There are plenty of VPNs for Android out there but choosing the best Android VPN is harder than you might think.
In this guide, we've identified the six leading apps for your mobile devices to help you stay secure, unblock website content, bypass geo-restrictions and more.
If you're an Android user, then you're in good company. According to Statcounter  over 72% of all smartphone and tablet devices are running some version of Android.
This means that inevitably the VPNs choice is vast on Android's Play Store and with less regulation than in the Apple App Store that means there are a lot of dodgy VPN apps out there too. In this guide, we will help you pick the best VPNs for Android.
ExpressVPN is our favourite Android VPN app we tested this year, but as you will see there are others out there too.
If you're ready to increase your security and unblock more content, let's dive in.
Top 6 Android VPNs
Keeping your Android mobile devices secure is critical these days and unblocking streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer is important to users too. A VPN will help you to do both.
Below are our experts round-up of the top six choices of VPN apps for Android for all purposes.
- App easy to use
- Confirmed no log policy
- All protocols available
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Month price expensive
Simplicity is key when using an Android VPN and ExpressVPN have certainly achieved this with their user-friendly app which surpasses their Windows/Mac apps for us.
Settings are minimal on the easy-to-use app and being based in the British Virgin Islands means their no user logging policy is watertight.
A high-speed connection can be made right from the main screen of the app by simply tapping the connect button securing you with 256-bit AES encryption. The no user logs policy brings guaranteed and independently verified user privacy too.
There's also a couple of ‘Recent Location' options which allow you to connect to some of your favourites quickly. A new neat addition is the ability to customise ‘app-launch' buttons making your five favourite apps accessible straight from within the ExpressVPN app after connection.
You can select from ExpressVPN's network of VPN server locations in over 94 countries which are split into ‘Recent' and ‘Recommendation Locations' and also grouped by ‘Continent' if you need to select a specific country.
Connection speeds are excellent and Android users will be able to stream in full 4K UHD from online streaming services such as Netflix (Netflix US, Netflix UK, and Netflix Canada included), Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many others.
ExpressVPN have a built-in kill switch feature that cuts your internet access if you lose connection to your VPN provider. There is a split tunneling offering too.
The service is covered by their 30-day money-back guarantee so you've got loads of time to test their service and you can connect up to five devices simultaneously too. Prices start from just $6.67 / £6.25 per month.
There is 24/7 customer support with live chat, to help with any questions the user might have too. It has a high satisfaction rating with users.
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Our #1 Recommended Android VPN
30-day money back guarantee
- Useful map view
- Quick to connect
- Double-hop VPN servers
- Not the fastest
NordVPN's Android app is completely different to ExpressVPN's and provides a more feature-rich experience and great speeds. It is very similar to their Windows/Mac apps.
You can still use one-click connection, or use the neat map view to choose your location. You can also connect via a list of countries and even select specific servers from one of their 5,500+ VPN server network in multiple server locations around the world.
The number of servers offered by NordVPN is growing all the time.
Speciality servers have their own section including P2P, Double-Hop VPN servers, Dedicated IP and Obfuscated options. You can also neatly set your Favourites for quick connection.
Behind the scenes, NordVPN will protect you from some malware, phishing and other risks if you wish and there's several. There is a comprehensive no user logging policy to bring top user privacy and their nifty NordLynx tool too.
The app works well for unblocking services such as Netflix (including Netflix US), Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, iFollow and more. Plus there's a 30-day money-back guarantee letting you test the app risk-free.
Nord also offers a great user-friendly customer support with live chat, a built-in kill switch, split tunneling, 256-bit encryption, and prices as low as £2.74 per month for a 2 year plan. Customer rating says this is great value for money.
3. CyberGhost VPN
- Straightforward to use
- Lots of servers
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Unaudited logging policy
CyberGhost VPN's Android app looks much the same as their desktop and Fire TV Stick counterparts and is one of the most user-friendly VPN apps available according to feedback and rating data.
You can just click the ‘On' switch to connect, although there are available server options just a further click away.
These are split into individual countries, favourites and ‘Streaming Friendly‘. If unblocking TV services on your Android handset is a top priority, then you'll love this feature (great for Netflix users).
You can search and connect to individual servers in locations and add them to your favourites. We like this feature because if you find a specific server in a location you love, then you'll always be able to find it quickly in future.
Each server is owned by CyberGhost, which means no third party businesses have access.
The application also has a kill switch, 256-bit encryption, and a built-in ad-blocker for protection against malicious websites, online tracking prevention and a data compression option which may allow you to squeeze a little more data out of your mobile internet service.
A no user logging policy is their standard policy too meaning great privacy protection.
You can have 7 simultaneous connections, covering all your Android devices and there is a mind-blowing 45-day money-back guarantee available too. Prices start from just £1.99 per month. A cheap VPN for Android indeed.
4. Private Internet Access
- Best for experts
- More servers than most
- Based in the US
- Confusing for beginners
Private Internet Access's Android app is not one for beginners and would be classed as functional rather than user-friendly.
There is also a built-in kill switch, split tunneling, and many other features that help you to block certain types of Android-specific leaks.
If you like getting your hands dirty, know exactly what you're doing or need a higher level of customisation and options then the Private Internet Access Android VPN app is the one for you.
Prices start from just £2.19 per month.
- Nice looking app
- Audited no log policy
- Not the fastest
VyprVPN's Android app is one of the better ones we've seen that has a nice balance between simplicity and features.
Connection can be made directly from the main application's screen and they've designed it in such a way that you can access both advanced features and VPN server selection all from the main screen.
Servers are broken down into a country listing showing you the speed of each but unfortunately, you can't pick specific servers.
Protocol and DNS options are available but the standout feature for us has to be the split tunneling feature that lets you exclude certain apps from using the VPN connection. There's also a Kill Switch and the usual variety of automatic connection options.
VyprVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 24/7 live chat customer support. Prices start from just $3.75 per month.
- Lots of server choice
- Dated looking app
- Not good for streaming
IPVanish rounds up our Android app selection but it won't be winning any awards for its interface as it isn't the most pleasing on the eye.
However, IPVanish does a good job of securing your Android connection and that's the significant bit.
Quickly connecting to a VPN server can be achieved via the IPVanish home screen of the application, or you can choose different Countries, Cities or even specific Servers.
Behind the scenes, you can switch between a UDP and TCP OpenVPN connection. Two other features we found extremely useful was the ability to select a specific port to connect through and the ‘Scramble‘ feature which lets you break through some restrictive networks by disguising the VPN connection.
They offer 256-bit encryption, kill switch and IPVanish also has a split tunneling option that lets you select apps to fall outside the VPN. Split tunnelling is very useful for your banking apps (which usually require a native IP address).
Couple that with their unlimited simultaneous connections and you can protect not only your Android device but all other devices in your household. There is great live chat support to help when you are using a VPN and get stuck.
IPVanish is one of the best Android VPN services.
How we chose and ranked the VPNs
In order to determine which VPN providers are good and which are not, we assessed several criteria including:
1) Security Features
All the best VPNs should offer 256-bit AES encryption and security protocols such as OpenVPN and WireGuard as standard.
We also looked for other useful security features such as a built-in kill switch that will help prevent any data leaks such as your IP address, split tunneling options, and TOR over VPN servers.
Naturally, you need a VPN on Android that does everything that users need it to do. That means offering fast enough speeds to stream content and access websites swiftly.
It also means having user-friendly apps, a simple design, and ideally a single-click function to connect to the fastest available server.
We also ensured that all the VPNs are available on the Google Play Store for ease of downloading.
For a VPN to be considered good, it also needs to be accessible for users. This means being available in countries around the world so that anyone can use it, no matter where they live.
We also prefer those with large server networks, so that you can access as much foreign content that may be geo-restricted or censored as you want.
Finally, we recommend those that have a large number of servers, spread across a wide variety of countries, so you're not plagued by overcrowding leading to substandard connections and unreliable speeds. You'll also be able to get an IP address for many countries around the world.
Finally, we also consider the cost of VPNs. Prices can vary considerably but cheapest is not always the best.
We have judged all the VPNs we tested against their performance to identify the best value VPNs on the market for users right now.
How to choose an Android VPN?
VPN apps work across many devices but choosing one for an Android device has specific considerations.
What's suitable for your Windows or Fire TV Stick isn't necessarily the best for your tablet or smartphone.
Consider the following features before choosing a virtual private network for your Android device to help you make the best choice.
- Android app: It may seem silly to say but make sure the VPN service you sign up to has a dedicated app. This is far easier than trying to set your VPN up manually and tend to affect your internet connection less.
- Limited clutter: While desktop clients are about features, apps should be minimal. Using a VPN can drain your battery so making sure the app has a small footprint will improve usability.
- Widgets: If you love controlling your Android apps from your phone's home screen then a limited number of VPN applications have built-in widgets that allow you to turn the VPN on and off at the flick of a switch.
- Money-back guarantee: Choose a provider that offers a money-back guarantee. VPN applications can vary in price depending on your location and usage. Having a money-back guarantee brings peace of mind allowing you to test the service without risk.
Which Android VPN is best for you?
Above, we've listed 6 of the best Android VPNs . You can use a VPN from this list on both phones and tablets.
The standout VPN providers for us is ExpressVPN. It has the best balance of simplicity and features. However, choosing a VPN for Android isn't an exact science and the ‘best' VPN for you will depend on your individual requirements
To help you make a decision on which is the best Android VPN app for you we've listed some of the most common uses:
If you want excellent privacy protection, choose ExpressVPN. With servers in 94 countries, a tested and audited no-log policy and being registered off-shore there is no better service to keep your usage private while using your Android device.
If you want an app that's easy to use, get NordVPN. Their app is one of the best designed Android VPNs that we've seen. Even if you're a beginner, you'll be able to navigate your way around and with one-touch connections, it's impossible to get it wrong. Plus they have world-class customer support.
If you want a feature-rich Android app, take PrivateInternetAccess. This is definitely the expert's option, with features to select everything from encryption to authentication types, a kill switch, and split tunneling, you'll be in geek-heaven.
If you want to unblock & stream more TV content, choose CyberGhost VPN. With dedicated options to unblock services like Netflix (including Netflix US), Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Sky, Hulu, YouTube and more, CyberGhost VPN will make your Android device the ultimate portable entertainment system.
If you want a risk-free experience, select ExpressVPN, NordVPN or CyberGhost. All three offer either a 30 or 45-day money-back guarantee respectively giving you plenty of time to try them out. With a free trial not common these days, this is as good as it gets.
What makes an Android VPN suitable?
A dedicated Android VPN like the ones we have recommended here will protect your phone regardless of whether you are using Wi-Fi or cellular data.
An Android VPN service should also be able to work regardless of the network you're connected to and move seamlessly between them with little interruption.
It should be inconspicuous and allow you to connect and forget about it without slowing down or bloating your phone or tablet.
It is good practice to avoid free VPN services. A free VPN usually contains malware that will infect your phone or tablet with third-party apps and leave you vulnerable. A free VPN might also harvest your data, share it with China, or plague you with ads.
The best advice for a free VPN is to leave well alone.
Do these Android apps work on tablet or phone?
All 6 apps ranked above work on just about every Android tablets and phones.
You can install the app on both types of devices and all of the services detailed above allow you to have at least 5 unlimited simultaneous connections.
This allows you to keep your tablet and phone secure at the same time, even while you are using a public Wi-Fi network.
How can I sign up for an Android VPN app?
Most VPN apps don't allow you to sign up directly in the app itself although some like NordVPN and VyprVPN do.
The most reliable way to get a VPN app for your Android device is first to visit the VPN service's website directly using a web browser on your tablet or phone. Just click through one of the links on this page.
Sign up for their service online and then visit the Google Play store or your VPN's official website. Download their app in a couple of clicks and you're away.
You can quickly open the app and login with the username and password you created when signing up.
Can I use an Android VPN on mobile data or Wi-Fi?
One of the best features of an Android VPN is they can protect your connections or unblock content regardless of what type of network you're connected to.
Using both mobile data or connecting to a Wi-Fi network is possible with any of the recommended apps above. They even work on public Wi-Fi to make those networks secure.
Most of the VPN apps will automatically connect when changing network. Still, it's worth double-checking if you're automatically logged into a Wi-Fi network when it moves between mobile data and Wi-Fi connections to ensure you're still connected to the VPN.
You can do this by opening the VPN app and checking the connection status, then opening a regular web browser and testing you can access any website.
What can't a VPN do?
While a VPN can do a lot, there are some things that even this technology cannot offer. For example, no VPN can:
1) Stop Google from tracking you
If you are logged into Google, use the Google Chrome browser, use Gmail, or any of their myriad other services, Google will track everything that you are doing, cookies, preferences, you name it.
A VPN cannot protect you from this.
The only way to get rid of Google completely is to stop using their tools and services.
2) Act as an antivirus
A VPN is not antivirus software, and you should not treat it as such.
The best that the VPN can do is collect a list of malicious websites and possibly prevent you from accessing them. Not all VPNs offer this.
Viruses can affect you with or without a VPN, so make sure you are using reliable anti-virus software alongside your VPN.
3) Allow access to the dark web
You also cannot usually access the darknet just because you have a VPN. To do that, you need a special kind of browser, such as Tor.
A VPN can let you access content that is censored or geo-blocked and prevents others from seeing your traffic. It can also prevent your data from being recorded on your ISP's servers, and it can stabilise your speed in certain circumstances.
For any ‘special' activity, such as visiting the dark web, you will need an additional tool to do so.
Choosing any VPN app is difficult regardless of the device you use, but choosing a VPN on Android is even harder because there are so many in the Google Play store to choose from.
In our tests, we found ExpressVPN to offer the best combination of features and simplicity. It doesn't bombard you with options making it suitable if you're a beginner but it also has strong privacy protection keeping you secure regardless of your skill level, providing a better user experience.
Couple that with being able to unblock most TV streaming services and it's the all-round best Android VPNs.
If you have the time it's worth checking out the other 5 Android VPN apps because you may find a specific feature that suits your usage. Each one can be found on your devices' Google Play Store, or via the VPN's website.
You really can't go wrong no matter which app you end up choosing because they're all great services for all Android users.
- Statcounter | Mobile & Tablet Operating System Market Share Worldwide
- DigitalTrends | The best VPNs for Android
Illustration © Seeni Vasagam & Muhammad Zafar | Dreamstime.com