There are plenty of available browsers, and some are said to be “lightweight.” This refers to a particular category of browsers which are designed to run smoothly even on devices with a low configuration. The following is a curated list of lightweight browsers for Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Note: apart from Windows, all these light web browsers are available with Mac and Linux as well.
What Is a Lightweight Browser?
Without going into the technical aspect, we consider a browser “lightweight” if it can run smoothly on an old PC with a little amount of RAM: no freezing on startup, quick rendering of websites and graphics, and it doesn’t cause the CPU fan to become noisy.
Although lightweight, you can use all of them as regular browsers without sacrificing essential functions. Each lightweight web browser has been scanned by multiple antivirus engines to be 100% safe and comes with effective privacy controls.
Combining solid privacy options with a lightweight interface that will put your PC under less strain than Firefox (and definitely Chrome). Being a Chromium fork, Vivaldi’s architecture isn’t that different than Chrome but lacks many of the heavier aspects of more mainstream browsers.
Beyond putting less strain on low-end systems, Vivaldi has many good features, such as an elegant tab management system and a note-taking feature in the side panel. And given that’s it’s Chromium-based, you’ll have access to most of the vast repository of Chrome extensions out there too.
It has plenty of customizability, with eight ready-made themes built into it (and yes, there is a dark one), as well as the option to create your own theme. In all, there are 18 different sections in the settings, giving you pretty granular control over the whole thing.
Vivaldi is not without its faults. It will crash on you occasionally, and scrolling isn’t always a smooth process, but it feels like a project that’s improving fast.
Final verdict: a fast, secure, if not always stable browser that will work nicely on older devices. It’s not the lightest option on this list, but it’s among the most customizable.
Slimjet by FlashPeak is a mind-blowingly fast Chromium fork web browser that will not disappoint the multitasker in you. Its superior compatibility with Windows can be traced to a responsive UI design powered by the Blink engine – the browsing engine behind Google Chrome.
Does your trackpad sometimes freeze on other browsers while flicking around? With Slimjet, you would never feel that kind of lockdown. The browsing speed is really fast while you navigate any new tab or menu item. In fact, the browser is so responsive that it takes less than a split second to view the effect.
Compared to Chrome and Firefox, Slimjet claims to deliver up to 12 times faster file download speed and 20 times faster photo upload speed. While we will not vouch for that kind of advertising, it definitely feels extremely fast.
The browser has some handy features, such as a built-in ad-blocker, a screenshot capture tool, a screen recorder, and a turbocharged download manager. It also allows you to add Chrome web extensions and access Google Smarts to store passwords. It will feel as you never left Chrome in the first place.
Final verdict: if you’re looking for an extremely lightweight desktop browser that delivers what it promises, you shouldn’t miss out on Slimjet.
Flashpeak offers another super lightweight browser, SlimBrowser, which feels identical to Slimjet, yet there is a huge difference. While Slimjet is a Chromium fork meant to resemble Google Chrome, SlimBrowser is a Firefox fork. It uses Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine that is also used in Firefox and Thunderbird. The engine controls the font, animation, and cursor modules.
On a Windows 11/10 device, SlimBrowser’s speed is quite impressive. As I found during actual use, whenever an old Windows laptop is low on RAM (<4 GB), it leads to typing delays in most browsers, as they they easily run out of memory. This is where a lightweight browser like SlimBrowser could rescue you from the slow keyboard response.
SlimBrowser explains on its website that it achieves the speedy browsing and startup speed by integrating most of its features internally without relying on external plugins. It further says that the browser is designed to load fewer libraries at startup and do everything possible to lessen the CPU burden.
The speed in Windows 10/11 with SlimBrowser is even more palpable with an ad-blocker enabled through a feature called “Protections Dashboard.” Getting rid of those extra trackers definitely helps you save bandwidth and memory resources. SlimBrowser uses the same multi-threaded download manager as Slimjet, which claims 12 times faster download speeds. While we can’t vouch for that, the downloads surely feel faster than what you’re used to.
Final verdict: SlimBrowser is a tried-and-tested light browser for low RAM Windows devices and can achieve a faster keyboard response.
“Surprisingly awesome!” That is how one Reddit user describes the Yandex browser, and based on actual usage, I have to agree with this lofty sentiment. There’s just so much under the hood that is derived from actual user experiences. If you’re looking for a lightweight yet powerful browser for your Windows PC, Yandex won’t disappoint you!
To start with, you can use its Turbo speed features, which optimize the browser for low connection speeds. It compresses any video, which is a great customization when you’re on the move. It also has a Power mode that allows you to save your device power when the battery is low, disabling video games.
Yandex has many minimal features in Settings. You can choose not to display the side panel, bookmarks bar, high-resolution animated background, or news and weather feeds. There is a “Protect” tab that will ensure that you run security checks on downloaded files, support phishing protection for banking information, and use encryption in public Wi-Fi networks. You can turn off the lights for a movie theater mode and capture screenshots.
Final verdict: Yandex is a quality browser regularly featured among the top 10 browsers globally.
5. SRWare Iron
Another browser that’s great on speed and privacy is SRWare Iron: one of the best Chromium forks out there. It so closely resembles Google Chrome in design and features that the interface will make you feel right at home from the very moment you install it. Compared to other Blink engine-based browsers, SRWare Iron is the only one that feels like a real alternative to Google Chrome.
What tilts the scales in Iron’s favor, however, is its extremely fast site rendering and lightweight impact compared to Google Chrome. If you track both of these browsers in a Windows system with the same webpages open simultaneously, Iron does feel far less resource-intensive. As an end user, you also benefit from the privacy and security features that can be enabled in Settings.
The big reason SRWare Iron feels like such a lighter version of Google Chrome is that it doesn’t have the bloat that comes with a standard Chrome installation. For example, there is an installation ID number which gets Google updates. It also has a “Suggest” page that gives alternative suggestions if you make mistakes typing the URL. Chrome supports error reporting where crashes and failure messages are sent to Google servers.
So what happens when none of these bloatware can impact your browsing experience and speed? You get a light browser like SRWare Iron.
Final verdict: if you’re looking for a lightweight web browser but don’t want to stray too far from Google Chrome, SRWare Iron fits the bill perfectly.
6. Pale Moon
The Pale Moon Project is another Firefox fork that works on the Goanna web engine (related to Mozilla’s Gecko) and was launched in 2016. Pale Moon is excellent for Windows 10/11 devices if you’re looking to minimize speed/resource use but at the expense of some UI features, such as video acceleration, which we take for granted in most other browsers.
Unlike most Firefox forks, Pale Moon will not run on very old systems and lacks compatibility with older Firefox extensions. You may think it’s the most unlikely cousin to Firefox, but its whole purpose is to provide stability in browsing without crashes. Thus, some of the add-ons have been removed for performance.
The things you won’t find in Pale Moon include the WebRTC engine for video calls (although it supports browser-based extensions for that purpose), parental controls, integrated PDF reader, and modern accessibility features. It is not even compatible with Firefox Sync. However, the lack of these features leads to a stunningly fast browser that doesn’t consume too much of your device memory.
Pale Moon has a dedicated Permissions Manager page that allows you to selectively manage the default permissions for most sites. If you don’t want a site to install extensions or themes, open pop-up windows, or ask for your location, Pale Moon makes provides a smooth experience.
Final verdict: Pale Moon is an optimized Firefox fork which greatly minimizes CPU consumption by removing/disabling the bandwidth guzzlers.
7. AVG Secure Browser
For those looking to have a web browser with robust malware detection and anti-phishing capabilities, AVG Secure Browser takes your protection several notches higher. The best part is that it does so by hogging as few of your memory resources as possible. AVG is surprisingly lightweight for a web browser by an antivirus company, but the installation file is at least 700 MB, which is not a big concern, as during actual use you’ll feel no difference.
In the “Security and Privacy Center,” you’ll find AVG’s full list of malware protection agents. These include anti-fingerprinting, anti-phishing, anti-tracking, password managers, hack check, and extension guards (prevents websites from installing extensions without your permission.)
AVG gets you performance boosts through some organic settings. Inactive tabs can be suspended after a certain time so that they do not consume the extra memory. You can also set a limit on the number of tabs that are never suspended. This is helpful to those who like to browse with just the right amount of tabs open. You can have further customization to suspend tabs playing audio or video if you like a little bit of quiet when you browse.
Final verdict: AVG Secure Browser is extremely lightweight, and you will not experience errors such as poor quality page loading or crashes. This makes it appropriate for daily use.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which web browser uses the least amount of RAM in Windows?
As of 2022, among the popular web browsers for a Windows device, Microsoft Edge is using the least amount of memory. If you do a self-test with Task Manager open, Edge indeed gives better performance than Google Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or Opera. The browser was purpose-built for Windows operating system. However, Google Chrome is still the fastest web browser compared to Edge on a Windows device.
2. Which browser is safest to use in Windows 11/10?
Some of the safest Windows browsers from the point of view of anti-surveillance include the Tor Project. To prevent other forms of harmful content, opt for a kid-friendly web browser, as they have been designed to prevent intruders.
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