The 7 Best Hardware Firewalls

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This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in December of 2018. As opposed to their software counterparts, hardware firewalls act as a physical gatekeeper between the web and your network and can catch suspicious traffic before it reaches your computer or phone. Additionally, they provide enhanced control, around-the-clock analysis of internet packets, and better throughput. These are some of the best for small businesses as well as advanced home users. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Zyxel USG Flex Series

2. Awow AK34

3. WatchGuard Firebox T15

Editor's Notes

March 16, 2021:

Just to be clear, the vast majority of home users won't need one of these, because Windows Firewall does the job adequately for most people. Power users, remote workers, business owners, or IT professionals will often require the services of a good hardware firewall. With that in mind, the Zyxel USG Flex Series has something for just about everyone, up to offices that see about 150 people. The decent variety of variants and moderate price make it the best choice for many people. The WatchGuard Firebox T15 is a somewhat similar model meant for mid-sized business use, and it's also just about cost-effective, as is the SonicWall SOHO 250.

There are some instances where the average consumer will want a dedicated firewall, and there are good options. The Bitdefender Box 2 is the easiest to get running, likely because it's among the few specifically tailored to the home user experience. Alternatively, the Meraki Go GX20 offers the reliability of big name, at a remarkably low cost.

Finally, we want to point out the Awow AK34, which is actually an impressively low-priced Windows PC. While it's fully capable of running 64-bit Windows, with a little tech know-how, it can also be a more effective hardware firewall than many dedicated boxes.

January 10, 2019:

For the tinkerers out there, experts recommend building a homebrew firewall rather than using an off-the-shelf model when securing a network. Because proprietary router firmware can quickly go out of date, being able to install open source firmware, such as pfSense, on your firewall device provides more robust protection. The Protectli Firewall Micro, which is included in our list, allows for this type of customization.

Special Honors

Fortinet Next-Generation Firewalls Large-scale companies may be familiar with Fortinet, a company focused squarely on cybersecurity that has produced some of the most capable network security devices on the market in recent years. They offer a decent range of ultra-high-capacity firewalls, and their control suite operating system and ongoing subscription support are on a par with the best.

Cisco Secure Firewall Cisco may be the most recognizable name in the networking game, and for good reason. You'd be hard-pressed to do better than their massive line of IT solutions, whether your institution is moderately sized or huge and ever-expanding. Their products do, generally, cost more than much of the competition, but you can be completely certain that you're getting a powerful and dependable piece of equipment.

4. SonicWall SOHO 250

5. Bitdefender Box 2

6. Netgate SG-1100

7. Meraki Go GX20

Christopher Thomas
Last updated by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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