Chrome is the most popular browser on the planet, and with good reason: Sure, it’s versatile and fast, but what sets it apart from its competition is the huge variety of compatible extensions. These free optional installations add extra functionality to the browser, and the web as a whole. There are extensions for customizing the start page, expanding text, autocorrecting grammar mistakes, and even blocking trackers as you browse.
If you’re new (or newer) to the world of Chrome extensions, here are 13 of the best free browser add-ons you should be using.
Momentum is one of the simplest, and yet most popular Chrome extensions. It starts you off with a new background image every day, with modules you can choose to layer on top. You can display a motivational phrase, a mantra, the time, and your to-do list, all in the same window. But for the ultimate zen start to your browsing, you can remove everything to just show the time and an image. (That’s the way I usually do it.)
Every couple of years, the debate for the best free password manager rages, usually when one of the big ones changes its pricing tiers. Bitwarden still hasn’t, and it remains one of the most secure password managers with a stellar free plan, and a free-to-use Chrome extension.
Bitwarden’s Chrome extension does everything you’d want it to: It saves passwords, helps you generate new ones, and can automatically fill saved passwords the moment you open a page—heck, it’s probably worth using just for that nifty feature (you’ll find it in Settings > Options > Autofill).
You might use highlighting in physical and digital books, but what about on the web? What if you want to highlight, save, and annotate online articles for research, or just to reference later? Weava Highlighter lets you do just that. You can highlight web pages and PDFs, and then comment on those highlights. You can save pages in different folders and collections. Once you create an account, all your highlights are saved in the cloud so you won’t lose them.
Weava Highlighter is free to use, but there’s also a Premium feature if you want unlimited sub-folders, unlimited storage, and color customization. For most users, the free plan will be more than enough.
Grammarly is one of those extensions that everyone should install, whether you write for a living or not. It’s a popular spellcheck and grammar correction tool that will, essentially, help you write better. It picks up the small, silly writing mistakes people usually gloss over when writing or proofreading, telling you to put a comma here, or to change a word there. It can help for everything from writing emails to crafting better social media posts.
Like some other extensions on this list, Grammarly has a Premium version, but for most users—even professional writers—the free version is more than enough. (I’m using it as I write this.)
Who doesn’t like saving money? Especially without having to do much? Honey automatically finds and applies coupon codes for thousands of websites across the internet. Plus, it’ll tell you if something you’re buying is available at a cheaper rate someplace else. It also has a special price comparison and price history tool just for Amazon, as well as its own rewards program that might help you save even more money.
Tab suspender extensions are great for automatically saving resources from websites you aren’t actively browsing. As you probably know, Chrome can be quite a memory hog (although less so these days), so these extensions quietly put unused websites to sleep and load them up again when you switch to them.
After The Great Suspender debacle, it became difficult to trust tab suspender extensions (you’ll still find plenty of them on the Chrome Web Store), but not all hope is lost. OneTab is here to help, although it works a bit differently: If you’re running out of browsing memory, you can click the OneTab button to instantly close and convert all tabs into a list. You can then choose to re-open the tabs all at once, or individually.
Magic Actions for YouTube
The YouTube web experience can certainly use a tweak or two, and Magic Actions for YouTube has a whole bunch of them. It’s an all-in-one YouTube enhancer with more than a dozen features. Using this extension, you can control the quality of the video and configure what details are shown on the page. You can also disable the comments section and related videos. And if you want to customize your YouTube UI, you’re in luck, as there’s a cinema mode, day/night mode, color themes, and a lot more. (For more worthwhile YouTube extensions, check out this list of must-haves.)
It’s no secret Chrome isn’t the most private browser on the planet. It’ll let websites track you left and right, but you don’t have to stand for it: uBlock Origin is the best third-party extension for blocking all sorts of online trackers. The extension uses multiple online repositories to automatically block ad tracking and malicious trackers, so you can browse with Chrome a little more incognito.
You don’t always need to go to ChatGPT for a quick burst of automated writing. Next time, try Compose AI. This free Chrome extension can help you outline and expand ideas. Type “//” then ask the extension to write something, like you would in ChatGPT, and the Compose AI will start composing. The extension also has auto-complete built-in, so while you’re typing an email, for example, it will suggest the rest of the sentence. Just press the Tab button to add the text, and you’ve just saved yourself a lot of manual labor.
While an extension like uBlock Origin prioritizes blocking ads, Privacy Badger prioritizes blocking trackers. It’s developed by the well-known Electronic Frontier Foundation, and it has a visual interface focused on transparency: You’ll know right away if the extensions blocks a tracker on a site you’re visiting. However, if blocking tracker is getting in the way of a website’s functionality (like Facebook login), you can quickly allow a single tracker, without turning off all the protection for the entire page.
Anyone who shops on Amazon needs The Camelizer. While Honey does an impressive job with coupons and price comparisons, The Camelizer offers pricing context: Once installed, the extension will show a detailed price chart dating back weeks and months, making it easy to see whether the product is actually at a reasonable price right now. You can even sign up for alerts when the price drops to below your desired rate through email, web notification, Telegram, or RSS feed.
If you’re going to install one AI/ChatGPT extension, choose Glarity. It lets you use ChatGPT’s free website to provide summaries and answers without even going to the chat bot in the first place. But things get a lot better once you give it your own OpenAI API key. (It costs a bit of money, but is worth it.) With this connection, Glarity will automatically summarize YouTube videos and articles for you. You can also ask ChatGPT questions directly from the extension, but as we’ve covered already, the extension works best as a summary tool. For a more traditional ChatGPT experience in the sidebar, we would suggest you try out the ChitChat extension.
If you’re like me, you take a lot of screenshots in a variety of situations. It can be simple, like taking a screenshot of a website, but it can also get complicated: Maybe you need to quickly take a screenshot of a part of an image, blur something out, and send it out as a link to your boss. Awesome Screenshot helps you take excellent screenshots, and more: You can also use this extension to capture your webcam view, while also showing something on the screen. Recordings can be saved locally, and can be shared using cloud storage services.
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