VPN

Best VPN for Android 2022: Top 5 Apps (Free & Premium)

Janis von Bleichert
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VPNs make it possible to not only search the Web anonymously but also to bypass geoblocking. This is great if you'd like to stream content from abroad, take advantage of international ecommerce deals, or circumvent censorship measures in places like China. Android users can also take advantage of these benefits, so long as they install a VPN on their phone or device.

This guide will let you know which free and premium VPN options are the best for Android users and how to set up a VPN on your smartphone.

Android VPN: Top 3 Premium VPNs

In EXPERTE.com's VPN comparison, we put 22 providers to the test, comprehensively reviewing them in terms of their user-friendliness, performance, and security. We also assessed each service's smartphone Android app.

To make your choice easier, below, we'll introduce you to our Top 5:

1.

NordVPN: EXPERTE.com's Best in Class, for Android Too

Best Overall 2022
NordVPN Test
NordVPN
(655,084)
5400+ servers, 60 countries
Excellent performance
No logs
6 devices simultaneously
Inexpensive 2-year package
NordVPN combines speed, user-friendliness and functionality into a coherent overall package that is also fairly affordable.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
$3.29
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.7 / 5
excellent

NordVPN took first place in our VPN comparison. The Panama-based provider fought hard for the title, emerging victorious thanks to its excellent performance in our speed test, vast server network, and top scores in usage and handling.

The provider's Android app offers access to all of the important desktop features that a mobile user will need. These include split tunneling, which deactivates your VPN connection for specific user-defined programs or applications, as well as the new Meshnet, a feature that makes it possible to use encrypted private tunnels to connect to remote devices directly.

EXPERTE.com's overall #1, NordVPN, also takes top spot when it comes to VPN apps for Android devices.

Even NordVPN's special servers, with dedicated IP, double VPN connections, or additional routing through Tor, made it into the Android app.

For all of the above reasons, NordVPN offers what we feel is the best VPN Android app.

Excellent performance

Highly intuitive Android app

All important features from desktop offered on the go as well

Not the most affordable VPN

Somewhat crowded user interface

Review
4.7 / 5
04/2021
excellent
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Installation and Features
4.7 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.7 / 5
Server Network
4.3 / 5
2.

ExpressVPN: Premium VPN With a Matching Price Tag

ExpressVPN Test
ExpressVPN
(505,256)
3000+ Server
160 cities in 94 countries
Excellent performance
Saves no logs
30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN impresses with strong performance, a huge server network and excellently designed applications, but this quality also comes at a higher price.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
3
Protocols
7
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
ExpressVPN 12 Months
$8.33
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.7 / 5
excellent

ExpressVPN's desktop app is one of the most user-friendly on the market. Its Android interface is even simpler and more neatly arranged than that of NordVPN, our #1. In the main window, you'll see an On/Off button, and be afforded quick access to more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries.

If you need other features, you can tap your way over to Options > Settings. When using the service's split tunneling, you're able to choose which apps should or should not use your VPN connection.

Also on Android, ExpressVPN is very user-friendly.

In addition, you'll be able to take advantage of a few data privacy and security tools, such as the IP address checker, which lets you know whether your location and IP are really hidden. Rounding things out is a nifty password generator.

The only downside is that even in its most affordable 12-month subscription package, ExpressVPN remains expensive. Other VPNs offer a much better price-performance ratio.

User-friendly Android app

Split tunneling and extra security features

High-performance

Considerably more expensive than other VPN services

Review
4.7 / 5
04/2021
excellent
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Server Network
4.7 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.7 / 5
Installation and Features
4.3 / 5
3.

Surfshark: Price-Performance Winner, Also for Android

Surfshark VPN Test
Surfshark VPN
(99,770)
3200+ servers in 65 countries
Unlimited number of devices
Many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
Saves no logs
Very cheap on the 24-month plan
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but besides the price also impresses with strong protection, many features and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
$2.49
monthly price
Visit Website »
Get 83% Discount
Review
4.4 / 5
good

While on the topic of price-performance ratios, allow us to introduce you to the winner of that accolade from our review: Surfshark. When comparing how well a VPN from our sample performed to what the service will set a user back, Surfshark excelled in the first, while posting one of the lowest numbers for the latter. Its 24-month subscription will only cost you around a third as much as the same from ExpressVPN.

But price isn't the only advantage to being a Surfshark user: Its speeds are first-rate, all important features (including split tunneling) are offered on Android, and the app is easy to use.

Among both desktop and Android VPNs, Surfshark offers the best price-performance ratio.

Unfortunately, even for paying Surfshark customers, there's a paywall, as the Surfshark One area is only for security package subscribers. We feel that these kinds of digital velvet ropes sour the experience of being a premium (paying) user of an app.

All the same, when it comes to VPNs for Android, Surfshark definitely offers the most bang for your buck.

User-friendly Android app

Particularly affordable 2-year subscription package

Excellent performance in our EXPERTE.com speed test

Paywalls even in the premium app

Review
4.4 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Installation and Features
4.7 / 5
Customer Support
4.3 / 5
Server Network
4.0 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.0 / 5

VPN on Android: Free VPN Providers

Supposing that you aren't willing to pay for a VPN, you'll need to live with a few limitations. First of all, free VPNs don't offer video streaming. This means that if you want to access Netflix content from abroad or international sporting events without a cable or satellite connection, there aren't many ways past a premium VPN subscription.

Still, there are free VPNs that you can use to change your virtual location and conceal your IP address, in order to take advantage of the additional anonymity VPNs offer. We're leery of any VPNs which claim to be 100% free, for the simple reason that they need to earn revenue somehow. More often than not, in these cases, you and your data are the product that's being monetized.

As a result, we stick to freemium VPNs, which are free packages offered by reputable providers and intended to be teasers or enticements for prospective subscribers or customers.

4.

ProtonVPN: Generous Free Version on Android

ProtonVPN Test
ProtonVPN
(68,360)
Strong focus on security
1200+ servers in 55 countries
Headquarters in Switzerland
Solid performance
Open Source & external audits
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
ProtonVPN Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.3 / 5
good

ProtonVPN makes one of the most generous free VPN packages available, setting no data limits whatsoever. And you can use the connection for as long as you want. Of course, there's a catch, namely, that you're limited to servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US.

ProtonVPN tries to lure in new subscribers with its free version, which doesn't impose any limit on how much data you can use.

Additional features, such as Secure Core, are likewise off-limits to free users.

So, if your only goal is to set up a VPN without having to pay for it, and you aren't interested in video streaming or extra features, ProtonVPN is a solid choice.

Free version without data limits

Servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US

No video streaming

Limited server selection

Lots of features reserved for paying subscribers

Review
4.3 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Installation and Features
5.0 / 5
Security and Privacy
5.0 / 5
Performance
4.3 / 5
Customer Support
3.7 / 5
Server Network
3.7 / 5
5.

hide.me: 10 GB of Android Traffic per Month

hide.me VPN Test
hide.me VPN
(23,248)
1900+ servers
75+ locations in 47+ countries
Saves no logs
14-day money-back guarantee
with free plan
Data volume
10 - ∞
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
7
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
hide.me Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
4.2 / 5
good

hide.me doesn't offer free users unlimited data. All the same, the 10 GB you'll get each month at no charge is fairly generous and definitely more than enough for "regular" surfing. As another benefit, you won't have to register (unlike ProtonVPN).

Apart from having to make do without video streaming, you'll also have to tolerate banners that try their best to coax you into upgrading to the premium version. As a free user, you can access servers in Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and the US.

hide.me gives free users 10 GB of data per month.

Additional features such as multihop, which routes your VPN connection through multiple VPN servers, or access to streaming servers, are not included in the free version.

Generous monthly 10 GB data limit

4 server locations: Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and the US

Data limits

No video streaming

Access only to a few features

Review
4.2 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Bedienung & Features
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.3 / 5
Performance
4.0 / 5
Server Network
4.0 / 5
Sicherheit & Privatsphäre
3.7 / 5

Overall Result

Our Top 5 above includes what we think are the best free and premium VPNs for Android devices.

The latter offer all the important characteristics expected of a solid VPN (good speeds, capable of reliably bypassing geoblocking, high security, and features like split tunneling), all the while being easy to use on Android devices. In contrast to their premium counterparts, the free VPNs don't impose as many limitations as might be expected, and are certainly useful, so long as you don't want to stream video content or access servers from dozens of countries.

And there are plenty of other VPNs that performed perfectly well on Android during our assessment. Below, you can find a general overview of the results from our VPN comparison:

NordVPN
4.7 / 5
excellent
Check Review
ExpressVPN
4.7 / 5
excellent
Check Review
Surfshark
4.4 / 5
good
Check Review
ProtonVPN
4.3 / 5
good
Check Review
HideMyAss!
4.3 / 5
good
Check Review
hide.me
4.2 / 5
good
Check Review
Private Internet Access
4.1 / 5
good
Check Review
CyberGhost
3.9 / 5
good
Check Review
PureVPN
3.9 / 5
good
Check Review
Windscribe
3.9 / 5
good
Check Review
VyprVPN
3.8 / 5
good
Check Review
Hotspot Shield
3.7 / 5
good
Check Review
IPVanish
3.7 / 5
good
Check Review
Mullvad
3.7 / 5
good
Check Review
VPN Unlimited
3.7 / 5
good
Check Review
PrivateVPN
3.6 / 5
good
Check Review
TorGuard
3.6 / 5
good
Check Review
TunnelBear
3.5 / 5
good
Check Review
ZenMate
3.5 / 5
satisfactory
Check Review
Avast
3.4 / 5
satisfactory
Check Review
Perfect Privacy
3.3 / 5
satisfactory
Check Review
Avira
3.2 / 5
satisfactory
Check Review

Guide: How to Use a VPN on Android

Using the service that performed best in our assessment, NordVPN, we'll show you below how to set up a VPN on your Android device. In the event that you want to manually configure a VPN connection, for example, to be able to access your company's Intranet from home, be sure to check out our tutorial for doing so on an Android device.

Set Up a VPN on Android (NordVPN)

Step 1: Visit the Play Store and find the app for the service you've selected.

Step 2: Tap Install to set up the app on your Android device.

The first thing you'll need to do is set up your preferred VPN app on your Android device.

Step 3: Register a new account (input your email address, create a password, and specify your payment method) or login to your existing account.

You'll need a NordVPN account in order to use the service.

Step 4: To connect, select a server from the list or tap on one of the locations on the map. For example, if you're anywhere but the UK and would like to access the BBC's iPlayer, you'll need to connect to a British server.

Now, all you have to do is establish a connection with a VPN server of your choice.

Step 5: Once you've established a VPN connection, you can take advantage of all the benefits it offers. When you're finished using the connection, simply tap Disconnect.

You're now surfing through an anonymous VPN tunnel that conceals your physical location.

Conclusion

Even when you're on an Android device, a VPN is a great companion, making it possible to surf anonymously and circumvent geoblocking in order to stream content from abroad. Among the best VPNs for Android users are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark, each of which performed excellently on both smartphones and desktops during our assessment. For those looking for a free option on their Android device, you can take ProtonVPN or hide.me into consideration.

Setting up a VPN on Android only takes a matter of minutes: Just find the app in the Play Store, install it, register (or log in to your account), and that's all.

Comprehensive reviews of all 22 services we assessed can be found in our EXPERTE.com comparison. In case you need a VPN for an Android-capable Smart TV or Chromecast, be sure to check out our guide.

FAQs

Are VPNs necessary for smartphone users?
All of the things that make VPNs useful for PCs or laptops apply to Android devices as well: They can circumvent geoblocking, which makes streaming content from abroad possible on platforms like Netflix, or negate Internet censorship. With a VPN, you'll surf anonymously, which can come in particularly handy if you find yourself on public WiFi. To read up on the usefulness and limitations of VPNs, we recommend consulting our guide, What Is a VPN and Does It Make Sense to Use One?

Which VPN is the best for Android?
Based on our EXPERTE.com assessments, the best premium VPNs for Android users are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark. All three combine strong performance, large server networks, and plenty of features in user-friendly Android apps. Among the freemium offers, ProtonVPN and hide.me are recommended, owing to their relatively generous conditions.

Are free Android VPNs secure?
We advise exercising caution whenever you happen across a completely free VPN service: These need to pay the bills somehow, and if no product is offered for sale, you, or more accurately, your data are likely it. Freemium software, such as the free versions offered by established premium providers like ProtonVPN or hide.me, are better choices. These offer something of a teaser for their paid versions all the while not restricting usability too seriously.

Author: Janis von Bleichert
Janis von Bleichert studied business informatics at the TU Munich and computer science at the TU Berlin, Germany. He has been self-employed since 2006 and is the founder of EXPERTE.com. He writes about hosting, software and IT security.
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