5 best Android VPN apps for phones and tablets 2021

Get a better handle on your smartphone or tablet with the very best Android VPN - allowing you to take back control online

Best Android VPN
(Image credit: ymgerman / Shutterstock)

For those tapped into the Android interface after the best VPN, we've got all the answers you're looking right here. Ensuring your priorities as an owner of either an Android smartphone or tablet are met, this best Android VPN buying guide will take you through what to look for and our round-up of the top services out there.

When it comes to what you'll want from the best Android VPN, it's fair to say both streaming and security will be at the top of your list, with smartphones and tablets being portable devices that can be prone to being connected to unsecure, public networks, and frequently used on-the-go to stream content. As an Android user, the assumption is you might also be more tech-savvy, and therefore looking for a VPN that allows you to take better control of the more tucked away controls.

Bringing you the best Android VPNs, that offer a selection of controls, including toggling different features, and allowing you to flit between an array of protocols and types of encryption, our recommendations also allow you to bypass geo-restrictions on the most popular streaming services. From Netflix to Prime Video, get your fill of the latest TV shows and movies no matter where you end up.

That it about sussed? We think so, why not keep reading to see our selection of the Android VPNs and sign up to the one for you.

1. ExpressVPN – the best Android VPN today

1. ExpressVPN – the best Android VPN today
With clean, polished apps, serious security and excellent performance, ExpressVPN is the best Android VPN available. T3 readers can claim three months free on any annual plan, and you'll also have a 30-day money-back guarantee before you commit.

2. NordVPN – the biggest name is still one of the best

2. NordVPN – the biggest name is still one of the best
Excellent on all devices, NordVPN is a great Android VPN. With over 5,500 servers and with impenetrable encryption, it's one of the best all-round services for mobile devices. While the interface could do with work, it's one of the most downloaded Android VPNs out there - which says it all, right?

3. Surfshark – the cheapest Android VPN worth having

3. Surfshark – the cheapest Android VPN worth having
While it's not quite as fully featured as ExpressVPN, Surfshark doesn't compromise much at all – but its  monthly price might suggest otherwise. Stream to your heart's content with over 3,200 servers, and test the waters with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Did we mention you can install it across unlimited devices?

The 5 best Android VPN apps in 2021:

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

The best Android VPN app money can buy

Number of servers: 3,000+
Server locations: 160
Maximum devices supported: 5
Play Store rating: 4.4
Unblocked streaming services: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Super easy to use+Powerful features on mobile+Dedicated Android kill switch+Awesome customer support
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

No one is really surprised to see ExpressVPN at the top of our best Android VPN list, dominating a lot of our VPN buying guides with a selection of truly top-tier clients across a host of devices. Its Android app is no different, offering its clean, intuitive interface that receives regular updates. One of the latest includes the arrival of ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol, giving its customers the choice to use its very own creation for a secure, fast, and stable connection. In addition, Lightway is said to run more efficiently, helping to savour the battery life of your device.

ExpressVPN makes it very easy to install your VPN, giving a variety of options of how to download, with a ton of online tutorials dedicated to Android app users. Better still, you can find all its support documents in-app - no need to leave the app to look it up on your browser.

Of course, as the best Android VPN, ExpressVPN has a load of amazing features to boost your security, speed, as well as allowing you to unblock geo-restricted content. Within the app's settings you can run a DNS Leak test to ensure just how bulletproof your connection is. Under Privacy and Security, you'll also find a password generator to keep your important accounts safely under lock and key.

ExpressVPN also boasts an integrated kill switch, split tunneling, and auto-connect for unknown networks and those you've set as untrustworthy. Niftily, ExpressVPN allows you to set-up app and website shortcuts. This means you can connect to a server and quickly go to, say, Netflix straight from the app.

Offering a 30-day all your money back guarantee, why not give ExpressVPN a go with no risk of losing your hard earned cash if it's not for you.

(Image credit: NordVPN)

A straightforward VPN that doesn’t compromise on features

Number of servers: 5,400+
Server locations: 59+
Maximum devices supported: 6
Play Store rating: 4.3
Unblocked streaming services: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock, Disney Plus
Reasons to buy
+Excellent security and privacy+Plenty of configuration+Tons of servers
Reasons to avoid
-Interface has tendency to overdo things

NordVPN is a close second as the best Android VPN on offer with a fantastic app, but - more importantly - an array of exceptional features with a huge focus on your security. 

New features include the ability to use split tunneling in TV mode on your Android. Split tunneling means separating your connection so your VPN is only running for one task/app. For instance, if you wanted to watch geo-restricted Netflix, but didn't want your VPN running while carrying out Google searches.

One of the most popular Android apps out there, there's a reason NordVPN is one of the most well known VPN providers out there. Its selection of features include CyberSec, which can detect malicious websites and malware, blocking pop-ups and so on to keep your browsing experience safe. 

There is also an auto-connect function, and you'll be able to manually set-up a kill switch in your settings. Simply follow this path: System Settings > NordVPN settings > Enable 'Always on VPN' and 'Block connections without VPN'.

Once again, NordVPN's map interface does let it down. You'll have to zoom in and out to find the server you desire. If you're after a server in Europe, you'll be faced with a lot of unmarked countries. Basically, then, you'll need to know your geography. While there is the option to swipe up for a list version of the servers available, it's certainly not the most practical or time-efficient interface, especially if you want to go from a European server to a US one, where you'll have to zoom out and back in again. That said, its plethora of incredible features and protocols definitely make up for it.

(Image credit: Surfshark)

The cheapest VPN is truly feature-packed

Number of servers: 3,200+
Server locations: 65 countries
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Play Store rating: 4.4
Unblocked streaming services: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock, Disney Plus
Reasons to buy
+Ridiculously cheap +Kill switch support+Lots of servers
Reasons to avoid
-Privacy policy could be clearer

While NordVPN's pricing isn't too bad, ExpressVPN certainly sits on the pricier side when it comes to the best Android VPN. If you're after one of our top three without spending a lot, Surfshark is the answer as one of the most feature-packed yet affordable VPN services out there.

You'd expect a budget-friendly VPN to be quite stripped back, or, at the least, a watered down version of its desktop counterpart. That is the exact opposite with Surfshark, which offers a full-fat experience just like its Windows client, though of course you won't get quite as much as you would from the likes of ExpressVPN. That said, its still got a fabulous selection of interesting features that we're excited about. 

Its latest addition sees GPS Spoofing. This handy feature prevents Android apps from seeing your physical location over your server location. GPS Spoofing should hopefully, then, make accessing geo-restricted content a far smoother experience.

Other features include multi-hop connections, CleanWeb's ad and malware blocking, as well as split tunneling. In terms of protocols, you'll find all the usual culprits like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and ShadowStock's protocol.

Within the app you can choose from multiple encryption methods depending on the tasks you plan to carry out with your VPN, and - if you run into issue with the app - you can easily send bug reports directly within the app.

A ridiculously cheap VPN, Surfshark also unblocks all your favorite streaming services and comes with unlimited connections, meaning you can load this tool on all your devices and share with the family, too.

(Image credit: Future)

Options galore with this Android VPN

Number of servers: 28,000+
Server locations: 77+
Maximum devices supported: 10
Play Store rating: 4.5
Unblocked streaming services: Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus
Reasons to buy
+Open source app allowing for complete transparency+Kill switch+Offers latency figures for each server+Great, clear interface
Reasons to avoid
-No live chat support-Can't unblock iPlayer

It's fair to say a lot of Android users enjoy the complete control and customization they get from their handset. Private Internet Access (PIA) certainly offers that sense of control with in its Android VPN client. For starters, it's an Open Source app, allowing any budding developers out there to take a deep dive into the source code. Even if you're not that way inclined, it definitely offers a sense of transparency you may not get elsewhere, able to take a look at the innards of PIA. 

Better jurisdiction over what you download on your phone can also be utilised by manually setting up PIA onto your Android device with the offered Android APK file.

An incredibly clean and smart interface, users can easily glide through the settings, presented with a very obvious on/off button for connecting to your chosen server upon app launch. 

Pulling up the server list gives you a lot of information, including latency figures for each location so you can find the one most suitable for you and any given task. You can also build a favorites list, able to find preferred servers with ease.

Offering OpenVPN UPD or TCP configuration, as well as the option of local, remote or port forwarding support, you can also utilise a Proxy at the same time with PIA, and benefit from auto-connect when PIA detects unknown or untrustworthy networks.

While there is no live chat support option, PIA is a pretty fleshed out Android companion with 14 Android-specific guides to help you out, on top of nifty features like your handset vibrating to indicate when its connected to a server.

(Image credit: IPVanish)

A highly capable VPN app

Number of servers: 1,600
Server locations: 75+
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Play Store rating: 4.2
Unblocked streaming services: Netflix, Disney Plus
Reasons to buy
+Kill switch incorporated+Great configuration features+Lots of servers
Reasons to avoid
-Interface isn't as intuitive as others-Doesn't unblock Prime Video or iPlayer

IPVanish may be the choice for those who want better control over the configuration of your VPN on your Android device. IPVanish offers the ability to download your VPN with an APK file - certainly a choice for the experts out there. And even if you're not after that extra element, IPVanish has an Android app worth getting excited about for other reasons.

Setting itself apart from its competitors, IPVanish's design is one if you're more visually inclined when it comes to taking in data. Once connected to a server, IPVanish offers a real-time scrolling graph that showcases upload and download data rates, so you can better see what you're up to. Of course, this could pose a bit of a battery drainer, but we'd have to test it out to know for sure. What's more, you're likely to be carrying out other tasks rather than having that at the forefront of your handset the entire time.

Alongside this interesting interface, IPVanish's Android app incorporates its Scramble feature. This helps to avoid websites detect the use of a VPN when you're trying to access geo-restricted content. Other features include a kill switch, split tunneling, and beta support for IKEv2. 

If you're not a fan of other VPN's automatically blocking insecure networks, you may like the fact IPVanish simply offers you a warning with the option to proceed if you wish. 

If you're after more than just the unblocking of Netflix and Disney Plus from your Android VPN, it may be worth looking elsewhere. However, as a very visual-orientated app with some great features, IPVanish is deserving a place in the best Android VPN guide - if only because its app is updated far more regularly than its iOS counterpart.

Best Android VPN

(Image credit: Framesira / Shutterstock.com)

Is VPN safe for Android?

The short answer is yes, of course. If anything, with the help of the best Android VPN, security on your Android handset or tablet will be optimised. This is because VPNs encrypt your information before using one of its many protocols to securely transfer your data from A to B. VPNs also conceal your actual IP address and swap it for another with thousands of servers across many locations around the world. 

Depending on what you're doing, you can even cater these settings including what type of encryption or protocol to use to better suit your activity.

Which VPN is best for Android?

You need look no further. We have crowned ExpressVPN the top choice for Android users due to its clean, intuitive app, array of fantastic, versatile security features, and the fact it can unblock all the top, most popular streaming services with little to no trouble.

Not convinced? Well, ExpressVPN goes above and beyond to reassure any new customers. That's why it offers a risk free trial with its 30-day all your money back guarantee

Which free VPN is best for Android?

If you want the best free VPN available, we've got a buying guide for that. However, it's worth noting the drawbacks of VPN that offers free plans. You will find a lot of its features are restricted to its premium customers. A lot of free VPN providers also come with a limited download allowance per week or month. The choice of servers may also be limited, taking away the choice of some of the better performers in terms of speed.

If money really is an issue, you can always see what the best cheap VPNs are out there, though Surfshark always reigns supreme in that regard, offering premium-level features, as well as unlimited connections and its very own 30-day money back guarantee, so you can give it a try.

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Alice Marshall
Alice Marshall

Alice is the resident eCommerce Staff Writer at Future, with a focus on VPN and streaming services. She oversees all T3 VPN buying guides and deals, as well as how to watch content.