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The Best Android VPN Apps (*UPDATED 2018)

Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Here’s what we compared: Download Speed, Usability on Android, Cost, User Reviews on Google Play, Jurisdiction and Logging Policy.

Protecting your internet connection while you’re at home or on your laptop on the go is important.

But why protect just one part of your internet use?

If you’re using an Android phone, you should be using a VPN whenever you connect to the internet.

Let’s talk about why that’s a good idea, then discuss the best VPNs for Android phones. We’ll go over our selection criteria, then provide our recommendations.

Why Use an Android VPN?

Just like the internet traffic that you send from your home or work computer, the traffic you send from your phone should be protected. A VPN provides that protection.

For a detailed explanation, check out our full beginner’s guide to VPNs.

In short, though, using a VPN on your Android

  1. Keeps people from spying on your internet connection
  2. Bypasses geo-restrictions (especially useful for streaming Netflix)
  3. Lets you torrent files without reprisal
  4. Help keep your personal data secure
  5. Protects your anonymity online

You might not think that you have any reason to hide the internet traffic coming from your phone, but remember that you send texts, photos, and emails from it. Would you want someone spying on those? Even if you’re not sending anything particularly private, you still don’t want anyone snooping.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends using VPNs to avoid surveillance by your ISP. The same is absolutely true of your mobile data provider, and for all the same reasons.

There are certainly other reasons you might use a VPN, but these are the most popular. Protected browsing is crucial for streaming and torrenting from your phone, but the security benefits alone are worth setting up a VPN.

5 Best VPN Apps for Android Devices

Without further ado, here are 5 top VPNs for Android devices according to our research – speed, usability, cost, logging policy and customer ranking on Google Play.

1. NordVPN – Best VPN Option for Android

NordVPN app homepage

Visit NordVPN

  • Speed: 74.15 Mbps out of 100 Mbps
  • Users Rating (Google Store): 4.3/5.0
  • Cost: $2.99/mo
  • Logging Policy: No Logs
  • Netflix: Working
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed

NordVPN is a top contender in every category, but it stands out among Android VPNs for the remarkably high reviews it gets from its users: NordVPN’s app earned a 4.3 ranking on Google Play, one of the highest we’ve seen:

NordVPN review & rating
NordVPN rating on Google Play

In addition to one-tap access to over 5,072 servers in 62 countries, the app also has a built-in adblocker so you can browse the internet more freely and use less data. All you need to do is tell NordVPN where you want to connect, and you’ll be instantly connected to their network.

We also love that they offer a free seven-day trial, so you can check out the Android app to see if you like it. If you don’t, all you have to do is cancel the service.

NordVPN's Android app
Android application as it is after buying

We think you’ll like it, though; with solid speed scores (74 Mbps download on our 100 Mbps connection), industry-standard encryption, and a mind-boggling number of servers, there’s not a whole lot more you could ask for. It’s not the fastest out there, but it should be plenty fast for anything you’re doing from your phone.

Another great feature is NordVPN’s extra-secure Double VPN.

It routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of a single one to give you doubly encrypted data. This feature might slow down your connection, but if you need to be absolutely sure that no one knows what you’re doing online, you can be confident in Double VPN.

NordVPN's Double VPN provides extra security
NordVPN’s Double VPN provides extra security

When you top all of that off with a very affordable pricing structure, you get a winner. If you sign up for a two-year plan with NordVPN, you’ll only pay $2.99 per month. Not many VPNs charge less than that.

For Lowest Prices Visit NordVPN.com

Read the full NordVPN review here

 

2. ExpressVPN – Fast, Premium VPN

ExpressVPN android review

Visit ExpressVPN

  • Speed: 83.15 Mbps out of 100 Mbps
  • Users Rating (Google Store): 4.1/5.0
  • Cost: $6.67/mo
  • Logging Policy: No Logs
  • Netflix: Working
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest providers that we’ve tested, clocking over 83 Mbps download speed on our 100 Mbps connection.

While the speed you get on your Android phone will vary largely based on your phone and your connection, you can be confident that you’ll get about as fast a speed as possible with ExpressVPN.

Express VPN's android app
Here’s how ExpressVPN app will look on Android

The Android app works with a variety of Android installations, from the latest version, Oreo, all the way back to Jelly Bean. Even if you’re running an old version of Android, your VPN will work and be secure.

One of the great features included in ExpressVPN’s Android app is the recommended location; as soon as you fire up the app, it will recommend servers to you based on where you’ll get the best connections. With a tap, you can connect to their fast servers all over the world. It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can also save your favorite servers for faster access.

We also like that the app defaults to OpenVPN, the most secure VPN protocol. And the 4.1 rating is confidence-inspiring, as well.

ExpressVPN Android app review on Google Play
ExpressVPN rating on Google Play

The only place ExpressVPN falls notably behind its competitors is in price. If you pay for a full year up front, it works out to $8.32 per month. If you pay 15 months upfront, it’s $6.67/mo.

That’s on the more expensive side of top-tier VPNs. That being said, if you’re going to use your Android VPN a lot—which we recommend—it’s worth it.

For Lowest Prices Visit ExpressVPN.com

Read the full ExpressVPN review here

 

3. CyberGhost – Best Budget-Friendly VPN for Android

CyberGhost android VPN review
  • Speed: 51.10 Mbps out of 100 Mbps
  • Users Rating (Google Store): 4.3/5.0
  • Jurisdiction: Romania
  • Cost: $2.75/mo
  • Netflix: Working
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed

Despite their average download speed (which you can read more about in our full review), CyberGhost makes a great VPN for your Android device. If you’re not worried about a bit slower speeds than NordVPN or ExpressVPN, it’s definitely worth downloading.

One of the big advantages of CyberGhost is their cheap cost. If you opt in for 3 years, you’ll get it at a monthly cost of $2.75, which sums up to $49.50 for 18 months years. They also use industry standard VPN protocol (OpenVPN) as well as 256-bit AES encryption.

Beyond that, the app has everything you’d expect from a top-tier Android VPN app. Simple server choice, easy kill-switch on and off, the ability to mark certain servers as your favorites, and recommendations for the fastest server from your current location.

CyberGhost app for android
CyberGhost app for android

The 4.3 rating on the Google Play Store is also reassuring; that’s one of the highest among Android VPNs that we’ve checked out.

CyberGhost review rating on Google Play
CyberGhost rating on Google Play

An annual plan will see you paying $5.00 per month, which falls around the middle of VPN prices. It’s certainly not expensive.

But it doesn’t compete with NordVPN’s super-low prices, either. You can also try the mobile VPN with 1GB of data to see how it works in your area.

For Lowest Prices Visit CyberGhost.com

Read CyberGhost review here

 

4. Private Internet Access – Another Cheap Option for Android

Private Internet Access review
  • Speed: 81.46 Mbps out of 100 Mbps
  • Users Rating (Google Store): 4.0/5.0
  • Jurisdiction: United States
  • Cost: $2.91/mo
  • Netflix: Not working
  • Torrenting: Allowed

PIA is known for its high speeds. It maintained 81% of our 100 Mbps connection speed when we tested it on a PC, logging one of the fastest speeds we’ve ever seen. So if you’re looking for the fastest Android VPN, you should give Private Internet Access a shot.

The app also has a 4.0 rating in the Play Store—people really like it. It’s not hard to see why, with easy connections, automatic server recommendations, per-app VPN rules, and ad blocking.

PIA rating on Google Play
PIA rating on Google Play

Although we recommend using a VPN for any internet connection on your Android, we understand that you might want more speed when you’re using certain apps. Letting some of them connect outside of the VPN will do that.

PIA android app
Private Internet Access on Android device

PIA has over 3,000 servers, which is staggeringly high. You’ll always be able to find one in the country you want that’s not getting slammed with traffic. And because you can get a two-year subscription that brings your monthly cost under $3, it’s also one of the most affordable VPNs.

Visit PrivateInternetAccess.com

Read Private Internet Access review here

 

5. TunnelBear – Best Rating on Google Play, But Limited

TunnelBear for android
  • Speed: 52.26 Mbps out of 100 Mbps
  • Users Rating (Google Store): 4.4/5.0
  • Jurisdiction: Canada
  • Cost: $5.00/mo
  • Netflix: Not working
  • Torrenting: No info

As we mentioned previously, the app itself has to be good for us to recommend an Android VPN. And TunnelBear has a fantastic app—which is one of the reasons why it’s currently rated 4.4 on the Play Store, one of the highest we’ve ever seen for a paid VPN.

TunnelBear rating on Google Play
TunnelBear VPN rating on Google Play

That’s not much of a surprise, considering how fun the app is to use. Like everything else made by TunnelBear, it’s full of fun graphics and cute bears. Which might not sound like it’s worth anything, but if the app is easy and pleasant to use, you’re more likely to use it.

And the VPN itself is great, too. Android, unlike iOS, gets 256-bit OpenVPN encryption, which means your traffic is secure. It’s not the fastest VPN out there (we got 52 Mbps download speed on our 100 Mbps connection), but it is stable and they have a no-logging policy that we really like.

TunnelBear's Android app on phone and tablet
TunnelBear’s Android app

Their paid plans, which start at $5.00 per month, paid annually, are some of the cheapest we’ve seen. And there’s a free plan so you can try the app out to see how it works for you. You’ll be limited to 500MB, but you shouldn’t need much more than that to see if it’s worth paying for.

Visit TunnelBear.com

Read TunnelBear review here

 

Why We Don’t Recommend FREE VPNs for Android

Lots of people know that they should be using a VPN. But fewer are willing to pay for it. That’s why there are thousands of people out there looking for the best free Android VPN. As you’ll see in a moment, we don’t recommend any free VPNs.

Why not? Because free VPNs come with compromises. First, they’re often not very reliable. Providers of paid VPNs aren’t likely to prioritize the traffic of their free users, and if you aren’t willing to pay, you’re going to get second-rate service.

The same applies to speed. Free Android VPNs just aren’t going to be able to compete with paid options on speed. You’ll get faster, more stable connections from a paid provider, and that’s worth a lot.

Second, providers of free VPNs still have to make money. And if they’re not getting it from you, they’re getting it from advertisers. Free VPN providers are more likely to log your information, sell your data to third parties, and display ads while you’re connected. While ads are annoying, having your data collected and sold is a violation of your privacy.

And because privacy is one of the most important underlying principles of any VPN, that’s bad news.

For all of these reasons, we recommend that you always use a paid VPN for Android. You’ll get a faster, more stable service, and your privacy will be better protected. And with the low costs of many of the VPNs below, you can get those things affordably.

What We Look For in Android VPNs

So what makes a great Android VPN? In most cases, it’s the same factors that make any VPN a good one. High speeds. No logging of any kind (or, at the very least, minimal logging). Solid encryption for security and privacy.

We also prefer that VPNs not be headquartered in countries that have strict surveillance and data retention laws, like the US, Canada, the UK, and much of western Europe. Some VPNs in these places are very trustworthy, but we prefer that they are housed in more lenient jurisdictions. Though any worthy VPN will have servers all over the world.

Simple, straightforward apps are also a big plus. If you have to spend a long time figuring out how to get online with your VPN, you’re much less likely to use it regularly. And that could expose you to security and privacy risks. The easier it is to get online, the better.

We also look at app reviews in the Google Play Store to see how users feel about the app. If a VPN app has more one- and two-star reviews than other apps, it’s cause for a closer look.

And, of course, we look at the price. We know that an expensive VPN doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget, so we try to highlight the options with the best value.

The Best Android VPNs Are at Your Disposal

The five VPNs we listed above are fantastic options for Android users. They’ll keep your traffic private, help you get around geo-restrictions, and keep your ISP from throttling your traffic. And because they’re at least relatively affordable, they’ll do it all without breaking the bank.

  1. ExpressVPN – $6.67/mo
  2. NordVPN – $2.99/mo
  3. CyberGhost – $2.91/mo
  4. Private Internet Access – $2.91/mo
  5. TunnelBear – $5.00/mo

If you’re not using an Android VPN, you should start doing it now. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices, so pick one and start browsing more safely today!

4 thoughts on “The Best Android VPN Apps (*UPDATED 2018)

    1. Hi Brenda,

      We’ve just tested them and all the VPN providers listed on this page work 100% with the latest Android software.
      – TheBestVPN.com

  1. I appreciate your list and summary, especially the NYT quotes/link…hadn’t seen that before.

    I think it’s a bit confusing saying apps can’t have the same privacy as VPN, but then saying apps are stealing all of your personal information (very true), so the solution is a VPN.

    I think I get what you were getting at, just could be confusing for average user. Otherwise helpful

    I also wonder how you rated apps. I’m always looking for in-depth things (may be too much for some). But I think important factors for each VPN are things like where the company is based (i.e. subject to warrants by your country), whether they have been shown to uphold privacy policies such as zero-logging rather than just saying it, what DNS is used, whether the app has strict end-to-end encryption, etc. Also helpful would be info about what permissions the apps require (critical!), whether anonymous payment is possible, and if/to what extent apps are dependent on Google Play services.

  2. Thanks a ton for going through all these reviews and ratings on my behalf. I’m using PIA and I think it’s a solid option, but if a free option is needed, you can also try CyberGhost (not sure if their free version works on Android).

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