Best Free Search Toolbar


Search toolbars are toolbars that can be added to some web browsers to enhance and simplify web searches. In addition to the usual button linking to the author's home page and the familiar box in which to enter a search query, most toolbars also offer numerous other links to many sites and applications from buttons visible on the toolbars. Search toolbars offer the added convenience to immediate access to a certain search engine, even if that engine is not your default search engine.

Search engines like Yahoo and Google offer their own toolbars for use in browsers. A few companies like Conduit offer an opportunity for any company to have their logo branded on a search toolbar, along with their own custom buttons and applications for use with Internet Explorer or Firefox. Everyone has opinions on what toolbars and search engines they prefer. Some browsers offer limited built-in search toolbars. The toolbars listed here do not come standard in any browser, but are available from authors' websites for download/installation into Internet Explorer and Firefox.


Yahoo! search toolbar       

Download Yahoo toolbar

The Yahoo! search toolbar is my top pick for stability, reliability, customization, and support. Though it is a fully-integrated solution for those with Yahoo! email accounts, the Yahoo! search toolbar has something to offer everyone.

 The Good

One-click access to local weather, news, sports, etc. One-click access to your Yahoo mail account(s), allows users to choose any or all other offered add-on buttons giving one-click access to sites like ebay, Facebook, Twitter, and many more. Instant access to all the Yahoo! services such as Yahoo! Answers and My Yahoo! for those with a Yahoo! email account. Has the ability to store bookmarks in the Yahoo! profile which lets users access their saved bookmarks from any machine on which they sign into their Yahoo! account. Visually appealing.

 The Bad

One look: Toolbar remains standard gray, against desires of Mozilla Firefox users who may choose to change backgrounds of their web browser. Everything in the Yahoo! toolbar screams Yahoo! and in order to use the full features of this search toolbar, one must have a Yahoo! account.

  More information

Low security risk. Stable. Will use Yahoo search engine. Allows users to choose whether or not to change browser search settings. No spyware/adware.


Google search toolbar    

Download Google toolbar

The Google toolbar is a top choice for users who prefer the Google search engine.

 The Good

Offers access to Gmail, Google services such as Google Reader, and links to services like the Google news. Includes optional enhanced features such as a sidebar. All Google services are one click away.

 The Bad

The autofill feature is a nice touch but I had issues when using such as the text "floating" on the screen after using autofill. This feature is also a serious privacy concern for most users. Toolbar options, buttons, settings, etc. are limited only to Google services with no further customizations. Communicates often with the web, even when not being used. Installs by default the Google Search box, which is a desktop search engine appearing as a button next to the Windows Start menu.

  More information

Low security risk. Google default search engine. No spyware/adware.


Ask search toolbar    

Download Ask toolbar

The free search toolbar offers convenient search using the search engine.

 The Good

Available buttons on the toolbar interface open into menus. Though limited, the Ask free search toolbar is a nice addition for those who enjoy variety in their web browser. Quick access to weather news, and social networking. Fast searches. Easy.

 The Bad

Most features of the Ask toolbar are not very remarkable. Too limited for customization. Some security applications intercept installation of Ask search toolbar and report it as a risk: Spyware. This toolbar is often installed as an optional toolbar packaged with many freeware titles today.

  More information

Minor security risk. Triggers many security applications as spyware/adware. default search engine.


Bing search toolbar    

Download Bing Toolbar

 The Good

Allows users access to their Microsoft Hotmail account. This toolbar has a very pleasing flow to its appearance and if judging toolbars on looks alone, this one would most likely win the contest. The Bing search toolbar contains the usual offering of weather and an autofill option similar to that offered with the Google search toolbar. In addition the Bing search toolbar boasts built-in pop-up blocking and surf protection! It has some customizations available and users can choose a theme color for their Bing search toolbar.

 The Bad

Very limited options. Slows browser opening/closing.

  More information

Low security risk. Uses search engine. No spyware/adware.


You are invited!

Let's go web surfing! What search toolbar do you use? How many do you/have you used? What's your favorite? What features do/would you like to see in search toolbars? Questions about a free search toolbar? Suggestions or comments for improving this article content? Join in and participate by commenting below!

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by Juxxize (not verified) on 1. July 2012 - 18:03  (95627)

I use AVG toolbar, but I also use the Add To Searchbar Firefox add-on mentioned by J_L it allows you to create your own search engines and add them to your toolbar.
I love the add to searchbar add-on for Firefox I know it's not a toolbar but it's sort of comes under this section.

by Anonymous on 22. December 2009 - 14:35  (39155)

Just finished a 6 month project of lots of downloads that included BHO's, toolbars and the like. It's on an old PC running XP, so not critical, just (sick) fun.

Wish I could upload a pic of my IE8. Need to tap my page down button twice before I get any clear space to see any sites. Then it's only a line.

Microsoft is the worst with it's "Forced" inclusions. Luckily most can be disabled. Yahoo, Live, ASK, Adobe, Nero, lots of printer and fax programs, and a Smeg load of others all smack you in the face plate of your monitor.

The lesson is, who cares. Delete and say NO to nearly everything then go to your delete programs and delete all that you said no that forced their download onto your PC anyway, then clean out their rubbish with a good registry cleaner. ASK and Yahoo toolbar are notoriously infamous for doing this sort of twisted unwanted thing.

by Tap Dancin' Mouse (not verified) on 17. October 2011 - 16:06  (81602)

Yeah,I did that once. I thought toolbars were a cool add-on for a browser. I installed one called the Advanced Searchbar once and everything was fine for a short time. Later it updated and a day or two later a smitfrad (fake av)popped up and I had the usual difficulty with this malware. I uninstalled the toolbar and the smifraud was gone without destroying my OS,lucky me.There are no more toolbars on any of my browsers,they are just not needed. AOL and Yahoo's toolbars might be OK to have,Google is not trustworthy (for obvious reasons).

by Anonymous on 14. September 2009 - 17:52  (32581)

I can't believe Copernic has not made this list yet.

Been using it for several years now!

by mr6n8 on 14. September 2009 - 18:11  (32582)

Copernic is the top choice at the Best Free Desktop Search Utility review here at Gizmo's Freeware.

This category is for online search toolbars. I looked at the Copernic site, but did not see an online search toolbar, but I could have missed it.

Does Copernic offer an online search toolbar?

by J_L on 6. September 2009 - 17:14  (32241)

Personally, I use the built-in OpenSearch (Search Engine at top right-hand corner on both Firefox 2/3 and IE 7/8).

Many more plugins are provided here:
You can add any search box as a plugin using this Firefox extension:

by Anonymous on 20. February 2009 - 3:37  (16399)

Locate32 is the best there is.

Copernic shows ads in the newest free versions, while the 2 series didn't.
Locate32 finds as fast as you can type, & can find text within files just like win 98 could.

It is blazing fast, just be sure to update the indexes now and then!

by Anonymous on 20. October 2008 - 8:14  (9362)

Is this topic even relevent anymore? Don't all the new web browsers have a built in search engine toolbar?

by Anonymous on 25. July 2008 - 16:18  (4952)

why not simply add the search plugins you want? no need for an aditional toolbar, thanks.

by Anonymous on 25. July 2008 - 16:04  (4951)

I think you're missing the best desktop search option: Copernic Desktop. It's free and simply blows anything else away.

by Anonymous on 5. July 2008 - 21:27  (3605)

Firefox has a great search toolbar called Web search Pro. I use it all the time.

by Anonymous on 16. May 2008 - 8:30  (567)
Toolbar which includes multiple search engines. Also allows browsing of search engine directories.
for ie and also firefox

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