If you are logging serious streaming hours on YouTube, you need a browser that can handle it.
That means you want something fast, private, ad-resistant, battery efficient, with some video player features.
Anything less, and we are talking annoying lags and five-second to one-minute ads that you will never join premium to remove.
All of this assumes that your device’s specs are up to the task and the internet speed is bueno.
Once everything is good on your end, there are plenty of excellent browsers for YouTube streaming. I’ve done the legwork and compiled 10 of the best of them.
Here they are.
Also Read: Best Browsers For Twitch
I know. The stone the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
You probably shelved Microsoft Edge if you use Windows 10, despite repeated pleas for a chance. Well, it is time to answer it, if only for YouTube streaming.
Why, you ask?
Well, this is not Internet Explorer. It is not even the old Edge with the EdgeHTML engine. This is the new Microsoft Edge built on the fast Chromium and made even faster.
It doesn’t use up a lot of RAM, freeing CPU resources to stream YouTube videos at the highest quality without buffering.
Speaking of HD videos, Edge natively supports 4K videos, thanks to its PlayReady DRM technology. You can watch The Slow Mo Guys, Dude Perfect, and any of your favorite YouTube channels that upload 4K content.
There is a minor caveat, though. You need a computer with minimum specs of Intel’s seventh-generation Core CPU, 4K display, and Windows 10.
But if Microsoft Edge enables this kind of streaming experience, surely you will be paying for it with a fast-draining battery?
Well, not quite. Microsoft’s re-engineering of Edge and the Chromium engine makes the browser battery efficient. More so than Google Chrome, which is most associated with it.
But the streaming advantages don’t end there. The Chromium engine means Edge supports Chrome’s extensions, so you can add all the YouTube extensions you need.
I’m talking about ad-blocking extensions like uBlock Origin or Adblock Plus, organizers like PocketTube and Bookmark It, or fun ones like Rounded Tube.
Edge also has something for dark mode fans. You can change the browser’s theme setting to darken the area around the video playback.
Sure, there is an extension for this, but the feature is in-built for Microsoft Edge.
Interesting Comparison: Brave vs Edge
Understandably, some netizens are skeptical about using Opera because a Chinese company owns it. But I’d say the YouTube streaming advantages are worth the risk.
Here is why.
Opera is built on the Chromium engine, so it has all the advantages of using Chrome: data security, extensions, etc. And despite adding a ton of features, the browser remains fast, hitting high scores on Basemark.
One of those features is a video pop-out that allows users to move videos out of the Opera age tabs into standalone frames. Basically, it is picture-in-picture.
You either had to install the Chrome extension or pay for YouTube premium to enjoy this. With Opera, it’s just part of the web browser.
You can stream and watch your videos while doing anything else on your desktop. Video pop-out even lets you switch to other tabs and continue browsing.
Video pop-out is resizable, easy to use (one click on the top-center button that appears when you mouse over a video), and has playback controls.
There is no need to return to YouTube to mute, adjust the volume, or play another video.
Opera also has Turbo Mode, which saves bandwidth when playing videos and speeds up your browsing.
If you prefer using the same browser across your devices, the mobile version is also YouTube streaming friendly. It enables users to compress videos and reduces buffering.
One more thing, while Opera does support Chrome extensions, it comes with several of its own. There are about 195 YouTube extensions in its library.
There is no need for a separate ad blocker too. The browser has an in-built ad blocker that removes ads from video pages. Say hello to ad-free streaming on YouTube!
Find out the best alternatives to Opera browser.
Also Read: Vivaldi vs Opera
Safari is the first non-Chromium browser among the best. The Apple proprietary WebKit is exclusive only to Apple users.
That is where much of its high-quality streaming experience comes from. Apple’s processors are ultra-powerful, and the browser takes full advantage of this.
Tab scrolling and closing are also smooth, which is helpful when browsing a channel with several video thumbnails.
The efficient processing also means less battery consuming, allowing you to consume more hours of YouTube content.
In terms of your viewing experience, Safari supports 4K video streaming. It supports 4K HDR video playback, not just for YouTube, but also Netflix, Apple TV+, Vimeo, and other platforms.
What’s more, if you have multiple YouTube videos open, say for research on a specific subject. You can organize the tabs into tab groups.
This feature allows you to go from one topic to the next with streamlined ease.
Safari’s security and privacy features also lend themselves to better YouTube streaming. It has an Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) that prevents trackers from following you and sniffing your data.
It is a handy feature if you are browsing YouTube in incognito mode and want to ensure your searches don’t find their way to your primary account.
Plus, with Apple’s Handoff feature, you can easily watch and copy videos from Safari on your iPhone or iPad and paste it on a nearby Mac.
Imagine watching a YouTube video on your Mac and immediately sharing it with your friends with your iPhone. Pretty neat, right?
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Google being the owner of both products, it would be safe to assume that Chrome is great for YouTube streaming. You would be right, although it is not the overall best. Still a great option anyway.
Chrome’s most significant advantage as a browser for streaming YouTube is its library of YouTube extensions.
As the most popular browser in the world, Chrome attracts a lot of developers creating tools to enhance users’ YouTube experience.
You can add a long list of YouTube video extensions like Magic Mactions, YouTube Plus, and Turn Off the Lights.
Plus, because these extensions were tailored for Chrome, you don’t have to worry about losing compatibility.
Beyond that, Google Chrome makes it easy to get to YouTube.
Now, this is a minor issue solvable with a bookmark on any browser. However, something about a browser having fast keys to YouTube makes the experience smoother and almost second nature.
On a more technical front, Chrome boasts of the most extensive HTML5 support. It also regularly integrates the latest web technologies that constantly improve video playback quality.
Admittedly, Google’s magic door into the internet still struggles with RAM usage. But it is more efficient now, thanks to its Blink rendering engine.
Much of the bloated code is gone. You can stream high-definition videos alongside multiple tabs with little worry about lags or buffering.
iPads, Macs, and iPhone users get an even faster version since Chrome uses the Webkit engine because Apple doesn’t allow third-party web engines.
Lastly, the browser has multiple account logins. So you can have different Chrome windows opened with separate YouTube accounts.
Handy when you don’t want to ruin your YouTube algorithm by watching a video on your primary account.
Discover the best alternatives to Chrome.
5. UR Browser
Compared to the browsers I’ve mentioned so far, UR Browser doesn’t have a lot of widespread recognition. But that only makes it a hidden gem for streaming YouTube, especially for the privacy-focused user.
UR Browser’s safety and privacy features include anti-tracking technology that blocks third-party cookies and invisible trackers from accessing your information.
This might seem unnecessary for YouTube streaming. But if you are the type that visits the platform from other websites or Google searches, you probably don’t want to be followed.
And while built on Chromium, the engineers at UR Browser have done the hard work of removing the code that sends your information to Google. An advantage of using a browser operating out of the European Union.
When it comes to video playback, you can say bye-bye to YouTube ads (without paying for premium) with this browser. It has a built-in ad blocker that blocks ads that ruin your flow in binging mode.
Also, having a Chromium engine means access to all the life-saving extensions that make YouTube streaming. There might be some compatibility issues here and there, but most work.
In addition, the level of HTML5 support is comparable to Google Chrome, so you get a program optimized for video and audio playback.
Here is something else you probably didn’t think was good for YouTube streaming – VPN.
UR Browser has a built-in VPN that allows you to watch location-restricted content on the world’s most popular video search engine.
The best part about all of this? It is available on Apple, Windows, and Android devices.
Also Read: Best Browsers For Zoom Meetings
For years, Mozilla Firefox was almost as popular as Chrome. Google’s browser has since pulled away, performance-wise, especially for YouTube streaming, but Firefox remains a great option.
The defining reason is its speed. Firefox streamlined its code to become a lightweight browser that consumes less RAM than other major browsers.
Much of that is down to its Gecko rendering engine, powered by Quantum, a next-gen software development project. Although the advantages do not extend to Apple users, the open-source browser uses WebKit on iOS and macOS devices.
Then there is the dedicated support for video playback with HTML5.
All of this is to say Firefox loads web pages quickly can handle multiple tabs, even if they contain HD YouTube videos.
Mozilla adds convenience to its high-level video performance with picture-in-picture. You can pop out a video and pin it to your screen while you do something else on other tabs or your desktop.
As someone who has started several interesting YouTube videos but couldn’t finish them in one go, a Firefox feature I appreciate is Pocket.
The tool lets you save videos on YouTube and other parts of the internet to watch later.
Yes, it is available as an extension on other browsers. Still, as I’ve established by now, there is nothing better than native integration.
Beyond that, Firefox has a library of YouTube extensions that enable you to stream YouTube in your own way.
Want to customize the video player size? Or force all videos to play in high definition? Or boost the volume? Want to stream only the audio and save bandwidth? There are extensions for each one and more.
Check out similar, yet great browsers like Firefox.
Also Read: Firefox vs Vivaldi
New browser kids on the block like Brave are built to target newer technological issues like cryptocurrencies and privacy from Big Tech. But they still have efficient functionalities for mainstream uses like YouTube streaming.
And that is why I like Brave. It is fast, secure, and well-rounded enough to be a daily driver.
Its in-built shields for trackers and ads ensure web pages, including YouTube videos, load quickly.
Without an ad script or cookie tracker loading alongside the main page, you can pop in and out of videos with ease.
It also means you don’t have to worry about those ads that pop up in the middle of videos ruining your flow.
On top of this, the browser has a Chromium core and uses Blink technology. Brave is a high-speed and battery-efficient tool all the way.
And if you want even faster speeds, Brave supports hardware acceleration. Essentially, it is a feature that lets the browser use your GPU instead of CPU to render videos.
Watch out for your battery, though. Hardware acceleration increases the browser’s energy consumption. But it is worth taking advantage of if you are close to a power outlet.
Now, YouTube streaming doesn’t end on YouTube. Sometimes, you watch or read a comment that demands additional research.
Brave has a built-in Tor browser that conceals browsing history and IP address in case your research requires a degree of anonymity.
If Tor feels too serious, Brave has also removed privacy-harming Chromium features. You can browse in incognito mode without worrying about the browser phoning home to Google servers.
Here are some of the best alternatives to Brave.
8. Tor Browser
Want to cut out the middleman? Try Tor. It might seem like overkill to install Tor to stream YouTube to general users.
However, it makes perfect sense if you visit the stranger corners of the platform and wish to protect your algorithm.
After all, it only takes one video for YouTube to send you down its rabbit hole with recommendations.
With Tor, you get more robust security and privacy features that you won’t get with mainstream browsers.
It hides your browsing habits and keeps you protected against online surveillance. All anyone would see is that you are using Tor.
Tor also isolates each website you visit, preventing third-party trackers and ads from following you. The browser also deletes cookies automatically when you close your browsing history.
But does any of this actually serve the streaming experience? After all, Tor uses onion routing to establish anonymity.
Yes and no. No, in the sense that it is not as fast as Edge or Chrome, but the difference is almost negligible, especially if you need to use the browser.
But the routing technology functions like a VPN, so you get access to geographically restricted content. You can stream any YouTube video from anywhere.
Plus, Tor is a Firefox fork. The YouTube extensions from the browser can add extra functionality and improve your streaming experience.
That means you can install add-ons like Maxime RF’s Enhancer for YouTube, Animesh’s YouTube Audio, and Ajay’s SponsorBlock.
Lastly, Tor allows you to customize the browser’s layout. You can change the colors, themes, fonts, and even move buttons around. Anything that improves how you consume YouTube content.
Also Read: Best Browsers For Torrenting
Not everyone is a fan of the mobile YouTube app. I know I’m not. You can’t add videos to a queue as easily as you can on the desktop version.
You have to set up a playlist in your library and add the videos one by one. That is too many steps.
That is why having a browser that has extensive functionality across mobile and desktop is handy. Vivaldi fits that criteria.
A lot of browsers have a mobile app, but it is usually a stripped-down version. Not Vivaldi. While its Android app is not an exact copy, it is pretty damn close, with many features that aid YouTube streaming.
So, what features are we talking about here?
Tab stacking. Are you working on a school assignment with YouTube pages amidst multiple tabs? You can organize and categorize your research into different topics and sections.
And you don’t have to worry about losing them when you switch to mobile. The browser regularly auto-syncs between both platforms.
An integrated ad and tracker shield also blocks intrusive and malicious ads and trackers. It guarantees that web pages will load faster on your phone and computer and no more YouTube ads.
Both versions are also built on Chromium and use the Blink engine. You get the processing and battery efficiency. The extension advantage is limited to the desktop version for now, though.
On the subject of studying, Vivaldi Browser also has streaming-enhancing features like Screen Capture and Notes. You can write and access the information you have across both devices.
Want to watch two YouTube videos at once? Vivaldi has a feature for that too. You can view tabs on split-screen, which is a convenient tool whether you are streaming for research or play.
Finally, the browser is insanely customizable. You can customize everything from basics like the appearance and tab behaviors to advanced settings like quick commands and gesture mapping.
Imagine a browser that opens several YouTube pages for you at launch with one button.
Wrapping up my list is Waterfox, an obscure browser that is excellent for anyone who prefers open-source browsers. Or loves making quaint choices.
Waterfox is a Mozilla Firefox fork available on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android devices. The founders wanted a browser that supported legacy extensions from Firefox. A solid browser for streaming YouTube came out of it.
It is speedy, and I mean really. It uses the latest modern systems, and the engineers have stripped it down. Waterfox is more streamlined than the pretty streamlined Firefox.
They removed bandwidth clogging features like Pocket, telemetry, web Runtime, startup profiling. In other words, it is light enough to stream high-definition videos smoothly and avoid slow performance during live streams.
Plus, it also means it doesn’t collect or send your browsing history or data to third-party websites. So you can watch YouTube worry-free, knowing your activity is not being recorded.
What’s more, it supports extensions from the Chrome, Opera, and Firefox web stores. All the YouTube extensions from three major browser libraries are accessible.
Want to browse YouTube in incognito mode? In this browser, you don’t have to open a new window. You can switch to anonymous mode with a new tab.
The better viewing experience doesn’t apply to YouTube alone, either. Waterfox has a Widevine plugin that enables you to stream from Netflix and Amazon Video.
Lastly, it supports extensive customization. Pretty much every setting imaginable is present. But if you want even more customization, and you know your way around codes, Waterfox is on GitHub.
Also Read: Best Browsers For Old iPad
So, which is the best browser for YouTube streaming in 2022? There are clearly a lot of great candidates, but I have to give it to Microsoft Edge.
Building it on Chromium means it is already fast, but Microsoft made it even quicker. And it doesn’t consume a lot of battery.
Plus, it is one of a few browsers that natively lets you stream videos in 4K if your device is capable.
That makes it not just an excellent browser for YouTube streaming, but streaming in general.
Thank you for reading.
Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.