10 Best Wireless Routers

Wireless routers are the key to building a good home network. The main function of the Wi-Fi signal is to provide a single internet connection to all your devices on the network. It also can provide a USB port for sharing an external drive or printer for all devices to access across the network. Other capabilities include a firewall, parental controls, and streaming multimedia through the network.

Besides the range, the most important feature to look for is the speed or throughput which will depend on the type of wireless router you buy. The latest standard wireless technology is 802.11ac, aka 5G Wi-Fi, which is still emerging. When used with hardware such as tablets, smartphones, or laptops with the same standard, they offer theoretical speeds up to 3.2 Gbps or 3200 Mbps.

Many devices still use the prior standard which was 802.11n, but only offers speeds up to 600 Mbps. All 802.11ac models operate on dual frequency bands, at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, while only some 802.11n models do. The dual bands allow for simultaneous transmissions at both frequencies thus doubling the speed. At 2.4 GHz the highest speed will be 600 Mbps while the 5 GHz allows for speeds up to 1300 Mpbs. That is why you will see speed specifications often listed as 450 + 1300. If you only see speed listed as a single number less than 600 such as 300 or N300, then that model is only operating on a single band at 2.4 Ghz. There are also tri-band models which offer two 5 GHz bands and one 2 GHz band for a total of up to 3200 Mbps.

Ports are another important feature to look for. Gigabit ports are ethernet ports that allow you to connect devices with a wire at speeds of 1000 Mbps instead of just regular ethernet ports with speeds of 100 Mbps. USB ports, which might be USB 2.0 or 3.0, allow you to connect an external hard drive or printer to share across the network.

Below we review our top 10 best wireless routers. (All users should note that in order to get the best performance they should download the latest firmware update for their particular model.)


9.4
#1)

Asus RT-AC88U Tri-Band Gigabit Router

Estimated Price: $299.99
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 3200 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 8
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

We selected the Asus RT-AC88U as the best wireless router. It is expensive, but it has everything you could want in a router. The tri-bands and MU-MIMO technology provide amazing speed for multiple devices. It also has 8 gigabit ports and the interface is easy to use.


9.3
#2)

Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router

Estimated Price: $172.78
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 1900 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

For those of you who don’t need three bands, you can save some money by getting the Asus RT-68U which receives a lot of positive reviews from both users and other tech sites. It has lots of features for more advanced users and great speed for 802.11ac devices.


9.2
#3)

D-Link DIR-890L/R AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router

Estimated Price: $279.95
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 3200 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

Another option with tri-band 3200 Mbps performance is the D-Link DIR-890L/R. It is a bit cheaper than the Asus RT-AC88U and offers the same speed, but we felt the Wi-Fi range was a bit short.


9.2
#4)

Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Gigabit Router

Estimated Price: $227.99
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 1900 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

One of the main advantages of the Linksys WRT1900ACS is the network storage speed when hosting an external hard drive. It also offers fast throughput and really long range, plus it promises fast speeds for future devices.


9.1
#5)

Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router

Estimated Price: $184.99
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 1900 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 offers plenty of features and is super easy to setup and use. The Wi-Fi range and speed are excellent. At the time it came out – in late 2013 – it was probably the best wireless router available, but it is getting a bit old now compared to many newer models available.


8.9
#6)

Tenda AC15 AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Router

Estimated Price: $84.98
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 1900 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

We chose the Tenda AC15 as the best wireless router under $100. You won’t find another AC1900 model for a cheaper price. The hardware is not the best, but is solid and offers decent range and performance. Setup is pretty easy, but it is lacking some settings and features for more advanced users. Overall it is a really good choice for a basic home wireless router.


8.9
#7)

Linksys WRT 1200AC Dual-Band Wireless Router

Estimated Price: $129.99
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 1200 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 5
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

The Linksys WRT1200AC offers fast 5 GHz performance at close range and speedy USB transfers. On the downside the speed slows down at a farther range and the 2.4 GHz band performance is sub-par. If you use a device that will be located close to your router and works on the 5 GHz band then the WRT1200AC is a great choice for you.


8.8
#8)

Linksys EA9200 AC3200 Tri-Band Gigabit Smart Wi-Fi Router

Estimated Price: $214.99
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 3200 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0

The Linksys EA98200 is a mixed bag of positives and negatives. It is on the cheaper end of tri-band routers and the 5 GHz throughput is as good or better than any other model. However, many users have complained about several features or lack thereof. One main concern some people have is losing connection randomly. Other factors include a slow interface, no indicator lights, and the guest network feature lacks encryption.


8.7
#9)

TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router

Estimated Price: $99.99
Wireless Technology: 802.11ac
Speed: 450 + 1300 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 2

Another solid choice for a wireless router under $100 is the TP-Link Archer C7 which also happens to be the best selling wireless router on Amazon. This dual-band model supports speeds of 450 Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5Ghz. Setup is easy and includes guest network access. TP-Link is more of a budget brand, so none of the components are top of the line, but this is a solid home router for the price.


8.4
#10)

TP-Link TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Router

Estimated Price: $19.13
Wireless Technology: 802.11n
Speed: 300 Mbps
Gigabit Ports: 4
USB Ports: 0

The best cheap wireless router is the TP-Link TL-WR841N which sells for under $20. It is only a N300 router, so it is not meant for several devices all streaming videos at once. However, for the home or apartment where only a couple of devices are connected at once it will work decently enough for you. This is for those of you that are on a tight budget and just need basic router capabilities. It can also work as a cheap network extender.


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