Puppeteer vs. Playwright: Comparison Guide

Puppeteer vs Playwright comparison guide. Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of these browser automation tools.
2 min read
Puppeteer vs Playwright

Web scraping is a crucial tool for navigating the vast amount of data on the internet. However, web scraping’s effectiveness depends on the tools you’re using. Two powerful options are Puppeteer and Playwright. While they weren’t specifically designed for web scraping, their browser automation capabilities make them powerful tools to consider.

Puppeteer is a Node.js library that allows you to have a high level of control over Chrome or Chromium-based browsers. Playwright takes this control to the next level by expanding it to various browsers, such as Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit. While both have the same origin, Playwright strives to overcome the limitations faced by Puppeteer, providing a more versatile experience for automating web browsers.

In this article, you’ll compare Puppeteer and Playwright with an emphasis on their capabilities for web scraping. You’ll evaluate them across various aspects, including language support, browser compatibility, ease of use for web scraping tasks (including features like automatic waiting and intelligent selectors), speed, and community support.

Puppeteer vs. Playwright

In this section, you’ll delve into the specific features of Puppeteer and Playwright, beginning with their language support. By the end of this comparison, you should be able to decide which one is better for your web scraping needs.

Language Support

Puppeteer is a Node.js library, making it an ideal choice for developers proficient in JavaScript and TypeScript. If you’re already working within the JavaScript ecosystem, Puppeteer is a good choice.

In contrast, Playwright has a wider level of language support, including JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, and C#. This broader language support attracts developers with various programming backgrounds, expanding its reach.

Browser Support

Puppeteer was initially designed to work with Chrome and Chromium-based browsers. However, with the introduction of Puppeteer for Firefox, starting from Puppeteer v.2.1.0, its scope has widened. Despite this, it is still a work in progress and lacks some features and stability compared to its Chrome counterpart. For example, the <template HTML element is not supported in Firefox, and you can only use Puppeteer with Firefox Nightly version; older versions require a patched version of Firefox. Additionally, it’s not recommended to use Puppeteer for Firefox when you have parallel operations because it will overload your system resources.

Playwright offers a more extensive browser support network, compatible with Chromium, Firefox, WebKit, and even branded browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. This wider support enables you to have a more comprehensive approach to web scraping across various browser environments.

Usability for Web Scraping

The architecture of Puppeteer makes it easy for you to perform web scraping tasks. Automatic waiting, one of the Puppeteer features, reduces the chances of errors caused by the asynchrony of web element loading. The intelligent selectors simplify how you locate and interact with web elements, making data extraction less complicated.

Playwright offers even more features than Puppeteer, such as built-in proxy support and advanced debugging capabilities.


The speed at which Puppeteer operates is impressive, but it depends on how complicated the web pages are and the efficiency of your code.

Here’s a simple code example of scraping a website using Puppeteer in JavaScript:

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer');

async function main() {
    const browser = await puppeteer.launch({ headless: true });
    const page = await browser.newPage();
    await page.goto('https://example.com');
    const content = await page.content();
    await browser.close();


In this code snippet, the puppeteer library brings Puppeteer’s functionality into your script. Then you define an asynchronous function named main, where you launch a headless browser, open a new page, and navigate to https://example.com. Following this, you extract and print the page content to the console. Finally, you close the browser to free up resources.

When it comes to speed, Playwright has an advantage, especially in real-world end-to-end (E2E) testing scenarios, leading to reduced execution times for test suites and quicker monitoring checks. This speed advantage is partially attributed to Playwright’s consistent and significant updates, which have surpassed the more modest updates and bug fixes of Puppeteer. Moreover, Playwright’s ability to support cross-browser testing accelerates testing cycles across different browsers, further boosting its speed performance.

Here’s a simple example of scraping a website using Playwright in JavaScript:

const { chromium } = require('playwright');

async function main() {
    const browser = await chromium.launch({ headless: true });
    const context = await browser.newContext();
    const page = await context.newPage();
    await page.goto('https://example.com');
    const content = await page.content();
    await browser.close();


In this code, you first require the chromium object from the playwright library to bring Chromium’s functionality into your script. You then define an asynchronous function named main, in which you launch a headless Chromium browser, open a new page, and navigate to https://example.com. Following this, you extract and print the page content to the console. Finally, you close the browser to free up resources. To execute your script, you call the main function, setting the wheels in motion for your web scraping task. This simple yet effective routine sets the foundation for more sophisticated web scraping projects you may undertake using Playwright.

If performance is a high priority and you are looking for a tool that can potentially reduce test run time, Playwright’s performance optimization features may appeal to you. Additionally, the debugging features, such as video recording in Playwright, can be important when troubleshooting web scraping tasks, providing clear insights into the scraping process and any issues.

Auto-Waiting Mechanism

Auto-waiting features are integral to both Puppeteer and Playwright, but they function differently, catering to various web scraping and automation needs.

Playwright’s auto-waiting is designed to perform a series of actionability checks before executing any actions to ensure the interactions behave as expected. It waits for all relevant checks to pass, including if the element is attached to the DOM, visible, stable (not animating or has completed animation), able to receive events (not obscured by other elements), and enabled. If these checks do not pass within a specified timeout, the action fails with a TimeoutError​. Playwright performs these checks for a variety of actions, such as clicking, double-clicking, checking/unchecking, hovering, and more, which are clearly outlined on their documentation page​.

In comparison, Puppeteer offers a navigation that is not just about waiting for a specific time but about having dynamic waiting options for diverse user needs. This could be waiting for certain elements to load, a function to be called, or a network request to finish. Puppeteer’s methods, like page.waitForNavigation()page.waitForSelector(), and page.waitForFunction(), allow developers to pause script execution until certain conditions are met, such as when the web page is fully loaded. This is particularly important for sites that rely on JavaScript to render content dynamically​. You can find more information on the different wait methods in Puppeteer’s official documentation.

If you’re navigating complex web applications with heavy client-side rendering, you can choose Playwright for its advanced auto-waiting features that streamline handling asynchronous events. However, if your project has specific Chrome dependencies or you’re tackling simpler scraping tasks, Puppeteer’s customizable waiting strategies could be more in line with your needs, especially if you’re well-versed in JavaScript.

Selector Engine

Playwright’s selector engine is known for its advanced and customizable functionalities. It allows the registration of custom selector engines tailored to specific tasks, such as querying by tag names and setting custom attributes like data-testid for pinpointing elements with precision.

In contrast, Puppeteer’s selector capabilities are effective but may not offer the same level of customization out of the box. While both can handle typical selector strategies, Playwright’s engine provides an added layer of customization that can be particularly beneficial in complex scraping scenarios or when you require more granular control over element selection.

For use cases that demand highly specialized element targeting or where robustness in dynamic content handling is crucial, Playwright’s selector engine may be the preferable choice. If your scraping needs are straightforward or you’re already invested in the Chrome ecosystem, Puppeteer is more than adequate.

Integration with Other Tools

When it comes to tool integration, Puppeteer and Playwright serve different use cases. Puppeteer excels in automating tasks in Chromium browsers and offers robust integrations with Jest for creating automated test suites. Its capabilities extend to performance testing with tools like Lighthouse; however, integrating with proxy services might require additional configuration efforts.

Playwright’s strength lies in its cross-browser support, which makes it very useful for cross-browser testing scenarios. It also has a built-in test runner, which reduces setup complexity for E2E testing. Its built-in proxy support is also helpful for web scraping, eliminating the need for third-party modules.

In environments where continuous integration and delivery are crucial and where testing in Docker containers is a part of the pipeline, Playwright’s compatibility offers a streamlined experience. However, if your project’s scope is more narrowly focused on Chromium-based applications and you’re leveraging Jest for testing, Puppeteer may be more aligned with your needs.

Community Support

As you explore the world of Puppeteer, you’ll encounter a supportive community that’s eager to help you. You’ll also have access to various tutorials, forums, and third-party libraries to assist you in your web scraping projects with Puppeteer. Although newer in the community compared to Puppeteer, Playwright is quickly finding its place, with an expanding community and a promising pathway of support and resources.

Opt for Puppeteer if a well-established community with ample resources, a broad user base, and a longer history appeals to you—it may offer a wealth of community knowledge due to its maturity. However, if you’re looking for a dynamic and fast-growing community, especially one with the solid backing of a tech giant like Microsoft, and if you’re keen on a tool that’s keeping pace with the evolution of the modern web, then Playwright could be a great option.

Maintenance and Future Viability

The continuous improvements and updates from Google for Puppeteer and Microsoft for Playwright suggest a stable future for both tools. Opting for either framework means you’re selecting a product with robust company support, alleviating concerns about abandonment or lack of updates for your long-term projects.


In this article, you learned about Puppeteer and Playwright, two reliable tools for your web scraping tasks. Playwright, with its broader language and browser support, may appeal to some, while others might find comfort in Puppeteer’s mature community support.

Both Puppeteer and Playwright easily integrate with the Bright Data Scraping Browser, a platform crafted to boost your web scraping efficiency with built-in features for accessing websites. Moreover, Bright Data offers both Pupeteer proxy and Playwright proxy integration, making the scraping process smoother.

About Bright Data proxies:

Residential proxies: +72 million real IPs from 195 countries, Bright Data’s residential proxies enable you to access any website content regardless of location, while avoiding IP bans and CAPTCHAs.

ISP proxies: +700,000 ISP IPs, leverage real static IPs from any city in the world, assigned by ISPs and leased to Bright Data for your exclusive use, for as long as you require.

Datacenter proxies: +770,000 datacenter IPs, Bright Data’s datacenter proxy network is built of multiple IP types across the world, in a shared IP pool or for individual purchase.

Mobile proxies: +7 million mobile IPs, Bright Data’s advanced Mobile IP Network offers the fastest and largest real-peer 3G/4G/5G IPs network in the world.