The 7 Best Secure Routers of 2023

Look for intelligent firewalls, intrusion prevention, Wi-Fi 5 or 6 support, beamforming antennas, and multiple types of ports

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The best secure routers include a combination of intelligent firewalls and intrusion prevention systems that will keep you safe by recognizing and stopping typical online attacks, plus regular and frequent updates, so you’re always one step ahead of the bad guys.

They often provide built-in VPN services to keep your browsing private from prying eyes and come with settings that are secure by default, so you won’t have to be a networking expert to benefit from top-notch security. Here are our picks for the best secure routers you can buy.

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Best Overall

Asus RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

ASUS AX6000 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, 8 GB Ports, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime...


What We Like
  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 Support

  • Excellent performance

  • Advanced security without recurring fees

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The RT-AX88U is a worthy update from Asus for the modern era, delivering the latest Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax technology.

The AX6000 speed rating means you’ll get up to 6Gbps of bandwidth for all your devices, plus improved range and reliability, thanks to four powerful beamforming antennas. Wi-Fi 6 OFDMA and MU-MIMO support allow it to handle even more devices vying for your capacity, even with only dual-band Wi-Fi support.

A great set of eight Gigabit Ethernet ports around the back gives you plenty of options for wired devices without needing an additional network hub or switch. Two versatile USB 3 ports can be used for anything from sharing media and printers to performing Time Machine backups from your Macs.

Like most Asus routers, however, what sets the RT-AX88U apart from the competition is its comprehensive AiProtection Pro suite of commercial-grade security features. Powered by Trend Micro, the router can automatically prevent you from accessing dangerous and malicious sites to protect you from malware, phishing, spam, adware, hacking, and ransomware attacks.

A two-way intrusion prevention system also protects your devices from external threats such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and blocks infected devices on your home network from connecting to botnet servers. There’s also a built-in VPN server with support for the most popular VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, to make secure connections back into your home network.

Advanced parental controls help keep your kids away from the darker corners of the internet and limit their online time. Unlike many router manufacturers, Asus doesn’t charge recurring subscription fees for these advanced security features, so you won’t be locked into recurring monthly costs 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

"The AiProtect feature is powered by Trend Micro and brings some useful antivirus and anti-intrusion features to the table... and it's free, so you don’t have to pay any kind of ongoing subscription fee to access it." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Asus Dual Band AX6000 Smart Wi-Fi Router

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Value

TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router


What We Like
  • No extra cost for antivirus and parental controls

  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 support

  • Built-in OpenVPN Server

What We Don't Like
  • Mobile app required to configure security features

  • Sluggish NAS performance

TP-Links’ Archer AX50 is an affordable way to jump securely into the world of advanced Wi-Fi 6 technology, offering impressive performance for the latest 802.11ax WI-Fi 6 clients and even all your older 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 devices, plus enough range to handle the needs of a modest-sized household. 

The AX3000 rating means you’ll get a solid 3Gbps dual-band Wi-Fi, shared across the 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies. In addition to the beamforming antennas, it includes a nice assortment of other advanced features we don’t usually find in routers at this price range, including 160MHz-wide channels, plus static link aggregation to allow you to combine two of the Gigabit Ethernet ports into a single 2Gbps link for handling ultra-fast internet plans or even higher-performance NAS devices at home.

While it’s not the more advanced 802.1AX LACP link aggregation offered by some of TP-Link’s higher-end routers, it’s still a nice bonus at this price and more than ample for the needs of most home users.

The AX50 also offers a robust security and parental control suite through TP-Link’s free HomeCare suite, which is powered by Trend Micro. While the underlying anti-virus and anti-malware features are similar to what Asus AiProtection offers, the parental control features are much more granular, allowing for the blocking of websites based on a wider variety of age-based categories, along with the usual time-based scheduling features.

The security features are also rounded out with an OpenVPN server to give you secure access to your network when you’re away from home, along with easily customizable QoS to ensure your streaming, gaming, and video calls get top priority. 

One word of caution: TP-Link sells another very similar version of the AX50 known as the AX3000 that looks the same and offers near-identical Wi-Fi specs. However, it lacks the free HomeCare subscription and only sports a USB 2.0 port, so don’t be misled by the fact that both are AX3000 speed routers—it’s the AX50 you want. 

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: HomeCare, WPA3, OpenVPN | Standard/Speed: AX3000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5

"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." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer

Best Mesh

Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System

Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System


What We Like
  • Easy to set up

  • Versatile and expandable mesh configuration

  • Real-time content filtering & malware protection

What We Don't Like
  • Limited Ethernet ports

  • Lacks PPPoE support

  • Content filtering requires monthly subscription

While you can technically buy a single Eero Pro to get 1,750 square feet of coverage, Eero works best with multiple units as a holistic mesh Wi-Fi network. Three units deliver over 5,000 square feet of solid and reliable Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.

If you need more than that, you can buy additional Eero Pro, Eero, or Eero Beacon units to expand into the farthest reaches of your home. Eero Pro units offer tri-band Wi-Fi with a single 2.4GHz and dual 5GHz bands, while standard Eero and Eero Beacon devices provide dual-band Wi-Fi, so you can mix and match to create the best system for your particular needs.

The Eero Beacons sacrifice the two Gigabit Ethernet ports found on the other units in favor of an unobtrusive plug-in design that can double as a nightlight around your home. 

Best of all, however, is that the Eero system is straightforward to configure. All the setup is handled through a mobile app requiring no knowledge of routers or network systems. It's one of the most intuitive user interfaces we've seen.

Eero was one of the first mesh Wi-Fi systems to be certified as a secure router for Apple HomeKit, so it's a cinch to set it up to protect 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 unsavory 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 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)

"Eero Secure automatically scans for problems, blocks threats, and blocks ads at the DNS level, and you can see details about what it has blocked through the app." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Gaming

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6 Gaming Router (GT-AX11000) - Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router, 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU, WTFast, 2.5G Port, AiMesh Compatible,...


What We Like
  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 support

  • Extremely fast performance

  • Cutting-edge security features for gamers

What We Don't Like
  • Large footprint

  • Expensive

Asus hasn’t cut any corners with the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, a powerful beast of a router with more than enough oomph to deliver top-notch security and the kind of low latency that all but guarantees you’ll dominate the battlefields.

The GT-AX11000 adds several specialized security features designed expressly with gamers in mind. This includes VPN Fusion, which will let you keep your VPN running to secure your normal surfing and browsing traffic without the overhead that usually slows down your games.

Asus’ AiProtection Pro is baked in here too. Still, it’s been enhanced with the kind of features gamers need, such as Open NAT for quickly teaming up with your friends to join and host multiplayer games without compromising 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 comes with advanced tri-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 that offers combined speeds of 10Gbps across the two 5GHz and single 2.4GHz bands, plus eight beamforming antennas that can blanket a 5,000 square-foot home filled with dozens of Wi-Fi devices.

A specialized 2.5Gbps gaming port joins four Gigabit Ethernet ports around the back. Support for Asus’ AiMesh 2.0 technology lets you mix and match various Asus routers to create a mesh network throughout your home.

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

"The second 5GHz network included with this tri-band router really helps free up bandwidth for mission-critical situations, the range and overall performance are fantastic, and Wi-Fi 6 is an absolute must-have if you’re buying a router in this price range." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Router

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Parental Controls

Synology RT2600ac Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

Synology RT2600ac Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router


What We Like
  • Intuitive web interface

  • Sophisticated parental controls

  • SD card slot

What We Don't Like
  • Sluggish network storage

  • No wireless bridge support

Synology is so well-known for its best-in-class network-attached storage (NAS) devices that it's easy to forget that the company also makes a pretty powerful router in the form of the RT2600ac. While it doesn't deliver all the latest Wi-Fi technologies, it's a very robust unit with a strong focus on privacy and security, thanks to Synology's background in building full-featured operating systems for its products. 

The RT2600ac is no slouch, with four powerful beamforming antennas delivering great range, plus AC2600 dual-band Wi-Fi that can deliver up to 1.7Gbps of bandwidth to your 5GHz devices and 800Gbps on the 2.4GHz channels.

While it's not designed to handle the largest and busiest homes, it still provides enough speed for a typical family's streaming, surfing, and gaming needs, plus MU-MIMO to ensure every device gets its fair share of bandwidth. This means you'll have no problem watching Netflix in 4K and keeping in touch with friends and family on Zoom and FaceTime. 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. 

Where the RT2600ac shines, however, is in its Router Management System, which offers a level of flexibility and power that goes beyond the firmware found on most routers. This is more like a full router operating system. It is effortless to set up, and the tile-based interface will be immediately recognizable to anybody who's ever used one of Synology's NAS devices.

This makes the parental controls exceptionally versatile, letting you set up general filtering rules for your entire network and your guest network separately, plus individual profiles for your kids 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

"This router is worth a look if you want something that’s easy to set up but hides a lot of potential under the hood." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Synology RT2600ac Wi-Fi Router

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Design

Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 8-Stream AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk 8-Stream AX8 Wifi 6 Router (RAX80) – AX6000 Wireless Speed (Up to 6 Gbps) | 2,500 sq. ft. Coverage


What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • Netgear Armor security

  • Advanced parental controls

What We Don't Like
  • Hidden antennas can't be adjusted

  • Security features require ongoing subscription

With its sleek stealth fighter-like design, NETGEAR’s Nighthawk RAX80 looks every bit the part of a high-tech secure router, and that appearance is more than just skin deep. With support for Netgear’s Armor anti-malware security suite, parental controls powered by Circle with Disney, and the latest WPA3 wireless security, the RAX80 is ready to protect your home network from threats both inside and out.

With advanced 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, the RAX80 is no slouch on the wireless side. The large hawk-like wings conceal four powerful beamforming antennas that can deliver up to 2,500 square feet of coverage, and 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.

While Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices will give you the best performance, the RAX80 is also fully backward-compatible with your 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 includes Netgear’s Armor cybersecurity suite, powered by Bitdefender, although you’ll have to pay a small annual fee to access this once the initial trial period is over. Netgear Armor protects your network devices from malware, viruses, and other internet attacks, whether smartphones and laptops or connected home devices like thermostats and door locks.

Thanks to Netgear’s mobile app, you can get instant alerts whenever a threat is detected and blocked by the router, automatic blocking of potentially harmful websites, and even a full-featured VPN to keep your browsing activity private and secure. 

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

"The Nighthawk RAX80 might not actually fly, but it does look great on the desk or shelf. The overall shape does look a bit odd when wall-mounted, but it’s small enough that you shouldn’t be forced to mount it if you don’t want to." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Netgear Nighthawk RAX80

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen 

Best for Travel

GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel Router

GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel Router


What We Like
  • Extremely portable

  • Three Gigabit Ethernet ports

  • Advanced VPN support

What We Don't Like
  • Limited range

  • Middling Wi-Fi speeds

Many of the biggest threats to online security are encountered on public wireless networks in places like hotels and airports. Fortunately, frequent travelers can benefit from GL.iNet’s GL-AR750S, an ultra-portable little router that can set up a bubble of strong, secure, and private Wi-Fi wherever you find yourself.

This little box provides impressive AC750 dual-band WI-Fi, which is more than enough for the places most folks will use it. This router is purposely built to deliver secure Wi-Fi to a handful of personal devices within a small area like a hotel room or conference room. Three Gigabit Ethernet ports let you share a connection to your wired devices as well, and there’s even a microSD card slot built-in, so you can pack in 128GB of storage to use it as a portable file and media server. 

Of course, you can certainly share it with your colleagues too, and thanks to its OpenWRT firmware, it’s versatile enough to be used in a variety of different ways, such as creating a standard wireless network or acting as a range extender, wireless bridge, Wi-Fi client, WISP network hotspot.

The built-in USB 2.0 port lets you share files or connect a cellular USB modem to use as a mobile hotspot. Best of all, a built-in OpenVPN server includes 25 preconfigured VPN service providers and Cloudflare’s encrypted DNS servers, so you can easily ensure that your internet activity is encrypted to guarantee maximum privacy and security wherever you may land. 

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: OpenWrt, WPA2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, CloudFlare | Standard/Speed: AC750 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 3

  • Can routers be hacked?

    There are many different ways that a router can be hacked, which is why it’s important to follow best security practices for your router, since if your router is compromised, then all of the devices in your home will be at risk. Always change the default configuration password—and the “admin” username too if you can, and ensure you’re using at least WPA2 for your Wi-Fi with a secure password. Since viruses and malware on your computer can also be used to attack your router from the inside, be sure to use the best antivirus software to protect the PCs and laptops inside your home.

  • Should you leave your Wi-Fi router on all the time?

    As long as you’re using a secure router with a strong Wi-Fi password there’s no need to turn off your router at night or disconnect from the internet when you’re not using it, and in fact there may be good reasons not to, since your router and other devices like smart TVs and internet-of-things devices will use the quiet overnight hours to perform firmware and other important security updates. That said, it doesn’t hurt to restart your router once in a while, especially if you’re experiencing network performance problems. 

  • Do you need a VPN?

    A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a key component of many of the best secure routers, and while it’s not strictly needed just to keep your home network secure, it can help to protect your privacy by encrypting everything that leaves your home network. Although sensitive data like banking, email, and e-commerce sites are encrypted even without a VPN, it’s still possible for your ISP and others along the path to monitor your surfing habits; using a VPN will prevent this.

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