Everyone knows that online ads are annoying and sometimes dangerous. Even the FBI recommends using ad blockers because cyber criminals use online advertisements to distribute malware by impersonating well-known brands.
However, many believe that essential online protection shouldn’t come at a cost. Thus, we compiled a list of the best free ad blocker options available so anyone could protect themselves on the internet. Check them out and install one as soon as possible.
Top 3 best free ad blockers: shortlist
- The best free ad-blocker with a 100% success rate9.7
- A well-rounded free trial ad blocker with a VPN9.5
- Ultra-secure free ad blocker for unlimited devices9.1
Free ad blockers vs paid ad blockers
Unsurprisingly, you’ll get vastly different results with free ad blockers compared to paid alternatives. Here’s a quick rundown of the differences.
|Free ad blockers
|Paid ad blockers
Generally speaking, completely free ad-blocking software fulfills just the bare minimum regarding online security. That’s because the absence of a consistent revenue stream doesn’t attract competent developers to maintain the project. Thus, the software isn’t updated frequently and can’t combat advanced ad technology.
Additionally, free ad blockers are only compatible with a handful of devices and operating systems. You’ll most likely only find free options in the form of browser extensions and unreliable mobile apps.
Thankfully, these hindrances disappear in a puff of smoke once you snag a paid ad blocker. First and foremost, a subscription grants the service the necessary resources to keep the software up-to-date and capable of tackling advanced advertising technologies. Plus, these options usually include other security perks, such as a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for hiding your location and identity.
Ultimately, free ad blockers simply aren’t efficient at disabling adware. No matter how enticing costless software is, it will never achieve the same performance level of a premium tool. Thus, we strongly encourage getting our recommended free trial ad blockers – they underwent rigorous testing and surpassed other popular ad-blocking solutions. And they come with trial versions or money-back guarantees, letting you try them out for an extended period.
The best free ad blockers – detailed list
- Total Adblock – all-time best free ad-blocking solution
- NordVPN Threat Protection – trustworthy & advanced free ad-blocking software
- Surfshark CleanWeb – robust free ad blocker with a tested formula
Below you’ll find detailed overviews of the best ad-blocking tools available for free and capable of blocking any online nuisances effectively. Read their descriptions to find out which best suits your needs.
1. Total Adblock – the most reliable free ad blocker
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Highly customizable
- Blocks YouTube, Twitch, Facebook ads
- Excellent ad-blocking results
- Lacks a Firefox extension
The best overall free ad blocker for any platform is Total Adblock. Potential customers can try the full range of features for 7 days at no cost, after which they can continue using the ad blocker for free. However, the free version doesn’t block ads on the top 15,000 websites. Thus, switching to premium is a better option, coming with a generous 75% discount.
Total Adblock is highly customizable for an ad blocker, letting you whitelist ads & pop-ups and mute browser notifications altogether. Moreover, there’s an expansive filters feature for Android and iOS users that want to filter out specific ads. These include user trackers, social media widgets, cookie notices, mobile ad networks, and more, depending whether you own an Android or an iPhone.
Coming close to a 100% ad blocking rate, Total Adblock is the best solution we tested both for desktop and mobile. And currently, it’s available as a browser extension for Chrome, Brave, Opera, Edge, and Vivaldi. There are even full-fledged apps for Android and iOS. What we liked the most is that Total Adblock effectively blocked YouTube ads during testing on browsers and phones.
You are free to use Total Adblock after the free 7-day trial ends, but we highly recommend subscribing to this ad blocker for the best ad-blocking experience. The Premium plan is very budget-friendly and even comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee. And if you’re looking for an antivirus solution, you can even bundle Total Adblock with TotalAV.
2. NordVPN Threat Protection – great solution again ads, trackers, and malware
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Blocks ads, trackers, viruses
- Scans downloaded files for malware
- Includes a VPN
- Can’t whitelist sites
Another great and versatile ad blocker is NordVPN Threat Protection. Those wishing to try it out can choose from a wide range of packages with extra tools. For example, you can unlock a VPN, password manager, and encrypted cloud storage perks. However, the tool isn’t completely free and requires taking advantage of the 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
The tool is split into web and file protection categories for customizing specific security measures. For starters, the former includes ad, malware, tracker blocking, and URL trimming to remove tracking parameters from links you visit. On the other hand, file protection is responsible for scanning downloaded files and your device. It then quarantines suspicious files for further inspection.
You can utilize Threat Protection on practically any device you own. The feature is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Moreover, you can install it as a separate browser extension on Chrome (and other Chromium browsers) or Firefox. And don’t worry about any issues because customer support is available 24/7 to solve any nagging issues.
Consider opting for a premium subscription once the 7-day free trial ends. The lengthiest options include an 67% discount and 3 bonus months for free. You can lock in this deal with a valid NordVPN coupon code.
3. Surfshark CleanWeb – effective and user-friendly ad blocker
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Whitelisting available
- Data breach alerts
- Excellent performance
- Pop-up blocker exclusive to the extension
Surfshark CleanWeb is an excellent tool for wiping away online ads and improving website loading times in the process. It comes in two different forms – a browser extension and an addition to a VPN application. The browser extension, named CleanWeb 2.0, includes a wider array of perks and customization options.
The CleanWeb extension main dashboard is segmented into four categories – ad blocker, pop-up blocker, data breach alert, and malware alert. The features are self-explanatory and do their jobs exceptionally well. A noteworthy feature is the pop-up blocker that eliminates the need to accept the all-too-common cookie consent forms. Additionally, data breach alert scans leaked databases and notifies you if your information is in one.
At the moment CleanWeb 2.0 is exclusive to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Meanwhile, the app version is available on all desktop and mobile operating systems, including Android TV, for ad-free video content streaming.
You can claim the Surfshark 7-day free trial on the Google Play and Apple App Store. Alternatively, utilize the generous 30-day money-back guarantee to snag a risk-free test run. Finally, don’t miss out on the 79% discount and the 3 bonus months of subscription time when using a coupon code to sign up.
Free ad blockers comparison
|NordVPN Threat Protection
|7-day free trial
|7-day free trial
|Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
|Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV
|Chrome, Brave, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi
|Chrome, Firefox, Edge
|Chrome, Firefox, Edge
|Ad blocker, antivirus (with the bundle)
|VPN, antivirus tools, data breach monitoring, password manager, encrypted cloud storage
|VPN, antivirus features, data breach monitoring
How we tested the best free ad blockers
It’s important to have a system when testing numerous products in a particular category. Here’s what we paid attention to when considering free ad blockers for this list.
- Available for free. The primary criterion is for the ad blocker to be available for free in some capacity. Even options with temporary trials are acceptable.
- Good device compatibility. The best ad-blocking tool is the one that can protect every device you own. Thus, we prioritized tools compatible with as many apps and browser extensions as possible.
- Effective against various ads. Online advertisements come in many annoying forms (trackers, embedded ads, pop-up ads, etc.). Plus, they can include more heinous surprises like viruses or malware, so a good ad blocker should be well-equipped to deal with all of them.
- User reviews. It’s important to consider the reviews of existing users to gauge how well the product is performing on a larger scale.
- Frequent updates. The cyber threat landscape changes rapidly, so it’s vital that your protection tools can keep up the pace. You can be certain your ad blocker is up to the task if it receives frequent updates.
- Customer support options. You’ll need the option to contact customer support specialists if you ever encounter an insurmountable issue.
How to choose the best free ad blocker
You should choose a free ad blocker that best suits your situation and threat model. Unsurprisingly, these will vary from person to person, but there are some general guidelines everyone should follow.
- Compatibility. First and foremost, you need an ad blocker compatible with your preferred computer and mobile phone operating system. And don’t forget to check web browser support because extensions require fewer resources to run.
- Performance. While checking the ad blocking service’s advertised performance is acceptable, the best way to get accurate results is via third parties specializing in online security testing.
- Bonus features. A high-quality digital protection service should cover all possible attack vectors, not just ads. Even better if it can improve your online privacy by encrypting your traffic, masking your whereabouts, or scanning your files.
- Customization. No point in using a service if you can’t adjust various settings to fit your needs and preferences.
- Price. The most expensive ad blockers aren’t necessarily the best. Conversely, free ad blockers are unlikely to deliver satisfactory results. You need to find the right balance between affordability and service reliability.
- Money-back guarantee. You can enjoy premium ad-blocking services for free if they offer lengthy money-back guarantees. At the very least, you can test them for a while to experience their effectiveness first-hand.
What’s the difference between free ad-block plugins and apps?
Ad blocker plugins (aka browser extensions) and apps differ primarily on how widely they can nullify advertisements on your device. For example, plugins will only work on the browser they’re installed on, while apps can theoretically protect your entire device. To be precise, they should block ads on your web browser and other applications suffering from ads, for example, video streaming services and free online games.
It’s important to note that you’re unlikely to find reliable free ad-blocking apps. Or you’ll have to deal with other drawbacks, such as time restrictions and fewer features.
On the flip side, there’s no shortage of unpaid plugin options with varying degrees of effectiveness. However, you must consider that free products always have some downsides. They can be obvious, like a time limit and the absence of features. Or they can be covert, like tracking your online movements in the background.
Naturally, you can do your due diligence and research whether the products you’re interested in partake in unsavory activities. But keep in mind that this can be a time-consuming process. Ultimately, the best option is to use well-known services with solid reputations, such as Total Adblock.
Free ad blockers based on your OS and browser
Platform compatibility varies between providers, meaning you may need more than one free ad blocker to cover different browsers and device operating systems. Let’s dive into the specifics to see the best options for each browser and OS.
Free ad blockers for your OS
Let’s start with ad blocker apps best suited for specific devices and operating systems.
- Free ad blocker for Android. By default, the Android OS includes the Google Chrome browser with its integrated ad-blocker. However, it isn’t super effective against the most common (and annoying) ads. Instead, it works well against malware. And so, we recommend grabbing Total AdBlock if you want to stick with the default browser and enjoy completely ad-free browsing.
- Best free ad blocker for iPhone. iPhone owners will benefit the most from a mobile-friendly ad-blocking app compatible with iOS. Our top contender in this regard is Total Adblock.
- Free ad blocker for Mac. The Apple App Store verification process often fails, leading to virus-laden and ad-infested apps making their way onto the platform. This makes it crucial to arm yourself with a reliable ad-blocking service. The best option for Apple fans is NordVPN Threat Protection.
- Free ad blocker for Windows. The Windows operating system includes Windows Defender as a way to protect users against malware. However, that doesn’t solve the issue of integrated ads in the start menu against your will. You’ll need a powerful third-party app to block these, for example, NordVPN Threat Protection or Surfshark CleanWeb.
Free ad blockers for browsers
Consider using an ad-blocking browser extension if you want less impact on your device’s performance.
- Free ad blocker for Chrome. Google Chrome is the most widely-used browser because it’s the first recommended option when netizens open the most familiar search engine. It also includes an acceptable security package against ransomware, viruses, and other nefarious surprises. On the flip side, it doesn’t block most ads or remove trackers to improve online privacy. That means you’ll need a solid ad blocker to stay anonymous using Google Chrome. Your best bet is with the Total Adblock extension.
- Best free ad blocker for Safari. As you know, Safari doesn’t support third-party browser extensions. As such, you’ll need to opt for a service that offers an ad-blocking app compatible with macOS or iOS. Both desktop and phone users should go with Total Adblock.
Is it safe to use a free ad blocker?
As mentioned above, free digital products, including ad blockers, usually aren’t safe. They need a revenue stream just like any other service to operate. And since you’re not paying a subscription, the service most likely collects your data and sells it to advertisers.
Furthermore, this state of affairs leads to free services delivering poor quality. After all, their primary goal is to rack up as many downloads as possible to collect huge troves of profitable data. Thus, ad-blocking quality is put by the wayside.
And even if the service doesn’t collect excess information about its customers, it still lacks the necessary funds to maintain a top-notch ad-blocking service. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about such issues with premium providers.
Is it worth paying for ad blocker?
Yes, premium ad blockers are definitely worth it if you want reliable results and don’t want to deal with the aforementioned issues. Most importantly, the best ad blocker tools protect against annoying adverts and other online threats and privacy problems. I’m talking about the viruses, trackers, and malware that typically accompany ill-willed ads. And don’t forget scams and phishing attacks, too. For this, we highly recommend Total Adblock.
Alternatively, you could look for a well-rounded cybersecurity tool that also includes VPN software. It can improve overall security by masking your true whereabouts. It also makes your connection impenetrable and immune to man-in-the-middle attacks and mass surveillance. Meanwhile, rerouting your connection through servers in other regions can bypass geographical restrictions and censorship.
NordVPN’s Threat Protection is the ultimate ad-blocking solution great not only for this task. It also blocks user trackers and malicious websites and scans all downloads for malware. Best of all, it comes with a VPN, ensuring you remain secure and private no matter what you’re doing online.
Ad blockers are essential for any frequent web surfer, which is practically everyone, because so much of our livelihoods are online. Understandably, many aren’t willing to pay for a tool that should be the default on web browsers. And so they opt for free ad blockers to protect their online activities.
Consider our recommended free ad blocker options if you have a similar opinion. But don’t dismiss the idea of purchasing a premium service for outstanding results and extra benefits. For that, we recommend Total Adblock, the #1 premium ad-blocking tool on the market.
What’s your preferred ad-blocking method? Do you think a paid tool is worth investing in? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
What is the best free ad blocker software?
Total Adblock is the best free ad blocker software available. It’s entirely free for 7 days. After that, you can continue using it for free for as long as you want. However, it won’t be as effective as the premium version.
Is there a totally free ad blocker?
Yes, you can find completely free ad blockers. However, they come at the cost of performance, reliability, and device compatibility. On the other hand, some premium ad blockers are available temporarily through free trials and money-back guarantees. The top choice in this regard is Total Adblock.
What is the most trustworthy ad blocker?
Total Adblock is the most trustworthy ad blocker. It effectively blocks 100% of adware, making browsing faster and much more secure. You can even customize how the ad blocker behaves and what it blocks.
What is the best free YouTube ad blocker?
You’ll get the best results with Total Adblock. You can use the premium version for free for 7 days, after that it switches to the free version, which is less effective. The service is available as an app for mobile devices and as a browser extension for various popular browsers.