For the past several years IE has captured well over 99 percent of malware, blowing away its competitors. Internet Explorer 11 is commended as having the fastest and most secure version in the browser's long history.

For the last several years, Firefox has been stealing away increasingly more of the browser market and is a reviewer favorite. Reviewers say Firefox isn't the fastest browser out there (that title usually goes to Chrome), but it is a great performer and boasts better customization options than other browsers.

New focus on mobile

Google Chrome, launched in 2008, is Firefox's main competitor. Like Google's search engine, Chrome is simplistic in appearance and efficient in function, but the browser has made serious strides in features and performance. Despite concerns about Google's respect for privacy, most reviewers say Chrome is now the best browser on the market.

Apple's Safari and Opera web browsers are less well known, but reviews reveal them to be somewhat worthy adversaries. Aside from Apple enthusiasts, however, reviewers are not exactly in love with Safari, and Opera has a very small share of the market. Social networking browsers like Rock Melt (which Yahoo bought and sunsetted) seem to be a thing of the past, with more and more focus being placed on mobile browsers for smartphones and tablets.

When it comes to the top-performing browsers, many Internet users won't notice small differences in page-load times, but speed is still a major factor in choosing the best browser. Not surprisingly, features like customization, tabbing, security and privacy -- and of course design and user interface -- are just as important as performance.

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