VPN on an Android device is something you definitely want to have.
Because VPN secures your connection (changes IP, encrypts your data) and in some cases, you’ll get access to sites that might be blocked for users in your country (this decision is made by the IP address, by the way).
However, choosing the right VPN for your Android can be both confusing and time-consuming. To save yourself from lot of research, I went through reviews on:
- Google App Store
- Reddit (their users are very VPN savvy)
- Tech/PC Magazines (they can be flawed as they use affiliate links, though)
After ~40 hours of data gathering and research I came to a conclusion.
3 Best VPNs for Android Devices
Here are top 3 best VPNs for Android users (according to several different reviews). In short, you can’t go wrong with them.
#1. Private Internet Access VPN, costs $3.33/mo
PrivateInternetAccess.com is the oldest and by far the most reputable VPN providers on the market today.
They also support multiple OS and devices, including Android.
Their cheapest plan/option is $3.33/mo which is pretty cheap as many VPNs cost twice as much (with some exceptions, though).
Let’s see what people have said about PIA on Reddit, Google Play and on PC magazines.
TL;DR: It’s recommended by many folks around the web and it has better reviews than any of it’s competitors. We highly recommend getting signed up with PIA, installing them on your Android devices and likely be a satisfied user.
Reddit users seem to like PIA
As I made our way through subbreddits such as /r/VPN, /r/Piracy and /r/AndroidApps, Private Internet Access was mentioned more than all other VPN providers together.
I guess that’s an indication that they are the VPN market leaders.
As already mentioned, redditors are extremely shrewd customers and make sure to nitpick everything until they find perfect. Once the reddit hive mind finds what they like, it becomes the go-to service for the majority of its userbase.
This is certainly the case with PIA with everybody and their mother suggesting it to uncertain newcomers.
- In a conversation1 with reddit and PIA user gypsybacon, a fellow redditor AidenXY mentioned his love of the PIA app which also blocks ads in addition to everything.
- “Cland” seemed to agree with his top comment2 on a reddit thread asking for the best android VPN.
- Perhaps the strongest testimonial came from redditor KaridoAziz, when he confidently claimed3 that PIA provided, we quote “Best price + customer service + reliability + many servers + P2P friendly” on a thread asking whether VyprVPN is any good for android.
- Price conscious users will appreciate Shepherd7X’s comment4 about PIA’s awesome affordability which trevonator126 strongly agreed with later on.
In conclusion, I’d say 80% on Reddit recommend PIA as a VPN client for Android.
Big Tech Sites on PrivateInternetAccess VPN
After digging through Reddit, I did some Googling:
- Cnet5 revealed Private Internet Access to be their top pick for their “best all-in-one paid Android VPN” noting their user friendliness, simplicity and affordable prices.
- PCmag6 ranked PIA at #2 in their very own android VPN ranking, second only to NordVPN, quoting “Private Internet Access has about the sparsest interface you can find, but it’s one of the most powerful Android VPN services, thanks to its advanced features and thousands of servers around the world.”
Now please take these results with a grain of salt. All these sites are made for making money to their owners. They have hundreds of workers and they gotta monetize their articles a bit. Hence the reason, all of them included affiliate links their recommended VPNs. Hmm?
Google Play Rates PIA 4.0 out of 5.0
Moving on to the Google store, Private Internet Access’s VPN app has amassed over 15,000 reviews with a respectable 4.0 star rating.
The app has been installed by up to 5 million users around the globe. Following are some anonymized user reviews:
Someone named Amelie writes that the service is great and the app works great. She praises how easy it is to connect and use the app from the notification area. She is also super glad that it works when using public WiFi.
Graham loves the app and the abundance of setting but quotes issues with losing connections via WiFi. He continues to write that he is forced to enable and disable airplane mode on and off to fix it when it happens. He’s also a bit disappointed from the speeds the app provides while torrenting.
In a conclusion, there will always be people who don’t like the app/service/speed. However, a rating 4.0 is a pretty solid number out 15k+ reviews.
or read our in-depth review (and user reviews) on PIA.
#2. Tunnelbear VPN, costs $4.99/mo or free version
While Tunnelbear.com isn’t popular as PIA, they were still praised all around the interwebs.
Something I didn’t expect from an unknown, free VPN provider. They also have a paid version which they claim to be much better – this one costs $4.99, though)
Here are my findings on Tunnelbear:
Reddit Reviews on Tunnelbear
Scouring the subbreddits, we saw Tunnelbear mentioned again and again. Check out some of the comments and what redditors had to say:
- In a conversation with the 3rd top commentor acespiritualist7, who thought the app was great , VaniCadarn went so far as to proclaim that Tunnelbear is his #1 favorite VPN!
- In a more prolific comment, a redditor by the nickname RIP-Department8 provided us a more in-depth look into Tunnelbear. He said he recommended the app and claimed it’s the easiest VPN he had ever used on both desktop as well as mobile, whether you’re browsing Netflix or YouTube. In addition, he loved that you get over 1.5GB of completely free VPN-ing before you ever have to pay.
Tech Authorities on Tunnelbear
Here are my findings after googling on “Best VPN for Android”:
- DigitalTrends9 ranked Tunnelbear around #4 and praised the VPN’s super simple connection procedure as well as the free 500MB of browsing.
- Android Authority10 thought that Tunnelbear is “one adorable VPN app”, ranking it in the middle of their top 15 Android VPNs with not much more praise of note.
It’s good to know that these sites actually recommend something that is free..
Google Play Reviews on Tunnelbear 4.4 out of 5.0
Things look incredibly better when I take a looksy-look at Tunnelbear’s Google Play Store data.
Due to them providing a free quota of 500 MB, the app has mindbogglingly over 104,000 reviews.
Not only that, they have reached an incredible 4.4 rating over those thousands and thousands user testimonials.
I truly hope they’re not fake.
The best explaining review award goes to Paul:
Paul believes Tunnelbear to be a great app. While he had a minor misunderstanding, their FAQs quickly managed to resolve the problem. He majorly praises Tunnelbear’s customer service for lighting fast responses too, even on a free account. He continues to explain he managed to trade Bitcoins on a site where only a certain nationality are permitted, which he easily circumvented. He finishes by saying he will definitely convert into a paying customer soon.
or read our in-depth review (and user reviews) on Tunnelbear.
#3. ExpressVPN, costs $6.67/mo
3rd place isn’t bad, but due to some not so good reviews on Reddit they are where they are.
ExpressVPN is also more on the expensive side, costing $8.32/mo.
Reddit Users think that PIA and Tunnelbear are better than ExpressVPN (but not much)
Remember the hive mind thinking I explained earlier? Yes, PIA and Tunnelbear make up around 70% of all VPN recommendations to android-heads. ExpressVPN makes up another 20%.
- PCup, a former Tunnelbear user, switched over to ExpressVPN11 and experienced an instant and big boost in speeds. This very much mirrors our own testing and experience with ExpressVPN where they clocked in at #1 when it came to speed performance.
- Scrybatog, on the other hand, had a different experience12 with the award winning *cough, our award, cough* VPN Provider. In a /r/Piracy reddit topic he commented that he has had major headaches connection to the ExpressVPN app with different phones. Many other redditors were quick to respond and both provide advice as well as defend and give their own 2 cents on ExpressVPN. While UniqueUsername31 was surprised to hear of any issues and thought the app was great and worked fine for him, ieswideopen mentioned he had used the service for over 4 years across 7 devices without any issue at all!
My advice to Scrybatog? Head over to ExpressVPN’s website and make use of their 24/7 live chat. I can safely say they will be quick to solve any issue you may have – hence the reason of high price tag.
Android related magazines on ExpressVPN
When it came to ExpressVPN, things looked much more coherent in the technosphere. ExpressVPN is universally acclaimed and often ranked among the top of VPN lists.
It’s also no secret that it pays a lot to their affiliates – something to be aware of.
- In the same AndroidAuthority10 article, they praised ExpressVPN by placing them at the #1 position. According to them, ExpressVPN comes with best usability. They talk about the super fast and awesome security the company provides its customers. They went on to try the app yourself and taking advantage of their 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.
- Techradar13seemed to agree as they also placed ExpressVPN at the top of their “Best VPN for Android: Our 5 top choices” article. According to them the dedicated android app is extremely user-friendly and easy to use, without sacrificing advanced functionality. In their pro’s and con’s list they take note of the great performance but bash on the priciness and “short and limited trial“.
We do agree, ExpressVPN is usually priced a bit higher than the rest, but come on – what’s $2 more bucks a month for safety & security?
ExpressVPN User Reviews on Google Play
Taking a closer look at their Google Store app page, I quickly greeted by a 4.1 rating among an incredible 25,000 reviews and growing. Almost twice what PIA had and at a better rating too. I were was to took a deeper dive into said reviews and check out general consensus.
- Darril wrote a long thought-out review and updated it not once but twice! He begins it by warning users to disregard any low or negative reviews which he believes are phony. About ExpressVPN he says “the service is near perfect. Thank you for protecting my dwnlds. [sic]“. In his second update, Darill mentions he uses only android devices and that the app works flawlessy. He finishes by saying that those experiencing slow speeds, should blame their ISPs.
My research seems to confirm Darril’s experience in that ExpressVPN have always managed to provide us with awesome speeds, the best in the industry, in fact!
- An anonymous user wrote that the app is “brilliant in so many ways” but wasn’t sure whether he liked that the ownership of ExpressVPN is not known. He did mention that it inhibits 3rd party efforts of strong-arming user detail identification.
or read our in-depth review (and user reviews) on ExpressVPN.
Why your Android needs a VPN?
Security. Anonymity. Encryption. Accessibility.
Be less vulnerable online (and using online wi-fi)
Picture this. You’re sitting in the airport or your your next door coffee shop and connect to their hotspot with your android phone. I have already written extensively on the dangers of public Wi-Fi; leaked private data, stolen identity, intercepted banking and so many more. The second you connect to a network unprotected, you’re risking everything you and everything you have stored on your device – to be at risk.
Don’t let people track your online activity
But hey – let’s assume you have full trust in the network you’re connecting to. For some reason, you are completely sure that no one is snooping around your browsing habits (Mistake #1). Did you know that recent congressional developments will allow internet service providers (ISPs) to sell your browsing data to the highest bidder?
If you’re smiling right now, because you’re not a US citizen and this doesn’t apply to you – just wait. What happens in the US is quick to be adapted worldwide.
Avoid getting hacked
Save for not using your Android internet capabilities at all, your best bet is to secure yourself from a potential man-in-the-middle attacks by deploying and utilizing a VPN connection at all times.
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, were first developed and used exclusively by the world largest international companies to facilitate secure communication channels, save from nefarious prying ears.
As people around the world quickly catched on to how beneficial a private communication channel can be, VPN usage began to grow hand in hand with the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Not too long after, VPNs were used worldwide by everyday people who had recognized the now vital importance of privacy in an all too connected world.
How does a VPN protect you?
In short, a VPN establishes a tunnel protocol through which it sends all your data packets (internet traffic). This protocol is layers with dozens of security features which not only facilitate complete anonymity of your data, but also protect it from intruders and attempts of exploitation. This is a very simplified version, of course.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation on how VPNs work, make sure you check out our dedicated guide on that topic!
The benefits of a VPN are many and great:
- Complete Security: Every data packet you send through your VPN will be protected and anonymized. Nobody will ever be able to see what you do, when you do it and to what extent. You will be able to enjoy 100% anonymity and privacy with your affairs.
- Circumvent Censorship: The majority of the world live under jurisdictions with oppressive government censoring. Due to the anonymity of your VPN traffic, you will be able to effortlessly dodge any censorship and restrictions you are forced subject to.
- Negate Throttling: Many ISPs already throttle your data; even if it’s against the law. Unfortunately, a systematic trend of throttling is all too hard to prove and easy to mask. On the flip side, a VPN connection will never provide the ability for ISPs to know how much data you used in the first place, thus negating any automatic throttling from the get go.
- Access Blocked Content: Similar to circumventing censorships, a VPN connection will allow you to visit and consume content that is blocked to you. This includes websites like Netflix, BBC, HBO. Geo-blocking is a thing of the past with VPNs.
- Safe Torrenting: While I do not condone torrenting copyrighted content you do not own, a VPN is an iron-clad layer of protection which would enable you to torrent to your heart’s desire, without your ISP being able to track it.
- Peace of mind: Last, but not least – your own peace of mind. Knowing that your browsing habits will not be sold, that your day-to-day won’t be revealed and your identity not stolen is an amazingly serene feeling.
Final Thoughts on Android VPN
For me, VPN app on an android mobile is a must have.
I’ve decided that $10/mo is an “OK” price to pay for absolute digital security and piece of mind.
Download and try some of the VPNs recommended in this article. If they suck, leave a comment and help others. If they’re good, still leave a comment and share your thoughts :).
I recommend using the following VPN services for Android:
- Private Internet Access: $3.33/mo – works perfectly on Android.
- TunnelBear: $4.99/mo – works perfectly on Android.
- ExpressVPN: $6.67/mo – best usability on Android.
Protect yourself from the horrors of stolen identities, tampered bank accounts and leaked private data. Encrypt your data with VPN :).
Which Android VPNs have you used? Leave your comments, questions & feedback in the comment form below!