The best US VPN for use in or outside the USA in 2024

Best US VPN running on a number of devices
(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

The USA subjects its citizens to more government surveillance than almost any other Western democracy, and as such, US VPN services are in incredibly high demand. While even the best VPN can't fix every cybersecurity issue under the sun, they're an essential first step in staying safer and more private online. 

However, the market is flooded with tons of providers claiming to be the best, making it quite difficult to find the best one for your needs. My team of experts and I at Tom’s Guide have reviewed and compared dozens of VPNs to prepare this guide of the top VPNs for the USA.

Read on for my in-depth reviews of the five best US VPNs, where I explore where each service excels and the kind of user they best suit. If you’re in a hurry, though, just take your pick from my top three choices below.

The best US VPNs at a glance

1. ExpressVPN – the best US VPN on the market

1. ExpressVPN – the best US VPN on the market
ExpressVPN is my #1 VPN overall, and is perfect for torrenting, streaming, daily protection and everything in between It's also super simple to set up with tons of customization options for tech-savvy users.

Tom's Guide readers can claim 1 year of unlimited cloud storage and 3 months of extra protection for free on a 12-month subscription. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2.NordVPN – the biggest name is a great US VPN

2. NordVPN – the biggest name is a great US VPN
NordVPN is a great choice if you want a comprehensive security package at a reasonable price. Besides nailing the VPN basics with a no-logs policy, a kill switch, and secure protocols, it offers extras like a built-in antivirus, password manager, and ad & malware blockers.

NordVPN is currently around $3.39 a month, but sign up for higher tiers and you'll get add-ons like a password manager, cloud storage, and even cyber insurance. If it's not for you, just make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Surfshark – great value plus with real power

3. Surfshark – great value plus with real power
Surfshark is the best cheap US VPN I've tested, and it combines excellent performance with almost unbeatable value for money. It's fast, offers unlimited simultaneous connections, and is very secure.

It has servers in more countries than our other top providers, and its intuitive interface makes it a top choice for beginners. You'll also have a 30-day money-back guarantee to make sure it's for you before you commit.

Recent updates

In my most recent update to this page, I checked over all the data to ensure you've got totally up-to-date information to help make the right choice. The VPN landscape is currently fairly stable, though, so the ranking of my chosen providers remains unchanged.

The best US VPNs of 2024

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ExpressVPN: the best US VPN overall

ExpressVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best US VPN on the market

Available on: Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Linux (command-line only), Routers, almost everything else | Average speeds on 1Gbps line: 750 Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 8 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160

Swift US connections
Reliable the world over
Excellent apps for all devices
Stellar support
Slightly more expensive – but worth it
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need class-leading security and privacy: ExpressVPN offers the best security money can buy thanks to regular audits, ad- and malware-blocking, a password manager, and a rock-solid no-logs policy.

✔️ You want a VPN you can set and forget: ExpressVPN's auto-connect feature once activated, ensures that you're protected at all times. 

✔️ You want access everywhere: ExpressVPN has servers in over 160 locations in 94 countries around the world, so there's plenty it can unblock outside the US as well.  

Avoid if:

❌ You're on a budget: ExpressVPN delivers excellent value for its price, but Surfshark, PIA, and even NordVPN are admittedly cheaper. 

❌ You need a Linux app: if you're looking for a VPN with a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux devices, ExpressVPN may not be the right pick for you. 

❌ You want built-in antivirus: ExpressVPN misses out on native antivirus software, which is why it's slightly behind one-stop solutions such as NordVPN when it comes to extras.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN is my #1 VPN overall thanks to user-friendly apps for every platform, great coverage, and excellent security. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Simply put, ExpressVPN is the best US VPN – it provides the whole package. With slick desktop and mobile apps, it's incredibly easy to relocate yourself to the States for a Netflix binge, and if anything goes wrong, there’s great support on hand 24/7 to help you out.

Connection speeds in the US are very good, topping out at around 560Mbps on our 1Gbps line. While it's not as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark, there's really nothing to complain about because in practice you only need 20Mbps to stream 4K Ultra HD or HDR content.

↪ Try ExpressVPN with three months extra free.

On average connections of around 100 Mbps, ExpressVPN will be entirely undetectable, and this performance proves the quality of its worldwide server network. Plus, with 23 US VPN server locations alone, you're likely to find one fairly near your real-life location.

Outside the US, its 3,200+ servers span 160 locations in 94 countries and ensure day-to-day use is as quick as can be. I’ve also had excellent results connecting from the UK to US servers – so you won’t have to worry about dropped or sluggish connections here.

ExpressVPN is one of the best services for streaming content too, and can get you access to Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Peacock, and more. Whatever you’re into, wherever you are, Express can get you through the door.

The streaming-focused MediaStreamer tool allows unblocking on devices that don't support true VPN connections, such as smart TVs and gaming consoles. ExpressVPN has easy-to-use apps for just about every device, from Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS to routers, Chromebooks, Amazon Kindle, and more.

The security suite is excellent, with RAM-only servers, an independently audited no-logs policy, and a proprietary Lightway protocol that's faster and more reliable than other protocols. An intuitive kill switch and an auto-connect feature that asks you to connect to the VPN just once and stay protected at all times are the cherry on top. 

It's worth noting, though, that ExpressVPN is really only a VPN. Other providers like NordVPN offer extras like antivirus, and this may add value for some. However, if you just want the best US VPN, ExpressVPN still trumps the lot.

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ExpressVPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignA simple and clean design, with no unnecessary clutter ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useIdeal for beginners and experts both, as it's easy to use and at the same time comes with lots of configuration⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFast enough for just about everything you need it for⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingBarring a couple of Netflix locations, it's smooth sailing with everything else⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyVery trustworthy, with solid protocols and security features ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 customer support with no shortage of helpful guides⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceIt's pricier than others on my list, but it's worth every penny ⭐⭐⭐

NordVPN: the fastest US VPN

NordVPN on a range of devices

2. NordVPN

Big name is great in the States

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Average speeds on 1Gbps line: 820Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 6 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Number of servers: 5,500 | Server locations: 80+

Near-perfect streaming capabilities
Excellent US speeds
Security-focused experience
App layout can be awkward
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN for streaming: NordVPN unblocked every streaming platform in my last round of testing, and you'll be able to watch your favorite movies and TV shows from back home, no matter where you are.

✔️ You're a privacy purist: in addition to a built-in antivirus solution, NordVPN is great on the security front thanks to features such as Double VPN and Onion over VPN.

✔️ You need a good all-rounder: NordVPN is a complete package and hardly misses a beat, with decent speeds, wide coverage, excellent security, and 24/7 support at a competitive price point. 

Avoid if:

❌ You want to protect a lot of devices: NordVPN's 6 simultaneous connections are some of the lowest I've seen, and it's no match to rivals Surfshark and PIA, which both offer unlimited simultaneous connections.

❌ You want to access content everywhere: although brilliant in the US, NordVPN has fewer server locations globally.

❌ You mostly use VPN on your phone: NordVPN's iOS and Android apps are loaded with features but they're less intuitive and trickier to use than its desktop version. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

NordVPN is unbeatable for Netflix, and also offers excellent privacy. Overall it's ideal for those looking for a well-rounded pick with plenty of security add-ons, great speeds, simple apps, and value for money. Check it out risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

As one of the best-known services around, NordVPN is a great choice if you’re looking for a US VPN. With tons of servers and server locations, I found in my NordVPN review that it delivered incredible speeds not only in the US but the world over.

Nord is an excellent streaming VPN – including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube – which for many will be its greatest selling point. There's no beating Nord as far as Netflix unblocking is concerned – it will get you into tons of global libraries, including the US, UK, Canada, and even more obscure locations like Japan.

↪ Try NordVPN and get a full security suite.

There's a nifty SmartPlay feature that combines smart DNS with your base VPN connection to give you a faster and smoother streaming experience.

However, that’s not its only strength. Nord incorporates some excellent security-focused features like AES-256 encryption and class-leading DNS protection, plus two implementations of a kill switch, Double VPN and Onion over VPN.

Double VPN encrypts your data twice by routing your internet through two VPN servers as opposed to the standard one. Onion over VPN is a special set of NordVPN servers that give you access to the privacy-friendly Tor network without actually having to download the Tor browser on your device. 

Its no-logs policy is independently audited by the very trustworthy PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the company encourages its users to report a bug or security trouble, all of which increase confidence in its safety and reliability. 

Good performance is a top priority for a US VPN, and Nord delivers very well. On our 1 Gbps US test line, Nord reliably delivered speeds of over 950 Mbps, making it the fastest VPN I've ever reviewed. On a faster line, I'd expect to see even higher speeds.

While you can use your NordVPN subscription on up to 6 devices at the same time, its new Meshnet feature allows you to link up to 60 devices at the same time by creating a private network in your home. This is tailor-made for activities that require greater speed, security, and low latency, such as real-time work collaborations, file sharing, and multiplayer gaming. 

Overall, NordVPN presents a compelling choice at a reasonable price point, with great security features and add-ons like an in-built antivirus, password manager, and data breach scanner. However, while the mobile apps are perfectly usable, the map-style UI can be awkward at times and spoils the experience a little. If you can get over that, though, NordVPN is a real joy to use. 

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NordVPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignInteractive and overall very fun, but can be a little overwhelming for some users⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useDespite the map-style interface that's a little tricky, it's very easy to use ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest I've tested⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnmatched Netflix unblocking, and equally fantastic with other streaming sites⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyScores full marks for security and privacy thanks to add-ons like a built-in antivirus and password manager ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportFriendly 24/7 support with tons of resources on the website⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceExcellent value for money but cheaper options for available ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Surfshark: the best-value US VPN

Surfshark on a range of devices

3. Surfshark

Cheap, simple and perfect for streaming

Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (GUI) | Average speeds on 1Gbps line: 950Mbps | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+

Incredible value
Clean apps and clients
Unblocks everything you could want
Quite simple - but that may appeal to many
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a lightning-fast VPN: Surfshark is one of the fastest providers I've tested, with peak speeds of over 950Mbps. 

✔️ You want a VPN you can share with lots of people: Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning you can protect as many devices as you want with just one subscription. 

✔️ You want a cost-efficient VPN: it doesn't get better than Surfshark if you're pinching for pennies and would like a premium VPN with a cheap price tag.  

Avoid if:

❌ You want a best-in-class kill switch: when subjected to my extreme tests, the kill switch failed. Although it's very unlikely to happen in real life, it's still not on par with Nord or Express's kill switch.

❌ You want to play around with the settings: Surfshark may be too simple for people who want tons of configuration, and tech-savvy users will find PIA more tempting.

❌ You're a big torrenter: although Surfshark supports torrenting, the performance is nowhere near the likes of our other top providers such as ExpressVPN. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Surfshark offers blazing speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections for a fraction of the price of other VPNs, making it our top choice for affordability. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.  

With really solid performance at a fraction of the price of premium VPNs, in my Surfshark review, the provider shone through with its unlimited simultaneous connections, class-leading speeds, and an overall very satisfactory security package.

Its apps are well thought out, making it easy to access any server – and its great unblocking power means it’s a top-quality VPN for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer, Peacock, and YouTube. I even tested it with UK and Australian streaming services, such as 9Now, All4, and 10Play, and it passed with flying colors.

↪ Try Surfshark on unlimited devices.

The provider is present in a staggering 100+ countries – much more than rivals Nord and Express – and although its server count as a whole is quite less than NordVPN, it has 600+ servers in 25 US cities, meaning you will always find a non-congested server for a worry-free experience. 

With AES 256-bit encryption, secure protocols, and a verified no-logs policy, the basics are nailed. There's also a unique NoBorders mode that turns on automatically when your Surfshark app senses any sort of restrictions on your present connection. The NoBorders mode will then present you with a list of all the servers capable of bypassing the restrictions you're facing – you can choose any one of them and enjoy unrivaled safety at all times. 

Surfshark offers blazing speeds and is seriously swift – topping out at 950 Mbps is an incredible feat, and while most users won't feel the benefit due to having lower base speeds, for those that do have access to uncontested lines, it'll be a pleasure to use. 

The kill switch threw up minor leaking issues when I tested it under very trying conditions, but you're unlikely to encounter such scenarios in real life, so there's nothing to worry about. 

Unlike the top two providers, Surfshark comes with a genuine VPN free trial of 7 days. It's worth noting that you can benefit from the free trial as long as you're an Android, iOS, or Mac user – the free trial is not made available on Windows. But there's a 30-day money-back guarantee for everyone, so you can still try the service risk-free and get a full refund if it's not cut out for you. 

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Surfshark test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignBeginners will love its simple and clutter-free design⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useEvery option is easily found and understood ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFastest provider I've ever tested ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingAccess to your favorite content from around the world⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyRobust security features, but the kill switch could use some improvements⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 customer support and detailed guides for everything ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceAmong the cheapest around, tremendous value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐