Best Web Browsers That Conserve Battery Life on a Mac

The browser you use can have a tremendous impact on the battery life of your laptop. That’s because some are designed to be more power efficient than others. Does this mean that more power efficient browsers will also have lower performance? Well, not necessarily. Power efficiency and performance are not always directly proportional to each other, so it’s important for you to find your perfect balance in a browser.

It's time for another browser smackdown. This time, it's juicy. | Photo: dolphfyn / Shutterstock.com
It’s time for another browser smackdown. This time, it’s juicy | Photo: dolphfyn / Shutterstock

Take a look on some of the browsers that have proven to be the most power efficient (i.e. less taxing on your battery life) for Mac and see how they stack up.

The Experiment

For my control I tried to be as practical as possible in relating to how people use web browsers most often. I conducted two tests in every browser. One had guidingtech.com open in one tab with a YouTube video playing in another. The other test just had guidingtech.com, omitting the video. I also made sure to disable all extensions in all browsers and that no pages were loading, since loading a page will always quickly spike energy impact.

Browsers used were Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi. I used Apple’s Activity Monitor app that comes with every Mac running the latest software to determine which browsers had the highest energy impact and lowest energy impact. The two scores for each browser represent impact with video and without.

Note: Extensions and ad blockers can often affect the energy impact of a browser, so take your own extensions into consideration when choosing a suitable browser.

Top Pick: Safari

Safari beat all the other browsers on the Mac in terms of power efficiency. In fact, it really wasn’t even close. Some of the other browsers had higher energy impacts without video than Safari did with video.

safariresults

While only having one tab open for Guiding Tech, Safari’s energy impact fluctuated between 0 and 3. At some points it got down as low to 0.2, but generally hovered around 2. With a video playing, it fluctuated between 10 and 20 but stayed around 12.

Safari has the best power efficiency out of any browser I tested. And the convenient part about that is your Mac already has it installed.

How the Competition Stacked Up

Opera, Chrome and Firefox were all pretty close to each other with their scores. Generally speaking, with just Guiding Tech as the sole open tab, they each had an energy impact of 10 to 15. Like Safari, they would fluctuate too. Once again, when a YouTube video started playing in a second tab, energy impacts jumped up to between 40 and 60 and would fluctuate for all of them.

otherbrowserresults

These scores are significantly higher than Safari’s scores and thus, these browsers have more of a negative impact on battery life.

Despite its rich feature set, Vivaldi pathetically lost this competition. With an energy impact of around 67 with just Guiding Tech loaded, it was sucking more from your battery than Safari was with a video playing. If battery life is at all important to you, avoid Vivaldi at least until the developers release some solid updates.

The bottom line is to make the most out of your limited battery life on a MacBook, you’re better off using Safari. Other factors like performance and security aside, it’s unlikely to drain your battery as fast as competing browsers.

Note: Activity Monitor’s energy impact ratings are calculated from a number of different battery and CPU-related metrics, but Apple has never specifically stated what those are.

ALSO SEE: 4 Useful Tips for Getting the Most Juice Out of Your MacBook’s Battery Life

Show Comments Hide Comments