Comparing Firefox, Chrome and Safari battery life on macOS.

battery testing Dec 02, 2017

With the new Firefox being released, I thought I would revisit these three browsers for their effect on battery life.

  • I completed the experiment using a Macbook 11" from 2011. This is the "couch computer" at our house.
  • It is used every day for Youtube, Netflix, Plex, Facebook, etc. It runs macOS 10.13.1. It has a 3rd party battery in it (I replaced it myself), which is about a year old.
  • I turned off all energy-saving features, like screen-dimming, sleep mode, etc.
  • Then I ran the browser in 'private' mode, and had it loop through videos on my Youtube channel, until the battery died.
  • I recorded it using an iPad. The setup looked like this:


Here's the testing, with time-lapse videos:

First, Firefox. Started at 8:53, computer turned off at 10:16. Making it 1 hour and 23 minutes (83 minutes)

Second, Chrome. Started at 3:59, computer turned off at 5:59. Giving it approximately 2 hours (120 minutes)

and finally, Safari started at 5:53, and computer turned off at 8:13. 2 hours and 20 minutes (140 minutes)

Firefox: 83 minutes
Chrome: 120 Minutes
Safari: 140 Minutes


Some post-experiment thoughts:

  • I should try this on a Windows 10 laptop. That's going to be a future project.
  • How about a newer Mac?
  • This is not "scientific" enough, as Youtube watching really doesn't stress the browser much. I might try and find a more representative browser benchmark and re-run the experiment.
  • It would probably be a good idea to run the experiment multiple times and average out the times.


Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.