Choosing a new wireless router is like choosing a new President.
All potential candidates claim to solve all your problems, but you can vote in favor of only one.
More so, while shopping a router, there are extra concerns to address. For, the router which is brilliant for a small apartment might be ruinous for a large house. If you are a gamer, you’d need better Wi-Fi speed than, let’s say, a streamer. All this while remembering what your budget is.
Feel like losing hope? This article will help.
We know what users want from their routers – specs such as huge coverage area, support for multiple devices (tablets, smartphones, game consoles, smart TVs,etc), and good Wi-Fi speed. Armed with this piece of information, we reviewed a list of best routers on the market.
Afterward, we selected the ten of the best available ones. Of the ten, we hope, you’d be able to select the best for your situation.
Take a look.
Table of Contents
- Best Wireless Routers 2017
- 1. Synology RT1900ac - Best for Small Business
- 2. TP-Link AC1900 - Best Router for Streaming Movies and Music
- 3. ASUS RT-AC88U - Best All-Around Router for Gaming
- 4. NETGEAR AC1750 - Best for Streaming
- 5. ASUS RT-ACRH13 - Best Router for Sharing Files, Videos, and Photos
- 6. NETGEAR Orbi AC3000 - Best for a Full Home Coverage
- 7. TP-Link AC1200 - Best Under $50
- 8. TRENDnet AC2600 MU-MIMO – Best for Small Apartments
- 9. Linksys AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router – Best for Large Homes
- 10. Linksys EA6350 – Best Value
- Wireless Router Buying Guide
Best Wireless Routers 2017
If you want to extend the range and speed of your home network, a good wireless router is a must. Regardless of the Wi-Fi devices, you connect to it, every router worth its salt will maintain its speed and range. However, if you want to get the best all-round wireless router from the market, you need to know what the features are which separate the best from the riffraff.
Don’t know anything about those features? This table will help.
|Device Name||Weight||Wireless Compatibility||Bands||Antennas|
|Synology Router (RT1900ac)||1.12 lbs||802.11 A/C, 802.11 a/b/g/n||Two||3|
|TP-Link AC1900 |
|3 lbs||802.11 A/C, 802.11 a/b/g/n||Two||3|
|ASUS RT-AC88U||2.6 lbs||802.11 A/C, 802.11 a/b/g/n||Two||4|
|TP-Link Archer C9||0.5 lbs||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||Two||3|
|ASUS RT-ACRH13||0.55 lbs||802.11 AC||Two||4|
|NETGEAR Orbi AC3000|
(Comple Home Coverage)
|3.92 lbs||802.11bgn, 802.11 a/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency||Three||0|
|1.39 lbs||802.11ac, 802.11 a/b/g/n||Two||2|
|TRENDnet AC2600||3.15 lbs||802.11ac, 802.11 a/b/g/n||Two||4|
|Linksys AC1900||2.05 lbs||802.11 A/C||Two||3|
|1 lb.||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||Two||2|
Find the table confusing? Don’t worry, it has two important facts to tell you. First, if you want a router for a big home, go for the three band Netgear Orbi. Supporting virtually every Wi-Fi the world has ever seen, this router will eliminate all Wi-Fi dead zones in your home.
Second, if you don’t have a very big home – but still want good signal strength, go for the router which has more antennas. For, greater the number of antennas, more would be the range of Wi-Fi signals.
Still, the table doesn’t tell the full story about these devices, which is why you need to read the below mentioned reviews before making a decision.
1. Synology RT1900ac - Best for Small Business
What does a small business owner want from their wireless router?
First, he wants it to provide immaculate speed over a small number of devices. Second, he wants it to cover the range of his entire office. Third, he wants to have full control over it. Luckily, the Synology RT1900ac provide all three.
Since this router’s price is anything but cheap, you should expect it to do everything which other high-end routers do. And what is that high-end routers provide? Breathtaking speed.
Thankfully, in addition to its dual-band connectivity – which is a guarantee of good speed, this router has features like beamforming and Quality of Service to ensure good speed. Therefore, regardless of the number of users in your office, you’d never find the speed of this device wanting.
Not stopping there in its quest of unlimited Wi-Fi speed, Synology RT1900ac has gone for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. As experts might tell, this Wi-Fi device provides more speed than any other over the history of the internet. This feature is a must-have for business owners whose entire business is online, and who cannot afford any disruption in their Wi-Fi.
Since you’d be the one paying bills, the RT1900ac gives you complete control over the wireless signals it churns out. It has a parental control filter which you can use in your office to keep distracting websites at bay. And if you are not in the office, you can take advantage of its smartphone which to manage things on the go.
More importantly, to ensure you know who is using the internet on your premises, the RT1900ac has opted for RADIUS server. Enabling this feature would require anyone trying to use the Wi-Fi to pass through an authentication process. Consequently, you can make sure that only the office workers can have access to the Wi-Fi.
Though it has an expensive price tag for an individual user, the RT1900ac’s price is reasonable for business users. It offers a plethora of management and connectivity features but has a user-friendly interface to allow you manage things easily.
2. TP-Link AC1900 - Best Router for Streaming Movies and Music
What’s the reason why the AC1900 is selling like hot cakes on Amazon? Is it the price? Certainly not, as this router is anything but inexpensive. Look closely at its feature set, and you’d know that most of its users are raving about the streaming speed of this router’s signals.
But what are those features, I hear you ask? Let’s find out.
Tell me: what infuriates you the most while streaming movies on Netflix? Yup, buffering. Though you may not like it, even some dual-band routers have this problem. Why? Well, because they don’t offer “simultaneous” dual-band connectivity.
Thankfully, the AC1900 provides just that. Yes, it won’t ask you to switch to either the 5GHz or the 2.4GHz band manually. Rather, depending on the data your device may be consuming at that time, it would automatically select the best band for the task. The result of this automation? Breathtaking Wi-Fi speed.
While the Wi-Fi speed will make sure you can stream music from the internet, there are three dual-band antennas to provide maximum signal strength. Not only that, but all the antennas are detachable, meaning you can replace them if their performance doesn’t meet your requirements.
To let you get through the installation process with ease, this router comes with a TP-Link Tether App. That said, the app does much more than guide you through the installation process. For example, it lets you set parental controls, activate beamforming, find out which device is using how much data and much more.
And provided you want to allocate specific bandwidths for each device, you can do that with the app as well. Therefore, to say that this app gives you total control over your router won’t be an exaggeration.
If you want a router which gives you wired and wireless connections without interruption – or that which can send strong Wi-Fi signals through the home, the AC1900 is worthy of your attention.
3. ASUS RT-AC88U - Best All-Around Router for Gaming
Ask an online gamer you know – and provided they are honest, you’ll hear tales of the money they spent on getting the best router for gaming, but to no avail. In case you want to take heed from their experience – and want a perfect router for online gaming – the ASUS RT-AC88U would suit you well.
In case you were wondering, the reason why we called this router as the best for gaming was its QAM Technology. In simple words, having this technology means that this router is capable of providing more speeds, at both bands.
Yes, AT BOTH BANDS. It doesn’t matter whether your device is latest or not – it also won’t matter while it supports the latest 5GHz band or not, you can still – and I repeat myself, STILL get 60% more speed on the 2.4GHz band. Hence, in the light of this feature, we can say with certainty that the RT AC88U won’t discriminate while churning out speed for all devices.
What’s more, if you like playing in the den – but your router is placed in the living room, the AC88U would still find your device and send it full signals. How? It is where its four antennas come into play. Able to be molded to get the best signal strength, these antennas would wipe out any Wi-Fi dead zone from your home.
Still, if you have a large friend circle – all of whom use Wi-Fi intensively on their laptops, you can save the Wi-Fi for you by using the eight Gigabit LAN ports which accompany this router. All these ports give internet signals to wired devices, thereby reducing their potential load on the Wi-Fi.
Lastly, to make sure you suffer no dikes midway through the game, the RT AC88U uses MU-MIMO technology. Instead of you taking the pain to find out which Wi-Fi band works best for which application, let MU-MIMO technology decide it, and you’d never experience any midgame internet breakdown.
Though it costs a fortune, the RT-AC88U has everything a hardcore gamer or geek might want in their router. Therefore, if you can afford it, don’t leave it.
4. NETGEAR AC1750 - Best for Streaming
Are you a Game of Thrones fanatic? Love streaming your favorite shows on Netflix? Want a router which, apart from giving best wireless signals, provide best Wi-Fi security? If your answers to all these questions are in the affirmative, make sure to get the Netgear AC1750.
So what is it that the AC1750 is good at? Answer: everything. Seriously, once you install this router in your home, you’d testify to the veracity of this claim. And to make sure you do just that, I’d like to point out the usefulness of the AC1750’s antennas.
First thing first, they are not ordinary antennas, and no, you cannot replace them. Anyway, why replace antennas when they are as high gain and high powered as the three jutting atop this router. As you might guess, they don't just show pieces, added to increase the beauty of the router.
What they do, rather, is to increase its signal strength. If you cannot afford to place the router in your room, just tinker with the orientation of antennas. Afterward, you’d receive as many signals as if the router is indeed placed in your room.
As streamer, you will like that because, the Wi-Fi coverage is extended and the connection is stable for voice and HD video.
Once this router arrives at your doorstep, it would take less than ten minutes to get it up and running. The reason?
Say Hello to the Netgear Up App.
Supplementing the Netgear Genie App – which allows management of the device form remote locations, the Netgear Up App would make the setup of this router a cinch.
And once you get this router up and running, you’d never yearn for more signal strength, thanks to beamforming.
Just as scandals follow President Trump, beamforming will make sure the wireless signals follow the connected devices.
As a result, whether you’re sitting up next to the router – or away from it in your room, signal strength would always be immaculate.
For those of you who want all the bells and whistles of a modern router – but don’t want to pay the astronomical price they demand these days – go for the Netgear AC1900.
5. ASUS RT-ACRH13 - Best Router for Sharing Files, Videos, and Photos
Although we are in 2017, some routers still opt for the USB 2.0ports, making file transfers almost impossible. Luckily, to balance those devices, routers like ACRH13 exist which allows you to share seamlessly. Therefore, if you want your router to act as a sharing hub, go for the RT-ARCH 13.
What is it that makes the ARCH 13 the best for sharing photos, videos, and files, I hear you ask? Well, the key lies in its USB Port. Relegating the USB 2.0port to the dustbin of history, ASUS has opted for 3.0port in this device.
Consequently, be it transferring a collage of photos or a compilation of videos, this router will make sharing seamless. However, if you are not into sharing files, the RT ARCH13 still has something to offer.
Look, for example, at the intuitive ASUS app, which does things you may not have seen an app doing before. For instance, it tells you the exact Wi-Fi speed your router is churning at any moment.
Second, you can see how many devices are connected to the device. And finally, you can upgrade or downgrade the bandwidth limit of any device using it. In the light of these features, it won’t be wrong to suggest that this app gives you complete control over the device.
Making sure you cannot ignore this router, ASUS has provided it with a 2*2MU MIMO technology. Put simply, this technology means that the router will provide simultaneous dual-band connectivity.
That is, if you’re sitting at distance from the router, the MU MIMO will send you the 2GHz band famous for its range. Conversely, if you’re sitting close to the router – and playing online games, it would send you the speedier 5GHz band.
Thus, be it more signal range or better Wi-Fi speed, the MU MIMO technology will provide both. That said, you don’t have to rely only on the MU MIMO technology for the better signal range. Rather, it is the four external antennas which would increase signal strength.
Despite being inexpensive, the ARCH13 has features – such as MU MIMO and beamforming – which are mostly the domain of high-priced routers. Therefore, if you don’t want to spend extra, go for this device.
6. NETGEAR Orbi AC3000 - Best for a Full Home Coverage
If anything, including this satellite device in the list of ordinary routers, is a disservice to all its features. For, a mere glance at its features, and any homeowner would know that the Netgear Orbi is a perfect choice.
First thing first, the Netgear Orbi would stretch the Wi-Fi coverage further than you can expect from any normal router, which means you’ll get a full home ISP. The reason for this behavior of its?
It has two routers operating in series for strong signals. Yes, while the first router will act as your modem to give solid Wi-Fi signals, the second, acting as an extender, will extend the signals, thereby suiting heavy household consumption.
Did I just say Wi-Fi extender? You bet I did. However, what I didn’t say was this Wi-Fi extender would give the same disappointing performance and crestfallen speed as any other available in the market. Check here our list of best wi-fi extender of 2017.
Rather, with the Netgear Orbi satellite, you’d get a stunningly fast Wi-Fi and a totally seamless setup. As a result, no place in your entire home would be left behind as a weak Wi-Fi zone. The secret to the high-end performance of routers lies in its three bands.
Yes, not settling at dual-band connectivity, Netgear has provided each router with one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz bands. Still, you’d be getting only one of the two 5GHz bands, since the other one will be used for communication between the routers.
Thanks to this wireless backhaul, the Orbi has been able to assuage the problems you normally experience with conventional Wi-Fi extenders. For, instead of relying on a single band for communication, it uses both, hence amplifying its performance.
One of the best things I liked about the Orbi was that it uses a single SSID (Wi-Fi name/password). That is, whether you’re in the domain of the original router or the extender, your device will automatically connect to the nearest one. There is no need to manually connect to either.
As for its performance, the Netgear Orbi shows the way to Google Wi-Fi. For, at a distance of 30feet and after restrictions posed by two walls, we were getting 430MBPS from this router. This speed was double than what the Google Wi-Fi provided us with.
Another area where Orbi differentiates itself from multi-router systems is with the customization it offers. Just like the freedom you enjoy with a single router, the double-router Orbi lets you tinker with any of its settings in its web-based interface.
That include adding parental controls, blocking specific users or websites, and port forwarding. More importantly, you can turn on/off MU MIMO as well as Beamforming.
And to dive into all these settings, all you have to pass through is a simple guide, one which would run on your screen when you enter Orbi’s web based interface for the first time.
Even when you ignore its mesh extension, the Netgear Orbi is one of the fastest as well as the most powerful routers you’ll ever see. If you can afford to foot its bill, there is no reason why you should let it pass.
7. TP-Link AC1200 - Best Under $50
If you have a tight budget and want a router in the sub $50 price range – but still want it to provide the Wi-Fi speed necessary for effortless surfing, TP-Link AC1200 might be your best choice.
A far off cry for routers which come for less than $50, the AC1200 has opted for the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Going for the latest Wi-Fi has done two things in favor of this router.
First, it has enabled it to provide speed with which you can effortlessly browse videos on Netflix. Second, due to the range of its signals, the 802.11ac would leave no Wi-Fi dead zones in your home.
Another important feature of this router is the dual-band technology. Provided you have an internet connection which provides the maximum (theoretical) speed of 800Mbps, you can get the same speed on your device using this router.
If you think that only the performance of this router was enviable, you haven’t experienced its setup phase, yet. Armed with the TP-Link Tether App, the whole installation process should be over in less than 10 minutes.
That said, the Tether App does much more than just getting the device up and running. For example, once the device has started churning out signals, you can monitor its performance using the app. (Check our list of best routers under 50 bucks)
You can check how many users are connected to your device at any time. Similarly, you can activate parental controls or block specific users from the device. Finally, you can set up a separate network with different SSID and Password for guests.
Though it doesn’t have any bells and whistles, the TP-Link AC1200 does a very good job when you compare its performance with other routers belonging in the same price spectrum.
8. TRENDnet AC2600 MU-MIMO – Best for Small Apartments
What does a router need to do to be the best for cramped, small apartments? For one, a small apartment needs to send signals of immense strength which don't get impeded by walls or furniture, since it cannot afford the big router the same huge amount of space as that of a big house.
With its four high gain antennas, MU-MIMO technology, and a dual-core processor, the Trend net AC2600 does just that.
First thing first, the feature which has made the AC2600 a darling of small apartment residents is Qualcomm Stream Boost Technology. Operating on its own, this technology measures the data consumption of each connected user separately, a feature which turns it into a hip home accessory.
Afterward, based on the data it has collected – and just like a best router that it is - it allocates bandwidth to each device. That is, if you are using Facebook, you’d get less data (though it would be enough to browse Facebook) than a user who is playing online games. In this way, the AC2600 manages to keep every user happy.
Go into its management settings and you’d see how easily AC2600 is to manage. For, even if you aren’t a computing nerd, it easily lets you select settings i.e. Parental Controls and Guest networking. For the nerds, a visit to the Advanced Wireless Option will let them manage Firewall settings, Beacon Period and much more.
If you like sharing, this router – in addition to a USB 3.0port, has a built-in bit torrent. Attach an external hard drive to the router, and the Bit torrent will download anything on your directive. Furthermore, there is a USB menu which lets you access iTunes and FTP file sharing.
Also, if you are a small apartment owner who just hates organizing things, you’ll love the four detachable antennas. Rated at 3dBi, all the antennas can be aimed by the user to increase signal strength. And if you think their performance is unsatisfactory, just unscrew and replace them.
For small apartment residents who want to fill their space with Wi-Fi signals, the TRENDnet AC2600 is the best option. It has a brilliant throughput and gives you complete control over its settings.
9. Linksys AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router – Best for Large Homes
Strong signals, faster speeds and satisfying a big home network, a router has to have these three features to satisfy the wireless appetite of large, multi-story homes which have several people stream Internet simultaneously.
Will the Linksys AC1900 do that? Could it be able to provide a large home with high-speed Wi-Fi coverage and strong signals?
Let’s find out. .
Multi stories, several people, and numerous connected devices; this is what a large home network is made of. And to provide enough faster speeds for all, a router has to be capable of catering high Wi-Fi traffic.
Luckily, the Linksys AC1900 does just that, thanks to its MU MIMO technology. Supplemented with the AC Wi-Fi, the MU-MIMO allows the device to send and receive signals from 12devices simultaneously.
This behavior is unheard of in simple routers, most of whom can send/receive signals from just one device. Apart from the MU-MIMO technology, this router has all the bells and whistles to be tagged as a modern router.
For example, it has a couple of USB ports for sharing purposes and 5GB Ethernet ports to connect wired devices. As is the case with every Linksys device, setting up the AC1900 was a breeze.
Once you have connected everything, just log onto 192.168.1.1 and you’ll start the setup process. And once you’ve started it, the whole process would be over in a few minutes.
The AC1900 router also has the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi user interface. For those unfamiliar with it, this software offers a good balance of control and ease of use. It also allows tinkering with features such as QoS, Cloud Storage, Traffic Monitoring and more.
Talking specifically about the QoS, it allows you to prioritize devices – not applications. It was very important for me since I want all my devices to receive the best signals all the time. Others, such as gamers or those who stream online HD videos, could also find this feature useful.
If you live in a large home, has multiple Wi-Fi users and numerous connected devices, this is the router you need. Despite churning out a staggering Wi-Fi speed, it doesn’t charge much for its services. Hence, if anything, this router is perfect for households with a with multiple people and more devices.
10. Linksys EA6350 – Best Value
There was a time when only the high-end routers delivered services like Smart Wi-Fi and Beamforming. However, as the features of EA6350 will show, that time is no history. Nowadays, you can get brilliant service from a not-so-highly-priced router as well.
Starting with online threats and how this router would keep you secure, it offers a dedicated Parental Control feature. In addition, there is a firewall and WPA/WPA2 encryption to make sure no online criminal can get into your network to steal your details.
In its quest for supreme online security, the EA6350 doesn’t stop there. Rather, by letting you create a guest network, it gives you the freedom to setup a different network for people you don’t trust with your details.
As a result, if you are going to install it in your office, you could create one network for the employees and the other for guests. Now that you’re relaxed about the level of security it provides, let’s turn our attention to this router’s performance.
Once again, it doesn’t disappoint. Apart from the Wireless AC technology, it has four Gigabit ports to lower the burden on the Wi-Fi.
Then there is the dual-band connectivity promising superb speed and unprecedented signal range.
To complement all this, the antennas are adjustable, which means you can tinker with them to get the best signals strength. And if you still want more, this router delivers more, thanks to its beamforming technology.
As stated above, this technology enables the signals such that they find connected devices and not the other way around.
It offers blazing Wi-Fi speed, fool proof online security and a plethora of management features. Therefore, if you’re looking to get the best value for your money, we’d recommend the Linksys EA6350.
Wireless Router Buying Guide
When reading the product reviews, you may have encountered some terms whose meanings were alien to you. To make sure you know what they do – and how it will help you – this buying guide comes into play.
Single Band or Dual Band Wi-Fi Connectivity?
As a mere glance over their price tags might tell, not all routers have the same specs. While some of them can send and receive frequencies over a single band, others use two. And as a router user might tell, routers having dual-band have obvious advantages over those which rely on single bands.
The most important reason why people go for dual band routers is a range. Since they use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, dual band routers are capable of transmitting signals over longer ranges. It means that if you want to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in your home, go for a dual band router.
Second, if your device supports 5GHz band, you’ll be able to get more speed out of a dual-band router. That said, only the latest of devices support this band, which means that if your device was bought a few years ago, there is a very good chance that it won’t connect to the 5GHz band.
Summarizing my remarks, there are two things which you need to remember while deciding between single and dual band routers. First, if you want more range, go for a dual-band router. Even if your device doesn’t support the 5GHz band, it would still benefit from the extended range of the 2.4GHz band which comes with a dual band router.
However, if you love online gaming and streaming, make sure that your device supports the 5GHz band. Otherwise, no matter how expensive a router you pick, it won’t give much speed. Conversely, for those of you who look for stronger Wi-Fi signals – and are able to live with slow Wi-Fi speeds, choose a single band router.
In my home, I’ve been using the Linksys dual-band Archer C60 router. Among other things, the Archer C60 comes with a Smartphone app known as Tether. This application is not limited to my router, as all the Linksys routers come alongside it.
Having a router supplemented with a smartphone app has numerous advantages. For one, when I was setting up the router, the app helped me at every step. Second, it gives me the option to turn on the router’s features like Dual-band, Beamforming, MU-MIMO, and parental controls.
Thirdly, even when I’m away from home, I can manage my router using the app. Finally, though I haven’t used this feature yet, the app allows me to create guest networks.
This feature is especially useful for those persons who will be installing their new router in their office. For, by creating a separate network for guests, you’d not allow them access to your data. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, having a smartphone app beside my router has helped me a lot.
Open Source Firmware
Do you know that routers, just like iPhones iOs or Android, can stop working after a specific time period? I highly doubt that you did because this is the feature most manufacturers want to hide from their users. After all, would you buy a router with an expiry date?
To make sure your router can last ages, you can opt it to have an open source firmware. A firmware protects your router from online attacks, thereby keeping your data secure. There are two types of firmware which come with routers: open source and closed source.
The only difference between both these types lies in the updates which they receive. For, while you can update open source firmware by buying their updates from the market, closed source firmware will only be updated when the manufacturer sends updates. Once the manufacturer stops sending updates – which he will after a few years, the device’s Wi-Fi technology would be fair game for online hackers.
The more you can afford to pay, the more features a wireless router will dish out. Therefore, if you’re paying over the odds, looking for a router which has 4Gigabit Ethernet ports. These ports take the pressure off your Wi-Fi by connecting devices with a wire.
If you are buying a router for office purposes, make sure it has a USB drive. In this way, you can directly connect printers or similar devices directly to your router. Additionally, if you want to have stronger Wi-Fi signals which can provide enough Wi-Fi traffic for multiple users, try searching for a router which has removable antennas. Consequently, if the original antennas aren’t working as intended, you can replace them with their high-gain counterparts.
Finally, if you love managing your Wi-Fi network, get a router which offers parental controls, guest-networks and Quality of Service (QoS). As their mere mention indicates what Parental Controls do, a guest-network feature in your router means you can form a separate network for your guests.
As for the Quality of Service (QoS) feature, you can prioritize devices to get more signals. That is, if you’re an online gamer, you can use this feature to make sure you get the most data, at the cost of your friend who is, let’s say, browsing Facebook.
Your search for the best wireless router ends here. Not only that but to make sure that your router performs up to the mark, we selected those routers which offer Gigabit Ethernet ports. Provided your device supports Ethernet Connection, you can use these ports to lower the burden on your Wi-Fi, hence further amplifying its performance.