- Using as little computer resources as possible, in particular, CPU and RAM power is essential if you want to avoid lag issues.
- But not all software solutions are designed and created equal. Some will hog your computer memory all the time, while others will try to optimize how much resources they access and use.
- If you're looking for a lightweight browser for your Windows PC, look no further. In this guide, we explorer some of the best resource-friendly browsers you can install on your machine.
- If you want to read more about browsers and learn how you can enjoy the perfect browsing experience on PC, visit our dedicated hub.
Opera, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, these are probably browsers the majority of you use. Indeed, these browsers are probably the best ones on the market right now, we can’t argue with that.
However, as the industry is massive, there are a lot of lesser-known options, that some users might consider using.
Although these obscure browsers aren’t as attractive, and as popular as the big names, they surely have something to offer.
So, if you want to jump out of your comfort zone when it comes to browsing the internet, and try an alternative for your everyday browser, you might be interested in using some of the non-commercial web searchers.
We’ve prepared a list of, in our opinion, the best lightweight browsers that you might want to try. You’ll see what are the advantages and disadvantages of these browsers, and where they are compared to the main stars.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for in these programs, that you’ve probably never heard of before.
Note: These browsers are listed in no particular order.
What are the best lightweight browsers for Windows PCs?
There are many lightweight browsers suitable for your Windows computer. If you own a low-end or medium-range PC, you can install UR Browser, Torch, Lunascape and Midori.
Apart from these browsers, there are also a few other alternatives that you can use. We’ll list them all below.
Opera is a fast and lightweight browser for Windows 7 and Windows 10 computers. Make sure to download the latest browser version or install the latest updates to enjoy the latest features.
Opera uses very little computer resources allowing you to free up more RAM. The browser does not hog your CPU or RAM and this will make your computer visibly faster. Even if you install plenty of extensions, Opera won’t tax your computer as much as other popular browsers out there.
This browsing solution has a few aces up the sleeve that allows it to speed up web browsing without draining your PC’s resources. For example, the turbo mode compresses website data for faster loading. The built-in ad blocker and tracker blocker remove ad and tracking scripts off webpages which results in faster loading times.
As you can see, Opera is a fully optimized browser. Do give it a try!
UR Browser can easily be included in the top 3 lightweight browsers you can install on your PC. It’s fast, it doesn’t load unnecessary ad and tracking scripts and also protects your data privacy.
UR Browser doesn’t put a strain on your computer resources. This makes it the perfect choice for limited hardware configuration systems and old computers.
This Chromium-based browser is actually an all-in-one browser. It comes equipped with a built-in VPN and integrated virus scanner, as well as a privacy-focused search engine.
It is worth mentioning that you can download files four times faster with UR Browser. The files you want to download on your computer are split up into smaller chunks and then downloaded simultaneously.Editor's recommendation
This is a browser for more advanced users, who enjoy using command-line tools in Windows.
So yes, a command-line browser for Windows does exist, its name is Lynx, and is one of the oldest browsers ever created, with more than 20 years of age.
Unlike some other command-line tools, Lynx is actually quite easy to understand. It uses a few commands to perform what you want, and keyboard arrows for navigation.
You won’t have any problems getting around after just a short period of learning.
Lynx is a text-based tool, which doesn’t contain any images. That being said, it uses enormously small amounts of memory, and can run on basically any computer.
So, if you’re looking for a browser that will work on minimal resources, and are ready to give up images, and graphical user interface, there’s no better option than Lynx.
Of course, Lynx has some disadvantages of its own (besides the fact that it doesn’t contain multimedia), for example, it doesn’t allow multiple downloads, so you’ll have to download one file at the time.
Since today’s sites are pretty much about the visual experience, using Lynx will definitely spoil the feeling.
If you want to see how it is to browse the internet in the text-based environment, you can download Lynx for free from this link.
Can’t decide between Firefox, Chrome, IE, or Safari? Well, what if we tell you that you can have all four within one program.
That’s exactly what Lunascape is all about – having Trident (Internet Explorer), Gecko (Firefox), or WebKit (Safari and formerly Chrome) all bundled into a single browser.
You can set one engine to be used every time you open Lunascape, but you can also switch engines any time, simply by pressing a button.
This could be extremely useful if a certain web page is not supported in one browser, so you can always switch to another engine, and access the page.
It can be very practical, indeed, but some people say that its performance can suffer because of that. The browser appears to have a very poor performance on some computers, and that’s basically its biggest problem.
Besides the ability to switch between three different engines, Lunascape all features of a standard browser. You can save bookmarks, look for URLs, and it even supports RSS feed.
If you want to download Lunascape, you can do so for free from this link.
Midori is an open source browser, that should satisfy not-so-demanding users.
This browser has a solid pack features, but also consumes fewer resources than some of the mainstream browsers, which can seal the deal for some people.
Some of the most important features of Midori are HTML5 support, bookmarks, RSS support, a spell checker, anonymous browsing, etc.
Speaking of HTML5, here is a list of the best editors on the market. You’ll become an expert on the matter!
It also ships with some additional options, like tabbed browsing, the ability to change privacy settings, font/display settings, and startup settings.
Speaking of privacy settings, Midori uses DuckDuckGo (a search engine that doesn’t collect or share user info)as its default search engine.
Of course, you can change this later, if you want to switch to a mainstream search engine.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about Midori is its simple user interface, that will delight all lovers of the minimalist approach.
The browser is very light, so it should be very easy for you to get accustomed to it. Its user interface consists of the search bar, the bookmarks bar, a few usual buttons, while content takes the majority of space.
So, we can call this browser Firefox‘s younger brother, even though the two browsers are not ‘related’.
If you want to try Midori, it is available for free, and you can download it from this link.
First and foremost, Comodo is a security company, so you can’t expect a browser built by them to be insecure. That’s, of course, the biggest advantage of the Comodo IceDragon browser. Surely security is not the only thing this browser offers, as there are many useful features for better browsing.
When it comes to features, Comodo offers the same options as Mozilla Firefox, including the same menus, extensions, and add-ons, and more. So, if Firefox is your primary browser right now, you’ll be more than familiar with using IceDragon.
Now, let’s talk about this browser‘s biggest highlight – security. IceDragon uses Comodo’s own DNS servers when converting URLs to IP addresses.
According to the company, Comodo claims that its DNS servers are actually more secure and faster than others.
Another great feature of IceDragon is that it runs in some kind of its own virtually created container.
That means the browser has no contacts with your system, therefore potential harmful software cannot be downloaded and installed on your computer.
There are some additional security features, like the ability to scan if web pages are secure, crash reports, performance reports, and more.
If you’re interested in using Comodo IceDragon, you can download it for free from this link.
Vivaldi is probably the most known unknown browser, that accomplished this feat for a relatively short period of time.
This browser might be attractive to users because of its solid performance, and reliability. It uses Googe Chrome‘s engine, but consumes far less memory, which is definitely a plus.
But, perhaps the biggest advantage of this browser is its customization ability. Users are able to choose themes for the browser, tab arrangements, take notes, and even schedule themes to change automatically.
When it comes to performance, Vivaldi is not behind its bigger competitors. On the contrary, it even achieved better HTML5 test results than Mozilla Firefox.
Of course, the browser still has some minor flaws here and there, but these are barely noticeable.
This browser irresistibly reminds of the ‘old’ Opera, mainly because the two browsers use the same engine.
As a lot of people aren’t satisfied by how Opera looks and functions now, Vivaldi could be the solution for core Opera fans to actually get back to what they used to love.
Vivaldi is still relatively young, which means many improvements can be done.
So if the team behind it continues to do a good work, we might end up with even better, more competitive browser in the future.
Vivaldi is available for free, and you can download it from this link.
Seamonkey is an open-source web browser, that has been around for more than 10 years. This is probably one of the most versatile browsers you can find on the market, because it offers much more than just regular web browsing.
Seamonkey features its own built-in email client, a built-in chat, and even allows you to develop some simple web pages with its built-in editor.
This might come in handy if you want to keep all your services at one place, run fewer tabs in your browser, and therefore save more resources.
Besides providing some basic features you would normally get in any web browser, Seamonkey also has some additional abilities, like a password manager, mouse gestures, voice interaction, customizable toolbars and the ability to restore sessions.
Since this is an open-source browser, basically anyone with some knowledge in coding and will to work on the browser can do so.
Because of that, Seamonkey doesn’t seem to be the most stable and reliable browser out there, as users might notice occasional performance issues.
But if you want to save some time by having everything you use on a daily basis in the same place, and at the same time consume less energy and memory, you should give Seamonkey a try.
Seamonkey is available for free, and you can download it from this link.
If you mainly use the internet to listen to music and watch videos, Torch is probably the browser you’ve dreamt of.
This customized browser is based on the Chrome rendering engine and has many features that will make managing and playing various media sources easy.
Torch has a built-in YouTube-based streaming service called Torch Music. This page allows you to easily access your favorite songs on YouTube, and have them all in one place.
Besides YouTube videos, the browser also gives you access to more multimedia content, from other sites.
What some users are going to like the most are Torch’s built-in download options. Namely, this browser has a built-in button for downloading YouTube videos, as well as its own torrents downloader.
So, if you want to download your favorite music video, or some file from a torrent, you basically don’t need to install any additional tool.
We have to warn you to be careful when downloading online content, because you can easily get into legal trouble, so it is advisable to only download ‘legal’ stuff.
When it comes to the user interface, you shouldn’t have any problems using this browser. Besides the main zone, where website content is displayed, Torch’s UI also has two drop zones on right and left.
The left drop zone is used for sharing content, and allows you to basically share anything you select to social media and other channels (videos, text, images, etc).
The right zone is where the search bar is, along with some additional browsing options.
Torch is available for free, and you can download it from this link.
Maxthon Cloud Browser
Maxthon Cloud Browser is another highly versatile browser that contains some features that you can’t even find in the major competitors.
It features a built-in ad blocker, a screen-capture tool, Night mode, Reader mode, RSS feed reader, a note pad, and several more features. It even comes with its own multi-account password manager, called Magic Fill.
Another great thing about Maxthon is that it uses its own cloud services to sync users’ data between devices.
While this isn’t an unusual sight with the major browsers, not many ‘smaller’ players can brag about this feature.
To make Maxthon sync your data on all devices, you need to create an account on its cloud-based service, Passport, log in, and you’re good to go.
Maxthon also sports an unusual user interface for the majority of browsers. It features a toolbar placed on the left side of its window with buttons for Favorites, Downloads, RSS feeds, and notes.
Just like Lunascape, Maxthon is also a multi-engine browser, as it can use both Internet Explorer‘s Trident, and Google Chrome‘s Webkit engine.
Maxthon Cloud Browser is available for free, and you can download it from this link.
This concludes our list of the best lightweight browsers for Windows. As you can see, each one of these programs has something unique to offer and is definitely worth your attention.
We know you probably continue using your current web browser even after reading this article, but you can at least think about giving some of these tools a try.
In fact, if you’re using an older computer, using a less-known web browser is actually recommended, because it can save you precious megabytes of memory.
What do you think about our picks? Do you have something to add? Tell us in the comments below.
FAQ: Learn more about browsers
- Is Opera a lightweight browser?
Opera is a lightweight browser that uses very little CPU power and RAM. The browser is very well optimized, and it first removes unnecessary webpage scripts to speed up page loading rather than hogging on your computer resources. You can install it even on low-specs PCs.
- Which Internet browser uses the least RAM?
Many independent tests confirmed Opera is the browser that uses the least RAM on computers. Every new tab you open on Opera uses on average only 150 MB of memory.
- Does Chrome use a lot of RAM?
Chrome is a browser know for causing high memory usage on computers. The browser relies on separate processes and prerendering to load webpage faster but all these require additional memory.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.