Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Microsoft Edge: Which browser gobbles up the most RAM? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Microsoft Edge: Which browser gobbles up the most RAM?

A few years ago, gaming company Corsair put out an amusing advertisement that quickly went viral. In it, a man wearing a Google Chrome shirt greedily devours a plate of RAM-shaped cookies, while another man in an Adobe Photoshop shirt takes a dainty bite of one, then puts the rest back.

It was a damning indictment of Chrome — even if it was missing some important context. For the record, Google Chrome really does go to town on your computer’s memory, and I had a good laugh along with everyone else. But it also got me thinking: Does Chrome really gobble up more than its fair share of RAM? And, if so, do other popular Internet browsers take a more conservative approach?

I tested Chrome against Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, and my findings were quite interesting. Despite its reputation for being a real RAM hog, Chrome did not perform the worst. In fact, Chrome was mostly in the middle, while Firefox used up the most RAM overall. Microsoft Edge used up the least RAM in every single test.

Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Edge: How I tested
A quick refresher: Random access memory, or RAM, is a place to store data for short-term processing. Your computer needs RAM to render text, images, music, videos — essentially, all the things you find on a website. That's why browsers need a lot of RAM, particularly as you open more tabs.

To see how much RAM each browser required, I shut down every nonessential program on my PC, then booted up one browser at a time. In that browser, I opened 10 tabs that might come up in everyday life: Google, Tom’s Guide, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube and so forth. (I also opened up the Corsair homepage, since that company inspired this whole experiment.)

I used Guest profiles in Chrome and Edge, and a “clean” profile in Firefox, in order to prevent extensions or bookmarks from clogging things up. From there, all I had to do was monitor memory usage in Windows Task Manager.

The second step was to see how each browser handled massive amounts of data. When a browser has a ton of tabs open, rather than try to run each one simultaneously, it will often prioritize and optimize data in order to save RAM. This time around, I kept the initial 10 tabs, then added 10 more from equally demanding sites: eBay, Best Buy, the New York Times, Disney Plus and Google Stadia, to name a few.

Next, to really tax each browser I opened a whopping 60 tabs in Chrome, Firefox and Edge. I opened three copies apiece of each website from the 20-tab test. For the final test, I opened up each browser twice, and launched 20 tabs in each instance. This replicates a user multitasking — writing in one window, and researching in another, for example