NPM is the original package manager. It downloads your projects dependencies, and the dependencies` dependencies, and so on until everything is downloaded. This can result in an extreme amount of libraries, with hundreds of thousands of files.

The biggest issue I’ve had with NPM is how long it takes to delete the node_modules folder. Windows does not handle 100K files very well. Now that I have a blazing fast WD Black SSD, it isn’t that bad, but it still takes about a minute to delete large projects.


PNPM adds performance enhancements to NPM, the most notable being that libraries are downloaded to a central location on your hard drive, and are shared between projects. It maintains complete compatibility with NPM by using symbolic links to create the same node_modules structure you are used to.

I’ve noticed a big performance difference with PNPM, so I use it on all my projects.


There are two versions of Yarn:

  1. Yarn v1 or Yarn Classic (maintenance mode since 2020)
  2. Yarn v2 or Yarn Berry

Here I will be referring to Yarn v2 or Yarn Berry, since the classic version should not be used anymore.

Yarn Berry takes a different approach by zipping all dependencies in order to save space and to reduce the number of files. For example, when using Yarn, I only have about 200 files instead of 100K files.

The concept and performance is great, except there are two big issues:

  1. It is not completely compatible with the normal node_modules structure. Most libraries have no issues, but it can be tough to debug issues when they arise.
  2. The documentation and community support is very lacking.

For these reasons, I do not recommend Yarn.

Performance Test Summary

Here is a summary of the performance results for all three package managers. I ran the tests on the same repo with about 100K total files in the dependency tree.

Library# of FilesDisk Space UsedInstallInstall in another locationDelete Project

My recommendations

I highly recommend PNPM, and I don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t be used for all projects.