9 Lightweight Browsers For Non-Surfing Moods

9 Lightweight Browsers For Non-Surfing Moods

I thought I would pop in here again with a random post about browsers. My browser of choice right now is Chrome. I installed shortly after it came out as my secondary “fast” browser for those times I was doing things other than web surfing with my computer. Like, for example, when writing code and just needing to look up documentation quickly. I was a born again Firefox user at the time. The addons, man, the addons.

And then Chrome got extensions. And eventually I had more than enough extensions to replace all my Firefox addons and Chrome was still faster, so it became my browser of choice. Firefox is still there for compatibility checks as well as Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera. I have Flock too which is now based off of Chrome rather than Firefox but it always asks me to login to Facebook and pisses me off. But Chrome with the extensions is a bit slower than bare Chrome. And of the browsers I have left that I haven’t cluttered with doodads, Opera is the quickest. But right now it is pulling 266,944K in memory and the fan on my laptop is at the low speed.

I think I give too much importance to my laptop fan. It seems to have three speeds. Low, Medium and Jet Engine. And much of the time, It doesn’t run at all. So this gives me four levels of computer usage without having to resort to nitpicking the task manager. Jet Engine kicks in if I watch about 3 Youtube videos at once. Chrome at least gets a low after a few minutes of usage. I did a little cleaning, defragging and registry cleaning over the weekend and made it as far as I could with that. All of my tools are in order and organized. I uninstalled about 100 programs. But still, I need a browser that opens a second after I click. I went on a deep search in Google and came back with 9 browsers.

First a disclaimer. These posts are never really review posts. Really, they are just an easy way for me to focus on what I am looking for in a tool and try to make an educated guess as to which will be the best for me. Considering that I am in anal mode after cleaning my laptop down to the bone, I am not about to install and test all 9 of these.

Browser Engines

No matter how fast a browser claims to be, they can’t get past their underlying HTML layout engines. Everything else is fluff. Here are four main engines that run on Windows.

Trident – The Internet Explorer Engine.

Presto – The proprietary Opera Engine.

Gecko – All Mozilla based browsers like Firefox.

Webkit – Safari, Chrome, Adobe Air and Many Others.

Most of the light browsers seem to run Webkit. I tested 4. There was nothing scientific about the tests, just eyeball and task manager.



The third in load speed but the first in low memory usage in the four browsers I tested. I am keeping it installed.


Iron is a trimmed down version of Chrome, unlike Flock, which is a bulked up version. Iron removes all of Google’s tracking features from Chromium. It selling feature is security. Iron won’t track you like Chrome. It does add an Adblocker and an editable User-Agent. But the last update I saw on the site was from June of 2009, so I am not sure if the browser will be updated to new HTML5 standards.



One of the four browsers I installed for my test and the slowest of the four, although still pretty fast. The GUI showed up pretty quickly, but the homepage seemed to bog it down.



This is the fourth browser I tested and it’s pretty damn quick too. Right up there with Midori below and it’s also open source. Another browser I will keep installed.



The fastest to load of the 4 browsers I tested. And the second in memory usage, not by much. This is my new “fast” browser.



I almost downloaded this one as a test, but the full download was 40mb. LunaScape uses Trident, Gecko and Webkit in unison but somehow manages to be faster. I might give it a try later. But in a group of browsers weighing in around 10mb, this one is a heavyweight.

The World Browser


I am not sure which web engine this uses, but it claims to be fast, crash-proof, use less resources and install everything in one folder so it can be easily uninstalled.

Comet Bird


Another Browser that claims to be fast and has a few features.

Slim Browser


Slim Browser is a fast browser with a lot of features. I am not really looking for any features maybe than HTML5 support and custom search engines.

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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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