How To Block Ads on YouTube: 6 Free and Low-Cost Ways

Are you over YouTube ads? Here are a couple of ways to block those commercials no matter the device or web browser you use.
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Our ad-free internet experience has taken another hit, this time on YouTube. The video streaming site recently added an anti-ad blocker feature that warns you if it detects that you're using an ad blocker. This warning stops you from viewing the video and requires you to either allow ads or pay for a YouTube Premium subscription.

If you're like us and want a clutter-free YouTube viewing experience, there are a few ways to watch your favorite channels without the interruption of annoying ads. And we've tested each one to make sure they don't set off YouTube's ad blocker alarms. Keep reading to discover how to block ads on YouTube once and for all by using the best ad blockers, VPNs, and more.

In this article
How to block ads on YouTube with an ad blocker
1. Total Adblock
2. NordVPN Threat Protection
3. Surfshark CleanWeb
4. Ghostery
5. AdGuard
6. 1Blocker
Get rid of ads with a YouTube Premium subscription
Why shouldn’t you block ads on YouTube?
FAQs
Bottom line

Featured YouTube ad blockers

Ad blocker
Best for Best for blocking YouTube ads Best overall Best for blocking streaming ads
Price Paid plan costs $1.99/mo (billed annually) Starts at $3.09/mo (billed every two years) Starts at $2.29/mo (billed biennially)
Blocks YouTube ads
Learn more Get Total Adblock Get NordVPN Threat Protection Get Surfshark CleanWeb

How to block ads on YouTube

An ad blocker is designed to block advertisements from appearing on a webpage. It scans a website for advertising material and then stops it from loading. This comes with numerous benefits like blocking malicious ads, increasing data privacy, and speeding up webpage load times.

However, YouTube frequently updates its system to work around ad blockers. This means you may sometimes still deal with ads while an ad blocker figures out how to block them again. Also, YouTube has started displaying notices that warn users against using ad blockers and force them to disable their blocker (or pay for YouTube) to continue viewing. 

Ad blockers are useful for an ad-free experience, but you need to download a legitimate and efficient ad blocker. Sometimes criminals use fake ad blockers as a way for you to install a virus. Start by thoroughly researching the reviews of an ad blocker before you use it.

Ad blockers are usually browser extensions, but desktop and mobile apps are an option too. If you want a Google Chrome extension to block YouTube ads, consider checking out Total Adblock, which has over 1 million Chrome users and comes with an iOS and Android app.

1. Total Adblock

Best Basic Adblocker — Including YouTube Video Ads
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Total Adblock's website
Ad Blocker
Total Adblock
Special deal: Save 75% off
  • Instantly blocks distracting ads on millions of websites, including YouTube video ads
  • Blocks third-party trackers to protect your privacy and information
  • Improves page load times and enables faster browsing
  • Free version excludes top 15,000 websites

One of the best all-around ad blockers, Total Adblock successfully got rid of those annoying ads while we streamed YouTube videos. Here's our attempt to watch a video about the new Middle Eastern city, Neom, with no ad blocker enabled: 

With Total Adblock turned off, we had to sit through a couple of ads before we watched our YouTube video.

And here's our ad-free YouTube video with Total Adblock enabled:

With Total Adblock turned on, we were able to watch our YouTube video without ad interruptions.

One thing we especially like about Total Adblock is that it clearly notes how many ads and trackers it has blocked for you. This is a reassuring way to show you it works. Additionally, the Chrome extension features a simple on-and-off toggle, so you can support your favorite YouTubers by watching a few ads if you choose — no need to uninstall and then reinstall the ad blocker.

2. NordVPN Threat Protection

Enjoy Privacy and Security Even When Not Connected to a VPN
4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN Threat Protection's website
Ad Blocker
NordVPN Threat Protection
Save up to 74% + 3 months free
  • Stops intrusive ads before they can even load, improving browsing experience and speed
  • Identifies malware-ridden files and protects against visiting malicious websites
  • Encrypts your data and blocks third-party trackers for increased security and privacy
  • Lacks a dedicated firewall

NordVPN comes with Threat Protection built in, which blocks ads and trackers as well as malware. That's a huge plus for us since ads aren't the only nuisance you'll find online. (Adware and ransomware can cause more headaches than sitting through a minute of ads, trust us.) With NordVPN Threat Protection turned off, our YouTube video started off with a fresh round of ads:

Without NordVPN Threat Protection turned on we saw ads in our YouTube videos.

But when we toggled Threat Protection on, voila! We saw no more YouTube ads:

NordVPN Threat Protection successfully blocked YouTube ads for us during testing.

NordVPN comes with additional security features that make it an excellent choice all around. A virtual private network (VPN) like NordVPN is primarily used to create a protected network to share and receive data safely. This keeps hackers away from your data and helps you avoid cybercrime like identity theft. 

Additionally, a VPN with ad blocking capabilities can block unwanted pop-up ads and video ads. This combination of data privacy and ad blocking can make a VPN a powerful tool to keep your data anonymous.

3. Surfshark CleanWeb

Comprehensive Ad Blocking Online and in Apps + VPN Connection
4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Surfshark CleanWeb Ad Blocking's website
Ad Blocker
Surfshark CleanWeb Ad Blocking
86% off + 3 months free
  • Blocks ads, banners, and pop-ups on your browser and apps, including smart TVs
  • Enjoy boosted browsing speeds and save money on mobile data with its effective ad-blocking capabilities
  • Added benefit of a VPN to encrypt your data, hide your IP address, avoid phishing scams, and minimize malware risks
  • Does not completely hide your digital fingerprint

Surfshark VPN is packed with valuable features, including CleanWeb, which blocks ads, trackers, malware, and even those annoying cookie pop-up requests. CleanWeb 2.0, which comes with Surfshark's browser extension, can block YouTube ads and even ads on streaming services. 

Without CleanWeb 2.0, the TinyDesk Concert we selected started with some ads:

A TinyDesk Concert on YouTube with pre-roll ads playing. The Chrome extension for Surfshark shows that CleanWeb is off.

Once we hit the Turn on button for CleanWeb and refreshed the webpage, the concert played uninterrupted.

A TinyDesk Concert on YouTube. The Chrome extension for Surfshark shows that CleanWeb is on.

4. Ghostery

Ghostery is focused on getting rid of trackers that follow you around the internet, but it also manages to block YouTube ads. Here's what we saw while trying to watch YouTube without Ghostery turned on:

With Ghostery turned off, we had to sit through YouTube ads.

And here's what we saw on YouTube with Ghostery turned on. Much better, right?

Turning Ghostery on gave us an ad-free YouTube experience.

Along with a quick toggle for turning the ad blocker on and off, Ghostery also lets you pause the ad blocker, tracker blocker, and cookie pop-up blocker individually. That's a level of control you don't always see.

5. AdGuard

AdGuard doubles up with ad blocking and malware protection. This includes erasing those pesky YouTube ads for you. 

Without AdGuard turned on, we had to sit through some ads before watching our YouTube video:

Without AdGuard, our YouTube videos were filled with ads.

But when we turned AdGuard on, it blocked those YouTube ads:

When we turned AdGuard on, we saw no ads in our YouTube videos.

While we like AdGuard's simple approach with its Chrome extension, the desktop app was somewhat of a nuisance to set up. We had to allow and configure multiple settings on our MacBook before it would start blocking ads.

6. 1Blocker

Built just for Safari, 1Blocker helps you keep ads away while you watch YouTube videos on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Without 1Blocker turned on, here's what our YouTube experience looked like (yes, another Liberty Mutual ad):

Without 1Blocker turned on, we were subjected to (yet another) Liberty Mutual ad on YouTube.

And when we turned 1Blocker on, the YouTube ads disappeared:

When we turned 1Blocker on, we enjoyed an ad-free experience on YouTube.

One thing to note is, even though 1Blocker has a free plan you can use to successfully block ads, you can only toggle one type of blocker at a time unless you pay. This may not be a big deal to some, but since other ad blockers simultaneously block ads, trackers, and cookie pop-ups, it means 1Blocker's free plan falls a little short.

Get rid of ads with a YouTube Premium subscription

If you want a guaranteed way to watch YouTube videos with no ads, you should consider investing in a YouTube Premium subscription.

As long as you're signed in, you can watch videos uninterrupted by ads on any device — including mobile, desktop, and enabled TV. YouTube Premium removes video ads before, during, and after the video while also removing banner and search ads.

By paying for a subscription, you can ensure your favorite YouTubers are still getting paid when you watch their videos. They’ll receive some of the earnings from Premium, which means you can financially support content creators without having to watch ads.

Besides no longer seeing ads, YouTube Premium has additional benefits you might find worthy of the cost. Some of these benefits include:

  • Download videos for offline viewing.
  • Play videos in the background, even when you open other apps or the phone is locked.
  • Get access to YouTube Music Premium.

There are several different YouTube Premium plans available, depending on your life circumstances.

Family plans let up to five family members in the same household access YouTube Premium. This is a fairly affordable option since it works out to less than $5.00 per person per month for a family of five.

You save money by paying annually if you can afford the upfront cost. The annual rate for an individual plan will give you about two months free compared to paying the monthly price.

If you're a student, you're eligible for a 1-month trial period and a reduced monthly cost. But you'll need to verify your student status annually to qualify for this rate.

Here is a quick look at the current YouTube Premium plans and prices.

YouTube Premium plans and prices

Plan Price
Monthly $13.99/mo
Annual $139.99/yr
Family $22.99/mo
Student 1-month free trial, $7.99/mo after

YouTube Premium comes with a free trial

A free trial is a great opportunity to try out a new service without a long-term commitment. Individual, student, and family plans all come with a one-month trial.

To sign up for a free trial, you'll need to enter credit card details or link your PayPal account to Google Pay. When your free trial is over, YouTube will automatically charge you to continue the Premium subscription. They’ll notify you seven days before your trial ends, and you can cancel at any time.

Why shouldn’t you block ads on YouTube?

Ads do more than ensure YouTube has the revenue it needs to keep running its platform. YouTube also shares part of its ad earnings with content creators, known as YouTubers. This encourages YouTubers to continue to create more content and also funds their efforts.

If you frequently watch content creators on YouTube, blocking ads may prevent them from earning money from their videos. Watching ads is a free way to support their work.

FAQs


+

What’s the best ad blocker for YouTube?

The best ad blocker for YouTube depends on the type of device you’re using, but we recommend the following as some of the best:

  • Total Adblock
  • Surfshark CleanWeb
  • NordVPN Threat Protection
  • Ghostery
  • 1Blocker
  • AdGuard

If you want to watch videos without ads but still support YouTubers, the best option is to purchase a YouTube Premium subscription. If your priority is simply to block ads, consider a VPN or an ad blocker extension designed for your browser and operating system.


+

Can you block ads on the YouTube app?

Blocking ads on the YouTube app is similar to desktop. By purchasing a YouTube Premium subscription, you won't have to worry about ads on your mobile device.

Alternatively, you can use the Total Adblock app to open and view a YouTube video ad-free. Most ad blockers can't block ads on YouTube mobile, so this is one free way to get around ads on the mobile app. 


+

Do YouTubers get paid if you skip ads?

No, YouTubers don't get paid if you skip ads. If you immediately click skip on an ad, YouTube doesn't count it as a view and won't charge the advertiser for it. Subsequently, the platform can't pay YouTubers a commission for the ad. You'll have to watch the whole ad, or at least 30 seconds of it, for YouTubers to get paid for it.

Bottom line

Blocking YouTube ads is as simple as downloading a browser extension or app. Ad blockers are specifically designed to detect and block advertising, and Total Adblock, Ghostery, AdGuard, and 1Blocker all successfully cleaned up YouTube ads during our testing.

As an alternative, VPNs often have ad blockers included and offer data privacy as well, which makes it harder for advertisers to track you. Overall, a VPN like NordVPN and Surfshark may offer the best value to you by not only blocking ads but also securing your Wi-Fi connection against hackers and trackers. 

For more ways to avoid those video commercials, check out our recommended best ad blockers for YouTube. But if it's important to you to support your favorite YouTubers without having to watch ads, you may want to purchase a YouTube Premium subscription. Premium lets you watch videos ad-free, and YouTubers still get paid when you watch their videos.

Best Basic Adblocker — Including YouTube Video Ads
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Total Adblock's website
Ad Blocker
Total Adblock
Special deal: Save 75% off
  • Instantly blocks distracting ads on millions of websites, including YouTube video ads
  • Blocks third-party trackers to protect your privacy and information
  • Improves page load times and enables faster browsing
  • Free version excludes top 15,000 websites
Author Details
Sara J. Nguyen is a freelance writer specializing in cybersecurity. She aims to help people protect their data while enjoying technology. She has written about online privacy and tech for over 5 years for several organizations. When she's not writing about the latest cybersecurity trends, you can find her on LinkedIn.