These are the best extensions to block ads for multiple reasons. For starters, these block nearly all ad types, and trackers, are free and in some cases even open-source.
If it’s ads you’re running from, this list most definitely is for you. I don’t care which OS/browser you’re reading this on, I’ve got a solution for you, period. Yes, even if you’re on a mobile device such as Android or iOS, I’ve got ad blockers for those too.
But hey, why should you just take my word for it, eh? So, let me explain how I’ve selected these extensions. You only continue if you find the checklist useful!
Let’s get started?
How to Choose The Best Adblocker Extensions?
Well, I do have a sizeable experience with it comes to privacy tools. So, I’ve curated a checklist over the years. These are the factors you should look for when trying to pick the best ad blocking extension:
- Open source: While this is the rarest feature, I love when any privacy tool, including an ad-blocking extension is open-source. No hiding behind the curtain.
- Types of ads they can block: Not all ad-blockers have the same I.Q (or, code). Some can block more ad-types than others.
- Customization: I do tend to prioritize those extensions, which let me choose what I wish to block/allow. Nothing should be written in stone eh?
- Resource consumption: What’s the point of an ad-blocker if it makes your system/browser slow, eh? Hence, all the extensions listed here are extremely lightweight.
- Compatibility: While I personally use Brave, I’ve only included those extensions here that are compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and most other browsers out there.
- Transparency: Again, not something I always get but I do prioritize those extensions which show me the number of ads blocked and other data.
- Tracker and malware blocking: Ads are just one part of the massive digital footprint ecosystem. All blockers listed below also protect you from malware, spyware, phishing websites, and other similarly harmful content.
- Free: Of course, I hate paying (like any other normal human). Hence, I look for and have only listed free tools. Some may have an optional paid plan but it’s never shoved down your throat.
I’ll give you ad blockers, I promise. But first, some entertainment? Well, I assure you the next section sure is “interesting” if nothing else!
Benefits of Blocking Ads [Things You Didn’t Know]
Hey, I’m aware you wouldn’t be on this list if you didn’t already know the benefits. But, most of you don’t like ads. Or maybe “they’re too intrusive”?
In reality, ads are a much larger enemy than you realize.
First, ads track you. Yes. If you click on an ad, you’re tagged and your activities are then monitored to show you similar/relevant ads. Not just on the website you clicked the ad on but across all websites you visit!
Plus, as soon as you clicked/viewed an ad, you’re entered into a database. The company can then sell/share/use this database any way it pleases. It knows the time of your click, the duration of your stay on the landing page, your location (via your IP address) your action (purchase/hitting the back button/ how far you scrolled on the page), and much more.
Oh, you’re smart, and you wouldn’t click on ads, right? Well, not clicking on ads is another signal the advertiser gets. You’ve entered into a database again, and re-targeted using some other ad or a completely different tactic!
More sinister ads may even gain access to your microphone and/or location!
The worst part? You’re PAYING for all this tracking! Ads require bandwidth right? That banner/animation/video isn’t free, your internet bandwidth is used up.
Well, these ad blockers suddenly seem more important now, don’t they! Let’s get you what you came here for then!
uBlock Origin is one of the best ad blockers in the industry. It’s capable of blocking nearly all ad types, including but not limited to the banner, pop-up, and video adverts.
I do love its customization abilities. It basically has three customization modes, easy/ medium & hard. You can pick which filters to apply and restrict particular page components and it even has a whitelist feature.
In fact, uBlock Origin arguably has some of the best custom filter options as compared to the other options on this list.
Additionally, uBlock Origin also prevents scripts and cookies that websites employ to track your activities, behavior, interests, and much more. Why should your business be any of their business eh?
It shows detailed stats of the number of blockers blocked overall, on specific domains, and many other details.
We all hate resource-heavy extensions, don’t we? uBlock Origin markets itself heavily on its memory efficiency. It’s pretty lightweight, efficient system and a resource-consuming extension. It doesn’t bog down on your system or your browser’s resources.
There’s even a “Lite” version you can go for that’s almost invisible in terms of resource consumption.
Finally, it’s open-source. This means the extension doesn’t hide anything and everything it says can be independently verified by you.
Privacy Badger has a ton of factors going in its favor. For starters, it’s developed by EFF. Arguably one of the biggest privacy & digital rights organizations on the planet.
Then there’s its AI-powered algorithm. Yes, it’s not just a few lines of static code. Privacy Badger uses the power of AI to block shady third-party trackers that try to invade your privacy without going all Chuck Norris on the other third-party content on a website.
Like a good dog, Privacy Badger automatically learns and adapts to the websites you visit, improving its ability to bark at pesky trackers over time. Yes, it “learns over time”.
We love control, and PB gives it to us. It lets me play with its blocking settings to decide which trackers to block and which should be allowed.
Privacy Badger is pretty secular and doesn’t care which browser you’re using. It’s compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
And its U.I? They’ve repeatedly mentioned that “ease of use” was one of their primary priorities during development.
It also have massive privacy-protection features. It automatically sells do not track requests and other similar requests making sure you’re protected not just technically but also legally.
Oh, it certainly is 100% free.
This is one of the more popular ad blocking weapons on the internet, isn’t it? So, Ghostery too is capable of blocking any and all kinds of ads (including video) out there.
Its pretty smart so instead of outright blocking trackers, it replaces your values with random information. So, they still receive information but that information isn’t yours, or anyone else’s for that matter.
I do love its customization options. You get to choose what to block & allow, even for trackers. I must say though, uBlock Origin does offer slightly better custom filters.
One of its unique features is that it automatically revokes cookie & tracking consent for each website you visit. This of course is only revoked for those cookies which are “trackers” and do not impact your browsing experience.
It even owns the largest tracker database- Whotracksme. So, it’s safe to assume its tracker info is spot on eh?
The one aspect it outperforms most other options on this list? Its transparency. You get detailed reports of blocked trackers. On search engines, it shows you the trackers installed on each site. Meaning even before you visit, you know which website is safer, it blocks all trackers anyway, though.
The cherry on top? It’s free & open-source!
It’s one of the very few ad blocking extensions capable of blocking video ads on Youtube, Facebook and many other video-streaming websites.
Of course, ads on all other sites and of all other types are blocked as well. Again, this includes popups, banners, and everything else.
It also includes an in-built malware protection feature. Stops malicious code as well as phishing sites.
Of course, it lets you customize it according to your own preferences. You’re free to allow ads on some sites, block only specific ads while allowing others on the same site and other such tweaks.
The UI is extremely easy to use plus it’s cross-browser compatible. Unless you’re on your granny’s computer it’ll work, maybe even on hers!
It’s 100% free.
Despite its strong similarity to the tool mentioned above, do note that they’re two different ad-blocking extensions.
This one’s capable of bypassing quite a few ad-blocking scripts. Yeah, those sites which tell you to disable your ad blocker before they allow access.
All ad types including banners, popups, video ads etc. are blocked.
Of course, like any good ad blocker it also blocks malware, trackers, spyware and everything in between.
The best part? It has an optional “software” version that you can download on your system. Doing that blocks ads on all apps, and blocks more ad-types than the extension can.
It of course is free with an optional paid plan. The paid plan allows 5 devices. It’s also available for macOS, Android and iOS.
I get it, these companies seem to rotate around the same names, not my fault eh?
There isn’t much to say here that I haven’t already said. TotalAdBlock doesn’t offer any unique or special features. It too blocks ads, all types of ad. However, its free version only blocks specific types while allowing others. To block all ads, you must opt for the paid version.
Yes, trackers, malware, spyware etc. are blocked as well. The customization options exist as well, and you get to select what ads to block, which websites should be allowed to display ads etc.
You even get to set acceptable ads if you’d like to support creators when their ads aren’t a massive pain for you.
Its paid version is also capable of blocking browser notifications that the free version doesn’t. Oh, paying also offers you access to an antivirus! Although is the $29.00 price tag justified? That’s a decision you’ll have to make.
It does offer a 7-day free trial of the paid plan you can toy with.
As for its ad blocker, it sure is capable of blocking any and all ads. Video ads, banners, popups, text and everything in between.
It too is capable of detecting and bypassing the anti-adblocker scripts that we all hate. As expected, it does block spyware, malware, phishing sites, and everything in between as well.
It does have an optional desktop software that offers protection for all your apps instead of just the browser.
Oh the customization options exist and are impressive. You choose sites, ads, and security levels as per your preference.
It’s compatible on Windows, macOS, Android as well as iOS. Yes, it’s free.
With Adblock Plus, you can finally say “ad”-ios (pun intended) to those pesky pop-ups, banners, and other intrusive ads that ruin your browsing experience.
Of course, you’re in control as it offers dozens of ways to tweak it just the way you want. You can even create your own filter lists if you’re feeling particularly sassy.
Adblock Plus has a feature called “Acceptable Ads” which allows non-intrusive ads to be displayed if you’re feeling bad for the advertisers. Not into emotions? You can turn this feature off if you want to be a rebel.
Adblock Plus has got your back no matter which browser you’re using – Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, you name it!
Like with any other ad blocking extension on this list, Adblock Plus also blocks tracking scripts and protects your privacy. No more creepy targeted ads that make you wonder if Big Brother is watching.
[Bonus]: Brave Browser
This isn’t an “extension”, rather, it’s a full-fledged browser. A really cool (and privacy-respecting) browser.
It’s based off of Chromium, meaning it’s basically Google Chrome minus all the tracking.
And yes, it has a very advanced ad-blocker enabled by default.
With Brave browser, all ads are automatically hidden on all websites. Yes, even pre-roll video ads on Youtube. Popups, hidden overlays, animated graphics, notifications, and everything else are completely gone.
Moreover, unlike Google, it doesn’t track your keywords, search history, or other personal data either!
Of course, it blocks trackers, fingerprinting, and even phishing attempts. Moreover, it even has a Tor mode for added protection.
And, because the UI is identical to Chrome, you’ll never even feel the difference. Plus, it’s crypto-friendly.
It makes switching easy as you can import your bookmarks, extensions, and everything else in a second.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Ad Blocking Extensions
As is the tradition, I’ll answer the most common questions you may have about these extensions:
Do ad blockers slow my browser or system?
No. While some ad blockers do exist which may eat up your resources, I’ve only included the most lightweight and properly optimized anti-ad extensions on this list.
Are ad blockers safe?
Yes. If you’ve selected the right ad blocker (any extension from this list) they’re safe.
Is it illegal to use ad blockers?
No. Use of ad blockers is 100% legal (and trust me, there have been court cases against this!)
So, which is the absolute best adblocker? That’s a question not even Elon Musk can answer with 100% certainty. Most of these ad blockers have almost overlapping features and identical USPs.
However, if I’ve to shortlist a few, I’d ask you to go with uBlock Origin, Ghostery, or Privacy Badger.
Sure, the other options on this list are impressive as well, however these 3 do have the edge in some cases.
Or, you can always just switch to Brave browser and that wins you two battles at once.
That’s about it folks. Just start with Ublock Origin for now, if it underperforms you can always switch to the other options eh?