Google Chrome is the most popular browser used across the world by a country mile. It’s simplicity, functionality, and speed have made the default choice of billions. As a result, countless developers have created a vast suite of extensions for Chrome in categories ranging from productivity to entertainment to cyber-security. There are extensions that help you keep a track of time, there are ones that prevent your data being siphoned off through unsecure connections, and there are ones that simply make browsing the vast realms of the internet a nicer experience.
But finding the best and most useful extensions can be a daunting challenge considering how many of them there are on the Chrome store. To aid you in this venture, we decided to compile a list of 37 essential Chrome extensions that can make a serious difference to your daily internet browsing experience. One thing to keep in mind is that installing too many of these can slow down your system significantly since Chrome is a RAM-intensive application on its own (something the company has attempted to rectify); unless, of course, you make use of the last extension on this list. So, get started and see which ones suit your purposes the best.
An extension that seamlessly connects your phone with your PC, Pushbullet allows users to send files to their phone, send text messages from their computer, and a whole lot more.
For its immense popularity, YouTube doesn't offer a particularly great UI/UX. Magic Actions is a Chrome extension that changes that by offering an all-in-one solution to YouTube's key problems with features like auto HD, Ad block, cinema mode, volume control with the mouse wheel, night mode, and many more besides.
The safest and most efficient ad blocking extension available for Chrome, uBlock Origin is also extremely light on the CPU and memory. And unlike its more popular counterparts, it can block individual ad elements that often escape undetected.
The easiest way to ensure an unrestricted browsing experience, Hola is a one-click virtual proxy network that allows users to circumvent all site restrictions while protecting their browsing habits from prying eyes.
Hate it when random videos start playing at full volume when you visit certain sites? Get Flashcontrol – an extension which prevents flash content from loading automatically. Users can also whitelist specific sites or allow flash content to play with one click.
An excellent ‘read it later’ service, Pocket allows users to save articles, videos, and more for easy access later. The saved content can then be read online or offline from the Pocket app across any device.
RescueTime keeps a track of the time spent on each active tab in Chrome, thereby providing an accurate picture of how you spend your time. A great tool for those who want to improve their time management and increase productivity.
This extension lets Gmail users get desktop notifications, read, listen, and delete their emails without having to open Gmail or Inbox. One can view multiple Gmail accounts at once without having to log into each one individually.
A powerful email management tool, the Right Inbox for Gmail extension allows users to schedule emails for later, create recurring emails, and set reminders and follow up conversations.
Todoist is a visually appealing and simplistic to-do list and task manager that allows users to categorise and organise their tasks while also providing options for cross-platform syncing and collaboration with other users.
For those of us who are too lazy to type out ‘*random word* meaning’ in Google's search bar, the Google Dictionary extension offers a quick solution for finding word definitions – simply double-click a word and you're given its meaning and pronunciation.
If you're in the habit of opening several tabs on Chrome at once, Session Buddy is an extension that make your life a lot easier. It allows you to manage tabs and bookmarks with ease; you can save open tabs and restore them later, organise them by topics, and search through your saved and open tabs in a jiffy.
A novelty extension but useful nonetheless, Momentum replaces your new tab page with a personal dashboard that displays photos of beautiful locations, inspirational quotes, and your to-do list for the day.
Shop online a lot? The Camelizer is a price tracking extension that lets you see a product's pricing history on Amazon and notifies you when a product goes on sale. Perfect for those who are always on the lookout for a bargain deal.
An extension that allows users to toggle their browser's display setting Dark Reader is a blessing for those of us who spend a lot of time on our laptops at night. One can change the brightness, contrast, and grayscale of their browser easily.
Imagus is an extension that lets users view full-size images from links or thumbnails by simply hovering their mouse cursor over them. It's compatible with all major sites and the image zoom is near-instantaneous.
If you spend a lot of time reading online, Spreed is an extension that can help you get through more content in lesser time. It makes use of the Rapid Serial Visual Presentation technique which allows a person to speed-read.
Wikipedia may be unrivalled as an information repository, but it isn't the nicest or most visually appealing site to use. Wikiwand fixes this problem by offering a cleaner layout, customisable fonts, link previews, and improved media gallery on the site.
The perfect extension for those who waste too much time browsing distracting sites when they should be working, StayFocusd lets users restrict the amount of time they spend on specific sites.
An incredibly simple and useful extension that uses HTTPS security on every site which allows it. It's an invaluable tool that protects users from several forms of cyber-surveillance, account hijacking, and some forms of censorship.
Security experts recommend internet users to set unique, complex passwords for each site that requires logging in. But remembering these passwords is a challenge. LastPass is an extension that saves your passwords and gives you secure access to those sites form any device. You just need to remember the master password for LastPass itself and you're set.
Stylish is an extension that allows users to customise their internet browsing experience with incredible ease. With it, you can customise the colour scheme of any website in one click, making use of thousands of user styles with beautiful themes, skins, and free backgrounds.
The YouTube comments section is one of the most rage-inducing places on the internet while the Reddit comments section is one of the funniest. AlienTube is an extension that embeds Reddit comments in a YouTube video if it has ever been shared on it. This tool does the impossible task of making you want to read YouTube comments.
Grammarly is the one editing companion you need to improve your written communication skills. Not only does it proactively proofread everything you write, it also highlights words and phrases used incorrectly or out-of-context.
SpeakIt! is a text-to-speech application that can convert any online text into audio. Users can highlight the text they want read out to them and choose the speed, language, and even accent of the playback audio.
Work being hampered by annoying sounds but can't work while listening to music? The Noisli extension lets you create and listen to a variety of background sounds and white noise that has been known to work as a productivity booster.
Papier is a minimalistic note-taking application that lets users record whatever they may wish to on a new notepad-style tab. It's completely clutter-free, has no extraneous features, and doesn't require one to create an account.
Opening too many tabs on Chrome can seriously slow down your system. The Great Suspender rectifies this problem by suspending all unused tabs. Also, it allows users to whitelist specific tabs and open all suspended tabs with a single click.
Another must-have extension for those who spend a lot time reading online, Mercury Reader instantly de-clutters all articles by removing ads and distractions, leaving only the text and images for a clean reading experience.
Taco is a productivity app that converts Chrome’s new tab page into a productivity centre by aggregating tasks from over 40 other services like Trello, Evernote, Todoist, Bitbucket, Gmail, and more. Users can also organise and alter their tasks using Taco.
Evernote is one of the most widely used note-taking apps and its Chrome extension makes it easy for users to instantly save any web content on their Evernote account. You can save web pages, article clips, and even Gmail threads and attachments using this tool.
There are few things as frustrating as filling out a detailed form online and having to do it all over again because of an error/power outage/website crash. The Lazarus extension automatically saves everything you type in forms which you can then recover with the single click of a menu item.
While Google has its own built-in reverse image search tool, TinEye takes it a whole new level. The extension lets users find out where a selected image came from, how it's used, or find higher resolution versions of it.
Awesome Screenshot is an easy-to-use yet incredibly feature-rich screenshot capturing tool. Users can capture sections of the screen or the entire web page (more than what’s just visible), record the screen as a video as well as annotate, blur sensitive information and share the images with one-click uploads.
The Xmarks Bookmark Sync extension will come handy for those of you who have a ton of bookmarks saved on your browser which you need to access from different systems. It backs up and syncs your bookmarks which can then be opened across various computers and browsers.
Installing and running too many extensions on Chrome can seriously slow down your computer. With the Extensity extension, however, you no longer need to worry about this problem. The tool allows users to enable and disable extensions as and when they need to be used. You can also group extensions and then toggle the group on and off as well.
Which ones seem the most useful for your needs? And are there any Chrome extensions which you use that aren’t featured on this list? Let us know in the comments below.