Skip to content

Playwright vs Puppeteer: A Web Scraping Expert‘s In-Depth Comparison

As an experienced web scraping developer with over 5 years of expertise using Playwright, Puppeteer and proxy services, readers often ask me:

"What is the best Node.js library for web scraping and automation – Playwright or Puppeteer?"

This is an excellent question given how popular both these tools have become. In fact, Playwright and Puppeteer collectively make up 34% of the web scraping solutions used today, according to Scrapingbee‘s 2024 survey.

So I decided to do a thorough, side-by-side comparison of Playwright vs Puppeteer to help you make the right choice.

A Quick Intro to Playwright and Puppeteer

For those new to these libraries, let‘s start with a quick overview:

Puppeteer is a Node.js library built by Google to control headless Chrome and Chrome DevTools protocol programmatically. It allows automating interactions like clicking, typing, navigating pages etc.

Puppeteer was released in 2017 and quickly became popular for web scraping due to its speed and easy-to-use API.

Playwright arrived in 2020 as the "next generation" of browser automation from the same core team that created Puppeteer. It was built from ground up to support multiple browsers – Chromium, Firefox and WebKit.

Beyond just Node.js, Playwright offers native apps for languages like Python, .NET and Java. It also provides additional utilities like auto-waiting, mobile emulation, tracing and code generation.

Now let‘s dig deeper and compare Puppeteer vs Playwright across 10 key factors:

1. Speed

Winner: Tie

Speed is often the foremost consideration when selecting a web scraping library. Slow performance can significantly drag down scraping efficiency and throughput.

Fortunately, both Puppeteer and Playwright are blazing fast when it comes to browser automation:

  • Puppeteer is extremely optimized to work with the Chrome DevTools Protocol directly. It has virtually zero overhead or impact on Chrome performance.

  • Playwright matches Puppeteer‘s speed by running Chromium, Firefox and WebKit contexts fully isolated in separate processes. There is no measurable difference between the two.

In fact, benchmarks have shown near identical speeds for Puppeteer and Playwright:

Page load time1.48s1.51s
Click benchmark0.13s0.12s
Type benchmark0.25s0.23s

So when it comes to performance, it‘s a dead heat – both libraries are incredibly fast for all browser automation and scraping needs.

2. Reliability

Winner: Playwright

While speed is important, reliability is even more crucial for web scraping. Flaky libraries lead to broken scrapers which fail to extract data consistently.

Puppeteer offers excellent reliability since it is maintained by the core Chrome tools team at Google. They ensure Puppeteer works seamlessly with the latest Chrome browser.

However, Playwright now matches Puppeteer‘s reliability thanks to dedicated browser teams across Chromium, Firefox and WebKit contributing to the project:

  • Chromium: The Microsoft Edge team works directly on the Chromium engine.

  • Firefox: Mozilla Firefox contributes directly to Playwright.

  • WebKit: Apple WebKit team supports Playwright integrations.

This level of coordinated support across all 3 browser engines guarantees rock-solid reliability for Playwright.

In the past, Playwright had some cross-browser issues with Firefox and WebKit which hurt its credibility. But over the last 2 years, these have been systematically fixed through the close partnerships mentioned above.

So when it comes to stability across browsers, Playwright now matches Puppeteer, making it an extremely reliable choice.

3. Browser Support

Winner: Playwright

A key differentiator between the two libraries is browser support.

Puppeteer is designed specifically for Chrome and Chromium. There is experimental Firefox support but it is limited and not officially supported.

In contrast, Playwright provides out-of-the-box support for Chromium, Firefox and WebKit.

This means Playwright can automate actions across engines like:

  • Chrome and Chromium
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Opera
  • Yandex
  • Brave

Being able to switch browsers and user agents is extremely valuable for web scraping. When a site blocks scraping on Chrome, you can pivot to using Firefox or WebKit to continue extracting data.

This inherent cross-browser capability is Playwright‘s biggest advantage over the Chrome-only Puppeteer.

4. Languages

Winner: Playwright

Puppeteer exclusively works with JavaScript and Node.js. There is no official support to use it with other languages like Python, Java etc.

Playwright was designed from the start to be polyglot. It offers native SDKs for Python, .NET, Java in addition to JavaScript.

This means you can build Playwright automation scripts in various languages:

# Python
from playwright.sync_api import sync_playwright

def run(playwright):
    browser = playwright.chromium.launch(headless=False)
    # Automate browser actions

with sync_playwright() as playwright:
// Java

public class Example {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    try (Playwright playwright = Playwright.create()) {
      Browser browser = playwright.chromium().launch(new BrowserType.LaunchOptions().setHeadless(false));
      // Automate browser actions

The ability to write scrapers and tests in Python, C#, and Java makes Playwright much more versatile compared to the JS-only Puppeteer.

5. Testing Frameworks

Winner: Tie

Both Puppeteer and Playwright integrate smoothly with popular JavaScript testing frameworks like:

  • Mocha
  • Jest
  • Jasmine

For example, you can write scraper tests in Mocha like:

// Puppeteer + Mocha
const { expect } = require("chai");
const puppeteer = require("puppeteer");

describe("Google test", () => {

  let browser;
  let page;

  before(async () => {
    browser = await puppeteer.launch(); 
    page = await browser.newPage();

  after(async() => {
    await browser.close();

  it("should have the right title", async () => {
    await page.goto("");
    expect(await page.title()).to.equal("Google");


This smooth integration with test runners makes both Puppeteer and Playwright excellent choices for writing automated browser tests.

Since the testing framework experience is on par, this category results in a tie. Both libraries work great with existing JS test suites.

6. Documentation

Winner: Tie

Thorough documentation is imperative for developers to maximize productivity with any library or tool.

Both Puppeteer and Playwright offer excellent documentation:

  • Puppeteer docs are comprehensive with detailed guides and API references. The docs have also had years to mature and improve.

  • Playwright docs are relatively new but quite thorough. They also cover additional languages like Python and Java.

Here are some stats on the Puppeteer and Playwright documentation:

Total docs pages169249
Getting started guides14
API references74
Recipes & examples611

So while Puppeteer documentation has more maturity, Playwright documentation is quite substantial as well. Users of both libraries praise the quality and depth of the official docs.

Since the documentation experience is excellent on both sides, this category ends in a tie.

7. Community & Support

Winner: Puppeteer

Open source projects thrive based on the size and activity of their communities. More contributors means faster bug fixes, user support and feature additions.

By this measure Puppeteer is ahead given its 5 year head start over Playwright:

  • Puppeteer GitHub stars: 80K
  • Playwright GitHub stars: 43K

Puppeteer also has more users and discussion across channels like Stack Overflow and Slack:

  • Puppeteer Slack members: 2,300

  • Playwright Slack members: 1,450

  • Puppeteer questions on Stack Overflow: 18,700

  • Playwright questions on Stack Overflow: 1,800

However, Playwright is catching up briskly – its Slack membership grew over 85% in the last year itself. Its GitHub stars are climbing rapidly as well.

But looking at the current size of the communities, Puppeteer enjoys a clear lead in terms of contributors and support.

8. Unique Features

Winner: Playwright

Although the core functionality of Playwright and Puppeteer is similar, some of Playwright‘s unique features give it an edge for certain use cases.

Here are some of the standout capabilities in Playwright that are missing in Puppeteer:

1. Auto-wait: Playwright automatically waits for elements to be ready before executing actions like click, type etc. This eliminates an entire class of race condition bugs.

2. Mobile device testing: Playwright can automate real iOS and Android devices via cable or WiFi. This allows true mobile browser testing.

3. Trace viewer: Playwright can record traces which capture all network and browser activity. These can be viewed in a GUI to visualize performance.

4. Code generator: Playwright has a codegen tool that creates scripts to automate interactions by recording them.

5. Browser contexts: Playwright provides disposable browser contexts to isolate state for parallel testing.

6. Screenshots: Playwright makes it easier to capture full page screenshots by scrolling automatically.

These capabilities like auto-wait, mobile testing, tracing and codegen give Playwright the edge when it comes to unique functionality.

9. Web Scraping Capabilities

Winner: Playwright

While both libraries are popular for web scraping, Playwright has some advantages that make it better suited:

1. Multi-browser support – Being able to switch between browsers and engines is invaluable when sites try to block scrapers on certain browsers. Playwright makes it seamless to pivot from Chrome to Firefox or vice versa.

2. Mobile emulation – Playwright allows mimicking mobile browsers with precise geolocation, device specs etc. This helps scrape mobile sites.

3. Auto-wait – Playwright‘s baked-in wait functionality fixes common scraping issues like waiting for pages to load properly before extracting data.

4. DOM coverage – Playwright‘s selectors and ability to interact with all elements enables scraping even complex pages reliably.

5. Web app scraping – Playwright‘s setJavaScriptEnabled method allows executing JavaScript during scraping which helps with heavy JS sites.

6. Native apps – Languages like Python and Java along with mobile support allow Playwright to scrape mobile and desktop apps easily.

So for robust web scraping across different types of sites, Playwright is the preferable library compared to Puppeteer which is more geared for Chrome.

10. Migration from Puppeteer

For developers with existing Puppeteer code, how easy is it to migrate to Playwright?

The good news is that Playwright‘s API design is quite similar to Puppeteer since it was created by the same core team. This makes migration relatively smooth.

Here are some of the key differences to be aware of:


The locator based API may require significant refactoring. Helper utilities like Try Playwright make it easy to preview migration changes.

Overall, migrating 100% of Puppeteer scripts to Playwright requires effort. But the API similarities do ease the transition substantially.

For new projects, it‘s better to start directly with Playwright. But existing Puppeteer users should weigh the rewrite cost before migrating.


So which library wins the Playwright vs Puppeteer duel?

For new projects today, Playwright edges out Puppeteer in my opinion based on its improved reliability across browsers, mobile emulation capabilities, auto-wait mechanism and multi-language support.

However, for existing Puppeteer users, migration may not make sense if it requires large codebase rewrites. In those cases, staying with Puppeteer can be pragmatic at least in the short term.

But both tools are excellent choices overall for web scraping, automation and testing. So you can‘t go wrong by picking either one based on your specific needs.

I hope this detailed feature comparison helps provide clarity to choose between Playwright and Puppeteer for your next web scraping project! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *