We all love the free stuff that the Internet offers but we are all aware that more than often this comes with many drawbacks! One of them for sure are the advertisements! for us. The best free adblockers, for example, Adblocker Ultimate, AdBlock Plus, Opera Browser, and many more are here to prevent different types of ads and at the same time ensure privacy.
Ad blockers are definitely an efficient way to assist in the securing of online privacy and in addition, they lower the websites’ clutter and more ads that are spyware-infected are avoided. The good news is that besides the many paid software for block ads there is an equal number of free of charge and as efficient as the former. This is why we compiled a list of the best ad blockers that at the same time are free of charge. The list of free ad blockers consists of a blend of effective tools and programs for Firefox, Chrome, and others.
The best free ad blockers for 2020
This is our suggestion for the best free adblockers of 2020:
- Stands Fair Adblocker
- Opera Browser
- AdBlock Plus
- uBlock Plus Adblocker
- Poper Blocker
- Trustnav Adblocker
- Adblocker Ultimate
- AdGuard (no longer free)
Ad blocking is a great option to remove the advertisements that are bothering us on the web. Although there are many great paid adblocking programs you do not have to use this option but and instead opt for something that is equally good but at the same time offered for free.
Today we are presenting a list of the 10 leading free ad blockers on the market. We give you a detailed overview of each of them so you can try few of them before you make a decision on which one is the right one for you.
Types of ads and methods of ranking
There are many ways of blocking ads as there are as many types of ads that we come across daily. Ultimately the way we choose to block the ads might not be that much of importance if it shows the effectiveness and you are able to browse the web effectively and your privacy is secured. In addition, a good ad blocker will be able to block the majority of the types of ads.
We did the research for you and here are the best free ad blockers we chose based on these criteria:
- Free of charge with all features
- Positive user ratings
- Does not ask for an account to be able to use it
- Updates available within the last year
- Can be used as a plugin for at least one OS and browser
- Enables blocking of “display ads” (in different formats such as pop-up, video, image, banner, text ads or wallpaper)
- Enables blocking of streaming video ads (for example on YouTube)
We also made this list based on tested programs for prestitial as well as interstitial advertisements (the ones that countdown and load before the upload of the wanted content). Since Google released the ad-blocker that is integrated as part of Chrome, it also started to punish pages for unfavorable practices regarding ads in Google search and thus most of the sites abandoned that particular style of ads which additionally created a challenge to locate them for proper testing. On the list, we mentioned these features but this as a criterion was not included in the overall rating.
We tested a couple of sites that offer different types of ads for assessment such as YouTube, OrlandoSentinel.com., Fark.com, Forbes.com. Some of the sites may use ads that are persistent and we might say aggressive in the context of being difficult to be blocked. Such is the case with the Orlando Sentinel site and their ads.
The free ad blockers stated in this article made on our list of the best as they satisfied not all but the most of the criteria. All the free ad blockers are rated and all of them except, the Stands Fair Adblocker, is a software of open source.
Best Ad Blockers- Browser plugins and apps
One possibility for ad blocking is the installation of a plugin on a browser or use of a web browser that has an integrated blocker. Both of the options can have much better interactions with the sites you are using than an individual program installed in the background of your PC.
Stands Fair AdBlocker
This Adblocker is possible only with Chrome and it comes in a format of a low-impact plugin that performs its job very well. It can be used for blocking of various types of ads but only as a Chrome addon. The Stands Fair AdBlocker is intended for individual and not wholesale ad blocking and in addition, the company motivates the customers to whitelist particular advertisements that can be found on various sites.
Stands company with this product is truly incredible at what it does and satisfies the expectations as it manages to deal even with some really aggressive ads like the ones mentioned before found at the site Orlando Sentinel, and the other ads like video, display, Youtube and related.
Best features: Block search ads on Google and Facebook ads.
Works with: Chrome
If you are in a search of complete experience in ad blocking but you do not want to bother with plugins, one excellent option is the Opera browser as it has great speed and one of the first to possess a built-in blocker for ads.
This blocker does a great job too. It can be adjusted in the settings and it has the ability to block almost any ad. One con compared to other blockers is that it is not successful in blocking the interstitial advertisements such as the quote advertisements on Forbes. With the exception of the mentioned ads Opera did well on the test by blocking other types of ads.
Best feature: Built-in web browser, easy whitelisting
Works with: Chrome
AdLock is the most recent one on the list but has proved its effectiveness in a very short time. Although a plugin the AdLock can also perform on Android and Windows for blocking ads on various apps. A great feature is a parental tool that worth testing. It is a free Chrome plugin and we can recommend it as a powerful tool.
AdLock is intended to block all types of advertisements and indeed proved itself very successful in getting rid of the ads such as autoplay video ads, pop-ads, Youtube ads among the many. The only exception which actually is common with the other ad blockers as well was the site of Orlando Sentinel where AdLock was not very successful.
However, the tool by default is created to block each possible form of ad that you might come across. If you want to whitelist a particular site you can simply do this in “Settings” and just click “Whitelist”. Here, you can also toggle several other settings if you wish that. Although to be honest, not so many people wish to do that and just leave it to the tool to do its work.
Based on the performed tests AdLock earned flying colors. Although there is an option for paying there is no free trial to check what is actually included in this so we would recommend staying with the free versions for Android Chrome, Windows as well as Chrome.
Best features: Spyware filter
Works with: Chrome, Windows and Android
The popularity of Adblock Plus as a blocking software can be seen from the 10 million downloaded versions only on the Chrome browser. It is free and open-source enabled by eye/o. Adblock Plus represents the first and foremost source code in reference to many other free ad blockers.
The design of Adblock Plus by default was not intended to be used with all types of ads but only the ones claimed as intrusive and potential malware. This normally means that you should expect a number of advertisements unless you adjust the settings. If you choose to play with the settings you should click on options and unclick the “Allow some non-intrusive advertising” placed at the end of the screen. However, the ABP did not manage to block some of the most persistent ads such as Orlando Sentinel’s ones. It is popular and a good option but unfortunately it is far from an ideal solution.
Best features: has an anti-adblock filter
Works with: Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Yandex Browser, iOS, Android
uBlock Plus Adblocker
One of the largest cons of this plugin is that it is not user-friendly in the context of the forward-facing interface. You can adjust most of the things in the general setting and a few additional in the UI. On the assessment tests, this tool proved its effectiveness and managed to block all including the autoplay videos.
There are a lot of things that you can perform with this tool even if you do not adjust the settings. Again what is worth mentioning as a drawback of this tool is that it includes an extensive library from filters from a third-party. In addition, you can customize content filters in the advanced settings.
uBlock Plus Adblocker dealt successfully with the majority of ads but had issues to deal with banner ads, which again was very similar to the other ad blockers.
Best features: Filtering of large elements and malvertising filters
Works with: Chrome
One of the newest members in the family of pop-up blocking scene is the Poper Blocker, which can be used in Firefox web browsers and Chrome. The plugin has quickly gained the reputation of the top pop-up blocker out there at the moment based on claims of a few tech sites. We will see how it goes on the tests that we prepared. There is a lot to explore when it comes to Poper Blocker as it is a high-tier option. Nonetheless, it is effective in its work.
This tool works as efficiently in Chrome as in Firefox too not only with blocking pop-ups but with other types of website overlays. The tool removes the pop-ups automatically but if you want to remove the overlays you will have to right-click on them. You can also whitelist the sites just as this is an option with the other tools and even report if the plug-in does not block certain pop-up.
Poper Blocker meets the requirements that were set as recommendable for one blocker to possess. You can use it for free and you have all the features available in this free version. You do not need to sign-up or enter some personal information if you want to use the tool. One of the cons of the blocker is its feature of data collection and use anonymized. However, there is an option that you can choose to go out of these services for data collection.
If interested in numbers in Chrome there are more than 2 million people who tried this tool and more 73,000 rated this plugin with 4.8 from the total 5 stars. There are regular updates of the app.
Regarding the tests, we can confirm that it is a successful tool in blocking different kinds of ads with just one remark that some pop-ups reappeared after they were removed after refreshing the page. This was the case with Forbes.com, which made the front page not operating properly for a while.
Best feature: Overlay blocking
Works with: Chrome as well as Firefox
AdBlocker Genesis Plus
We would recommend this plugin especially if you have used the types of blockers such as uBlock Origin and AdBlock Plus and you are satisfied with the use. AdBlocker Genesis Plus utilizes the same code like many other common and famous plugins. What is different is the UI and the rest of the operation is more or less the same. The developer claims that it guarantees bigger privacy because it removed the tracking code that is found at the uBlock/AdBlock Plus.
A large number of users have rated positively this tool and more than 100,000 people have given 4.34 from the total 5. However, the plug-in did not manage to block many large ads and there is a button named “block element” that can be used to block the ads.
Best features: tracking code removed for increased privacy, a button for simple whitelisting button and button for “block element”
Works with: Chrome
Trustnav is the name of the company that created this mixture of an ad blocker as well as antivirus plugin for Google Chrome. The antivirus solution, however, is premium and at the moment unavailable. You can use only the option for solo adblocker free of charge.
Trustnav at the moment contains the Chrome plugin called “Safesearch” which is individual and different from adblocker. One thing to have in mind is that you need to install the adblocker from Chrome.
This Adblocker is great from the point of functionality, it is easy to use and has a nice user interface. Although it is effective one of the greatest issues is that it might be a challenge to adjust the biggest number of settings. You can adjust some of the general settings like on and off or whether to block all or some of the advertisements and receive notifications but other more advanced features are not available such as no whitelisting or statistics about the number of blocked ads.
On the good side, the tool is successful at blocking champion but not very successful with video ads. However, the tool meets the majority of requirements for successful ad blocker tools.
Best feature: Simple interface
Works with: Chrome
AdBlocker Ultimate is another open-source project, and very similar to the others very good at blocking the majority of the advertisements that typically appear, such as YouTube ads and other display ads. It is commonly used and has high ratings such as 4.84 with more than 600,000 downloads.
Again it is no wonder that this tool like the other as well had issues with the display ads on Orlando Sentinel. Although it is a good tool to consider on the cons side it does not have recent updates and this is why we would not place in the first on the list.
Best features: A great feature for “block element” to block fast the ads
Works with: Chrome
The outcome is that the tool manages to deal with the majority of display ads and even the famous ads on Orlando Sentinel, that many tools failed to block. On the negative side, it struggles to block video ads and most of the annoying autoplay ads. In other words, this means that the tool is recommendable to be used only for a certain type of advertisement but very poor at other types.
Best feature: Full script blocking
Works with: Firefox
AdGuard is another popular ad blocker in the family of ad blocker tools. It does its job great and can be used for various formats of annoying ads. However, one of the biggest drawbacks is that this tool can be fully explored only in premium version and in the past AdGuard had a free trial of 14 days that at the moment is no longer available and you can use this tool only if you have paid version.
All in all, the service offers a large scope of possibilities and functions very well.
Many of the customers like AdGuard and it is a popular choice with more than 4 million downloads and with an excellent rating. This tool was one and the only that managed to block the advertisements on Orlando Sentinel and all the other different types of ads even the frames with the term “advertisement”, unlike the other tools.
Best features: “Inverted whitelisting”, able to block the self-promotion ads
Works with: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Yandex, Microsoft Edge, Opera
Do we need Privacy Badger and Ghostery?
Some of the most popular ad blockers are Privacy Badger and Ghostery out there on the market, so you may be wondering why were they not mentioned?! The reasons are that neither of the two plugins blocks ads but they have been intended to deny ads on the websites as well as other elements that might give away the privacy of the users. As a result of this, they also did not pass our test with the requirements that were imposed regarding ad blockers. The outcome is that both of them prevent some ads but are mainly intended to deal with privacy issues and not the comprehensive security on the net.
Although they have a good reputation for the purpose that we compiled the list they do no serve this purpose and they do not offer you control of the formats of ads that you can block as these two enable good ads not to be blocked together with ads wholesale.
Google Chrome Ad Blocker
Google has an in-built ad blocker that we have decided to test. We assess it according to the same criteria as the ones above and we have to say that the outcome is a kind of disappointing and very limiting. It was a real challenge to find a site with blocked ads. The Chrome extension has an ad blocker that is intended to block some specific ads and if they come through Google’s advertising wing they are often deemed as acceptable ads and not blocked at all.
We must admit that Google’s ad blocker is not really efficient for blocking ads and does little in forcing some sites to clean a bit their acts but does nothing much with the intrusive advertisements.
Two-three words about ad-blockers and website revenue
Nowadays, the ads come in different formats, starting from pop-up ads, on-site ads, video ads on youtube videos and many more. There are sites, for example, Forbes that have dedicated a special page for advertisements and autoplay ads with the loading of the page.
Generally, Internet users loathe annoying ads for many reasons among which:
- The loading of the page is slower
- They tend to intrude and annoy people
- If you have a limited Internet plan the ads use up data
- Oftentimes they are irrelevant to the interests of the users
- The advertisements cause interruption of the browsing experience ( such as ads on sites that stream videos)
- Many ads have trackers which report the behaviors of the users to third parties
As the number of ads increased the quality went down so even Google decided to include blocker for the Chrome browser that targets the “substandard ads”. However, the company works within the field of advertising and has its own ads so it is logical that the ad blockers do not prevent an ad that comes from AdSense and is Google-sourced.
Not all things are bad with advertisements as thanks to them we are able to read and watch many things for free. However, the bad side is that they often are vectors for hacks or viruses.
One of the things that we have to consider before we rush to block an add next time is that the sites earn revenue from these ads. So, if this is a website we like and trust just keep in mind that ads revenue is one of the primary sources of income. In the past years because of the ad blockers, there was a loss of estimated more than 10 billion dollars.
So if you often visit some of the websites and you are satisfied with the services what you can do to help their business is to whitelist the sites. You can do this in the settings of the ad blocker. The vice-versa is also true so if you do not like a particular site you can blacklist it and the blocker will not allow it. But if you decide to whitelist it you can do this in the filter lists and settings by notifying the blockers that you do not wish to block the site.
With whitelisting you can exemplify which of the sites you trust and visit so they could carry on getting the ad revenue. Not all the sites receive revenue only if you click on the ads but there are ones that get the revenue with page views so in this way by allowing them to show the ads you are helping those sites.
Google’s ad blocker clearance
At the beginning of 2018, Google cleared out many ad blockers from its store as many of them proved to be malware, causing online phishing, allowing control of third parties and feeding data of the users in botnets. On this list, for clearance, some popular names of blockers such as AdRemover and SuperBlock appeared too.
The ad blockers that were subject to the clearance were installed by more than 20 million people. Some of these used similar names to other legitimate blockers and cloned their code as well.
If it happened that you downloaded a malicious blocker Google by default would have not allowed the blocker to work in the Chrome browser or browser extension.
At the moment the ones that are left in the store are legitimate and all the plugins were tested and proved to have passed the vetting process of Google. However, it is advisable to double-check before you install the chosen as ad blocking extension or tool against adware, or plugin in Mozilla or other browsers.