The Google Play app store has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of apps that can cater to your every need. The problem is: there are just too many of them.

Even with Editor's Picks, Featured and Best Selling, Top Paid and Top Free categories there to help you out with your downloading decision it's still a difficult task finding the best apps around.

And that's why we made this list. Like you we want the best apps for our Android phones. The apps that are going to revolutionise functionality or, at the very least, offer something so great that it becomes one of the must-have apps that has to be downloaded whenever you get a new handset.

The following apps are a mixture of paid and free ones and have been chosen by our Android experts. So, even if you do dip into actual cash for one of these apps, you are safe in the knowledge that it is a worthwhile purchase.

1. BBC Weather

BBC Weather

Free from the BBC, which arrived late to the weather app party in 2013 and delivered a completely stonking, triple-A meteorological experience. A variety of stylish widgets, long-range forecasts, location-aware settings and support for multiple locations make finding out how much it's raining everywhere a joy.

Kabee, Easyjet and Barclays
Kabee, Easyjet and Barclays

2. Kabbee

Winning fans all over London is this, with the Kabbee app aggregating local minicab firms and attempting to match your late night drunken ferry needs to the cheapest available nearby operator. The idea is to create competition among operators, with the result being some substantial savings over the usual black cab rates.

3. Easyjet

This isn't just some corporate effort full of cross-selling and adverts, it really works. You can book your flight through the simple interface, pay, check-in, then have the app generate a QR code boarding pass to wave at the ticket desk. Paper is entirely eliminated, therefore dealing with printers is entirely eliminated, making life substantially better. Just don't run out of battery power on the big day, else you're stuffed. If EasyJet doesn't fly to your destination then Kayak is a great alternative for global globe trotters.

4. Barclays Mobile Banking

The first wave of mobile banking apps were rubbish, mostly composed of skins that pointed you to some terrible mobile web site. But not in 2014. Go through the fuss of verifying yourself with this one and the Barclays app is extremely useful, listing and managing all your accounts, and even able to function as a replacement for the physical PINsentry card reader that's required to access the full desktop banking site.

Sky NOW TV, BT Wi-Fi and Barclays
Sky NOW TV, BT Wi-Fi and Barclays

5. Sky NOW TV

Sky's ramped up its Android app selection in spectacular fashion over the last year or two, with all manner of streaming, on-demand and specialist services available. Sky NOW TV is the best and most useful of the bunch, letting users buy access to its sports channels on a PAYG basis. Dead handy for cherry-picking the occasional big event without needing a full subscription.

6. BT Wi-Fi

If you're a BT Internet user, this is a must install. Feed the app your BT account master password (this will be the one you thought up on a whim eight years ago and won't be able to remember), and it'll automatically log you in whenever you're in range of a BT hotspot. Given that there are trillions of them in the UK, it means automated access to properly useful Wi-Fi connections when out and about, avoiding the spam £6-an-hour merchants.

7. Vine

The movie-making sensation took a little while to appear on Android, then took a while for the numerous bugs to disappear – but now it's all good. It's a simple recording/stop-motion/animation tool, letting you shoot live video on your phone and share it via social networks. The app is also the best way of browsing Vines from others, as the categories and pages mean you can leaf through it like telly, favouriting users.

8. Dropbox

Dropbox

Pretty much essential for anyone juggling a work PC, home PC, laptop, tablet, phone and internet fridge, Dropbox's key power lies in letting you access any files anywhere. It can also automatically upload photos taken on your phone to your account, meaning that, after a bit of uploading and downloading, all your shots are *right there* on your desktop without any tedious cable connecting.

Speedtest, eBay and Feedly
Speedtest, eBay and Feedly

9. Speedtest

Get angry about how slow your internet is. Get smug about how fast your internet is. Spy on the network speeds of your friends and neighbours. If one of your frequent conversations with your mates is how fast your internet currently is, you need this. You can do unlimited broadband up/down speed tests on any boring weekday evening.

10. eBay

The app itself isn't what you'd call attractive, but it lets you browse, watch items and buy stuff, integrating a Paypal sign-in for quick getting of things. Better still, now Android phones all have immense cameras on them, it's a doddle to sell items straight through the app - take a photo, upload it, have most of the listing data pre-filled for you. The app is better as a selling tool than the desktop site, in fact.

11. Feedly

If you felt a bit lost and disconnected from the News Borg when Google shut down its Reader RSS aggregator, Feedly will help. It's a more glamorous and swishy-slidy way of getting data from RSS feeds, with numerous ways of displaying site snippets and navigating through your unread pile of possibly interesting things.

12. BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer

Took some time for the BBC to gradually power this up to full parity with the iOS release, but it's just about there now for the vast majority of popular Android models. A piecemeal approach to introducing offline download support has annoyed some users, but it remains a superb way of using your phone as a modern portable telly for the bedroom, as long as your broadband's up to the task.

Carbon, Tweedle and WhatsApp
Carbon, Tweedle and WhatsApp

13. Carbon

The official Twitter app is a rather weird, ever-changing affair, that often introduces more annoyances and quirks with each new redesign. So best avoid it and enjoy the thrills of third-party tweet app Carbon, which, with its recent 2.0 update, enhanced an already posh experience with new gesture input, more hardcore shortcuts and a handy widget.

14. Tweedle

Or, if Carbon's hardcore skills are a bit too much to handle, try Tweedle. It's a vastly simpler Twitter app that covers the basics. You get three columns for the timeline, your mentions and direct messages, plus it's super-fast to load with only the occasional advert on the image preview pages to tell you that the developer wouldn't mind getting paid a bit for his work.

15. WhatsApp

The instant messaging behemoth is an essential Android install, especially if you can convince the people you message most frequently to use it too. The concept is simple - it takes over text messaging on your mobile, routing messages through any Wi-Fi connection instead. Which means no more SMS allowances, no size restrictions, plus images are sent at a decent resolution.

16. DealPad

Dealpad

Another unofficial app we prefer to the official option, DealPad takes the feed from bargains portal Hot UK Deals and presents it in a much simpler, less fussy (and less iOS) style. If you like to while away the evenings thinking about prices of various solid-state hard drives and planning your bulk biscuit purchases for tomorrow, get it on your phone.