There are countless areas users are bombarded with annoying ads. It can be from websites, or you head over to YouTube and are halfway through an intriguing clip to find it paused and you have to sit through a strategically placed ad.
This ad blocker review looks at what is on offer and sees if they are all as good as they say about being the best advertisement blocker.
A lot of these ad blockers work differently and go about their business in different ways.
A pop-up ad remover does need to help retain privacy, and this review will find out which ones come out on top of the best ad blockers.
Best Ad Blockers
Best ad blocker for Opera, and claims to be the number #1 downloaded ad blocker extension for Safari and Chrome.
Best Features: Ads on Android are stopped before they can be downloaded. A toolbar button is added for ease of control.
New version uses less memory. Blocks ads in All videos, and all Flash Games. This makes it the best ad blocker for YouTube as well as just being a regular advert blocker.
Free or Paid – Free to use
Works With: All supporting browsers on and compatible devices.
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/adblock/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom?hl=en-US
- Safari – https://getadblock.com/safari/
- Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-for-firefox/
- IOS and/or Android – Only available through supporting browsers.
The best AdBlock extension blocks every type of ad. Users can whitelist pages that contain ads.
Types that are instantly blocked are Facebook ads, banner ads, social media links and YouTube ads. This delivers a distraction free environment while browsing.
The Chrome plugin AdBlock extension allows plenty of customization, where users can choose domains they don’t wish to have ads blocked. To do this, a filter is applied, and a supporting exception list.
As many websites use ads for their revenue, unobtrusive/ acceptable ads won’t be blocked. It receives regular updates of the extension itself, and the ad lists that it uses to perform blocks. Even with this, it is still a good ad blocking plugin Chrome users can select.
AdGuard is the best download adblock extension for the Yandex browser. Also, the ad blocker will also get rid of the white spaces where ads have been blocked
Best Features – You can set inverted whitelisting, here you can quickly change a whitelist to a blacklist. Blocks self-promoting ads. Blocks malicious or fake websites and has a built in location API blocker. This makes it a great Chrome extension to block ads.
Free or Paid – Free and Paid. Standard is $1.66 per month for PC or Mac. Premium includes mobile and standard packages, and costs $2.08 per month for 1 PC or Mac and one mobile device. Mobile is $0.83 per month for 1 Android or iOS device. Lifetime licenses are also available for more mobile devices. There is a 60-day refund available.
Works With: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera and Yandex
- Chrome – https://adguard.com/en/adguard-browser-extension/chrome/overview.html
- Safari – https://adguard.com/en/adguard-safari/overview.html
- Firefox – https://adguard.com/en/adguard-browser-extension/firefox/overview.html
- IOS and/or Android – https://adguard.com/en/adguard-ios/overview.html, https://adguard.com/en/adguard-android/overview.html
Uses a special integration mode when used with the desktop app in the AdGuard content blocker pro version.
AdGuard also works better on an Android phone or device when you don’t have root access.
The AdGuard ad blocker does what it says, but there is little to say what the benefits of the pro version are.
Is AdGuard safe with this confusion? It is, but in testing, it appears you only need the free version of the Android apps.
3. uBlock Origin
Being open source, uBlock for Firefox is the best supporting ad blocker extension. Lightweight and easy on system resources.
Best Features – Not just the best Chrome ad blocker, it is a wide spectrum blocker/ general purpose blocker. Blocks ads, trackers and malware.
Free or Paid – Free
Works With: Pale Moon/ SeaMonkey, Microsoft Edge, and Chromium based browsers.
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ublock-origin/cjpalhdlnbpafiamejdnhcphjbkeiagm
- Safari – https://safari-extensions.apple.com/details/?id=com.el1t.uBlock-3NU33NW2M3
- Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/
- IOS and or Android – N/A only available through browsers
The uBlock extension is straightforward to install from any of the app stores and takes no further configuration. There are enough filter lists already installed, and it offers malware protection as the standard.
Android users can turn off the uBlock ad blocker on a per site basis by clicking on the icon and hitting the large power button.
It is also possible to block page elements by right clicking on the offending ad and telling the extension to stop and further access.
Using uBlock has little effect on system resources, and it is one of the lightest tracking and ad blocking extensions there is.
It can also speed up page time quite considerably which is good for a free ad remover.
Not only this, but with the light resource use, it is one of the best ad blocking extensions for Chrome.
Adlock works outside browsers because it isn’t a browser extension only. It can block adds in apps and is soon to have a parental tool as part of the package.
Best Features – Claims to be the best Windows operating system Ad Blocker. The app blocks ads outside browsers, even if on skype or other none-browser applications
Free or Paid – Free browser extension for Chrome. Paid version for Android devices and Windows. Paid for app on Android costs $9 per year, per mobile device. Windows app costs $18 per year, per device. There is a 30-day money back guarantee.
Works With: Windows, Android and Chrome
- Chrome – https://adlock.com/adlock-for-chrome/
- Safari – No Safari support
- Firefox – No Firefox support
- IOS and/or Android – https://adlock.com/adlock-for-android/
What is AdLock if it isn’t an extension? AdLock is an ad blocker app, which has rocketed in popularity as one of the top apps for Android in the Google Play store.
It removes all known types of online advertisements regardless of what apps, games you are using. “Pop up banners, flashing banners, text ads, auto play, YouTube ads, Skype ads, video ads, etc.” are all included according to the AdLock website.
AdLock stops users visiting malicious sites and speeds up loading times dramatically. To test their claims, they offer a 14-day free trial.
5. Fair Ad blocker
Best Features: Supports fair ads for a fair web. Allows users to create their own levels of fairness for advertisers and publishers.
Free or Paid – Free
Works With: Chrome only
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fair-adblocker/lgblnfidahcdcjddiepkckcfdhpknnjh?hl=en-US
- Safari – N/A
- Firefox – N/A
- IOS and/or Android – N/A unless Chrome used
The Stands Fair ad blocker stops all annoying ads, malware and tracking. It has little impact on performance and does as it was designed to do.
Users can tweak many settings. You enable or disable Facebook ads, Search ads, Web mail ads or sponsored links.
While not designed for mass ad blocking, you can use it for this, but with all the options, it is more than sufficient.
The Stands ad block does a good job, but, it does encourage users to whitelist specific ads from some sites, and some users may prefer to block all ads.
The ad blocker can be used solo as part of the Andorra security suite. There is a secondary “Safe search” Chrome extension.
Best Features: You won’t see ads, and the ads won’t see you
Free or Paid – Free for extension. Security suite will come with a subscription cost, but not yet available.
Works With: Only works with Chrome and Firefox
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/adblocker-by-trustnav/dgbldpiollgaehnlegmfhioconikkjjh?hl=en
- Safari – N/A
- Firefox – N/A
- IOS and/or Android – N/A
The adblocker by Trustnav claims to be the fastest ad block extension available. It rids your pages of banner ads, windows that pop-up, video ads, and it says it can stop advertising companies from tracking you.
The adblocker can come as part of the Trustnav Security Suite, which includes an antivirus and the safe search extension.
However, the antivirus isn’t available so you do need to use the extensions on their own.
The interface is very clean and simple, so much so, there is little fine-tuning users can do. You have the option of turning the ad blocker on or off and if you want it to block all ads, or just partial blocking.
In testing, it worked very well apart from a few autoplay ads that sneaked past the detection. It did show itself as one of the better ad blockers for Firefox.
7. AdBlocker Ultimate
Completely free, and blocks all ads. No whitelisted ads or sites. Stops tracking and malware domains
Best Features: Comes with a “Quick block” feature that can instantly block ads which do get through detection
Free or Paid – Free, although there is a contribution page for donations
Works With: Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Yandex
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/adblocker-ultimate/ohahllgiabjaoigichmmfljhkcfikeof
- Safari – https://apps.apple.com/us/app/adblocker-ultimate-block-all-ads-in-your-browser/id1113503428
- Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblocker-ultimate/
- IOS and or Android – N/A only browsers supported
AdBlocker Ultimate takes a strong approach to ads. It stops them all, and in testing it appears to do just that.
It doesn’t matter on the kind of ads, be it text, banner, pop-up, pop-under, overlay, interstitial page ads, Facebook ads and web browser mail app ads.
The ad blocker doesn’t come with any whitelists, but users can add their own. Filters are included, but the extension hasn’t seen an update since 2016.
The company behind AdBlocker Ultimate has three key areas to put their focus.
Block ads, Don’t have any acceptable Ads (no sponsorship) and turn off tracking. Although it hasn’t seen an update for a few years, it is still the best pop-up blocker for Chrome.
It was hard to find any particular faults. It does what it says, and you still have the chance to right click on elements on a page to either block or disable filtering.
8. Adblock Plus
The Adblock Plus extension has over 10 million downloads from the Google Play store. This shows it is the most popular phone ad blocker, and one of the best ad blockers in Chrome Play Store.
Best Features: Designed to only block intrusive ads and malware. Includes anti-adblock feature. On a none-rooted device, it can filter all Wi-Fi traffic.
Free or Paid – Free
Works With: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Maxthon, Yandex, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. Dedicated extension for Samsung Galaxy internet.
- Chrome – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.adblockplus.browser
- Safari – https://apps.apple.com/us/app/adblock-plus-abp-remove-ads-browse-faster-without-tracking/id1028871868
- Firefox – https://eyeo.to/adblockplus/firefox_install/
- IOS and or Android – https://apps.apple.com/app/adblock-browser-best-ad-blocker/id1015653330
One of the biggest questions regarding one of the most well-known ad blockers is what is the difference between AdBlock vs AdBlock plus?
While they are both different, they have many of the same features. They do both block many ads, and both use EasyList. With the amount of support for iOS, this could be the best ad blocker for Safari.
One major difference is that Chrome AdBlock Plus has been accused of whitelisting some larger advertisers in return for payment. AdBlock Plus is also easier to use and gives users the chance to disable the “Acceptable Ads” if they so wish.
There is also a free adblocker browser available for Android and iOS.
It performs as well as many other Safari ad blockers, but it comes with many user options that can be changed, but it is the best Android ad blocker by the numbers.
AdBlock Plus is one of the oldest ad blockers there is, and to a certain extent because of its checkered past with whitelisting. You may give this one a miss.
The Ghostery plugin comes with enhanced anti-tracking to anonymize user data for more privacy.
Best Features: Detailed tracker dashboard, smart blocking for website trackers, anti-phishing, historical data view
Free or Paid – Free or Ghostery plus for $2 per month. This delivers personalized themes and better support plus more.
Works With: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Cliqz 8.1
- Chrome – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ghostery.android.ghostery&hl=en_US
- Safari – https://safari-extensions.apple.com/details/?id=com.betteradvertising.ghostery-HPY23A294X
- Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ghostery/
- IOS and or Android – Ad blocking Browsers
While not entirely an ad blocker, there is a question about what is Ghostery? This Ghostery review looks at an extension, which is very different to any of the others so far. Online privacy is the most important thing, and this is the aim.
It is more of an anti-tracker with ad blocking thrown in for good measure. Web page trackers are controlled by the smart blocking, and this is coupled with anti-tracking that helps you online activities remain as anonymous as they can.
You have options for bulk blocking and unblocking of any website trackers. Even with this, any intrusive ads are blocked by default.
This alone will improve any online experience. To see how well it performs, there are lots of historical data you can go back through.
Even though it isn’t designed as a pure ad blocker, it is close to being the best ad blocker for Android.
10. Privacy Badger
The Eff Privacy Badger automatically learns how to block invisible trackers.
Best Features: Watches for trackers that are following users around the web and stops access. Looks for tracking techniques such as canvas fingerprinting and super cookies.
Free or Paid –
Works With: Chrome, Firefox Focus and Opera
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/privacy-badger/pkehgijcmpdhfbdbbnkijodmdjhbjlgp?hl=en-US
- Safari – N/A
- Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/privacy-badger17/
- IOS and or Android – Firefox on Android – https://www.eff.org/files/privacy-badger-latest.xpi
The Privacy Badger extension doesn’t keep lists to check for blocking trackers. Privacy Badger will learn as it watches domains that seem to be tracking your activities.
The extension will send a Do Not Track signal with all your browsing, and if trackers ignore this, Badger learns it has to block them.
Adding to this, if the same tracker is seen on three separate websites, these are blocked at this point.
Badger also removes the outgoing link click tracking on Twitter, Google and Facebook and social media. For the Badger to do this, there are some permissions that are required.
The extension reads and changes data on websites you visit. It needs this so it can detect and block trackers.
One other is the privacy related settings. These are changed so they can stop some of the privacy invasive defaults in Chrome.
With the dedicated Firefox on Android device extension, this makes it a close competitor for the best ad block Android users can use.
Why Block Ads?
There are many reasons users need ad blockers on their systems. One of the main reasons for doing so is to protect personal information.
The ads in apps users face, are all designed to either lead them to a sales page through targeted ads, or they are more malicious in nature and are to glean as much information from the user as possible for hacking, or breaking into user accounts.
Adware is the name that is given to applications which have been designed with the sole purpose of displaying advertisements.
They also used to direct you to advertising websites and to collect data from you as a marketing strategy to deliver targeted ads.
This adware collects data without your consent, or even without you knowing it is happening.
Malware is a step up in the wrong direction from adware. Malware is malicious by nature, and for the majority, it isn’t bothered with delivering ads.
Malware is the work of Cyber-criminals who use it to generate revenue by underhanded methods.
Malware nowadays covers a vast range of things, these can include viruses. These fasten to clean files and then spread by attaching themselves to other files until the entire device has been infected.
Trojans disguise themselves as reputable software, or it can be included in a software installation process.
The software will have been adapted to include this malicious code where it then creates a backdoor to allow hackers onto your system.
Spyware doesn’t infect your system in the same way as viruses or malware, rather it watches what you are doing.
This means it can gather passwords, social media account logins, all your surfing activities and a lot more besides.
Through the above, there can be the use of trackers. These follow you around the internet and build up profiles of your habits.
These trackers are one of the main reasons for privacy protection because you can be monitored by your ISP and government agencies as well as malicious organizations.
One of the more recent needs for online protection has been because of code inserted into websites with a unique purpose.
Crypto miners have been using popular websites to get the user of the site to mine cryptocurrency.
While it may only work while you are on the site, it can slow down your system and connection to a crawl.
Users will be unaware this is happening, and even if users only visit the site for a couple of minutes, this can mean a lot with millions of visitors around the world.
The first steps in stopping all the above are blocking ads, and some of the best ad blockers in the list above, help to prevent any of the threats in this section.
Aside from this, there are other benefits you can find using an ad blocker aside from your personal safety while online. (Want more privacy and security? Read our Ultimate Privacy Guide)
Benefits of Blocking Ads
The first benefit of blocking ads is you will be much safer when online. You will find yourself not facing ads that are showing things you may have browsed for.
A good example being you looked at something on Amazon once. Since this, you see all ads are related to the item you checked.
All this ad targeting will be erased by a good ad blocker, and no longer will ads which you are not interested in be following all the pages you visit.
It should be noted, if you choose the wrong ad blocker, you can make matters worse as some companies pay several of the free ad blockers to white-list their sites.
Not only will your privacy and security be enhanced, but you will come to have a better online experience.
These ad-servers are designed to take the information from above and feed it into whatever site or app you are using.
Not only do they use it for their own purposes, but personal information is sold on to third-parties.
The best ad blockers don’t just stop the ads, they prevent the ad-servers from compiling this online profile of you.
Another area where your online experience improves is through page loading times. This occurs because with most ads, there is the analytics code, any text with the ad and also most ads come with images. All this takes up processing time and bandwidth.
Once you block these, you can find your web pages load up to 30% faster than they did previously. This lets you get on what you were doing without waiting and without distractions.
Lastly, it isn’t just your web experience that is quicker, you can find your system overall performs better.
These areas where there are applications running in the background, they all use system resources. Adding to this, they not be coded very well, so the standard of the app can be low and it takes its toll on your system.
Add to this, you can have multiple malicious apps running, and your stem grinds to a halt for no explanation.
Ad blockers stop these apps, so your system doesn’t fall foul to these malicious apps from starting or running in the background.
Users who use mobile data plans will also be thankful because ad blockers help save money.
Even news sites can eat through half of a data plans allowed bandwidth allocation. This makes a significant difference once all these annoyances are blocked.
Using a VPN to Block Ads
We have seen that ad blockers are great ways to stop the annoyance of targeted ads, and help to protect your online privacy.
With web tracking following users around the web, it can be hard for them to get away from these annoyances.
Reputable ad blockers help, but they can only help so much. They do block ads, pop-ups and pop-unders, however, they don’t do anything for full system security when you are connected via apps which are outside your browser.
An IP address is the main way users are tracked, and because of this, a VPN service is the ideal way to hide this from view. (Read our Best VPN Service Provider Guide)
You are assigned a different IP address, so the tracking ads have no idea where to go, or where to send ads.
Even paid for ad blockers are not able to safeguard users security any further than stopping advertisements or trackers. Because a user’s IP is still exposed, then they are still in a vulnerable position.
Adding to this, some of the free ad blockers are themselves harvesting user data, and passing it on.
However, a VPN may not stop the ads which pop-up once you visit a website. Thus, some VPN’s now include their own ad blockers.
The advantage here is they work on a system level and not just in a browser. Along with this, these work before ads can even reach the device, and are blocked much earlier.
Here are some of the VPN’s with their versions of Ad-blocking software.
NordVPN Ad Blocker
The ad blocker by NordVPN is called CyberSec. The way this works is by using popular lists of blocked websites.
When you go to visit a website, it scans the address and checks this against its massive lists.
If the app spots a match, further access is denied. This will prevent any site that is known to host malware of infected files.
In addition, if you already have malware, and your system has been connected to part of a botnet, then the connection between your device and the owner of the botnet network is restricted.
The apps ad blocker also stops auto-playing videos and dangerous pop-pups. This is one of the best VPN services that comes with an ad blocker with considerable bandwidth savings without compromising online security.
Surfshark Ad Blocker
Inside the Surfshark VPN app is their interpretation of an ad blocker. CleanWeb needs to be manually enabled in the Surfshark settings menu.
After it has been turned on, it offers protection against ads, trackers and malware.
The way it works, is by blocking unwanted DNS requests from dangerous website servers. Although this VPN is new, this is one of the best ad block integration’s.
Private Internet Access Ad Blocker
Like the other VPN with ad block properties, the one built into Private Internet Access will filter ads and domains known to contain malware via DNS requests.
PIA Mace will send all these blocked domains to an IP of 126.96.36.199. This leads to nowhere so these domain connections just die.
CyberGhost Ad Blocker
This is the last VPN ad remover review, and it works in a different way to other ad blocker VPN options above.
CyberGhost looks inside the traffic packets and will modify the requests to specific domains. This displays CyberGhost content back at the destination.
This works, but it does pose a few problems. Mainly, it only works on HTTP connections because https requests are encrypted.
The other problem being CyberGhost can see inside all your data packets, and this is far from what a VPN provider should do.
A few of the ad blockers above are viable options and can make all the difference to your online experience.
However, a premium version is not necessarily any better than the better free options.
This leads us to find there is little point paying for an ad blocker. Adding to this, the best free ones as we saw, can only do so much.
They can block all the ads, pop-ups, pop-unders and trackers, but this is in browsers only. When there is any data from outside the browser, these ad blockers can’t do anything for online
The VPN ad blocker option is far superior as an ads remover. They don’t just block them, they divert them at the VPN server level, so they have no chance to reach your machine.
Add to this, all data is encrypted so nothing can find its way to your device unless allowed by the VPN network.
For the ultimate in online privacy and security, there is nothing that can match a VPN, throw in the free ad blocking that comes as part of the bundle, and users have the best apps to take back control of their web traffic, no matter what apps and browsers they are using.