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There are over 4,500 wireless routers over the price of $50. So, basically, there are way too many routers on the market.
Unless you plan on dedicating a week of your life to sort through different features out there - read on to find the best wireless router for your needs.
We've done all the research for you.
Comparison of the Best Wireless Routers
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In each of the groupings, we have also included some of the competitors in the same general price range and specifically why you may want to think about buying them.
Review of the Best Wireless Routers
Let's take a look at this year's top picks.
ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless Router
- AiRadar universal beamforming with 4x4 antenna for a wider network range
- AiProtection security to protect your devices from unwanted attacks & malware
- GameBoost, link aggregation for better gaming
- Dual-band with max 2167 Mbps (5 GHz)/1000 Mbps (2.4 GHz) for speedy network communication
- WTFast, a built-in game accelerator for smooth gameplay (see supported games)
- 8-Gigabit LAN ports
- MU-MIMO capability
- Dual WAN
- Dual-core 1.4 GHz CPU
The ASUS RT-AC88U is the best wireless router overall, having most of all the features anyone would need, while keeping the price in check.
There is stiff competition in this price range, but the ASUS AC88U is our top choice. This router has an easy-to-use web interface with impressive network reporting features. Included is a VPN option along with TrendMicro detection to avoid all that hated malware.
Lastly, it includes MU-MIMO to allow more stable Wi-Fi connections, along with some features aimed towards the gamers, as well.
ASUSWRT handles the whole router setup, if you are using a PC. You can also use the ASUS Router app in case you don’t have access to a computer. Either way, setting up the router is a total walk in the park. In just a few minutes, your router will be working full blast.
The ASUS AC88U has four antennas with AiRadar to help reach the dead spots of your home. It also has MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) that serves multiple supported devices simultaneously to keep your data flowing as fast as possible.
It is a dual-band wireless router with a maximum throughput of 2167 Mbps on the 5 GHz band & 1000 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz.
Installed in the AC88U is a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, it is teamed up with 128 MB flash and 512 MB memory. This is one notch down compared to the GT-AC5300. Aside from the internal hardware difference, you will also see a big difference in the design.
Some might say this wireless router is a spaceship, while the GT-AC5300 is a mechanical tarantula. The AC88U has four antennae powered by AiRadar which is ASUS' beamforming technology. This helps eliminate the issue of weak signals from dead zones in your house.
Like its bigger sibling, the AC88U is also a wireless router intended for gaming. Actually, this is our second best for gaming, though it still has most of the features you can get from the GT-AC5300: AiProtection, GameBoost, WTFast client (free edition).
This wireless router has eight Gigabit ports; two can be used for link aggregation that transforms it to a 2 Gbps port, it also supports dual-wan that can be set as either a backup connection or in load balance to get both connections working together for even greater internet bandwidth.
There are other features on this router to manage your connections, such as guest network and parental control, all of which can be accessed via ASUSWRT or the mobile app.
In addition, you can also prioritize the bandwidth usage by the Adaptive QoS option, allowing you to prioritize gaming traffic, web browsing or file transfers, for example.
ASUS most likely created this wireless router to provide people a less expensive choice when it comes to a gaming router. Even with that, this is a very balanced wireless router when it comes to pricing and performance.
Best Router For Gaming:
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
First off, it's damn expensive.We get it. If your budget allows it, this router provides everything you want or need in a gaming router. Range, speed, and stability.
With many extra features aimed directly at gamers who want the most functionality and features to maximize their gaming performance - this is the one to get.
Below, you can find less expensive gaming routers.
- ASUSWRT out of the box
- WTF client installed (subscription required)
- MU-MIMO and Beamforming capable
- 1.8 GHz quad-core processor with 1024 MB RAM and 256 MB flash
- 8 Gigabit LAN ports
- 8 external antennas for better range
Setting up this wireless gaming router is fairly easy, but a little more time consuming than others. As there are eight independent antennas, each must be screwed into the router for use.
Now the not-so-hard part is done. The next step is for you to wait for the ASUSWRT setup wizard to pop up on your screen. You then have to wait for the router to detect your ISP setting and in a few minutes, your monster wireless router can be let loose to give you fast internet through your wireless network. If there is no computer available for you to setup via LAN, then you can download the ASUS Router app on your mobile phone and set your wireless router from there.
Others who really want to tweak their router and unleash even more features may want to consider a custom firmware for ASUS routers called ASUSwrt-Merlin. Keep in mind that installing third party firmware will void the warranty.
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300, has only one goal; faster network connection for gamers in a home setup. It tri-band with two 5 GHz and one 2.4 GHz band. One of the 5 GHz bands can be dedicated to just gaming devices, while the other can be used for other devices/clients. It's one of the fastest, if not the fastest, gaming routers out there. The 5 GHz bands have top speeds up to 2167 Mbps while the 2.4 GHz can reach speeds up to 1000 Mbps. To help out with multitasking and maintaining top throughput, ASUS installed a PC-grade 1.8 GHz 64-bit quad-core processor teamed up with 512 MB flash and 1024 MB RAM.
This wireless router is packed with other features that are great for gaming, such as the capability of link aggregation that allows your supported device to use LAN ports 5 and 6 as one port, making it a 2 Gbps port (client should have the 802.3ad capability, which is still a ways away from mainstream). The user decides where to play, instead of being dependent on the router. With its beamforming technology (AiRadar), it makes sure you get signal from wherever you are. This also allows you to roam around from your living room to your kitchen without connection drops.
Connections via LAN ports 1 and 2 take priority whenever used by any console or computer during gaming, and with GameBoost, this wireless router will analyze the traffic and prioritize game packets coming from your devices. It also has built-in private network powered by WTFast. However, this is a free version, only one device can use it. If you want to have multiple devices using this feature, you will need to subscribe to a premium account. *Note that there are only selected games are supported by this feature as of this writing.
This wireless router has VPN Fusion, Game IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) and other features that boost up your gaming power whenever using the GT-AC5300.
It may look out of this world, more like alien technology, but that’s what makes it even more attractive to most gamers. But looks only comes second. What really attracts buyers to this router are the gaming features packed inside this wireless router. The only thing that will sway you away from this router is the sky-high price tag.
3. Linksys Max Stream EA9500
This wireless gaming router matches the ROG Rapture in almost every step (same transfer rate, bands, ports, antennas, beam forming) outside of a few features.
4. TP-Link Archer C5400
Other Great Gaming Routers That Are Less Expensive
1. ASUS RT-AC88U AC3100
If you're looking for a lesser expensive option, this is an excellent router.
2. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC2300 R7000p
This is actually a really fantastic router, and should be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, the Nighthawk routers have experienced some poor firmware updates as of late that have caused major issues for the routers.
As a result of this, and seemingly Netgear's lack of interest in repairing the router, we have dropped this down.
3. ASUS RT-AC1900P
We're clearly just running down the ASUS line here. For good reason, though. The software and the extras you get on each router are really the reasons you should consider this brand.
Best Wi-Fi Router For Long Range
Netgear Orbi RBK50 AC3000
The best router for long-range Wi-Fi is a unicorn. To get the best Wi-Fi, your devices need to be as close as possible to your router (unless wired, of course).
If you're looking for the best connection in a larger area - look no further than the mesh networking router from Netgear.
The RBK50 is capable of encompassing a 5000 sq ft area and is very easy to set up. Other sites may mention other individual routers that can offer impressive range, but you want a router to be as close as possible in order to have the fastest connection.
Having a person with a loud voice is harder to hear from far away than a soft voice whispering in your ear.
This mesh wireless router is packed with features that would solve most Wi-Fi woes that you have. This wireless router is tri-band, but the second 5 GHz serves another purpose. The other 5 GHz band is for your network backhaul that allows the main unit and satellites to communicate. This results in better speeds, since it does not chop off half the speed from the main router to the satellite.
This mesh wireless router supports all networking standards including IEEE AC. It operates in three bands, two 5 GHz and a 2.4 GHz. One is a dedicated network backhaul.
The RBK50 with an AC rating of AC3000 can cover 5,000 sq ft of area, eliminating the dead zones of your house (2-pack).
- The main unit has one WAN port and three Gigabit LAN ports, while the satellite unit has four Gigabit LAN ports.
- The Orbi is MU-MIMO capable and can serve multiple supported devices (download/streaming).
- This wireless router uses a single SSID and password for your convenience.
- Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Orbi application allows you to fully control your home network, even to the extent of restricting a device from getting connection.
- You can stack up to three add-on satellites to further extend your Wi-Fi’s reach.
The installation is very straightforward. You need to first hook up your main router to the modem from your ISP. Download the free application (Android and iOS are both supported). Do take note, unlike the Google Wi-Fi, the Orbi app does not require you to sign up for an account .
While we like Google products, we are a little reluctant to send Google even more of our history and data. The rest entails following steps from the app until you are done setting up your Wi-Fi system, it's that easy.
With a single node used, the download speeds from close range (5 feet), are up to 552.11 Mbps. Moving away, at around 50 feet, readings fell a bit to just 447.13 Mbps. Pushing it to the limits at 150 feet dropped to 229.07 Mbps. Testing the capability of this wireless router to penetrate materials common in households, it still shows good readings. Through metal, it shows 455.70 Mbps speed. It scored better penetrating through the ceiling at 424.12 Mbps. The secret of the transfer rate is its dedicated backhaul that uses 4x4 radios.
The things this wireless router lacks is the Bluetooth radio, USB port, and the ability of satellites to communicate with each other.
You’re paying for an excellent device that is capable of eradicating the dead spots in your house. It can reach areas efficiently even with just two units. Adding more devices would be an option if your place is larger than 5000 sq ft. Mesh network is not really for everyone, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, think about this, even if you put a router and repeater in a small house, it will not be that effective, since the coverage will not be as good as this wireless router.
With even easier setup than the Orbi, Google's Wi-Fi option presents a more sleek and aesthetic option for your Wi-Fi needs.
Google's approach is a sleek, small profile design that is decently affordable and deadly easy to operate.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Google Wi-Fi is the design. Simple, with a touch of elegance, it is cylindrical and measures: diameter: 4.17 in (106.12 mm) x height: 2.70 in (68.75 mm). It is divided by an unobstructed LED light in the center that gives it a nice glow, especially in the dark.
- It has simultaneous dual bands; 2.4GHz / 5GHz and supports IEEE 802.11a, b, g, n, and ac
- Getting the 3-pack can give you good coverage up to 4500 square feet
- If you need to cover a bigger space, simply get another unit and strategically place it where you need a wireless connection
- The unit is powered by a 710 MHz quad-core processor with 512 MB memory and 4 GB eMMC flash
- It does not have any external antenna, which gives a more elegant look
- The primary unit has 2 Gigabit ports, 1 for the WAN connection and the other is for LAN. For the satellites, it has two LAN ports
- It is compatible and can be controlled by Alexa and Google Home voice commands.
Setting up this modem is a breeze. First, you need to download a free app (Android or iOS is supported) you will need to use it to scan the QR code on the unit connected to your modem. After the scanning process is done, the app will guide you on how to configure your network with a name and password. All you have to do then, is to pair the secondary units and label them in the app for your reference. Once done, your home is Wi-Fi covered.
The Google Wi-Fi showed impressive numbers; a single unit can provide speeds up to 450 Mbps+ in close range, moving away from it shows 200 Mbps, which is still pretty fast. Imagine this is just one unit. With three units interacting with each other, you would not need to worry about the speed, since it automatically provides you the fastest speed from the nearest node.
The one thing to note about this router is that you need a Google account. For people looking for ease of setup, having to go into your profile to modify what Google records is more frustrating. If you want to disable certain features that Google records - you can read over the how-to at Google's Blog Post.
The fact that this router collects information makes it more difficult to handle, as it's being recorded by Google.
The majority of the information it does record, is typically recorded by many other routers, as well to display information that the user may find interesting and helpful.
Of course, if you want privacy, either omit buying the Google router, or use the link above to disable the features you find disturbing.
4. Linksys Velop
Next is the Linksys Velop. This wireless router needs improvement. The transfer rate and signal are erratic. The installation process is troublesome and requires tons of patience. It does not have any USB ports, and you only get a WAN and a LAN port. It is still bulky compared to the Google Wi-Fi, and it has a power brick that hogs the power sockets since it is too big.
5. Razer Portal
Since the Razer Portal aims to provide better Wi-Fi system for gamers, it is sort of exciting.
However, there were some features that it lacked, which is really important for gamers.
- You can only mesh two units max, and although it has a good range to cover 5000 sq ft, with two you don’t have options to expand if you require a wider range
- IPv6 support is currently unavailable
- QoS support is currently unavailable
- Port triggering - a big thing for multiplayer gamers is also unavailable
- Other features such as device renaming/listing VLAN setup and support are still in question
Best Wireless Transfer Rate:
Linksys WRT AC3200
Looking for the best Wi-Fi transfer rates on the 5 GHz band? With this very specific feature, this is the router for you.
As the name suggests, this is also very good router to flash DD-WRT, the open source firmware to add extra features to your router.
- File, media, and printer sharing capable
- MU-MIMO capable
- Beamforming signal
- Four Gigabit LAN ports
- USB 3.0 and USB 2.0/eSATA port combo
- Tri-stream 160 MHz
- Open source ready (DD-WRT and OpenWRT)
- 1.8 GHz dual-core processor with 512 MB RAM
- Simultaneous dual-band
- Very good if router is in sight and for smaller spaces
Once you see a web GUI for router setup, you’ve seen them all. It may be different when it comes to layout and features. However, it basically follows the same thing, you logging on to the interface, selecting the setup wizard, and voila, you get your system up and running. Unless you are that tech geek who wants more kick from your equipment, then you can certainly go ahead and get an OpenWRT or DD-WRT to get the job done.
A lot of people are possibly confused with all the AC ratings and the speed guarantees by wireless router manufacturers. Particularly how it has come to the point that they are exceeding the speeds commonly provided by routers. To clarify how the WRT3200ACM has such a high rating, here’s an explanation.
Commonly you get a single stream from a router. Over the years, they have developed technologies to improve that. The latest improvement is the tri-stream, which is available on most newer routers. However, the one from this wireless router is better, in its 5 GHz band, it uses three 160 MHz streams capable of 867 Mbps each, for a total of 2.6 Gbps or 2600 Mbps. The lower 2.4 GHz band is capable of three 200 Mbps, which sum up to 600 Mbps (which is quite low). The total is 3200 Mbps, or an AC rating of AC3200. It is not actually a misleading concept if you know how it was set up.
So, the WRT3200ACM’s claim at having the fastest 5 GHz throughput is not a bluff. This wireless router is a mean machine capable of such speeds. To help this equipment provide the speed to the entire network, is a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and a 512 DDR3 RAM. It can also serve multiple devices at the same time through MU-MIMO (provided that the device is supported).
Range is also not a problem. With its four high-gain antennas and beamforming technology, you get better coverage than most routers in its price range.
One other neat feature that this router has is the ability for the user to monitor and control usage over the cloud through the Smart Wi-Fi app. You don’t even need to be connected to your router to control it. Simply login to your LINKSYS SMART Wi-Fi account and you’ll be in total control of your network.
The WRT3200ACM is better off being used in an office due to the features it has, but in a smaller home setting, this provides great, high-speed performance. As a reminder, the 5 GHz band does not travel very far and loses signal through walls etc.
Best Router Under $100:
Contrary to many other top sites in this category, this is the best router under $100 currently.
Until Netgear's firmware gets sorted out, this ASUS router has all the features you should need at an affordable price - specifically band steering.
- AiRadar (Beamforming) focuses signal in the device’s direction to provide better speed
- Great performance on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands
- Parental Control
- QoS control
- Up to six guest networks (three on each band)
- Full VPN server instead of just a pass-through
- File, media, and printer sharing through USB port
Unlike most of the newly released routers that require little to no technical knowledge, this router is still old-school, you have to follow the instructions from the user manual for you to set up the router.
Not to worry, this is totally pain-free. If you can set up your phone, you can set this up. Didn't set up your phone? Ask the person who set up the phone!
After unboxing the equipment, first plug in all the cables (obviously).
Power up the router and hook up your computer to the LAN cable from the router. You then need to access the Web GUI using a browser, this takes you to the setup wizard. Simply supply the information needed, and you are good to go.
For advance settings, check the user manual to get a better idea of how you can tweak your router to perform even better.
This wireless router is packed with awesome features, including speeds of up to 450 Mbps for your 2.4 GHz band and up to 1,300 Mbps for your 5 GHz band.
It has a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor that makes sure you get the speed you need without the buffer. You certainly have a smaller footprint as compared to the Talon AD or ROG Rapture; it only measures 1.77" x 8.58" x 5.83" weighing just 1.46 lbs. The AC66U has AiRadar, which gives you better signal quality and speed wherever you are.
There are other features most households would appreciate.
Parental control is a great feature for those who need it; parents can assign specific times when a device can or cannot access the internet.
Smart QoS allows the user to set up and prioritize access per task. It also supports IPV6 and true VPN (not pass-through). These features are mainly for small to medium businesses. However, some people at home can still appreciate it.
There are still other features for homes like file and printer sharing, which can be done through the two USB 2.0 ports on the back of this wireless router.
For a wireless router under $100, it has features you would commonly see on high-end routers. It is not the best compared to more expensive routers out there. But for routers similar to its price range, this is by far, the best router under $100 you can get for your home.
8. Netgear Nighthawk R6700
The Nighthawk R6700 is a fantastic router for under $100, and should likely be in the first spot due to its very fast real-world speed.
Netgear may have finally addressed the firmware issues that were causing massive issues with their routers, though for now, they will stay in second place.
The Netgear offers basically the same capabilities as the ASUS router, though the R6700 does have a bit of a slower processor.
Can't say much more about it that hasn't been said in the ASUS review - it is a very comparable router in almost all respects.
9. Linksys AC1900 EA6900
The Linsys EA6900, in theory, offers higher 2.4 GHz speeds than the Nighthawk and the ASUS (600 Mbps vs. 450 Mbps), but other than that, we don't recommend it.
- The Linksys has a slower processor (800 MHz vs. 1.4 GHz in the ASUS)
- The AC66U has port filtering, whereas the EA6900 does not
- The AC66U has DoS (Denial of Service), whereas the EA6900 does not
- Universal Plug n Play (UPnP) is part of the ASUS package, again missing in the EA6900
- Other features such as device renaming/listing VLAN setup and support are still in question
10. TP-Link Archer C7
The Archer C7 is another strong candidate that is often less expensive than the above routers, so it definitely gets interest in that respect ($65-$90).
As the price difference isn't much, we still recommend the ASUS router.
- The C7 has a slower single-core processor vs. the dual-core 1.4 GHz in the ASUS
- The C7 has significantly less throughput on the 5 GHz band (867 Mbps vs. 1,300 Mbps)
Mesh networks are really making a push for mainstream, as more users are looking for simplicity in their setup.
If you're looking for a router to solve internet speeds, first look to increase your internet speed offered through your ISP. Internet is only as fast as the slowest connection.
Another thing to note, is that all of the stated speeds in each of the routers above are their theoretical max. Cnet has a very good article about real-world tests, along with discussion about internet speeds
More Buyer Guides
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