Best VPN routers of 2022: top routers for Virtual Private Networks

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the best VPN routers
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Welcome to our pick of the best VPN routers money can buy. All the routers you'll find on these pages offer excellent performance - both wired and wireless - and also make it easy to connect to the internet via a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

VPN's are incredibly useful services that can help you maintain your privacy when online, and if you subscribe to a VPN service (or are thinking about doing so), then buying one of the best VPN routers on this page will help ensure you get the most out of your Virtual Private Network. 

The best VPN routers on this page have been picked not only because you can set them up with a VPN, but because they make the process as straightforward as possible. You don't need to be an advanced user to apply VPN settings to any of the routers in this list.

There are many reasons why you'd want your router to handle your VPN connection. While it is possible to use software VPNs on individual devices, buy setting up the VPN with your router, you're ensuring that all of your network data goes through the VPN when it is enabled.

This means every device on your network can take advantage of the security and privacy benefits of the VPN you sign up with.

We've compared these VPN routers across numerous points, from their design and connectivity to their speed and coverage range. We also looked at their strength of coverage, pricing, and additional features like parental controls, among other things. 

So, read on for our list of the best VPN routers, and at the end, we have some expert advice on how to sign up for the best router VPN for your needs.

Picking the right VPN for your needs

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

To complement your VPN router, here are our guides to picking the VPN for your requirements:


The best VPN routers of 2022 in full

Linksys WRT 3200 ACM

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The best VPN router overall

Specifications

Speed: 802.11ac: 3x 867 Mbps, 802.11n: 600 Mbps
Connectivity: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0, 1 x ESATA/USB 2.0
Features: Tri-Stream 160, 1.8GHz dual core CPU, 512MB RAM, 256MB flash memory

Reasons to buy

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Open source firmware support
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Excellent features

Reasons to avoid

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Coverage sometimes spotty
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More suitable in an office than a home

The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM (opens in new tab) is our choice for the best VPN router. Its no-nonsense design hides a remarkably versatile and powerful router that is a great choice for VPN use. 

You can install DD-WRT firmware for VPN compatibility, and it comes with four antenna and three bands for fast and wide-ranging network speeds. It also has four gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 3.0, making it an excellent router in its own right, even without a VPN.

The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM embraces custom open-source firmware, which enables users to install software other than the default interface that the router ships with. This means you can have nearly full control over the features and functions of the router. 

The router also has MU-MIMO technology that facilitates file sharing, simultaneous streaming, and gaming on multiple devices on the Wireless AC band. 

Read the full review: Linksys WRT 3200 ACM

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Synology RT2600ac.

Asus RT-AX58U

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A fantastic budget VPN router

Specifications

Speed: up to 3000Mbps
Connectivity: RJ45 for BaseT for WAN, 4 x RJ45 for BaseT for LAN, USB 3.1 Gen 1
Features: Router app, MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro, Parental Control

Reasons to buy

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Strong Wi-Fi 6 performance
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Simple set-up
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Good parental controls

Reasons to avoid

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Dual-band only

Wi-Fi 6 is the new cutting-edge technology in networking. And while it offers faster speeds, better connections, and larger area coverage, it comes at a price. With the Asus RT-AX58U, the company has been able to offer that Wi-Fi 6 performance at a much more reasonable price. 

And while it might not carry some of the extra features or ports that some of the more robust options have, it does offer some important ones such as VPN configuration, MU-MIMO, and Parental Controls. So if you’re looking for a no-frills way to get speedy internet, the Asus RT-AX58U may be the way to go.

Its 3000Mbps performance means it’s a lot faster than most home broadband services and will be perfect for streaming 4K video, gaming, and other data-intensive online activities. 

Read the full review: Asus RT-AX58U

Asus RT-AC86U

(Image credit: Asus)
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A robust VPN router with performance as loud its design

Specifications

Speed: : 802.11ac 1734 Mbps down
Connectivity: : 5 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
Features: : MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS WTFast Gamers Private Network

Reasons to buy

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Extensive firmware
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Great speed and coverage

Reasons to avoid

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Complex firmware
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Divisive looks

Anyone who’s familiar with Asus, and especially its more gamer-centric products knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into here – especially regarding design. However, if you're not a gamer, and just looking for the best VPN router, then don't discount the Asus RT-AC86U. 

It has some excellent VPN features that make it a fast performer that won't see your internet speeds dropping too much when using a VPN. You can also install third party firmware if you want greater choice.

In terms of the design, this router's built to stand up. It has Gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN input at the back along with a USB 2 and USB 3.1 port. 

The RT-AC86U is a competent and speedy router with complex firmware that's made more accessible by sensible design and a swift, 5-minute setup process. Although it runs only twin radios, it offers impressive speed and coverage. 

Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U

best VPN router

A high-powered VPN router

Specifications

Speed: 802.11ac: 2,167Mbps, 802.11n: 600Mbps
Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
Features: MU-MIMO support, Link Aggregation, traffic analyzer, WPS, 512MB RAM, 8 external antenna

Reasons to buy

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Great Wi-Fi coverage
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Powerful gaming features

Reasons to avoid

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Large
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Single USB 3.0 port

The Asus RT-AC5300 (opens in new tab) is an excellent high-end gaming router that comes with a number of advanced features for making online and network gaming as lag and frustration-free as possible. It also means it's a brilliant VPN router, and if you don't mind the expense, this is a great choice. 

You can tell from the router's loud design that it's aimed more at gamers than for home offices, and professional and enterprise users. The spider-like design won't be to everyone's tastes, but the eight antennae serve a purpose, as they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router an excellent range.

Unlike most other routers that stick to two bands, the RT-AC5300 broadcasts three wireless bands. There's one 2.4GHz band at 1000Mbps for older devices, and two 5GHz bands at 2167Mbps 802.11ac. With multiple bands, you can have older devices on the 2.4GHz band and free up the 5GHz bands for newer devices. 

Read the full review: Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router

TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

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A powerful VPN router for individuals are enterprises

Specifications

Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: up to 2,167 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: up to 1,000 Mbps
Connectivity: 4 x LAN, WAN, USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Features: MU-MIMO, Tri-band Wi-Fi, 8 external antennas, Alexa voice control

Reasons to buy

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Fast and powerful
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Alexa and IFTTT support

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive

Are you in the market for one of the best VPN routers of 2021 and don’t mind a quirky design? If a ‘90s-inspired sci-fi design sounds like it will fit right in your home, then the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 might be the best wireless router for you. 

It’s not exactly the most modern-looking VPN router out there, but it’s unique in that it can bridge consumer and enterprise users by offering high-end functionality at a reasonable price point and with a relaxed setup. It’s peculiar looking, yes; however, if you’re scouring the market for a wireless router that can cover a mid-sized home, you can’t go wrong with this. 

You can set up a VPN from within the router's user interface, but it can be a little bit fiddly - there are more user-friendly VPN routers out there for beginners. However, if you know what you're doing, this is a brilliant VPN router for your home or office.

Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router

(Image credit: Linksys)
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An excellent VPN router for gamers

Specifications

Speed: : AC3200
Connectivity: : 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
Features: : Killer Prioritization Engine, Customized Firmware, 1.8GHZ Dual-Core CPU, MU-MIMO

Reasons to buy

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Great Wi-Fi speed
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Easy to use firmware

Reasons to avoid

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Very expensive

On the surface, the Linksys WRT32X (opens in new tab) might not look that different than Linksys’ heavy-hitter, the WRT3200. And, well, that’s not actually that far off. The WRT32X takes all of the successful components of that highly rated router, and puts them in a router with a custom firmware that’s extremely easy to navigate and a very subdued and attractive visual design, making it one of the best routers with VPN you can buy. 

The ports at the rear cover USB and eSATA (which allow convenient and fast network attached storage), along with a standard five-port switch setup.

You will be paying a premium for this repackaging, but if you’re looking for reliable ping performance that online gaming requires, the Linksys WRT32X takes one of the best VPN routers and tailors it to your needs.

Read the full review: Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router 

Asus RT-AX86U

(Image credit: Asus)
An impressive all-round VPN router

Specifications

Speed: 802.11ax up to 5700 Mbps down
Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit LAN, Gigabit Wan, 2.5G Wan, 2x USB 3.2
Features: MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, Parental Control, NVIDIA Geforce Now Cloud Gaming Optimization

Reasons to buy

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Fast Wi-Fi 6 performance
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Gaming-focused
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Security features

Reasons to avoid

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Not cheap

Asus has always had an excellent line of gaming-centric devices, and the Asus RT-AX86U continues that tradition. While expensive compared to run-of-the-mill routers, it’s actually a competitively priced Wi-Fi 6 router. And, considering Wi-Fi 6 is the future in connectivity, this router is a win for Asus and an ace for gamers. 

It also has some great features for gamers such as a 2.5 Gigabit Wan, the ability to assign an ethernet port as a dedicated “gaming” port. The router has an upright design with three sizeable antennae sticking out from the top panel. It stands at a height of 320mm, so you will need some space to ensure the antennae aren't obstructed. 

As with other Asus routers, you can also easily configure a VPN from within its user interface. Finally, it comes with very useful parental controls if you need them.

Read the full review: Asus RT-AX86U

Netgear Nighthawk X4S VDSL/ADSL Modem Router D7800

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8. Netgear Nighthawk X4S VDSL/ADSL Modem Router D7800

Powerful all-round VPN router with built-in VDSL modem and 4x4 wireless speeds

Specifications

Speed: 802.11ac: 1733Mbps, 802.11n: 800 Mbps
Connectivity: 5x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, 1x eSATA
Features: VDSL 2 modem

Reasons to buy

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Great wireless performance
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VDSL 2 modem

Reasons to avoid

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Lacks 1024-QAM
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Requires special hardware for fastest speeds

If routers had a fashion contest, Netgear’s D7800 would be among the top contenders. Its solid black finish is complemented by a quartet of antennas. Plus it’s damn fast and bettered by its inclusion of a duo of USB ports paired with an eSATA connector. You'll also find four Ethernet ports at the back of the router. 

The D7800 offers up to 800Mbps on its 2.4GHz band, and 1733Mbps on its 5GHz band. The real centerpiece, though, is the VDSL 2 modem built into the Nighthawk X4S D7800, negating the need to buy or lease one separately. The outfitted software isn’t too shoddy either; a simple Dynamic QOS system makes it a breeze to govern a multitude of devices on a single home network. Best of all, it's a great router to use with a VPN.

The top VPN to install on your router:

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)
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ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)

The best overall VPN

Specifications

Number of servers: 3,000+
Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
Maximum devices supported: 5
Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Reasons to buy

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Dedicated app for routers
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Seriously fast connections
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Great reliability means no drop outs
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Excellent for streaming

Reasons to avoid

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A little more expensive than some

Performance-wise, this British Virgin Islands-based provider delivered unrivalled results in our performance tests. However, what makes ExpressVPN our top pick for installing on routers is the fact that it delivers a dedicated router application - which is more than most of the competition.

Aside from its ease of installation, though, ExpressVPN also provides fast, reliable connections that you can count on, meaning you won't suddenly find yourself having to reset your router. Keeping your VPN on all day has never been a more viable option.

On the security front, ‘best in class’ 256-bit encryption is in place, along with support for the proprietary Lightway, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols, and a private, encrypted DNS. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any traffic data, DNS queries, or anything that could be used to identify the user.

A quick glance at the pricing scheme shows that the service costs more than most VPNs, and you don’t get to try it out through a free trial. However, there is a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee available, so you can try before you buy. Going the yearly route is the most affordable option of the three price plans on offer. The packages available are:


How to choose the best VPN routers for you?

When selecting the best VPN router for yourself, start with checking the router's installation process. If you're not familiar with routers, then a simple and swift setup process will be apt for you. 

You'll want to consider how many bands the router supports. If you have a mixture of old devices and new ones at your home or office, then it'll help to have multiple bands that cover 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. This will distribute the internet traffic and ensure faster online speeds for all devices. 

Make sure to evaluate the router's speed and connectivity options, along with additional features like parental controls, gaming optimization, and voice control. 

Lastly, you'll want to consider the router's design, coverage, and pricing.

The best VPN routers: How we test

When testing the best VPN routers, we first looked at their design, ease of setup, and connectivity ports. We checked their performance in terms of speed, range, and strength of coverage. 

We used Ookla to test the speeds with a file download, and we also tested it against our everyday network usage to give you an idea of its real-world performance. 

We checked the routers' additional features, like parental controls, voice control, and the option to install software other than the default one that the router ships with. 

We also considered what type of users the routers would be best suited for, and their pricing.


Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.