The best Android VPN apps in 2018

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Google's Android has the largest installed base of smartphones around the globe with more than a billion daily active users – so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of VPN apps which support the OS.

Most of the best VPN providers have dedicated Android apps, while a smaller number let you set up their network via manual configuration – although, of course, some offerings don’t have mobile support at all.

A word of warning: make sure you avoid the dodgy ones on Google Play as quite a few free players promise to provide free privacy but don't mention the strings attached. Instead, go for one of the brilliant Android VPN apps that follow.

Our top picks for best Android VPN apps are

1. ExpressVPN

Best all-round Android VPN

Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3

Well designed Android app
Excellent speeds
A bit pricier than others
Only 3 simultaneous connections

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There are many things to like about ExpressVPN for Android. The dedicated app is extremely user-friendly and straightforward, but also offers lots of advanced options. On the security front, it boasts AES 256-bit encryption, while the speeds we witnessed using the VPN were consistently fast. 

ExpressVPN provides quality apps for a wide range of devices, and Android is no exception. The Android app provides access to high speed servers across 94 countries and is compatible across phones, tablets, Kindles and Android TV boxes.

After signing up for an ExpressVPN subscription, the website will provide instructions to install the app on your device (usually via Google Play or through an APK file). The website also features a wide array of handy content and video guides on using their apps, as well as 24/7 customer support by live chat in case you run into any issues.

ExpressVPN is definitely not the cheapest VPN out there, but it may be worth the price for those who want the best Android experience. The 30-day money-back guarantee lets you test Express with reassurance.

ExpressVPN offers three price plans, with the 12-month plan offering the biggest saving as you would expect (you get an extra three months). The packages available are:

2. IPVanish

Fastest Android VPN

Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10

No logs policy
Impressive performance
Not cheap for non-Techradar readers
No free trial

The IPVanish app is good overall, although it’s missing a kill switch, a standard feature which instantly shuts down the internet connection in the event the VPN drops (to prevent your true IP from being revealed).

Still, that doesn’t detract from the impressive download speeds this VPN achieved during our testing. Furthermore, there’s no logging of the user’s activity here, plus you get 256-bit AES encryption with the OpenVPN protocol, along with 24/7 customer support.

However, the price might be the one negative element which drives folks away. There’s no free trial, although three available plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the best and most popular choice when it comes to the three packages which are available:

3. NordVPN

Most secure Android VPN

Number of servers: 5047 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

Double data encryption
Good performance
Overly basic app

NordVPN has some impressive strengths including ‘Double VPN’ technology which passes your connection through two separate VPN servers, as opposed to just the one, for an extra layer of security (there are only a certain number of Double VPN servers, though). NordVPN also has a ‘zero logs’ policy, meaning it doesn’t track the user’s online activity.

While the focus is clearly on security and privacy, NordVPN doesn’t lag in other areas. The Android app is easy-to-use, but pretty basic and lacks configuration options, with the desktop app having a much better interface. The performance was good, although nothing spectacular. The app also provides a live chat feature for 24/7 customer support.

NordVPN is reasonably priced, too, and has a free 3-day trial (download the app from the Play Store and register with your Google Play account). There are four plans available, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The limited 2-year offer is clearly the best choice in terms of overall value. The packages available are:

4. VyprVPN

A good mix of speed and security

Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3

Well optimised app
Speedy performance
Some logging (connection times, IPs)
No refunds

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Switzerland-based VPN provider VyprVPN offers a very sound Android VPN. There’s a dedicated app that is extremely well optimized, and it offers multiple protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and Chameleon, the latter being the firm’s own tailored solution.

There are some potential issues with privacy, however, as the company keeps some logs in the form of connection times and IP addresses. Performance is impressive overall, and we saw some particularly good download speeds.

VyprVPN offers two price plans with monthly and annual billing. Still, it's not for those on a strict budget as its monthly billing is a tad pricier than most others.

The Basic plan supports three simultaneous connections and comes without all the goodies, so the Premium plan offers the most bang for your buck (with five simultaneous connections, the Chameleon protocol and more). Be aware that there are no refunds offered here, so use the 3-day free trial to the max. The packages available are:

(Image: © Tunnelbear)

5. TunnelBear

Best for beginners

Number of servers: N/A | Server locations: 20+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Simple and user-friendly
Free 500MB plan
A bit slow over longer distances
Only two commercial plans

TunnelBear is the go-to option for VPN newbies who want to protect their Android device. The native client is designed to be as simple as possible but still manages to incorporate a decent amount of features, including a GhostBear option that attempts to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN connection (to avoid being blocked), and a kill switch (which keeps your IP concealed if the VPN drops out).

We found this VPN’s performance was speedy on shorter (local) connections, but distant locations can be a lot slower – although still usable. The provider uses 256-bit encryption by default, as well as all the usual security protocols.

TunnelBear has a free offering which allows 500MB of bandwidth per month. You can upgrade to unlimited data with two paid plans, of which the annual plan is the far more affordable and better option. The packages available are:

How to choose the best Android VPN app

There are more than enough VPNs with great Android support. Ultimately, which one you choose might come down to some smaller details or personal preferences. When determining the greatest VPN for Android, you need to look out for a few things.

Obviously, a dedicated Android app helps to make things as hassle-free as possible. Next, it should be user-friendly and yet offer enough options to allow for some tweaking (particularly for more experienced users).

Other considerations are tight security, and of course a privacy policy and terms of service which are easily understandable, making it clear what logs and details are kept by the provider. Supported simultaneous connections and the subsequent speeds you can achieve with the VPN are also important, but not vital in this case.