Best Firewall Routers of 2019

Fortify your network with these powerful routers.

Best of the bestBest for gamingBest dealBest for security
NETGEAR Nighthawk X10ASUS RT-AC3100TP-Link Archer C1200Bitdefender Box 2
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Your router is the heart of your wireless network. It can also be your first line of defense against attack. While most routers include a built-in firewall to protect your network, not all are created equal. We’ve rounded up the top firewall routers to help your home Wi-Fi stay safe and secure.

The 4 Best Firewall Routers

ModelMax speedEthernet portsPriceGet it
Best of the bestNETGEAR Nighthawk X107,200 Mbps6$$$$$View on Amazon
Best for gamingASUS RT-AC31003,167 Mbps4$$$$View on Amazon
Best dealTP-Link Archer C12001,200 Mbps4$View on Amazon
Best for securityBitdefender Box 21,900 Mbps2$$$View on Amazon
Best of the best
ModelNETGEAR Nighthawk X10
Max speed7,200 Mbps
Ethernet ports6
Price$$$$$
Get itView on Amazon
Best for gaming
ModelASUS RT-AC3100
Max speed3,167 Mbps
Ethernet ports4
Price$$$$
Get itView on Amazon
Best deal
ModelTP-Link Archer C1200
Max speed1,200 Mbps
Ethernet ports4
Price$
Get itView on Amazon
Best for security
ModelBitdefender Box 2
Max speed1,900 Mbps
Ethernet ports2
Price$$$
Get itView on Amazon

*Price at time of writing

Top Routers for Security

Before we talk about what to look for in a secure router, let’s take a look at the routers themselves. Even though all the routers featured here include built-in firewalls, some are more security-oriented than others.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10

Best of the best
NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 image

 
  • Max speed: 7,200 Mbps
  • Ethernet ports: 6
  • Price: $$$$
  • Antennas: 4
  • Bands: Tri-band
 

The Nighthawk X10 was billed as the most powerful router on the market when it was released, and despite new competitors, that designation holds up today.

If you want a fast router with all the bells and whistles—like MU-MIMO to optimize simultaneous streaming and Dynamic Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize important traffic—look no further.

The X10 features a built-in firewall to secure your devices and data, but unfortunately that’s where the security features end.

Still, the combination of advanced features, blazing fast speeds, long range, and a built-in firewall makes this our top pick and one of the best routers you can buy.

If you have a large home or office, be sure to check out our guide to the best long-range routers.

Pros

  • Tons of power
  • Advanced features to maximize speed and signal strength

Cons

  • Expensive price
  • Fairly basic security features

MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple-input multiple-output) is a technology that helps routers process signals from different devices at the same time. In homes with lots of devices online at once, MU-MIMO can significantly improve performance.

ASUS RT-AC3100

Best for gaming
ASUS AC3100 router image

 
  • Max speed: 3,167 Mbps
  • Ethernet ports: 4
  • Price: $$$
  • Antennas: 4
  • Bands: Dual-band
 

The ASUS RT-AC3100 offers fast wireless speeds and advanced features like MU-MIMO to maximize performance. It’s also packing several features that make it ideal for both gaming and keeping your family safe online.

For gamers, the RT-AC3100 offers access to the WTFast Gamers Private Network. This is a private network of optimized servers that are intended only for gaming.

When the Gamers Private Network is turned on, traffic is routed through these servers to reduce latency and lag and improve response times.

The RT-AC3100 also features AiProtection from Trend Micro. This software goes beyond a simple firewall: it monitors your devices and home network and protects against cyber attacks, blocks malicious or inappropriate websites, and keeps infected devices from spreading viruses on your network. It also features excellent parental controls.

Pros

  • Advanced security features powered by Trend Micro
  • Technology optimized specifically for gaming

Cons

  • Comes with only four Ethernet ports
  • Lacks the latest cutting-edge wireless standards

TP-Link Archer C1200

Best deal
TP-Link AC1200 router image

 
  • Max speed: 1,200 Mbps
  • Ethernet ports: 4
  • Price: $
  • Antennas: 3
  • Bands: Dual-band
 

The best budget router is a tough category with lots of competition. But this affordable little router from TP-Link stands out.

It packs a lot of networking power for the price. Although it isn’t capable of the same blazing speeds as the other routers on this list, its 1,200 Mbps should be plenty for most home networks.

This router actually comes in two versions: the basic Archer C1200 model and, for $10 more, the more advanced Archer A6 with MU-MIMO. This feature helps the router communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, increasing efficiency on the network. It also features a built-in firewall to enhance network security.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Excellent features for the price

Cons

  • Lacks advanced features of pricier models

Bitdefender Box 2

Best for security
Bitdefender Box 2 router image

 
  • Max speed: 1,900 Mbps
  • Ethernet ports: 2
  • Price: $$$
  • Antennas: 3
  • Bands: Dual-band
 

The Bitdefender Box 2 is unique because it’s actually meant to complement your existing router rather than function on its own. It adds powerful active network security to your home Wi-Fi setup. This includes assessing your devices for vulnerabilities, checking for unusual use patterns, and setting robust parental controls.

The Box 2 can also function as a standalone router in a pinch, though it lacks some of the speed and power of the dedicated routers on this list. If security is a priority, this is one of the most secure wireless routers you can buy.

Pros

  • Comes with powerful active security features
  • Secures your existing router or replaces it completely

Cons

  • Less power than other standalone routers
  • Only two Ethernet ports

What to look for in a secure router?

Let’s dive deeper and learn more about what to look for in a firewall router.

What’s a firewall?

In simple terms, a firewall is a piece of software that blocks unauthorized access to a network. They work by inspecting each incoming (and sometimes outgoing) packet of information on the network for suspicious behavior.

If something fishy is detected, the firewall blocks the packet from passing.

For example, if you’re streaming movies at home and the firewall detects a request for access to your computer (say, from a malicious website or hacker), it will block that access and allow you to continue streaming in peace.

Does a firewall affect network performance?

Firewalls do affect performance, but typically the difference is so small that you’d never notice it. This is especially true with streaming and web browsing because once the content is loaded, there’s no need for continuous network activity.

It’s possible to have a firewall so strict that it does noticeably affect performance, but this is something you’d have to go out of your way to set up.

Firewall Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to everything, and firewalls are no exception. But unless your firewall setup is unusually active, there’s really no reason to not have one in place.

Pros

  • Prevents malicious software and files
  • Prevents unauthorized transmissions from being sent from your computer (like keyloggers)

Cons

  • Poorly configured firewalls can prevent your programs from functioning normally
  • Overly strict rules can impact performance

Modems Vs. Routers

Simply put, a modem is a device that translates the signal from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) into something usable by your computer and other devices. It’s your gateway to the internet.

A wireless router is a device that takes that signal and broadcasts it as a Wi-Fi network so you can access the internet without plugging into the modem directly.

Don’t neglect your firewall.

Firewalls are an important part of the overall security of your network. They shouldn’t be overlooked.

And while Windows and macOS include built-in software firewalls, a firewall coming from the router can stop harmful activity before it even has a chance to reach your computer.

That’s why it’s worth paying attention to the security and firewall features that come with any router you’re purchasing—it could save you from a lot of mess.

FAQ About Firewall Routers

Do modems affect your internet speed?

Modems affect your internet speed, but they also don’t. Let us explain: If your modem’s max speed is lower than your internet plan allows, you’ll be losing bandwidth. But a modem with a max speed higher than your plan won’t magically make things faster.

What is a combined modem and router?

Typically modems and routers are separate devices. The modem translates your ISP’s signal, and the router broadcasts it wirelessly as a Wi-Fi network. Some manufacturers offer combined modems and routers, where the two devices are inside one box.

This can be more convenient, but it can also be more limiting in terms of features. Most ISPs these days provide a combined modem/router, which is sometimes called a gateway.

What is the best router for gaming?

The best router for gaming is one that can handle high speeds and several devices at once. Our favorite gaming routers are the ASUS AC5300 and NETGEAR Nighthawk X8. Check out our roundup of the best routers for online gaming to learn more.

Don’t forget about your internet connection.

A good firewall router will help protect your network, but it won’t make your internet faster. That will depend on your internet service package.

See internet speeds and providers available near you.

Edited by Cara Haynes

Author -

Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at HighSpeedInternet.com get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).

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