Routers with the best Wi-Fi performance

Installing one of the best Wi-Fi routers in your home is an important part of today’s online life, and it’s the most straightforward approach to improve your home network. A new, up-to-date router may make all of your home’s laptops, smart TVs, game consoles, and doorbell cameras appear to work much faster.

Not only may a modern router provide faster Wi-Fi connections, but many of the most recent routers also have network security software, app-based settings interfaces, and simple parental controls.

Several Wi-Fi routers were recently announced at CES, including one with moving antennae to focus signals, so be sure to check out our overview of the finest home Wi-Fi routers of CES 2022.

With so much of our lives being spent online, from school and work to gaming and streaming, the best Wi-Fi routers are essential.

That’s why we put each of the dozens of routers we’ve analyzed to the test to determine the ones that best suit your home and needs, providing excellent performance, a long range, and a reasonable price. Here are the greatest Wi-Fi routers on the market right now.

Which Wi-Fi routers are the best?

The Asus RT-AX86U, a Wi-Fi 6 powerhouse with the ability to power a whole home’s worth of connected devices, giving pure power for gaming and securing every item you own, is the greatest wireless router, according to our in-depth testing. It’s a mix of general-purpose router, serious gaming equipment, and cybersecurity protection. It’s no surprise that it’s our Editor’s Choice because of its affordable price.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) Wi-Fi 6 router blows the doors off most rival routers at a justifiably higher price. The latest wireless standard has the highest throughput we’ve ever seen, and it can easily manage an entire house of linked gadgets.

Coverage that goes further and extends to numerous levels as needed is required in larger homes, which necessitates the use of one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems. The Nest WiFi is the greatest mesh Wi-Fi solution you can buy, according to our testing and review. It has excellent signal coverage throughout the house and includes a built-in Google Home smart speaker for easy voice control.

But if money isn’t an issue, the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6e is the fastest mesh-router system we’ve ever seen, and one of the quickest routers in general. Just keep in mind that it costs well into the four digits.

ASUS ROG Rapture GTAC 5300 Wireless Router

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REASONS TO PURCHASE

  • +Impressive 2.5Gbps wired connector 
  • +First Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) router 
  • +Performance improves with distance 
  • +Plenty of customization

REASONS TO STAY AWAY

  • -Big

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the first gaming router we’ve tested with Wi-Fi 6, and it’s a gamer’s dream, with speed that improves over greater range, low latency, and all the features gamers demand. When you add it all up, most other gaming routers are now a distant second.

With a gigantic base, eight swiveling antennae, and a massive 10.8Gbps maximum throughput, the GT-AX11000 is a big router. Thanks to its tri-band architecture and four downstream Gigabit LAN connections, a single 2.5G Base T Ethernet connection, and two USB 3.0 ports, this wireless router has plenty of connectivity.

Built-in customisation and gaming-oriented optimizations give you a lot of power, and you can even use it to create a mesh network with other Asus routers to cover a greater area. It’s pricey at $450, but it’s the best wireless router for gamers looking for a competitive advantage online.


Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Wireless Router

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REASONS TO BUY

  •  +Excellent performance 
  • +Includes anti-malware software 
  • +Configurable options

REASONS TO STAY AWAY

  • -Expensive -Throughput decreases rapidly as distance increases

Top performance and enhanced security go hand in hand with the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) Wi-Fi 6 router, which combines throughput that breaks through the gigabit per second barrier with malware protection and Disney’s Circle app for blocking inappropriate content and managing family network use. The Nighthawk AX8 will operate just as well in the real world as it does in the lab, thanks to its exceptional performance through walls and floors.

It’s not cheap — most Wi-Fi 6 routers are — but the RAX80 is simple to set up and allows you can customize the network to your liking. It has a 90-foot range as well, but performs better at distances of 50 feet, making it more suitable for medium-sized homes. The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) is the Wi-Fi-6 router to acquire if you don’t want to sacrifice on speed or security in practically any way.


ASUS RT AC 66UB1 Wireless Router

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REASONS TO PURCHASE 

  • +Excellent throughput and performance 
  • +Lifetime security software 
  • +Multi-Gig input and port aggregation

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -Fails to include advanced gameplay features such as geofencing and a ping heat map.

The Asus RT-AX86U is a Wi-Fi 6 powerhouse with excellent speeds and gaming capabilities, as well as a wealth of customization choices. It’s also a great option for securing your entire home network, providing long-term protection without a subscription fee and carrying a two-year warranty. With high-end performance and lifetime protection against intrusions and malware, it’s also a great option for securing your entire home network, providing long-term protection without a subscription fee and carrying a two-year warranty.

The Asus RT-true AX86U’s selling point is its performance, which approaches the magical 1Gbps level, ensuring fast and seamless connectivity for all of your devices. The RT-AX86U is equal parts general-use router and premium gaming router, with exceptional range and performance — even through walls and between floors — and a mix of features and ports that are a value compared to some of the best-performing gaming gear. In the most recent Tom’s Guide Awards, it even came in second place for best Wi-Fi router. The Asus RT-AX86U is the greatest Wi-Fi 6 router for the whole house.

WiFi by Nest

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REASONS TO BUY 

  • +Excellent performance 
  • +Integrated Google Assistant 
  • +Easy setup

AVOID FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

  •  -Short range
  •  -Limited configuration possibilities

While there are other mesh Wi-Fi options on the market, our favorite has to be the Nest WiFi, which will blanket your entire home with wifi signal. The Nest WiFi, designed by Google, is small enough to conceal out of sight yet elegant enough that you won’t have to. But there’s more to the small mesh units than just their high performance. Each Nest WiFi mesh extension includes a Google Home smart speaker, offering you one of the greatest voice assistants in the house as well as a strong wireless connection.

The fast Nest WiFi also has one of the simplest setup processes we’ve ever seen, making adding extensions around the house a breeze. It’ll also work with any older Google WiFi devices you may have. However, the addition of Google Assistant takes it to the next level, enabling an elegant way to integrate voice control across your house as well as easy integration with a large number of the best smart home devices and all Google Home compatible devices.

Orbi WiFi 6E by Netgear (RBKE963)

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REASONS TO PURCHASE 

  • +BEST MESH PERFORMANCE EVER 
  • +EASY TO INSTALL AND CONFIGURE 
  • +Parental restrictions and optional security software

AVOID FOR THESE REASONS: 

  • -Extremely costly –
  • Only 90 days of unrestricted tech support

The Orbi WiFi 6E (model number RBKE963) from Netgear is the world’s fastest mesh-router system, but it’s also the most expensive. However, if you have a lot of cash, a gigabit broadband connection from your ISP, and a big residence, this mesh system is probably for you.

The Orbi WiFi 6E has a range of up to 9,000 square feet of coverage. With a third satellite, you may cover a total area of 12,000 square feet. The router’s 6-GHz channel generated throughput of more than a gigabit per second at a distance of 15 feet, making it the first mesh router to accomplish so in our tests.

The system provides channels on the 2.5, 5 and 6-GHz bands, as well as a fourth 5-GHz channel for backhaul between units, and each unit has 12 antennas and four Ethernet connections (one of which is rated at 2.5 Gbps).

Trials of Netgear’s Armor security software, which incorporates Bitdefender antivirus and parental controls, are available. After 90 days, you’ll have to pay for tech assistance. You won’t mind, though, if you can afford to pay for this mesh system.

Archer C2300 from TP-Link

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REASONS TO BUY 

  • +Excellent performance 
  • +Affordable 
  • +Integrated antivirus protection 
  • +Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  •  -It’s really hot.

The TP-Link Archer C2300 may have a gentle appearance, but don’t be fooled: it’s one of the most powerful wireless routers available, with the best range of any router on this list.

It’s the undisputed performance champion, churning out nearly a gigabit of data per second in our regular performance tests and effortlessly blasting through walls and ceilings. The Archer C2300 is not only the fastest router we’ve ever seen, but it’s also tiny, unobtrusive, and packed with high-end functions.

Antivirus, QoS, and parental controls are all built-in on the Archer C2300, which are generally only found on more expensive competitors. It’s less than half the price of similarly performance competitors at $120, and it comes with a two-year warranty. The TP-Link Archer C2300 is the best inexpensive Wi-Fi router on the market right now.

Archer AX6000 from TP-Link

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REASONS TO PURCHASE 

  • +8 LAN PORTS 
  • +EXTRA SECURITY 
  • +CHEAP

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -Restricted app 
  • -Difficulty removing LAN wires

Wi-Fi 6 routers aren’t cheap, but the TP-Link Archer AX6000 router, our best budget-friendly Wi-Fi 6 router, offers exceptional value. It may be slower and have a shorter range than rival Wi-Fi 6 models, but it offers Wi-Fi 6 speeds for $100 less than comparable Wi-Fi 6 models. Consider the Archer AX6000 as a low-cost Wi-Fi 6 router for the initial generation of devices.

TP-Archer Link’s AX6000 router leads the way for Wi-Fi 6 routers that are as as good with wired devices as they are with Wi-Fi, with eight wired networking ports and the option to couple two together to produce a 2Gbps data stream. The Archer AX6000 stands out as one of the best routers available, with router-based security at a hard-to-beat price.

Nighthawk RAXE500 from Netgear

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REASONS TO PURCHASE 

  • +Extremely fast with the 6GHz band 
  • +Customizability 
  • +Security software

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -Expensive 
  • -Throughput drops rapidly as distance increases

The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is the world’s first Wi-Fi 6e router, and the results are astonishing. The Nighthawk RAXE500 achieves category-leading performance by combining the new 6-GHz band with Wi-Fi 6’s already excellent capabilities.

The tri-band device, which has an AXE11000 rating, more than lives up to the expectations by providing nearly 2.5Gbps of real-world data. When you combine this with the sleek design and many setup options, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 emerges as one of the greatest wireless routers we’ve ever tested.

The tri-band Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 takes the lead as the first high-performance Wi-Fi 6e router by adding access to a bevy of new data-delivery channels in the 6GHz spectrum. Even if it isn’t the perfect fit for everyone, its performance earned it the Tom’s Guide Award for best Wi-Fi router. While it works best in close quarters and is one of the most costly routers on the market, the RAXE500 is well worth the money if you require speed.

Nighthawk AC2300 from Netgear (RS400)

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REASONS TO PURCHASE 

  • +Excellent performance 
  • +Three years of security software 
  • +Easy installation

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -Short range
  •  -Limited configuration

The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (RS400) may be priced like a high-performance or gaming router, but it excels in a different (and perhaps more essential) area: cybersecurity. The RS400 offers solid performance and ample range to serve most households, but the true value is in the security features, which include a slew of Netgear and Bitdefender security measures, as well as three years of Bitdefender Total Security software protection.

The RS400 is designed to protect your complete connected home, from your laptops and phones to a variety of smart devices such as televisions, ovens, thermostats, and doorbell cameras. Because there are so many devices on today’s home network, you must be more watchful, as even a single improperly secured device can expose you to hackers and malware. The RS400 is our top cybersecurity router because it keeps your entire house safe and is simple to set up and administer.

Archer A7 from TP-Link

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REASONS TO BUY 

  • +Affordable router 
  • +Adequate performance 
  • +Two-Year Warranty

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -It doesn’t have a lot of customizing possibilities.
  • -Restricted range

The TP-Link Archer A7 is the best Wi-Fi router for consumers on a tight budget, providing excellent 802.11ac performance and a surprising number of features for a fraction of the price of other competing routers. The Archer A7 offers excellent value for money, with four Gigabit LAN connections and a USB 2.0 connector for connecting devices.

The Archer A7 offers great performance and functionality, as well as a simple setup process and useful parental controls, including an app that allows you to monitor and restrict network usage from anywhere. It doesn’t have a lot of customizing options, but it does have parental controls and Quality of Service (QoS) software that ensures above-average performance. It’s the most cost-effective Wi-Fi router we’ve seen.

Archer C5400X from TP-Link

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REASONS TO PURCHASE 

  • +Excellent performance and tri-band design 
  • +Customization possibilities 
  • +Security software

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -Large
  •  -Antennas can’t be aimed
  • Advertisement

With some of the finest performance you’ll see in any single home networking device, the TP-Link Archer C5400X is the gaming router to beat. It has the best tri-band performance in the industry, with 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2.167Gbps on each of the two 5GHz channels. It also boasts amazing coverage, with over 100 feet of excellent coverage that will provide a strong, clear Wi-Fi signal to most households.

The spider-like 8-antenna design and red-on-black color scheme are sure to attract attention, but the main selling point is the collection of optimization and security features that will satisfy even the most discerning power user. This router puts great performance in the hands of the user, whether for gaming or anything else, thanks to powerful bandwidth-allocation options that let you use the huge throughput anyway you choose.

Max Stream Linksys EA8300

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REASONS TO BUY 

  • +Excellent tri-band performance
  •  +Good software and choices 
  • +Compact design 
  • +Affordable 

REASONS TO AVOID 

  • -Short range

We recommend the Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream router for a really customizable router. It’s not just a great tri-band router, but it’s also equipped with options to modify and personalize your router for best performance. The EA8300 Max-Stream is a little black device that can transmit a lot of data, but it’s suitable for smaller houses. Even with the lower range, it performs admirably for a router that costs less than $200.

You can automate numerous aspects, make manual modifications on the go, and monitor it all from your PC or smartphone, whether you’re allocating bandwidth to favor gaming or video streaming, or simply setting up parental controls. The Linksys EA8300 Max Stream is an easy choice for the power user, with so many options for customizing your router’s performance.


Is it past time for you to upgrade your Wi-Fi router?

Maybe your present Wi-Fi coverage is slower than it used to be, or you’ve had trouble with inconsistent reception, or you just need something that can manage the demands of an ever-increasing number of smart gadgets in the ordinary home. If you’re experiencing any of the following issues, a new router should be able to resolve them.

If you’re utilizing outdated hardware, it’s also worth upgrading. If you still have an old Wireless-N or Wireless-AC (retroactively dubbed Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5, respectively) router in your house, you should upgrade immediately. Not only will these newer standards provide speedier connectivity, but they will also provide other advantages. The more powerful standards will make your connected home gadgets feel faster and snappier, and your smartphone battery will last longer thanks to more effective device management.

If you’ve been paying a monthly rental cost for a gateway device from your ISP, you should upgrade your router as well. With monthly equipment rents averaging $10-15, a new router may pay for itself in a matter of months while also providing improved service and features. Just remember to link it with one of the finest cable modems to avoid the additional charges that typically come with broadband internet bundles.

How do you pick the best Wi-Fi router for your needs?

It’s easy to become lost in the complexities of networking jargon and arcane technical standards when it comes to choosing the best wireless router. But the only thing you actually need to know is how to respond to two important questions: What internet connection speed do you require? And what kind of protection do you require in your home?

Speeds and standards: The internet speed you require for your router is usually decided by the speed you receive from your internet service provider and the speed that your modem can provide. All except the most spectacular plans, such as Gigabit internet plans that are only accessible in select cities, can be handled by a regular 802.11ac router for most individuals. Most wireless AC routers will be able to do the job with ease, with average broadband speeds hovering around 100 Mbps.

Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) is the most recent router technology, and it’s a speedier standard that’s better suited to the many gadgets available in today’s homes. There are plenty of Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market, but there’s also Wi-Fi 6e, which takes advantage of a recently accessible portion of the radio spectrum.

Wi-Fi 6e-capable devices, such as laptops and smartphones, are still in short supply. Unless you’re using a dozen devices at once, Wi-Fi 6e isn’t going to help you much right now. For more information, see What Is Wi-Fi 6E: Routers, Devices, and How It Is Better Than Wi-Fi 6?

Coverage range is the final component of the wireless equation. A basic standalone router will typically have a range of 50 to 100 feet, which is sufficient for most apartments and small homes. If your home is larger than 3,000 square feet, you might consider a mesh router, which employs numerous devices to offer Wi-Fi coverage throughout a larger space. These are especially useful in multistory homes or in homes where the Wi-Fi signal goes out in dead spots.

Though wireless connectivity is the most important feature of a Wi-Fi router, you should also consider wired connections. Ethernet provides speedier access for devices that require more bandwidth, such as game consoles and smart TVs, and USB ports are useful for connecting a printer or storage to your network.

Another difficulty is input, particularly if you reside in a region with Gigabit internet. An older router can be a bottleneck with a Gigabit connection, slowing down your entire home. For significantly speedier connectivity, some routers may combine two inputs.

Price range: Basic dual-band 802.11ac routers are frequently available for less than $100. More pricier models, which can cost up to $300, provide greater coverage and quicker speeds, while gaming-oriented routers with built-in optimization capabilities are frequently more expensive. New routers that support the Wi-Fi 6 standard (formerly known as 802.11ax) can cost upwards of $400.

It’s difficult to keep up with everything that’s going on in the router industry, so check out our how-to guides on the latest technology, such as What is a mesh Wi-Fi router, and do you need one? Alternatively, obtain the most up-to-date guidance on how to repair your router’s security issues, from basic fixes to complex safeguards. We’re always offering the most up-to-date information about the newest products and technologies, from router security to in-depth explanations of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6e.

How can we put Wi-Fi routers to the test?

Every router we examine is put to the test in terms of performance and range, as well as hands-on use to assess the ease of setup and quality of settings and functionality.

The router’s throughput refers to how much data it can send and receive through its wireless connection. We take this measurement at a 5-foot distance with no impediments to determine the router’s maximum data transfer rate. Higher throughput is better for data-intensive applications like streaming video, gaming, or connecting several users at the same time.

The router’s range refers to the distance at which it can be used. Longer ranges are excellent for larger homes with multiple rooms spread out. We assess how much data a router can move over distances of 5, 50, 75, and 100 feet so you can pick the finest model for your smaller home or apartment, where short-range performance is a priority.

We also test performance through walls and ceilings to see how effectively a router can give signal in Wi-Fi-dampening environments like those found in many offices and houses.

We conduct further testing on mesh routers to see how well the mesh system sends a signal across both the main router and a satellite device.

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