Android OS doesn’t just run in Android phones and tablets. It also functions inside newer Chromebooks, and now also — improbably, but in a fully-supported way — Windows 11 devices, and even Intel-based Windows 11 computers.

Because Android functions in a variety of devices, Android VPN implementations are particularly interesting. If you want to run a top VPN on your Chromebook, your best bet is to install an Android VPN client to do the heavy lifting. ZDNET experts discuss that in-depth in our Guide to the Best VPN for Chrome and Chromebooks 2022.

But because Android OS has a more open environment, many versions aren’t regularly updated. Malware is also prevalent, but VPN malware scanners can help. 

In this overview, we look at four of the most popular Android VPNs. Here’s what we think:

pros

  • Solid speed and performance
  • Extensive server network
  • Easy-to-use app
cons

  • Only six simultaneous connections

NordVPN Android specifications

  • Google Play Store rating: 4.5 average, 616k reviews
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Native app support: Android 6 or higher
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Countries: 59
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Also: How to set up and use NordVPN

With more than 600,000 reviews, NordVPN is one of the most popular consumer VPNs in the Google Play Store. But that’s not why we think it’s the best VPN for Android. Its useful features and rock-solid performance carried it across the finish line.

Also: Our NordVPN review

NordVPN supports peer-to-peer file sharing, streaming, and a number of other platforms outside of Android. Its Onion over VPN feature removes the need for a separate Tor browser. Plus, the brand’s Double VPN sends your data through two servers instead of one, encrypting your information twice. There are also add-ons available for an extra fee, including a dedicated IP address, password manager, and encrypted cloud storage.

In our speed tests, NordVPN only reduced download speeds by an average of 28%. It also connected quickly and reliably to all the servers we tested. But if you’re still not 100% sold on choosing NordVPN, you can try it out with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

pretty rough business news, but we’ve chosen to keep ExpressVPN on this list. After all, ExpressVPN has a clear and easily accessible privacy policy. It doesn’t log browsing history or traffic, but it does log the dates you connect to the service, how much data is transferred, and the location of the VPN.  

Also: Our ExpressVPN review

In addition to supporting Android 5 and above, ExpressVPN works with a variety of platforms and browser extensions. So you should be able to use its app regardless of what devices you own.

Also: How does ExpressVPN work? Plus, how to set it up and use it

ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries that are spread across 160 locations, so you can easily find a server to connect to wherever you are. Using OpenVPN protocol vs. a direct connection, our sister site CNET found that ExpressVPN reduced speeds by less than 2%.

Exclusive offer: Get 3 extra months free

Keep reading: Trust, but verify: An in-depth analysis of ExpressVPN’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

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ExpressVPN Android specifications

  • Google Play Store rating: 4.3 average, 279k reviews
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Native app support: Android 5 or higher
  • Logging: No browsing logs, some connection logs
  • Countries: 94
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

ExpressVPN was in the headlines last year with some pretty rough business news, but we’ve chosen to keep ExpressVPN on this list. After all, ExpressVPN has a clear and easily accessible privacy policy. It doesn’t log browsing history or traffic, but it does log the dates you connect to the service, how much data is transferred, and the location of the VPN.  

Also: Our ExpressVPN review

In addition to supporting Android 5 and above, ExpressVPN works with a variety of platforms and browser extensions. So you should be able to use its app regardless of what devices you own.

Also: How does ExpressVPN work? Plus, how to set it up and use it

ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries that are spread across 160 locations, so you can easily find a server to connect to wherever you are. Using OpenVPN protocol vs. a direct connection, our sister site CNET found that ExpressVPN reduced speeds by less than 2%.

Exclusive offer: Get 3 extra months free

Keep reading: Trust, but verify: An in-depth analysis of ExpressVPN’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

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pros

  • Speedy connections
  • Works on Android 5 and up
  • Transparent privacy policy
cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • Only five simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN Android specifications

  • Google Play Store rating: 4.3 average, 279k reviews
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Native app support: Android 5 or higher
  • Logging: No browsing logs, some connection logs
  • Countries: 94
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

ExpressVPN was in the headlines last year with some pretty rough business news, but we’ve chosen to keep ExpressVPN on this list. After all, ExpressVPN has a clear and easily accessible privacy policy. It doesn’t log browsing history or traffic, but it does log the dates you connect to the service, how much data is transferred, and the location of the VPN.  

Also: Our ExpressVPN review

In addition to supporting Android 5 and above, ExpressVPN works with a variety of platforms and browser extensions. So you should be able to use its app regardless of what devices you own.

Also: How does ExpressVPN work? Plus, how to set it up and use it

ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries that are spread across 160 locations, so you can easily find a server to connect to wherever you are. Using OpenVPN protocol vs. a direct connection, our sister site CNET found that ExpressVPN reduced speeds by less than 2%.

Exclusive offer: Get 3 extra months free

Keep reading: Trust, but verify: An in-depth analysis of ExpressVPN’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

pros

  • Unlimited connections
  • Ultra-fast connection speed
  • Flexible with a wide range of protocols
cons

  • No two-year plan, price increases after one year
  • Doesn’t hide VPN connection

IPVanish VPN Android specifications

  • Google Play Store rating: 4.6 average, 36k reviews
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Native app support: Android 5.1 and up
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Locations: 75
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

IPVanish seems to sell itself as a click-and-go service, but it’s much more than a generic VPN service. When it comes to performance, IPVanish excels with connection speed and solid transfers. 

Although IPVanish is secure, it doesn’t hide your VPN connection. It works well for home connections — as long as you’re not trying to hide the fact that you’re on a VPN. 

Also: Our IPVanish review

IPVanish also features a number of protocols and server options, and the UI has solid performance graphics. Plus there are extensive options for configuring the app itself. Overall, IPVanish delivers a solid user experience and high-ranking VPN service compared to other options out on the market.

ZDNET’s link. This deal lowers your average monthly cost down to $2.21 ($59.76 upfront); not bad for a VPN with unlimited connections. It also offers browser plugins designed specifically to combat WebRTC leaks. These browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

In our Surfshark review, we found that Surfshark’s speed performance was on par with NordVPN, reducing our download speed by roughly 28%. However, anecdotally, connection times were slightly slower than with other VPNs. 

It also has what it calls MultiHop, which is a double VPN feature that creates a more secure connection by routing you through two VPNs. Additional complimentary tools include ad-blocking, anti-tracking, and split tunneling (Bypasser). For an extra fee, you can access a non-logging search engine, anti-virus software, and a data breach scanner.

Exclusive offer: Get 3 free months

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Surfshark VPN Android specifications

  • Google Play Store rating: 4.3 average, 59k reviews
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Native app support: Android 5 or higher
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 day

You can pick up a two-year Surfshark VPN subscription with an exclusive offer for three free months through ZDNET’s link. This deal lowers your average monthly cost down to $2.21 ($59.76 upfront); not bad for a VPN with unlimited connections. It also offers browser plugins designed specifically to combat WebRTC leaks. These browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

In our Surfshark review, we found that Surfshark’s speed performance was on par with NordVPN, reducing our download speed by roughly 28%. However, anecdotally, connection times were slightly slower than with other VPNs. 

It also has what it calls MultiHop, which is a double VPN feature that creates a more secure connection by routing you through two VPNs. Additional complimentary tools include ad-blocking, anti-tracking, and split tunneling (Bypasser). For an extra fee, you can access a non-logging search engine, anti-virus software, and a data breach scanner.

Exclusive offer: Get 3 free months

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pros

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Variety of useful features
cons

  • Occasionally slower connection times

Surfshark VPN Android specifications

  • Google Play Store rating: 4.3 average, 59k reviews
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Native app support: Android 5 or higher
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 day

You can pick up a two-year Surfshark VPN subscription with an exclusive offer for three free months through ZDNET’s link. This deal lowers your average monthly cost down to $2.21 ($59.76 upfront); not bad for a VPN with unlimited connections. It also offers browser plugins designed specifically to combat WebRTC leaks. These browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

In our Surfshark review, we found that Surfshark’s speed performance was on par with NordVPN, reducing our download speed by roughly 28%. However, anecdotally, connection times were slightly slower than with other VPNs. 

It also has what it calls MultiHop, which is a double VPN feature that creates a more secure connection by routing you through two VPNs. Additional complimentary tools include ad-blocking, anti-tracking, and split tunneling (Bypasser). For an extra fee, you can access a non-logging search engine, anti-virus software, and a data breach scanner.

Exclusive offer: Get 3 free months

NordVPN is ZDNET’s top pick. It offers capabilities beyond basic VPN. Overall, it’s a solid choice, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s worth a try.

VPN for Android Price Google Play Store rating Countries Android OS compatibility
ExpressVPN $6.67/mo w/1-year plan w/3 free months 4.3 94 Android 5 or higher
Surfshark VPN $2.21/mo w/2-year plan w/3 free months 4.3 65+ Android 5 or higher
NordVPN $3.69/mo w/2-year plan w/3 free months 4.5 59 Android 6 or higher
IPVanish $3.99/mo w/1-year plan 4.6 50 Android 5.1 or higher

When you’re deciding which VPN service is the right one for you, personal preference can be just as important as objective performance. Since these VPNs have 30-day money-back guarantees, your best bet is to try one out and see if you like it.

Choose this Android VPN… If you want…
NordVPN A do-it-all VPN
ExpressVPN Speed
Surfshark To pay less
IPVanish A plug-n-play service