Cyberattacks are an ever-present threat; most rely on weak WiFi router security to tap into your personal network. And though antivirus programs exist, installing them on each device is tiring and impractical.
Good antivirus software requires a subscription, and fees can quickly add up if you operate multiple devices.
This begs the question: wouldn’t it be better to get a WiFi router with strong security protocols to protect against viruses and malware?
In this blog, we’ll cover the most secure wireless routers (with high-end security features) you can purchase today!
- What is the Most Secure Wi-Fi Router?
- Best Secure WiFi Routers – At a Glance
- Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 – Most Secure Wireless Router for Home
- Asus RT-AXE7800 – Best Secure Router for Small Business
- Asus ZenWiFi XT9 – Best Wi-Fi Router for Large Home
- Netgear CAX80 – Most Secure Modem Router Combo
- TP-Link Archer AX90 – Best Wi-Fi Router for Multiple Devices
- Bonus: Turris Omnia I – Best Open Source Wireless Router
What is the Most Secure Wi-Fi Router?
The most secure WiFi router has the latest WPA3 cryptography certification, features pre-configured VPN support, and receives regular firmware updates for enhanced security. Also, a secure WiFi router must have full parental controls, a robust firewall, and a capable built-in antivirus utility to protect your network against all cyber threats.
Let’s break each feature down for more details.
Secure WiFi routers come with WPA2 and, more recently, WPA3 certification for a safe and secure network. WPA (WiFi Protected Access) is a security certification program developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Both WPA2 and WPA3 offer support for CCMP (Counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol), an AES-based encryption protocol.
WPA2 uses a 128-bit wide AES session key, generating up to 3.4 x 10^38 possible keys. On the other hand, WPA3 increases the session key size to 192-bit for up to 6.2 x 1057 possible keys. This is almost 1019, or roughly ten quintillion times more keys than WPA2, making the password nearly impossible to crack by brute force attacks.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are subscription-based services that encrypt your internet traffic. VPNs reroute all your internet traffic through a remote private server, usually located offshores, and provide a secure channel that offers complete privacy and bypasses any internet restrictions or censorship enforced by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
All secure WiFi routers provide built-in VPN support and automatically reroute all your traffic without installing VPN software on all your smartphones, tablets, computers, and other gadgets.
The internet landscape changes rapidly – hackers always find new ways to exploit hardware vulnerabilities, including WiFi routers. That’s why regular firmware updates are crucial to keeping your cybersecurity strong.
Secure WiFi routers receive constant firmware updates from the manufacturer to prepare the device against the latest threats. They also update their built-in antivirus utility periodically, often multiple times daily, to thwart any malware attempts and keep the entire network safe from cyberattacks.
Secure WiFi routers offer advanced security features such as complete parental control and robust encryption algorithms supporting long passwords for improved security. Secure WiFi routers also feature specialized firewalls and built-in antivirus programs to prevent DDoS attacks. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks aim to overwhelm a network by flooding it with false requests made by bots.
Now, let’s go over the best secure routers in 2023:
Best Secure WiFi Routers – At a Glance
- Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500: A lightning-fast secure quality router. Our top pick for home users.
- Asus RT-AXE7800: A WiFi 6E capable router that can handle over 100 client devices without problems. It’s ideal for commercial use and small businesses concerned about cyberattacks.
- ASUS ZenWiFi XT9: A secure mesh WiFi router that can effectively cover a large area without any dead zones.
- Netgear CAX80: A modem + wireless router combo that can save you from your ISP’s monthly equipment rental fees.
- TP-Link Archer AX90: A powerful WiFi router that can keep up with nearly 200 client devices without issues. Ideal for smart homes.
- Turris Omnia I: A unique, open-source, OpenWrt-compliant WiFi router that can be used with custom firmware.
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 – Most Secure Wireless Router for Home
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is the best Wi-Fi router for home users with online security concerns. It’s a feature-rich 6GHz super fast router that supports all the latest security protocols for utmost privacy. Let’s take a closer look to see what makes it so special.
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax-e) capable router with a peak bandwidth of 10,809 Mbps. The router supports all WiFi bands, namely 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band provides 1,201 Mbps at peak, whereas the 5 GHz and 6 GHz can deliver a peak bandwidth of 4,804 Mbps each. In short, it’s the fastest WiFi router money can buy.
The RAXE500 isn’t just about performance; it has a sleek, stylish, and futuristic look thanks to its all-blacked-out stealth bomber exterior. This internet router measures 12.2 x 8.3 x 2.3 inches and weighs 3.94 lbs; it’s not too big or heavy. Overall, it’s easily the best-looking WiFi router among all the routers we tested for this review.
Powering the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is a powerful quad-core ARMv8a CPU clocked at 1.8 GHz. The CPU is accompanied by a sizable 1GB of RAM, alongside 512MB of internal flash memory that houses the router’s firmware and antivirus program. Each wing houses four internal antennas for a total of 8 antennas.
Lastly, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 supports beamforming, MU-MIMO, and WPA2/WPA3 encryption for maximum security. It also supports VPN, parental controls, and a distributed adaptive firewall that receives automatic OTA updates to keep the router well-prepared against the latest cyber threats.
In short, if you’re looking for a secure, capable, and versatile WiFi router that also happens to look cool, it doesn’t get any better than Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500.
- 6GHz WiFi band dedicated to WiFi 6E devices including Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. Enjoy 4K/8K video streaming, AR/VR gaming and HD videoconferencing.Beamforming : Improve range and performance for 2.4GHz, 5GHz & 6GHz devices. Automatic firmware update delivers latest security patches to the router.
- Powerful 1.8GHz quad-core processor gives you exceptional 10.8Gbps WiFi speed, 9x faster than WiFi 5. Backward compatible for all WiFi devices on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
- Coverage up to 3,500 sq. ft. and 60 devices
- Replace your existing WiFi Router (separate modem or modem router required). Compatible with any Internet Service Provider up to 2Gbps including cable, satellite, fiber, DSL and more
- Sets up in minutes with the Nighthawk app – easily manage WiFi settings at the device and network level, test internet speed and monitor data usage
- 4 x 1G and 1 x 2.5G Ethernet ports for computers, game consoles, streaming players and other wired devices
- NETGEAR Armor protects your family's WiFi with an automatic shield of security across all your connected devices with a 30-day free trial
- NETGEAR Smart Parental Controls promotes healthy Internet habits, fosters responsibility and builds trust with your kids (30-day free trial included)
- OFDMA, MU-MIMO, Dynamic QoS, 1024-QAM, Smart Connect for one WiFi name, Beamforming technologies and Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Voice Control. Supports WPA2/WPA3 wireless security protocols. Includes Guest WiFi access, DoS, Firewall, VPN and more
Asus RT-AXE7800 – Best Secure Router for Small Business
The Asus RT-AXE7800 is easily the most secure router from hackers you can get for your small business. It’s fast, capable, and safe, with support for the latest WiFi 6E standard for blazing fast internet speeds, ideal for commercial use.
As mentioned, the Asus RT-AXE7800 is a WiFi 6E (802.11ax-e) capable WiFi router with a tri-band radio that supports all WiFi frequencies. The 2.4 GHz band is limited to 574 Mbps, whereas the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands can provide up to 4,804 Mbps and 2,402 Mbps at peak, respectively. This gives the router a combined output of up to 7,780 Mbps, which, although not class-leading, is still more than enough for a small company.
Like other premium WiFi routers in Asus’ lineup, the RT-AXE7800 features a unique hexagonal design that sets it apart from other routers. An antenna is located at each corner of the router for a total of six external antennas.
One downside of the design is the size. The Asus RT-AXE7800 is quite big at 10.1 x 10.1 x 6.3 inches and is the heaviest router on this list (at 4.2 lbs). Also, the hexagonal design makes it challenging to wall mount this device. While it can be technically mounted on a wall, it’s harder to do than with other routers. Just a little heads up.
At the heart of the Asus RT-AXE7800 is a quad-core 64-bit ARM CPU running at a nippy 1.7 GHz. The CPU has 512MB of RAM and 256MB of internal flash memory that contains the router’s firmware. There’s enough power on tap to maintain a steady connection over 100 wireless devices simultaneously.
To summarize, the RT-AXE7800 can handle the WiFi needs of a small business unless your office has more than 100 wireless devices. It’s also very secure, thanks to WPA2 and WPA3 encryption, Beamforming, MU-MIMO, and Asus’ built-in AiProtection Pro antivirus powered by Trend Micro.
- Ultra-fast WiFi 6E Technology – The whole-new 6 GHz band dramatically increases network capacity, delivering higher WiFi performance and more stable connectivity with speeds up to 7800 Mbps.
- One-Tap Safe Browsing – Block undesirable content with ASUS Safe Browsing, and protect your kids online by filtering explicit content from search results.
- Commercial-grade Security Anywhere – Protect your home network with AiProtection Pro, powered by Trend Micro. And when away from home, ASUS Instant Guard gives you a one-click sharable secure VPN.
- Advanced Parental Controls – Protect your kids online with instant monitoring, content filters and customized settings for each connected device, at no extra cost.
- Easy Extendable Network – Enjoy seamless roaming with rich, advanced features by adding any AiMesh-compatible router.
Asus ZenWiFi XT9 – Best Wi-Fi Router for Large Home
The Asus ZenWiFi XT9 is a mesh WiFi router used to cover a large home or any large space with lots of wireless dead zones. But coverage area isn’t the only thing it excels at; it’s also the best secure router for home users and comes with the latest security protocols.
The XT9 is a WiFi 6 (802.11ax) capable WiFi router. While it’s a tri-band router, it doesn’t feature the 6GHz WiFi 6E band and features a single 2.4GHz band, accompanied by dual 5GHz bands.
The 2.4GHz band peaks at 574 Mbps, while the 5GHz bands operate at 4,804 Mbps and 2,402 Mbps for a total of 7,780 Mbps peak bandwidth. Although the lack of a 6GHz band may seem like an oversight, it’s actually for the best because the 6GHz WiFi band doesn’t penetrate obstacles like the 5GHz band.
Being a mesh WiFi router, the Asus ZenWiFi XT9 is tiny (measuring just 2.95 x 3.94 x 3.94 inches). It’s also the lightest WiFi router on our list at just 1.65 lbs. Unfortunately, the design is simplistic and uninteresting, making it look more like a tiny heater than an actual router.
The good news is the Asus ZenWiFi XT9 doesn’t compromise on performance despite its tiny size. Powering the device is a zippy quad-core ARM CPU clocked at 1.7 GHz. There’s 512MB of RAM onboard, alongside 256MB of flash memory for the firmware and built-in antivirus program. Each router can handle up to 64 client devices, and the number goes up as you add more routers to the mesh network.
It’s worth mentioning that you can purchase the Asus ZenWiFi XT9 in a package of 1, 2, or 3 routers. Each router supports MU-MIMO, Beamforming, WAP2, and WPA3 encryption and offers full parental controls, VPN, adaptive firewall, and Asus’ built-in AiProtection Pro powered by Trend Micro.
Don’t let the ZenWiFi XT9’s small size deceive you. It’s every bit as capable as the heavy hitters on this list!
- Ultimate Performance – WiFi 6 tri-band whole-home mesh provides ultrafast speeds of up to 7800 Mbps for your smart home.Power Supply : AC Input : 110V~240V(50~60Hz). DC Output : 12 V with max. 3 A current.
- Expanded Coverage – The latest ASUS RangeBoost Plus technology significantly improves WiFi signal range and overall coverage, offering expansive coverage in areas up to 5700 square feet
- Easy Management – The ASUS Router app with its intuitive interface makes managing your mesh WiFi system simple right from your smartphone
- Comprehensive Network Security –Stay safe online with lifetime free AiProtection Pro powered by Trend Micro, which provides automatically updated protection for all your connected devices, and the secure VPN access via the ASUS Instant Guard feature
- Ultra-fast Wired Connection – Enjoy up to 2.5 times faster wired connectivity with a 2.5 Gbps WAN port and LAN aggregation
Netgear CAX80 – Most Secure Modem Router Combo
The Netgear CAX80 is unique in that it combines a traditional WiFi router with a cable modem. This means you won’t have to pay your ISP anything in the name of monthly equipment rental fees, and the entire router will eventually pay for itself. It’s compatible with all major internet cable providers in the U.S., including Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox, to name a few.
As for its wireless capabilities, the Netgear CAX80 is a WiFi 6 (802.11ax) capable router with dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The 2.4 GHz band is rated for an impressive 1,201 Mbps bandwidth, whereas the 5 GHz band can go as fast as 4,804 Mbps for a combined bandwidth of 6,005 Mbps. The lack of 6 GHz WiFi is a notable omission, though the 4.8 Gbps bandwidth on the 5 GHz band is more than enough for most users.
In terms of design, the Netgear CAX80 looks a lot like a PlayStation 5 with its upright angular design. Someone who isn’t tech-savvy might mistake it for a gaming console!
It measures 11.8 x 11.8 x 4.5 inches and weighs about 4.16 lbs, which is just a hair under Asus RT-AXE7800, the heaviest WiFi router on this list, you wouldn’t want to drop it on your foot!
Powering the Netgear CAS80 is a dual-core ARM CPU clocked at 1.5 GHz. Unfortunately, The CPU is a bit weaker, though there’s a generous 1GB of RAM onboard, along with 512MB of flash memory. Netgear claims the CAS80 can handle up to a hundred client devices simultaneously, so the router is up to the task despite its weaker CPU.
The CAS80 also doesn’t compromise on security with support for WPA2 + WPA3 encryption, VPN, full parental controls, and built-in Netgear Armor antivirus utility.
To conclude, if you’re in the market for a secure WiFi router + Modem combo, it doesn’t get any better than Netgear CAX80.
- Compatible with major cable internet providers including Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and more. NOT compatible with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, DISH and any bundled voice service. Best for cable provider plans up to 6Gbps
- Coverage up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 30 concurrent devices with dual-band WiFi 6 (AX6000) speed (up to 6Gbps)
- 4 X 1 Gig Ethernet ports and 1 x 2.5 Multi-gig LAN or internet port (supports port aggregation) and 1 USB 3.0 port for computers, game consoles, streaming players, storage drive, and other wired devices. Maximize your internet speeds with 2-port aggregation to achieve up to 2Gbps for ultra-fast download for streaming and gaming
- Sets up in minutes with the Nighthawk app – easily manage WiFi settings at the device and network level, test internet speed and monitor data usage
- DOCSIS 3.1 and 32x8 channel bonding
- Replaces your cable modem and WiFi router. Save up to $168/yr in equipment rental fees
- NETGEAR Armor software provides an automatic shield of security for your WiFi and connected devices (PC, phone, camera, TV, Echo, etc.) for real-time protection against hackers and added privacy with VPN. 30-day free trial included
- Supports WPA/WPA2/WPA3 wireless security protocols
TP-Link Archer AX90 – Best Wi-Fi Router for Multiple Devices
The TP-Link Archer AX90 is the most secure router for home users looking for a powerful, capable wireless router to connect several smart appliances and other IoT devices in their smart homes.
The Archer AX90 is a WiFi 6 (802.11ax) capable wireless router with tri-bands. Two of its three bands operate at 5 GHz, whereas the last one runs at 2.4 GHz. The primary 5 GHz band is rated for a peak bandwidth of 4,804 Mbps, whereas the secondary band is rated for 1,201 Mbps. Lastly, the 2.4 GHz band is limited to 574 Mbps. This gives the router a combined bandwidth of 6,579 Mbps.
It has a basic, practical, boxy design, which gives it a stereotypical WiFi router appearance, though it gets the job done. The stand-out feature is the eight external antennas at the router’s rear, which is above average.
At the center of this device is a quad-core ARM CPU clocked at 1.5 GHz alongside 256 MB of RAM and 128 MB of internal flash memory. Each router band can handle up to 64 connected devices simultaneously, which means you can connect up to 192 devices!
Of course, the TP-Link AX90 doesn’t compromise on security, either. It comes with TP-Link’s HomeShield antivirus software, which gets updated automatically without any user input. The router also supports Beamforming, MU-MIMO, WPA2/WPA3 encryption, and VPN and has robust parental controls. These controls allow you to set time limits for all your devices and filter out unwanted websites.
Overall, if you’re an IoT enthusiast and want to get your hands on cutting-edge technology, it doesn’t get any better than the TP-Link Archer AX90.
- Faster AX6600 Tri-Band Wi-Fi - 4804 Mbps (5 GHz) plus 1201 Mbps (5 GHz) plus 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
- Ultra Connectivity - 1× 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN port plus 1× 1 Gbps WAN/LAN port plus 3× Gigabit LAN ports and two USB ports ensure max flexibility and boosted throughput; The 2.5 Gbps WAN or LAN port and 1 Gbps WAN, LAN port cannot be used as the WAN port at the same time
- Maximized Coverage - Eight high-gain antennas equipped with Beamforming ensure long range coverage Operating Temperature: 0℃-40℃ (32℉ -104℉)
- More Devices with Less Lag - OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology deliver data to multiple devices, simultaneously
- TP-Link HomeShield – TP-Link's premium security services keep your home network safe with cutting-edge features for network and IoT protection, including free features 1. Network Security Scan 2. Parental Controls: basic features are free 3. QoS 4. Weekly or Monthly Reports 5. IoT Device Identification. Subscribe to HomeShield Pro if needed, dollar 5.99 per Month, 1-Month Free Trial.
- Refined Security - WPA3 reinforces Wi-Fi encryption for improved security
- TP-Link OneMesh Supported - Flexibly Create Whole Home WiFi with Archer AX90 by adding a OneMesh supported Range Extender, like RE505X
- Works with all internet service providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, Spectrum, RCN, Cox, CenturyLink, Frontier, etc.( a modem is required for most internet service providers)
Bonus: Turris Omnia I – Best Open Source Wireless Router
We wanted to break the mold and review a router more geared towards professionals and tech-savvy readers for our bonus entry. The router is called the Turris Omnia I, an open-source wireless router that runs on an operating system based on OpenWrt. As the name suggests, OpenWrt is an open-source project aimed at embedded operating systems running the Linux kernel.
OpenWrt provides a framework for developers to write their applets or applications without building the entire firmware from scratch. In short, OpenWrt can be anything you want it to be.
Since OpenWrt’s source code is available on the GitHub repository, you can inspect the code yourself for any potential backdoors or vulnerabilities. If you find one, you can request OpenWrt developers for revisions or make them yourself.
The Turris Omnia I is a dual-band WiFi 5 (802.11ac) capable router with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The primary 5 GHz band is rated up to 2,401 Mbps, whereas the 2.4 GHz band can deliver up to 574 Mbps for a peak bandwidth of 2,975 Mbps. Unfortunately, the router isn’t WiFi 6 capable and also lacks the 6 GHz band specified by WiFi 6E (802.11ax-e) standard.
Unlike other routers on our list, the Turris Omnia’s exterior is made of metal, which is rare in 2023. Its boxy exterior follows the philosophy of classic industrial design – not much unlike Apple products – with next to no angles, a minimalistic theme, and retro-futuristic looks!
The design isn’t just about aesthetics, as the metallic shell doubles as a heatsink to keep the CPU cool.
Speaking of CPU, the Turris Omnia I is powered by a dual-core ARM CPU running at 1.6 GHz. It comes with 2GB of onboard RAM and 8GB of internal flash memory. There’s enough room here to run even the heaviest applications without issues.
The Turris Omnia I doesn’t compromise on security and network coverage either. The external triple antennas support Beamforming and MU-MIMO, and the router is fully WPA2 and WPA3 compliant. It also comes with Sentinel Security System’s antivirus software based on Plesk, an open-source antivirus standard from Linux Malware Detect and ClamAV engine.
The Turris Omnia is an excellent choice if you’re in the market for an open-source wireless router.
- The Turris Omnia router features a 2.5 Gbps SFP port, a 1.6 GHz CPU, and 2 GB of RAM, providing hi-performance, dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity with Wi-Fi 5 (3X3 MIMO), and includes a 4G/5G SIM slot and 3X mPCIe slots.
- It is an open-source router designed in the EU, offering advanced user customization, including options to set up a RAID for NAS use, as well as guest LAN ports for secure network segmentation.
- With support for high-speed WAN/LAN connections, the device includes 5X GLAN/GWAN ports and 2X USB 3.0 ports, making it suitable for professional or enthusiast home networks looking to maximize throughput for wired and wireless devices.
Are Netgear Routers Safe?
Yes, Netgear routers are some of the safest routers available. All Netgear routers currently available come with smart parental controls. This feature allows you to manage and monitor your child’s internet activity, set internet usage limits, and limit their exposure to unsafe content.
Where Should You Not Keep Your Wireless Router?
For best WiFi coverage, keep your wireless router away from high-powered appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. These devices emit Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation, which can interfere with your wireless router’s radio signals, which are also high-frequency EMF radiation.
Avoid placing your WiFi wireless router in a corner or near metallic objects such as steel wardrobes or refrigerators. Metal can reflect or absorb radio waves, creating potential WiFi dead zones.
How Do I Scan My Router for Malware?
If your router has a built-in antivirus utility, use it to scan the router for any viruses or malware. But ensure that the router is running the latest firmware and that the antivirus program is updated. If your router doesn’t have a built-in antivirus, many third-party PC antivirus programs – such as Avast and BitDefender – have a wireless network scanning option.
Do All WiFi 6 Routers Have WPA3?
Most WiFi 6 (802.11ax) routers support WPA3, a more secure 192-bit GCMP-256 encryption method. However, this is only the case with some WiFi 6 routers. IEEE only mandates WPA3 encryption with their newer 6GHz WiFi 6E (802.11ax-e) and the upcoming WiFi 7 (802.11be) standards.
So, if you’re considering a WiFi 6 capable wireless router, ensure that WPA3 encryption is listed in its specifications for maximum security and protection.
Can Someone See What I Do on My Phone on Their WiFi?
Yes. Although newer WiFi routers are generally safe, it’s still possible for hackers to access your private data stored on the phone, including text messages, images, videos, and passwords. This is especially true while accessing unsecured public WiFi hotspots.
To keep the data and personal information stored on your devices safe and secure, avoid public WiFi hotspots whenever you can. Also, remember to turn off WiFi auto connect and file sharing and set them to manual. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can also improve your devices’ security.
In conclusion, safeguarding your WiFi security is more important than ever with the ever-escalating cyber threats, and it all begins with your router. A secure WiFi router prevents threats from infecting your network in the first place and can potentially save you a lot of money in antivirus subscription fees.
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is our top pick for users who want security and raw performance. It supports the latest WPA3 cryptography protocol, can be used with a VPN, and offers robust parental control to keep your children’s online activity in check. Unfortunately, it’s a bit on the pricey side. Come to think of it, all routers on this list cost well over $200. So, if you are on a tighter budget, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive look at the best WiFi routers you can buy for $200 or less.