npm, yarn or pnpm : which package manager to use and why

npm, yarn or pnpm : which package manager to use and why

When it comes to managing dependencies for a JavaScript project, choosing the right package manager can make all the difference. Actually, there are three package managers available: npm, yarn, and pnpm. Each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will compare these three package managers and help you decide which one is best for your project.

yarn, npm and pnpm

Before we dive into the details, let's take a quick look at each of these package managers.


npm (short for Node Package Manager) is the default package manager for Node.js and JavaScript. It has been around for over a decade and is widely used in the JavaScript community. npm is bundled with Node.js, which makes it the most convenient option for Node.js projects.


yarn is a package manager created by Facebook and released in 2016 in response to some of the shortcomings of npm. It was designed to tackle performance concerns that NPM lacked, particularly the issue of time-consuming installation.


pnpm is a relatively new package manager that aims to solve the problem of disk space usage in Node.js projects.

npm is the most widely used package manager for Node.js projects, yarn is fast and reliable, and pnpm saves disk space. Now let's dive into the details and compare these package managers in more depth.


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a package manager is performance. Installing and managing dependencies can be time-consuming, especially for large projects with many dependencies. Here is a performance comparison of npm, yarn, and pnpm:

  • npm has made significant improvements to its performance in recent years, particularly with the release of version 7. But, it stays slow compared to yarn and pnpm.

  • yarn was developed to address some of the performance issues of npm, particularly slow package installation times. Yarn achieves faster installation times by parallelizing package downloads and using a global cache to reduce the amount of data that needs to be downloaded.

  • pnpm: pnpm is built on top of npm. Unlike npm and yarn, which copy dependencies to a node_modules folder for each project, pnpm stores dependencies in a single global location on the system and then creates symlinks to those dependencies in each project. This means that only one copy of each dependency is stored on the system, which saves disk space and improves the performance of package installations. For more details,

Here is a benchmark from pnpm. We can see that pnpm is faster than yarn and npm in most cases.


Security is aonther important factor to consider when choosing a package manager. Here is a comparison of the security features of npm, yarn, and pnpm:

  • npm: npm has several built-in security features, including the ability to audit packages for known vulnerabilities via npm audit and also to automatically fix them using npm audit fix.

  • yarn: yarn can also checks for known security issues with the installed packages but miss the fix command. So you need to install a package like yarn-audit-fix for that.

  • pnpm: pnpm has also the audit ad fix features.

Installation Process

The installation process for npm, yarn, and pnpm is straightforward and can be done using the command line. Here is an overview of the installation process for each package manager:

  • npm: npm is included with Node.js, so it is installed automatically when you install Node.js.

  • yarn: yarn can be installed using npm. Simply run the following command: npm install -g yarn.

  • pnpm: pnpm can also be installed the same way: npm install -g pnpm.


In conclusion, choosing a package manager depends on the specific needs of the project. npm is a great solution that has been around for a long time and is widely used. Its extensive repository of packages and a large community of developers make it a reliable option.

On the other hand, yarn is generally also fast and reliable, making it an excellent choice for large projects with many dependencies. It also has good support for package locking and allows for offline installations, using the cache, which can be beneficial for developers working in low-bandwidth or offline environments.

Finally, pnpm is a performant solution that has been adopted by popular frameworks like Vuejs. Its unique approach to package management, using symlinks instead of copying dependencies into each project, can significantly reduce disk space usage and installation times.

Ultimately, it's up to developers to decide which package manager best suits their needs. Whether it's npm, Yarn, or PNPM, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice depends on the specific requirements of the project.