Brave vs. Firefox: Your Ultimate Browser Choice for Private Web Experience
Web browsers have evolved over the years. From downloading files to accessing a full-fledged web application, we have come a long way.
For a lot of users, the web browser is the only thing they need to get their work done these days.
Hence, choosing the right browser becomes an important task that could help improve your workflow over the years.
Brave vs. Firefox Browser
Brave and Mozilla’s Firefox are two of the most popular web browsers for privacy-conscious users and open-source enthusiasts.
Considering that both focus heavily on privacy and security, let us look at what exactly they have to offer, to help you decide what you should go with.
Here are the comparison pointers that I’ve used, you can directly navigate to any of them:
- User Interface
- Browser Engine
- Ad & Tracking Blocking Capabilities
- Cross-Platform Availability
- Service Integrations
- Extension Support
The user interface is what makes the biggest difference with the workflow and experience when using the browser.
Of course, you can have your personal preferences, but the easier, snappier, and cleaner it looks, the better it is.
To start with, Brave shares a similar look and feel to Chrome and Microsoft Edge. It offers a clean experience with minimal UI elements and all the essential options accessible through the browser menu.
It offers a black theme as well. The subtle animations make the interaction a pleasant experience.
To customize it, you can choose to use themes available from the chrome web store.
When it comes to Mozilla Firefox, it has had a couple of major redesigns over the years, and the latest user interface tries to offer a closer experience to Chrome.
The Firefox design looks impressive and provides a clean user experience. It also lets you opt for a dark theme if needed and there are several theme options to download/apply as well.
Both web browsers offer a good user experience.
If you want a familiar experience, but with a pinch of uniqueness, Mozilla’s Firefox can be a good pick.
But, if you want a snappier experience with a better feel for the animations, Brave gets the edge.
Practically, I find Brave loading web pages faster. Also, the overall user experience feels snappy.
Firefox is not terribly slow, but it definitely felt slower than Brave.
To give you some perspective, I also utilized Basemark to run a benchmark to see if that is true on paper.You can check with other browser benchmark tools available, but Basemark performs a variety of tests, so we’ll go with that for this article.
Firefox managed to score 630 and Brave pulled it off better with ~792.
Do note that these benchmarks were run with default browser settings without any browser extensions installed.
Of course, synthetic scores may vary depending on what you have going on in the background and the hardware configuration of your system.
This is what I got with i5-7400, 16 GB RAM, and GTX 1050ti GPU on my desktop.
In general, Brave browser is a fast browser compared to most of the popular options available.
Both utilize a decent chunk of system resources and that varies to a degree with the number of tabs, types of webpages accessed, and the kind of blocking extension used.
For instance, Brave blocks aggressively by default but Firefox does not block display advertisements by default. And, this affects the system resource usage.
Firefox utilizes its own Gecko engine as the foundation and is using components on top of that from servo research project to improve.
Currently, it is essentially an improved Gecko engine dubbed by a project name “Quantum” which was introduced with the release of Firefox Quantum.
On the other hand, Brave uses Chromium’s engine.
While both are capable enough to handle modern web experiences, Chromium-based engine is just more popular and web developers often tailor their sites for the best experience on Chrome-based browsers
Also, some services happen to exclusively support Chrome-based browsers.
Ad & Tracker Blocking Capabilities
As I have mentioned before, Brave is aggressive in blocking trackers and advertisements. By default, it comes with the blocking feature enabled.
Firefox also enables the enhanced privacy protection by default but does not block display advertisements.
You will have to opt for the “Strict” privacy protection mode with Firefox if you want to get rid of display advertisements.
With that being said, Firefox enforces some unique tracking protection technology that includes Total Cookie Protection which isolates cookies for each site and prevents cross-site cookie tracking.
This was introduced with Firefox 86 and to use it, you need to enable a strict privacy protection mode.
Overall, Brave might look like a better option out of the box, and Mozilla Firefox offers better privacy protection features.
Firefox also offers a way to isolate site activity when you use Facebook with help of a container. In other words, it prevents Facebook from tracking your offsite activity.
You can also use containers to organize your tabs and separate sessions when needed.
Brave does not offer anything similar but it does block cross-site trackers and cookies out-of-the-box.
Unlike Firefox, Brave offers its own advertising network by blocking other advertisements on the web.
When you opt in to display privacy-friendly ads by Brave, you get rewarded with tokens to a crypto wallet. And you can use these tokens to give back to your favorite websites.
While this is a good business strategy to get away from mainstream advertising, for users who do not want any kind of advertisements, it may not be useful.
So, Brave offers an alternative in the form of rewards to help websites even if you block advertisements. If it is something you appreciate, Brave will be a good pick for you.
You will find both Brave and Firefox available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. Mobile apps are also available for iOS and Android.
For Linux users, Firefox comes baked in with most of the Linux distributions. And, you can also find it available in the software center. In addition to that, there is also a Flatpak package available.
Brave is not available through default repositories and the software center. Hence, you need to follow the official instructions to add the private repository and then get Brave installed in your Linux distro.
With Mozilla Firefox, you get to create a Firefox account to sync all your data cross-platform.
Brave also lets you sync cross-platform but you need access to one of the devices in order to successfully do it.
Hence, Firefox sync is more convenient.
Also, you get access to Firefox’s VPN, data breach monitor, email relay, and password manager with the Firefox account.
Right off the bat, Firefox offers more service integrations that include Pocket, VPN, password manager, and also some of its new offerings like Firefox relay.
If you want access to these services through your browser, Firefox will be the convenient option for you.
While Brave does offer crypto wallets, it is not for everyone.
Similarly, if you like using Brave Search, you may have a seamless experience when using it with Brave browser because of the user experience.
Customizability & Security
Firefox shines when it comes to customizability. You get more options to tweak the experience and also take control of the privacy/security of your browser.
The ability to customize lets you make Firefox more secure than the Brave browser.
While hardening Firefox is a separate topic which we’ll talk about. To give you an example, Tor Browser is just a customized Firefox browser.
However, that does not make Brave less secure. It is a secure browser overall but you do get more options with Firefox.
There’s no doubt that the Chrome web store offers way more extensions.
So, Brave gets a clear edge over Firefox if you are someone who utilizes a lot of extensions (or constantly try new ones).
Firefox may not have the biggest catalog of extensions, it does support most of the extensions. For common use-cases, you will rarely find an extension that is not available as an addon for Firefox.
What Should You Choose?
If you want the best compatibility with the modern web experience and want access to more extensions, Brave browser seems to make more sense.
On the other hand, Firefox is an excellent choice for everyday browsing with industry-first privacy features, and a convenient sync option for non-tech savvy users.
You will have a few trade-offs when selecting either of them. So, your will have to prioritize what you want the most.
Let me know about your final choice for your use case in the comments down below!