A VPN router is a great option to cloak all of your devices connected to the WiFi.
Whether for a family home or for a business, it ensures that all of the connected devices are automatically private.
In this guide we’ll cover in-depth how they can help and the best VPN routers that money can buy.
What is a VPN Router?
A VPN Router is a generic term used for a router that has VPN client capabilities. Running a VPN client on your router has many benefits.
For example, all of your data will be automatically protected so you won’t have to set up a VPN on each of your devices individually. Of course, this only applies while your devices are connected to your WiFi. Once you connect to another network you will need to set up a VPN on your device.
Additionally, a VPN is extremely on your CPU. By running it on your router you can save battery and processor life of your devices. This is important for mobiles, and tablets especially.
Lastly, if you like to stream Netflix or Hulu from a different region, then connecting a router to this region will ensure fast and uninterrupted streaming.
Importance of CPU and RAM
A VPN connection is extremely cryptography heavy. This means that it requires a lot of computing power. Therefore, if you want to maintain your internet speeds, then you will need to find a VPN with a fast CPU. The fastest CPU router you can afford really.
Unfortunately, no matter how fast your internet connection, if you’re router can’t support the encryption then it could be throttled to 20 or even 10Mbps.
Another way of improving your internet speed is by using a flashed router running DD-WRT or Tomato. Using a flashed router can provide 10-20% speed improvements and sometimes even more. This is because they are optimized for these kinds of tasks.
However, they are harder to use then day-to-day router firmware so if you’re not techy we’d recommend staying to the stock router firmware.
It is, however, possible to purchase pre-flashed routers from a company called Flashrouters. For reference and help, we’ve included purchase options from both Amazon and Flashrouters.
The Best VPN Routers
Here’s a brief glance at the best VPN routers available.
- Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router
- Asus RT-AC5300
- Asus RT-AC86U router
- Netgear R6700
- Netgear Nighthawk X6S
- Synology RT2600AC
- D-link DIR-885L
1. Linksys WRT3200ACM
- Wireless Speed: 2.4 GHz: 600 Mbps, 5 GHz: 2600 Mbps
- RAM: 512MB
- CPU: 1.8GHz Dual-core
- Price: $219.99 Stock or $229.99 Preflashed
Linksys made a big name for itself with the WRT54, and in-fact that router inspired router hacking and router firmware. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it’s predecessor the WRT3200ACM is voted one of the best routers by all review sites. While it’s not the cheapest on this list, it’s great value for money and will serve you for years to come.
The WRT3200 looks great visually and comes equipped with 4 antennas, 4 LAN ports, 1 USB port and 1 eSata port so you’ll be able to connect all your devices with ease. Its 2.4GHz band is somewhat slow, but with most devices using 5GHz these days, this won’t be an issue.
On top of this, it has a fantastic CPU that will be able to handle all of your needs and requirements. On the whole, the Linksys WRT3200ACM is definitely the best value for money router to buy.
2. Asus RT-AC5300
- Wireless Speed: 2.4 GHz: 1000 Mbps, 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps.
- RAM: 512MB
- CPU: 1.4GHz Dual-Core
- Price: $268.99 Stock or $399.99 Preflashed
The Asus RT-AC5300 is one of the most powerful commercial grade routers you can buy. Of course, this power comes at a cost – $399.99 that is.
This router is visually sticking with a whopping 8 antennas in a crown-like design. Depending on your router placement, and tastes, this design might put you off completely. However, the 4 transmit and 4 receive antennas combined with the MU-MUMO (multi-user multiple-input-multiple-output) technology ensures uninterrupted access to everyone connected to the router. Of course, it also has the complimentary 4LAN and 2USB ports.
On top of the technology, it also boasts an allowance for plenty of network traffic. While the CPU is a bit slower than we’d like, the firmware and hardware of this router more than make up for it. If you’re looking for a router that can handle heavy traffic and processes, then look no further. This router is enjoyed by gamers and professionals alike.
3. Asus RT-AC86U
- Wireless Speed: 2.4GHz: 750 Mbps, 5GHz: 2167 Mbps
- RAM: 512MB
- CPU: 1.8 GHz
- Price: $179.99 Stock
The Asus RT-AC86U is an extremely classic router due to its convenient design and affordability. Despite this, it’s packed full of features and performance
The biggest downfall of the AC86U is it’s 2 antennas, therefore the range is somewhat limited. As with virtually all routers, it has 4LAN ports and 2USB ports, all packaged in a convenient form factor.
With its 1.8GHz processor and 2167Mbps 5GHz bandwidth, it’s able to handle most tasks that you can throw at it. In overview, the AC86U is a router that will provide small households with all of their needs.
4. Netgear R6700
- Wireless Speed: 2.4GHz: 450Mpbs, 5GHz: 1300Mbps
- RAM: 256MB
- CPU: 1GHz
- Price: $86.09 Stock or $149.99 Preflashed
The Netgear R6700 is a somewhat outdated but cheap router for the average Joe.
The router comes with 3 antennas, 4LAN ports, and 1 USB port which is pretty average. Honestly, for this price, you shouldn’t be expecting anything exceptional. It’s enough and functional.
The biggest downside of the R6700 is its slow processor and wireless throughput. With everyone using multiple devices these days, the R6700 won’t be able to support a large household. However, if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly option then this is a great option.
5. Netgear Nighthawk X10 – R9000
- Wireless Speed: 2.4GHz: 800Mbps, 5GHz: 1733, 60GHz: 4600 Mbps
- RAM: 512Mb
- CPU: 1.7GHz quad-core
- Price: $269.99
The Nighthawk X10 / R9000 is a rare but extremely powerful but expensive router.
Visually it’s simple yet stunning with 4 antennas supporting MU-MIMO. Alongside this it has 6 LAN ports and 2 full USB3.0 ports, features which other routers don’t provide.
If that’s not enough it has a 1.7GHz quad core processor combined with 512MB of RAM and 1GB of Flash. This makes it more than fast enough for any purpose. On top of this it’s a triband router so it supports 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz and even 60GHz traffic, meaning you’ll never lag (provided your devices support this).
While it’s not cheap the Netgear R9000 is a fantastic piece of equipment for companies or households looking for the best WiFi experience possible.
6. Synology RT2600AC
- Wireless Speed: 2.4 GHz: 800 Mbps; 5 GHz: 1733 Mbps.
- RAM: 512MB
- CPU:1.7GHz Dual Core
- Price: $199.99 Stock
This Synology router is also extremely adept for home use and very similar to the WRT3200.
Visually speaking it’s very similar to all the other mainstream routers out there. However, it does have an SD card slot which we think is something that could be extremely useful as most people don’t have this on their computers.
If you’re not running custom firmware on it, then you can also use the Synology App store to download additional tools and plugins to it, to increase its functionality. Overall, it’s a great router with some nice niche elements that could make it more suitable for you than the others on this list.
7. D-Link DIR-885L
- Wireless Speed: 2.4 GHz: 1000 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps.
- RAM: 256MB
- CPU: 1.4GHz Dual Core
- Price: $116.99 Stock
The D-Link is somewhat outdated but a still solid router for home use. On top of this, it’s got a great design that could even be the talking point of your parties!
It supports 4 antennas for good range, and also has a USB port to support adding an additional device of your choice.
It’s a great mid-range router with mid capabilities for the average household. Unfortunately, while it’s still globally available it’s no longer manufactured. However, support is set to go on long into the future.
How to Set Up VPN on a Router
Setting up a VPN on your router is really simple. It depends on the firmware that you’re using, but the steps are as follow:
- Log in to your router
- Navigate to the VPN panel
- Set up the settings as recommended by your VPN provider
Which VPN should I use?
There are hundreds of VPN clients to choose from so this isn’t a simple choice. Many websites recommend NordVPN and ExpressVPN so we’d recommend looking into those. Both of them come with a 30 day money back guarantee so you can test them to your heart’s content. However, if you don’t look like the look of them, there are plenty of VPN comparison sites on the internet.
VPN Client vs VPN Server
With this list, we’ve focused on routers for running a VPN client. That means it helps you connect to the VPN servers of a commercial VPN service (or of your choosing). It is, possible to do the opposite and run a VPN server on your router too. This would allow you to connect to your home network remotely and securely.
Can You Put a VPN on a Router?
Yes, you can put a VPN on a router, hence this article. Depending on the firmware, you might need to install some additional tools, but usually, VPN client functionality is built-in. It’s also possible to run a VPN server
Do I need a special router for a VPN?
No, you don’t. For over 10 years now routers have supported the ability to run a VPN client. Unfortunately, not all router firmware supports the use of a VPN natively and you might need to flash it with OpenWRT, DD-WRT or Tomato.
Do I need a VPN service if I have a VPN Router?
Yes, you do. A VPN router is just a term used for routers that allow you to run a VPN client. You still need to be signed up for a VPN service to be able to connect to a VPN server.
So that’s it, the best VPN routers you can get for your money. All of the routers we’ve listed will get you a great VPN speeds for all of your devices. However, the more you invest the more you will get back.