It’s a matter of preference (with the exception of browsers like IE), and what does the job or has the tools that you need. I’ve tried all those browser except Opera. The browser I used the most was Firefox until I tried Chrome more recently.
The reason why I chose FF over IE was that it better conformed to web standards, seemed more secure, better at blocking pop ups (unwanted pop up ads), has tab features and a great variety of plugins (especially for web developers). A browser with a better web standards means that if a website was built to support Safari, chances are, it will work in FF, and I heard Opera.
FF is similar to Safari. I didn’t notice much difference in how it displayed web pages, and like FF, Safari also considers web standards, but I chose FF over Safari because the variety of plugins and recovery feature if I wanted to restore sessions. However, FF uses A LOT of resources (memory) and because it was slowing down my computers (both PC and Mac), which effected browsing, I used Safari to browse the web (and FF for web development tools). I heard Safari has plugins too, but I haven’t played around with it yet.
Of course, the variety of plugins available to a particular browser is based on the developer community. In addition, the amount of resources it needs depends on what you’re doing and plugins. Chrome doesn’t seem to take up as much resources like FF. But with any browser, the more windows and tabs you have open, the more resources it uses up. I multitask so I tend to have 10-15 windows open, and at least 50-100 tabs open combined. But even with a fairly large RAM, the browser starts slowing down or freeze up.
Sometimes there were problems where some websites were not working properly on IE, FF, or Safari, so I wanted to test on another browser to see if it was cross browser issue. One time a Facebook application only worked in Chrome. So maybe those sites only tested in one or few browsers.
So then I decided to use Chrome as my main browser– However, it has some disadvantages: It seems to be the less supported browser, so some websites don’t work in Chrome, as I often noticed. Knowing that FF and Safari is pretty good with web standards, if things worked in both and not Chrome, it could mean that Chrome does not conform to web standards as much as those two, so it displays the pages differently. Also, Chrome currently doesn’t seem to support opening PDF files within the browser, so it is an inconvenience to have to download each one.
There was another case where this website from a very large and well known company who’s web applications does not work in any browser, except in IE 7 and only on Windows XP and maybe below, but not IE7 on Windows 7. IE seems to be the notoriously the least ideal to use and to base development on. Each version of IE 5, 6, 7, 8 behaves differently that it’s a nightmare to try to create web sites and web apps to work on all versions. In addition, IE is known in the past to have security issues and not as good in blocking pop ups. However, I heard they are slowly improving on it and web standards. Despite what its notorious for, it is still the most popular browser.
If it weren’t for the FF resource issues, I’d probably stick to FF. Now that I’ve gotten used to Chrome, installed a similar restore session and web developer plugins, I can live with it until then. So which browser is the best, with the exception of browsers like IE who don’t follow standards, may depends on preference and what you need to use the browser for.