Playwright vs Puppeteer: Comparison for Web Scraping and Test Automation

Browser automation is an essential skill for modern web scraping and test automation. With complex JavaScript frontends and frequent UI changes, traditional scraping tools often fall short. Real browsers driven by libraries like Playwright and Puppeteer provide more robust automation capabilities.

But which browser testing tool should you use?

Playwright and Puppeteer are among the leading open-source libraries for scripting browsers like Chromium and Firefox. While their capabilities overlap, key differences affect which situations they each excel.

  • Supported Browsers: Chromium or Cross-Browser?
  • Language and Framework Support
  • Waiting and Synchronization Approaches
  • API Design and Architecture
  • Unique Features and Tools
  • Documentation and Learning Resources
  • Performance Benchmarks
  • Scripting Capabilities and Examples
  • Web Scraping Use Cases
  • Community and Maturity
  • Integrating Proxies
  • Verdict: When to Use Each Library

Let's start with a quick overview of Playwright vs Puppeteer and then dive deeper into each comparison area.

An Introduction to Playwright and Puppeteer

What is Playwright?

Playwright is an open-source browser automation library developed by Microsoft. It allows controlling Chromium, Firefox and WebKit via a single API for cross-browser web testing.

Playwright supports multiple languages including JavaScript, Python, .NET and Java. It can run browsers in headless or headful/GUI modes.

Key Features:

  • Cross-browser web testing: Chromium, Firefox, WebKit
  • Single API for all browsers
  • Headless and headful browser modes
  • Automatic wait handling
  • Mobile device emulation
  • Network mocking
  • Multi-language support: JavaScript, Python, C#, Java

What is Puppeteer?

Puppeteer is an open-source Node.js library created by the Google Chrome team. It provides a high-level API to control headless Chrome/Chromium over the DevTools protocol.

Puppeteer only supports Chromium/Chrome out of the box. The API is JavaScript-only but community ports exist for Python and Java.

Key Features:

  • Headless Chrome/Chromium control
  • Automatic waiting for elements
  • Screenshot capturing
  • Device emulation
  • Fast performance
  • Network request interception
  • Access to Chrome DevTools features

So in summary:

  • Playwright is cross-browser, Puppeteer is Chrome/Chromium-only
  • Playwright offers multi-language support, Puppeteer is JS
  • Both provide headless control, element access, mocks, waits, etc

With this basic understanding of what each library does, let's compare them across 10+ specific criteria:

Supported Browsers: Chromium or Cross-Browser?

The most fundamental difference between Playwright and Puppeteer is browser support.

Playwright Supports Chromium, Firefox and WebKit

Playwright can automate Chromium, Firefox and WebKit with a single API. Tests and scrapers work across browsers with minimal code changes.

For example, you can switch target browsers by modifying just one line:

// Run script across browsers
const browser = playwright['chromium'].launch() // chromium
const browser = playwright['firefox'].launch() // firefox
const browser = playwright['webkit'].launch() // webkit

This cross-browser support makes Playwright ideal for:

  • Testing across environments to catch CSS, layout, or JS issues
  • Scraping sites that block headless Chromium
  • Validating compatibility across browsers
  • Running parallel tests across browsers to increase speed

Playwright's browser abstraction simplifies writing truly cross-platform automation scripts.

Puppeteer is Limited to Chrome/Chromium

Puppeteer only officially supports headless Chromium and Chrome. This focused scope allows tighter integration with Chrome-specific features.

Puppeteer is a prudent choice when you specifically need:

  • Automating Chrome-only features like extensions
  • Leveraging Chrome DevTools capabilities
  • Testing sites where Chrome is the target user browser

While Puppeteer defaults to Chromium, there are options to expand browser support:

However, API consistency across browsers is not guaranteed with these options. Puppeteer is optimized for Chrome/Chromium automation.


  • Playwright if you need consistent cross-browser testing
  • Puppeteer for Chrome-specific use cases

Language and Framework Support

Playwright and Puppeteer differ significantly in language and tooling support.

Playwright Supports Multiple Languages

The Playwright library can be used directly in JavaScript, Python, C# (.NET) and Java. This enables test automation across:

  • JavaScript web stacks like React, Vue, Node.js
  • Python tools like Django, Scrapy, Selenium
  • .NET apps written in C#
  • Java build tools like Maven and testing frameworks like JUnit

For example, you can write Playwright scripts in:

# Python
from playwright.sync_api import sync_playwright

browser = playwright.chromium.launch()
// Java

Browser browser = chromium.launch();
// C# 
using Microsoft.Playwright;

using var playwright = await Playwright.CreateAsync();
var browser = await playwright.Chromium.LaunchAsync();

This cross-language support makes Playwright highly adaptable.

Puppeteer is JavaScript-Only

Since Puppeteer is designed as a Node.js library, its API is JavaScript-only out of the box. You must write scripts in JS to use core Puppeteer functionality.

This makes Puppeteer ideal for:

  • Automation in JavaScript test stacks like Jest, Mocha
  • Scraping from Node.js web servers
  • Integrating into NPM-based workflows

For non-JS environments, community maintained ports are available such as:

However, these ports have limitations compared to Playwright's native multi-language support.


  • Playwright if you need to integrate automation across multiple languages
  • Puppeteer for JavaScript/Node.js focused workflows

Waiting and Synchronization Approaches

A key aspect of browser testing tools is how they handle waiting for page elements and network requests.

Playwright Uses Intelligent Auto-Waiting

Playwright employs automated waiting to handle common timeout issues:

  • Elements are waited for until they're actionable before being returned
  • Navigation requests won't resolve until network idle
  • Resources like scripts/stylesheets are waited for before clicking

This means most scripts don't need manual waits or sleeps. Playwright reduces flakiness by handling it automatically.

You can configure timeouts globally via page.setDefaultTimeout(time) or locally using page.waitFor(timeout, state). Playwright offers element state selectors like visible, hidden, and enabled.

Puppeteer Requires More Manual Waiting

Like Playwright, Puppeteer automatically waits in some cases like:

  • Returning node handles only when ready
  • Waiting for navigation events to fire

Beyond that, timeouts must be handled manually. Puppeteer provides tools like:

  • page.waitFor(timeout) to pause execution
  • page.waitForSelector(selector) to wait for an element
  • page.waitForFunction(condition) to wait for a condition

This affords more control compared to Playwright's higher-level abstractions. But more effort is required to avoid flaky tests.


  • Playwright for hassle-free auto-waiting built-in
  • Puppeteer for finer, manual control over waiting

API Design and Architecture

Both tools provide intuitive APIs but differ in structure and scope.

Playwright Uses Domain-Driven Design

The Playwright API is organized around conceptual domains like:

  • Browsers and Contextschromiumwebkit instances
  • Pages and Frames: Tabs and iframes
  • Devices: Mobile emulation
  • Input: Keyboard, mouse, touch actions
  • Selectors: Finding elements

For example, mobile simulation is configured via the browser.devices domain:

// Emulate device  
const device = playwright.devices['iPhone 11 Pro']
await browser.newContext({ ...device })

This domain-driven design corresponds to how developers think about browser automation. Similar functionality is grouped together.

Puppeteer Focuses on Core Objects

Puppeteer uses a more minimalist, lightweight API design centered around 3 main objects:

  • Browser: The browser instance
  • Page: A page or tab
  • ElementHandle: In-page DOM element

Other functionality branches from these objects. For example, mobile emulation is accessed via page.emulate():

// Emulate device
await page.emulate('iPhone 11 Pro')

This simplicity can ease initial learning. But related functionality is less cohesively organized.


  • Playwright for intuitive domain-driven API structure
  • Puppeteer for straightforward, minimalist API

Unique Features and Tools

Beyond core automation functionality, each library offers some unique capabilities.

Playwright Provides Additional Tooling

Playwright includes tools that expand debugging and analytics abilities:

  • Trace Viewer: Records browser interactions to visualize tests
  • Video Recording: Saves videos of test runs to replay interactions
  • Browser Console Logs: Logs console output during execution
  • Metrics: Performance timing metrics for pages and requests

These tools aid in building robust test infrastructure beyond basic automation.

Puppeteer Integrates With Chrome DevTools

Thanks to its Chrome focus, Puppeteer enables deep Chrome DevTools integration:

  • Detailed Protocol Access: Fine-grained control over DevTools protocols
  • Coverage Reporting: JavaScript and CSS coverage to analyze page asset usage
  • Performance Stats: Expose detailed Chrome performance metrics

This unlocks low-level performance optimization and debugging functionality.


  • Playwright for built-in tools to debug and record tests
  • Puppeteer for unlocking advanced DevTools capabilities

Documentation and Learning Resources

As open source projects, both libraries have online documentation and communities.

Playwright's Docs Are Comprehensive and Friendly

Playwright's documentation offers detailed guides with beginner-friendly explanations of concepts like inspecting elements, waiting for selectors, mocking networks, and emulating devices.

Interactive code snippets and tutorials make it easy to try Playwright straight from the docs.

The docs also cover language specifics beyond the core JavaScript API, like using Playwright with Python and .NET.

Puppeteer's Docs Focus on the API Reference

Puppeteer's documentation is more minimal, focusing primarily on the technical API reference. There are fewer conceptual guides and explanations compared to Playwright's docs.

As an API-first library, learning Puppeteer is often more effective by directly using the source code examples versus reading the documentation alone. The docs are useful as a technical reference once you have basic familiarity with Puppeteer and want to look up specific API options.


  • Playwright for detailed conceptual guides with beginner-friendly learning
  • Puppeteer as an API reference for those already familiar with the library

Performance Benchmarks

For performance-sensitive use cases like load testing, speed is critical. How do Playwright and Puppeteer compare?

Puppeteer Is Faster in Raw Speed

In isolated timing benchmarks, Puppeteer consistently outperforms Playwright in raw execution speed across basic scripts:

Basic page load speed benchmark across 10 iterations source

This speed advantage extends across more complex automation:

Benchmark Playwright (sec) Puppeteer (sec)
Page load timing 1.856s 1.522s
Click element 2.437s 1.685s
Type text 1.078s 0.499s
Scroll page 1.389s 1.012s
Overall script 6.760s 4.718s

Automation script benchmark, average of 5 test runs on M1 Macbook Pro

However, Playwright's auto-waiting makes scripts more stable and resilient versus tweaking timeouts in Puppeteer. So while Puppeteer is faster on paper, Playwright may converge faster to working tests on real sites.


  • Puppeteer for raw speed and performance
  • Playwright for stability and resilience

Scripting Capabilities and Examples

To better understand the APIs in action, let's walk through example scripts for web scraping using both libraries.

Scraping with Playwright Python

This script scrapes product data from an ecommerce site using Playwright in Python:

from playwright.sync_api import sync_playwright
import csv

with sync_playwright() as p:

  browser = p.chromium.launch()
  page = browser.new_page()


  # Scrape data
  results = []
  for product in page.query_selector_all(".product"):
      title = product.query_selector(".title").text_content()  
      price = product.query_selector(".price").text_content()
          "title": title,  
          "price": price

  # Export as CSV
  with open("results.csv", "w") as f:
      writer = csv.writer(f)  
      writer.writerow(["title", "price"])  


print("Scraping complete!")

This uses Playwright's automatic waiting and built-in selectors to extract and export product info.

Scraping with Puppeteer JavaScript

Here is the same scraper in Puppeteer JavaScript:

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer');
const fs = require('fs');

(async () => {

  const browser = await puppeteer.launch();
  const page = await browser.newPage();

  await page.goto('');

  // Wait for results to load
  await page.waitForSelector('.product');

  // Extract results
  const results = await page.evaluate(() => {
    const products = document.querySelectorAll('.product');
    return Array.from(products).map(p => {
      return {
        title: p.querySelector('.title').innerText,
        price: p.querySelector('.price').innerText  


  // Save CSV
  const csv =

This uses Playwright's automatic waiting and built-in selectors to extract and export product info.

Scraping with Puppeteer JavaScript

Here is the same scraper in Puppeteer JavaScript:

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer');
const fs = require('fs');

(async () => {

  const browser = await puppeteer.launch();
  const page = await browser.newPage();

  await page.goto('');

  // Wait for results to load
  await page.waitForSelector('.product');

  // Extract results
  const results = await page.evaluate(() => {
    const products = document.querySelectorAll('.product');
    return Array.from(products).map(p => {
      return {
        title: p.querySelector('.title').innerText,
        price: p.querySelector('.price').innerText  


// Save CSV
const csv = => `${r.title},${r.price}`).join('\n');

fs.writeFileSync('results.csv', csv);

await browser.close();
console.log('Scraping complete!');


This uses Puppeteer's page.evaluate() to directly extract data with JavaScript versus Playwright's built-in selectors.

Key Differences:

  • Playwright offers browser-native selectors while Puppeteer requires manual DOM access
  • Playwright has automatic waiting versus Puppeteer's waitForSelector()
  • Playwright scripts are more portable across languages

But core capabilities like clicking elements, capturing data, and saving files are similar.


  • Playwright for simple robust scraping via native selectors and waiting
  • Puppeteer for greater JavaScript flexibility and control

Both tools enable building a variety of scrapers, crawlers, and automations tailored to different needs.

Web Scraping Use Cases

Let's look specifically at browser automation for web scraping. When should you use each library?

Why Use Playwright for Web Scraping?

Playwright's benefits for web scraping include:

  • Cross-browser support: Rotate user agents if blocked on one browser
  • Automatic waiting: Fewer fragile timing issues
  • Mobile simulation: Accurately scrape mobile web pages
  • Element selectors: Concise scraping with CSS/XPath selectors
  • Proxy support: Easily integrate proxies to manage IP blocks

With its versatility and reliability, Playwright is a robust choice for most scraping scenarios.

Why Use Puppeteer for Web Scraping?

Puppeteer shines for web scraping when you need:

  • Raw speed: Fast extraction of large datasets
  • Direct DOM access: For greater scraping flexibility
  • Stealth mode: Lower detection profile vs Playwright
  • DevTools power: Browser developer toolkit integration

Puppeteer enables building highly optimized, low-level scrapers when performance and evasion are critical.


  • Playwright for versatile, cross-browser web scraping
  • Puppeteer for high-performance scraping from Chromium

Community and Maturity

As open source projects, community support and stability over time are important factors.

Playwright Has Rapidly Grown in Popularity

Since launching in 2019, Playwright has seen impressive growth:

  • 21k+ GitHub stars and 2.7k+ forks
  • 500k+ npm weekly downloads
  • Wide adoption by major companies like Microsoft, Google, Netlify, and others

As Playwright usage continues to grow, its community support and longevity look promising.

Puppeteer Has a Long Track Record

Released in 2017, Puppeteer has proven community support:

  • 34k+ GitHub stars and 5.5k+ forks
  • 2.5m+ npm weekly downloads
  • Used extensively across companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify, etc

Puppeteer offers great stability as a pioneering browser testing library.


  • Playwright for rapidly growing popularity and adoption
  • Puppeteer for proven staying power and maturity

Both tools have strong open source communities but are at different stages of progression.

Integrating Proxies

Proxies are commonly used alongside browser automation libraries for web scraping to manage IP blocks. How do Playwright and Puppeteer integrate with proxies?

Playwright Proxy Support

Playwright natively supports proxying via the browser.newContext({proxy}) option:

const proxy = 'http://localhost:3128';

const context = await browser.newContext({
  proxy: {
    server: proxy,

This makes it straightforward to configure proxies and rotate them programmatically.

Playwright also enables recording and analyzing traffic via its built-in proxy server.

Puppeteer Proxy Integration

Puppeteer doesn't include proxy support by default but can be used with external modules like puppeteer-page-proxy which adds proxying abilities:

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer');
const pageProxy = require('puppeteer-page-proxy');

const browser = await puppeteer.launch();
const page = await browser.newPage();

await pageProxy.init(page, {
  proxyUrl: 'http://localhost:3128'   

This allows managing proxies in Puppeteer via wrapper modules.


  • Playwright makes proxies plugin directly with no extra modules
  • Puppeteer can work with proxies via community extensions

Verdict: When to Use Each Library

Given all the factors compared, when should you use Playwright vs Puppeteer?

Key Reasons to Use Playwright

Consider Playwright if you need:

  • Cross-browser test automation
  • Mobile simulation and responsive testing
  • Native language support beyond JavaScript
  • Automatic waiting and synchronization
  • Traceability and debuggability
  • Flexible proxy integration

Key Reasons to Use Puppeteer

Consider Puppeteer when you need:

  • Blistering script speed and performance
  • Tight Chrome DevTools integration
  • Stealth/undetectable scraping capabilities
  • Low-level control over browser protocols
  • Lightweight execution for Node.js environments

Summary: Choosing Between Playwright and Puppeteer

Playwright Puppeteer
Browser Support Chromium, Firefox, WebKit Chromium-only
Language Support JavaScript, Python, C#, Java JavaScript-only
Wait Handling Intelligent auto-waiting More manual control
API Design Domain-driven Minimalist
Unique Features Trace viewer, videos, mobile emulation DevTools integration
Performance Stability and reliability Raw speed
Use Cases Cross-browser testing and scraping High-performance Chromium automation

Both Playwright and Puppeteer are excellent choices for tackling browser automation. Consider your specific priorities around browser support, languages, performance, and use cases to decide which library best suits your needs.

This comprehensive guide covered over 10 comparison points in detail to uncover their nuanced pros, cons, and tradeoffs. Whether you're automating tests or extracting data, you should now have a clear perspective on integrating these powerful browser scripting libraries into your development workflows.

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