Now more than ever before, home and office Wi-Fi security is becoming a necessity. What you can do is to protect all your devices connected to the internet using a VPN router.
What is a VPN Router for Your Home Network?
Most people have heard about VPNs and how they mask your IP and create a secure connection when browsing so others cannot spy on your activities. Apps that work as a VPN are great. However, they don’t protect all your other internet-connected devices. That’s where a VPN router comes in.
A typical network router handles all the traffic in and out of your home network assigning IP addresses to each device and controlling access. A VPN router does the same thing, but it does it using an always-encrypted signal keeping all your connected devices (IoT, smart TV, Alexa devices, etc.) safe and secure.
How to Choose a VPN Router
You may have a trusted list of criteria for a standard network router, but when considering a VPN router, you will want to take into consideration a few extra items.
First, you will want to make sure the router you choose is known for guaranteed privacy. Speed and reliability are also going to be critical, especially if you have a lot of devices connected at once. When choosing the best VPN router for you and your family, make sure you have a decent choice of VPN locations (servers) because the network of IPs is essential here.
You don’t want to get bogged down because too many of their customers are using the same location at the same time. Make sure the company has a “no logging” policy and absolutely never tracks your online activities.
It’s also important to choose one where you can select the VPN you want rather than be limited to a single built-in choice. Lastly, you will want to ensure that the new router will be compatible with your ISP.
Check out buyer reviews and read professional recommendations when making your decision on which to buy.
- Netgear R6700 DD-WRT
- Netgear R7000
- Linksys WRT3200ACM
- Asus RT-AC5300 Router
- Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router
- D-link DIR-885L/R Router
- Netgear Nighthawk X4S VDSL/ADSL Modem Router D7800
- TP-Link Archer A7
- Synology RT2600AC
Recommended VPN Routers
Here is our list of the best VPN routers for 2021 so you can make an informed decision.
The Netgear R6700 - AC1750 is a popular VPN router with all the features you want, but it won’t break the bank. You can pick it up on Amazon for about $150, and it combines excellent speed with custom firmware that you can flash to upgrade.
The router uses the ExpressVPN service, and it is quick and easy to set up and configure. With speeds of up to 1750Mbps, it is powerful enough to support your entire house of smart products, fast downloads, and 4K streaming.
The seamless encryption/decryption will keep everything on your home network safe and secure. More than 65k people rated it with 4.5 stars on Amazon. Although we don’t like being limited to only ExpressVPN, this is an excellent option.
- 3 external antennas for extra wide coverage.
- Dual-core processor.
- Built-in privacy app for easy VPN connectivity.
- Coverage is up to 1.5k square feet.
- Supports only 25 devices.
- Some users complain about the custom firmware not being flexible.
The Netgear R7000 is an upgrade to the 6700 and is quite a bit faster, but it also pricier. It comes with 128MB of RAM, 1GHZ dual-core processor and provides speeds up to 1900Mbps. Comparable to the R6700, the R7000 offers the same features with a bit more speed for more money.
This is a better option for users who want to squeak every bit of speed out of their router or if they have multiple devices using the internet at once. Other less power-oriented users should stick with the R6700. This model also sports three antennas for wide whole-house coverage, and it comes with the same custom firmware and built-in VPN encryption.
- Speeds of up to 1900Mbps.
- 3 antennas for whole-house coverage.
- Dual-core processor.
- Built-in parental controls.
- Covers 1800 sq. ft.
- More expensive than the R6700 model.
- Only upgrade is slightly more speed.
Reputable tech firms call the Linksys WRT3200ACM one of the best VPN routers to buy. The router comes with four external antennas and three bands, resulting in a powerhouse of connectivity. The open-source firmware allows you to install DD-WRT add-ons to support the VPN of your choice.
The model also sports four Gigabit ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 for extensibility. Even without the VPN capabilities, this is an excellent router for a small office or home use. The cost of this router is around $210. The WRT3200ACM is blazingly fast, boasting of 3200 Mbps. You will love the option of using either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels. We think this one is an excellent alternative to the Netgear options.
- Open-source firmware for VPN.
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- USB 3.0 support.
- 1.8 GHz dual-core processor.
- 3200 Mbps.
- 512 MB RAM.
- Some users have complained about spotty coverage.
The Asus RT-AC5300 router looks like something that was yanked out of a spaceship. It has nine external antennas for exceptional coverage and is, without a doubt, a top contender in this race.
If you think it looks like a gaming computer, you are not far off. The RT-AC5300 is geared towards high-powered gamers with impressive speed and reliability, in a word, it delivers. Although it is more expensive than some others (you can get it for around $250) it might be worth it.
This router is designed to prevent any lag for gamers, and the nine antennas can be positioned any way you want for full Wi-Fi coverage. The design is a bit harsh and may not be for everyone. But if you are looking for power and speed, this is the one.
- High-powered and speedy.
- Great Wi-Fi coverage.
- Excellent for gamers.
- Extra features like MU-MIMO support, Link Aggregation, and traffic analyzer.
- Has only 1 USB 3.0 port.
- Spider-like design not for everyone.
If gaming is your thing, you are going to want to check out the Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router. It’s basically a repacked version of the WRT3200 for gaming with a very fast processor (1.8GHZ Dual-Core CPU), and you get the same screaming 3200 Mbps speed in an understated design.
The unit has four antennas for great Wi-Fi coverage, and you can easily customize the firmware to use the VPN of your choice. If you want gaming performance out of your VPN router, you will have to pay for it. This baby costs $200.
- Customizable firmware with easy upgrades.
- Excellent Wi-Fi speeds.
- Best for gaming.
- Very expensive for what you get.
D-Link’s contribution to VPN routers is no slouch. The D-Link DIR-885L/R router is a perfect all-around combination for anyone looking for speed, performance, and excellent Wi-Fi capabilities. Performance comes at a price, and this one costs around $200.
Reviewers and users love the easy-to-use interface when setting up and configuring the options. It supports DD-WRT so that you can install any VPN you like making it powerful and flexible. If you need a lot of various ports, this router fits the bill with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 3.0. However, the red spaceship design may turn some people off.
- DD-WRT open-source firmware support.
- Great features like Advanced Wireless AC beamforming and SmartConnect.
- Lots of ports for peripherals.
- Powerful, fast, and flexible.
- On the expensive side.
- Design looks like a spaceship.
If you are looking for a VPN router and modem all in one, check out the Netgear Nighthawk X4S VDSL/ADSL modem router model D7800. It’s loaded with features including 4x4 wireless speeds, an eSATA connection, five ethernet ports, and built-in modem capabilities.
Although this one is a looker and has many features that most users will find useful, there are other options that might be a better balance between cost vs. performance. If you want to go this route, you can pick this one up for around $180.
- Speeds of up to 1733 Mbps.
- 4 external antennas.
- Attractive design.
- 2 USB 3.0 ports.
- VDSL 2 modem built in.
- Excellent software.
- Does not include 1024-QAM.
- May require additional hardware for better speed.
Another possible option in our lineup for those who are budget conscious is the TP-Link Archer A7. The C7 and A7 are essentially the same, except with the A7, you can control some of the router’s features using an Alexa device.
You will see speeds of up to 1300 Mbps and pretty decent performance at 5GHz, but customers complain that performance starts to suffer at 2.4GHz. This one has three antennas and 4 LAN ports, along with 1 USB 3.0 port. The router is pretty affordable at only $57 on Amazon.
- Speeds of up to 1300 Mbps.
- Good performance at 5GHz.
- Coverage up to 2,500 sq. ft.
- Connect up to 50 devices.
- Parental and network controls.
- No MU-MIMO.
- Performance issues at 2.4GHz.
At roughly $230, the Synology RT2600AC may not be the cheapest VPN router out there, but it’s one of the best for tech-savvy consumers. Packed with advanced features and screaming Wi-Fi speeds, this one will blow you away. As an added bonus, it works as an extra network storage server (NAS) by plugging in your external drive and installing the package.
The router even comes with its own app store with plugins to add additional features. We think this one is one of the best VPN routers you can buy. If you aren’t scared off by the price, go for it.
- MU-MIMO to increase bandwidth efficiency.
- Excellent documentation.
- Dedicated app store with safe plugins to enhance functionality.
- Desktop interface that’s easy to use.
- Speedy and flexible.
- Very pricey.
Vilfo is the new kid on the block when it comes to VPN routers, and this one is a beauty. Not only does it give you everything you could possibly want, but it comes with the heftiest price tag.
Not everyone will want to pay $379 for a VPN router, no matter how good it is. Initial reviews rate it relatively high with excellent performance, plenty of add-on ports, and you can use it with the VPN of your choice. However, a common theme is that the Wi-Fi performance is not as stellar as the company lets on.
The good news is the router provides super-fast speeds even encrypted; it offers split-tunneling and a fantastic interface. The hardware is top quality, and you can’t go wrong with advanced network control features. The company is out of Sweden, and whether or not you want to pay almost $400 for a router will depend on your needs and budget.
- Full network control.
- Hacker blockers.
- Use any VPN.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Force VPN, so nothing gets in.
- Very expensive.
- Live chat is not always online.
How to Protect Your Home Wi-Fi with a VPN Router
It’s not enough that the hackers and cybercriminals are spying on your every move, but rumors have it that the government and your ISP are also collecting data about your online activities, what you purchase, and where you go.
Marketing companies use tracking cookies to observe your online behavior so that they can send you ads tailored just for you and your preferences. All this tracking makes some people nervous. If you don’t like anyone intruding and want to preserve your privacy, invest in a good router with a VPN that encrypts all traffic, including your home Wi-Fi.
To set up a VPN on your router, you may have to take a few extra steps when installing it, but it will be worth it in the end.
Why You May Need One at Home - 5 Good Reasons to Get a VPN Router
You might ask yourself, why do I need a VPN on my router? There are many good reasons. The first is that anyone who tries to steal your data cannot. Everything is encrypted through the VPN connection, making it unusable to identity thieves and hackers.
Additionally, all your Wi-Fi connected devices, including cell phones, tablets, smart TVs, printers, speakers, cell phones, tablets, and appliances, are protected as well. If you have guests over that borrow your Wi-Fi, they too will be protected. Most VPN routers allow unlimited connections extending that privacy and security to every device in your household.
If you live in an area that blocks certain content (like Netflix), a VPN router will allow you to access content from anywhere because your IP is masked and rerouted to another location.
If you value privacy and want to ensure no one can view your online activities or track your purchases, then a router VPN is for you.
Some users may also benefit from increased network speeds if their ISP limits them.
Are There Any Limitations of VPN Routers?
When thinking about switching to a router with built-in VPN capabilities, you should know that there are a few negatives.
The first is that they tend to be more expensive than standard routers.
Second, you could see a drop in performance or slower speeds than you are used to. Some of these routers can be less flexible when you want to switch locations.
Frequently Asked Questions About VPN Routers
These are a few of the most frequently asked questions about VPN routers.
Can you put a VPN on a router?
In some cases, you can flash the firmware and add VPN services to your router. However, it highly depends on the make, model, and firmware version. Check with your router vendor to make sure. Many of the top brands above allow you to install any VPN you want through the firmware.
What routers have a built-in VPN?
All the routers listed above come with VPN capabilities. However, some restrict you to a specific VPN, and others may allow you to choose and install the add-on of your choice. Be sure to check before buying. You may also have the option of flashing the firmware in your existing router and adding a VPN.
Do I need a VPN service if I have a VPN router?
Yes. You will need a VPN service that works with your router. Some allow you to download apps for specific VPNs, and others direct you to use services such as OpenVPN.