How can you get the CSS pixel / device pixel ratio?

I want to find the ratio between CSS pixels and device pixels.

Edit: I should have realized that this is just zoom level. I've added an answer to the canonical reference on zoom levels.

CSS pixels are the unit we use for almost everything--it's what, element.clientWidth, element.offsetWidth etc. mean. Device pixels are the pixels that the browser actually paints to. A few properties are measured in device pixels, e.g. window.screen.width, which is the screen size (e.g. 1024) that doesn't change when the user zooms in.

Motivation: when the user zooms in, I want to increase a canvas's width and height (while keeping style.width and style.height the same CSS pixel value), scale() the context, and redraw on a crisper upscaled canvas.

I've read Quirksmode's A Tale of Two Viewports and High DPI on Surfin' Safari, but neither of them say how to get the ratio. The only ideas I have so far are to collect mousemoves and measure change in event.clientX divided by change in event.screenX, or to programatically create media queries using moz--min-device-pixel-ratio, use getComputedStyle() to test whether the rule matched, and narrow it down with a binary search. I hope there's a easier/more reliable way.

Edit: I've tried using the @media (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio:1) queries with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox 4, and apparently Webkit treats the property as a constant device pixel to screen pixel ratio (which doesn't change with zoom), whereas Firefox 4 treats it as device pixel to CSS pixel ratio (which increases when you zoom in). So in Firefox 4, I can discover the CSS pixel / device pixel ratio using a binary search, but not with Webkit.



You can use window.devicePixelRatio in Webkit based browsers to get the device pixel ratio directly in JavaScript. I have used this on Google Chrome, Android browsers (2.2+) and Mobile Safari. I have no idea about other browsers though.


You can always use the following method and it would work in all the browsers

window.getDevicePixelRatio = function () {
    var ratio = 1;
    // To account for zoom, change to use deviceXDPI instead of systemXDPI
    if (window.screen.systemXDPI !== undefined && window.screen.logicalXDPI       !== undefined && window.screen.systemXDPI > window.screen.logicalXDPI) {
        // Only allow for values > 1
        ratio = window.screen.systemXDPI / window.screen.logicalXDPI;
    else if (window.devicePixelRatio !== undefined) {
        ratio = window.devicePixelRatio;
    return ratio;

There is a much better CSS/JS solution:

/** sample media query for pixel-ratio=2" **/
(-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), 
(min-resolution: 192dpi) { 
  .pixel-ratio-holder:before {
   content: "2";

function jsPixelRatio(){
   return window.getComputedStyle(document.querySelector('.pixel-ratio-holder'), 'before').getPropertyValue('content').replace(/[^a-z]/g,'') * 1;

How to get device Pixel Ratio

This example uses window.devicePixelRatio as a starting point AND also window.matchMedia() Web API as a fallback calculation.

The browser support for both those features is pretty good, so this should work great for most of use cases.

Here is a function that retrieves this information, originally written by PatrickJS and published as a GitHub Gist:

function getDevicePixelRatio() {
    var mediaQuery;
    var is_firefox = navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf('firefox') > -1;

    if (window.devicePixelRatio !== undefined && !is_firefox) {
        return window.devicePixelRatio;
    } else if (window.matchMedia) {
        mediaQuery = "(-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5),\
          (min--moz-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5),\
          (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3/2),\
          (min-resolution: 1.5dppx)";
        if (window.matchMedia(mediaQuery).matches) {
            return 1.5;
        mediaQuery = "(-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),\
          (min--moz-device-pixel-ratio: 2),\
          (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2/1),\
          (min-resolution: 2dppx)";
        if (window.matchMedia(mediaQuery).matches) {
            return 2;
        mediaQuery = "(-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 0.75),\
          (min--moz-device-pixel-ratio: 0.75),\
          (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3/4),\
          (min-resolution: 0.75dppx)";
        if (window.matchMedia(mediaQuery).matches) {
            return 0.7;
    } else {
        return 1;

CanIUse: window.devicePixelRatio, Window.matchMedia()

Useful links: MDN - window.devicePixelRatio, MDN - Window.matchMedia()


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