Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

May 22, 2017

A Tomato router is a type of WiFi router that has special software installed on it (firmware).  A Tomato router is a highly popular version of a ‘flashed’ router, which is specially optimized to provide faster Virtual Private Network (VPN) speeds. It allows a VPN service to be installed directly onto the router.

Tomato routers allow a VPN service to be installed directly onto them. This is a huge advantage, because it means that the internet always connects to the VPN at the router level. The outcome is that every single device on the WiFi network is protected by the VPN, with encryption and a concealed Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Once a VPN is installed on a Tomato router, the internet is permanently secured using that VPN. Furthermore, every device’s location appears to be that of the VPN server. This makes it very easy for smart TVs to bypass geo-restrictions without having to share a VPN service through a PC or laptop.

Without a Tomato router, individual devices must all have a VPN installed on them. With a Tomato router, the VPN works behind the scenes at all times, to protect every single device in your home. As such, a flashed Tomato router is by far the best way to quickly and easily secure your home’s devices with the world’s best digital privacy tool.

Best VPN for Tomato Router: Summary

ProviderPriceOur ScoreVisit
1Visit Site »
ExpressVPN review »


Our Score
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ExpressVPN review »
Special Offer: 49% off today!
2 NordVPN review »Visit Site »


Our Score
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NordVPN review »
3 IPVanish review »Visit Site »


Our Score
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IPVanish review »
4 AirVPN review »Visit Site »


Our Score
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AirVPN review »
5 VPNArea review »Visit Site »


Our Score
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VPNArea review »

And here is a more detailed look…


Editor's choice

Editor's choice

ExpressVPN Homepage
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Fantastic Tomato router compatibility
  • Sells its own pre-flashed Tomato router
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Very strong OpenVPN encryption
  • A bit pricey - but worth it!

ExpressVPN is a very close second best VPN for Tomato routers. Just like Buffered, is it highly compatible with Tomato routers. It even sells a pre-flashed Tomato router on its website. Connection speeds on this VPN are incredible throughout its massive network. Servers in 94 countries mean that consumers are spoiled for choice when it comes to locations for unblocking websites and services.

With ExpressVPN, consumers get 24/7 live chat support. That means they can ask questions about using the VPN at any time of the day. The VPN software is fantastic, and provides the very best encryption around (implemented at the highest levels). The privacy policy is very secure. It does keep some connection logs but these are aggregated only, which means that none of the data can ever be pinned to an individual user. In addition, no usage logs are kept. All in all, an absolutely amazing VPN for Tomato routers that could easily have been in first place.

Try the Best VPN Service Today!

Visit ExpressVPN »30 day moneyback guarantee


NordVPN Homepage
  • Special Offer: 77% off today!
  • No logs
  • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Great customer service
  • Servers in 58 countries
  • P2P: yes
  • Not much

ordVPN is undoubtedly a very fully-featured service. The fact that it is based in Panama and keeps no logs at all is also a big draw for those who care about privacy. Its software looks good, and works well. Speed performance is now very impressive. And a three-day free trial, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee give you plenty of opportunity to ensure that everything works for you as it should.

NordVPN permits torrenting, works with all major streaming services (including US Netflix and BBC iPlayer), and has servers in 58 countries. It even throws in a full smart DNS service for free! What you get with NordVPN is a very fully featured, privacy-friendly VPN service that is also very fast.


IPVanish Homepage
  • Works perfectly on Tomato routers
  • Lightning fast connection speeds
  • Servers in over 60 countries
  • Good customer care
  • Based in US

IPVanish is a US-based VPN that keeps zero logs. It works well on Tomato routers and it is possible to buy pre-flashed Tomato routers with the service on it. (Check out the routers section below for information on where to buy routers.) It provides lightning fast speeds and has servers in over 60 countries. OpenVPN is provided on this VPN, though it isn't implemented as strongly as it is on some of the VPNs above (ExpressVPN provides the strongest implementation). It is for this reason that the VPN can provide such good speeds for streaming. All in all, a fantastic VPN for Tomato routers that is also really good value for money.


AirVPN Homepage
  • Works wonderfully on Tomato routers
  • Fantastic top-end features
  • Servers in 16 countries
  • Zero logs
  • Strong encryption
  • Slightly more techy service

This is yet another amazing VPN for Tomato routers. Despite having fewer server locations than the other services, those servers have been placed in the most useful locations. As such, this VPN is still suitable for most people's unblocking needs. The service is renowned for being highly secure, so you won't have any trouble with privacy or security with this VPN. The software is a bit more techy than some of the other services, but the VPN has plenty of helpful guides for setting everything up. A top-end VPN for Tomato routers that is very sophisticated.


VPNArea Homepage
  • Works brilliantly on Tomato routers
  • Servers in over 50 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN encryption
  • Outstanding customer care
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Not much

VPNArea is Bulgarian VPN that is very well suited to use on a Tomato router. The service hasn't been around as long as some of the others. However, in that short time, VPNArea has proven itself to be a mesmerizing VPN service. The privacy policy is watertight, and the firm keeps no logs. Encryption is provided by strong OpenVPN implementation, which makes this VPN both secure and private.

For such a young VPN firm, this service has a staggering number of servers. Those servers are all reliable and fast. In fact, you won't have any trouble streaming in HD with this VPN. The VPN also provides a seven-day money-back guarantee, so you will have no trouble testing this service on your router to see if you prefer it to the others. At the end of the day, if you have a Tomato router, you have no reason not to test all of these services, because they all have a trial period that they honor.

Considerations for Tomato Routers

When it comes to selecting a Tomato router (unlike with DD-WRT routers) there are plenty of choices. We have included the five best routers of 2017 later in this article. The Wikipedia article about Tomato firmware does an excellent job of explaining the options and, in our opinion, the best Tomato router of 2017 is the Asus RT-AC3200 AC3200.

However, you don’t have to buy a pre-flashed router: you could just buy a normal one and flash it yourself. This is a bit tougher, but for techies it is an option. For everybody else, a pre-flashed and set up Tomato router from FlashRouters is advisable.

If you do want to flash your own router there are many guides for doing so. In fact, most VPN services have a guide for flashing and setting up their VPN service on the router. However, if you are not particularly techy we recommend against doing it yourself, as there is the possibility of “bricking” the router (locking it up forever).

What Is a Tomato Router?

A Tomato router is like a regular router, but has different software installed on it (known as firmware). That software allows people to have more control over the functions of the router. In addition, it allows people to install VPN apps (known as clients) directly onto the router.

This makes the router better for the following reasons:

  • It is optimized for VPN, meaning that it can achieve better speeds.
  • Multiple clients can be set up at the same time (just in case you want to use more than one VPN).
  • Control and monitoring of the VPN is simpler and affects all devices simultaneously.

What Is a VPN for Tomato Router?

A VPN service is a digital privacy service that does two incredibly important things. Firstly, it encrypts all the data coming and going from a device. Usually, people install a VPN on a smartphone, tablet, PC, or laptop. However, when installed on a Tomato router, the VPN is applied to all internet traffic, no matter which device in the building is generating that traffic.

The second reason for a VPN service is to make use of the various server locations available on the VPN network. World class VPNs have a network of servers in many countries around the world. That allows people to ‘pretend’ to be in any one of those countries in order to overcome geo-restrictions. In addition, by using a foreign IP address, citizens can bypass local censorship, whether it be by your government, landlord, work, or Internet Service Provider (ISP).

If you’d like more information about routers and VPNs, then take a look at our big router guide.

Which VPN for Tomato Router Should I Pick?

Setting up a VPN on a Tomato router is pretty easy to do. All of the providers we have selected have fantastic setup guides for doing so. While it is possible to set up both Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and OpenVPN clients on a router, we recommend using the latter, because it is much more secure. To understand the differences between the different encryption protocols you can read this page.

All of our top five VPNs for Tomato routers have setup guides, and are all world-class VPN services. Thus deciding between them should be based on the level of VPN service on offer: where does the VPN have servers, what connection speeds are available, what is the level of OpenVPN implementation, and what is customer care like? All of the VPNs in this guide are at the top of their game, so would make an excellent choice. However, there are subtle differences between the services, so please look closely to make sure you get the best Tomato router VPN for you.

Tomato, DD-WRT, and Other Router Firmware

There are many different firmware options available for routers. From OpenWRT to Sabai OS – there is one to suit everyone. If you’re unsure whether Tomato is the firmware for you, read our in-depth comparison between the main options. At BestVPN.com we like the connection speeds that good Tomato routers provide, as well as the fact that you can have two different VPN apps set up at the same time (though only one can be running at any one time).

The Best Tomato Routers for VPN Use

To help you choose a Tomato router, we have taken a close look at which Tomato routers are available in 2017. In our opinion, the best five routers of 2017 are primarily made by Asus and Netgear. All of these routers are available via FlashRouters.com, which is the best place to buy flashed routers.

Please don’t forget, however, that ExpressVPN actually sells its own pre-loaded Tomato router. Thus, if you want to get going right away (with one of the best VPNs in the world on a pre-flashed router), then click through to that provider and start a chat with them (24/7!).

In addition, it is worth looking at our overall 5 best Routers article here.

Here are the five best Tomato routers:

1. Asus RT-AC3200 AC3200

This router is currently available for the reduced price $379.99 (usually $499.99). It is a mega fast router that comes with Tomato Shibby firmware installed. It uses a 1 GHz Broadcom processor and Tri-Band WiFi, which is why the RT-AC3200 provides such outstanding speeds. With quality of service (QoS), access restrictions, bandwidth monitoring, and an extremely user-friendly interface, this router is ideal for beginners looking to get the most out of their home network. OpenVPN compatible.

Asus RT-AC-3200 Tomato Technical Specifications

CPU: 1 GHz Broadcom
Ram: 256MB
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 6 external
USB: USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Transfer rates: 600 Mbps 2.4GHz, 2600 Mbps 5GHz

Amazon » FlashRouters »

2. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900

This is a dual-core 1 GHz (1,000 MHz) Broadcom CPU. The large processor is ideal for VPN users who frequently need to encrypt and decrypt large amounts of data. It is OpenVPN compatible and will work with any of the VPNs in this guide. In fact, this is one of the most popular Tomato routers on the market because it is so fast. The router’s three antennae allow for outstanding signal reach in any home. It currently costs $349.99 fully installed with your VPN’s client and with 3-months care package on flashrouters.com.

Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 Tomato Technical Specifications

CPU: Dual Core 1 GHz Broadcom CPU
Ram: 256MB 
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 3 external
USB: USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Transfer rates: 600 Mbps 2.4GHz, 1300 Mbps 5GHz

Amazon » FlashRouters »

3. Asus RT-AC56U AC1200

The Asus RT-AC56U AC1200 is amazing value at $249.99. It has an 800 MHz Broadcom processor, which is perfect for most people’s VPN needs and is fast enough to cope with HD video. It is compatible with OpenVPN and PPTP, and will work with any of the VPNs in this guide. The router comes with Tomato Shibby firmware installed. It even has dual gateway support, which means you can connect to two different locations at the same time.

Asus RT-AC-56U Tomato Technical Specifications

CPU: 800 MHz Broadcom (Dual core)
Ram: 256MB DDR3
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: AiRadar
USB: USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Transfer rates: 300 Mbps 2.4GHz, 867 Mbps 5GHz

Amazon » FlashRouters »

4. Asus RT-N66U N900

This router has a 600 Mhz processor and four times the high-end industry norm in flash memory/RAM. It also provides dual band wireless speeds of up to 900 (450 Mbps + 450 Mbps) Mbps, two USB ports, and much more. An excellent Tomato router that runs on Tomato USB firmware, which makes it much more stable than regular Asus firmware. OpenVPN compatible.

Asus RT-N66U N900 Tomato Technical Specifications

CPU: 600 MHz
Ram: 256MB 
Flash: 32MB
Antennas: three external
USB: USB 2.0
Transfer rates: 450 Mbps 2.4GHz, 450 Mbps 5GHz

Amazon » FlashRouters »

5. Asus RT-N16 N300

This is the cheapest Tomato router on the list, at $199.99. Despite the low price, it is still an incredibly fast Tomato router that will work with any of the VPNs in our top five list. It is an oft-purchased router because of its incredible specifications: two network USB ports, 128 MB of RAM, and 32 MB of flash memory (four times the amount that regular routers ship with). It is compatible with OpenVPN on all of the VPNs in this guide. Furthermore, it provides wireless transfer speeds up to 300Mbps and outstanding WiFi coverage. This VPN is perfect for streaming intensive HD videos.

Asus RT-N16 N300 Tomato Technical Specifications

CPU: 533 MHz (Factory clocked to 48o Mhz)
Ram: 128MB 
Flash: 32MB
Antennas: three external
USB: USB 2.0
Transfer rates: 300 Mbps 2.4GHz

Amazon » FlashRouters »

VPN for Tomato Router: Conclusion

Tomato software (firmware) is brilliant at unleashing the hidden powers of a router. Whether you want fast VPN speeds, better control, over-clocking, or added features, a Tomato router is a fantastic solution. Sadly, not every VPN runs well on a router. In addition, many routers aren’t capable of running VPNs at optimal levels. For this reason, it is essential to get the right VPN and the right router for the job.

That’s why we have meticulously put together this list of the five best VPNs for Tomato routers. These VPNs are trusted, reliable, and secure. In addition, they have solid privacy policies and fantastic customer care. Add that to fast connection speeds and the ability to overcome censorship of any kind, and you have the perfect VPNs for Tomato routers.

Best VPN for Tomato Router: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link
ExpressVPN review
$6.67 / month Visit Site
Special Deal: Save 49% Today!
NordVPN review
$2.75 / month Visit Site
IPVanish review
$3.33 / month Visit Site
AirVPN review
$4.82 / month Visit Site
VPNArea review
$4.92 / month Visit Site

Title image credit: Mayuree Moonhirun/Shutterstock.com