The internet has become the primary use for many laptops and desktop PCs in recent years. While online, you want to know that your web browser is fast, secure, and has a few extra features to make the experience easier. We put six popular offerings through their paces to see which is the best browser for Windows. (Also see: All software reviews.)  

At the recent Windows 10 launch event, Microsoft announced a new browser, codenamed ‘Spartan’, which is set to appear when the new operating system is released at the end of 2015. This slimline internet portal will feature a modern, minimalistic design, lean performance, the Cortana digital assistant built-in, and the ability to run extensions. All the early signs are promising, but what if you want to use a new browser with your current version of Windows?

The choice is actually a lot wider than you might think, with plenty of offerings vying for your surfing duties. Some well-known names, such Google with its Chrome browser and Microsoft with the ubiquitous Internet Explorer, dominate the landscape, but old favourites such as Firefox still have plenty to offer in terms of added features and data security. (Also see: How to delete cookies and browsing history.)

Here we’ve gathered together six of the best browsers currently available for Windows, and put them through their paces to see how well they deal with the rigours of the modern internet. We looked at speed, the user interface, added features, and security to find the ultimate application to handle your web needs.

The best part about the browsers is that are all free, and you can of course use more than one at a time on your PC. This could prove useful for using online banking or data sensitive sites, as you can disable features like javascript or Flash and reserve one browser solely for these activities.

With so much of modern computing based online, it’s always good to know that you don’t have to stick with the browser that came on your computer, and some of the alternatives are very good indeed. (Read next: Best alternative web browsers)

Best web browsers for Windows 2015

6. Avant

Avant
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 February 15
  • RRP: Free

As an alternative to Internet Explorer we’d find Avant Browser difficult to recommend over the original.

Read our Avant review.

5. Dooble

Dooble
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 27 February 15
  • RRP: Free

Dooble's safety-first approach is commendable, but the version of the web you’re able to access is going to be too hampered by this browser for most users.

Read our Dooble review.

4. Opera v27

Opera v27
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 25 February 15
  • RRP: Free

Opera might feel a little like Chrome-lite these days, but that’s no bad thing. The browser is fast, even on slow connections thanks to the Turbo mode, and has plenty to offer those who prefer not to live entirely in the Google universe.

Read our Opera v27 review.

3. Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 20 February 15
  • RRP: Free

With a few nips and tucks over previous versions, Internet Explorer is in fine fettle now with a clean design, robust performance, and ever improving security features.

Read our Internet Explorer 11 review.

2. Mozilla Firefox v35

Mozilla Firefox v35
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 24 February 15
  • RRP: Free

We’ve always had a soft spot for Firefox, but past versions have disappointed due to sluggish performance. The last few iterations though have shown great improvements, and this one in particular is very impressive.

Read our Mozilla Firefox v35 review.

1. Google Chrome browser

Google Chrome browser
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 9 February 15
  • RRP: FREE

Chrome continues to mature into an excellent modern browser experience. With the wealth of apps and features available only being matched by its speed and tidy design, it looks set to be the benchmark for a while to come.

Read our Google Chrome browser review.