The 5 Best VPN Routers in 2020 - Preconfigured VPN routers - Easy set up

Using a VPN router is the easiest way to protect all of your internet-connected devices on your home network. With a router-level VPN, you can protect every device on your network without the need to install the VPN on each device individually.

In this article, we discuss the best pre-configured VPN routers and show you how to install and configure a VPN onto a router, if you already have one that’s capable.

What are the best VPN routers?

We have listed the best VPN routers below. These routers come pre-configured by FlashRouters, a company specializing in providing high-quality custom-flashed routers for VPN users. If you would like more information on each service, please keep scrolling to see our in-depth analysis of each VPN router.

  1. Netgear R6700 - The best VPN router - It is terrific value for money and great for home use
  2. Netgear R9000 - The best VPN router for small businesses and data-intensive households
  3. ASUS AC5300 - The best VPN router for gaming
  4. Linksys WRT3200ACM - The best mid-range VPN router for data-hungry households
  5. Netgear R7000 - A fast VPN router that’s budget-friendly

When researching VPN routers we made sure that the routers listed above offer the following features:

The best VPN routers - In-depth Analysis

We take a closer look at the best VPN routers below. If you would like more information about any of the services listed below then check out our detailed VPN reviews.

The Netgear R6700 DD-WRT is the best value for money FlashRouter, and will be more than enough for most home use

  • Pricing

    From  $149.99
  • RAM

    • 256MB
  • CPU

    • 1GHz Quad-core
  • Wireless Speed

    • 1750Mbps

The Netgear R6700 offers great power at an exceptionally low cost and is more than capable for most home use-cases. With wireless data speeds of up to 1750Mbps, it’s a fantastic VPN router for streaming HD TV and securely browsing the internet. It’s 1GHz dual-core processor encrypts and decrypts VPN traffic with ease – making for fast and secure internet use.


While the R6700 is currently only available in recertified condition, don’t let that put you off. FlashRouters off an extended two-year warranty (for only $15 more), that gives peace of mind alongside great savings. We’ve put this router in our top spot because of the amazing value for money that it offers. It’s a solid VPN router that will be more than enough for most home users.

The Netgear R9000 DD-WRT VPN router is the most powerful router on this list and gives amazing WiFi coverage

  • Pricing

    From  $349.99
  • RAM

    • 512MB
  • CPU

    • 1.7GHz Quad-core
  • Wireless Speed

    • 7200Mbps

The Netgear R9000 is a supremely powerful router that offers data speeds of up to 7200Mbps. It’s 1.7GHz quad-core processor is perfect for encrypting and decrypting VPN traffic from multiple simultaneous connections. We don’t recommend this router for simple home use because it will just be overkill. But if you’ve got lots of data intensive connections running simultaneously, this is the best VPN router for the job.


This top-tier router comes with a price tag that matches, and despite being worth every penny, it might put some users off. If you’re looking to get the best VPN router for as cheaply as possible, we recommend buying a recertified router with an extended two-year warranty for $364.99.

The ASUS AC5300 DD-WRT is an absolute monster when it comes to online gaming and 4K streaming

  • Pricing

    From  $449.99
  • RAM

    • 512MB
  • CPU

    • 1.4GHz Dual-core
  • Wireless Speed

    • 5300Mbps

The ASUS AC5300 is a fantastic VPN router for gamers who want to protect themselves while playing competitive matches. It also comes with 4T4R (four-transmit four-receive) antennae and MU-MUMO (multi-user multiple input, multiple output) technology to provide multiple connections without interference. With a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and up to 5300Mbps wireless data speeds, the AC5300 is great for content streamers, competitive gamers, and privacy enthusiasts alike.


The powerful router comes with a high price tag that may put users off, but we think it’s a worthy investment for hardcore gamers, privacy-conscious users, and for anyone looking for the best possible streaming experience. For the money you pay, you get a beautifully designed, highly functional piece of hardware that will provide excellent WiFi coverage, and will make short work of encrypting and decrypting VPN traffic for online gaming and 4K streaming. Overall, we think it’s a fantastic investment, but only for data-intensive use.

The Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT is a powerful VPN router that’s a perfect mid-range investment

  • Pricing

    From  $209.99
  • RAM

    • 256MB
  • CPU

    • 1.8GHz Dual-core
  • Wireless Speed

    • 3200Mbps

The Linksys WRT3200ACM boasts an impressively powerful 1.8GHz dual-core processor that cleaves through VPN encryptions and decryptions like butter. It’s an impressive mid-range VPN router that performs well on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz channels – offering speeds of up to 3200Mbps. With four powerful antennae, it’s a great option for data-intensive use, streaming and online gaming.


With this solid functionality comes a very reasonable price tag, with even greater savings to be had by buying recertified. We love how the WRT3200ACM throws back to the design of the WRT54G, adding a modern touch to that classic blue router face. If you want to get a powerful router without breaking the bank, then the WRT3200ACM is the way forward (and with the extended warranty, peace of mind is still cheaper than buying new).

The Netgear R7000 offers faster speeds than the R6700 with only a small increase in price

  • Pricing

    From  $179.99
  • RAM

    • 128MB (FLASH)
  • CPU

    • 1GHz Dual-core
  • Wireless Speed

    • 1900Mbps

The Netgear R7000 is the R6700’s faster sibling, with the same 1GHz processing power and 3 powerful antennae for solid WiFi coverage. With speeds of up to 1900Mbps, it’s a great choice for someone who wants something a little faster without having to spend a lot more. The R7000 also has 256MB of RAM and 128MB of flash memory, so it’s a good choice for a home VPN router with multiple simultaneous connections.


The R7000 used to top this list, but it still makes a great case as one of the best VPN routers available in its price range. While we think the R6700 is better value for money, the R7000 is a great upgrade overall for only $30 more.

What is a VPN router?

A VPN router is a router that comes with a VPN already installed (also known as flashed). To do this, the router must first be compatible with a specific type of firmware that allows you to encrypt traffic passing through your wireless router and configured with a VPN on the device (such as DD-WRT). While there are other variants of this technology (such as Tomato), not every router can be a VPN router.

Why do I need a VPN router?

Normally, a VPN client is installed on an individual (internet-connected) device, creating a tunnel around the traffic being sent and received by the device. This increases your online privacy and security by blocking other people from viewing your IP address and internet usage. Doing so hides your online presence from hackers, internet service providers (ISPs), governments, or any other entity looking to steal your data or snoop on what you get up to on the internet. A VPN router can also allow you to unblock regional content on services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, hulu, and more.

So why put your VPN on your router? Well, installing a VPN onto a router allows you to protect the traffic of any device connected to it, without having to install the VPN on every device separately.

This saves you both time and money, as a VPN router can protect households with lots of internet-connected devices at once. VPN subscriptions usually have a limited amount of simultaneous connections, but a VPN router only counts as a single device used, meaning you can protect everything from your smartphone or laptop to internet-connected devices incapable of running VPN software (such as smart TVs, Roku boxes, and gaming consoles).

What to look for in a VPN router

When it comes to using a VPN router, encrypting and decrypting VPN data is extremely processor-intensive (especially if you’re using OpenVPN). Most routers would struggle with this task (especially if there are multiple devices connected to it), and this can result in poor internet connection speeds.

Because of this, it is important to look for a router that is powerful enough to handle these connections, without slowing down your internet speed too much. Unfortunately, getting a VPN router that will work to a reasonable standard means you will need to invest extra money in a quality router to get what you need.

Why should I use FlashRouters?

We’ve opted for routers that come pre-flashed with VPN software as they’re much more straightforward to set up and far simpler to use for newer VPN users. FlashRouters offers an excellent variety of options to meet the needs of all users, and its extended warranties and support provide real value for your money. FlashRouters also offers routers configured specifically for ExpressVPN, letting you combine exceptional WiFi with top-of-the-line VPN protection.

When it comes to getting the most value for money with your router, we recommend buying a recertified router with the extended 2-year warranty. This is the same warranty that you can get for a new router, but you can save a lot of money by buying recertified. Alternatively, FlashRouters also offers to flash your router for you.

One app to rule them all

With a FlashRouter, you get a dedicated Privacy App that offers VPN connections and control across all devices instantly. It's a great way to save time as it lets you protect your devices without having to install the VPN separately on every individual device you want to protect. If you want to know more about the app, you can also check out our review of it.

Could I use a free VPN for my router?

We strongly recommend not using a free VPN service for your router for the following reasons:

  • Free services regularly have data and speed caps, meaning that your WiFi may be slow, and even stop working altogether if your data limit is reached. The speed restrictions may also make using multiple devices impossible.
  • Encryption from a free service is rarely strong enough to bypass government restrictions and unblock regional content.
  • Free services regularly sell on user information to generate income. This can be your internet usage, connection data, and even personal information.
  • Some free services have been known to infect devices with malware.
  • Free services, such as Hola, turn your device into an exit node, and hijack your bandwidth, meaning your internet speeds may be slower, and someone else could be using your IP address.

If you still want to try a free service, check out our best free VPN guide for a list of recommendations. However, a good VPN service does not have to be expensive, and there are plenty of cheap VPNs that provide router support.

VPN routers for small businesses

If you’re a small business looking for a VPN router to protect all of your devices and employees at the same time, then we recommend the Netgear R9000 DD-WRT . It has everything you’ll need, and its fantastic WiFi coverage can handle 12 simultaneous devices without getting sluggish. Opting for a recertified router with an extended warranty will also help you cut costs without sacrificing quality.

The best VPNs for businesses

How to install a VPN on a router

The process of installing a VPN on your router will differ depending on the make and model. However, the method will usually go as follows:

  1. Download the configuration files (.config). These are available from your VPN provider’s website.
  2. Access the control panel for your router through your web browser (for most DD-WRT, the default address is 192.168.1.1).
  3. Go to the VPN client on your router’s control panel (this will usually be under the Services tab).
  4. Set the OpenVPN client to Enabled (this will open a configuration panel).
  5. Add your server and connection details for your VPN. Most providers offer guides for this on their website.
  6. Connect to your chosen VPN server.

After you have configured the VPN to your router, any device that is connected to it will use that server location and will be protected by the VPN’s encryption. For a more in-depth explanation of how to install a VPN on your router, head over to our out our in-depth DD-WRT VPN installation guide.

Don’t forget, FlashRouters has a dedicated app to take the hassle out of installing a VPN on your router, and it comes pre-installed on all of their routers.

Configuring a VPN Router

Some DD-WRT routers that support VPNs will use PPTP protocol. Unfortunately, this is not the most secure protocol, and, for most cases, we recommend switching to OpenVPN protocol. Keep in mind that the basic framework for DD-WRT supports OpenVPN, but that does not mean that all routers with DD-WRT will work with it. If you’re ever unsure, it is best to check before buying a router whether it will provide the right support and security for your needs.

Fortunately, many VPN providers supply guides on how to set up your router to use either PPTP or OpenVPN. For the most part, they will follow this general process:

  1. Subscribe to the service that suits you best.
  2. Log in and download the configuration files from your VPN provider’s website. Pick your desired geolocation(s) but remember that picking a country far away will result in slower internet speeds. It is best to choose a nearby server for optimal connection speeds whenever possible (depending on what you are using the VPN for).
  3. Downloading the .config files from the provider’s website will provide you with a username and password for your router’s control panel. Keep it at hand, you’ll need it shortly.
  4. In a new tab, access your router by typing in 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 (if this does not work, have a look on your router’s website). You can usually find the password for your router’s dashboard on the router itself.
  5. Sign in to your control panel and navigate through VPN > VPN Client > Add Profile.
  6. Select your protocol (in this case OpenVPN) and write a profile description.
  7. Enter your username and password from step 3.
  8. Click on Choose File and add the .config file from step 2.
  9. Upload the file and select OK when it is finished.
  10. Click on Activate next to the profile to connect to that VPN location.

If you want to add multiple locations to your VPN router, simply repeat the process and then activate and deactivate as necessary.

Different Types of VPN Router

There is more than one type of VPN router, but the two most popular are DD-WRT and Tomato. Both have their pros and cons, but to briefly describe them:

DD-WRT

DD-WRT is an open-source, Linux-based firmware project that removes the restrictions placed on routers by their default programming. Flashing your router with DD-WRT gives is a great way to achieve the full functionality of a business-grade router, but without the extra cost. DD-WRT tends to be compatible with more routers and is particularly better for VPN router novices.

DD-WRT routers

Tomato

Tomato is also a Linux-based firmware package for routers. Similar to DD-WRT, it can be used to flash a compatible router and turn it into a VPN gateway (though there are differences between the two). Tomato routers are popular for their real-time network monitoring and fantastic user interface.

Tomato routers

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a VPN router, it’s always best to think about what you need it to do and start from there. Knowing what you need your VPN router to do will make it easier to avoid spending any more money than necessary (and buying recertified can take that one step further). For now, here’s a quick reminder of our top picks for VPN routers:

  1. Netgear R6700 - The best VPN router - It is terrific value for money and great for home use
  2. Netgear R9000 - The best VPN router for small businesses and data-intensive households
  3. ASUS AC5300 - The best VPN router for gaming
  4. Linksys WRT3200ACM - The best mid-range VPN router for data-hungry households
  5. Netgear R7000 - A fast VPN router that’s budget-friendly

FAQs

While we’ve tried to cover as much as we can in this article, if something about VPN routers is still confusing you, perhaps this Frequently Asked Questions section can help:

If your question remains unanswered, try our search bar at the top of the page to find more specific articles, or contact your VPN provider/router manufacturer for more information.

 

Written by: Andreas Theodorou

Andreas is a Technology Writer at ProPrivacy.com. Having graduated with a first class BA (Hons) in English, he completed a Master of Research degree at Liverpool John Moores University and has continued to pursue research at every opportunity. An experienced writer, editor, and artist, he is currently studying video-games and popular culture in his spare time.

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6 Comments

Mel
on July 25, 2019
Reply
Hi, I was using a VPN router for my business, but I'm now thinking of switching to a business VPN without a router. I got a recommendation for NordVPN teams, what do you think?
VPN solutions
on August 20, 2018
Reply
Hi Douglas, what do you think about pocket routers industry? Will it shake the market ? We have a lot of request from manufacturers, but I don't have clear vision - is it hype or future trend?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to VPN solutions
on August 22, 2018
Reply
Hi VPN solutions, If you are referring to pocket VPN routers of the kind I have reviewed every now and again (for example here and here), the problem is that such small and low-cost routers simply do not have the hardware (prrocessing power and memory) to process VPN encryption/decryption at speed. The result is unacceptably poor internet performance.
JT
on July 25, 2018
Reply
Sounds like Duhlivar is the one who did not use the router.
Bolivar D. Shagnasty
on September 2, 2017
Reply
Douglas, Concerning the two Linksys routers that you reviewed, did you read the 1-star reviews for both routers on Amazon? I can easily imagine that you didn't hook the two routers up and try them.... Merely reading the spec sheets would produce the sort of review that you wrote.
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Douglas Crawford replied to Bolivar D. Shagnasty
on September 4, 2017
Reply
Hi Bolivar, There are very few products that never receive 1 star reviews. Both those Linksys routers have a 4-star average on Amazon (73% gave the WRT AC3200 a 5 star review vs just 8% a 1 star, while gave the WRT AC19/1200 a 5 star review vs 16% a 1 star). An important point to note is that the WRT AC3200 recommended above is not stock - it runs ExpressVPN's custom firmware (which has its pros and cons). I have fully reviewed the ExpressVPN WRT1200AC Router (custom firmware).
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