- Online ads can be manipulative at worst and distracting at best and many people want to reduce how many or eliminate them while they’re online.
- Since many websites make their money from ads, certain ad blockers allow you to whitelist sites in order to continue to support them, striking a good balance between an overwhelming number of ads and no ads at all.
- Ad blocking software is extremely inexpensive for consumers, ranging from free or pay-what-you-want to about $4 per month.
They can range anywhere from mildly annoying to downright intrusive, but online advertisements are part of our digital world, like it or not. They might present you with products that are in no way related to your life, or they may have enough information about you to persuade you into buying things that you may or may not need. However they find you, ads get annoying.
Luckily, you don’t have to keep putting up with them if you don’t want to. There are a ton of products out there, many of which are free, that will shield your screen from the outbreak of unwanted ads. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten ad blockers of 2021 so that you can skip the distractions and carry on with your online activity, however productive or listless it might be.
Here are our top 10 ad blockers of 2021:
AdBlock Plus is the most popular ad blocking software on the internet today and is available for Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Yandex web browsers. It’s also available on mobile devices.
AdBlock Plus works by having the user create filter lists. Basically you decide what you want the ad blocker to let through and what you want it to block out. You can choose to block all ads or only the blacklisted ones, allowing acceptable ads to come through.
Best for: The everyday user looking for an unpaid option
- All features are free to individual users and small organizations
- Can block all ads or allow the “good” ones through
- “Block Element” menu item for ads that break through
- Whitelisted ads shown until user changes settings
- “Block Element” button does not always learn to block certain ads
Vivaldi Web Browser
Vivaldi is a web browser that has a multitude of awesome features, one of which is a built-in ad blocker. Along with the ad blocker, Vivaldi also has a built-in tracker blocker. Websites will no longer be able to track you or bombard you with ads as long as you are using the Vivaldi browser.
Vivaldi has an amazing amount of customizability within their browser, but the ad blocking and tracker blocking are the best default options of any web browser we’ve used. Vivaldi was created and spun-off from the Opera browser when Opera decided to switch to the Chromium-based Google software.
Best for: All-round internet security
- Built-in ad blocker
- Built-in tracker blocker
- Amazing customizability
- Customize your level of ad and tracker blocking
- Customize how Vivaldi blocks cookies
- You need to download a new web browser
AdBlock, not to be confused with AdBlock Plus, is an independent ad blocking service that works with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and mobile devices. AdBlock removes pop-up, pop-under, and third-party tacking ads from your browser experience. Along with this, they also provide some protection from malware and viruses while surfing the web.
AdBlock will also block YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook ads so you can carry on with updating your socials and spend less time navigating unwanted ads.
Best for: Users who want a set-it-and-forget it browser extension
- Blocks malware from invading your device
- Blocks YouTube and Twitch and Facebook ads
- Customizable to which ads you want blocked
- Element blocker is better than most
- Options can be confusing
- Shows whitelisted ads by default
- AdBlock assigns unique ID to each user and logs their activity
Ghostery is an ad blocker that adds a unique element to its ad blocking ability. Not only will it steer you clear of pop-ups and unwanted trackers, but it will tell you who is trying to track you and give you the option to deny the ones you don’t want. Ghostery enables customizability to really take control of your browsing and decide what you see and what you don’t, as well who does or doesn’t see you. Just recently, Ghostery launched a web browser with all of these features built in.
The Premium edition of Ghostery will provide you will access to Ghostery Insights, a tool designed to audit the trackers that are crawling your website, to identify privacy risks and optimize your page.
Price: Free, or Ghostery Plus for $3.99/month
Best for: Knowing who is trying to track you
- Blocks all ads and trackers
- Provides information on who is trying to track you
- Paid version will optimize your own website
- Launched a web browser and search engine
- Becoming more complex
- Less hidden than other ad blockers
AdGuard is an ad blocking tool that does more than just stop ads from reaching your screen. AdGuard will block trackers from finding your data, protects you from phishing and malware attacks, as well as give you the option to enable parental controls and block certain content from being accessed by your children.
AdGuard also has a VPN service available for $2.99/month.
Price: $2.49/month or $79.99 one-time fee
Best for: Parents
- Parental controls
- Protects malware and phishing attacks
- Hides personal data
- Choose your privacy protection level
- Consumes more RAM than other ad blockers
- No free option
AdLock is a stand-alone program that blocks pop-ups, banners, and video ads from your web browser as well as from the different programs and apps you use on your device. AdLock will warn you about suspicious websites as well as malware and other unwanted software.
Best for: Ad blocking throughout your device
- Blocks ads across all of your device’s programs
- Protects you from suspicious websites and malware
- No free option
Opera Web Browser
Opera is a web browser that has been around for a surprisingly long time given its relative anonymity. Launched in 1995, Opera is one of the longest standing web browsers. Opera affords its users a built-in ad blocker, tracker blocker, and VPN service – all for free. Opera is built using Google’s Chromium software.
Similar to Vivaldi, Opera blocks ads and trackers by default. Opera, however, uses Google as its default search engine. Google is not necessarily the gold standard for protecting user data and privacy. This can easily be changed in Opera’s settings however.
- Built-in ad blocker
- Built-in tracker blocker
- Built-in VPN
- Requires download of a new web browser
Stands Fair Adblocker
Stands is an ad blocker that aims to hide the malicious ads, trackers, and malware from your device, while allowing through the respectful ads that websites rely on to survive. They refer to these respectful ads as “Fair Ads”. Through their browser extension, you can decide how many of these Fair Ads you want to let through or whitelist the websites that you want to support.
Stands also takes your privacy and data storage seriously. They are transparent about what they use your data for.
Best for: The sustainability-minded user
- Privacy and data protection
- Also blocks trackers and malware
- Allow ads for the websites you want to support
- Decide how many Fair Ads you want to let through
- Doesn’t blacklist everything – Fair Ads are meant to be shown
AdBlocker Ultimate is a stand-alone program that blocks out your pop-up ads, banner ads, video ads, sponsored content on social media pages, as well as the ads that appear atop your search results. On top of this, AdBlocker Ultimate will also block ads from all other programs on your device.
AdBlocker Ultimate has a free browser extension instead of their full-service version that will block ads, trackers, and malware.
Price: Free browser extension, $2.50/month for the full-service program
Best for: Those wanting full coverage
- All-encompassing ad blocker
- 60-day money back guarantee
- Free browser extension and paid premium option
- No whitelist or accepted ads
uBlock Origin is a free, open-source browser extension that was first released in 2014. uBlock Origin is fairly straightforward and light on your device’s memory and CPU usage. This ad blocker comes with a pre-installed list of whitelisted ads. Users can choose to block all of these if they wish.
uBlock Origin will block both ads and trackers to the extent that you choose.
Best for: Saving memory on your device
- Open-source software
- Very light on CPU usage and memory (better performance)
- Has a mode to assist those with color vision deficiencies
- Not yet available for mobile devices
While not all ads are bad ads, you likely want to limit the number of ads that you see while browsing the internet. They can be manipulative at worst and distracting at the best of times.
Whether you want to block them all, allow only the good ones, or find an option that will block ads across all of your programs, there is an ad blocker that suits your needs. We wish you happy, safe, and ad-free surfing!