Why do you need a VPN router at home?

The modern household has more than one device connected to the internet. To protect all of them would require installing the app into each one. A VPN router is a great way to secure the entire household in one go.

Typically, your traffic is unencrypted. This means that your ISP can record your data for various purposes. You can be spied upon. A VPN encrypts the traffic, making your data useless for anyone who’s trying to steal it. 

Although most VPN providers limit the number of devices you can connect, Surfshark doesn’t – it allows you to have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections working all at the time with one subscription only. You can also use it to set up your VPN router by relying on a simple to follow step-by-step guides. 

By setting up a VPN router, you instantly protect all of the devices that connect to it. This means smartphones, tablets, computers, smart TVs, game consoles, and more. If you set up a VPN on your router, there’s no need for separate installs and no chance of forgetting to turn on the app. Also, it will keep any of your guests who use your Wi-Fi secure as well!

You should know that it has more pros than just security. It opens the door to the world of uncensored information and unlocked content. Having a VPN router will allow you to access whatever content you want on whatever device you have connected. No more region-locked YouTube videos, no more limitations on streaming libraries!

Top 10 VPN Routers For Homes 

What is essential in a VPN router? Frequency and speed. After all, you want to use the internet to its fullest, and that involves watching videos, streaming, and gaming. And Wi-Fi speed is highly dependent on the range to the router as well as physical obstructions. The 2.4 GHz band provides a slower connection, but as it is on a lower frequency, it’s stronger and goes further. 5 GHz is the band that enables high-quality streaming, but it’s weaker.

Luckily for us, modern modems – working on 802.11ac standard – usually include all sorts of fancy features. MU-MIMO is one of them. It ensures efficient handling of bandwidth between multiple devices.

When choosing the best VPN router, one should also consider its ease of use. Install wizards and apps are vital – installing and controlling a router via a modern interface is a lot better than using something that appears to have been developed 20 years ago. Ports are important for those who want to make full use of a router’s functionality by connecting other devices and peripherals. 

Synology RT2600AC

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 800 Mbps; 5 GHz: 1733 Mbps.
Wireless spec: 802.11ac
MU-MIMO: Yes
Antennas: 4
LAN Ports: 4
External Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x SD

Pros: 

  • Good range
  • Easy to USE
  • Many ports

Cons:

  • Not that cheap

Synology RT2600AC is a VPN router for home use. On its own, it’s a great router that offers excellent speed and great connections. Synology RT2600AC makes the best use of that 802.11ac standard. It works in a quad-stream(4×4) setup, ensuring high speeds. MU-MIMO allows bandwidth to be used efficiently. 

Synology RT2600AC has a faux-OS you can access online. You control a lot of its functions via this desktop-like platform. Also, Synology has gone to great lengths to provide documentation for this router. Manuals and help articles are easy to find and easy to read. 

The router has a dedicated app store for plugins that expand its functionality. If you are an advanced user, you’ll appreciate the SD port. Use it to expand the storage space available in the router if needed. It won’t be hard to turn Synology RT2600AC into a NAS server either – just add a hard drive and download the right package. 

Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 1,000 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps.
Wireless spec: 802.11ac
MU-MIMO: Yes
Antennas: 4
LAN Ports: 8
External Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

Pros:

  • Web interface is easy to use
  • Great speed at range
  • 8 LAN ports

Cons:

  • Placement of the USB 3.0 port
  • Performance as a NAS server

Asus RT-AC88U was described as the “The Lexus of wireless routers” in 2015, and it’s still going strong in 2020. It is also one of the best routers for large homes that are heavily invested in online gaming. Add in the VPN router functionality, and it will be a large, safe gaming home. 

The four antennas on the Asus RT-AC88U can cover an area of 464 square meters. 1000 Mbps is a fantastic speed for the 2 GHz band. And it’s not bad in 5 GHz either. With MU-MIMO, the bandwidth will be allotted very efficiently.

More than that, the router can prioritize gaming traffic to make sure that you won’t suffer from lag. These and many other functions can be fine-tuned via the web interface. It is also used to install the router in the first place. 

Asus RT-AC88U has two often-listed downsides. USB 3.0 port is on the front of the router, which is uncomfortable. It is also said that the router has mediocre NAS server performance. However, if you want a VPN capable router that will secure a whole space in one go, it’s perfect for you. 

Netgear R6400 Smart WiFi Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 450 Mbps; 5 GHz: 1300 Mbps.
Wireless spec: 802.11ac
MU-MIMO: No
Antennas: 4
LAN Ports: 4
External Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

Pros:

  • Quite cheap
  • Easy to set up and control
  • A variety of security features

Cons:

  • Low internet speed
  • No MU-MIMO

Netgear R6400 is a mid-range VPN router for homes on a budget. Although costing half the price of Asus RT-AC88U, it’s also almost two times slower. Despite this, it’s a tried and tested platform that does what it’s set out to do, meaning, provides a safe Wi-Fi connection for a large home. 

It is easy to set up via the Netgear Nighthawk app. You can also control it via the same app – including the option to pause the internet connection. The security is beefy as well: from DoS attack prevention and double firewalls to Circle® Smart Parental Controls. However, it is one of the few Netgear models that do not support MU-MIMO. 

Netgear R6400 shares the awkward USB 3.0 placement in the front with Asus RT-AC88U. Yet it comes with a free customized URL for your own FTP server. The router works with a wide variety of operating systems: not only Windows (starting with Windows 2000) and Macs but UNIX and Linux as well. In short, Netgear R6400 is a cheap, reliable, and versatile VPN router for your home. 

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 800 Mbps; 5 GHz: 1733 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: Yes 
Antennas: 4
LAN Ports:
External Ports: 2 x USB 3.0

Pros: 

  • Duma OS is easy to use
  • Fast
  • Supports legacy systems

Cons:

  • Pricey

Netgear Nighthawk XR500 is one of the top-of-the-line VPN-capable routers for gamers. It’s not cheap, but if you want to secure your home and your gameplay, this is the router for you.  

The 4 LAN ports may be a letdown for some, but Netgear Nighthawk XR500 makes up for it with two USB 3.0 ports. Four antennas and MU-MIMO is basically a guarantee in such a modern device.

Its software is what really shines. The Duma OS is intuitive to use, easy on the eye, and brimming with features. This VPN router shows its gaming focus with a lot of its features. You can set the geographical range for servers you want to connect to. Also, you can watch your bandwidth use and allocate it to gaming devices. 

Netgear Nighthawk XR500 is also quite easy to use due to the Duma OS setup. It also allows you to set up the VPN service with minimal fuss. While it’s not crucial for gamers, this router supports the legacy Windows systems as well as UNIX and Linux, just like Netgear’s R6400.

D-link DIR-885L AC3150 MU-MIMO Ultra Wi-Fi Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 1000 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: Yes 
Antennas:
LAN Ports:
External Ports: 1 x USB 3.0

Pros: 

  • Ease of set up
  • High speed
  • Open source support

Cons:

  • Discontinued (but supported)
  • Still not cheap

D-link DIR-885L is a snazzy looking VPN router for everyday use. It’s fast, and it uses all the modern tech you can hope to find in a router. And it looks great to boot!

D-link DIR-885L offers good speed at a long-range. It features four antennas, MU-MIMO, and beamforming. This tech ensures that your VPN-protected Wi-Fi signal will be good and reliable in your home, no matter what you stream.

Installing DIR-885L is a breeze as well. You can do it via an online wizard or by using a phone app. The latter allows you to both view network use and manage it remotely.

The tinkerers will be happy to see that D-link DIR-885L supports DD-WRT open-source firmware. For the rest, it’s still an excellent and fast VPN router for home.

One warning, though: while the router is still sold and D-Link will support it for the foreseeable future, it is no longer in production. 

Asus RT-AC86U AC2900 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 750 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: Yes 
Antennas:
LAN Ports:
External Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

Pros:

  • Good speed
  • Gaming-optimized

Cons:

  • May be difficult to set up 

Whether you’re a fan of video streaming or online gaming, the Asus RT-AC86U router is an excellent choice. It’s a robust MU-MIMO-enabled router that supports a variety of VPN protocols. 

As a midrange VPN router, it has respectable 2167 Mbps max speed on the 5 GHz band and does 750 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. It’s easy to set up as well: you can use either the Setup Wizard or do it manually. 

The Asus RT-AC86U Router delivers excellent all-around performance. In addition to VPN, it comes with Trend Micro protection from infected clients and malicious intrusions.

If you’re looking for a mid-range router that doesn’t drop your internet speed while using a VPN service, Asus RT-AC86U is a top choice.

TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 450 Mbps; 5 GHz: 1300 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: No 
Antennas:
LAN Ports:
External Ports: 1 x USB 2.0

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Decent 5 GHz speed

Cons:

  • Bad at 2.4 GHz
  • No MU-MIMO

The TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router is the least fancy VPN router on the list. However, it is a tested platform that is very much affordable. Perfect for the user who doesn’t want much more than a simple router. 

V5, the current version of the router, dropped a USB port, leaving TP-Link Archer C7 with a single USB 2.0. It still has four Gigabit LAN ports. The router is reasonably fast, reaching 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 450 MB on 2.4 GHz. It may not have MU-MIMO, but the simultaneous dual-band approach will ensure a proper connection wherever you are in the house. 

TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router is a budget router – there’s no way around it. But it offers good performance in 5 GHz band and isn’t crammed with features you won’t use. VPN routers hardly get simpler than this.

Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 Tri-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 1000 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: Yes 
Antennas:
LAN Ports:
External Ports: 1 x USB 2.0 1 x USB 3.0

Pros:

  • Great speed
  • Tri-band sending and receiving
  • A lot of management options

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • Some people don’t like the eight antennas

Asus RT-AC5300 is a VPN router that doesn’t play around. It features an enormous amount of antennas – eight of them. It’s also loaded with all the modern features you could hope for, which should satisfy the most demanding of homes. 

It is a fast router: the 5 GHz band can do up to 2167 Mbps, and it can go up to 1000 Mbps while on the 2.4 GHz band. The eight antennas are there to enable tri-band (that is, two 5 GHz and 1 GHz) sending and receiving. Combine that with MU-MIMO and features like ASUS Smart connect, and you’ll have great connections no matter how many devices you have at home.

As expected with a high-end router, it’s loaded with advanced management and basic settings. The Asus RT-AC5300 is an excellent choice for high-resolution video streaming or online gaming.

Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 600 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2600 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: Yes 
Antennas:
LAN Ports:
External Ports: 1 x Combo eSATA/USB 2.0 1 x USB 3.0

Pros:

  • Great 5 GHz speed
  • A lot of tinkering potential
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons:

  • Not great at 2 GHz
  • DD-WRT is a thing for advanced users

The Linksys WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi is a VPN router appearing nearly in every router list. It’s fast, easy to set up, and, at this point, cheaper than some of the alternatives that promise similar results. 

This router shows excellent results for 5 GHz throughput and is quite fast at 2600 Mbps. The 2 GHz band isn’t as powerful, but it won’t be much of an issue in most homes. The file transfer speeds are great. And all of this comes in a package that’s easy to install and manage. 

Linksys WRT3200ACM is also an excellent VPN router for the tinkering pros out there. It supports both OpenWRT and DD-WRT, which means that you can tweak it to your heart’s content. 

Netgear Nighthawk X4S Smart Wi-Fi Router

Speed: 2.4 GHz: 800 Mbps; 5 GHz: 1733 Mbps. 
Wireless spec: 802.11ac 
MU-MIMO: Yes 
Antennas: 4 LAN Ports: 4 
External Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 1 x eSATA port 

Pros:

  • Not expensive
  • Decent speed
  • Two USB 3.0 ports

Cons: 

  • 5 GHz band could be faster 

Netgear Nighthawk X4S is a great VPN router that offers good speed and good performance. It’s not complicated to work with, and it will keep your Wi-Fi devices connected and protected. 

1700 Mbps is about the average Ghz band speed you can expect from a reasonably priced router. 2 GHz putting out 800 Mbps isn’t the best in the world, but it’s still very good. It will help you in the far-off reaches of your home. In any case, MU-MIMO and various software tools will ensure that bandwidth is allocated in the best, most efficient manner. And you can modify the settings via the easy-to-use Nighthawk app. 

Netgear Nighthawk X4S is an excellent VPN-capable router for streaming, gaming, or just checking your email in the bathroom.

BONUS: Our Support Team’s recommendations

The Surfshark support team has a lot of experience in working with our customers. Therefore, we have VPN router recommendations selected specifically for you:

GLiNet GL-b1300

GL-MT300N (a cheap mini auxiliary router – use it with your TV to access geo-restricted content)

ASUS: RT-N66U, RT-AC56U, RT-AC66U, RT-AC68U, RT-AC87U, RT-AC5300, RT-AC3200, RT-AC3100, RT-AC1750, RT-AC88U, RT-AC66R, RT-AC55U

Do you already have a router that supports VPN? You can always check that online by searching your router model and checking the specifications. If it does, you can turn it into a VPN hotspot by getting Surfshark. Due to our unlimited devices policy, you’ll be able to cover not only your router but the devices you take with you while you’re away from your secure home. 

Don’t feel like setting up a VPN on a router yourself? There are routers that come with Surfshark pre-installed and configured. Some of them – Asus RT-AC5300 and Netgear R6400 – were featured in this article!

In case you need help configuring a VPN on your router, check our extended guide HERE.

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