The best VPN routers of 2024

When you’re looking for a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) setup, there is a choice to make: software that will need to be individually installed on PCs, mobile devices, and TVs, or you can choose to 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.

Also: The best VPN services (and tips to choose the right one for you)

What is the best VPN router right now?

ZDNET has years of experience in testing VPN solutions and hardware, and after extensive research, ZDNET’s recommended top VPN router is the ExpressVPN Aircove. This router has a VPN already installed, saving you the work of setting up and configuring the software. It has 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

ExpressVPN Aircove

Best VPN router overall

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

The ExpressVPN Aircove is our top pick based on the router’s speed, ease of setup, and security. The router offers users 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 what servers are used by what devices are connected to the router. For example, you might want a gaming PC disconnected from the VPN, whereas you want an office laptop to run through a US or UK VPN server. 

However, in any case, you will also need an ExpressVPN subscription. A free trial is included with the router purchase. Customers report that speed and performance are excellent, 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

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Best VPN router for affordability

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

The ASUS RT-AX1800S is an affordable VPN solution. The Wi-Fi 6 model, available for only $70 ($30 off), operates on the 2.4GHz frequency and offers up to 1Gbps speed, together with 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.


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

Best VPN router for power

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

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), combining 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.

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

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Synology RT2600ac

Best VPN router for VPN flexibility, remote work

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

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

Synology RT2600ac

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ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400)

Best VPN router for security

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

For a more stylish option with custom lighting effects, you may want to consider the 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 and is compatible with 802.11ax and 160MHz channels, 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 and there is, overall, excellent network performance, although people mentioned that you may come across firmware issues.

ASUS RT-AX82U (AX5400)

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ZDNET’s top VPN router is the ExpressVPN Aircove. This router has a VPN already installed, saving you the work of setting up and configuring the software. It has impressive speeds and coverage.

However, its ExpressVPN exclusivity might not appeal to you, so you could also select another option, as below.

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 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: There are VPN routers available that suit a variety of budgets. However, if you can, you might consider a future-proof VPN router able to 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, which is 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 kept in mind the reputation of router manufacturers, considering popularity, variety, and product accessibility. 

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network of nodes — or servers — that reroute internet traffic to mask its original IP address. VPNs also add a layer of encryption to protect data packets and online communication. 

As the internet was not designed to be inherently secure, VPNs were developed to bridge part of the security gap. While they are not a foolproof solution, a reliable and trustworthy VPN can help protect your online privacy.

If you want to understand how VPNs work in more detail, check out our guide on everything you need to know about VPNs.

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 which need protection and if 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 disable your VPN service to resume watching, temporarily.

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

However, a word of caution: if you are installing third-party software on your router, you might end up voiding its warranty — just as jailbreaking mobile devices or changing the firmware of a gaming console can result in a warranty becoming invalid.  

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 consistently protect yourself and your information. VPNs are also beneficial in circumventing geolocation blocks and censorship.

You should keep in mind, however, that some countries either ban VPN usage entirely or heavily discourage their use. If using a VPN is illegal, you may be subject to fines or prosecution. 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. 

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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