11 Great Choices for pfSense Hardware (Updated for 2023)

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If you have read a few of my articles, you know I think running pfSense router software is a great idea. I rebuilt my home lab and bought new hardware to run pfSense that has worked great. A few years ago I wrote an article about good choices for pfSense hardware. Even though I’ve kept that article up to date, after going through the research myself again, I’ve decided it’s time to write a brand new article on the subject. So let’s take a look at 11 great choices for pfSense hardware.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on 1/23/2022

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item using an affiliate link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Affiliates do not influence my recommendations. Read my disclosures for more information.

pfSense hardware requirements

Everyone will have different hardware needs but here are some common requirements for pretty much any build:

  • The CPU must be powerful enough to route your Internet traffic. The faster your traffic, the more powerful the CPU you will need.
  • Sufficient RAM for the packages you want to run. pfSense doesn’t normally require much RAM, but if you are going to do a lot with it you may need more than the average user. This is especially true if you want to run intrusion detection/protection systems like Snort and Suricata.
  • The CPU should support AES-NI. This is an encryption instruction set that helps pfSense performance, especially with VPNs.
  • At least 2 network interface cards (NICs). You can get away with one using VLAN tagging, but that adds unnecessary complications. In general, you want one NIC for each interface (LAN, WAN, etc.). You probably want an Intel NIC for the best performance and reliability.

For reference, the minimum pfSense hardware requirements are:

  • 600 MHz CPU
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 4 GB hard drive
  • A compatible network card (again, best two have at least two NICs)
  • A bootable USB drive or CD/DVD-ROM for installation

Netgate (the company behind pfSense) says the above specs are good if you’re okay with less than 100 Mbps of unencrypted throughput. I think you should look to achieve speeds faster than that, which all of the hardware choices in this article will greatly exceed. Let’s look at some appropriate hardware choices. These are listed in no particular order; they are all great choices. You’ll have to pick the one you want based on your budget and needs.

First Choice: Protectli Vault 4 Port Mini PC

Protectli Vault FW4B - 4 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Quad Core (Celeron J3160), AES-NI, Barebone
  • Expected back-in-stock date: January 2023. Best alternative model: Protectli Vault FW4C. THE VAULT (FW4B): Secure your network with a compact, fanless & silent firewall. Comes with US-based Support & 30-day money back guarantee!
  • CPU: Intel Quad Core Celeron J3160, 64 bit, up to 2.2GHz, AES-NI hardware support
  • PORTS: 4x Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2x USB 3.0, 1x RJ-45 COM, 2x HDMI
  • COMPONENTS: Barebones for maximum customizability (no RAM or mSATA). coreboot BIOS optional, must be installed by user.
  • COMPATIBILITY: No OS pre-installed. All hardware tested with pfSense, untangle, OPNsense and other popular open-source software solutions.

This is an extremely popular choice for pfSense builds. With its hardware it should easily be able to achieve gigabit speeds and perform well with multiple pfSense packages installed. The version listed above is a barebones version, meaning you’ll need to buy an hard drive and RAM to complete the build. Below are a few different versions of this hardware that might better suit your needs:

Protectli Vault FW4B - 4 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Quad Core, AES-NI, 8GB RAM, 120GB mSATA SSD
Protectli Vault FW4B - 4 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Quad Core, AES-NI, 8GB RAM, 120GB mSATA SSD
CPU: Intel Quad Core Celeron J3160, 64 bit, up to 2.2GHz, AES-NI hardware support; PORTS: 4x Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2x USB 3.0, 1x RJ-45 COM, 2x HDMI
$399.00
Protectli Vault Pro VP2410, 4 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Celeron J4125, DDR4 RAM, M.2 SATA Storage, AES-NI, Barebones
Protectli Vault Pro VP2410, 4 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Celeron J4125, DDR4 RAM, M.2 SATA Storage, AES-NI, Barebones
PORTS: 4x Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC ports, 2x USB 3.0 Micro, 1x USB-C 3.2, 1x HDMI, 1x DP
$369.00
Protectli Vault FW2B - 2 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Dual Core, AES-NI, 8GB RAM, 120GB mSATA SSD
Protectli Vault FW2B - 2 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Dual Core, AES-NI, 8GB RAM, 120GB mSATA SSD
CPU: Intel Dual Core Celeron, 64 bit, 1.6GHz (Turbo 2.48 GHz), AES-NI hardware support; PORTS: 2x Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC ports, 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x RJ-45 COM, 2x HDMI
$309.00
Protectli Vault FW6A - 6 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Dual Core, AES-NI, Barebone
Protectli Vault FW6A - 6 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC - Intel Dual Core, AES-NI, Barebone
PORTS: 6x Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC ports, 4x USB 3.0, 1x RJ-45 COM, 1x HDMI
$389.00

Second Choice: Qotom Mini ITX Q330G4 Intel Core i3

This is the hardware I recently purchased to run pfSense. It easily achieves the near gigabit speeds offered by my ISP, CenturyLink. I run Snort, and a few other packages and this box doesn’t break a sweat. Qotom makes a ton of other devices and configurations, some of which I’ll list below:

Barebones I3 Linux Appliance Q330G4 Core I3-4005U (Barebone WiFi) AES-NI,Fanless,4*Intel Gigabit Ethernet,Support Ubuntu,Linux,OPNsense,Sophos,Vyos,Untangle
Barebones I3 Linux Appliance Q330G4 Core I3-4005U (Barebone WiFi) AES-NI,Fanless,4*Intel Gigabit Ethernet,Support Ubuntu,Linux,OPNsense,Sophos,Vyos,Untangle
CPU:4th Generation Intel Core i3 4005U Processor 3M Cache, 1.70 GHz,support AES-NI; Barebone :NO RAM NO SSD (NO OS) with WIFI(Atheros 9287)
$167.00
Qotom 4 LAN Mini Pc I5 Q355G4 5Th Generation Intel Core I5-5200U AES-NI 8Gb Ddr3 Ram 16Gb Ssd, 4 Intel LAN,X86 Mini PC OPNsense
Qotom 4 LAN Mini Pc I5 Q355G4 5Th Generation Intel Core I5-5200U AES-NI 8Gb Ddr3 Ram 16Gb Ssd, 4 Intel LAN,X86 Mini PC OPNsense
8G RAM 16G SSD NO WIFI; PORTS: 4xIntel I211-AT Gigabit LAN, 1x USB 3.0,3x USB 2.0, 1x HD Video
Qotom-Q555G6-S05 6 Gigabit LAN Ports Mini PC Core i5 7200U Router Firewall Support Win Linux (4G DDR4 RAM + 128GB MSATA SSD)
Qotom-Q555G6-S05 6 Gigabit LAN Ports Mini PC Core i5 7200U Router Firewall Support Win Linux (4G DDR4 RAM + 128GB MSATA SSD)
Main Port: 1 HD Video + 1 COM + 2 USB 2.0 + 2 USB 3.0 + 6 LAN.; Configuration: 4GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB mSATA SSD, NO 2.5" SATA HDD, NO WiFi, Fanless
$333.12
Qotom-Q575G6-S05 AES-NI Mini PC i7 7500U Core 6 Gigabit NIC Router Support Linux Fanless Mini PC Firewall (4G DDR4 RAM + 16GB MSATA SSD + WiFi)
Qotom-Q575G6-S05 AES-NI Mini PC i7 7500U Core 6 Gigabit NIC Router Support Linux Fanless Mini PC Firewall (4G DDR4 RAM + 16GB MSATA SSD + WiFi)
Main Port: 1 HD Video + 1 COM + 2 USB 2.0 + 2 USB 3.0 + 6 LAN.; Configuration: 4GB DDR4 RAM, 16GB mSATA SSD, WiFi, NO 2.5" SATA HDD, Fanless
$374.47

Third Choice: Zotac Zbox CI329

ZOTAC ZBOX CI329 Nano Silent Mini PC Intel N4100 CPU UHD Graphics 600 OS Barebones System (ZBOX-CI329NANO-U), No SSD, No RAM, No OS
  • Intel N4100 Processor (quad-core 1.1GHz, up to 2.4GHz)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 600, Triple display ready, 4K ready at 60 Hz, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, VGA
  • 802.11AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual Gigabit LAN
  • 4 x USB 3.0 (1 x Type-C), 1 x USB 2.0
  • Fan-less, passive cooling, VESA mountable

I used an older version of this for years. The only downside is the Realtek NICs, but it was solid. I eventually repurposed this as a lightweight desktop box for a while. Zotac makes other boxes that might fit the bill too:

ZOTAC ZBOX CI325 Nano Fanless Mini PC Intel N3160 CPU Intel HD Graphics 4GB Memory 32GB SSD Windows 10 (ZBOX-CI325NANO-U-W2B)
ZOTAC ZBOX CI325 Nano Fanless Mini PC Intel N3160 CPU Intel HD Graphics 4GB Memory 32GB SSD Windows 10 (ZBOX-CI325NANO-U-W2B)
Passively Cooled – Silent Performance; Intel N3160 (quad-core, 1.6 GHz up to 2.24 GHz); Triple Display capable
ZOTAC ZBOX CI620 Nano PLUS Silent Mini PC 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U UHD 620 4GB DDR4/120GB SSD/No OS (ZBOX-CI620NANO-P-U)
ZOTAC ZBOX CI620 Nano PLUS Silent Mini PC 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U UHD 620 4GB DDR4/120GB SSD/No OS (ZBOX-CI620NANO-P-U)
8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U (dual-core 2.2 GHz, up to 3.4 GHz); Intel UHD Graphics 620, Dual Display ready, 4K ready at 60 Hz, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2
ZOTAC ZBOX-CI325NANO-U Series Nano Fan-less Mini PC Intel N3160 Quad-Core CPU Silent Performance Barebone System, No SSD, No RAM, No OS
ZOTAC ZBOX-CI325NANO-U Series Nano Fan-less Mini PC Intel N3160 Quad-Core CPU Silent Performance Barebone System, No SSD, No RAM, No OS
Fan-less, Passive Cooled Silent Performance; Intel N3160 quad-core 1.6GHz, up to 2.24GHz/Intel HD Graphics
$429.99
ZOTAC ZBOX Edge CI341 Ultra-Thin Silent Passive-Cooled Mini PC Intel N4100 Quad-core, Intel UHD Graphics 600, No Memory/Storage/OS Barebones System, ZBOX-CI341-U
ZOTAC ZBOX Edge CI341 Ultra-Thin Silent Passive-Cooled Mini PC Intel N4100 Quad-core, Intel UHD Graphics 600, No Memory/Storage/OS Barebones System, ZBOX-CI341-U
Intel N4100 processor (quad-core 1 10 GHz up to 2 4 GHz); Ultra-thin design 32 1mm / 1 26in in height Fanless Silent Cooling

Fourth Choice: Netgate models

Netgate 1100 w/pfSense+ Software - Router, Firewall, VPN w/1-yr TAC Lite Support
  • [Business Ready] Software updates included for product lifetime. Netgate TAC Lite technical support included. One year hardware warranty included.
  • [Easy to Set Up] Pre-loaded with pfSense Plus software to get up and running fast - simply unbox it and start customizing for your secure networking needs.
  • [Powerful Dual Core] A dual core ARM Cortex-A53 1.2 GHz delivers near gigabit routing of common home iPerf3 traffic and in excess of 650 Mbps of firewall throughput.
  • [Efficient Operation] Low power draw, a compact form factor, and silent operation allow it to run unnoticed when placed on a desktop, wall, or rack.
  • [Flexible Configuration Options] Three (3) 1 GbE switched (WAN/LAN/OPT) ports allow you to configure three separate 1 GbE switched ports for nearly a gigabit of bi-directional traffic.

Netgate is the best place to go for an out-of-the-box, fully working, and supported solution. They are the maintainers of pfSense and they sell a few relatively affordable models appropriate for home users. The SG-1100 above has 3-gigabit ports which means you can use this for multi-WAN or VLANs. It’s fairly low-powered but suitable for most home applications unless you plan on running a lot of intensive packages.

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The SG-2100 is a step up from the SG-1100. It has 1 WAN ports and 4 LAN ports (which can be used for multi-WAN), as well as more processing power and RAM. If you are looking for higher throughput and running more packages this option might be more suitable. The SG-3100 is similar to the SG-2100 but more powerful (and thus more expensive) with an additional WAN port. If you have a large network, a fast ISP, and want to run IPS/IDS with VPN this will definitely get the job done.

Netgate offers more options if you buy from them directly. Keep in mind, you’ll be getting pfSense Plus instead of pfSense CE if you buy a Netgate model.

Fifth Choice: MOGINSOK 4X 2.5GbE Intel I225-V

MOGINSOK 4X 2.5GbE Intel I225-V Ethernet Firewall Appliance Mini PC, Intel Celeron J4125 AES-NI VPN Router PC HDMI VGA 4GB RAM 64GB MSATA SSD
  • 【CPU&Ports】MOGINSOK Firewall PC with Gemini Lake 10th Gen Intel Celeron J4125 Quad cores Four threads 2.0GHz up to 2.7GHz 4MB cache with Intel UHD Graphics 600,supported AES-NI . Support HDMI+VGA Dual Display,2xUSB 3.0
  • 【Intel Ethernet I225-V 2.5GbE】This Firewall Router with 4*Intel I225 Network card Suppot 2.5GbE, bring you more faster and professional network usage(some system suppliers maybe have not released compatible driver to match yet, suggest to install newest version of following systems: pfSense 2.5.x, OPNsense 22.1, OpenWrt, ROS7, ESXI, Proxmox, CentOS etc).
  • 【Professional Firewall PC】MOGINSOK MGSRCJ4 Firewall Mini PC-a fanless & silent professional firewall router pc bring you a secured and encrypted network environment.Multi-functional support AES-NI, ESXI, Watchdog, Auto power on, RTC, PXE boot, Wake-on-LAN.
  • 【Professional OS installed】This Firewall Router pre-installed Pfsense and you can installOPNsense/OpenWrt/Unbutun/windows and other popular open-source software solutions. Which you can use it as an Firewall/Netgate/Softrouting/NAS/VPN/ESXI 、PVEvirtualization platform(support VT-X,VT-D).
  • 【Quality With Warranty】If you have any questions on MOGINSOK Firewall mini pc, feel free to contact us . We offered 12 Months warranty for it and WE'LL REPLY YOUR Quesstions within 24 hours(during Working Days).

This nice little package comes with plenty of RAM and hard drive space pre-installed. You just install pfSense and go! Also great if you are looking for 2.5GbE ports.

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Sixth Choice: AWOW Mini PC

AWOW Mini PC Intel Celeron J3455 6GB DDR4, 128 GB SATA SSD, Mini Desktop Computer with Windows 10 Pro, Quad Core, Dual Gigabit Ethernet NIC, Dual HDMI, 5X USB3.0, 4K UHD, Bluetooth AK34 Micro PC
  • 【Excellent Hardware and OS】AK34 mini desktop computer designed by Intel Apollo Lake platform motherboard with Intel Celeron quad core CPU J3455 up to 2.3 GHz, 6GB DDR4, built-in M.2 128GB SSD, 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz dual band WIFI, dual Gigabytes LAN NIC, dual HDMI for 4K UHD, 5x USB 3.0, Pre-installed licensed Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64bit) and supports Linux. AK34 Mini PC offers excellent performance for HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), NAS etc.
  • 【Dual LAN ports】This AWOW Micro PC AK34 comes with two Gigabytes LAN ports which provide you much more network usage, such as software router(OpenWRT/ddWRT/Tomato etc.), firewall, NAT and network isolation etc.
  • 【Dual HDMI ports】Dual HDMI outputs can show the same or different contents in different monitors at the same time. Both HDMI port support 4k ultra HD streaming to stunning visual and provide you high productivity.
  • 【Easy Storage Expansion】built-in M.2 SATA 3 6.0 Gb/s 128GB SSD. Also you can expand the storage with 2.5’’ SATA 3 SSD or HDD (7.5mm, extended 2TB storage capacity) and micro SD SDXC card (one card slot, up to 512GB). The easy expandable storage can satisfy you to install kinds of apps and store your personal files like videos and music.
  • 【Advanced Thermal System and Multiple functions】Built-in silent fan design enhance the heat dissipation, Support Wake-on-LAN, Auto power-on and PXE. The AWOW AK34 is an ideal Mini Desktop for home, office, media center, digital signage, digital security and surveillance etc.

Another fully built, and ready-to-go option for pfSense. Its processor is plenty for even power pfSense users. Here are a few different hardware options if you want different specs to suit your needs.

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Seventh Choice: TRIGKEY Mini PC

TRIGKEY Mini PC W++11 Desktop PC 8th Gen Intel Core 8109U(Up to 3.6GHz) 8G DDR4/500G NVMe SSD Speed S8 Personal Mini Computer. Support W++10 Micro PC, Dual 4K Output/WiFi 5/BT 4.0/W1IN1
  • 🎦【Ultra High-efficiency 8th Gen Processor】The Mini PC equips with the 8th Gen Intel Core 8109U processor (3.0GHz, 4 MB Cable, up to 3.6GHz). 3GHz minimum frequency plus 28W high energy power that can make your computer always maintain a high-speed running state. The Micro PC comes with Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost, Optane Memory Supported, and other technologies, which can easily control various complex work procedures. Perfect for office work, light games, and home entertainmen
  • 🎦【Ultra HD [email protected] Dual Display】 The Mini Computer W11 Pro supports [email protected] Dual HDMI screen output. High-definition true-to-life picture quality brings you an immersive visual experience. You can also easily connect dual monitors at the same time, perform different tasks on the dual screens and monitor the images inside at the same time, reducing unnecessary operating procedures and improving work efficiency.
  • 🎦【Support W11 & Multiple Convenient Functions】The W11 Desktop PC supports the latest W11 operating system and other operating systems such as Linux Ubuntu. It also has many functions such as Wake Power On, Wake On Lan, RTC Wake Settings, PXE Boot, and watching dogs, etc. To meet your daily need. In addition, the Micro PC has many convenient daily interfaces: 1*DC jack, 4*USB3.0, 1*RJ45 1000M, HDMI*2, Audio jack (HP&MIC)*1, Type-C.
  • 🎦【Large Capacity Expansion Storage:】The Speed S 8109U Mini PC equips with 8G DDR4/500G NVME SSD (smaller, faster, and more stable. Normal M.2 SSD can only reach 500MB/S, while M.2 NVME can reach 1900MB/S, almost four times of ordinary M.2 hard drives. It also supports 2.5-inch SSD or HDD to expand to 2TB. Get massive storage space) Efficient heat dissipation particles, allowing you to have a better working experience.
  • 🚀【TRIGKEY Lifetime Service】The Micro PC supports Wake On LAN, Auto Power On, PXE Boot, RTC Wake, and Watchdog, which can be popularly used as a personal computer, industrial computer, business computer, and remote computer, etc. In addition, We provide a one-year warranty service and lifelong technical support with quality assurance. If you have any questions, please contact us without hesitation.

This is an extremely compact mini pc with two gigabit ports and plenty of power to fulfill your pfSense router needs. It comes with the 8GB RAM and a 128 GB hard drive meaning it has everything you need to get going right away. It also has plenty of USB slots, including a USB-C slot, for additional expansion.

The Ultimate Managed Hosting Platform

Eighth Choice: Vnopn Mini PC

VNOPN Micro Firewall Appliance 4 Intel 2.5GbE NIC Ports Fanless Mini PC, Network Gateway Soft Router Mini Computer Intel N3700 Quad Core, Support AES-NI, 4GB DDR3, 64GB mSATA SSD
  • ✔ Processor & OS---This 4 nic mini pc uses Intel N3700 Processor Quad core 4 threads 2M Cache at 1.6GHz (Burst up to 2.4GHz), supports AES-NI; The performance of CPU and GPU are better than J3160/N2940. It’s pre-installed with pf-sense and also supports windows 10, linux ubuntu, opnsense and more open-source firewall systems, etc. Support Auto Power On, Wake on LAN, RTC wake and PXE boot ("DEL" key to enter BIOS).
  • ✔ 4 Intel 2.5Gigabit Ethernet ports---This fanless mini pcs all use Intel i225 network card chips, supports 4x 2.5gigabit ethernet to keep stable and high speed. It has a good compatibility for soft routing, firewall and other network applications. This compact pc has more I/O Interface to meet your more needs: 1*HDMI, 1*VGA, 4*RJ45 LAN, 2*USB3.0, 1*DC IN.
  • ✔ High Capacity Storage---This little firewall box comes with 4GB DDR3L RAM and 64GB mSATA SSD. The memory is only 1x sodimm slot, max support to 8GB. The storage is 1x mSATA, can be upgraded to 512GB. Large storage can meet the hardware requirements of different network security firewall software and hypervisor applications.
  • ✔ Portable & Silent---This small form factor PC built for hardware firewall and router use, it’s only 5.27 x 5 x 1.43 inch and 0.6kg and has a mounting bracket that allows it to be hung on the back of the monitor or TV to save more space. In addition, this mini computer uses fanless passive cooling design and only has a 6W TDP to maintain low power consumption to save energy and 7x24 hours quiet running.
  • ✔ Package List & Service---Vnopn Mini PC*1, 12V/3A power adapter*1, US power plug*1, user manual*1, warranty card*1, WiFi antenna*2, Back mount bracket&Screws*1. We offer 7x24 hours customer service, 1 month free return, 3 year warranty and lifetime tech support. All of our products have obtained FCC, CE, RoHS Certifications.

This mini PC comes with 4 Intel NICs, perfect for those who want to run VLANs. Memory and hard drive are included. Just install pfSense and go. The model below is similar but with fewer network ports but more RAM and a bigger hard drive.

VNOPN Mini Computer, Intel Core i3 5005u(Up to 2.0GHz) Mini PC Windows 10 Pro with License, 8G DDR3 128G SSD Mini Desktop, Support Triple Display/Dual Gigabit Ethernet/Dual-Band WiFi
  • 【High-efficiency Processor & OS】K3-F14 mini computers equipped with Intel Core i3 5005u 2.0GHz, 2 Core 4 Threads 3M Cache. TDP is only 15W, which saves energy. We installed windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Activated with a windows license), it also supports linux ubuntu, etc. And you can press the "DEL" key to enter BIOS to setup Auto Power On/Wake on LAN/PXE/RTC Wake.
  • 【Support Triple HD Display】This micro pc uses Intel HD Graphics 5500 to support 4K web surfing, HD video playback and watching TV, bringing you a first-class visual experience. Dual HDMI (Max resolution: 3840*[email protected]) and VGA (Max resolution: 1920*[email protected]) ports make it easily connect three monitors, which can simplify and greatly improve your work efficiency.
  • 【Dual LAN & Wireless Connectivity】This mini desktop computer has 2x RJ45 LAN port, supports dual gigabit ethernet. You can use it for router/firewall network applications. It also has built-in 2.4G+5G dual-band wifi and 4.0 BT to give you a faster and more stable data transmission. Meanwhile, this windows 10 mini pc has rich I/O ports, such as 6*USB, 1*Type-C(Not support video output), 1* MIC & SPK, 1*Reset, 1* Lock slot to meet your different needs.
  • 【Tiny Size but Large Storage】This small pc is only 5.27x4.98x1.85inches and 1.45pounds. It can be mounted on the back of a monitor/tv to save more space and give you a neat desk space. It has a silent fan and many vents to increase heat dissipation and keep it running 7x24 hours. Besides, this intel core i3 mini computer comes with 8GB RAM(2x DDR3L slot, up to 16GB), 128GB SSD(1x mSATA slot, up to 512GB). More capacity makes it run more smoothly. Good choice for business, office, home theater.
  • 【Packing List & Reliable Service】Vnopn K3-F14 Mini PC*1, VESA Bracket Kit*1, 12V/5A Power Supply*1, User Manual*1, Warranty Card*1. We offer 7x24 hours customer service, 30 days free return, 3 years warranty and lifetime tech support. All of our products have obtained FCC, CE, RoHS Certifications.

Ninth Choice: Teklager

If you don’t want to go through the install yourself you can buy from a 3rd party vendor like Teklager. They allow you to purchase hardware barebones or have pfSense preinstalled.

Tenth Choice: Repurpose an existing desktop

If you have an old desktop lying around, you can probably re-purpose it to being a router. You might need to buy an additional network card for LAN and WAN connections, but chances are the rest of the hardware will work fine. The downside is that this machine will probably use much more electricity than the other options, and it will need to always be on.

Eleventh Choice: Go virtual!

You can also use your old hardware (or new) to make a virtual pfSense router. I decided to go virtual for a while and it worked out well for me. A virtual router can have a lot of advantages, including:

  • Snapshots – Easy to roll back if you mess up a configuration
  • Scalability – Need a more powerful router? No need to buy new hardware, just allocate more power to your virtual router
  • Portability – You can easily move a VM from one machine to another

You can read more about my virtual pfSense install here. You can also find good choices for small-form-factor virtualization servers here.

Bonus Choices: Hardware readers have recommended

Looking for other hardware and home technology recommendations? Be sure to check out the HomeTechHacker Shop and our Home Technology Buyer’s Guide!

Final Thoughts

There are tons of great and affordable pfSense router software options available. It’s hard to go wrong with any of them. Just pick the best one that works for you.

Netgate makes good solid options, but you can save some money by going virtual or building your own hardware. No matter how you go, pfSense is a great choice for a home router. If you think pfSense might not be for you, check out these Wi-Fi router recommendations.

Before you build your pfSense router, check out my article about things you should consider before installing pfSense and decide which pfSense version is right for you. After you get it installed, be sure to check out my pfSense tips and make sure you review my advice on the 6 post-installation configurations you should do immediately. Also, if you are running pfSense and need to upgrade, follow these tips to upgrade pfSense the right way.

One last thing – these hardware options will work for OPNSense as well. OPNSense is another BSD-based router distribution that you should also consider as an alternative to pfSense. Here are the top alternatives to pfSense, and this hardware will work for them too.

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2 thoughts on “11 Great Choices for pfSense Hardware (Updated for 2023)”

  1. Very interesting. This is the first time I’ve heard of this piece of hardware. I’m planning to run wired and wireless in my new home, so where would this piece of hardware sit in a wireless access point HW and network switch HW?

    • Hi Brad. A pfSense router would sit right behind your Internet connection (e.g. cable modem) and your switches and wireless access points would connect to it. Most pfSense hardware isn’t great for Wi-Fi, so it is important to have good Wi-Fi access points. I prefer to separate my Wi-Fi access points from my router anyway.

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11 Great Choices for pfSense Hardware (Updated for 2023)

by HomeTechHacker time to read: 6 min