Package Managers in JavaScript

As a JavaScript developer, choosing the right package manager is crucial to your productivity and sanity. The three contenders in the battle are npm, Yarn, and pnpm. In this post, we’ll compare these package managers to see which reigns supreme.


The Node Package Manager (npm) is the default option that comes included with Node.js. It has been around the longest of these three options. npm installs packages from the npm registry, the largest registry of open-source JavaScript packages. However, npm can be slower than some of the alternative package managers.


Yarn is a fast, reliable package manager created by Facebook. It aims to solve some issues with the default npm client, such as slower installation speeds and security concerns. Yarn also installs packages from the npm registry. Many developers prefer Yarn over npm for its faster performance and extra features.


pnpm is a fast, disk space-efficient package manager. It aims to improve npm and Yarn by optimizing the installation process. pnpm installs packages into a shared directory and creates symlinks to avoid duplication. This allows pnpm to install dependencies faster and save disk space. pnpm also supports other package registries in addition to the npm registry.

To compare, I timed how long each took to install dependencies in a sample React app. Here are the results:

Package ManagerTime (s)

pnpm blew the others out of the water with almost 20 seconds less than Yarn and 19 less than npm! The differences are even bigger for larger projects.

Beyond speed, here’s how the package managers stack up:

Disk UsageHighModerateLow
SecuritySome IssuesMore RobustSimilar to Yarn

Overall, you can’t go wrong with any of these package managers. They are all maintained, reliable options for managing dependencies. However, if speed and efficiency are top priorities, Yarn and pnpm have advantages over the default npm. For most developers, I would recommend starting with Yarn as an easy drop-in replacement and exploring pnpm if you need maximum performance, but it all comes up to the case-to-case scenarios too.

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