We purchased the The 7 Best Secure Router so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
With new internet threats appearing on a weekly basis, having the best secure router is more important than ever. Modern router must keep up with all the new ways that hackers and scammers come up with to infiltrate your home network and steal your personal information.
The best secure router combine intelligent firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to keep you safe online by detecting and stopping common online attacks, as well as regular and frequent updates to keep you one step ahead of the bad guys. They frequently include built-in VPN services to keep your browsing private from prying eyes and come with secure default settings, so you won’t need to be a networking expert to enjoy top-notch security. The best secure router are ideal for anyone who wants to keep their online activities secure and private with the least amount of effort possible.
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Best Overall: Asus RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router
Asus is known for producing highly configurable and versatile router with a strong focus on security features, so it’s no surprise that the RT-AX88U () is the best secure router on the market. The RT-AX88U is a worthy update for the modern era, delivering the latest Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax technology, with a design and feature set that is very similar to its highly acclaimed predecessor, the RT-AC88U.
Thanks to four powerful beamforming antennas, the AX6000 speed rating means you’ll get up to 6Gbps of bandwidth for all your devices, as well as improved range and reliability. Even with only dual-band Wi-Fi support, it can handle more devices vying for your bandwidth thanks to Wi-Fi 6 OFDMA and MU-MIMO support. A generous set of eight Gigabit Ethernet ports around the back provide plenty of wired device options without the need for a separate network hub or switch. Two USB 3 ports can be used for everything from sharing media and printers to backing up your Macs with Time Machine.
What really sets the RT-AX88U apart from the competition, like most Asus routers, is its comprehensive AiProtection Pro suite of commercial-grade security features. The router, which is powered by Trend Micro, can automatically block access to dangerous and malicious websites, protecting you from malware, phishing, spam, adware, hacking, and ransomware attacks. A two-way intrusion prevention system also protects your devices from external threats like DDoS attacks and prevents infected devices on your home network from connecting to botnet servers.
There’s also a built-in VPN server that supports the most popular VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, so you can connect to your home network securely. Advanced parental controls help keep your children safe online by limiting their time online and keeping them away from the more dangerous parts of the internet. Most importantly, unlike many other router manufacturers, Asus does not charge a monthly subscription fee for these advanced security features, so you won’t be locked into recurring monthly costs just to keep your home network safe.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection Pro, WPA3, 802.1x, OpenVPN/IPSec/PPTP | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 9
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Best Value: TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router
The TP-Link Archer AX50 () is a great way to get started with advanced Wi-Fi 6 technology at a low cost, with impressive performance for both 802.11ac and 802.11ac. All of your older 802.11ax WI-Fi 6 clients, as well as all of your older 11ax WI-Fi 6 clients 5 devices with 11ac Wi-Fi, plus enough range to meet the needs of a small family.
You’ll get a solid 3Gbps of dual-band Wi-Fi with the AX3000 rating, which is shared across the 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies. In addition to the beamforming antennas, it has a number of advanced features that we don’t usually see in routers in this price range, such as 160MHz-wide channels and static link aggregation, which lets you combine two Gigabit Ethernet ports into a single 2Gbps link for handling ultra-fast internet plans or even higher-performance NAS devices at home. While it isn’t as advanced as some of TP-higher-end Link’s routers’ 802.1AX LACP link aggregation, it’s still a nice bonus at this price, and more than enough for most user’s needs.
The AX50 also comes with TP-free Link’s HomeCare suite, which is powered by Trend Micro, which includes a robust set of security and parental control features. While the underlying anti-virus and anti-malware features are similar to those provided by Asus’ AiProtection, the parental control features are far more granular, allowing for website blocking based on a wider range of age-based categories, as well as the usual time-based scheduling features. An OpenVPN server is included to give you secure access back into your network when you’re away from home, as well as easily customizable QoS to ensure that your streaming, gaming, and video calls get top priority.
One word of caution: TP-Link also sells the AX3000, which looks identical and has nearly identical Wi-Fi specs, but it lacks the free HomeCare subscription and only has a USB 2.0 port, so don’t be fooled by the fact that both are AX3000 speed routers—the it’s AX50 that you want.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: HomeCare, WPA3, OpenVPN | Standard/Speed: AX3000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5
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Best Mesh: Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System
While a single Eero Pro can provide 1,750 square feet of coverage, Eero works best as a holistic mesh Wi-Fi system with multiple units, with three units providing over 5,000 square feet of strong and reliable Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. If you require more, simply purchase additional Eero Pro, Eero, or Eero Beacon units to extend your network to the farthest reaches of your home. Standard Eero and Eero Beacon devices have dual-band Wi-Fi, while Eero Pro units have tri-band Wi-Fi with a single 2.4GHz and dual 5GHz band, so you can mix and match to create the best system for your needs. The Eero Beacons sacrifice the two Gigabit Ethernet ports found on the other units in favour of an unobtrusive plug-in design that can also double as a nightlight around your home.
The best part is that the Eero system is ridiculously simple to set up. The entire setup is done via a mobile app that requires no prior knowledge of router or network systems. It’s one of the most user-friendly interfaces we’ve seen, which isn’t surprising given that it was created by former Apple engineers. It’s also probably not a coincidence that Eero was one of the first mesh Wi-Fi systems to be certified as a secure router for Apple HomeKit, making it a breeze to set up to secure your smart home devices. While all of this basic security is built in at no extra charge, users who want more can opt into Eero Secure for a small monthly fee, adding real-time content filtering that dynamically blocks out unsafe and unsavoury websites. Unfortunately, as great of a system as Eero is, users of DSL internet plans that use PPPoE will want to look elsewhere, as Eero is one of the very few routers that doesn’t support this protocol.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: Eero Secure, WPA3 | Standard/Speed: AC2200 | Bands: Tri-band/Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 2 (per unit)
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Best Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router
In order to ensure lag-free gaming, many gaming routers are forced to make security compromises in the name of performance, trading off features like VPN support and intrusion detection firewalls. Thankfully, Asus hasn’t scrimped on the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 (), a powerful beast of a router with more than enough oomph to deliver both top-notch security and the kind of low latency that virtually guarantees you’ll dominate the battlefields.
In fact, the GT-AX11000 includes a number of specialized security features tailored specifically for gamers. This includes VPN Fusion, which allows you to keep your VPN running in the background to secure your normal browsing and surfing traffic without the overhead that slows down your games. Asus’ AiProtection Pro is also included, but it’s been upgraded to include features that gamers will appreciate, such as Open NAT for easily joining and hosting multiplayer games with your friends without jeopardizing network security, and an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that won’t mistake your friends’ gaming traffic for an attack on your router.
All of this is accompanied by advanced tri-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, which provides combined speeds of 10Gbps across two 5GHz and one 2.4GHz bands, as well as eight beamforming antennas that can cover a 5,000 square foot home with dozens of Wi-Fi devices. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back are joined by a dedicated 2.5Gbps gaming port, and support for Asus’ AiMesh 2.0 technology allows you to create a mesh network throughout your home by mixing and matching other Asus routers.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection Pro, WPA3, OpenVPN/IPSec/PPTP, VPN Fusion, Open NAT | Standard/Speed: AX11000 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5
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Best Parental Controls: Synology RT2600ac Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router
Synology is so well-known for its best-in-class network attached storage (NAS) devices that it’s easy to overlook the fact that the RT2600ac router () is also quite capable. Despite the fact that it lacks all of the latest and greatest Wi-Fi technologies, it’s a very reliable device with a strong focus on privacy and security, thanks to Synology’s experience developing full-featured operating systems for its devices.
To be clear, the RT2600ac is no slouch, with four powerful beamforming antennas that deliver excellent range and AC2600 dual-band Wi-Fi that can deliver up to 1.7Gbps to your 5GHz devices and 800Gbps to your 2.4GHz channels. While it isn’t designed for the largest or busiest homes, it offers more than enough speed for a typical family’s streaming, surfing, and gaming needs, as well as MU-MIMO to ensure that each device gets its fair share of bandwidth. This means you’ll have no trouble watching Netflix in 4K and using Zoom and FaceTime to communicate with friends and family. Keeping with its NAS expertise, Synology includes a pair of USB ports and an SD card reader, so you can easily share media files with your whole family.
The RT2600ac’s Router Management System, on the other hand, shines, providing a level of flexibility and power that exceeds that of most router firmware. This is more like a full router operating system, and not only is it simple to set up, but anyone who has used a Synology NAS device will recognize the tile-based interface right away. This adds to the flexibility of the parental controls, allowing you to set up general filtering rules for your entire network and your guest network separately, as well as individual profiles for your children to schedule their online time, set time limits, and block inappropriate content by category or specific URL. Like the company’s NAS devices, the RT2600ac also includes the same Package Center for downloading add-on apps, such as a VPN server or an intrusion prevention system, letting you tweak the security to your specific needs.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: SRM Safe Access, WPA2, SSL VPN | Standard/Speed: AC2600 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5
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Best Design: Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 8-Stream AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router
NETGEAR’s Nighthawk RAX80 (), with its sleek stealth fighter-like design, looks every bit the part of a high-tech secure router, and that appearance is more than just skin deep. The RAX80 is ready to protect your home network from threats both inside and out, thanks to support for Netgear’s Armor anti-malware security suite, Circle with Disney parental controls, and the latest WPA3 wireless security. While Netgear’s more expensive RAX120 and RAX200 models include Netgear Armor, if you want to use the Circle parental controls, you’ll have to go all the way up to the top-end RAX200. The RAX80 is now in the sweet spot of the lineup.
The RAX80 is no slouch on the wireless front, either, with advanced 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. The dual-band AX6000 rating means you’ll get combined speeds of up to 6Gbps—4.8Gbps on the 5GHz band and 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz side—and the large hawk-like wings conceal four powerful beamforming antennas that can deliver up to 2,500 square feet of coverage. While Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices provide the best performance, the RAX80 is backwards compatible with Wi-Fi 5 and older clients. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports around the back also support 802.3ad link aggregation, so you can pair one of them up with the WAN port to get a 2Gbps connection to a compatible cable modem or DSL router.
The RAX80 also comes with Netgear’s Armor cybersecurity suite, which is powered by Bitdefender, but after the initial trial period, you’ll have to pay a small annual fee to access it. Whether it’s smartphones and laptops, or connected home devices like thermostats and door locks, Netgear Armor protects your network devices from malware, viruses, and other internet attacks. You can get instant alerts whenever a threat is detected and blocked by the router, as well as automatic blocking of potentially harmful websites and a full-featured VPN to keep your browsing activity private and secure, thanks to Netgear’s mobile app.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: Netgear Armor, WPA3, 802.1x, OpenVPN | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5
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Best for Travel: GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel Router
While safeguarding your home network is critical, many of the most serious threats to your online security can be found on public wireless networks such as those found in hotels and airports. Fortunately, frequent travelers can take advantage of the GL.iNet GL-AR750S (), an ultra-portable little router that can create a bubble of strong, secure, and private Wi-Fi wherever you are.
This small box offers impressive AC750 dual-band WI-Fi, which is more than enough for most people’s needs. Although the GL-AR750S lacks the range of a traditional home router, it’s important to remember that this isn’t the point; it’s designed to provide secure Wi-Fi to a few personal devices in a small area, such as a hotel room or conference room. Three Gigabit Ethernet ports allow you to share a connection with your wired devices, and a microSD card slot allows you to add 128GB of storage for use as a portable file and media server.
Of course, you can share it with your coworkers, and thanks to its OpenWRT firmware, it can be used in a variety of ways, including as a range extender, wireless bridge, Wi-Fi client, and WISP network hotspot. You can also connect a cellular USB modem to use it as a mobile hotspot using the built-in USB 2.0 port. Best of all, a built-in OpenVPN server includes 25 preconfigured VPN service providers as well as Cloudflare’s encrypted DNS servers, allowing you to easily ensure that all of your internet activity is encrypted for maximum privacy and security, regardless of where you are.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: OpenWrt, WPA2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, CloudFlare | Standard/Speed: AC750 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 3
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The Final Word
The Asus RT-AX88U is a cutting-edge secure router that’s packed with advanced online safety and privacy features, and it’s an investment for the future thanks to its advanced Wi-Fi 6 support. Users who don’t require coverage for large or busy homes can save money by opting for the TP-Link Archer AX50, which provides excellent value.