The easiest way to get started with VPNs is by installing a native application/client on your device. As you can see in our overview of the best VPN services, all of those are compatible with the currently popular platforms (including both desktop and mobile). However, the best way to protect your entire household is by using a VPN router. This is how you can take advantage of advanced encryption on all your Web-connected devices, without any limitations. To help you narrow down your options, we are going to list the best VPN routers in 2020, so keep on reading.
Before we proceed, we’d like to recommend two interesting resources. First, you can learn how to choose a VPN router. In other words, learn what kinds of features should be of the utmost importance. Then, take a look at how to install a VPN on a router. And to help you find truly the best VPN routers, we’ll provide handy overviews of each of our pick.
If you want to start with some incredibly solid suggestions, here you’ll find the VPN-capable routers that are the best. These units range from inexpensive and basic to pricey but feature-rich. There’s something for just about anyone here.
Without further ado, here are the 7 best VPN routers in 2020.
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000
- Features: Dual-band setup (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); QoS automated optimization; Powerful 1Ghz dual-core CPU; DDoS; Wide wireless coverage.
- Wireless Protocol: 802.11ac
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 1,900Mbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1 x USB 2.0)
- Dimensions: 11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 in.
We’ll start by saying that Nighthawk R700 is one of the best all-around routers made by NETGEAR. First of all, you should know that the R7000 is a dual-band router, supporting both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks. Thanks to its three antennas, it can cover up to 1,800 square feet – and there are helpful technologies that can further amplify its reach.
Even though this router comes with solid Web UI that lets you do all kinds of optimizations, we recommend installing a custom firmware if you want to run a VPN service. Make sure to read more about DD-WRT firmware, as this is the best way to open up this router to a whole wealth of additional options.
- Pros: Supports DD-WRT; For up to 30 devices; Plenty of highly advanced technologies; Beamforming available.
- Cons: The unit’s fan is noticeable at times.
2. Linksys WRT-AC3200
- Features: Dual-band; 4 external antennas; 1.8Ghz processor; Open-source firmware; Smart Wi-Fi application.
- Wireless Protocol: 802.11ac.
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 3,200Mbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4/2 (1 x USB 3.0); 1 x USB-eSATA).
- Dimensions: 9.7 x 2.0 x 7.6 in.
Even though the design of this router is nothing to brag about, it comes with incredibly powerful specs. Inside, you’ll find a powerful 1.8GHz processor capable of handling numerous connections at once. Setting it up might be a bit technical, but you’ll find useful guides online that make this process as simple as it can be. And since it’s DD-WRT compatible, you can even expand its VPN compatibility and tinker with this unit to get the most out of it. Also, it makes the list of top Linksys routers out there.
What’s worth mentioning is that Linksys has built-in several advanced features into this unit. For example, a feature called Tri-Stream 160 doubles the 5GHz bandwidth, which is how this router is capable of offering download speeds of up to 3.2Gbps. Also, it comes with Dynamic Frequency Selection, which means that it searches for free channels in your surroundings, which ensures incredibly smooth performance. All in all, Linksys’ WRT-AC3200 is a highly valuable product. It’s not the most affordably priced out there, but you’ll get plenty to play with. Therefore, we recommend it to more advanced users who want to take full control over their Web connection.
- Pros: Incredibly powerful; Advanced technology; Great for power users.
- Cons: Not the most attractive design.
3. ASUS RT-AC68U
- Features: 1Ghz dual-core CPU; Dual-band; ASUSWRT Interface; Wide OS support; AiMesh supported; AiProtection by Trend Micro.
- Wireless Protocol: 802.11ac.
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 1,900Mbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 5/2 (1 x USB 3.0; 1 x USB 2.0).
- Dimensions: 6.3 x 3.3 x 8.5 in.
Asus has been a consistent champion of letting users get the full use of their routers. They’ve gone as far as making their own in-house competitor to firmware such as DD-WRT. ASUSWRT is the official ASUS firmware that you can install yourself on any of the compatible routers from the company. Since it is an OEM firmware, that means any router that uses it qualifies to be on this list.
At the center of the AC1900 model is a 1Ghz dual-core CPU that will make mincemeat of just about anything you can throw at this router, including VPN encryption and decryption. There is also a 600Mhz version, but we wouldn’t recommend compromising the base performance of the device. As the name implies, the combined dual-band rate of this router is 1900 Mbps. There are also five gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB ports. Versions 3.0 and 2.0, respectively. Wireless standards AC, B, G, and N are supported. This means that even legacy Wi-Fi devices should play nicely.
Thanks to ASUSWRT, the AC-68U can act as either a VPN server or a client. Most of us are interested in using it as a VPN client, and it does a bang-up job in that regard. This router supports three VPN connection types: PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN. Of the three, only the last two are of any real interest, and you’ll find that most VPN services support either one or the other. If you want to know more about OpenVPN, stop by our OpenVPN guide.
- Pros: Attractive design; Powerful processor; Fast speeds; Two USB ports.
- Cons: Wi-Fi coverage could be better (still good for smaller apartments).
4. TP-Link Archer A7
- Features: Dual-band setup (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); Supports the latest Wi-Fi standard; Three external antennas; Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.
- Wireless Protocol: 802.11ac.
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 1,700Mbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1 x USB 2.0)
- Dimensions: 9.59 x 6.32 x 1.29 in.
Not too long ago, we published a guide to the best TP-Link routers, and the Archer A7 took one of the most prominent positions there. That’s because this is a great all-around model that comes with everything that an average home user might need. However, you’ll also find some high-end features here like an integrated USB port that acts as a media server.
Many TP-Link routers come with a capable Web UI, using which you can set up a custom VPN service. The Archer A7 is not an exception, even though it also offers you a way to install DD-WRT firmware. In case you’d like to tinker with this device, installing DD-WRT is a good way to expand its capabilities.
- Pros: Uses the latest Wi-Fi standard; Speedy performance; Integrated USB port; Works with Amazon Alexa.
- Cons: TP-Link’s Web UI is helpful, but might be limiting for high-end users.
5. D-Link DIR-867
D-Link comes with a wide range of routers, suitable for different needs and budgets. The company’s DIR-867 is an above-average router that’s currently one of the bestselling units made by D-Link. It comes with a powerful dual-core processor, supports MU-MIMO, and automatically optimizes your Web traffic based on which applications you use and on which devices.
When it comes to VPN services, you are free to use whichever one you want. Running a VPN service is an easy task for this router, even without using any custom firmware. However, you are free to install DD-WRT on the DIR-867, if you need more freedom and the ability to fine-tune your Web connection.
- Pros: Dual-band Wi-Fi; Smooth performance; Smart beamforming.
- Cons: D-Link’s Web UI isn’t the most polished out there.
6. GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini Travel Router
- Features: A travel-friendly router; Tethering; 3G/4G connectivity; OpenWRT preinstalled; OpenVPN client and Tor support.
- Wireless Protocol: 802.11b/b/n.
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 300Mbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2/0.
- Dimensions: 2.28 x 2.28 x 2.28 in.
The AR300M may not seem all that impressive at first glance, but the concept behind it is pure genius. This is not a VPN router meant to sit in your home and provide protection to your computers. No, this little guy is meant to join your laptop, smartphone, and tablet on your travels to make sure they all get a piece of that VPN goodness. Whether you want to share a mobile Internet connection or put a safety buffer between you and the hotel Ethernet, the GL-AR300M might be just what the doctor ordered.
This capable VPN router packs a mean punch for its size. It has a 650Mhz CPU and 128MB of RAM. That may seem anemic by home router standards, but this is a tiny plastic box after all. Remember that it’s only meant to handle two or three devices that you have with you on your travels, rather than the dozen or more devices we typically see with home setups. That’s why it also doesn’t really matter that the maximum speed of the network is only 300 Mbps. When you’re on the road and only using a few devices at a time, that’s plenty of bandwidth.
The VPN support of this router is excellent. It runs natively off OpenWRT and is compatible with more than 20 VPN providers out of the box. In general, as long as they can provide ‘OPVPN’ files, your VPN of choice should work. In addition to this, there is also Tor firmware available, which can make the GL-AR300M the best friend, a traveling journalist or government operative could have.
- Pros: Lightweight; Travel-friendly; Easy to set up; Solid speeds; OpenVPN + Tor.
- Cons: Not designed for home use.
7. Roqos Core
The Roqos Core is a bit of an odd beast, to be honest. It’s not one of the mainstream names that we all know. Its design is nothing to write home about since it looks like a modem from the early 2000s. While the Roqos does not have any external antennas, there are no fewer than five internal high-gain units. It has a beefy quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage space. That quad-core is an Intel Atom 1.91GHz unit. The type of CPU is usually used to drive tablets or small laptops. These uncompromising technical specifications power an AC1600 Wi-Fi system that provides a theoretical 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band.
Apart from this, it has four gigabit Ethernet ports, which is pretty much par for the course. There is no WAN port, and you’ll need a broadband modem or Internet-connected router to use the Roqos Core. The Core goes between all your other network devices and the Internet connection device – as you would expect from one of the best VPN routers.
If you make use of the Roqos service for your VPN needs, then you’ll also get access to various anti-malware and antivirus functions. There are also parental control systems. The router uses its powerful hardware to perform a deep inspection of all the information flowing between your devices and the internet. It detects a malware, ransomware, viruses, and even DDOS attacks. All of the software that drives the Roqos Core is open-source, which means we can be pretty sure that there are no hidden backdoors built into it.
- Pros: Very fast speeds; Dual-band; Quad-core CPU; Supports numerous connections.
- Cons: Obsolete design.
Before we conclude this article, we’d like to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. We understand there’s a lot of confusion surrounding VPN routers, so we’ll try to be as clear as possible.
Do All Routers Support VPN?
You can’t install a VPN on just about any router. The most basic ones, like those that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) hand out, won’t do the job. That’s because VPN routers come with capable processors, RAM, and internal storage. You can think of them as small computers capable of supporting VPN connections coming from a number of different devices.
So, there are two ways to set up a VPN on a router. You can buy a router with a built-in VPN functionality. These are very simple to set up and are compatible with a wide range of VPN services and providers. And also, there are more advanced DD-WRT routers.
What Does a VPN Router Do?
Just like standard routers, VPN routers enable you to connect to the Web. However, these are designed to take advantage of VPN services. This means routing your Web traffic through a secure server. As your traffic leaves this server, it gets a new IP address, and it becomes encrypted. Differently said, VPN routers allow you to be fully anonymous online.
How Do I Setup a VPN at Home?
There are two ways to set up a VPN connection at your home. You can subscribe to a VPN service and download its native app for different platforms. That’s how you can install a VPN on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. If you install a VPN on your computer, all outgoing and incoming traffic from that computer will be protected. As you can see, this is done on a per-device basis.
If you don’t want to handle VPNs on each of your devices, a VPN router is another option. Since you’ve protected the ‘core’ of your Web connection, all your traffic coming from and leaving your router will be encrypted. In other words, your entire household is protected this way.
What Are DD-WRT Routers?
Since VPN routers come with powerful specs, some of them can be ‘unlocked’ using DD-WRT. This is a custom firmware that you install on your router, and this is how it gets a completely new Web interface. DD-WRT is known for its stability, amazing performance, and its ability to install custom VPN profiles.
Here’s what you need to know about DD-WRT. Use the provided link to learn the basics of this technology. Then, take a look at our article on the very best DD-WRT routers. If you’re on a strict budget, we have an article on the best DD-WRT routers under $50.
What’s The Best VPN Service in 2020?
Last but not least, you need to select a VPN service to use with your brand new router. This is where TechNadu can be of great help since we’ve tested hundreds of different options. So, if there’s a VPN you’re interested in, we’re sure you can find a detailed review on our website.
A good place to start is our VPN Buyer’s Guide. If you want to go back one step and take a look at the basics, here’s how VPN work. Of course, you’ll find some niche categories as well, depending on your needs. For example, some VPNs keep no logs, or the best VPNs for torrenting, gaming, and streaming.
What’s the Best VPN Router for Home Users?
Depending on your need to experiment with different technologies, and depending on your budget, we have several recommendations. At the moment, the TP-Link Archer A7 brings plenty of value for its price. However, there’s the D-Link DIR-867, which also has its own unique benefits. And if you’re not on a tight budget, you should consider investing in the Linksys WRT-AC3200.
What’s the Best VPN Router for Small Business?
As noted in our article on why small businesses need VPNs, there are many benefits to protecting your office’s Web network. For this purpose, you should carefully consider which router should be your next investment. Our strong recommendations would be the NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000, D-Link DIR-867, or TP-Link’s Archer A7.
Finding routers that ship with an OEM VPN client is much harder than it sounds. The best VPN routers found in this article represent out-of-the-box solutions. Each one is special in its own way, but they are all worth a look before you move on to the world of third-party flashing. Finally, we hope that this list of the best VPN routers managed to help you find the right kind of device.