Puppeteer vs Selenium

As you might expect from us as the builders of a browser automation product, we know a thing or two about browser automation frameworks!

Puppeteer and Selenium are two of the most popular. The venerable Selenium is perhaps the best known - it’s been around since 2004.

Puppeteer is a relative newcomer, having launched in 2017, but as of 2022 it’s mature software with a developed ecosystem.

In contrast to axiom’s no-code approach, each framework is designed for building automations with code, and are often used for automating test cases.

A fun-fact is that Axiom is built on puppeteer! But that doesn’t mean we show favouritism - Selenium and Selenium IDE were the original tools which inspired axiom, so will always have a special place in our hearts ❤️ (opens new window). It’s likely that Selenium will always be synonymous with browser automation.

Here’s our summary of both frameworks - it may help you choose which one is best for you.

# Comparison

Puppeteer Selenium
Released 2017 2004
Browser Platform Chrome, Chromium and Chromiium-derived browsers like Brave Selenium webdriver supported across FireFox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Edge, Opera
License Apache 2.0 Apache 2.0
Developed & Maintained by Google Open-source community
Programming Language(s) JavaScript & TypeScript Written in Java, but contains official bindings for Java, Python, JavScript, Ruby, C#. More languages are supported with 3rd party libraries.
No-code Solution / Builder Chrome DevTools now let’s you export puppeteer scripts. There are also unofficial chrome extensions which try to do the same. Official ‘Selenium IDE’ Available for Chrome and FireFox
Pros ✅ Simpler architecture & setup - JavaScript library only
✅ Strong integration with Chrome ecosystem
✅ Tight integration with node.js ecosystem
✅ Supports multiple browsers
✅ Supports testing browser extensions
✅ Native support for multiple programming languages
Cons ❌ Chromium-only
❌ Poor support for testing browser extensions
❌ More complex - requires language bindings + webdriver

# Which framework is right for me?

Reasons to use Selenium:

  • You have a testing-focused project
  • You need to support multiple browsers - e.g cross-browser testing
  • You need to automate or test browser extensions.
    • Although axiom’s automations are built on puppeteer, we need to use Selenium to test the Chrome extension!
  • You like to code outside the JavaScript ecosystem - e.g. Using Python or Java

Reasons to use Puppeteer:

  • You have an automation-focused project (including scraping)
  • You need a simpler architecture and setup (e.g. fewer dependencies + manage all dependencies with npm)
  • You’re building on the node.js ecosystem
  • Your project is focused on Chrome, and you’d like to take advantage of the chrome ecosystem:
    • Chrome’s in-built puppeteer recorder
    • Chrome’s headless mode
      • Puppeteer’s ‘stealth’ project, which (tries to) prevent headless detection
    • Chrome’s remote desktop

# Neither of these seem like a good fit for me!

If neither of these seem like a good fit, luckily there’s plenty of other ways to automate the browser (including axiom.ai (opens new window) of course 😉).

This GitHub list is a pretty good resource to find other tools and frameworks that might suite you better:

https://github.com/angrykoala/awesome-browser-automation (opens new window)


    Install the Chrome Extension

    Two hours of free runtime, no credit card required