Brave and Firefox are web browsers that could easily replace your default. Each offers a different feature set, but their goal is the same. What are the differences and similarities, and which is right for you?

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The web browser is not just a ubiquitous piece of software, it has become an absolute necessity. Most of what we do these days is done within a web browser… work, play and everything in between.

So when you’re faced with the decision of which web browser to use, most people simply accept whatever default browser comes with their operating system. In some cases, that’s not always the best choice, because not all browsers are created equal.

Take, for instance, Brave and Firefox. Although both have the same goal (to render web pages in a way that’s safe and efficient), they don’t approach the task in the same way. Which browser should you choose?

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What is Brave?

Brave is a free, open-source web browser, created by Brave Software, Inc. and based on Chromium. Brave is a privacy-focused browser that automatically blocks ads and trackers and includes an option to turn on specific ads that pay users for their attention in Basic Attention Tokens cryptocurrency. The BAT collected can be contributed to websites and content creators that support BAT or saved as earned cryptocurrency.

Brave was first released on November 13, 2019.

What is Firefox?

Firefox is an open-source browser created by Mozilla, and it was initially released on September 23, 2002. Firefox was initially created by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt and Blake Ross as the Mozilla Project. The browser has undergone several name changes: From Phoenix to Firebird and then Firefox.

Brave vs. Firefox: Feature comparison

Features Brave Firefox
Rendering engine Blink Gecko
Security and privacy Ad, tracker and fingerprint blocking; cross-site tracker blocking; out-of-the-box cookies Ad, tracker and crypto blocking; total cookie protection; containers
User data sync Yes Yes
Service integrations Crypto wallets and Brave Search Pocket, VPN, password manager and Firefox Relay
Extensions Yes Yes
HTTPS site upgrade Yes Yes
Tab management Built-in tab grouping Via extension
Dark mode Yes Yes

Head-to-head comparison: Brave vs. Firefox

User interface

Brave and Firefox offer common user interfaces that anyone would be immediately familiar with. Both include tabs, universal address bars, pinned tabs and easy access to site-by-site security features. Anyone who’s used Chrome will feel right at home on Brave, as the UI is very similar. The developers of Firefox have slowly evolved their interface so that it offers a similar experience to that of Chrome. Both offer dark modes and customizations.

Rendering engine

Brave is based on Chromium’s rendering engine, Blink, whereas Firefox has its own engine, Gecko. Firefox continually improves the rendering engine thanks to components from the Servo Research Project.

Performance

When it comes to performance, Brave renders pages slightly faster than Firefox. Using Basemark’s Web 3.0 benchmarking tool, which runs twenty tests on a web browser, here are the scores the browsers received:

  • Brave: 647.47
  • Firefox: 635.54

The higher the score, the better, so Brave beat Firefox by a slim margin.

Security and privacy

Brave and Firefox take security seriously. Both browsers do a great job of blocking trackers and advertisements out of the box. The big difference is that Bravo automatically blocks advertisements, whereas Firefox does not. To block ads in Firefox, users must set Privacy to Strict.

However, Firefox does have a leg up on Brave with its Total Cookie Protection, which isolates site cookies so they can’t be used for cross-site tracking. Firefox also includes containers, which isolate website activity, so individual sites cannot interact with others.

Availability

Brave and Firefox are cross-platform browsers and can be installed on Linux, macOS, Windows, Android and iOS.

Data sync

Both Brave and Firefox allow users to sync their browser data (such as extensions, cookies, passwords and history) such that they can use the web browser on multiple devices and have their data synced between instances.

Firefox requires users to sign up for an account and sign in with that account on each instance of the browser. Brave uses a Sync Chain Code or Sync Chain QR Code that you share with each instance you want to sync.

Choosing between Brave and Firefox

If you’re coming from Chrome and are looking for a more secure browser, but you don’t want to migrate to unfamiliar territory, then Brave might be the perfect browser for you.

If, however, you’re migrating from Chrome and are looking for something both different and secure, Firefox is your browser.

Both tools do an outstanding job of rendering pages and protecting your data, so migrating to either would probably be a step up from what you’re already using.

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