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Best secure router of 2019: keep your router and devices safe at home or work

(Image credit: Rawpixel/Pexels)

When it comes to security, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures in 2019. With an ever-increasing number of electronic devices entering householders, the risk of suffering a cyber-attack or data breach is greater than ever. Sure, the chances are that it won’t happen to you or your business – but can you afford to take that risk?

Thankfully, today’s manufacturers take security seriously and many models feature built-in security controls and services that monitor your network around the clock. Without further ado, here are the best secure routers of 2019 to that keep you, your devices and your network safe. 

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(Image credit: TP-Link)

Comes protected by TP-Link's HomeCare service

Speed: 802.11ac, 802.11n, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g 2.5Ghz and 5Ghz | Connectivity: 1x 10/100/1000 WAN, 4x 10/100/1000 LAN, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO, Tri-Band, NitroQAM, TP-Link HomeCare

Integrated security
Fast speeds
Integrated security
Fast speeds

The AC4000, which supports all the latest 802.11ac technologies and sports six non-removable adjustable antennas, exceeds at 4K video, streaming and gaming thanks to its tri-band speeds. Its security credentials are boosted by TP-Link Homecare which offers parental controls and built-in antivirus. Free for the first three years, it lets you manage network access and protects from malicious attacks. Security settings can be fine-tuned by logging into the router, where it's possible to configure security type (such as WPA/WPA2 Mixed Enterprise, WPA/WPA2 Mixed Personal, WPA2 Enterprise, WPA2 Personal, and WEP), and edit SSIDs and passwords.

(Image credit: Netgear)

2. NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router AC1900 (R7000)

Fast router is protected by armor

Speed: 1.9Gbps | Connectivity: 4 x ethernet; 1 x USB 2.0 | Features: 802.11ac; dual-band; QoS packet scheduling; Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatibility; 1GHz dual-core CPU; Smart parental controls; DDoS Prevention

Sleek and stealthy design
Brilliant performance
Dated interface
Pricey

Featuring fast Wi-Fi performance, the R7000 is still one of the best secure routers of 2019 a few years after being released – and you stand a good chance of picking it up in the sale. Nighthawk is one of the most established router brands, and this model from Netgear features the security features we’ve come to expect – including built DoS attack protection, and options for setting parental controls in addition to filtering unwarned domains.

Read the full review: NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router

(Image credit: ASUS)

3. Asus RT-AX88U Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

Wi-Fi 6 brings cutting-edge speeds

Speed: 802.11ax 5GHz: 4,804 Mbps, 2.4GHz: 1,148 Mbps, 802.11ac 5GHz: 4,333 Mbps | Connectivity: 8 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x WAN, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 | Features: MU-MIMO, Link Aggregation, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, 1GB RAM

 Wi-Fi 6 offers amazing speeds
AiProtection network security
Expensive
Few devices support Wi-Fi 6

If you’re seeking the fastest possible router for your home network, this model from Asus flies thanks to its Dual Band 802.11ax (or Wi-Fi 6) connectivity, and it also supports MU-MIMO and OFDMA. If you have a recent smartphone such as the Galaxy S10, you’ll benefit from blisteringly fast file transfer speeds – and even those that are still running on the older 802.11ac connectivity band will benefit. The Asus also features AiProtection network security powered by Trend Micro, a commercial-grade security feature that blocks internet security threats for any device connected to the network.

(Image credit: Netgear)

4. Netgear BR500 VPN router

A router with an integrated firewall and VPN

Speed: N/A | Connectivity: Gigabit Ports WAN/LAN: 1/4, DMZ interfaces: 1 | Features: One-step VPN, Netgear Insight app and Cloud Portal, Stateful Packet Inspection Firewall, Support for QoS and 802.1q VLANs

Secure VPN-in-a-box
Easy to set up and manage
Will lack flexibility for some
Some features cost more

With the BR500, Netgear has handily baked a VPN into the router itself to give small-and-medium businesses (or SMBs) a secure and affordable way to safeguard their privacy. Easy to deploy and manage, it's suitable for lesser experienced IT professionals and would sit pretty in any office thanks to its minimalistic white styling. On the downside, it might not offer enough control for more experienced admins and there is a cost overhead for adding more devices that, once past the initial limit, can be purchased on a subscription plan.

Read the full review: Netgear BR500 router

(Image credit: Future)

5. Eero Home Wi-Fi System

Speed: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, tri-band expandable mesh | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each; router unit only) | Features: Mesh WiFi technology; WiFi Extender; Band steering, Internet pausing

Beautiful design
Tri-band system
Satellite units aren’t versatile
Relatively small coverage area

One way to get around Wi-Fi dead spots that routers can’t reach is to switch to a Wi-FI mesh setup to wrap your home in wireless internet – and Eero’s Home Wi-Fi is a pricey, yet security-conscious option. Its free app provides fine control over network and devices, including guest user and parental controls. An optional expanded security service can be subscribed to for less than a tenner a month that offers enterprise-grade network security powered by AI that detects threats on normal browsing habits and traffic sources. Subscriptions to Encrypt.me VPN, 1Password and Malwarebytes are also included.

Read the full review: Eero Home Wi-Fi System

(Image credit: Netgear)

6. Netgear Nighthawk AX8

Brings next-gen speeds and DoS attack prevention

Speedy throughput
Stellar file transfer performance
Expensive
Not many compatible Wi-Fi 6 devices

This winged model from Netgear, which looks like something Batman might use to secure the Batcave’s wireless network, sports four antennas for covering large buildings and other areas. Not only is the router capable of fast file transfer speeds of up to 6Gbs, it’s also equipped with eight Wi-Fi streams to provide capacity for more than 30 devices to connect at once. On the network security front, it offers WPA2 encryption, DoS attack protection and double firewall capability. Plus, Netgear’s accompanying Nighthawk App lets you set up parental controls, access the network remotely and pause the internet. 

(Image credit: Synology)

7. Synology RT2600ac

‘App’ support provides additional security-based functionality

Easy-to-use web interface
Supports WPA3 security standard
Not the fastest at 2.4GHz
Still expensive

If a router and a NAS box had a baby, the Synology router might be the end product. While it doesn’t deliver the fastest Wi-Fi speeds in its class, the RT2600ac’s software capabilities mean it stands out from the crowd. Most interesting is its ‘app’ support, which includes a built-in VPN client and server, a passable DNLA media server and per-device parental controls. They include two preset blocklists which let you choose to block either ‘malicious’ or ‘malicious and adult’ sites – and you can also black or whitelist additional domains beyond that preset. Handily for Mac owners, there’s even support for backing up using Apple’s Time Machine software.

Read the full review: Synology RT2600ac

(Image credit: Linksys)

8. Linksys WRT AC3200 Dual-Band Open Source Router for Home (Tri-Stream Fast Wireless WiFi Router)

A fast performer at 5GHz with flexible source code

Speed: 802.11a/11g/11n/11ac 2.5GHz and 5GHz (dual-band) | Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit WAN port, 4 x Gigabit LAN ports, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x Combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port | Features: Tri-Stream 160, 1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU, Open-source ready; MU-MIMO

Fast 5GHz Wi-Fi
Supports Tri-Stream tech
Average 2.4GHz performance
No 160MHz clients available

As with other WRT routers in Linksys range, the AC3200 lets you swap out the router’s stock firmware with open-source code from third parties. This allows further tweaking of settings and the ability to set up advanced network monitoring functionality if you have the technical chops. Even if you don’t want to go there, this router provides easy access to firewall and VPN Passthrough, port forwarding triggering and internet filtering settings. Its 5GHz throughout speeds are very fast resulting in outstanding file transfer speeds on the back of its MU-MIMO and Tri-Stream 160MHz tech. And who doesn’t love that classic two-tone blue and black design?

(Image credit: Gryphon)

9. Gryphon Advance Security & Parental Control Mesh WiFi Router

Mesh system builds in malware protection for the home

Speed: 802.11bgn/ac 2.4GHz, 2x 5GHz | Connectivity: 1 x WAN, 3 x Gigabit LAN (w/Ethernet Backhaul) | Features: Mesh WiFI, Internet Security System, Parental Control System, Simple Setup & Management

Smart design
Built-in anti-malware protection
Expensive
Can’t separate radio bands

Like the Eero Home Wi-Fi System, this Gryphon model is a mesh system designed to cover the whole home with a wireless signal. Featuring an eye-catching design, it comes with a cloud-based security service that defends the network in addition to any connected devices from virus attacks and malware. Other features include a tri-band system that dedicates one 5GHz band to backhaul while using the remaining two bands to cover homes of up to 6,000 square feet. It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for.

(Image credit: Future)

10. NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700

A pricey gaming router that just about does it all

Speed: 60GHz 802.11ad WiFi | Connectivity: 6 x 1-Gigabit Ethernet Ports, 10 Gigabit LAN SFP+ Ports | Features: Anti-buffer bloat (ABB), Advanced Quality of Service (QoS), Device Manager, Active Antennas

Huge feature set
User-friendly
Very expensive
Huge unit

Described in our review as ‘the mother of all gaming routers’, the XR700 offers a slew of features that run on top of the gaming-optimised DumaOS. One of the niftiest is a geo-filter which blocks connections based on physical proximity, putting an end to gaming sessions with laggy foes who are based thousands of miles away. In the security department, a VPN module lets users fine-tune traffic types of an OpenVPN-compatible service, allowing them to use a VPN to fake a location for gaming while allowing the rest of the traffic to go direct to the ISP, or channel web traffic from a particular device over a VPN. It’s smart stuff, and you’ll need to shell out for it, not to mention clear some space for a router that’s as big as its bold ambitions.

Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700