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Brave vs. DuckDuckGo: Which Browser is Better? How Do They Compare?

Brave and DuckDuckGo (DDG) have both gained popularity as privacy-focused web browsers aimed at giving users more control over their online data and experience. But with different features and approaches, which one is better? Here is an in-depth comparison on performance, privacy, revenue models and overall usability.

Brief Backgrounds

Brave was launched in 2015 by JavaScript creator Brendan Eich as an open source browser to block intrusive ads and trackers by default while offering a faster experience.

DuckDuckGo started in 2008 by founder Gabe Weinberg as a search engine focused on privacy after concerns over data tracking practices by major providers like Google.

Both are built on the Chromium web framework so page loading and compatibility with most sites is excellent. Availability overlaps on mobile but Brave offers more desktop support.

Privacy Protections

Brave and DDG take differing approaches but essentially match on preventing tracking of your search and browsing activity by advertisers and other third parties.

Brave leverages "fingerprinting" where your usage is tied to your device rather than account profile or cookies. This means outside parties can‘t easily connect your browsing history to you personally. The browser also has a private mode with Tor integration for anonymous website access.

DuckDuckGo uses "anonymizing" where your information is stripped of identifiers before any queries are run. Their strict no tracking policy states no personal data is collected or shared at all, including IP address.

Independent evaluations by privacy advocates consistently rate both Brave and DDG highly for their strong stances on user data protection. All information is secured via encryption as well with available options for strengthening it further if desired. Neither appear to have suffered any major breaches to date.

Performance and Speed

Page loading and render times for both browsers are quite good thanks to the underlying Chromium engine. Brave offers a slightly more streamlined experience by removing ads and minimizing extraneous elements.

In tests, Brave loaded popular sites an average of 18% faster. But both still lag behind stripped down options like Safari or Firefox Focus that don‘t have as robust feature sets.

Memory usage is lower in Brave given its focus on efficiency versus adding bells and whistles. Those with older hardware may find it runs better for long browsing sessions before any slowdowns occur.

Revenue and Business Models

As a search engine, the majority of DuckDuckGo‘s income is from contextual advertising tied to keywords – but implemented in a privacy conscious way without profiles. Partners appear in sponsored results at the top and right rail after clearing a strict vetting process.

The company is actually a long-term profitable business likely topping $100 million in yearly revenue by 2022.

For Brave, their model relies on users opting into privacy-preserving ads where they earn frequent rewards. 70% of these ad payments go directly to visitors in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). You can redeem them for cash or to tip your favorite content creators.

Publishers also recieve direct earnings from this ad sharing in a move meant to realign incentives that typically reward platforms like Google more than creators.

So both browsers have put sustainability at the forefront – important for continued innovation to protect user privacy over the long term.

Customization and User Experience

DuckDuckGo offers a handful of visual themes to personalize search results pages along with choice of a light or dark mode. As mainly a mobile experience currently, the interface is stripped down without a high degree of configurability.

Brave provides more browser-centric settings with various defaults for the home page, appearance, pinned tabs and preferred device syncing. Their themes marketplace contains many free and premium options for radical looks like Black Panther to cute cats.

The Brave team plans to expand into areas like gaming, video conferencing and enhanced voice commands over time. So you can expect more add-ons that differentiate the experience versus just private search in DuckDuckGo today.

Both score extremely high in user satisfaction and ease of adoption from beginners. Switching takes just minutes with the ability to import settings from your current browser.

Key Differences and Similarities

Brave DuckDuckGo
Platform Availability Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS/iPadOS, Android Primarily Mobile + Browser Extensions
Default Privacy Level Very High Extremely High
Primary Revenue Source User ad rewards program Contextual search ads
Memory/Battery Usage Very Efficient High Efficiency
Customization Options Highly Flexible Limited so far


  • Built on same Chromium framework with excellent compatibility
  • Block most website ads and trackers by default
  • Prevent ISPs and employers from snooping on activity
  • Top ratings from privacy advocates and security experts
  • Easy to get started for beginners and experts alike

Recommendations on Best Uses

For those focused solely on keeping personal details safe when browsing or searching online, DuckDuckGo is likely the better pick with ultra strict policies on collecting any user data at all. The streamlined interface also makes for distraction-free use cases like research and learning.

Brave offers the most all-around secure solution for more advanced needs like ecommerce, gaming and entertainment sites that still require ads and dynamic content to function properly. Configurability and options like BAT token rewards provide great upside for power users.

Either browser is still an enormous improvement over Chrome or Safari‘s default settings when it comes to preventing data mining by corporations. Both the Brave and DuckDuckGo communities also actively contribute to open source projects to move the entire web into a better direction that respects user privacy as a human right.


Brave and DuckDuckGo browsers represent a shift toward placing privacy at the center rather than as an afterthought. Both make excellent choices over traditional options that freely share user data with partners. Determining which option fits your needs depends on personal priorities around specialized features, platform availability and customization. But their common mission to fundamentally improve security and transparency makes both browsers recommended downloads. We vote for better privacy across the board.