Ad block is an essential experience for many people. Bad advertising can ruin experiences left and right, especially while browsing the web, playing games, and watching video content. Of course, there’s a necessary evil aspect to the whole thing, but people still use ad blockers anyway. There are several ways to get ad block on your Android device in at least some capacity. It almost exclusively requires root access or installing third party apps.
There are no system wide ad blockers in the Google Play Store. You can read here to find out why. Thus, most of the apps on the list require a third party download and installation. We didn’t have any problems doing so, but you may be a bit apprehensive. Also, more and more sites and services allow for payment in lieu of advertisements. We recommend that over ad blocking because it lets the creators of the content you enjoy continue doing so while also earning a living. Just a thought.
AdAway (root only)
AdAway is a simple ad blocker app. It uses a modified hosts file to send all ad requests to 18.104.22.168. In other words, the request goes nowhere and you see no ads. The app supports modified or custom host files or you can download a basic one from the app itself. Host files are stored in a read-only part of the Android system. That means root is required for this one. You can donate if you want to, but the whole app works for free. The only two downsides are that you must download them from F-Droid, not the Play Store, and that you need root access. Root users can always just change the host files themselves without an app if they want to.
Adblocker Plus is arguably the most popular ad blocker app on the list. It works on both rooted and non-rooted devices, although non-root users have some extra work to do. The app runs in the background and filters web traffic almost exactly like its web browser extension. You basically open it once, set it up, and then it runs on its own in the background. That’s about it, really. Hit the button to go to the official website with instructions on installing and setting up Adblock Plus on both rooted and unrooted devices.
Price: Free / $24.99 per year
AdGuard is a bit of a wild card. We hadn’t heard much about it before doing this article, but it seemed to work okay for us. The app blocks ads the same way as Adblock Plus. AdGuard runs as a service in the background and filters web traffic. It does work without root, but it requires a bit of extra setup. It also keeps tabs on all of your web traffic similar to apps like GlassWire. You also get a good looking Material Design UI to put everything together. The free version blocks ads in web browsers only. The premium version runs for $24.99 per month, but you do also get the premium version of AdGuard for your Windows PC or Mac computer.
Browsers with ad-block
Price: Free (usually)
There are a bunch of browsers with ad-block. These browsers filter out most ad traffic or at least the most offensive ad traffic. Google Chrome has ad-blocking, but it still shows the ads that are the least offensive to the viewer while leaving a few there so the sites can still make money. We recommend that as a happy medium (for obvious reasons). Some other examples of web browsers with ad block include Brave Browser, Firefox Focus, Kiwi Browser, Samsung Browser, and a few others have ad blocker add-ons like Firefox and Dolphin Browser. Choose the one you think will do the best for you.
Block This is not the most popular ad blocker app on the list. However, it is effective, open source, and completely free to use. This app uses the same VPN style setup that Adblock Plus and AdGuard use. However, Block This uses DNS blocking instead of a filter. The developer claims this method uses less battery than standard ad blocker apps because most of the work is done before the data reaches your Android device. There are pros and cons to using this approach. For the time being, we still recommend something like AdBlock Plus or an ad blocking browser. However, we like the idea quite a bit.
If we missed any great ad blocker apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!