The 10 Best Secure Routers of 2020

Protect your Internet connection from prying eyes

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Asus RT-AC88U at Amazon

"Can automatically detect network vulnerabilities or identify malicious sites."

Best Open Source: Linksys WRT3200ACM at Amazon

"Technology helps each device stay connected to the network at the fastest possible speed."

Best Privacy: Synology RT2600ac at Amazon

"Parental controls, a blacklist of malicious risky websites and security options."

Best Gaming: Asus RT-AC5300 at Amazon

"Offers great performance and advanced gaming features that let you keep your VPN up even during marathon gaming sessions."

Best Mesh: eero Pro at Amazon

"Little risk of the network being set up incorrectly and left vulnerable."

Best Budget: Asus RT-N12 at Amazon

"This cheap and cheerful router provides good security and even VPN support at a price that won't break the bank"

Best Setup: Linksys EA6900 at Amazon

"Beamforming technology make it a formidable competitor to more expensive options."

Best Value: Netgear Nighthawk R7000 at Amazon

"Offers great value for those looking for solid and reliable performance without spending a fortune."

Best Splurge: Netgear Nighthawk RAX200 at Amazon

"The ultimate future-proof router offers Wi-Fi 6 and performance and coverage to spare for even the largest home networks."

Best Design: TP-Link OnHub AC1900 at Amazon

"One of the easiest setup processes around and provides easy network monitoring."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Asus RT-AC88U

Courtesy of Amazon

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Excellent speeds

  • Powerful software

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Below average range

The Asus RT-AC88U is supported by 1024-QAM technology and is 80 percent faster on the 5GHz band at up to 2100Mbps and 66 percent faster on 2.4GHz with speeds reaching up to 1000Mbps. It comes equipped with a four-transmit, four-receive antenna design that enables it to reach a coverage area of up to 5,000 square feet. Add in higher capacity Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO technology and it’s easy to see why the AC88U is an award-winning router.

The AC88U also offers Asus' AiProtection, which is powered by Trend Micro to keep your web browsing, downloading and streaming safe from questionable behavior. The baked-in Trend Micro services also provide parental controls and can automatically detect network vulnerabilities or identify malicious sites before you reach them.

Best Open Source: Linksys WRT3200ACM

What We Like
  • MU-MIMO capable

  • Open source firmware

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Slow 2.4GHz speeds

The Linksys WRT3200ACM has Tri-Stream 160 technology that doubles bandwidth to help maintain speed better than most dual-band routers. Additional features such as MU-MIMO technology helps each device stay connected to the network at the fastest possible speed without interfering with the performance of other devices.

Linksys’ Smart Wi-Fi smartphone app also lets you manage and monitor your network from anywhere at any given time, but it’s the open-source aspect that really shines for security-focused router buyers, since you can easily use “packages” from trustworthy open source distributions such as OpenWRT or DD-WRT and establish a secure VPN, monitor and analyze network traffic or detect network intrusions instantaneously.

Best Privacy: Synology RT2600ac

What We Like
  • Long range

  • Excellent speeds

  • Can double as network storage when paired with an external HDD

What We Don't Like
  • Fewer Ethernet ports than we'd like

Synology might not be the first name you think of when purchasing a router, but this security-focused unit is good for both homes and small businesses. Incorporating its learnings from the Network Attached Storage (NAS) industry, the Synology RT2600ac offers four 4 x 4 802.11ac antennas for extending signal range and speed up to 2.53Gbps (1,733Mbps 5GHz, 800Mbps 2.4GHz). Added features such as MU-MIMO and beamforming help maintain the boosted speed and allow available bandwidth to be properly shared when multiple devices are connected.

Setup is a snap and within five minutes you’re up and running on both Mac and PC where you’ll gain access to Synology’s Router Management System. It’s here you’ll find options such as parental controls, a blacklist of malicious risky websites and security options. Synology’s biggest bonus is the package center where you can download NAS-grade apps such as VPN Plus or Intrusion Prevention to double up on the built-in security, so you'll have far more peace of mind when it comes to potential attacks.  

Best Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

What We Like
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi

  • Lots of Ethernet Ports

  • Gamers can still use a VPN

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Large footprint

Asus' routers already offers some of the most advanced security features out there, so when you pair that with a set of features that's specifically designed with gamers in mind, you end up with the best of both worlds—a router that will keep you gaming smoothly while protecting you from outside threats.

Maximum throughput of 5.3Gbps across the two 5GHz and single 2.4GHz band means that there's enough performance here to keep your games, 4K streaming, and just about anything else going fast, and the either MU-MIMO and beamforming antennas can offer some of the fastest speeds across an entire area of 5,000 square feet.

What's especially great here for gamers, though, is Asus' VPN Fusion feature, which lets you keep your VPN up and running for all of your normal traffic while making sure it doesn't interfere with your gaming performance, and the GameIPS feature from Trend Micro offers a firewall that's specifically built with gamers in mind. Also, although the Wi-Fi capabilities of this router are great, it also offers eight Gigabit Ethernet ports on top of that, so hardwiring in is always an option.

Good to Know

While VPNs are great for protecting your internet traffic, most of them add latency that does no favors for your gaming sessions. Technologies like Asus' VPN Fusion makes sure that your gaming traffic is kept clear of the VPN so you don't need to worry about switching it off when you're about to play.

Best Mesh: Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System

What We Like
  • Easy setup

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Alexa integration doesn't do much

  • Low throughput speeds

The eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System is pricier than a traditional black router, but it comes with more than enough benefits to justify its higher price tag. Available as a single, two-pack or three-pack, eero recommends at least one unit for every 1,000 square feet of space. The units handle all the heavy lifting when it comes to network setup with configuration happening on the backend. Ultimately, there’s little risk of the network being set up incorrectly and left vulnerable.

On board the eero are tri-band Wi-Fi radios, simultaneous 2.4GHz, 5.2GHz and 5.8GHz wireless connectivity, plus support for 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and 2x2 MU-MIMO technology (to blanket a home against the possibility of Internet dead zones). Easy setup aside, it’s the security where eero really shines with updates coming directly from the manufacturer. Once a network vulnerability is detected, a security update can be initiated by the cloud and can send patches to all eero customers instantly. Checking in with the cloud every 10 seconds, eero maintains near real-time data protection that offers both peace of mind and outstanding network performance.

Best Budget: Asus RT-N12

What We Like
  • Very inexpensive

  • Works as a router or repeater

  • Multiple wireless SSIDs

What We Don't Like
  • No 5GHz support

  • Limited range

  • Not ideal for very fast internet plans

The Asus RT-N12 is a “cheap and cheerful” router that offers very few frills, but gets the job done if you’re simply looking to support shared access to a lower-bandwidth internet connection. It won’t win any performance awards, but what it offers isn’t bad considering the price tag. It only supports a single-band 2.4GHz network, and is probably best for a single floor of your home or an apartment or condo, but at this price you could buy two or three for the cost of a single higher-end router.

The RT-N12 can also work as a router, access point, or range extender, so it’s quite versatile, and provides the ability to configure 4 different SSIDs with different passwords to help control internet access, meaning you can use one SSID for yourself, one for your kids, and one for your Internet-of-Things devices, and manage what can be accessed and even how much bandwidth is allocated to each one. There’s also basic PPTP VPN support, letting you connect securely to your home network while you’re out on the road.

Best Setup: Linksys EA6900

What We Like
  • Compact

  • Excellent performance at shorter ranges

What We Don't Like
  • Below average long range performance

With one of the easiest setups in the secure router space and a pre-configured network available on the bottom of the device, the Linksys EA6900 offers excellent performance for a budget-friendly price. Featuring 600Mbps performance on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band, the dual-band output and beamforming technology make it a formidable competitor to more expensive options. The design has a utilitarian black casing and three large adjustable antennas for equal signal distribution throughout a home or office.

Beyond design, the included Guest Access feature helps maintain network security by limiting users to a separate network that removes access to on-network hardware such as other computers or printers. Security-conscious users will love the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi smartphone app that shows information about home Wi-Fi when on-the-go. You can even set up parent controls, prioritize connected devices and send guests Wi-Fi passwords via text or email. Plus, the router has SPI and NAT firewalls to fend off any network attacks.

Best Value: Netgear Nighthawk R7000

What We Like
  • Excellent 5Ghz performance

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • No access to parental controls over web

Netgear’s Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router, properly known as the R7000, is a great option if you're looking for solid performance without spending a fortune. Built-in extras such as Dynamic QoS let the R7000 prioritize bandwidth by determining which real-time application requires the most signal, which ensures optimal performance for online gaming, video chat or HD streaming. Setup remains easy with users online and browsing within five minutes of unboxing.

The router supports both 600 and 1,300Mbps speeds and when it comes to security, both parents and security-savvy users will enjoy extras such as parental controls and web filtering levels, and OpenVPN offers secure access to your home network from anywhere you can get online.

Best Splurge: Netgear Nighthawk RAX200

What We Like
  • Wi-Fi 6 Support

  • Tri-Band Wi-Fi with 12 streams

  • Advanced Wireless Features

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Reports of “early adopter” problems

  • Few devices can yet take advantage of it

If you’ve got the money to spare and want the ultimate “future-proof” router, Netgear's Nighthawk RAX200 is a beast that should provide everything you need for years to come, including support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocols that will offer wireless speeds in excess of 1Gbps, with enough simultaneous streams to let up to a dozen of your devices get online at maximum possible speeds. 

The 64-bit 1.8GHz quad-core CPU also means that it has power to spare, and the eight amplified and beamforming antennas provide massive coverage for even the largest homes. The tri-band Wi-Fi also offers a pair of 5GHz channels, each with MU-MIMO support and 4.8Gbps of bandwidth, so network congestion won’t be a problem even in a large family. 

Security-wise, the RAX200 offers a robust set of features, including support for WPA3, the latest Wi-Fi security protocol that not only protects your wireless network from snooping but also features improvements that make it easier to add new ones. There’s also the usual set of firewall capabilities to protect your network from outside intruders, plus the ability to control access to the Wi-Fi networks, block specific sites and services, and set schedules for access. It also features a built-in VPN server, which lets you securely access your home network from your PC, Mac, or even your iPhone or Android device. 

Good to Know

Wi-Fi 6 isn't just about faster speeds—it also automatically provides improved security over older Wi-Fi standards, since all Wi-Fi 6 devices are required to support the newest WPA3 security standard. WPA3 will make it harder for hackers to get at your Wi-Fi network, but also adds features that make it easier for you to get your own devices connected.

Best Design: TP-Link OnHub AC1900

What We Like
  • Looks cool

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Promised features don't always deliver

Google’s TP-Link OnHub AC1900 is the search engine giant’s first entry into the wider space of router manufacturing. Partnering with TP-Link, the OnHub reaches speeds of up to 1900Mbps and is powered by 13 antennas capable of blanketing a home with network coverage up to 2,500 square feet. With a bonus of support for more than 100-plus connected devices, even if you’re having a party there’s more than enough power to make sure everyone stays connected. Google’s own On app adds one of the easiest setup processes around and provides easy network monitoring directly from your Android- or iOS-powered device.

Google has also ensured a steady future for the OnHub with the promise of automatic security updates far into the future. The OnHub receives software updates to stay up-to-date with known Internet threats. Beyond security, its cylinder shape is a far cry from the run-of-the-mill wireless router design.

Tested by

What to Look for in a Secure Router

Built-in VPNs - ISPs can keep a closer eye on the content we access online by selecting specific services they may wish to throttle (slow down) or prioritize (speed up). Routers with built-in VPNs allow users to surf the web without worry of being watched; all traffic is carefully encrypted out of sight of your ISP.

Built-in firewalls - Because we tend to use multiple devices on our home networks, ensuring that a firewall is installed correctly on every machine can be a difficult task. Keep an eye out for routers that have built-in firewall solutions — they offer broad network protection to fend off potential attacks.

Smartphone access - Many modern routers allow for remote monitoring of your network via dedicated mobile applications for your smartphone or tablet. The ability to access your network from your smartphone means you can keep a close eye on everything that is happening. If you spot an unrecognized device accessing the network, you can quickly take action to remove it.

Test Results: Asus RT-AC88U (Best Overall)

What We Like
  • Powerful software

  • Fast speed

  • Easy to connect devices

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Antennas too tall

  • Range could have been better

This router came highly rated by our testers for its “surprisingly simple” setup, easy connectivity, and powerful software. The downsides of this router, according to our testers, were that its antennas were a little too tall and that its range could have been better: "Unfortunately, this router doesn’t have the same range that comparable mesh routers have," one reviewer said, "and you likely won’t be able to get a strong signal across a large home." One tester also noted its high price tag, but said that it was a "premium price for a premium experience."