There are plenty of available browsers, and some are said to be “lightweight.” But how would you define 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.
The following is a curated list of lightweight browsers for Windows 10. Although lightweight, you can use all of them as regular browsers without sacrificing essential functions. Each has been scanned by multiple antivirus engines to be 100 percent safe and comes with effective privacy controls.
Note: apart from Windows, all these browsers are available with Mac and Linux as well (UR browser with Mac alone).
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 to 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 is a mind-blowingly fast Chromium fork web browser that will not disappoint the multitasker in you. Its superior compatibility with Windows 10 can be traced to a design built around “Microsoft’s Trident shell,” the same as Internet Explorer.
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 or 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, as if 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.
3. UR Browser
Another Chromium-based option, UR browser, repeats the advantages of Slimjet with similar support for Google Chrome extensions. You get the choice of installing the browser’s VPN feature and 3D parallax wallpapers or keeping the interface minimal. The files download very quickly by splitting into smaller parts, and you will find much less lag while the page is loading.
What separates UR browser from others is its support for enhanced levels of privacy. With three modes including “high privacy,” “medium privacy,” and “low privacy,” the privacy controls are very similar to the Microsoft Edge Chromium version.
Final verdict: use UR browser if you’re looking for a private, lightweight Chromium fork, similar to a diet version of Google Chrome.
QuteBrowser (pronounced “cute”) is a WebKit-based browser operating from the command line itself. Based on Python, it supports a minimal GUI and does not overload your system. As a keyboard-focused browser, it has a bit of a learning curve. But once you get used to the Vim-style key bindings, nothing feels quite like it.
While QuteBrowser may not be for everyone, it is not that difficult to install and use in Windows 10. First, you need to install the latest version of Python in your system. (Make sure it includes pip.) It won’t take much time.
Next, open your Windows Powershell in Administrator mode and enter the following key.
It will install Chocolatey slowly. Press “Y” at each step to proceed with the next stage of installation. It may install Visual Studio and other software. Wait a while for this process to continue – it’s fairly automatic.
Once QuteBrowser has been approved and added, you will be asked to reboot the Windows 10 PC to install the package.
On a successful reboot, you should be able to see a menu icon for QuteBrowser on your desktop. This is a browser unlike anything you may have used in the past. All the options are available in the command terminal. To navigate, use the arrow keys or g, h, j and k. You can simply use o to open a new webpage URL.
Final verdict: the minimal aspects of QuteBrowser are ideal for programmers, but you can use it to watch videos, play online games, or anything else you enjoy doing.
“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 enabled 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 which ensures 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 theatre mode and capture screenshots.
Final verdict: Yandex is a quality browser and is actually regularly featured among the top 10 browsers globally.
All of the above browsers are extremely lightweight, and you will not experience errors such as poor quality page loading or crashes. This makes them good enough for daily use. If you have no wish to switch out your current browser, you can still use these tips to speed it up.