Top Privacy and Productivity Browser Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

Posted on Feb 2, 2024 by Elly Hancock

Looking for an extra boost of privacy while you’re surfing the web? We don’t blame you. Almost every website you visit is spying on your data, including your search history, time stamps, and location. Even the browser itself can log your information. 

The good news is there are plenty of privacy extensions to help limit how much data you share. We’ve rounded up the seven best extensions for Chrome and Firefox to increase your privacy right away. And because we’re feeling generous, we’ve thrown in our top five suggestions for productivity extensions, too. Chrome and Firefox at the ready? Let’s go.

Best Browser Extensions for Privacy (Chrome & Firefox)

If there’s one thing you’re not short of with Chrome and Firefox, it’s extensions. Many of them offer the same thing, competing with one another for a place in your browser. So which ones do you choose? We’ve done extensive research and testing to create a list of the seven best privacy extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Here’s a quick roundup of our recommendations.

Top features Price Compatible with
Privacy Badger Blocks ads and website trackers; learns tracking behavior to detect invisible ads Free Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera
Adblock Plus
Blocks ads and website trackers; includes a script blocker to stop social media tracking Free, with premium options Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Yandex, Edge, Opera
Click&Clean
Clears search history, cookies, and cache at the end of each browsing session Free Chrome, Firefox, Edge
Disconnect
Blocks ads, website trackers, and email trackers; lets you customize ad blocking with whitelisted sites Free, with premium options Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari
uBlock Origin
Blocks website ads and trackers, including automatic videos and widgets Free Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
Private search engine that lets you browse in incognito mode without being tracked Free Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari
Facebook Container
Isolates Facebook activity to stop cross-site tracking Free Firefox

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger is a free extension that blocks website trackers, stopping them from logging your data. You can send a Do Not Track request via your Chrome’s security settings, but it’s only a request, so most websites choose to ignore it and continue to track you anyway. This is where Privacy Badger comes in. It forces websites to honor your Do Not Track request using the Global Privacy Control signal, ensuring that any on-page ads and trackers can’t grab your information.

Rather than a set list of blockers, Privacy Badger analyzes tracking behavior across sites to make sure they’re blocked. If it detects a type of tracker on one site, it will then learn to look for this tracker on other sites you visit. If there’s a video or widget that could track you, it’ll display these as a click-to-activate button, rather than letting them run automatically. You can also add a filtered list to customize which sites it blocks ads for and which it doesn’t.

Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is another ad and tracker blocker extension. It keeps trackers at bay to stop them from grabbing your info as you move around the web, including trackers from pop-ups, widgets, and videos. It allows acceptable ads, which are those necessary for websites to function correctly, but you can easily change this setting. 

Adblock Plus also comes with a script blocker to stop social media sites like Facebook and Twitter from spying on your frequently visited websites. As a result, you should see far fewer targeted ads when you open these social media platforms. It also helps you browse more anonymously by using private windows, preventing trackers from creating profiles based on your online activities. 

The extension is free, but you can upgrade to premium for additional ad-blocking capabilities. The premium subscription blocks other ads such as floating videos, newsletter pop-ups, and cookie consent pop-ups. 

Click&Clean

The Click&Clean extension helps to boost your privacy by letting you erase your browsing history, cookies, and cache. It also clears saved data from forms, passwords, and plug-ins. You can set the extension to clear data at the end of each browsing session, or you can do it manually once you’re finished. This limits how much data sites can gather about you, stopping them from using cookies to track you online. You can choose to save your search history before erasing other data if needed.

Click&Clean also helps to block on-site third-party trackers, but it works best for erasing your history and cookies, rather than for ad blocking. You should use an ad blocker alongside Click&Clean if you want to keep trackers off your data.

Disconnect

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Disconnect blocks ads and trackers across the web, including advertising ads, email trackers, fingerprinting trackers, analytics requests, and social widgets. You can open the extension to see which trackers it’s blocked and where, and it even shows you how much time you’ve saved on web pages by removing ads and trackers. You can customize which ads it blocks, add whitelisted sites, or unblock all ads on specific sites. 

The basic plan is free, or you can upgrade to pro or premium for extra privacy. These plans let you encrypt unsecured sites, forcing them to use HTTPS rather than HTTP to keep your information secure. They also establish encrypted DNS requests, which stops trackers from logging your information by hiding your details.

To encrypt your connection and block ads in one, you can try PIA VPN’s browser extension. It cloaks your IP with another to disguise your location, keeping you safe from location-based trackers. It also blocks WebRTC by default, preventing any accidental IP leaks that could expose your whereabouts.


uBlock Origin

The last ad and tracking blocker in our list is uBlock Origin. This extension stops advertisements, plus automatic videos, pop-ups, and other types of tracking content. You can click the power button on the extension to block all ads across the entire webpage or configure your settings to enable and disable specific ads. 

For more customization, you can also create a filtered list of websites. This lets you determine ad-blocking rules for certain web pages, for example, if you only want uBlock Origin to stop auto-play videos. You can add trusted sites if you want to allow ads on specific web pages too.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials

DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that lets you browse in incognito mode, limiting which information you share. It stops logs of your search history to prevent you from being tracked online. Incognito mode also stops your browser from delivering personalized search results, since it can’t track your activity or location.

You can use DuckDuckGo as your search engine in both Firefox and Chrome for extra privacy. Alongside private searches, DuckDuckGo blocks on-site ads, email trackers, and digital fingerprinting trackers. It also forces HTTPS connections for unsecured sites, ensuring your information stays encrypted. 

For even more privacy, you can download PIA VPN’s browser extension. It encrypts all in-browser traffic, blocks ads and trackers, and masks your IP address with another. No one can see what you’re looking at, find where you are, or log your search history.


Facebook Container

Facebook Container is only for Firefox, but we had to include it in our recommendations. It enhances your privacy by isolating Facebook’s activities from other web activities. This limits how Facebook tracks your data, especially your search history and browsing activities on other web pages. Since it can’t use third-party trackers, it makes it harder for Facebook to profile you and serve you targeted ads on the platform. 

A word of warning though: if you load web pages within the Facebook container tab, it can still track your activity. This includes loading pages from share and like buttons. Facebook also still has access to your information within the container, so it can use this to track you. 

Best Browser Extensions for Productivity (Chrome & Firefox

Chrome and Firefox also have a huge choice of extensions to improve your browsing experience and personal organization skills. Here’s a quick summary of our top 5 recommendations before we dig into what they can do for you.

Top features Price Compatible with
Evernote Web Take notes, clip website pages, and sync information with calendars Free, with premium options Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera
Grammarly
On-page writing assistant with spelling, grammar, and language checker Free, with premium options Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox
Forest&Clean
Focus app with timers; lets you set sites to an allowlist and blocklist to improve productivity Free, with premium options Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer
Pocket
Screengrab and bookmarking tool to move webpages, URLs, and PDFs into an organized library of content Free, with premium options Chrome, Firefox, Firefox, Safari, Opera
ClickUp
Take notes, organize projects, track time, collaborate with team members, and organize tasks in one place Free, with premium options Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari

Evernote Web

Evernote Web is a versatile note-taking and organization tool that allows you to capture ideas, create to-do lists, and arrange important information. The paid version lets you link the Evernote extension to your Google calendar, Google Drive, Slack, and Microsoft Teams account to manage your day-to-day activities and link documents, notes, and files together.

Evernote Web has a website clipper function, which lets you screen grab web pages, articles, and PDFs to save for later. You can tag these clips to make them easy to find when you need them. 

Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing assistant that helps you create clear and error-free content. It provides real-time grammar and spelling checks, automatically detecting and highlighting potential errors as you type. You can set your chosen language, tone, and voice for every piece of writing to help guide the assistant through your content. 

For more features, you can upgrade to the premium subscription. Extra features include vocabulary enhancement suggestions, plagiarism detection, readability, and active and passive voice checker.

Forest

The Forest extension is a unique tool for enhancing focus and productivity by avoiding distracting websites and apps. It plants a tree and sets a timer for specific tasks or work sessions. 

You can add certain sites to a blocklist or allowlist within the extension. If you navigate to a website on your blocklist, the virtual tree withers and reminds you to stay on track. The timer starts at 10 minutes, but you can easily change this to however long you want your session to last. Once your session is over, you can plant your tree in a virtual forest or share your tree with other friends using the app. 

Custom tags and advanced statistics are available with the pro version for personalized tracking. This includes data about your total focus time and time spent on specific apps.

Pocket

Pocket lets you save and organize online content to read later. You can save articles, videos, and webpages, creating a personalized library of resources. It allows you to categorize content, and add tags and filters to make them easily accessible. 

The premium version gives you extra features, like ad-free reading and a permanent library of your saved content. You can also change fonts to anything you prefer and receive suggestions for content tags.

ClickUp

ClickUp is an all-in-one extension that lets you consolidate information, projects, and tasks from multiple places. It has a built-in note-taking feature, where you can jot things down or create tasks. It also allows you to screenshot webpages and bookmark content to read later or set as a task. For any tasks you create, you can then use the time tracker feature to log your time.

It’s collaborative, which means anyone within the same workspace as you can contribute toward whiteboards documents, and clips. There’s also a live chat feature you can use to communicate with others.

Does PIA Have a Browser Extension?

Yes, PIA VPN has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. They come with a built-in ad and tracker blocker, MACE, which stops intrusive and data-hungry ads before they get to your device. It does much more than just block ads and trackers, though.

PIA VPN’s Chrome and Firefox extensions encrypt your in-browser traffic, layering it in unbreakable code to keep your activities private. No one can spy on your search queries, frequently visited web pages, or private information. It also switches your IP address to one from another location, masking your real location from websites tracking your whereabouts. 

A browser extension only protects your activities in Chrome and Firefox, which leaves your other device activity and information vulnerable. For added protection, you can download PIA VPN. The VPN encrypts all traffic leaving your device so your information stays private no matter which app you open. Our VPN also comes with a strict No Logs policy, which means we don’t track, store, or share your data with anyone. What you do with our VPN stays private.

Step up Your Browser Privacy

Whether you’re a loyal Chrome user or a faithful Firefox fan, the privacy risks remain the same. Ads and trackers follow you almost anywhere you go. That’s why it’s important to take matters into your own hands. We’ve explored our top 7 privacy extensions for Firefox and Chrome, letting you block ads, skip past trackers, and limit the information you share online. But there are many more you could choose from.

Maybe we’re biased, but we’d say the best extension you could use is PIA VPN’s browser extension. Our lightweight extension blocks ads, encrypts your traffic, and helps you boost your online anonymity. Want more protection? You can try PIA VPN to help keep traffic private and stop data logging no matter which browser you use.

FAQ

Should I use browser extensions?

Browser extensions can give your traffic a privacy and security boost, with added features to help you avoid data tracking, annoying ads, and digital fingerprinting. You can also find a huge list of extensions designed to increase productivity and overall browser experience. Some extensions can do more harm than good, though. They can leave you vulnerable to more tracking and others could be created by malicious actors looking to steal your private information. Always research and only use browser extensions you can trust with your information. 

What are the best browser extensions for privacy?

The best browser extensions for privacy are Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, and PIA VPN. The first two block third-party trackers, scripts, intrusive ads, and digital fingerprinting. Only PIA VPN’s browser extension encrypts your traffic and blocks ads, helping to keep you more private online. This stops anyone from peeking at your search history or seeing what you’re doing online. It also masks your IP address with another to stop third parties from tracking your location. 

What are the best browser extensions for productivity?

It’s down to personal preference, but we think the Forest extension is one of the best. It helps you stay on-task with focus timers and gentle reminders. We like Grammarly for its helpful language assistant, helping you identify errors and grammar choices. It also offers different language choices and syntax suggestions to improve content readability. 

Which browser extensions are safe?

Not all browser extensions are safe. Some have malicious software that could compromise your device and leave your information at risk. Others could track you and share your data with third parties, which is damaging to your privacy. Always stick to browser extensions from reputable companies and with good customer reviews. Do your research beforehand, read the privacy policy, and only install browser extensions you can trust. PIA VPN’s browser extension comes with a No Logs policy, so we’ll never store, track, or share your information. Our extension also masks your traffic and search queries from third parties, keeping your activities private.

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