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Best ad blockers in 2023


As companies are increasingly filling the online world with ads, a high-quality ad blocker can be a lifesaver. Aside from helping prevent intrusive and annoying pop-up ads, it can also eliminate targeted and malicious ones.

However, unreliable ad blockers are known to collect your data or may even contain malicious content. This defeats the purpose of such an app in the first place. That’s why it’s important to pick a truly safe and trustworthy ad blocker.

To help you out, we thoroughly tested and researched dozens of ad blockers. So continue reading to see our findings and results of the best ad blockers of 2023.

Top 5 best ad blockers for 2023

  1. NordVPN Threat Protection – best ad blocker overall
  2. Total Adblock – reliable ad blocker with a free version
  3. Surfshark Cleanweb – functional ad blocker for unlimited devices
  4. Atlas VPN SafeBrowse – inexpensive ad blocker
  5. Proton VPN NetShield – customizable ad removal solution

What to look for in the best ad blocker?

It’s not a good practice to choose just about any ad blocker available. Prior research helps make sure that you’re investing in a high-quality and secure option. So here’s what you should consider before getting an ad blocker:

  • Great ad blocking capabilities. Take time to test the ad blocker of your choice and see whether it fulfills your needs. If anything, you can always make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Reputation. It’s worth skipping the free ad blockers, such as Nano Adblocker, that have had past reputational issues. This includes malware injections or user data collection. Especially when the market has plenty of time-tested ad blocker picks.
  • Additional features. An ad blocker isn’t just there to block ads. Getting it with a VPN or antivirus is an excellent way to improve your online privacy and security overall.
  • Apps or extensions for your devices. Before investing in an ad blocker, do your research and find out whether it supports your device or preferred browser.
  • Price. Evaluate whether the ad blocker of your choice is worth the money. Ad blockers with VPN or antivirus services are usually optimal choices, as you also get powerful security and privacy measures at a similar monthly price range. But if you only want to block ads, even some free ad blockers can do it just fine.

Best ad blockers – our detailed list

Every option we’re recommending is a top-notch ad blocking app that comes with additional features for your online security and privacy. Without further ado, let’s review the ups and downs of each best ad blocker in 2023.

1. NordVPN Threat Protection – best ad blocker overall

nordvpn threat protection banner
Free version:Yes (Free 7-day trial)
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Brave, Opera, and Edge
Current deal:🔥Get NordVPN Threat Protection, now 50% OFF!🔥

NordVPN Threat Protection is the best ad blocker on the market because of its functionality and reliability. You name it, NordVPN Threat Protection will take care of it. This includes ads, pop-ups, trackers, banners, autoplay video ads, and even malicious content.

The Threat Protection ad blocking feature comes in the NordVPN package. It’s a VPN service that encrypts your data and hides your IP address. So your browsing activities are also secured from anyone trying to look at what you’re doing online.

Features. NordVPN Threat Protection includes the URL trimming feature. It removes the tracking parameters that are usually found in URL links. Plus, on top of removing ads, it scans downloaded files and blocks malware, as well as protects from malicious sites.

Test results. During our tests, we reviewed Threat Protection on Chrome with the NordVPN Windows app. It blocked all ads on YouTube and successfully removed trackers. Plus, it passed the Can You Block It test with flying colors.

Compatibility. You can use the Threat Protection feature on Chrome, Brave, Opera, Firefox, Safari, and Edge browsers. It’s also available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. However, the mobile versions are Lite only. You can even customize the protection level – disable ad, web tracker, and malicious website blocking, and more.

Pricing. You can get the Threat Protection ad blocker with any of NordVPN plans. The prices start at $2.49/month, but you can also claim NordVPN’s free 7-day trial. If anything, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee available as well.

You can find out more about the features in our NordVPN review.

2. Total Adblock – trustworthy and free ad blocking solution

Total Adblock banner
Free version:Yes (Free 7-day trial)
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge
Current deal:🔥Get 75% OFF Total Adblock!🔥

Total Adblock is a great ad blocker solution that removes pop-ups, banners, video ads, and third-party trackers before the website loads. There’s even a free 7-day version that you can try out.

You can get Total Adblock separately or together with the TotalAV Total Security package. If you opt for the second option, you’ll also get a full-on antivirus with 100% malware detection rates. This ensures device-level protection instead of just ad blocking!

Features. With Total Adblock, you can whitelist ads and pop-ups. The Android and iOS versions also have various blocking filters available, including base, tracking protection, social media, and annoyance filters. While most of them are self-explanatory, the latter filter blocks cookies, third-party widgets, and pop-ups.

Test results. We put the Total Adblock Chrome extension to various tests, and it delivered great results. It blocked everything possible during the Can You Block It test. Not to mention that it also blocked YouTube as well as Facebook ads and trackers. The only thing it didn’t block was error trackers.

Compatibility. Total Adblock is available on iOS and Android, as well as Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera, and Firefox browsers.

Pricing. You can try Total Adblock for 7 days free. But if you want an unlimited ad blocker, Total Adblock costs $2.42/month (with a 14-day money-back guarantee). And if an antivirus package is what you need, the Total Security plan prices start from $49.00/year, and it comes with a 30-day refund policy.

For more information about the full service package, visit our TotalAV review.

3. Surfshark Cleanweb – low-cost ad blocker for multiple devices

Surfshark cleanweb banner
Free version:Yes (Free 7-day trial)
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, FireTV, Android TV
Current deal:🔥84% OFF Surfshark CleanWeb 2.0 + 2 months FREE!🔥

The Surfshark CleanWeb and CleanWeb 2.0 feature is another convenient and affordable ad blocking software. It's a proprietary DNS feature that blocks ads, pop-ups, banners, cookie consent pop-ups, trackers, video ads, and even malicious content.

You get the CleanWeb feature when purchasing a Surfshark service. With Surfshark VPN, your personal data also gets protected from third parties. And if you opt for the Surfshark One bundle, you get all-rounded protection, including the VPN, a malware removal tool, Alert, and Safe Search features.

Features. Surfshark’s CleanWeb comes with a cookie pop-up blocker that stops annoying cookie consent requests. Plus, you can get data breach alerts in case your personal data leaks. Not to mention that Surfshark’s private search engine can prevent trackers. A whitelisting option named Bypass list is available as well.

Test results. The CleanWeb 2.0 version of the Chrome browser extension managed to block everything in the Can You Block It test except for Direct Link Ads. Plus, it managed to remove trackers, YouTube ads, and Facebook ads.

Compatibility. The CleanWeb 2.0 version can be found on browser extensions only, including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. The apps include the CleanWeb feature that is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Fire TV.

Pricing. If you want the ad blocker with Surfshark VPN, the prices start as low as $2.05/month for unlimited devices. You can even claim the 7-day free trial and make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Meanwhile, the Surfshark One bundle costs $3.98/month.

You can learn more about this service in our Surfshark One review.

4. Atlas VPN – affordable ad blocker application

Atlas VPN SafeBrowse banner 1
Free version:No (Only the VPN has a free version)
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows
Current deal:🔥81% OFF Atlas VPN SafeBrowse!🔥

Atlas VPN SafeBrowse is a reliable ad blocker that removes ads, third-party trackers, and video advertisements, as well as malware.

The ad blocker is only available with the premium Atlas VPN subscription. So whether you need ads completely gone from your device or want extra security and online privacy, Atlas VPN will do it all.

Features. Atlas VPN SafeBrowse feature blocks ads and prevents third-party tracking. While there’s no whitelisting available, the feature also prevents you from accessing malware-filled sites.

Test results. During our Atlas VPN test on the Chrome browser, the SafeBrowse feature blocked everything on the Can You Block it site except pop-under as well as direct link ads. Plus, it scored 74 out of 100 points in the AdBlock Test. The only thing it didn’t remove was GIF and static images, as well as error monitoring.

Compatibility. The SafeBrowse feature is available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps of Atlas VPN. You have to connect to a VPN server in order to use the SafeBrowse feature. Plus, Atlas VPN always provides you with a list of everything it detected and removed.

Pricing. You can get the SafeBrowse feature with any subscription option of Atlas VPN except the free version. The prices start at $2.05/month, and you also get a standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

You can find out more about the Atlas VPN package in our Atlas VPN review.

5. Proton VPN – customizable ad and tracker blocker

Proton VPN adblocker
Free version:No (Only the VPN has a free version)
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows
Current deal:🔥Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN NetShield!🔥

The ad blocker of Proton VPN, also called NetShield, is another convenient ad blocking app that protects you from irritating ads, trackers, and even malicious content.

You can get the ad blocker together with the Proton VPN subscription. This lets you protect your personal data from the eyes of advertisers. You’re also kept safe from hackers lurking on public wifi. There’s also a Secure Core feature that works as a double VPN… for double protection!

Features. The NetShield feature of Proton VPN works by blocking DNS and offers three protection levels. You can disable blocking, choose malware blocking only, or block malware, ads, and trackers altogether. Yet, it doesn’t provide you with whitelisting or statistics.

Test results. The tests we performed with NetShield showed solid functionality results. The feature blocked most YouTube ads on the browser and scored 62 points out of 100 in the AdBlock Tester. What it couldn’t remove is push notification requests, pop-under ads, and images.

Compatibility. Proton VPN has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS devices. You can find NetShield in any of these applications.

Pricing. You can get Proton VPN completely free, yet it won’t include the NetShield feature. If you want to get rid of commercials and malicious threats, premium plan prices begin at $4.99/month. As with most services, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

For more information about the features of this service, refer to our Proton VPN review.

6. Avast Secure Browser – feature-loaded private browser with an ad blocker

Avast ad blocker
Free version:Yes
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Android, iOS, and Windows
Current deal:🔥Get Avast AntiTrack, now $54.99/year!🔥

Avast Secure Browser is one of the most feature-rich solutions for ad blocking. While it’s essentially a secure browser, it can also remove anything from banner, video, social media, and other types of ads, as well as browser fingerprints and trackers.

This ad blocker, called Privacy Guard, is included even in the free package of Avast antivirus. With the two tools combined, you’re going to have a private browser as well as a solid malware removal tool. But if you want a full-fledged ad blocker, you can opt for the Avast Secure Browser Pro.

Features. Privacy Guard blocks ads by filtering scripts. It also allows adjusting ad blocking modes – from basic to balanced or strict blocking – and includes whitelisting. With the pro version, you also get a built-in VPN feature for information privacy as well as more security on public wifi. That’s a full cybersecurity package right there.

Test results. We tested Avast Secure Browser and its ad blocking capabilities on Windows. Using strict mode, it blocked everything, including YouTube video ads and Facebook ads and trackers. It only missed direct link ads and analytic tools.

Compatibility. Avast Secure Browser is available on Windows, Android, and iOS. Conveniently, the Privacy Guard feature displays the number of ads it manages to block.

Pricing. You can get the Avast Secure Browser for free. But to take advantage of all it has to offer, you can opt for the Pro version. Its prices start from $4.58/month, but a 30-day refund policy is promised.

You can learn more about Avast products in our review.

7. Malwarebytes Browser Guard – free alternative for blocking ads

Malwarebytes ad blocker
Free version:Yes
YouTube ad blocking:No
Supported platforms:Windows, Android, macOS, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge
Current deal:🔥Get Malwarebytes Browser Guard for free🔥

Malwarebytes Browser Guard is an ad blocker extension that you can use for free. Aside from ads and pop-ups, it blocks cryptocurrency miners, scams, and third-party trackers. Plus, the provider claims to speed up website loading.

You can get it alone for free or you can get it with the Malwarebytes antivirus. The premium Malwarebytes plan secures you in real time and protects you from ransomware as well as exploits.

Features. Being a product of an antivirus company, Malwarebytes Browser Guard blocks access to malicious sites. There’s also Advanced Skimmer Protection – it secures your bank card number at checkout pages. Meanwhile, the whitelisting feature lets you enable or disable ad, tracker, malware, or scam blocking.

Test results. We tested Malwarebytes Browser Guard with the Chrome extension. It blocked various ads, scoring 71 out of 100 points on AdBlock Test. The only exceptions were GIF and static images, direct link ads, and YouTube ads. That being said, it did block some ads and trackers on Facebook.

Compatibility. You can use Malwarebytes Browser Guard on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers. In terms of devices, it’s not available on iOS only.

Pricing. Malwarebytes Browser Guard is free. That is unless you also want the benefits of a premium Malwarebytes antivirus plan. In this case, the prices start from $33.74/month. A generous 60-day money-back guarantee is available as well.

You can learn more about features and extras in our full Malwarebytes review.

8. AdLock – secure ad blocker for multiple devices

AdLock ad blocker
Free version:Yes (Free 14-day trial)
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox
Current deal:🔥Get up to 70% OFF Adlock!🔥

AdLock is a secure ad blocker that allows using it on 5 devices per plan. Whatever is interrupting your browsing, AdLock can block it all. This includes pop-ups, banners, crypto miners, trackers, and video ads.

The way it works is by blocking DNS. You can also choose the filtering mode. The Standard one blocks DNS requests only, while the Smart one uses more thorough filtering, known as DPI. It filters and blocks packets that include specific data.

Features. AdLock has plenty of filtering options available, so you can choose what gets removed. Plus, the app offers the Safebrowsing feature which reviews the database for unsafe websites. You get notified about a malicious page before accessing it. Whitelisting is also available.

Test results. When tested on Chrome, AdLock blocked everything possible, even invisible trackers. What it didn’t pass was blocking flash banners and error trackers. Yet, you can be sure of an ad-free YouTube and Facebook experience.

Compatibility. You can find AdLock on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. In terms of browsers, it’s available on the most popular ones – Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox.

Pricing. You can try AdLock for free for 14 days. However, once the time is up, you can get it for as little as $1.05/month. The 30-day money-back guarantee still stands.

9. Ghostery Ad Blocker – good solution for desktop devices

Ghostery banner
Free version:Yes
YouTube ad blocking:Yes
Supported platforms:Windows, macOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari
Current deal:🔥Get Ghostery Ad Blocker for free🔥

If you want a simple ad blocker that focuses on tracker blocking, Ghostery Ad Blocker is what you’re looking for. Aside from trackers, it also blocks pop-ups, ads, and even cookies.

Like many ad blockers, it works by blocking DNS. It has a constantly updated database with trackers, so it’s capable of blocking even the new ones. Ghostery also claims to speed up website loading times.

Features. With this app, you can customize tracker blocking and see statistics of what has been removed. Plus, the Never Consent feature removes annoying requests to accept cookies. You can also whitelist websites of your choice.

Test results. Ghostery scored 71 points out of 100 in the AdBlock Test. It couldn’t block GIF and static images as well as error trackers. It also couldn’t remove YouTube ads, but Facebook trackers turned out to be a piece of cake.

Compatibility. You can get Ghostery on desktop devices only (macOS and Windows). It’s supported on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari browsers.

Pricing. Ghostery is a completely free ad blocking and private browsing solution. However, you can donate to their cause of fighting for accessible web privacy for all.

How we selected and tested these ad blockers

We started our tests by filtering out unreliable ad blockers, including many free ad blockers. After that, it all came down to how well the ad blockers did exactly what they’re supposed to – block ads. Here are the main criteria we used to rank these ad blockers:

  • Ad blocking test results. Many ad blockers claim they can remove all types of ads. So we put each of them to a few tests on such sites as Can You Block It and AdBlock Test. All of the ad blockers on our list show solid ad blocking results, guaranteeing an improved browsing experience.
  • Additional features. Whitelisting, malicious site blocking, data breach alerts – these are only a few useful additional features of an ad blocker. Also, ad blockers that come with high-quality VPN or antivirus software are a huge plus as well. Our top 5 apps all have at least some additional privacy measures to offer.
  • Supported OS and browsers. If you’re investing in an ad blocker, you want to make sure it’s available on your preferred OS and browsers. Especially when some of them allow you to use the account on multiple devices simultaneously. The options we offer support the most popular OS or browsers.
  • Price. Ad blockers shouldn’t cost a fortune, that’s why we researched and provided you with the best value for your money options.

Best ad blockers compared


NordVPN Threat Protection
Total AdblockSurfshark CleanwebAtlas VPN SafeBrowseProton VPN NetShieldAvast Secure BrowserMalwarebytes Browser GuardAdLockGhostery Ad Blocker
Brandlogologologologologologologologologo
Price$2.49$2.42$2.05$2.05$4.99$4.58Free$1.05Free
Free versionYes (Free 7-day trial)Yes (Free 7-day trial)Yes (Free 7-day trial)No (Only the VPN has a free version)No (Only the VPN has a free version)YesYesYes (Free 14-day trial)Yes
YouTube ad blockingYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Passed ad blocking testsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
AppsWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSAndroid, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, FireTV, Android TVAndroid, iOS, macOS, and WindowsAndroid, iOS, Linux, macOS, and WindowsAndroid, iOS, and WindowsWindows, Android, macOSWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS
BrowsersChrome, Firefox, Safari, Brave, Opera, and EdgeChrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and EdgeChrome, Firefox, EdgeChrome, Firefox, and EdgeChrome, Edge, Safari, and FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari
Comes withVPNStand alone or antivirusVPN or VPN+antivirus bundleVPNVPNPrivate browserAntivirusStand aloneStand alone

Why do you need to block ads?

You don’t have to block ads, but it’s definitely helpful to maintain more privacy online as well as ensure uninterrupted browsing. Here are the main reasons to block ads:

  1. Get rid of content interruptions. Some websites get so overloaded with ads that you can’t even see the content itself. An ad blocker eliminates this annoyance, letting you freely browse through any site.
  2. Prevent targeted ads. Whenever you visit sites, various trackers observe your browsing habits and behavior. This helps companies create targeted ads that subconsciously try to lure you into purchasing something that you’ve already considered buying (or not). With a top-notch ad blocker, you won’t have to worry about being monitored.
  3. Improve page load times. Ads consume a lot of bandwidth which increases the page loading time. This interrupts your browsing. So, an ad blocker helps make your browsing seamless.
  4. Save mobile data. A study by Enders research service has shown that ads can eat up to 79% of your mobile data. Since ad blockers remove all interruptions, you’re going to save some data for doing other activities, such as watching Netflix.

Why a built-in browser ad blocker might not be enough

A built-in browser ad blocker only stops pop-up ads from appearing on your screen and that’s about it in terms of privacy. Meanwhile, paid ad blocking features or those that come with such services as an antivirus or VPN provide you with more privacy and security measures.

For instance, ad blockers of cybersecurity products also let you put an end to trackers that gather data about your browsing activities. Plus, VPN services encrypt your data so no third parties can view what you’re up to, including your ISP or threat actors.

How do ad blockers work?

Ad blockers use filtering rules that help hide ads on websites. You see, ad blockers have a list of scripts and sites they’ve gathered that display ads. They review the website’s scripts and compare them to their own list of scripts and sites.

This happens while the page is loading. Ad blockers look for ad requests and if they find any, they reject them. Also, some ad blockers can’t differentiate between acceptable ads and intrusive or malicious ones. Instead, they block everything.

Meanwhile, others allow whitelisting if the ads agree to the Acceptable Ads Committee (ACC) standards. Acceptable Ads don’t interfere with your browsing and clearly state that they’re commercial ads.

Depending on the device you’re using, the best ad blocker apps may differ. Our tests and research showed that the best ad blocker overall is NordVPN Threat Protection. It has apps and extensions for many popular OS and browsers, guarantees great ad blocking results, and comes with a market-leading VPN.

Choose the best ad blocker based on your OS or browser

Depending on the device you’re using, the best ad blocker apps may differ. Our tests and research showed that the best ad blocker overall is NordVPN Threat Protection. It has apps and extensions for many popular OS and browsers, guarantees great ad blocking results, and comes with a market-leading VPN.

To find our full lists of ad blockers that are suitable for different devices and browsers, read below:

  • Ad blockers for Android. Android users are prone to encounter malicious ads at least once in their lifetime. A high-quality Android ad blocker can help prevent that.
  • Ad blockers for Windows. Being one of the most popular OS, there are plenty of reputable ad blockers compatible with Windows devices. Yet, not all of them fit such devices best. For this reason, we reviewed, tested, and ranked various ad blockers for Windows.
  • iOs ad blockers. While less common, ads and trackers on iOS devices are just as annoying and intrusive. So our research team assembled a detailed list of top ad blockers for iOS devices.
  • Best Chrome ad blockers. Chrome ad blockers help you view content without interruptions or malicious content. To help you choose the right one, check out our highest-rated ad blockers for Chrome.
  • Safari ad blockers. While Safari has an implemented content blocker, it won't block any of those annoying ads or trackers. For that, you'll need an efficient ad blocker, so check out our top picks.

Are free ad blockers safe?

No, free ad blockers aren’t safe solutions purely because they’re free. And nothing truly comes free – not in this economy, at least. Free ad blockers need to make a profit somehow, so unreliable ones may collect your data and sell it.

Even worse – some can infect your device with malicious threats. That’s exactly what happened with the Nano Adblocker back in 2020. The app had more than 200,000 downloads. Once it was sold, the new developers added malicious code that tampered with user Instagram accounts.

So, if you really want a reliable ad blocker, it’s better to opt for one of the suggested ones. They’re time-tested and you can make use of the money-back guarantees and free trials that they offer.

Conclusion

When you decide that you’ve had enough with all the ads lurking in every corner online, it’s time to look into ad blocking apps. They get all of the commercials out of your way as well as block trackers that don’t respect your privacy.

Our top recommendation is NordVPN Threat Protection. It’s an ad blocker that comes with a VPN, offering powerful security and privacy measures. So your data is secured from third-party peeks, including your ISP or threat actors, and you’re protected from all kinds of ads.

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