That is the million dollar question and if you had asked me this 12 months ago my answer would probably be very different.

1st off all of these browsers are free so you can use any or all of them and have any or all of them installed on your PC or Mac at the same time.

Internet ExplorerFirefoxSafariOperaChrome
PC + MacPC + MacPC + MacPC + MacPC + Mac
On June 13, 2003, Microsoft announced that it was ceasing further development of Internet Explorer for Mac and the final update was released on July 11, 2003. Source: Wikipedia

2nd it depends on the type of user you are.

Developer: You will probably prefer Firefox as it has great built in support for debugging javascript and working with a web page at a low level. The essential tools in a developers arsenal on Firefox are:

  • Firebug
  • YSlow
  • Web Developer

Home User: Any of the browsers will do, with the exception of IE on a Mac as it has not been updated since 2003 so it is not recommended.

3rd it depends on what is important to you.

Performance: Chrome is an excellent browser in this regard and lightning fast. If that is the main game winner for you then I would recommend Chrome.

Developer Tools: Firefox is the clear winner here but both Safari and IE do have good toolsets these days and occasionally I will swap to these to utilise their toolsets.

Aesthetics: Well this is subject to who is looking at the browser but Safari does have a very nice look to it but comes at a price with a hefty 28.2Mb download size. Chrome is very basic and flat looking. IE looks good, much better on Windows 7 than on XP and will be familiar to most users. Firefox has a nice look which is a happy medium between them all in my opinion.

Size of Download: These vary a lot and also depend on your Operating System. For Windows XP the download sizes are follows:

Firefox 3.67.7Mb
Opera 1011.1Mb
Safari 428.2Mb
These are just some of the factors which might affect your choice of browser. Up until recently I used IE for all my day to day stuff and then leaned heavily on Firefox for all my development work. However, I am now experiencing hangs in IE8 frequently on 64Bit Windows 7 (which is the only negative thing I can say about Windows 7) so I have now moved to Firefox for my default browser for everything.

At the end of the day the choice is yours though. Choose the browser that works best for you.


P.S. I don’t use Opera as a browser for no other reason than I don’t need to support it in my day to day work and haven’t been forced to do so by any client yet.