People are no longer strangers to VPNs, and by proxy, VPN routers. Both have garnered a lot of interest, particularly during the recent pandemic and the post-pandemic era. If you’re unaware, VPNs are not a new technology. They have been around for a couple of decades, albeit more augmented in the corporate scene. However, the applicability they bring has made many commercial vendors try to provide services for individual use. As such, we have seen an influx in consumer-grade VPNs.
Yet, the transition didn’t stop there. With the validation of VPNs, the related products also gained a relatively firm foothold in our daily lives. One such example is the VPN router that can circumvent the issue of having too many devices needing a VPN connection. It also allows us to use this technology with IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Many VPN routers have specific criteria of service. Today, we will take a look at the best VPN routers for home.
Do you need VPN routers at home?
Before we delve further, we would like to remind our readers that we have a detailed article regarding VPN routers on our website. We suggest they take a quick look at the different types of VPN routers we will be talking about today. Moving on, it begets the question, “why do you need VPN routers, especially at your home?” Honestly, we can drone on and on regarding the various advantages of VPNs but won’t. To keep matters short and precise, here is a list of some reasons we require VPN routers at home:
- A VPN for anything online — With a router, you can enjoy VPN services on any device. You won’t be limited by a platform or software. As long as a device can access the internet, you can protect it with a VPN router.
- Protect multiple devices at once — Similarly, a VPN router can protect multiple devices simultaneously. A typical VPN service offers connection for a limited number of devices, usually between 5 and 10. In contrast, a router can circumvent it and concurrently protect an unlimited number of devices.
- Protect your family and friends — Other than protecting your online interests, A VPN router can aid in the protection of your family and friends. In short, anyone who has access to your home network falls under the protection of the VPN router.
- Use “Double VPN” — With a VPN router, one can enjoy the protection of a double VPN. “Tunnel within a tunnel” or Double VPN lets you protect your device under multiple layers of VPN. In this case, you can use your native VPN provider on top of the router to enjoy the extra security.
NOTE — We will exclude Pre Flashed, Exclusive VPN routers from this list to promote users’ discretion while making a choice.
How to select a VPN router for home use?
Before choosing a VPN router for home, pay attention to the following:
- Frequency — If you want a strengthened connection but do not mind the speed loss, a 2.4 GHz router will work. However, for faster connections, you should opt for a 5 GHz VPN router.
- Speed — Likewise, different routers offer varying maximum speeds. Although no 2.4 GHz router will be faster than a 5 GHz one, different brands offer exclusive, sophisticated technology that tries to compete based on speed.
- Wi-Fi Standards — Any decent router will have 802.11ac standard and feature MU-MIMO (Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology) to handle bandwidth between multiple devices. If you can’t find this specific standard on your router, we suggest you keep looking.
- Ease of use — Modern VPN routers come with exclusive applications to better facilitate control. These applications can help users with their router/network management.
- The number of ports — Of course, the more ports you have, the better.
Best VPN routers for home
Given below are our top 5 VPN routers for home:
Netgear Nighthawk D7800 is a 4×4 (4 bandwidth streams) wireless router that is an all-around VPN router that can grace your home. It can support up to 5 devices and offers a maximum speed of 1733 Mbps. The best thing about this router is undoubtedly its VDLS 2 modem. Also, it comes with multiple ports: 5 LAN ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and an eSATA port. This FlashRouters product features a dual-core processor and a privacy app to make things smooth for the user. However, the router does lack the 1024-QAM and depends on specific hardware for faster speeds.
The next in line on our list, Asus RT AC5300, is a beast and comes from the renowned brand Asus. As a VPN router, it can easily support more than ten devices. With Wi-Fi specs of 802.11ac and 802.11n supporting speeds up to 2167 Mbps and 600 Mbps respectively, this VPN does not disappoint when it comes to connectivity. It brings a ton of features such as MU MIMO support, link aggregation, traffic analyzer, WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). The router boasts 512 MB of RAM and eight external antennas. Many even use this for gaming purposes. Although this powerhouse is a nifty choice for VPNs, it is by no means cheap. Plus, this router is bulky and hard to set up.
The best thing about the Linksys WRT 3200ACM is that it is open source. Thus, you can customize it with OpenWrt and DD-WRT. Due to the open-source nature, this router has multiple potential applications other than a VPN, which doesn’t mean it is weak. Linksys 3200 extends 802.11ac to provide 3x 867 Mbps speed and has 4 LAN ports and a port for USB 3.0 and eSATA each. Also, it offers a tri-stream technology labeled Tri-stream 160. This router boasts four antennas and three bands for fast and wide-ranging network speeds. Like others on the list, it happens to have the MU MIMO. However, it is a bit costly and not readily available everywhere.
Synology RT2600AC is your budget-friendly yet powerful VPN router. This quad stream router sports a dual-core processor and numerous features, making its purchase a great value for money. It makes the best use of 802.11ac standards and offers a speed of up to 2.53 Gbps alongside a 4×4 bandwidth stream setup. On top of that, it comes equipped with the MU MIMO technology to allocate bandwidth better.
Synology RT2600AC can cover an area of 3000 sq feet (ca. 279 m²) while supporting both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz networks bands. That’s because it is dual WAN (Wide Area Network) capable. The company offers a dedicated app store for plugins to expand its functionality. With the right tools, you can promptly turn it into a NAS (Network Attached Storage).
The last VPN router on our list is the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2. Like Asus RT AC5300, it offers a mind-numbing array of 8 antennas. It allows the router to provide speeds up to 2167 Mbps. The router also comes with Alexa voice control to make it convenient to use. Other features include but are not limited to MU MIMO support, tri-band technology, and multiple ports. The fact it’s powerful and fast is sufficient, but support for IFTTT (If This, Then That) automation makes TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 one of a kind. However, the expensive price tag does defer users from employing it in their homes. Beware, though, as it is not a beginner-friendly device.