Youtube gave me a substantial bonus this month, so I have toy money to spend.
Having talked myself out of a new mobile phone ( the current mobe is only 2019 vintage) I have thought practical. I have VPN's installed (some prt time) on about half the various devices on my net, and I am now thinking about a dedicated small VPN server for my net, or more likely a router with (or easily accepts a side loaded) VPN.
Anyone with any first hand experience for suggestions on make.
I'm not up to date with it but Linksys used to be the ones for putting on non-stock firmware. I remember playing around with Tomato and DD-WRT firmwares on one of the Linksys WRT54 family of routers which were well regarded at the time but I expect are obsolete now.
I have an inbound OpenVPN on a Pi which has been useful from time to time - when away for a long time I could log on as though I was on the local network which gave me easier access to some things (though I tend to leave my PC on and just use AnyDesk now).
Outbound I use NordVPN but occasionally their servers seem to freeze and it requires a disconnect/reconnect. Also many of their server IPs are "known" by the Beeb, who ban them from using catchup.
Anyway I'd start with Linksys I think, for no good reason other than I found it good ages ago.
I think most of the well-known brand name routers can be flashed with open firmware now and I wouldn't spend my cash on any that couldn't.
The reason for that being that a manufacturer won't put much effort into firmware maintenance once it's a couple of years old unless there's a big security hole that's likely to damage his reputation.
I'd start by browsing dd-wrt to get an idea of what's popular at the moment and any problems/complaints.
PS. I see that dd-wrt now have prominent links on their site to flashrouters.com who will sell you a Linksys, Netgear or Asus pre-flashed.