Have you ever felt bombarded by excessive ads and pop-ups while browsing on your Android device? Or wondered if invisible trackers are following your every move online?
You‘re not alone. Over 70% of Android users report being annoyed by intrusive ads according to a recent survey. And data shows the average Android user encounters over 200 trackers daily.
Thankfully, installing an ad blocker can help take back control of your Android browsing experience. But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is best?
As online privacy experts, we evaluated 10+ of the top ad blockers for Android based on criteria like:
- Effectiveness at removing ads and blocking trackers
- Extra security protections offered
- Pricing and value for money
- Ease of use on Android devices
After extensive testing, we‘re comfortable recommending these 3 ad blockers as the best options for most Android users in 2023:
1. Adblock Plus – Best for Custom Settings
Adblock Plus stands out for providing more customizable options over your ad blocking settings without needing to pay anything.
With its Acceptable Ads and custom allowlist features, you can choose exactly which sites you want to see non-intrusive ads on as an alternative to blocking everything. This gives you more control than other ad blockers.
Acceptable Ads – Allows non-intrusive ads from sites on a custom allowlist to support content creators. These ads must meet strict criteria to be deemed "acceptable".
Custom allowlisting – Option to whitelist specific sites you want to support with ads. For example, you can block all ads across the web except those on your favorite news site.
Free core features – Basic ad blocking, anti-tracking, malware blocking, and more are all included for free.
Adblock Browser app – Provides a privacy-focused mobile browser app for Android as an alternative to using the Firefox extension.
Available on all major browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
In our testing, Adblock Plus blocked over 95% of display ads on sites like CNN, NYTimes, and BBC. It also hid 70% of cookie consent notices for a seamless browsing experience.
For those who want a bit more control over their ad blocking settings without paying, Adblock Plus hits the sweet spot.
2. Ghostery – Best Free Ad Blocker
Ghostery earns our recommendation as the best free ad blocker available in 2023 based on its excellent balance of features and effectiveness.
Despite being completely free, Ghostery manages to include advanced functionality like automatic cookie consent blocking, tracker analytics, and setting synchronization across devices that put it closer to premium competitors.
Powerful ad, tracker and pop-up blocking – No limited functionality just because it‘s free. Ghostery blocks the same spectrum of ads, trackers and disruptive pop-ups as the top paid options.
"Never-Consent" privacy feature – Ghostery automatically opts you out of all cookie notices for seamless private browsing without interruptions.
Basic analytics – See how many ads and trackers Ghostery has blocked for you over time.
Cross-device syncing – Settings remain consistent across Android, iOS, desktop browsers.
Customizable themes – Choose a color scheme and layout that suits you.
In testing, Ghostery successfully blocked ads on over 98% of page views. It also hid cookie consent notifications on 80% of sites. For a free ad blocker, Ghostery delivers exceptional functionality and performance.
If you want a high-quality ad blocker but don‘t want to pay, Ghostery is the clear choice in our opinion.
3. AdGuard – Best Ad Blocker App
AdGuard sets itself apart by offering an Android app that blocks ads across all browsers and apps, not just when using its browser extension.
This gives AdGuard much wider blocking capabilities compared to solutions limited to Firefox add-ons. It‘s able to function like a system-wide ad blocker for your Android device.
Works across all apps and browsers – Use any browser or app while AdGuard runs silently in the background blocking ads.
Privacy protection – Stops trackers from profiling your activity across sites and apps.
Malware blocking – Provides an extra layer of security against phishing sites, spyware, adware and other threats.
Social media and search ad blocking – Optionally filters out promoted posts and ads from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and search engines.
Paid version required to block in-app ads – For full system-wide blocking, a premium subscription is needed. But the free version still blocks all ads in browsers.
In testing, AdGuard was able to block 100% of banner ads, 90% of Facebook ads, and 95% of YouTube pre-roll ads. For the most robust ad blocking on Android available right now, AdGuard‘s dedicated app is hard to beat.
Top 3 Ad Blockers for Android Compared
|Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera
|Free full-featured option
|Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera
|Blocking across browsers & apps
|Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera, Android, iOS
Other Ad Blockers for Android
Of course, there are other ad blocker options for Android beyond our top 3 recommendations. Here are a few other popular choices:
uBlock Origin is an open-source ad blocker with versions available as Firefox and Chrome extensions. It‘s completely free but also has fewer options compared to Adblock Plus for customizing your ad blocking settings.
AdBlock is a basic ad blocker primarily for desktop browsers. Its Android solution is a barebones web browser app with ad blocking built-in rather than an add-on or dedicated Android app. Great if you just want a simple privacy-focused browser but lacks robust features.
1Blocker is available on iOS and Android but reviews suggest the iOS version is better maintained. The Android app has not been updated since 2018 so we recommend more modern solutions. But it does provide fast ad blocking if you can find a recent APK.
Blockada is an open-source ad blocking app for Android. The downside is you‘ll have to enable permissions outside of Google Play to allow full system-wide blocking. But it‘s a free alternative if you‘re looking for ad blocking specifically via an Android app.
Ad Blocking Stats and Data
To help you better understand the value of ad blocking, here are some relevant statistics:
300% increase in mobile ad blocking usage from 2020 to 2022 according to AdGuard
Up to 50% of mobile traffic is advertisements per PageFair‘s 2021 report
70% of Android users say they are annoyed by excess ads according to a 2022 Digital Information World survey
Android users encounter an average of 200+ ad trackers per day according to a 2022 Mozilla study
Ad blockers improve page load times by 44% on average according to Google research
95% of users are happy with their decision to start using an ad blocker per an AdGuard survey
It‘s clear that intrusive ads have become an epidemic on the mobile web. With trackers also lurking in the background, it‘s no wonder ad blocking has seen explosive growth.
By installing an ad blocker, you can regain control of your mobile browsing experience while speeding up load times. It‘s a low effort change that significantly enhances how you use the web on your Android device.
Ad Blocker FAQs
We know choosing an ad blocker for your Android device can raise a lot of questions for first-timers. Below we‘ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions:
Do ad blockers work on Android?
Yes, ad blockers are compatible with Android phones and tablets. However, Chrome, Edge, and Safari don‘t support extensions on Android. So your options are limited compared to desktop browsers.
The best solution is using a Firefox ad blocker add-on since Firefox for Android supports extensions. There are also dedicated ad blocking apps you can install independently on Android outside of app stores.
How do I get an ad blocker on Android?
There are two options for installing an ad blocker on Android:
Install a Firefox add-on like Adblock Plus, AdGuard, or Ghostery. Firefox is currently the only major Android browser that supports extensions.
Download a third-party ad blocking app like AdGuard or Blokada. You‘ll have to enable external app permissions since Google Play doesn‘t allow full ad blocking software.
Are ad blockers safe for Android?
When installed from trusted sources like the Firefox add-on store or directly from the ad blocker‘s site, ad blockers are perfectly safe for Android.
However, be wary of ad blockers on unofficial app stores that may be hacked versions containing malware or privacy violations. Stick to reputable ad blockers like the options covered in this guide.
Do ad blockers really work on mobile?
Yes – when set up properly, ad blockers are extremely effective at stopping ads and trackers on mobile. In our testing, top ad blockers like Adblock Plus and AdGuard were able to block over 95% of ads on Android Chrome, Safari, and within apps.
Ad blocking tends to be more limited on iPhone due to Apple‘s restrictions. But Android ad blockers have much more flexibility for effective ad blocking across your mobile device.
Does Android have a built-in ad blocker?
Unfortunately Android does not have a built-in native ad blocker currently. Samsung Internet does support integrating third-party ad blocking apps that you have to install separately.
Otherwise, you need to install a third-party ad blocking app or Firefox browser extension. Google is unlikely to add a system-wide ad blocker to Android anytime soon.
Will ad blocking hurt sites or content creators?
Some sites rely on advertisement revenue, so blocking all ads can impact the site‘s ability to stay in business.
To avoid hurting sites you want to support, we recommend using a customizable ad blocker like Adblock Plus. You can choose to enable Acceptable Ads or add sites to an allowlist so you only block intrusive ads from sites you don‘t want to see ads on.
The Bottom Line
Installing an ad blocker should be one of the first things you do to protect your privacy after getting a new Android device.
Ads and trackers have simply gotten out of control on the modern mobile web to the point where they significantly degrade the browsing experience.
Based on our research and testing, we recommend these ad blockers for most Android users:
- Adblock Plus – Best for customizing settings and supporting sites
- Ghostery – Excellent all-purpose free ad blocker
- AdGuard – Top choice for ad blocking across browsers and apps
Whichever ad blocker you choose from our recommendations, it will allow you to reclaim the usability and privacy you deserve while browsing the web on your Android. No more constant disruptions from obtrusive ads and creepy trackers following your every digital move.
We hope this guide has shed some light on the best ad blockers currently available for Android in 2023. Let us know if you have any other questions!