In a world of smart homes and constantly connected devices, having a solid, reliable wireless router is crucial. Unfortunately, you might be hard-pressed to find the best wireless router on the market due to the sheer number of choices of this computer accessory. This is why we went out and got our hands on the most popular models so we could narrow them down and find the top 5 wireless routers of 2019 for you. Our testing consisted of speed tests, performance at range and price. We even looked at cutting-edge features like MU-MIMO and mesh networking to get the full picture.
After dozens of hours of testing on a variety of different devices, we’ve identified the TP-Link Archer A20 as the best wireless router of 2020 because of its blazing speeds and highly customizable feature set. Keep reading to learn more about this top-of-the-line router and our other four picks so you can stay connected to your internet and get the fastest speeds possible.
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Eero Pro Wi-Fi System consists of one powerful tri-band router and two flexible beacons with MU-MIMO and beamforming features to optimize network performance. This bundle covers more than 4,700 square feet of your home with high-speed, reliable Wi-Fi, which puts it in the middle of our selection in terms of range alone.
Read Full Review: Eero Pro Wi-Fi System
The Eero Pro Home Wi-Fi bundle comes with a second-generation router with tri-band power that covers up to 1,750 sq. ft. on its own and an additional 5GHz radio, allowing your network to handle more devices without compromising its performance. The router has two Ethernet ports which youcan use to establish stable and fast wired connections.
Eero’s bundle consists of two beacons as well. No installation is required. All you have to do is plug a beacon in to add up to 1,500 sq. ft. of coverage. An app will do everything for you. It automatically connects Eero devices to form one mesh network. Not only that, Eero offers world-class security by issuing one-time passwords on their app and permitting only WPA2-compatible devices on your home network.
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: The RBK23 Wi-Fi system features a 2.2 Gbps router and two satellites that cover 6,000 sq. ft., advanced threat protection, and smart parental controls. It’s the perfect choice for homeowners who want greater control of their home network.
Read Full Review: Netgear Orbi Review
Each of the three components of the RBK23 home network measures 5.6 x 2.4 x 6.6 inches and weighs only 1.05 lb. They are more compact compared to their previous iteration. Unfortunately, their smaller size means they have fewer Ethernet ports. The router has one, while both satellites have two, which means you get fewer opportunities to set up wired connections.
The Orbi Wi-Fi system can be set up and customized within minutes using the app. It offers one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands, which deliver up to 2200 Mbps speeds, making it one of the more powerful and stable tri-band systems on our list. However, it’s software isn’t updated as often as the Eero Wi-Fi system, which is why it’s our second favorite.
Award: Best for Smart Homes
WHY WE LIKE IT: The TP-Link Deco Mesh System supports AC1200 Wi-Fi speeds, advanced WPA/WP2 wireless encryption, and robust parental controls, making your home network safer and faster. Since this Mesh Wi-Fi system can connect up to 100 devices, it’s an ideal choice for smart homes with large families and a penchant for entertaining guests.
Read Full Review: TP-Link Deco
The TP-Link Wi-Fi System comes with three Deco M4 devices. Together, they can cover an area of up to 5,500 sq. ft., promoting fast and seamless roaming within your home. Compared to our top two favorites, it can support more devices–as many as 100 to be exact.
Designed with robust parental control, parents can limit the internet access of every family member and restrict them from viewing specific online content. They can even pause Wi-Fi connectivity on their kids’ devices during meals or bedtime. The entire network can be managed from the Deco app. Not only that, homeowners can control it through Alexa voice controls, making it a perfect addition to smart homes.
Award: Best Expandable Mesh Wi-Fi System
WHY WE LIKE IT: The MeshForce M3 system supports 1200 Mbps dual-band Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet speeds, and advanced security, promoting seamless wireless connectivity in up to 4,000 sq. ft. It’s nearly as impressive as our top pick in terms of coverage, but the best thing about this mesh Wi-Fi system is that it’s easy to expand, making it an ideal choice for growing families.
Read Full Review: MeshForce Review
The M3 Suite consists of a single dual-band router and two wall-plug extenders, which cover a total of over 4,000 sq. ft. The three-unit system’s range is merely 700 short from our top pick. However, you can extend the coverage by adding six more extenders to the Wi-Fi system. It’s the most scalable option on our list. If you’ve got a large home, this can eliminate dead spots and support seamless roaming.
MeshForce’s home network can be managed through the My Mesh app. From there, you can check your Wi-Fi status, connections, and even kick out unknown devices. The app can be used on iOS and Android devices.
Award: Best for Entertainment Experiences
WHY WE LIKE IT: Equipped with Multi-user MIMO and beamforming technology, the Linksys Max-Stream EA7500 router can deliver fast and uninterrupted wireless access to multiple devices..Although it covers only 1,500 sq. ft., it can support high-bandwidth households and deliver seamless entertainment experiences all day long.
Read Full Review: Linksys EA7500 AC1900 Review
Linksys’ Max-Stream EA7500 router delivers dual-band Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps. It might not be up to par in terms of speeds with some of our top picks. However, it supports fewer devices within a shorter range. That allows it to reach Gigabit speeds and support bandwidth-extensive activities such as video streaming and gaming, fulfilling most home entertainment needs.
In terms of installing the Max-Stream router, it’s quick and easy. All you have to do is plug it in and connect it to your modem.
Award: Best Value
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Google home Wi-Fi system is exactly what you can expect from one of the leading tech giants in the world – simple yet packed with reliable features such as advanced network assistance, parental controls, beamforming technology, and hassle-free setup, perfect for homeowners who want to invest in a Wi-Fi system that will last long. If you want the best bang for your buck, the dual-band Google Wi-Fi router is a must-have.
Read Full Review: Google Wi-Fi Router Review
By combining smart innovation with simple yet reliable features, Google’s Wi-Fi system makes an excellent choice for small families. It can provide seamless connectivity and eliminate pain points. However, it’s not the most flexible, nor is it the most customizable. From an app, you can set up and manage your home network. You can choose which devices to prioritize and establish parental controls.
One Google Wi-Fi point only covers a mid-sized home with 1,500 sq. ft., while three of these can easily reach up to 4,500 sq. ft. of coverage. The router is scalable. It can grow alongside your family. However, it’s not as expandable as the M3 system, as you can only add up to three Wi-Fi points. The great news though is Google has an upgrade to its home Wi-Fi routers, called the Google Nest Wi-Fi which has a larger coverage Wi-Fi network. The Nest Wi-Fi is a Wi-Fi mesh system that is dual band, has two LAN ports, and comes with the new Google Assistant feature which can play music and control smart home devices. The Nest Wi-Fi has a better Wi-Fi signal than the Google home WiFi, and has got a one gigabit RAM and four gigabit flash memory, but does not support Wi-Fi 6.
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: The AC6 is a dual-band router with four antennas that can deliver 1,167 Mbps for HD streaming and smooth gaming. Unlike the rest on our list, it only covers 2,000 sq. ft., but it does deliver fast, reliable wireless internet speeds at a very affordable price, perfect for homeowners on a budget
Read Full Review: Tenda AC6 Review
The Tenda AC6 has four external antennas that deliver up to 1,167 Mbps. It can support up to 20 wireless devices simultaneously—from Alexa-powered devices to smartphones—without compromising network conditions. Equipped with a Broadcom chip, the AC6 delivers fast-processing speeds so you can enjoy online activities with minimal latency.
Tenda’s app allows you to manage your home network from anywhere. Offering up to 2,000 sq. ft. of coverage, its range isn’t as wide as the rest of the options on our list, nearly half of our top pick’s coverage, but it does offer advanced features such as MU-MIMO and beamforming technology at an affordable price.
Wireless router technology has evolved rapidly in the past few years, incorporating a plethora of new wireless bands, transmission standards, and extra features that are all designed to keep up with the demands of a modern home.
Older routers that use b/g/n to transmit their signal aren’t built for the way people use their wireless networks these days, whether it be streaming Netflix in 4K, downloading file sizes that can stretch into the tens (if not hundreds) of gigabytes, or playing online games that demand the absolute lowest ping/latency possible to get you to the top of the local leaderboard.
If you find yourself running any of these activities but are constantly shaking a fist at your at the dreaded “buffering” symbol as it mocks you from the other side of the screen, a router upgrade could be just what you need to solve these problems and so many more.
Similarly, if you’re updating your smartphone every year to the latest model and splurging on a shiny new laptop shortly after, your router should get just as much consideration as any other technology you use on a daily basis.Your wireless router is the last boundary between your devices and the rest of the internet, which is why it’s important to ensure that it’s running the latest firmware with the best firewalls, and always has enough horsepower to spare whenever you tack on a new laptop or phone to your endlessly growing network of personal mobile technology.
Last, there’s the advent of features like MU-MIMO and mesh networking that should perk up the ears of anyone who’s considering upgrading their home network so far into the future that they won’t have to even think about router shopping for the next two years or more. Mesh networking in particular is probably one of the best reasons to upgrade in 2020, as it gives you a way to get signal in places like the basement, attic, or backyard which were previously thought to be total deadzones for all but the most powerful routers out there.
These reasons are just a few of the dozens that should give you all the motivation you need to look into investing in a new router this year!
When we went on the hunt for the best router in 2020, we measured dozens of different features, stats, and metrics against one another to come up with a list of the top five you’ll find on shelves today.
For starters, all the routers we chose must have a minimum bandwidth rating of 1900AC and pump out at least 200Mbps on the 5GHz spectrum. We made sure the router had a bevy of extra parental controls and firewall settings as well, so you can be sure your family is always protected when they’re on the web. Last but not least, wireless router come with future-proof tech such as MU-MIMO, which ensures that you’re always getting the fastest possible connection no matter where you’re browsing from in the house.
To see why the AC3200ACM beat out the rest of the competition, continue reading on in our annual roundup of the best routers in 2020!
As Gadget Review’s resident router expert, in my nearly half-decade long career of reviewing the newest technology in wireless hardware, I’ve learned a lot about what makes a great router, and where the rest of the duds are so obvious you can see them coming from a mile away.
I’ve spent roughly 200 hours reviewing 15+ routers for Gadget Review, and have written a number of how-to articles and tutorials which explain what router technology is, how to use it, and where it can help you grow your home’s wireless network the most. I’ve had just about every mobile networking app installed on my iPhone 7 at one point or another, and know the ins and outs of both the desktop and web-browser based configurators that many of the current manufacturers use.
My reviews have been featured on the websites of some of the top router distributors, including Linksys, and I’ve continued to stay up to date on all the latest developments on both the hardware and software side of the business for years.
To make our list, each router had to not only perform exceptionally well in our range test, but had to achieve a set of features and match that with a price that was commensurate in value.
When you’re asking yourself what to look for in a wireless router, there are a few key features to keep an eye on. How we choose the best of the best routers usually comes down to three main factors: the signal strength, the number of onboard features, and price. The routers on this list are all at the head of their game in these arenas, and consistently offer top-of-the-line performance alongside a fair price and a plethora of extras that users can utilize to perfectly customize their own wireless networking experience at home or their office space.
Router technology is constantly evolving to meet the demands of new internet activities, whether that be online gaming, photo uploads, or the advent of 4K streaming.
All the routers we’ve chosen run at a spec of 802.11ac, the latest version of Wi-Fi transmission technology to be released, and also feature a minimum of two wireless bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. They also come with a bevvy of extra features that put them ever-so slightly above the rest of the competition, including: QoS management, parental controls, intuitive mobile apps, media servers, internal firewalls, and more. The routers were tested in a 2600 sq ft home, which was only surrounded by two other wireless networks, so we experienced as little interference as we could during the testing process.
Accessing and configuring these features used to have a barrier of entry that only the mid-level tech nerd would understand completely, but nowadays thanks to mobile and desktop apps, the process has gotten significantly simpler to deal with.
Dashboards like the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi system continue to set the gold standard for how to create a piece of software that feels like it was made for actual people, not just those who had read the Wireless Routers for Dummies handbook. Every feature is clearly laid out and explained in a way that makes sense to the layman. In today’s world of internet threats, we think it’s important that you as the buyer (and owner) of these routers know exactly what they can (and can’t) do to protect you and your family while they browse online, which is why a well-laid out dashboard is a must.
When it comes to speed, all routers on this list are equipped with a minimum spec of 1900AC, which means they have a theoretical max output of simultaneous dual-band signals up to 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) at a time. Options like the Linksys WRT3200ACM are even faster than that though, cresting at a whopping 2.6Gbps.
One of the newer pieces of tech to make it to the high-end sector of the router market in recent years is the addition of MU-MIMO, or Multiple User Mulitple-Input Multiple-Output technology. As explained in my HowToGeek article on the subject, MU-MIMO is a style of beamforming technology which evenly distributes traffic to all members of the household simultaneously, instead of one at a time. There still aren’t a huge number of devices that can support a MU-MIMO stream just yet, but if you’re the type of buyer who prefers to future-proof as much as possible when making purchases like these, than MU-MIMO is the way to go.
Finally, we always do what we can to keep a careful eye on the design of a router, and only recommend those which don’t take up too much space or end up being a central conversation piece of your home (unless you want them to be, of course). Outliers like the AmpliFi HD take router design to the next level, though we suspect it could be a number of years before more the traditional router makers go the same route.
Switch to 5Ghz, Utilize QoS and Invest in in a MU-MIMO Router
In the war of routers, the tale of Linksys vs. Netgear is one that’s almost as old as the technology itself. And despite how long both have been keeping a neck and neck pace with the other, it seems that in recent years thanks to some serious innovation on the software front, there’s no question that Linksys is currently coming out on top.
The Linksys Smart WiFi system is a ubiquitous web-based login that can be used to set up, manage, and configure your router from anywhere in the world without using complicated logins or remote call procedures. Simply register your email with Linksys and you’ll have access to all your Smart WiFi features, making it easy to do anything from creating a new firewall rule to streaming media server content straight to your portable device.
Netgear still makes seriously powerful routers that can handle almost any task the average internet user might be able to throw its way, but unfortunately both their desktop-based app and their mobile options are lacking when it comes to the level of polish that we see from Linksys in this department. For all their technical prowess in hardware they still manage to come up drastically short on the software side, which is why for less experienced users it’s always a good idea to go with Linksys instead.
That said the main reason for preferring a cleaner dashboard is only to help novice users navigate their way around the configuration process. If you’re more of a networking expert who knows their way around a router then ultimately the decision should come down to features, speed, and price. On these three fronts Linksys and Netgear still maintain a pretty even race after all these years, and both have their own unique aesthetic which can fit comfortably in almost anyone’s home decor.
Before you run off to buy your first (or fifteenth router), there are a few things you should catch yourself up to speed on first so you can make the most informed buying decision possible.
The first is to learn the basics, which you can do thanks to our resource article that covers this very subject. Next, once you’ve actually got your router in house, you’re going to need to know how to get everything set up properly. There’s no point in trying to protect your network after it’s already been infected, so having a strong security strategy and a full understanding of all the threats that your network can be protected from out of the gate is imperative to maintaining proper internet security practices from the get-go.
So with all of that in mind, which model is the best of wireless router for 2017, 2018 and 2020?
If we’re going purely off the metrics of range, reliability, and ease of use, the TP-Link Archer A20 Router takes it. It is a bit pricier than some, but with an elegant, timeless design that’s combined with TP-Link’s notorious attention to detail, the Archer A20 manages to hit all its marks while still bringing an air of simplicity to the table that just can’t be matched.
Still can’t decide? Take a look at our wireless router reviews, and by the time you’re done reading you might feel informed enough to pull the trigger on the model that’s right for you.
Our experts will provide WiFi router reviews to answer all of your questions about what kind of router you need and where to find it. If you are on the lookout for the the best wireless router, then you should read our wifi reviews! Also, be sure to check out our top lists of computer accessories to see which routers we recommend, why, and which options may fall right in your price range such as mesh routers.
What Is A Wireless Router?
A wireless router is actually a device that combines the roles of a router (a network device that transfers data packets between computer networks), and a wireless access point (a device that allows devices to connect to a wired network using WiFi and other technologies).
What Price Should You Expect To Pay For A Wireless Router?
Wireless router prices vary wildly, mainly depending on the features on the router and the brand behind it. So, while you can pay as little as about $15 for a wireless router, you can also pay as much as $200. But as mentioned above, the type of features, and how new the technology included into a specific router will also determine its price. This makes analyzing the features you need in your wireless router the best starting point as you shop for this important network device. But generally speaking, a budget of about $50-100 should be enough when looking for a decent wireless router.
Which Are The Leading Wireless Router Brands?
When it comes to the manufacture of wireless routers, there are a few dozen companies in this market. Some of the most popular names such as D-Link, Netgear, TP-Link, and Linksys are considered industry staples. Other major players in this space include Apple, Belkin, Buffalo Technology, Asus, and others.
Major Features To Consider
When shopping for a wireless router, there are a couple of things you should look out for to be happy with your purchase. For one, the router should be 802.11ac compatible. This is the latest wireless protocol, offering the fastest speeds (aka throughput). Gigabit Ethernet support, an integrated modem, dual-band support, range extension, MiMO, and USB ports (for printer, or external hard drive connections) are also important.
It is also important to take into consideration how easy it is to use the wireless router you are buying. Setting up some wireless routers can prove to be a hair-pulling experience, especially when trying to configure advanced features. In some cases however, the router can be surprisingly easy to set up, despite having a multiplicity of features.
Another thing to consider is how secure the wireless router is – some versions rank very poorly on security, while others offer a broad range of security features. You should opt for the latter to protect yourself from attacks and unauthorized access. Features to look out for include WPA and WPA2 encryption, VPN support, parental controls, guest access features.
Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping For A Wireless Router
One of the most common mistake you can make while buying a wireless router is failing to consider your particular usage needs as you shop. For instance, if you have created an Apple ecosystem in your house or business, buying a wireless router that does not support Mac devices would be a huge mistake.
Other issues people mistakenly ignore include the intended use range, network load, security features and the number of devices to connect to the network. Not even your budget should make you compromise on these important features as they are absolutely critical in the device you are buying. Some people also overlook the importance of quality of service, making their use experiences a nightmare when things hit a snag and they really need professional assistance.
Today's WiFi routers are getting more interesting than ever before. Not only to they offer multiple bands for managing different devices, they are coming with smart wireless targeting and more antennas than ever before to help fix all those pesky problems with dead zones and poor connections. If you are ready to update your router, Gadget Review can provide advice for Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, Belkin and many other brands. We'll also help you take a look at router security options, routers designed for gaming, and other important factors when it comes to choosing the best wireless network devices for the job.
So, our experts give you everything you need to know to decide on the right router for your smart home needs. Check our wireless wifi router reviews and our top list of computer accessories reviews for the best wireless wifi router, hard drives, smart TVs, computer monitors, computer speakers and computer mouse. Wireless routers are routers with wireless access points that based on features, cost between $15 to $200.
The popular brands for your wi fi system are Netgear Nighthawk, D-Link, Linksys, and TP-Link. Important features to look out for in your router are it being 802.11ac compatible, the latest wireless protocol with fastest speeds, integrated modem, band wi fi like a 5ghz band, range extension, USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet ports and mu MiMO.
It should also be easy to use and rank well on security with features like VPN support, parental controls and WPA and WPA2 encryption. Always choose your wi fi router based on your particular usage like online gaming, mesh networking, the multiple devices you use, wireless networking load, connected devices, the number of network-connected devices and security features.
With so many interesting wireless gaming router to choose from today managing different devices and with more antennas to fix dead zone and poor internet connection problems, Gadget Review can help you if you plan to update your router. We provide advice for various brands and also help take a look at the important features while choosing the best wireless network devices for wireless connectivity in your home network.
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