Home Wi-Fi routers link a wide array of smart home gadgets while keeping millions of people connected and at work. That makes choosing the one that works best for you and your pocketbook more difficult than ever, especially as more Wi-Fi 6 devices become available.
Beyond that, it all depends on how much money you want to spend, the features you’re searching for, and how much cutting-edge technology you want in your wireless network. We’ve included below our best selections among the home and office Wi-Fi routers we’ve tested.
Gaming routers serve other purposes as well. If you want cutting-edge technology, look into gaming routers—even if you never play games—because they are often high-end routers with the newest features.
Gaming routers fall into a separate category and promise excellent hardware loaded with the newest features. Although our top router option is a gaming router, you’ll need to spend a little more if you want the greatest gaming router with the most features.
A router with the most advanced cutting-edge technology is the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. It is an improvement on Asus’s RT-AX88U and has all the characteristics of the older model, including tri-band capability with a maximum speed of 11000 Mbps. The Wi-Fi on this Asus route is really fast.
To prevent other devices in your home from competing for wireless traffic on your gaming Wi-Fi network, you may isolate your gaming devices—whether they be a PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or anything else—on their own band of Wi-Fi with this tri-band capability.
Even while the router has a strong gamer aesthetic, it’s not only about the gear. The ROG Gaming Center interface gives users simple access to the router’s capabilities and is entirely gamer-themed.
Additionally, this router has an advanced function called VPN Fusion that enables you to explicitly designate particular devices to use various connections at the router level. You could connect your game console directly to the internet and avoid the VPN by using the router’s interface to have your laptop go through a business VPN, your personal computer go through a different VPN for privacy, and so forth.
A router and one or more extenders make up a mesh Wi-Fi system. You may use these devices to cover a much bigger area than a single router unit can by dispersing them around an area, such as in several areas of your home. They’re a great way to increase coverage whenever there are dead spots or poor signals, push your signal out into the yard, or cover huge residences.
A mesh network solution is far more seamless than a standard wireless range extender. The primary router or the expanded network must be connected by your device when using a range extender since they often build their own separate network with their own identity.
When using a mesh networking system, all of the devices are connected to a single Wi-Fi network, are aware of one another, and can communicate and collaborate effectively. In addition, it is easier to set up than a conventional range extender.
We prefer the Asus ZenWiFi AX6600 (XT8) since it supports Wi-Fi 6, unlike many other mesh Wi-Fi systems. It has two units and claims to provide coverage for up to 5500 square feet in total. The QoS (quality of service) support for prioritizing traffic and optional parental control and anti-malware capabilities make this the finest Wi-Fi 6 mesh router.
Another great choice is Netgear’s Orbi 6, although it costs much more than the Asus ZenWiFi hardware we suggest and is deficient in several aspects.
Want more information? You may expand your AiMesh network by purchasing extra satellites individually. The mesh network with whatever many satellites you want is the finest router for a big residence.
A mesh Wi-Fi network is the greatest option if you’re searching for a long-range router. It will provide comprehensive and reliable coverage for your whole residence or place of business. Consider putting one of the satellites near the boundary of your property if you want to extend your Wi-Fi network outside into the yard.
Although mesh router systems are sometimes pricey, you don’t have to spend a fortune to check one out. The TP-Link Deco X20 offers useful features and solid performance without breaking the bank.
For $180, the entry-level kit comes with two nodes that can cover up to 4,000 square feet. For a typical-sized home, that ought to be more than enough. If not, a 3-node kit may be purchased for around $199 and will increase coverage to 5,800 square feet.
The main hub and the satellites have a similar appearance, and the nodes are rather compact and tiny. Each node has two gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing you to connect devices to any of them if necessary physically. However, none of the nodes have USB connections, thus any network-attached devices would also require a LAN port.
The Deco X20 is compatible with both Wi-Fi 6 and previous Wi-Fi version devices. The 1800Mbps available to Wi-Fi 6 devices may be fully utilized by sharing bandwidth across many connections using OFDMA technology. The maximum possible speeds of 1201 Mbps on the 5GHz frequency and 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz frequency are respectable even without that choice.
However, the mesh has no exclusive backhaul channel. The outcome will be slower speeds from the satellites than when they are linked to the hub since the signal will deteriorate as it moves between nodes.
Although having a backhaul channel is convenient, it does tend to be more expensive. If you want Ethernet backhaul, it is available in the 3-pack, so the upgrade will cost roughly $20. Additionally, the Deco X20 supports beamforming and MU-MIMO, which helps strengthen the signal and help make up for slower speeds.
The Deco X20 is a difficult mesh router to match on price if you’re on a limited budget. Although there are some trade-offs regarding maximum speed and cutting-edge features, it’s a fantastic option for the typical family wishing to expand network coverage to every room in the house.
To be clear, you don’t require a device that combines a modem and a router. Any of the routers listed below may be purchased and connected to your ISP’s modem; alternatively, you can purchase your own modem (such as the Motorola MB8600, which is equipped for gigabit internet) and connect any of the listed routers to it. When you choose a router and modem individually, you have many more possibilities.
However, some individuals desire the combination unit. There is a sleek simplicity in the fact that there is only one gadget instead of two.
We recommend the NETGEAR Nighthawk CAX80 if you’re searching for a modem router combination that supports Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity. One of the few modem router combos that can handle Wi-Fi 6 is this one. Additionally, it has an integrated DOCSIS 3.1 modem, enabling gigabit internet connections.
Beyond the modem, you have a reliable, top-of-the-line Netgear Nighthawk dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with maximum speeds of 6000 Mbps and OFDMA for Wi-Fi 6 connections over long distances.
Unfortunately, it falls short of our top recommendations in terms of functionality because this router does not offer WPA3 security. There is no traffic prioritization QoS (quality of service) support. As opposed to our best overall router and top gaming router recommendations from AsusYou cannot set up your router as a VPN client in order to tunnel all of your internet traffic through the VPN.
While Asus and TP-Link provide free lifetime memberships to their router security services, There is just a free 30-day trial offered by NETGEAR; if you want to keep using it beyond that time, you’ll have to pay for more time. Overall, we believe that purchasing a router and a modem separately makes sense. But if you just need one, you should get this.
A VPN client is incorporated into some routers. All devices on the network that connect via the router will automatically connect to the VPN when the router establishes a connection with it. If you want to connect to a business network or tunnel all of your online traffic through a VPN for privacy concerns, this might be useful.
Consider looking at the Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U), our overall top router option, if you’re seeking a router with a VPN client. Both contemporary Wi-Fi 6 technology and built-in capability for connecting to VPNs are included. To set up the VPN client, download the OpenVPN configuration files and upload them to the router’s web interface.
The Asus GT-AX11000, our choice for the best gaming router, offers a “VPN Fusion” function that enables you to customize your network to send traffic from particular devices via the VPN, giving you even more flexibility.
However, if you need to change settings, ordinary routers don’t offer the simplest way to connect to a VPN. The best VPN router we chose is compatible with ExpressVPN, our recommended VPN. To receive a user-friendly interface for connecting to ExpressVPN and changing your router’s VPN settings, you may install the ExpressVPN-provided modified router firmware on this router.
The main issue is that Wi-Fi 6 and ExpressVPN’s custom router software aren’t currently supported by any routers (or OpenWrt and DD-WRT). But you should hold off on upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 for the time being if VPN compatibility is your primary concern.
Instead, we suggest the Linksys WRT3200ACM open-source router, which ExpressVPN considers to be the most potent router that its software is compatible with. Although it is only an 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) router, its MU-MIMO technology will allow for greater performance with more devices than the other models that ExpressVPN offers.
Anyone who is sick of dealing with hotel Wi-Fi needs a travel router. Additionally, it’s a must for creating a reliable Wi-Fi network everywhere you have access to a wired Ethernet connection.
Poor hotel Wi-Fi. There may only be a few gadgets that you can connect, and the speeds are sometimes quite poor. You’ll need to manually connect to the network and enter a password on each device you use. However, often your room has an Ethernet connector.
You may attach a tiny, portable device called a travel router to Ethernet connections like these. Using that wired network, it will soon build your own private Wi-Fi bubble. You won’t be reliant on the hotel’s poor Wi-Fi since all your devices will retain your travel network credentials and connect without needing to enter a new password.
The TP-Link AC750 is a superior router for traveling. It lacks Wi-Fi 6, but let’s face it, most hotel Wi-Fi networks don’t either. It is a wireless AC (Wi-Fi 5) router that is very affordable, small, and capable of transmitting data at up to 733 Mbps, far quicker than most hotels offer.
This product is likewise made by TP-Link, a reputable company that produces some of our top selections for inexpensive and budget routers.
The industry has already begun promoting Wi-Fi 6E, which is Wi-Fi 6, but it can also operate on the 6GHz band in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands that Wi-Fi 6 and earlier generations of Wi-Fi utilize. In regions where multiple devices connect wirelessly, it could ease congestion and speed up operations.
Even if Wi-Fi 7 is (far) in the future, Wi-Fi 6E is the cutting-edge technology that router manufacturers are pushing. Although Wi-Fi 6E isn’t quite as important or as widely used as Wi-Fi 6, it is already being supported by many devices.
Wi-Fi 6E is a brand-new, cutting-edge technology, so routers that support it will cost much more than our other top recommendations, but if you have any Wi-Fi 6E devices or want to be future-proof, you might want to acquire one.
Check out the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 if Wi-Fi 6E is crucial to you. This router is the same as our top recommendation for gaming routers, but with an upgraded design and Wi-Fi 6E capability. You receive Wi-Fi 6E in addition to all of its potent, cutting-edge capabilities.
For those seeking the greatest, most reliable gear available, think of it as a step up.
The TP-Link Archer A8 is a good option if you want a router that is even less expensive than our top recommendation for the lowest price. Our router is less future-proof than many of the other choices on this list since it only supports Wi-Fi 5, not Wi-Fi 6. However, you’ll probably be satisfied with this router if you only need to cover a small area and don’t have many devices. It is a better model of the Archer A7, which was previously our top selection for a router under $100.
The Archer A8 has speeds up to 1900 Mbps, which are higher than the 1750 Mbps of the Archer A8. The A8 will still be slower than our best budget pick’s 3000 Mbps and our overall top router’s 6000 Mbps, though.
You may still connect your Wi-Fi 6 devices to the Archer A8 (or any other Wi-Fi 5 router), but you will only receive Wi-Fi 5 speeds. When additional devices are connected, routers in this price range also frequently have performance issues. However, the Archer A8 won’t break the bank if you only require a router and live in a tiny house or apartment.
We do not advise buying a router for less than this amount or even attempting to obtain Wi-Fi 6 in this price range. The TP-Link Archer AX10, for instance, is a similarly priced router from TP-Link that supports Wi-Fi 6. The router’s peak speed of 1500 Mbps makes it slower than this Wi-Fi 5 router, despite the Wi-Fi 6 guarantee.
Interesting Comparison Between WiFi 5 and 6The Wi-Fi Alliance provided a list of the Wi-Fi 6 devices right after the announcement.
In this thorough evaluation, we’ll assist you in making an informed decision if you’re eager to upgrade your WiFi from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6.
A pricey router is not necessary for everyone. We suggest the TP-Link Archer AX3000, also known as the Archer AX50, if you simply need to cover a limited area with a few devices or you want to save some money. This contemporary router supports Wi-Fi 6 and is far less expensive than our top recommendation for the finest Wi-Fi router.
Going wrong with this router is difficult if you don’t want to spend much money on our top recommendation. Of course, the TP-Link AX3000 needs to make certain technological compromises. While the Asus model we suggest has a throughput maximum of 6000 Mbps, this TP-Link model has a throughput maximum of 3000 Mbps. With this router, TP-Link has not incorporated WPA3 security. It also has four gigabit LAN connections rather than eight for wired Ethernet devices.
It’s crucial to remember that you cannot link more routers to create a smooth mesh network without a feature like AiMesh. It features a built-in VPN server that you may use to connect to your home network remotely via the internet, but it is unable to act as a VPN client to encrypt all of your internet traffic.
You’d be astonished at how many high-end features you can obtain at this reduced price range if everything above sounds okay to you. Naturally, the router supports Wi-Fi 6 with OFDMA to extend the range while establishing a connection with Wi-Fi 6 devices. Additionally, dual-band technology and free parental controls are included.
If at all possible, we advise against buying a router for less money. When Wi-Fi 6 gear is reasonably priced, it’s a great chance to future-proof your network. You’ll either get a reliable Wi-Fi 5 router or a rather sluggish Wi-Fi 6 router if you spend less.
Look at the Asus AX6000 if you’re seeking for the greatest Wi-Fi router for a home. It isn’t the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 router you can purchase—far from it—but it isn’t the least expensive.
Future-proof Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), WPA3 security, a maximum speed of 6000 Mbps, dual-band technology, built-in VPN support, built-in QoS (quality of service) for giving particular types of network traffic priority, free built-in parental controls, and security features for thwarting malware are all included with this router. For instance, it has built-in support for OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP VPN clients, allowing the router to establish a connection to a VPN and direct all of your internet traffic via it.
Wi-Fi 6 is about more than speed. Compared to the older 802.11ac, or Wi-Fi 5, this dual-band router maintains a strong signal over greater distances thanks to OFDMA technology.
There are an incredible eight gigabit Ethernet ports for connecting wired devices on the router’s rear. Although we advise a specialized mesh system if you’re considering a mesh network, it is also compatible with Asus AiMesh, which assists you in setting up a mesh network by connecting other Asus routers.
It’s safe to say that any reliable router, including this one, is a fantastic choice for streaming from websites like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. As long as both your Wi-Fi 6 router and your streaming devices have a strong signal, you’re fine to go. But think about a mesh Wi-Fi system if you require coverage across a larger region.