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The Best Ad-blocker Software for Android, iOS, PC and Mac

Let's be honest, ads and pop-ups are really annoying and only seem to get more and more intrusive. Luckily, a good ad-blocker can help you avoid these irritating interruptions, so you can browse the web without needing to worry about full-page video adverts suddenly blaring in your ears.

 

By using an ad-blocker, you will improve your online privacy, speed up website loading, and protect your devices from spyware. When you visit a website, your computer wastes both resources and internet bandwidth by loading adverts. These could be banner ads, pop-ups, or Google placement ads – whatever form they take, your computer can load pages faster when you block them. It's also worth noting that some websites hide spyware and malware in ads, so blocking them is often a necessary safety precaution.

The increasing popularity of ad-blockers means that there are hundreds of services out there. This makes it difficult to choose the best ad-blocker for your needs. Fortunately, there is something for everyone on our list of best ad-blockers around.

What are the best ad-blockers?

We have listed what we think are the best ad-blockers in 2022. If you want more information, please continue scrolling to find out the pros and cons of each service.

  1. AdLock - AdLock is the best ad-blocker for Android devices and PCs.
  2. uBlock Origin - uBlock Origin is the best free browser ad-block extension around.
  3. CyberSec (NordVPN) - CyberSec is a great add-on from one of the world's leading VPNs.
  4. AdFender - AdFender is a highly customizable, subscription based ad-blocker for Windows PCs.
  5. 1Blocker - The original and best ad-blocker for all iOS users.

When putting together this list, there are several things that we considered. These are:

  • Effectiveness of blocking ads
  • The impact they have on your computer's memory resources
  • Are they compatible with popular browsers - e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc?

The Best ad-blocker in 2022

After testing several services, we found that these are the best ad-blockers in 2022. 

AdLock is the best stand-alone ad-blocker for Android, with an impressive range of stats and customization options.

  • Pricing

    • 60 months: $1.51/mth
      57% OFF
    • 12 months: $2.94/mth
      17% OFF
    • 1 month: $3.5/mth


AdLock is one of the best ad-blockers currently on the market in terms of functionality and advertising/tracking blocking and analytics. While there's no free tier, it offers a variety of reasonably priced subscription options, allowing you to pay month-by-month, for one year, or for five years.


It’s a little more intensive on resources than browser-based alternatives for mobile, but as a separate application, it can prevent auto-playing videos, pop-ups, and general advertisements mobile-wide and offers detailed stats to allow users to delve into what ads, trackers and suspicious activities are being blocked.


In-depth information


If you've ever wanted to see exactly who and what is trying to serve you ads and trackers as you browse the internet, then AdLock is a great choice. From basic statistics showing you which URLs are being blocked, reports on suspicious requests, intrusion attempts and more, AdLock allows you near total control of what is, and isn't, allowed on your machine.


The only minor complaint here is that these features might be a little intimidating to new users, but you don't actually need to use any of them. Just turn AdLock on, make sure to hit that "Check for updates" button every now and again, and it'll just get on with things in the background.



Massive customization


AdLock offers protection on a per-app basis, allowing you to add and remove browsers and other programs as well as choose whether you wish to apply filters. You can even block an app entirely from the internet if you think it's being used just to serve you adverts. Where AdLock truly shines is that you can use it to block ads in all manner of apps, not just web browsers. Candy Crush showing you too many ads? Block them. Being forced to watch 20 seconds of adverts for a 2 minute long YouTube video? Not anymore. Simply add the app into AdLock and kiss goodbye to adverts.


Responsive support


You can reach out to AdLock support through the browser or directly through the app. This is how you engage their support team if you find any sites that AdLock does not work with. We reached out to their support when we found two sites that didn't work during our testing and in less than ninety minutes, they'd released an updated filter list that enabled both sites to work flawlessly. If this is the level of support all AdLock users can expect, then we are genuinely impressed and we think you will be too if you try it out risk-free with its 30 day money-back guarantee.

Tested by Shaun Dewhirst

Tested by Shaun Dewhirst

uBlock Origin offers a lightweight and effective adblocking service, with plugins for most popular browsers.

  • Free option

    Yes


uBlock Origin (uBO) is a popular free and Open-source cross-platform ad-blocker that also has some quite effective anti-tracking capabilities. uBlock Origin is a fork of the original uBlock, so don't get the two mixed up! The original uBlock is now part of Adblock Plus and takes part in the whitelisting of some adverts, so if you're looking to block as many as you can, then make sure you get uBlock Origin.


Feature heavy


uBlock Origin is an unobtrusive, lightweight offering compared to some competitors, but that doesn't mean it's bringing a wiffle bat to a knife fight. It's got custom blocklists, dynamic filtering, element inspector and zapper so you can block specific parts of a website, site-specific pop-up blocking and even the ability to whitelists sites that you want to support directly or where the adverts aren't too intrusive.



Block pre-fetched links


These days, most browsers try to speed up the browsing experience by preloading the other links on a page while you are busy reading that page, whether you have any intention of clicking on them or not. Not only does this waste bandwidth unnecessarily, if you are not using a VPN to hide your IP address from these pre-fetched pages, it further exposes your personal details to these sites without you ever visiting them. Fortunately, this is an issue that uBlock Origin can fix.


Malware protection


Besides advertising block lists, uBlock Origin also uses lists of known malware distributors to automatically blocks those for you as well! All of uBlock's block lists are further maintained by a community of volunteers, no compromises made to whitelist certain sites, and no worries that it might be doing something nefarious with your data.

Tested by Andreas Theodorou

Tested by Andreas Theodorou

CyberSec is a no-frills ad-blocker that comes bundled with a NordVPN subscription for no extra cost.

  • Free option

    Yes


NordVPN's CyberSec option isn't free like some of the other options on this list, as part of a NordVPN subscription, but it's still a compelling offering, especially when bundled with an industry leading VPN to further secure your connection and online privacy. While it lacks in-depth customization options, literally being either ON or OFF, it still offers a good level of protection against all kinds of malware.


Foolproof functionality


While perhaps lacking the functionality that power-users will crave, NordVPN's CyberSec is a great way for novice users to further secure their internet connection. With no configuration needed, users can simply turn it on and leave it running in the background, confident that NordVPN has their backs and will be actively protecting them from malicious sites, ransomware and more.


Blocking malicious websites


CyberSec, and other security products, use filter lists of dangerous/suspicious websites to identify potential threats as you browse the internet. It scans any address you enter against these lists and, if it finds a match, it will block access to that site before you can connect to it. In this way, it ensures you cannot accidentally browse to any sites known to host malware.


A little too simple


Really, the only reason not to recommend this product is that it's all-or-nothing, on or off, there's no way to customize it, no way to set up your own filters to avoid specific sites or even to work around potential false-flags which do happen from time to time. That said, it's a useful tool if you already have a NordVPN subscription and a great way for the non-technical to further secure themselves online.

Tested by Danka Delić

Tested by Danka Delić

AdFender is a tried and tested desktop application that provides great ad-blocking and masses of customization options.

  • Pricing

    • per year: $15.95/mth


While AdFender no longer offers a free option as of version 2.50, it remains one of the best ad blockers for Windows PC users, offering official support right up to Windows 10. It's one of the cheaper paid ad-blockers out there, available for as little as $15.95 per year. It has been tried and tested using a wide range of browsers, including Waterfox and Pale Moon, two of the more privacy-focused browser offerings out there.


HTTPS filtering


Similar to AdLock, AdFender works by running as a proxy server on your PC to filter out potentially dangerous content. It filters all the web traffic from your machine, and if it detects that the URL that's trying to load is one that's used to serve adverts, it blocks it. It's even cable of filtering secure HTTPS connections and helping to anonymize your online presence by routing all your traffic through the Tor network, though this will hurt your connection speeds, as Tor is not known for being particularly fast.


Browsers and more


As with AdLock, AdFender is installed on the operating system rather than just as an extension in your browser, so it can protect more than just your web browsing. As well as sporting an impressive list of supported browsers that includes not only the big, well-known ones, but all kinds of smaller, niche browsers as well including Yandex, Epic and more.


It can also work with various instant messaging clients and more. It does all this without having a major impact on your system resources too.


Better browsing


AdFender helps not only speed up your browsing experience, webpages load faster when they don't need to waste time loading intrusive banner and video ads, but it saves you bandwidth as well. By automatically detecting and rejecting advertising URL requests, it protects people on metered connections from frittering away their precious download allowance on potentially malicious adverts.

Tested by Andreas Theodorou

Tested by Andreas Theodorou

1Blocker is one of the original and best ad and tracking blocking apps for iOS devices.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • Free version: $0/mth
    • Premium: $2.99/mth
    • /year: $14.99/mth

 


1Blocker (formerly 1Blocker X) was one of the first ad-blockers for iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones, and remains a popular and effective choice for Apple users. While it is limited to only blocking adverts in the Safari browser, it does it very well and is still a useful tool for saving both system resources and bandwidth by preventing content from downloading in advance. It does have a free tier, but the paid version requires only a small onetime payment to unlock all its features and filtering options.


Better browsing


It would be unfair to call 1Blocker "just" an ad-blocker. It's capable of blocking not only unwanted ads, but all manner of social media trackers, all those widgets for sharing content on multiple platforms, and it can even block custom fonts which can be a help to those who have dyslexia. One of the most interesting options is the ability to block those oh-so-annoying "here's how we use cookies" banners that have been a pox on the internet since the introduction of the EU's ePrivacy Directive in 2018.


Tracker blocking


A recent update to 1Blocker has seen it expand its tracker-blocking functionality outside of just the browser. Sadly, there's still no system level ad-blocking, but now you can block all those pesky social media trackers in other apps as well as just Safari. Building on 1Blocker's App Tracking Transparency, which forces apps to ask for permission before they track you, Firewall now just automatically blocks the trackers, adding another layer of privacy and security between you and companies eager to track everything you do online.


Fully customizable


Out of the box, 1Blocker is already a solid choice for an ad-blocker, but it builds on this foundation by providing the functionality to create custom rules. It will allow you to create your own custom filters to block any URL you like by using a regular expression, or hide any element in CSS. However, this feature is only available to paid users otherwise you're stuck with just the default filters, which are still nothing to sneeze at as these are kept regularly updated by 1Blocker.

Tested by Sam Dawson

Tested by Sam Dawson

Adblock Plus is a long-running ad-blocker that we think is worth noting as well, though it has fallen in popularity since introducing its "Acceptable Ads" scheme.

  • Free option

    Yes

Adblock Plus


Adblock Plus, otherwise known as ABP, is one of the oldest extensions around. Unfortunately, the extension has received criticism in recent years for its ‘Acceptable Ads’ scheme, allowing some paying advertisers to slip through onto a whitelist. This option can be turned off in the options, but given that this is a conflict of interest and there are better, more private services out there, it didn’t quite make our official list.


Easy install


Getting Adblock Plus set up is a breeze, with a simple install process from either the Apple App store, Google Play Store or from your web browser of choice. It will run on pretty much any mobile or desktop PC platform as well as most major web browsers including Firefox, Edge, Chrome, Yandex. Browser and more and it's a lightweight option, with almost no impact on system resources, making it a good choice for folks on older, slower devices.


Custom filters


Adblock Plus comes with some filter lists pre-set. As well as the Acceptable Ads filter list, Adblock Plus uses the EasyList filter, which is also used by many other ad-blocking products. It also offers a highly customizable filter functionality that you can set up yourself. There's domain blocking, header filtering, support for regular expressions and more. It offers a truly impressive level of options for tech-savvy users to drill down and block not only sites, but individual elements on a page.


Acceptable Ads


The biggest controversy surrounding Adblock Plus was their decision to partner with advertisers to show what they consider to be "acceptable advertising", which is adverts that are non-intrusive and won't interfere with your browsing or reading experience. While this feature can be disabled it still proved to be a highly controversial choice when it was first introduced.


If bandwidth isn't an issue for you, and you want to support sites you like by allowing them to show adverts, then this may not be a deal breaker for you but we feel there are still other better options out there.

Tested by River Hart

Tested by River Hart

Compare key ad-blocker features

When putting together this list, there are several factors we considered to ensure that we only recommended the best ad-blockers. These include the following-

  • It is compatible with mainstream browsers?
  • Is it open-source or closed?
  • If it has a dedicated app, or just a browser extension?

And more points besides. See the table below to see how the services above compare on the factors:

No Value AdLock uBlock Origin AdFender 1Blocker
Firefox
Chrome
Edge
Safari
Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS
Open source
User-definable blockists
Tracking protection

Why do I need an ad-blocker?

Companies tend to prioritize profit over user experience; making deals with dodgy advertising firms and slowing their webpages down by filling them to the brim with video, audio, and text adverts. These ads are not only incredibly annoying, they can slow your system to a crawl, and even direct you to malicious websites when you click on them.

Ad-blockers are designed from the ground up to help consumers avoid the manipulation of brands and ad companies, stopping advertisements before they have a chance to appear on your screen. After installing one, you will probably immediately see faster loading times for websites, which will help conserve battery life for laptops and mobile devices. 

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is where an ad-blocker's functionality ends, but some products are capable of so much more. As well as blocking ads, as the name suggests, they help to protect users from malicious advertisements known as 'malvertising', used by attackers to install harmful code onto your device. This is often done by redirecting the user to a compromised or fraudulent website, or by piggybacking a stealthy malicious download onto an unsuspecting victim's device, in some cases, even without them clicking on the advertisement itself.

Ad-blockers have proven instrumental in the battle for digital privacy as websites continue to siphon ever-increasing amounts of user data. Some advertisements are infamous for tracking each click a user makes, building a profile of interests that includes intimate information such as age, location, friends, personal preferences, and more.

Learn more about ad-blockers

Check out our what is an ad-blocker guide for some information about what they are, how they work, and the benefits of using them.

Types of Ad-blockers

Not all ad-blocker tools are the same. They come in a variety of different forms. While some types are more popular than others, it's imperative to weigh up the pros and cons to determine the best ad-blockers for browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, operating systems such as Windows 10, Android or iOS, and the myriad of other devices out there.

Browser Extensions

Whether a user opts for a company-owned piece of software such as Google Chrome or open-source offerings, almost all browsers come with built-in ad-blocking features to avoid adware. Sadly, these measures are often limited, with most turning towards extensions to make the most of a browser's capability.

Of course, Chromium-based browsers have the largest selection of ad-blocking extensions thanks to Chrome cornering most of the global market when it comes to web browsers. Although Firefox has a good range available, support for others listed in our top 5 most secure browsers built for privacy is fewer and farther between. Users also risk vulnerability to browser fingerprinting when utilizing many extensions, resulting in a need for extra protection such a Canvas Defender for Firefox.

Free isn't necessarily good

At first, it might seem like a blessing that many ad-blockers are free to use, but unfortunately, not all of them can deliver the same level of privacy a consumer expects. Some make their money by discretely whitelisting the advertisements for companies that opt-in to share revenue with the developer, while others sometimes operate by collecting and selling the data of users themselves.

Pros of Browser Extensions

Cons of Browser Extensions

  • Support/functionality varies from browser to browser
  • Vulnerability to browser fingerprinting without added protection
  • Some free ad-blockers aren't as private as they seem

VPNs with Ad-blockers

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are vital when it comes to online privacy due to their ability to hide what you get up to on the internet, making them the perfect tool to pair up with ad-blockers. Some VPN developers have cut out the middle-man by offering ad-blocking features within their service, too, leaving more time for privately browsing the web and less time hunting for the perfect software.

As a one-stop-shop, users reap all the benefits of a traditional ad-blocker alongside the function of a VPN, making it incredibly difficult for adware to form a profile. The bundles are often a part of premium subscriptions, which enable a user to protect multiple devices at once.

With the built-in program being a paid feature, there is no funny business as to how the company is making money, but this makes it less accessible than some browser extensions. The primary drawback, however, is that ad-blocking cannot be used independently as the function only activates when connected to the VPN.

Pros of VPNs with Ad-blockers

Cons of VPNs with Ad-blockers

  • Requires a premium paid subscription
  • Ad-blocker functionality cannot be used independently

Ad-blocker desktop applications

Although it's a much more unconventional method of getting rid of advertisements, there are a few ad-blocker applications that can be directly installed onto desktops.

Unlike extensions, since these are installed on the device itself rather than added to individual browsers, these programs have the ability to prevent advertisements from appearing on multiple browsers at once – which is handy given that having more than one browser installed is always encouraged. Even advertisements baked into other applications and Windows 10 have a hard time against these ad-blocker apps.

Also, in contrast to extensions, ad-blocker apps have a tendency to take up a larger amount of system resources, even when not in use. Strictly free versions of the programs also remain restricted or have fallen behind on development compared to their paid alternatives, leaving them less useful.

Pros of Desktop ad-blocker applications

Cons of Desktop ad-blocker applications

  • Resource heavy
  • Free versions are usually restricted or out-dated
  • Not much of a selection

Router-loaded ad-blockers

With a little know-how, it is possible to load ad-blockers onto dedicated or virtual routers, preventing advertisements at the Domain Name System (DNS) level. The implementation will depends on the interface of each individual router, and while they are often trickier to set up than alternatives, they yield the biggest results.

While previously mentioned ad-blockers stop advertisements from appearing, most do nothing to prevent the web page from downloading personalized banners, images, and videos based on a user's browsing history and stored cookies. Prohibiting these advertisements from loading at the DNS level not only maximizes performance but caters to multiple devices in the household, let alone multiple browsers.

Preventing advertisements using DNS is usually a blanket-wide block that can sometimes be customized by the user based on how strict their settings are. There is a risk of select webpages breaking and commercial sites being caught in the crossfire, both of which can be remedied by manually whitelisting. No router-based solution is as accessible as its local brethren, but as mentioned earlier, this is particularly dependent on the router's user interface.

Pros of router-loaded ad-blockers

Cons of router-loaded ad-blockers

  • Can be fiddly to set up
  • Not as user-friendly to manage

Conclusion

The best ad-blockers can handle more than just the occasional pop-up or annoyingly large banner advert. If you want to improve your overall internet experience and prevent your computer from being slowed down by torrents of ad campaigns, then an ad-blocker is a great tool. Here's a reminder of our top picks for the best ad-blockers:

  1. AdLock - AdLock is the best ad-blocker for Android devices and PCs.
  2. uBlock Origin - uBlock Origin is the best free browser ad-block extension around.
  3. CyberSec (NordVPN) - CyberSec is a great add-on from one of the world's leading VPNs.
  4. AdFender - AdFender is a highly customizable, subscription based ad-blocker for Windows PCs.
  5. 1Blocker - The original and best ad-blocker for all iOS users.

Written by: Damien Mason

In his first year with ProPrivacy, Damien found himself quoted in Forbes, Digital Spy, Reader’s Digest and several other publications before stepping up as Content Editor. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Film & Television Production, he is familiar with all areas of writing and often produces scripts for ProPrivacy’s own YouTube channel. Outside of the company, he can be found playing video games, binging television shows and writing about both.

6 Comments

Ccarlo
on October 31, 2021
Reply
there are a few more quality and powerful blockers; but you have not currently listed two of them. the first is: privacy badger (from eff.org) and the second is the most powerful, and definitely the strongest adblocker that exists, and it was made by the same author as UBlock Origin (Raymond Hill) ... it's uMatrix ... definitely, amazing powerful and effective.must have adblocker!!!
Laverne Lachapelle
on November 3, 2020
Reply
Of course you can't cover every possible Ad Blocker out there, but allow me to make a pitch for Better Blocker, available at the App Store, for Macs, for $1.99. It's the creation of an Irish couple and their website is here: https://better.fyi FYI - I have no connection whatsoever with this company or the developers. Just a very happy customer. Also, it troubles me that when you turn on, for instance, the AdBlock Engine in Safari extensions, you see the alert: "Can read sensitive information from webpages, including passwords, phone numbers, and credit cards." When you use Better Blocker, you see: "Better does not have permission to read or transmit content from any webpages."
Eddy
on May 13, 2020
Reply
Hi, great review. I personally find Brave browser to do a fantastic job at blocking ads. For desktop version STANDS extension worked far better than others.
Snowden
on February 7, 2020
Reply
Please... Pretty please!... Don't say "PC", say Windows! 'cause that's what you really mean... And also, mention Linux on this article. Is the second article I read TODAY that doesn't mention anything about Linux as a supported platform for several of the software you recommend and also, this is a site about "privacy"... Linux should be mentioned pretty much in every single article that is not devoted to a specific Operating System. I'm starting to question myself as a reader of this site's RSS feed.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Snowden
on February 12, 2020
Reply
Hi Snowden. Damien points out that this was the first article he ever wrote for us, and was very much finding his feet. We will adjust it to include reference to Linux as soon as time permits (most ad-blockers are browser-based, and therefore agnostic anyway). And in fairness to us as a website, ProProivacy does give Linux a great deal of prominence, something we only plan to expand moving forward.
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