The best Google Chrome extensions 2016

Take Google's browser to the next level with these powerful freebies

The 10 best extensions for Google Chrome

Get more from your browser

Chrome is a fabulous browser - fast, well designed and packed with essential features - but that's just the start. Chrome's real strength is in the huge library of add-ons that give it endless new functions and abilities.

With so many options, it can be hard to find what's right for you (even searching for keywords like 'shoes' or 'fishing' return lots of hits).

That's why we've put together this list of 10 of the best Chrome extensions around. There are many more we'd like to have included, but these are a great start, and if you're looking to get more from the browser we'd try these first.

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Download Session Buddy free
Session Buddy lets you manage your browser tabs to control how much RAM Chrome consumes

Session Buddy

Chrome can soak up most of your RAM without a little third-party help

Session Buddy is an essential extension which gives you complete control over your tabs. When Chrome slows down, save the current session, give it a meaningful name and delete any tabs you don't need. Now you can easily restore that session whenever you like, no need to find the pages again, and often with a much-reduced impact on your system RAM.

Download Session Buddy freeIf you prefer something simpler, there are also extensions which automatically suspend or close inactive tabs to save system resources. Take a look at Tab Wrangler and The Great Suspender to find out more.

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Download Adblock Plus free
Adblock Plus wipes out intrusive advertising, but make sure to whitelist your favorite sites to support their work

Adblock Plus

Block out intrusive ads for faster browsing

With your tabs under control, the next way to accelerate Chrome is with a good ad blocker - and Adblock Plus is one of the best.

Installation is quick and easy, and the benefits are obvious immediately. Just point your browser at an ad-heavy site, the Adblock Plus icon displays a running count of everything it's blocked, and you'll probably find most pages display far more quickly.

Download Adblock Plus freeThe other major highlight with Adblock Plus is its extreme configurability. Whether you just want to prevent the extension running on a particular site, maybe to avoid causing problems, or you'd like to use a completely new set of ad blocking rules, the Options dialog has tools to help. All we'll say is that most websites rely on advertising to keep going so maybe think about disabling adblockers on friendly sites like TechRadar!

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Download LastPass free
Keep your online accounts secure and never forget another password with LastPass for Chrome

LastPass

Weak passwords are a serious security risk. LastPass is the solution

It's no secret that using secure passwords everywhere is a vital part of staying safe online, but when something like gLR6@z!kklEc is so difficult to remember, it's tempting to use 123456 everywhere instead.

LastPass solves the problem by creating a different strong password for every site, storing it locally in an encrypted vault, and automatically filling web forms and logins as required. You just need to remember a single master password, and LastPass takes care of almost everything else on its own.

Download LastPass freeEven better, LastPass backs up and syncs your passwords across other devices. The free version only syncs with devices of the same type (desktops, tablets or phones), but the US$12 (about £9.20, AU$16) per year premium account syncs with all your devices of any type, and adds support for desktop application passwords and password sharing.

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Download Grammarly for Chrome free
Grammarly picks up common errors in hastily-typed messages, helping you make your point more eloquently

Grammarly for Chrome

Make sure your spelling and grammar are up to scratch when posting online

It's easy to make spelling mistakes online, and although most people won't care, you'll still create a much better impression if you can avoid them whenever possible.

Grammarly is an excellent extension that checks your spelling on social networks, forums, Gmail and just about anywhere else you type online.

What makes the system particularly smart is it doesn't simply highlight spelling errors (theyre), but also picks up when words are used incorrectly (there car had been stolen).

Download Grammarly freeThere's nothing to set up or configure. Just type as usual, Grammarly underlines any problem text in red, hovering a mouse cursor displays more details, and clicking a suggested correction fixes the problem right away.

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Download Save to Pocket free
When you find something good online, save it to Pocket and read it at your leisure when you have time

Save to Pocket

No time? No problem! Save interesting snippets to read later

It's the first rule of the web: no matter how much time you spend online, there's always more you'd like to check out, and that generally means a pile of bookmarks to check out later.

Save to Pocket makes life easier by allowing you to save web pages, links, images, files and more to a central list, then automatically syncing the results across all your devices.

It's a great system for web research. Whether you're adding pages or links on your phone, tablet or desktop, they're immediately available for browsing on any of the others.

Download Save to Pocket freeConveniently, you can even view most of the content offline, allowing you to catch up with your reading whenever and wherever you like.

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Download StayFocusd free
Easily distracted online? StayFocusd limits your access to social media and other time-wasters so you stay on task

StayFocusd

Give your self-control a helping hand by blocking online time-sinks

It's a familiar problem. You've launched Chrome, ready to start work on a pile of important tasks - yet somehow you've still managed to spend the last 30 minutes browsing Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

StayFocusd helps by limiting access to your choice of the most time-wasting websites. They're not blocked entirely, but your access is rationed, and once you've used up your time allowance the sites can become unavailable for the rest of the day.

Download StayFocusd freeWhile this might sound a little drastic, Stayfocusd is easy to configure to suit your needs. You don't have to restrict entire domains, for instance - the extension can also limit access to subdomains, paths, pages or content types (such as video).

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Download Chrome Remote Desktop free
Chrome can already sync your browsing history, favorites and passwords, but Remote Desktop lets you control a whole PC remotely

Chrome Remote Desktop

Use Chrome to control multiple Windows devices from afar

If you're a Chrome fan then you probably already run it across multiple devices, and are used to it syncing your bookmarks, passwords, history and more.

Chrome Remote Desktop takes the process to the next level by enabling you to remotely access and control any one of your Chrome devices from the other.

Download Chrome Remote Desktop freeOnce you've set up the system, all your online devices appear on a list. Go to your tablet, choose your PC, enter a PIN (for security) and the Windows desktop appears. You can then open files, launch, run and control programs as though you were sitting in front of the other computer.

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Download Magic Actions for YouTube free
Magic Actions for YouTube makes watching videos online a far more pleasant experience. It's worth installing for the ability to block out comments alone

Magic Actions for YouTube

A host of extra tools to transform YouTube into the ultimate video player

There are so many YouTube extensions around that it's hard to stand out from the crowd, but Magic Actions for YouTube has managed it with one simple strategy: piling on every feature you could ever need.

The extension can improve the core site by blocking autoplay, hiding ads, customizing elements like comments or hiding many of them entirely.

Smart playback tools include multi-range looping, a simple auto-replay option, and instant volume control by spinning your mouse wheel.

The functions keep coming with a speed booster to improve performance, one-click snapshots to save video frames, ratings previews for related videos, 40 stylish colour themes, and more.

Download Magic Actions for YouTube freeBest of all, while this sounds overwhelming, it really isn't. Individual functions can be enabled/ disabled with a click, and they work right away: easy.

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Download Todoist free
Todoist lets you access a central to-do list from all of your devices, with due dates and priorities

Todoist

Manage your to-do list in your browser - no sticky notes required

Todoist is a very popular to-do list and task manager, just what you need to get your life organised and stay on track. It only takes a moment to enter a few basic items (like 'get milk' or 'phone Steve') but this excellent extension has much more to offer.

You can split items into subtasks, set due dates (which can also be recurring), assign colour-coded priorities, discuss tasks, assign them to other people, and get notifications when anything important changes.

A handy option to save URLs as tasks means Todoist also doubles as a web research tool. Save your news articles, Wikipedia pages and academic journals, and they're all neatly organised for convenient viewing later.

Download Todoist freeWhatever you're doing is saved centrally, and then becomes accessible across all your devices, online and offline, so your schedule is always available to view.

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Download Pricehawk free
When you're shopping online, Pricehawk's keen eye scours the web for the best prices and voucher codes

Price Hawk!

Always find the best prices and cheapest deals when shopping online

So, ahem, we built Pricehawk ourselves - we think you'll like it! It's designed to be your smart shopping companion - so whenever you land on a shopping page at Amazon, for example, it will give you a nudge if that same product is available cheaper elsewhere. It's designed to always find you the cheapest deals from trustworthy retailers, saving you both time and money. It also has a search function so you can find other products and instantly jump to the cheapest price currently available!

Download Pricehawk free

Pricehawk is currently in beta and works best with tech and games products in the US, UK, Canada and EU, but it will soon work with other product categories and in other territories so stay tuned for regular updates!

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