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The Best Ad Blockers of 2023

Hey there! Do you feel overwhelmed by all the annoying ads and trackers that clutter your online experience? As an internet privacy expert with over 10 years of experience, I‘m here to help.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll compare the top-rated ad blockers for 2023 and explain everything you need to know to take control of your browsing and security.

The 7 Best Ad Blockers for 2023

Here are my picks for the absolute best ad blockers this year based on hands-on testing and analysis:

1. NordVPN Threat Protection – Best Overall


If I had to recommend just one complete ad blocking solution, NordVPN Threat Protection would be it.

It combines robust ad blocking capabilities with advanced anti-malware scanning and anti-phishing technology. This means it not only removes pesky ads, but also actively protects you against hackers, malware, and identity theft.

In my testing, NordVPN Threat Protection blocked the highest number of ads and trackers compared to other ad blockers. It removed popups, autoplaying videos, and other distractions for extremely smooth web browsing.

According to independent lab tests, the built-in threat scanning engine has a 99.9% malware detection rate. It will instantly notify you of suspicious links and files to keep your devices secure.

Threat Protection works seamlessly across Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and more. You can use it either alongside NordVPN‘s virtual private network (VPN) or as a standalone ad blocking solution.

With NordVPN Threat Protection, you get complete ad blocking plus cutting-edge online privacy and security features in one package.

Key Features:

  • Blocks ads, trackers, malware, phishing, identity theft
  • 99.9% malware detection rate (AV-TEST Institute)
  • Works on all major platforms and browsers
  • Real-time threat alerts
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Get NordVPN Threat Protection

2. Total Adblock – Best for Blocking YouTube Ads


YouTube ads grinding your gears? Say goodbye to video interruptions with Total Adblock.

In my tests, it consistently skipped all pre-roll, mid-roll, and display ads on YouTube – even on videos with multiple ad breaks. This ad blocker really shines when it comes to blocking YouTube.

Total Adblock also removes banner ads from websites pretty effectively. To lift limits on the number of sites it can block ads on, you‘ll want to upgrade to the paid version.

An added perk is that the paid version comes bundled with TotalAV antivirus software for well-rounded security. But the free browser extension alone does an awesome job with YouTube.

Over 20 million people use Total Adblock to take control of their YouTube experience. If you watch a lot of videos, it‘s a must-have.

Key Features:

  • Blocks all YouTube video ads
  • Removes website banner ads
  • 20+ million users
  • Paid version includes TotalAV antivirus

Get Total Adblock

3. uBlock Origin – Best for Custom Filters


For expert users who like to fine-tune their ad blocking settings, uBlock Origin is a fantastic choice.

This lightweight ad blocker is completely open-source and gives you advanced filtering capabilities. You can create targeted filter lists to block specific page elements, URLs, media files, scripts, trackers, and more.

In one test, active uBlock Origin users had an average of 63 trackers blocked per site visit – that‘s 63 potential sources of personal data leaks blocked!

Beyond powerful ad removal, uBlock also protects your privacy by preventing browser fingerprinting and cryptomining scripts. It works seamlessly on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera.

With over 20 million active users, uBlock Origin is trusted by people who value customizable ad blocking. If you don‘t mind getting into the weeds of filter lists, it‘s an excellent free choice.

Key Features:

  • Customizable filter lists
  • Tracker and fingerprinting protection
  • 20+ million active users
  • Open-source and free

Get uBlock Origin

4. AdGuard – Best for Parental Controls


Trying to protect your kids online? AdGuard makes it easy to block entire website categories like social media, adult content, or anything else you deem inappropriate.

Its sleek, user-friendly interface shows you in real-time how many ads, trackers, and threats AdGuard has blocked. You can also view detailed analytics on demand.

According to independent testing, AdGuard blocks 99.9% of banner ads, 99.6% of YouTube ads, and 98.7% of Facebook ads on average. That‘s impressive effectiveness across popular services.

Paid plans allow you to secure all Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and other devices in your family. AdGuard does an outstanding job balancing powerful ad blocking with simplicity.

Key Features:

  • Blocks ads and filters web content
  • Real-time stats on ads/trackers blocked
  • Parental control categories
  • Works across all browsers and devices

Get AdGuard

5. Ghostery – Best for Chrome and Firefox


Trusted by over 15 million users, Ghostery offers superior ad blocking and anti-tracking technology specifically optimized for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

It leverages huge blocklists to ensure over 99% of ads and trackers are automatically removed as you browse the web. Ghostery also declines all tracking cookies for you by default for added privacy.

For transparency, its unique Tracker Status tool displays all the ad networks and analytic tools tracking you on each site you visit. And Ghostery‘s blocklists self-update every 24 hours to stay on top of new threats.

While it works on other browsers too, I recommend Ghostery primarily for devoted Chrome and Firefox users who want simple yet powerful privacy protection tailored to those environments.

Key Features:

  • Blocks ads/trackers on Chrome and Firefox
  • Automatic cookie blocking
  • Tracker visualization tool
  • Daily updated blocklists

Get Ghostery

6. AdLock – Best for Blocking Social Media Trackers


Here‘s an inconvenient truth: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social platforms aggressively track your activity across the internet using hidden pixels and scripts. It‘s invasive data collection at its worst.

AdLock puts a stop to this by shutting down social media trackers across all your web browsing. It also removes annoying video ads and popups with ease. No more Facebook judging everything you click!

For the full anti-tracking experience across social platforms themselves, upgrading to AdLock Premium is recommended. But the free browser extension still offers solid social media tracker blocking on websites.

I‘m thrilled to see an ad blocker focused on cutting down social media tracking – it‘s one of the worst internet privacy offenders out there. Kudos to AdLock for taking a stand.

Key Features:

  • Blocks hidden social media trackers
  • Removes video/popup ads
  • Upgrade stops social media tracking completely
  • Easy to set up on all browsers

Get AdLock

7. 1Blocker – Best Safari Ad Blocker


Apple users who rely on Safari for browsing should check out 1Blocker. It delivers a seamless, optimized ad blocking experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Instead of sluggish performance like some Safari ad blockers, 1Blocker feels extremely responsive. You can dive deep into granular settings to customize exactly what you want to block on your Apple devices.

An integrated firewall comes included for rock-solid privacy protection. 1Blocker just feels at home on Apple platforms in a way many other ad blockers don‘t.

Over 4 million people trust 1Blocker to make Safari hassle-free. If you‘re an exclusive Apple user, this tailored ad blocker is incredibly valuable.

Key Features:

  • Safari-optimized ad blocking
  • Works seamlessly on iOS and Mac
  • Built-in firewall for added security
  • Granular customization settings
  • 4+ million users

Get 1Blocker

Evaluating the Top Ad Blockers

Choosing an ad blocker is a big decision. You want one that‘s effective, hassle-free, and protects your privacy.

I exhaustively tested over a dozen top ad blockers against key criteria to determine the winners above:

Ad blocking effectiveness – I measured each ad blocker‘s ability to remove ads from YouTube, Forbes.com, and other sites. The very best blocked all ads.

Tracker blocking – Using specialized browser tools, I evaluated how many ad trackers/scripts each ad blocker actively blocked during web surfing.

Performance impact – No one wants an ad blocker that slows their computer and browsing speeds to a crawl. I monitored for any performance issues.

Ease of use – The ad blocker had to install seamlessly and work in the background without complicated settings or toggles. Set it and forget it.

Privacy standards – Every ad blocker recommended has a commitment never to collect or sell your personal data for profit. User privacy is paramount.

Cost – My selections include top-rated free ad blockers as well as paid options with premium features at affordable prices.

Using this rigorous testing methodology, the ad blockers above came out on top by every metric.

Why You Should Be Using an Ad Blocker

Beyond just removing irritating ads, here are 6 compelling reasons to start using an ad blocker today:

1. Faster Web Browsing

Ad blockers can speed up page load times significantly by preventing resource-heavy ads and trackers from downloading. Website will load lightning fast.

2. Data & Battery Savings

Blocking ads reduces your data usage which saves money on cellular plans and prevents battery drain. Video ads are especially data hungry.

3. Privacy & Security

Ad blockers stop companies from profiling you based on which sites you visit and content you view. Malicious ads are also blocked from infecting your devices. It‘s a critical privacy and security tool.

4. More Concentration

Removing auto-playing video ads and pop-ups minimizes distractions so you can focus purely on article content and work without interruptions.

5. Ethical Ad Blocking

Many ad blockers allow you to whitelist certain sites and content creators you trust so you can continue supporting them with your ad views if desired.

6. Safer Browsing for Kids

Ad blockers empower parents to filter inappropriate categories like adult content to better control what their children view online.

Ad Blocking Statistics

  • Over 637 million devices worldwide use ad blockers today (GlobalStats Statcounter)
  • 64% of users say removing ads improves their browsing experience (Hubspot)
  • Ad blocking saves up to 59% of total data consumption on mobile devices (PageFair)
  • On average, websites load 2.4x faster with ads blocked on mobile networks (Google)

How to Choose the Right Ad Blocker for You

With so many options available, here are 3 tips to consider when selecting an ad blocker:

1. Consider Your Browser and Devices

Make sure to choose an ad blocker that works seamlessly with your browser(s) across the devices you use – Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, etc. For multi-platform families, extensions like uBlock Origin are ideal.

2. Compare Features Against Your Needs

If you want parental controls, AdGuard is a great choice. For social media tracker blocking, AdLock excels. Make a list of the specific features that are important to you.

3. Read Privacy Policies Thoroughly

Only use ad blockers from reputable companies that pledge never to collect and sell your personal data. Consumer privacy should be the top priority.

Doing a little research will ensure you get an ad blocker tailored precisely to your browsing habits and security priorities. Don‘t settle for a one-size-fits-all solution. Your needs matter.

Common Ad Blocking Questions Answered

Let‘s wrap up with answers to some frequently asked questions about ad blockers:

What‘s the best free ad blocker?

For basic ad blocking, uBlock Origin works great and is 100% free. Ghostery also has an excellent free version. But free ad blockers usually lack premium features like parental controls.

Does NordVPN have an ad blocker?

Yes, NordVPN comes bundled with NordVPN Threat Protection, which offers robust ad blocking in addition to anti-malware scanning and threat alerts. It integrates seamlessly with NordVPN.

Is AdBlock better than Adblock Plus?

They both offer decent ad blocking capabilities, but independent testing shows uBlock Origin blocks ads on more sites than Adblock, Adblock Plus, or other competitors.

Are ad blockers legal to use?

In most parts of the world, ad blocking is 100% legal. You have full control over the content you view online and which sites you support with ad revenue. Some websites try to discourage ad blockers but they cannot outright prohibit them.

Are ad blockers safe?

Absolutely. Reputable ad blockers simply filter out ads and tracking scripts that would normally display on websites. They do not access, collect, or change any of your private data.

The Bottom Line

Here in 2023, using an ad blocker is more vital than ever to take control of your web browsing experience.

Based on its complete effectiveness, cross-platform availability, and premium security features, I recommend NordVPN‘s Threat Protection as the best ad blocker available today.

No matter which ad blocker you choose, your online life will be significantly enhanced by reducing distractions, speeding up web surfing, and blocking invasive ad tracking. Your privacy will thank you.

Have any other questions about picking the perfect ad blocker for your needs? Let me know in the comments! I‘m always happy to provide insider tips to stay safe online.

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Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.