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New Poll: Sans-Developer Tools Browser Choice

Published by Chris Coyier

I bet a lot of us around here use Firefox as our main browser. I really like Firefox. I think the interface is pretty nice, but what put its so far ahead of the other browsers for me is the huge ecosystem of Add-ons. And not just the killer eye candy stuff, I'm talking about hardcore development tools that make our jobs as designers and developers immeasurably easier. I'm talking about of course things like Firebug, Web Developer Toolbar, Greasemonkey, Screengrab, Dragonfly, Web Inspector, IE developer toolbar, etc. But let's just suppose that NONE OF THAT WAS A FACTOR. So the poll question is:

If development tools were not a factor, what would be your web browser of choice?

RSS readers, you'll have to make the jump over. Poll is in the sidebar.

So only judging browsers on their merit as BROWSERS. User interface, features, security, speed, etc.


  1. Google Chrome

    • Me too!

    • definitely chrome now. for its insane load up speed and simple interface.

    • I really like Chrome’s minimalist display, independent sandbox tabs, and the fact that there are no known exploitable security holes…

    • vitrum

      Me too!

    • arol

      Me too :D
      C’mon guys let’s brake this responses css style xDDD

    • Hahah, well done arol, you will officially always be at the end of the comment string

    • Caleb


    • DN

      I’m completely split between Chrome and Firefox. I like Chrome for what you’ve listed, but I’m actually not that crazy about their user-interface. (Maybe in a couple more years that’ll change–feels very prototype-y to me.) I do want a home page button, dangit. And their URL history as-you-type search is so far inferior to Firefox’s, if for no other reason than (by last test) FF searches the whole path, and Chrome doesn’t. Chrome’s URL coloring, though, should be adopted by all browsers.

    • you can have the homepage button right next to your refresh button in the address bar all you have to do is

      settings -> options -> basics tab -> under Homepage -> check show Home Button on the toolbar.

    • Chrome

  2. Nouman Saleem

    Switching from firefox would be just as hard, if not harder, than switching from Windows since I spend alot, if not the majority, of my time browsing the web.

    I’m sure it goes for most people, our browsers are on the screen more often than our own desktops

  3. Firefox.

    It’s available almost everywhere.

  4. Safari

  5. xbakesx

    Until I get all the tab behavior options from TabMixPlus in the other browsers, the other browsers don’t compare to Firefox for me.

    Now that you can get xmarks in just about all your browsers, this might help migrate from browser to browser if you’re interested:

    • Just wanny add to what xbakesx said, xmarks is amazing.

      I work accross several computers, with a copy of firefox with the xmarks add-ons installed. Excellent, brings the same set of bookmarks into every installation of the browser!

    • TabMix Plus is da bomb

  6. Chrome or Safari, webkit engine rules!

  7. kwer83

    Most definately Opera as its faster and eats up less memory than Firefox and still has got Mouse Gestures – which I can’t live without anymore (so Chrome and Safari are no choice for me).
    If only there was a cool substitution for Firebug and even more important the Web Developer Extensions (I urgently need Ctrl+Shift+f when developing websites!).

    • BorisCallens

      +1 for Opera

      Standard compliance
      Interface is customizable to the extreme in a drag/drop way (really, only the title bar can’t be themed and only the title bar and menu bar can’t be moved/disabled)
      Has all the features all other browsers pose about (xcept for chrome’s url coloring)
      Innovative (usually had afforementioned features years before the others)
      Can’t imagine browsing a browser without mouse gestures for half a decade now
      Dragonfly is not really up to par with firebug yet, but it’ll get there

    • +1 for Opera. The mouse gestures and user interface, plus the great support for CSS3 makes it my personal favourite. (Also, it’s Norwegian, giving it a slightly patriotic bonus as well)

    • absolethe

      +1 to Opera! I don’t have to open a separate item on my taskbar for e-mail, Opera’s e-mail is awesome, I can customize my menus, email, etc. in extreme ways, it’s faster than Firefox, crashes less often, and it has features I’ve never even used–without requiring me to download plugins.

      (Posted with Firefox, hah)

    • +1 for Opera

      Only been trying Opera out recently and it really is lightening fast. I don’t think the UI is quite there yet but for performance, something I put a lot of weight in, I’d say it’s the best hands down.

      Still waiting on Chrome for the mac though ;-)

    • Jay

      Opera! It rocks

    • Tim

      Opera. Why do all browsers not have paste and go?

  8. Oh wow that’s a good question. I would have to say Safari on OS X and Chrome on Windows.

  9. Firefox. Despite it’s slow startup time. Even if devtools are not a factor Fx still has a bunch of other good things. Chrome might be good, but it is too minimalistic. Safari 4 is shit, sorry Mac lovers. Safari 3 was near-perfect but 4 is real shit. Opera is good but I just don’t like Opera.

    P.S. And of course I mean nightly builds of Fx.

  10. Lee Smith

    Chrome…because it’s so damn fast.

    Still no (official) linux version though…

  11. pixel perfect

  12. Firefox. Even without addons, it beats every other browser for me. Even Safari.

  13. Opera.

    • opera for me too

    • em


      +Small and fast.
      All best addons packed. Best for typical home browsing. I can’t live without sidepanel notepad and gestures. Just install and browse:)

      No useful tools for developers

      Best for free browsing.

      +FireBug, color picker, FirePHP ;)

      -Using too much memory, very, very slow when I have opened 40 and more tabs, damn slow gestures, needs lot of time to set up everything.

      Best for work.

    • aboleo

      I am using Opera anyway.

      It’s fast and there is no need vor those useless Plugins.
      Even if there is something i need, i always have the choise to write it by my self.

      Writing Userstylesheets is way easier than in FF or every other Browser and the best is definitely the whole Community around this Browser.

      I don’t think i’m going to switch

  14. Rik Girbes


    • I’m with you . The newest beta Safari is great. html5, css3 it is just leading the way in web standards.

  15. Firefox definitely!

  16. Firefox

  17. Brian Howard

    Safari, because it seems faster to me.

  18. I very much prefer Safari over Firefox. Especially when FF 2.0 was still around. I typically use FF 3 when developing because of all the tools, but all my casual browsing and saved pages are in Safari. I just enjoy the browsing experience better.

    In a way, it was worked out very well. FF has all my tools installed and reference bookmarks. Safari has all the stuff I like to read, like RSS links and such.

  19. Definitely still Firefox.
    Then Safari,
    then the rest of the Mozilla based browsers (like Flock),
    then Netscape 9 (unfortunately discontinued)
    then Opera (not fond of the engine),
    I don’t like Chrome’s privacy policy so I put it here (otherwise it would be right after Safari),
    also – last and least the MSIE family.

  20. Indra


  21. Jeremy

    Safari by a long shot. It’s so tightly integrated with the OS it makes the actual task of browsing the web that much easier. Especially the Safari 4 beta.

  22. FireFox

  23. IE6. ! ! !


  24. Ravindran

    Opera – Whatever I need, it’s already built-in

  25. Firefox.

    The security add-ons like NoScript, CS Lite and Adblock Plus are a must for me.

    (I may be a bit paranoid, though)

  26. telga

    Epiphany is a solid browser I use every day. That said, I always have Firefox open and do all my work on it.

  27. If you running Windows you may try Lunascape 5 link text

    It is probably the best choice for developers. It utylise Gecko Trident and WebKit engines is compatible with IE and FF adds-on.
    Shame there is no Mac version but maybe 1 day.

    Personally I use FF, Flock, Safari and Opera.

  28. Chrome.

  29. I’ve been using Opera the past 2 days and I like it. It’s really fast and does looks good. Firefox has been acting really slow here (on Xubuntu 9.04). Especially the interface. The development version of Firefox (3.6) is a bit faster, but there aren’t add-on available for it.

    Midori is also a cool browser. It’s still under heavy development, but it’s really fast and lightweight.


  30. arol

    :O the reply didn’t work!
    FAIL for me u_u

    I meant Chrome ^^

  31. Webkit FTW, seriously! Gecko is good and all, but webkit is the coolest thing since sliced bread. How can one choose, in any case, and even better, why should we? Personally, I might have 3 or more different browsers open at the same time, though I don’t think that’s all that normal.

  32. Gotta go with Chrome here. Maybe it’s all my extensions or something but Firefox is simply not as zippy as Chromium.

    Also webkit FTW!

  33. Michael

    Hmmm, IE developer toolbar? Can’t find/haven’t seen that one.

    (oh yeah, Firefox)

  34. Chrome

  35. No tools? Gotta go with Safari. I love FF for all the plugins but its hella slow and even slower with JS/jQuery. And on that note, if Google ever puts Chrome out for OSX, I’d be all over that. Every time i browser test I’m shocked at how fast it is.

  36. Google Chrome for the speed!

  37. Chris

    It’d definitely be Firefox as it’s now. I once thought about switching to Chrome or Safari because of this Webkit stuff and JS execution time but Addons like Googlepdia, Twitterfox, Mouse Gestures and Stylish make me stay with Firefox.

  38. RSBomber

    Probably Chrome

  39. Chrome!!

  40. Daan

    Safari 4 for MacOSX, and Firefox 3 for Windows :)

  41. Benjamin

    Camino is a touch quicker than FireFox. I dug using that for awhile.

    • Hay, a Camino supporter. Camino is my “just surfing around” browser. I turn to FF3 when developing and Safari for everything and anything else. Looking forward to Chrome on OSX but those Google folks sure are taking their sweet time!

    • Chris

      Camino FTW!

    • +1 Camino for general browsing.

      I’ve been using xylescope for development work because I like the panes layout and the no-fuss approach to most of the stuff, although it’s a bit sniffy about generated content.

    • Derek

      in my opinion camino looks better on a mac than FF and seems a bit faster

    • FF2 was always a little off so I started using Camino instead. FF3 does a better job but I still loves me some Camino.

  42. No doubt the Webkit engine is better, faster, and more capable than any other. Safari FTW.

  43. +1 safari.

  44. john


  45. Chrome

  46. Firefox! And I want to explain why! A lot of developer & designer plugins. Good security. Very good web standard compatibility. Because they(Firefox team) are developing only one thing web browser.
    P.S I don’t care if Chrome is 3 milliseconds faster.

  47. ardhian.satrya

    Safari for me! Webkit can display my CSS better than Mozilla browsers :)

  48. swag

    Chrome…. maybe developer tools will follow soon… but then we will all complain that the tools slow it down.

  49. daniellord

    Firefox for sure–solid cross-platform market share and building momentum on the dominant platform, Windows. I like to go with the flow because that’s where the majority of innovation occurs because innovators get the most bang for their buck.

  50. thejrowe

    I vote for flock! Based on Mozilla technology and has amazing integration of social networking plus you can use all your firefox add-ons in it… It’s like firefox on steroids!

  51. firefox – chrome needs to be available on a mac cause macs rule!

  52. If I’m at home, Firefox – Live Bookmarks is very useful, as I follow about three dozen RSS feeds currently.
    I started using Ff before I started on the road to developing, so it’s been a clear choice as I move that direction.

    If I’m out, there’s currently no better option than the default browser on my BlackBerry (Bold). I tried Opera Mini, but it crashed.
    And besides, Bb”s browser will even display funky ahead-of-the-curve things like fixed-position backgrounds and RGBa transparency through CSS – neither Opera Mini will, nor will the iPhone’s Safari.

  53. Safari (Windows) – Best “auto fill”, decent load speed (a little slower than chrome), good bookmark mgmt. Chrome would be it except for the auto fill thing.

  54. I use Safari the most because its quick, but more than likely mostly out of habit. I use Firefox frequently though and sometimes use it more than Safari. When using a PC I use Firefox exclusively, but have been using Chrome more and more. Whenever I get on someone’s PC that uses Internet Explorer I automatically download Firefox and tell them to use it. :)

  55. Ohhh…mmm…IE6…anyone? duh?
    Jajaja, just kidding. I think that firefox is like a big crush for most of us. So, it’ll be my choice.

  56. Safari; most modern CSS support.

  57. Ray Pimienta

    Safari. Even on Windows I love the way it renders text. Sites just look cleaner in my opinion.

  58. alex

    between chrome and safari.
    chrome for speed.
    safari because it display sites more beautiful than other browsers.

  59. Shane Duffy

    I think you should do some styling with the poll vote / results page as it looks very bare and unfinished.

  60. foGGyX

    My browsers:

    Mac: Apple Safari 4
    Windows: Google Chrome

    I don’t like Firefox, it takes up too much memory, Safari and Chrome are so much faster and efficient!

    – Liam Goodacre

  61. Chrome or firefox, havent decided yet

  62. If you mean that we could still use non-developer extensions, then definitely Firefox. Extensions like Xmarks, Adblock Plus, Greasemonkey, Stylish and DownThemAll! make it unbeatable.

    If however, you mean without any extensions at all, I’d have to go for Chrome, simply because of it’s speed and ease-of-use.

  63. Firefox. I kinda feel comfortable with all that Open Source thought in mind. And it has proven to meet most standards

  64. I like them all. =D
    link text

    IE must die!

  65. Chrome on Windows, and Safari 4 on the Mac.

    Love <3

  66. Google Chrome is so much lighter and faster than Safari, at least on a Windows machine, but they do render almost exactly the same since they both are using the same rendering engine. I really love that Chrome cut out a lot of the normal browser chrome giving you back just a little more of our vital screen real estate. You cannot really do a lot (yet) with Chrome from a designer/developer standpoint, but we all know that Firefox is the ruler of that world. So if we didn’t have all the add-ons for Firefox my choice is obviously Google Chrome.

  67. I don’t really care which one as long as my websites look the way I designed them.

    I’d go with Firefox for loyalty reasons since I’ve been using it for so long.

    Besides, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari are like we say in Spanish: “La misma puta pero mona.


  68. web kit nightlys :)

  69. Linus

    Safari for Webkit is speed and standards compliant.
    Firefox for Adblock Plus.

  70. TheDoc

    Safari for me. At home, where I use a Mac, nothing compares to it in terms of speed. I find the FF for Mac to be slow and clunky.

  71. Adi

    I just can’t fall out of love with firefox, developer tools or not. I would like to sleep around more though.:)

  72. Firefox, because of the extensions. I have yet to try Flock, though.

  73. My vote is for Opera. It’s been around a long time and is available for almost every platform imaginable. They had tabs first too…

  74. Your are crazy ! Firefox.

  75. Ethan

    Opera, no question.

  76. sebastian

    any webkit based browser

  77. NKjoep

    I would use safari. Very Fast javascript engine!

  78. Jehad

    Safari FTW

  79. Safari 4 FTW… best browser evah!

  80. I think it depends on OS. If this poll were split into Windows and Mac users, the Mac side would have Safari with a higher percentage than Safari on the Windows side.

    I vote Safari for its speed, OS integration, and consistent rendering. And it 4 beta supports more CSS3. Firefox is slow, both starting and browsing. FF beta I hear is zippy though, looking forward to the final release.

    And where’s Chrome for Mac already?

  81. I must say I’m surprised with the results. Firefox is so very slow for me, even with minimal add ons installed. I’m also curious what platform these people are using. Safari has probably got the mac side down, and chrome isn’t available for them. But chrome is so blazing fast, and has a really easy to understand, beautiful interface. Where’s my chrome lovers?

  82. 1.Firefox
    Last. IE

  83. Chrome for me.

  84. Webkit, so I guess Safari/Chrome fall in this bucket? I use webkit on PC/Mac. Too many issues with Chrome, and Webkit is basically Safari (no noticeable differences IMO)

    (Note: with dev tools? Firefox).

  85. adardesign

    firefox!!! no doubt

  86. What’s dragonfly?

  87. Common! Who voted IE?! ;)

  88. Definitely safari. It’s fast, clean, stable, has great CSS3 support, and has a fast javascript engine.

  89. GaGa


  90. My browser of choice is InternetExploder 6 – it’s sleek, beautiful and does just what I want it to do. ;P

  91. Will

    Firefox… though I kind of preferred version 2.x over the latest release

  92. I also have to go with Firefox :-)
    Big decision factors here:
    Runs on both my PC and Mac, history completion as-you-type is awesome, and has lots of extensions to make my life/the universe/everything easier.

  93. JessieGagnon

    I love firefox with its addons, but it’s a memory hog even without them. I think Chrome would be a great developer browser once we can have something like Web Developer toolbar.

  94. Cris Punk

    i’m interested in one in particular, shamefully it isn’t aviable for linux yet lunascape, this brownser can render the 3 main engines webkit, gecko & the one from IE, in other words you can see your site in any engine you want with out have 3 diferent windows open at the same time

  95. Google Chrome. It’s fast and the interface stays out of the way…

  96. Firefox on PC…If I have Mac I’ll say Safari

  97. jbasko


  98. adai

    I use firefox now.But their is one problem,when I want to downlown things firefox can’t choose the right tool .In china thunder is the best download tool I think.

  99. All I know is it certainly wouldn’t be Firefox. Maybe it’s my extensions but it’s jerky on video playback, slow, crashy. Pretty horrible. Wouldn’t be chrome. It’s just too under featured. Wouldn’t be safari with it’s blurry text. That leaves me thinking (really!) about IE8. You know what? Maybe I would give Opera a serious try in those circumstances. In fact I will! I will try it, and try using Firefox just for development, ‘cos it’s really starting to suck at everything else!

  100. Firefox is my choise
    Buy when i got more and more addons the browser slow down.
    Chrome is fast and i love it too
    IE8 is also a nice choise

  101. Opera – in fact I’m trying to port my FF workflow over to Opera. Has most of the extended functionality of FF out of the box, Dragonfly, and bleeding edge CSS support.

  102. Hugo

    I’d go for Opera. Chris could you make this a poll? Like the other one.. Voting through comments is kind of a chaos :]

  103. Firefox definitely!

  104. Firefox is my choice

  105. Antonio

    Opera. It’s perfect.

  106. John D.

    I just installed Safari 4 beta and got all the developer extras so I could test my pages in all the different IE versions. Don’t trust this. I found this function to be completely unreliable on my mac.

    • The only reliable “IE Test” is to use actual versions of IE – I use Virtual PC for all my IE testing in it’s various versions.

      IETester is buggy and doesn’t work correctly, and multiple IEs is not a true representation of IE6 (which can cause new issues to crop up that don’t exist in 6 or 7).

      All UserAgent switchers are good for is faking the user agent string, not getting a true rendering of that browser.

  107. Well, i’ll surely give a try to Opera, as FF & Safari are too slow for my needs. IE isn’t an option, even the version 8 terribly disappointed me.Make me feel like microsoft is trying ( desperatly ) to copy (badly) the bests of all others browsers without really innovating just to run into the race.

    but as i’m working with differents browsers all day long, it’s really hard to tell.

    BTW, this blog is great. Keep up the good works….

  108. Seb


  109. Without development tools? Safari, it is standards compliant and it eats JavaScript for breakfast. For a long time, I thought my internet speed was slowing down. I realized how the browser parses JavaScript increases the decreases the loading time significantly. Note that Firefox has gotten faster with its updates, probably to answer back to Safari being so quick. I love both Safari and Firefox, they’re my babies. I used to use Opera somewhat but I never got too fond of it.

    I despise IE and will never use it, but I have IE tester (of course some of my layouts look radically different in the IE browsers, such as pain in the ass).

    Firefox god-mods with its extensions. I have Firebug, IE Tab, Web Mail Notifier, Screengrab, and more…The lovely list of extensions is endless and let me says it transforms a rather usual Firefox into a web development beasts. Web development toolbar alone is powerful, being able to do on the fly validation and being able to switch screen resolutions within your own browser! I will use Firefox till death do us part.

  110. I’d use Anything as long as it’s not Internet Explorer

  111. Definitely Opera, but I use norton internet security and I have to have IE or Firefox browser for that. Likewise, there are a few other difficulties that prevent me from JUST using Opera.

  112. Google Chrome for me.
    Currently I use Chrome as my default browser but then switch to FireFox whilst developing.

  113. I’m going to rock the boat and say IE.

    I am a web developer with 15 years experience. I started with Mosaic then Netscape then IE.

    Dont’ get me wrong, I do not like IE but I spend most of my time using it as the sites I create have to work in IE then FF then Safari then Chrome then Opera etc. As a tool for browsing the web I like it. As a reader for HTML+CSS it is not great, but as the biggest of the lot, it sets the standard. This is changing (thank god) but I need to use the tool most of my clients are using.

    This means that for casual browsing I have ended up mostly using IE.

  114. Firefox… i use Windows for design/dev and Linux for jukebox and Web surfing/e-mail checks from the living room couch. Nice to have same interface with a product I’ve come to know very well.

  115. matt


  116. Shady

    Firefox, consider me a loyalist…

    And if you minus the add-ons then the issue everyone has w/ it will pretty much be gone (memory usage)

  117. David Chambers

    Camino (I’m running 2.0b2).

    It’s quick, sleek, and has several features that I really appreciate: Keychain integration, OS X spell-checker, and rearrangeable tabs.

    I find Camino, Safari, and Firefox all have their strengths and weaknesses, and I use all three on a regular basis. Camino is my pick for day-to-day browsing on OS X, though.

  118. Definitely Opera. (It’s the most portable, even to USB!) If they block Opera, then Firefox. If they block Firefox, then IE. If they block IE… hm, no, they never…

  119. Firefox is my browser of choice every time. I code in Firefox, then go into other browser. My second choice would be Chrome, but it’s an mediocre browser in my opinion.

  120. Bert

    +1 Google Chrome for its clean design and high speed

  121. safari. I use it quite a lot with firefox actually. While developing with drupal, Ill have firefox logged in and safari logged out.

  122. I think we all now – PC users would switch to Chrome definitely!

  123. Chrome (if it were available for Mac), but Firefox for my Mac. I think it renders type more legibly than Safari and IE. I read quite a bit and that makes the difference for me.

  124. That’s kind of like asking asking a UPS driver “if package-delivery wasn’t a factor, what would you drive?”

    As a web developer I’m constantly using FireBug, even when I’m just browsing. I see something that intrigues me: inspect element.

    Put simply: developer tools are more important to me than a small improvement in speed.

  125. Adrian

    IE6 of course :)

  126. Opera rulez! fast and secure enough for me.
    Opera knows more things then most of us can do with this great piece of software!

  127. safari 4 for windows I guess. but still happy with firefox as regular browser as well. now improve the speed mozilla-folks…

    odd… absolutely no one mentions explorer… why is that ;) ;) ;)

  128. Jeremy Carlson

    Still Firefox. Chrome is fast, but I am too used to FF for just browsing. Without developement tools, if you are using a reset CSS, I’m not sure it really matters anymore. Once that is in place, they pretty much all display the same. I don’t have any problems with IE7 and rarely with IE6 now.

  129. JP

    Safari 4!! But Google Chrome for mac doesn’t look bad at all in the early stages!

  130. Chrome

  131. Marvin

    If theres Adblock Plus for Google, I haven’t checked until after this comment lol… then it would be Google Chrome, I guess. I like the speed of Chrome. Firefox needs a lot of memory and I’m a person with a lot of tabs opened up. I still work with 1 gig of RAM, silly me, motherboard doesn’t support DDR2+ :–(.

  132. I say safari.

  133. Rob

    Opera, fast, latest version scored 100 on the acid 3. Though FF is closing in at 93 on v3.5b4.

  134. For casual browsing definitely Internet Explorer 7 or 8.
    I know it doesn’t have a lot of features and some things have buggy implementation but the Clear Type (i think :P) font rendering technology makes a world of difference. I just love how my designs look on IE 7 & 8.

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