Most people use the WiFi router that was given to them by their internet service provider (ISP). While this might be convenient, buying your own router will actually end up saving you money in the long run. Plus, upgrading your router will also give you more control over your wireless connectivity. Here is our list of the best WiFi routers on the market, including the best budget, gaming, mesh, combo, and WiFi 6 routers.
TP-Link Archer A7: Best Budget Router
If you’re looking for a budget router, the TP-Link Archer A7 is your best bet. This dual-band router can deliver speeds up to 450 Mbps (megabits per second) on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 1.3 Gbps (gigabits per second) on the 5 GHz band.
You can use the 2.4GHz band for light tasks, such as web browsing or sending emails. For heavier tasks, like streaming high-definition video or playing online games, you should use the 5GHz band. If you want to know more about the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands, check out our article here.
This gigabit router supports the 802.11ac WiFi standard (also known as WiFi 5), which gives you speeds that are three times faster than the previous standard. You can also connect up to 50 devices at a time with this router, and it delivers 2,500 square feet of WiFi coverage. However, real-world tests show this WiFi router does not offer the best long-range performance.
The Netgear Nighthawk C7000 is one of the best modem-router combos because it works with most major cable providers, including Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, and COX. However, it does not work with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, or DISH.
This dual-band router can deliver speeds up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1.3 Gbps on the 5 GHz band. It also supports 802.11ac wireless technology and Data Over Cable Services Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.0. With DOCSIS 3.0, this gigabit router has “24×8 channel bonding,” which gives you 24 downstream and eight upstream channels. As a result, it’s capable of processing more data at faster rates, even during peak hours.
You can connect up to 30 devices with this modem-router combo, and it delivers up to 1,800 square feet of WiFi coverage. In order to ensure that you always have the fastest download and upload speeds, this all-in-one router has a 1.6 GHz combined processor and beamforming technology. And, since you’re getting two devices in one, Netgear claims that this modem-router combo will save you up to $168 a year in equipment rental fees.
Amazon’s eero Mesh WiFi router system makes it easy to expand your WiFi to any room in your home. With this mesh WiFi system, you will get a router and one or more “nodes.” Each of these nodes will give you 1,500 square feet of WiFi coverage, and you can add as many nodes to your system as you want. This makes eero one of the best long-range WiFi router systems.
This gigabit router system uses Amazon’s proprietary TrueMesh technology, which allows WiFi signals to travel between nodes, even through walls or other obstacles. It also supports the 802.11ac WiFi standard and works with Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
Amazon doesn’t specify the maximum WiFi speeds that you can get with this eero system. However, actual testing shows that you can get upload and download speeds around 400 Mbps. While this is slower than many other routers, it is well above the average download speed of around 100 Mbps in the US.
Synology RT2600ac: Best WiFi Router for Data Streaming
The Synology RT2600ac is a powerful router that comes with a host of user-friendly tools for controlling your network. For example, the Synology Router Manager operating system lets you change your router’s settings from a simple desktop or mobile app. And the QuickConnect feature lets you access your files, movies, and music from anywhere in the world.
This dual-band router can deliver speeds up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1.7 Gbps on the 5GHz band. It offers reliable performance with its 1.7GHz dual-core processor, and it has a maximum WiFi coverage of 3,000 square feet.
With the quality of service (QoS) feature, you can prioritize which apps and devices get the most bandwidth. This way, you can rest assured that your video chats won’t drop when someone starts streaming a movie in the other room. The Synology RT2600ac also gives you detailed reports that help you identify which apps and devices are taking up the most bandwidth.
This router also has lots of security features, such as firewall management, intrusion prevention, denial-of-service protection, and a free SSL VPN. Plus, it has a Smart WAN feature, which lets you switch between two ISP connections when one fails. This way, you will almost never have any downtime, making this one of the best WiFi routers for businesses.
The Archer C5400X is TP-Link’s first gaming router. Despite this, it has great features that make it one of the best WiFi routers for serious gamers. It comes with a powerful 1.8 GHz 64-bit quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM that will ensure you never experience lag.
This tri-band router has one 2.4 GHz band and two 5GHz bands, either of which you can use as a dedicated band for gaming. This will ensure that your connection won’t be interrupted by your other devices or other users on your network. The 2.4 GHz band supports the 802.11n WiFi standard at speeds of up to 1 Gbps, while the 5 GHz bands support the 802.11ac WiFi standard at speeds up to 2.1 Gbps.
The Archer C5400X also has eight Ethernet ports, so you can connect more devices to your router. In addition, it supports link aggregation, so you can combine two network connections for faster speeds. To give you the fastest connection, there is a dynamic optimization engine that intelligently prioritizes your gaming traffic and a Smart Connect feature that automatically finds the best band for every device in your network.
The RangeBoost feature lets you have WiFi connectivity over a large area. Meanwhile, AirTime Fairness ensures that the signal is efficiently divided between devices.
If you want a WiFi router that will stand the test of time, the Asus RT-AX88U is your best bet. This router supports the next-generation 802.11ax WiFi standard (also known as WiFi 6), which is up to 250% faster than the current standard.
While you need to have WiFi 6-enabled devices to take full advantage of this router, it is backward compatible. So, it will work with any connected devices you already own. If you want to know more about what WiFi 6 is and whether you should upgrade now, check out our article here.
This dual-band router can deliver speeds up to 1.1 Gbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 4.8 Gbps on the 5 GHz band. Based on real-world testing, you can achieve speeds of up to 400 Mbps when you’re 50 feet away from the router using a WiFi 6-capable device.
The Asus RT-AX88U also has eight gigabit Ethernet ports, commercial-grade security features, and a quad-core processor. Plus, the adaptive QoS technology automatically adjusts the bandwidth allocation for certain apps and devices.
Netgear Nighthawk RAX40: Best Budget WiFi 6 Router
The Netgear Nighthawk AX4 (AX3000) is one of the cheapest WiFi 6 routers on the market, but it still packs a punch. While most WiFi 6 routers cost anywhere from $200 to $500 and up, you can usually find this model for under $200.
This dual-band router can deliver speeds up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 2.4 Gbps on the 5 GHz band. With four spatial streams and OFDMA, it can also connect to more devices simultaneously, without sacrificing efficiency. As a result, this is one of the best WiFi routers for congested urban areas or homes with lots of devices. However, it can only deliver up to 1,500 square feet of WiFi coverage.
This gigabit router features the latest WPA3 security, a dual-core processor, and a USB 3.0 port for sharing content on your network or over an FTP server.