We compared the information retrieval performances of some popular search engines (namely, Google, Yahoo, AlltheWeb, Gigablast, Zworks and AltaVista and Bing/MSN) in response to a list of ten queries, varying in complexity. These queries were run on each search engine and the precision and response time of the retrieved results were recorded. The first ten documents on each retrieval output were evaluated as being ‘relevant’ or ‘non-relevant’ for evaluation of the search engine’s precision. To evaluate response time, normalised recall ratios were calculated at various cut-off points for each query and search engine. This study shows that Google appears to be the best search engine in terms of both average precision (70%) and average response time (2 s). Gigablast and AlltheWeb performed the worst overall in this study.