The Best Adblocker Software for Android, iOS, PC and Mac

Navigating the online space can be difficult, with pop-ups interrupting your experience and websites cluttered with advertisements – some of which are entirely irrelevant or inappropriate. By simply downloading an adblocker, you can strengthen your privacy, performance, and protection.

Increasing popularity has caused the market to saturate in recent years, and when combined with how many different types of adblockers there are, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Fortunately, there is something for everyone in our list of best adblockers around.

What are the best adblockers?

Here is a sneak peek at our list of best adblockers. Please keep scrolling if you'd like more information on each service.

  1. uBlock Origin - The best browser extension
  2. CyberSec (NordVPN) - The best VPN with an adblocker
  3. AdFender - The best desktop adblocker
  4. AdLock - The best adblocker for Android
  5. 1Blocker X - Best ad blocker for iOS

Best adblockers - In-depth Analysis

The best adblockers can do more than just prevent a buildup of advertisements on pages. Check out our picks for the best adblockers below and find out all the ways they can help improve your overall internet experience today.

uBlock Origin offers a lightweight and effective service.

  • Free option

    Yes

uBlock Origin doesn’t cater to every browser out there, but it does support the core desktop versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, and other Chromium-based browsers. It is lightweight in comparison to the competition and we were met with the fewest detection messages from websites pleading to whitelist them, which certainly does well to enhance the overall user experience.

CyberSec comes free with a subscription to NordVPN

  • Free option

    Yes

Although the CyberSec security suite isn’t free, it is included within a subscription to NordVPN, giving an incredible value for money. Users are able to access all the benefits of NordVPN's service, including adblocking and malware protection.

AdFender is a tried and tested desktop application that provides great adblocking.

  • Pricing

    From  $15.95

While AdFender no longer offers a free option as of version 2.50, it remains one of the best ad blockers for Windows Vista through to Windows 10 thanks to its relatively cheap $19.95 per year subscription price. It has been tried and tested using a wide range of browsers, including Waterfox and Pale Moon, two of the more privacy-focused offerings out there.

AdLock is a robust adblocker for Android.

  • Pricing

    From  $10.00 - $36.00

AdLock’s desktop version isn’t quite as competitive at $22 per year, but its $11 Android subscription proves a treat. 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. Adblocking services are prevented from Google’s Play Store, meaning users will have to side-load this one onto their device.

1Blocker X is one of the original and best adblockers for iOS.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    From  $2.99 - $14.99

As one of the first acclaimed ad blockers for iOS, 1Blocker X has picked up a trick or two that keeps advertisements at bay for iPhone and iPad users. Acting as an optimization for Safari, 1Blocker X won’t work on applications, but it will save system resources with its 115,000+ blocker rules and settings preventing content from downloading in advance. 1Blocker X is incredibly affordable and available directly from the App Store for a one-time payment of only $4.99.

Adblock Plus is a long-running adblocker that we think is worth noting as well.

  • Free option

    Yes

Adblock Plus, otherwise known as ABP, is one of the oldest extensions around, established as the most popular adblocker plug-in for Firefox. 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 list.

Why do I need an adblocker?

Companies tend to prioritize profit over user satisfaction; making deals with dodgy advertisement firms and slowing their webpages down with too many ads by filling them to the brim with animations, audio, and text. These can redirect you to malicious websites when clicked on or slow your system to a crawl.

Adblockers are designed from the ground up to help consumers avoid the manipulation of brands, stopping advertisements in their tracks before they appear on-screen. After installing one, you will likely immediately see an improvement with faster loading times, helping to conserve battery life on both laptops and mobile devices. 

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is where the tool’s functionality ends given its namesake, but certain products can be capable of so much more. They help to protect users from malicious advertisements known as ‘malvertising’, as attackers utilize them to disseminate harmful code. This can be done by redirecting the user to a compromised website or piggybacking a stealthy download to unsuspecting victims, in some cases even without a click on the advertisement itself.

Adblockers also prove instrumental in the battle for privacy as websites continue to siphon user data. A number of advertisements are infamous for tracking each click a user makes, building a profile of interests that include intimate information such as age, location, friends, and more.

Types of Adblockers

Like always, not all programs are built equal and can come in a variety of different forms. While some types are distinctly more popular than others, it’s imperative to weigh up the pros and cons to determine the best adblockers 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 adblocking features to avoid adware. Sadly, these measures are often limited, with most turning towards extensions to make the most of a browser’s capability.

By far the most popular type of adblocker, extensions are the easiest to install with just a few clicks and offer a range of customization. Ads are usually blocked by default; with users having to whitelist trusted websites manually should they wish to contribute to a company’s revenue.

Of course, Chromium-based browsers have the largest selection of adblocking extensions thanks to Chrome cornering most of the global market. Although Firefox has a good range available, support for others listed in our top 5 most secure browsers built for privacy is fewer and further 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 adblockers are free to use, but unfortunately, not all of them can secure the 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 Extension

  • Support ranges per browser
  • Vulnerability to browser fingerprinting without added protection
  • Some free adblockers aren't as private as they seem

VPNs with Adblockers

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 adblockers. Some VPN developers have taken away the middle-man by offering adblocking features within their service, 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 adblocker 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 enables 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 adblocking cannot be used independently as the function only activates when connected to the VPN.

Pros of VPNs with Adblockers

Cons of VPNs with Adblockers

  • Requires a premium paid subscription
  • Adblocker functionality cannot be used independently

Adblocker desktop applications

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

Unlike extensions, 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 adblocker apps.

Also, in contrast to extensions, adblocker apps have a tendency to take up a larger amount of system resources such as memory, 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 a little less accessible.

Pros of Desktop adblocker applications

Cons of Desktop adblocker applications

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

Router-loaded adblockers

With a little know-how, it is possible to load adblockers onto dedicated or virtual routers, preventing advertisements at Domain Name System (DNS) level. Implementation 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 adblockers 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 adblockers

Cons of router-loaded adblockers

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

Conclusion

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

  1. uBlock Origin - The best browser extension
  2. CyberSec (NordVPN) - The best VPN with an adblocker
  3. AdFender - The best desktop adblocker
  4. AdLock - The best adblocker for Android
  5. 1Blocker X - Best ad blocker for iOS

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.

4 Comments

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.
Don
on October 23, 2019
Reply
I use firewalls: LiitleSnitch on the Mac and Weblock on iOS. But my goal is not to block ads so much as tracking. I'll accept ads that are hosted on a website's own servers, but if they use an ad server, it acts like a web beacon. Of course I also block all web servers owned by that great master of evil on the Web, Google.
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