The best VPN routers of 2024

When you’re looking for a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) setup, you’ll have a choice to make: Either install the VPN software individually on your laptops, mobile devices, and TVs or install a VPN directly on your router for blanket coverage.

VPNs provide encrypted tunnels to protect online communication, making it more difficult to track or steal your information. Setting up a VPN environment via your router can take the legwork out of protecting the multitude of devices we tend to run these days, and it can be far easier to do than you think — as long as you have a compatible router to start with and are comfortable with undergoing the VPN installation process. Others, too, will have a VPN ready and waiting to go, so all you need to do is click a button.

Furthermore, with so many of us either working fully remotely or being under a hybrid schedule, a VPN connection may be required to access corporate resources.

Also: The best VPN services: Expert tested 

What is the best VPN router right now?

ZDNET has years of experience in testing VPN solutions and hardware. Our pick for the best VPN router overall is the ExpressVPN Aircove. This router has a VPN already installed, saving you the work of setting up and configuring the software. It also offers impressive speeds and coverage. Below, you will find our recommendations for all the best VPN routers on the market that provide great VPN compatibility, speed, and coverage. 

The best VPN routers of 2024

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ExpressVPN Aircove

Best VPN router overall

The ExpressVPN Aircove is our top pick based on its speed, ease of setup, and security. It offers dual-band connectivity for homes or offices, providing coverage of up to 1,600 sq. ft.

When you pick a VPN-ready router, you still need to consider stability and speed. The Aircove manages speeds of up to 1,200Mbps (600Mbps/2.4GHz) when the VPN is not in use, although, as we should expect, speeds will drop when you are connected to VPN servers. 

An interesting feature is an option to diversify the servers used by devices connected to the router. For example, you might want a gaming PC disconnected from the VPN and an office laptop to run through a US or UK VPN server. Furthermore, parents and guardians can take advantage of parental control settings.

However, you will also need an ExpressVPN subscription. A free trial is included with the router purchase. Customers report excellent speed and performance, although it can be tricky to set up.

Read the review: ExpressVPN review: A fine VPN service, but is it worth the price?

ExpressVPN Aircove features: Wi-Fi 6 | Built-in VPN | 802.11ax, 802.11ac | Diverse server locations | Ad blocking | Parental controls | Includes free trial

ExpressVPN Aircove

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Best VPN router for affordability

The ASUS RT-AX1800S is an affordable VPN solution. The Wi-Fi 6 model, available for only $65 ($35 off), operates on the 2.4GHz frequency and offers up to 1Gbps speed. It also offers free IoT device security via ASUS AiProtection. The router has a built-in VPN, ASUS Instant Guard, which you only need to click a button to activate.

Users consider this router to be of great value for their money and many are impressed with the parental controls and security functions available.

ASUS RT-AX1800S features: Dual-band | 2.4GHz | Up to 1Gbps speed | Parental controls | AiMesh compatible | One Gigabit WAN port, four Gigabit LAN ports | Built-in VPN


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TP-Link AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 gaming router (Archer GX90)

Best VPN router for power

The TP-Link AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 gaming router (Archer GX90) is a piece of kit that should be considered if you want speed and power first, and VPN second. 

The tri-band Archer offers users speeds of up to 4804Mbps (5GHz) / 1201Mbps (5GHz) / 574 Mbps (2.4GHz) and has been designed with gamers in mind (4.8Gbps Game Band). It combines a plethora of WAN and LAN ports with a 1.5GHz processor. OFDMA and MU-MIMO support is included to reduce latency and lag issues.

However, to set up this router with a VPN service, you must configure either OpenVPN or PPTP VPN, so be prepared to spend some time tuning the router to your needs. Many customers consider the Archer GX90 to be a solid, fast router, although its design doesn’t suit everyone.

It’s on sale now for $200 ($50 off) at Amazon.

Archer GX90 features: Tri-band | High speeds | 1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU | Beamforming | Game Accelerator | Parental controls | Large home support

TP-Link AX6600 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (Archer GX90)

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Synology RT2600ac

Best VPN router for VPN flexibility, remote work

The Synology RT2600ac is another top option if you want flexibility in your VPN choice, with productivity and home life in mind. The powerful router comes equipped with a 1.7GHz processor, dual-band connectivity and speeds of up to 2.53Gbps, traffic monitoring, a Smart Connect feature for balancing speed and range, and optional parental controls. 

When it comes to VPNs, the router offers VPN implementation options with WebVPN, Synology SSL VPN, and SSTP VPN. Servers can also be set up for remote work and office purposes.

Read the review: Why I replaced Google Wifi with Synology’s mesh networking gear (and why you might, too)

While this router’s design is not exactly stellar, the $150 price tag is affordable. Customers consider the Synology RT2600ac a great ‘do it all’ router, but some users report disappointing Wi-Fi ranges.

Synology RT2600ac features: Multi VPN-compatibility | Smart Connect speed, control management | 1.7GHz processor | parental controls 

Synology RT2600ac

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ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400)

Best VPN router for security

For a more stylish option with custom lighting effects, you may want to consider the $160 ASUS AX5400. 

This VPN-ready router is designed inwardly and outwardly for gamers, first, and there is an interesting feature called Mobile Game Mode, which users can select to reduce lag and latency issues. 

The ASUS AX5400 is a Wi-Fi 6 router with speeds up to 5400 Mbps. It is compatible with 802.11ax and 160MHz channels and is powered by a 1.5GHz processor. Regarding security, the router comes with Trend Micro’s AiProtection Pro security suite and a one-click, sharable, and secure VPN called Instant Guard. 

Customer reviews suggest the VPN is a great option for gamers hoping for low lag rates. Overall, the network performance is excellent, although people mentioned that you may encounter firmware issues.

ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400) features: Wi-Fi 6 | Dual-band | Mobile game mode | 160MHz channels | Speeds of up to 5400 Mbps | AiProtection Pro

ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400)

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VPN router


Builtin VPN?


ExpressVPN Aircove



Up to 1,200Mbps (disconnected) | 180Mbps



Up to 1Gbps

TP-Link Archer GX90




Synology RT2600ac



2.53Gbps (dual)

ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400)


Up to 5400 Mbps

*MSRP at the time of writing. Please note that actual prices may vary depending on available sales, deals, discounts, and coupons.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using a VPN-enabled router or a standalone VPN app, the most important of which are compared below.

VPN router

VPN app 

A VPN router provides blanket coverage for all of your devices at home.

Coverage is limited by the number of simultaneous connections you are allowed under one account.

A VPN router can be complicated to set up and most routers do not come with a built-in VPN. You may also risk your router’s warranty.

VPN apps are typically easy to install and use.

Install once, protect everything.

You must install VPN apps individually.

VPN coverage and security is on permanently. 

VPN apps have to be opened and services have to be enabled.

You need a VPN subscription, and in most cases, a paid one.

Free, limited plans and paid options are available.

You need a compatible router.

You need a compatible PC or mobile device.

A VPN router can protect devices that don’t have native support, such as TVs.

VPN usage is limited to how many versions of the app have been developed for device and OS compatibility.

Installing a VPN on your router allows all of your devices to access the same VPN network and connection. This creates blanket protection and IP masking, but it can be challenging to set up.

Remember that your router will act as a VPN client rather than a server and share the VPN with devices connected to it. Here are some general steps to take, although they may change depending on your router and existing setup:

  • Check your router’s compatibility. Not every router will run a VPN natively — although many modern routers do have the capacity.
  • Sign up for a VPN service. Unless your router comes with a built-in VPN, you will likely need a subscription.
  • Access your VPN’s firmware. You will need to do so through your router’s IP address.
  • Under settings, you should find a VPN tab, and you will need to enable VPN services and choose between a static or dynamic IP address.
  • The VPN client can now be installed, although you may need to tweak your network settings. 

For an extensive guide on installing a VPN on your router, check out:How to set up a VPN on your router

There are many factors to consider when you are purchasing a VPN-ready VPN. To make your purchase decision easier, consider:

Choose this VPN router…

If you want…

ExpressVPN Aircove

A user-friendly VPN router with strong coverage and speed. While the router is exclusive to ExpressVPN usage, it is one of our favorites due to its price, reliability, and easy setup.


An affordable VPN solution. This model has highly positive customer reviews and for the price point is a steal – especially when you consider its built-in VPN and additional security controls.

TP-Link Archer GX90

A heavy-duty, powerful router. This gaming router offers tri-band connectivity and while it does require configuration, the Archer is a future-proof router offering excellent speeds.

Synology RT2600ac

VPN versatility at work, whether in-office or remote. You can set up different servers and select WebVPN, Synology SSL VPN, or SSTP VPN.

ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400)

To focus on security. If you need flexibility but stringent security measures for your router and VPN, this model is for you. 

When you are considering a new VPN router, there are some key points you should mull over before making a purchase decision:

  • DIY?: If you want a VPN for your home network, you should consider whether or not you would be happy to install a VPN directly on your router. If not, consider a router model with an in-built VPN.
  • Affordability: VPN routers are available for a variety of budgets. However, if you can, you might consider a future-proof VPN router that can support next-generation Wi-Fi.
  • VPN: You also need to take into account the VPN service you want to use. If you have a preferred VPN, ensure that the router you want supports it. 
  • Other purposes: The VPN might be the most important aspect, but you should also consider whether or not other features are important to you — such as tri-band functionality, gaming optimization, or additional security features. 

While we were deciding on the best VPN routers of 2024, we considered a number of crucial factors, including:

  • Speed: There’s no point investing in a new router capable of handling VPN environments unless it serves its core purpose: to provide solid and stable connections to the internet. 
  • VPN support: We have included a range of models with in-built VPNs, VPN support for standalone VPN services, and mobile products for VPN protection on the go.
  • Budgets: We wanted to provide a variety of options suitable for different budgets, but our priorities were security, speed, and reliability. 
  • Customer reviews: We have also examined customer reviews in-depth, including both positive and negative experiences. 
  • Vendor reputation: We have considered the reputation of router manufacturers, including their popularity, variety, and product accessibility. 

For a more extensive breakdown, check out our comprehensive VPN testing methodology page.

If you want to install a VPN directly onto a router, the process can be more of a hassle than just signing up for an app. However, it can save you time in the long run as any device — including PCs and smartphones — that connects to your router will use the VPN and will be automatically protected. In particular, this can be useful if you have internet-connected devices, including TVs and IoT products, that cannot support a VPN on their own hardware. 

You might want to consider setting up a VPN on your router if you have numerous devices needing protection and you are working from home. However, if you are a remote worker, some organizations may require you to use their own VPN to access corporate resources.

A caveat, though: some online platforms, such as streaming services, will detect when you are using a VPN and may block you. If this is the case, you may have to temporarily disable your VPN service to resume watching.

Frequently Asked Questions

What VPN should I use for my router?

Here’s a list of ZDNET’s favorite VPNs:

Also: The best VPNs of 2024

Can any router be a VPN router?

Many routers are now smart, intelligent devices capable of far more than providing an internet connection. Today, you can install VPN software on a range of routers, and many tout VPN support as a feature. 

However, a word of caution: installing third-party software on your router might void its warranty — just as jailbreaking mobile devices or changing the firmware of a gaming console can invalidate a warranty.  

Why would anyone use a VPN?

A VPN can be a great tool for protecting your privacy. VPNs should be used when you are taking advantage of public Wi-Fi hotspots, at the least, but using them while you’re online as default is the better option to protect yourself and your information. VPNs are also beneficial in circumventing geolocation blocks and censorship.

However, you should keep in mind that some countries either ban VPN usage entirely or heavily discourage it. If using a VPN is illegal, you may be fined or prosecuted. According to NordVPN’s country guide, countries that ban VPNs include Belarus and Iraq, among others, whereas governments in China and Russia only permit specific VPNs to operate. 

Does a work VPN expose my home network to my employer?

It’s possible (albeit unlikely), but it depends on several factors. VPNs handle traffic in different ways, but, overall, it is highly unlikely that company IT administrators will be able to access your home network via your VPN connection. However, if you are on a work-issued laptop with software that allows such connections, admins may be able to tap into resources on the device. 

Additionally, while VPN tunnels encrypt your traffic and mask your online activities, if you are using a VPN designed and owned by your employer, they can monitor you. 

Does a VPN slow down your internet connection?

Typically, yes, although a high-quality VPN — hopefully — will not make a noticeable difference. There are caveats; for example, you should expect a slowdown when connecting to servers across a long distance, such as from the UK to Australia. If you experience severe speed loss when you are connecting to servers closer to you, however, such as from New York to Washington, this may indicate a problem with either the VPN or your ISP connection.

You can put VPN software on a myriad of devices, ranging from PCs to mobile devices and routers. While we have showcased what we consider to be the best VPN-supporting routers in 2023, we can’t highlight every worthy option — and so you can check out alternative products below, including subscriptions:

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