The Best VPNs for HBO Max Analyzed
Since 2016, we’ve run over 10,000 streaming tests with 56 VPNs to find the most effective at unblocking HBO Max.
From 34 VPN services that currently work with HBO Max, only five VPNs (three premium, two free) truly stood out in our tests.
1. ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for HBO Max
ExpressVPN Test Ratings
Overall HBO Max Rating: 9.6/10
Unblocks HBO Max: 9.9/10
Long-distance Speeds: 9.5/10
No. of US Servers: 9.6/10
Fire TV Stick: 8.9/10
Smart DNS: 9.6/10
ExpressVPN is the outright best VPN for HBO Max. It consistently unlocked HBO on all its US servers in our latest tests.
Not only is ExpressVPN very fast, it’s also compatible with an extensive range of streaming devices.
You can use ExpressVPN with Apple TV and it also offers a user-friendly Firestick App to stream HBO Max on your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
In fact, ExpressVPN is our top recommendation for most streaming services, and is currently the best Netflix VPN too.
There’s also an easy-to-use Smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer. This lets you stream HBO Max on devices that don’t support native VPN apps such as Apple TV, Roku, and games consoles.
As international streaming speeds go, ExpressVPN delivers outstanding speed performances. We recorded a download speed loss of just 17% connecting from the UK to the East Coast.
These fast international connections mean we’ve never had buffering issues streaming HBO Max content using ExpressVPN.
Moreover, ExpressVPN has exceptional customer support and the apps are some of the best when it comes to usability and design.
While ExpressVPN is the most expensive VPN we recommend for HBO Max, it’s also the most reliable. NordVPN is cheaper on the initial two-year plan, however it renews at a similar price to ExpressVPN.
2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for HBO Max
NordVPN Test Ratings
Overall HBO Max Rating: 9.5/10
Unblocks HBO Max: 9.8/10
Long-distance Speeds: 9.6/10
No. of US Servers: 9.4/10
Fire TV Stick: 8.5/10
Smart DNS: 9.2/10
NordVPN falls behind ExpressVPN in several of our key HBO Max testing categories, but only very slightly.
Despite the marginally weaker performance, we happily recommend NordVPN if ExpressVPN is too expensive for you.
NordVPN unblocks HBO Max on almost all its 16 US server locations. However, the easiest way is to use its automatic US server selection.
Also, the service’s simple Fire TV Stick app and Smart DNS tool have rarely failed to unblock HBO Max in our testing. ExpressVPN has never failed, though.
NordVPN is faster than ExpressVPN on long-distance speeds, and it matches ExpressVPN in terms of US server locations.
Overall, NordVPN is a very good alternative to ExpressVPN, especially because of its cheaper monthly price.
Compared to ExpressVPN’s $6.67 per month, NordVPN only costs $3.29 – more than 50% cheaper. However, NordVPN will renew at a much higher subscription price.
3. Surfshark VPN: Best Cheap VPN for HBO Max
Surfshark Test Ratings
Overall HBO Max Rating: 9.3/10
Unblocks HBO Max: 9.4/10
Long-distance Speeds: 9.4/10
No. of US Servers: 9.8/10
Fire TV Stick: 8.8/10
Smart DNS: 8.5/10
Surfshark works with HBO Max on many of its 25 US server locations, but not all of them. For this reason it’s not as good as ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
Finding a Surfshark VPN server that works is somewhat of a guessing game. Thankfully, the default US connection currently works.
To specifically watch HBO Max on Fire TV Stick, Surfshark proved to be the best option during our testing.
Its Fire TV stick app has advanced features like a kill switch and a split tunneling tool. The Smart DNS is easy to set up too.
Surfshark isn’t as fast or reliable as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, but it is cheaper. It’s also the best VPN for Disney+.
The VPN service only costs $1.99 per month, with little compromise on quality.
The Best Free VPNs for HBO Max
Windscribe VPN is more reliable than PrivadoVPN, but the latter delivered much faster streaming speeds in our tests.
The problem with both free VPNs is that they only offer 10GB of free data each month. This limits how much you can realistically stream.
You’ll have to upgrade to the premium version, or choose a different VPN, if you want to unblock HBO Max.
We don’t recommend any other free VPNs for HBO Max. The vast majority don’t work, and some are even dangerous to use.