There are over 4,500 wireless routers over the price of $50.
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 Chart of the Best Wireless Routers
Asus RT-AC88U Wireless Router
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ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
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Netgear Orbi RBK50 AC3000
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Linksys WRT AC3200
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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 otherwise 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
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 incluced MU-MIMO to allow more stable WiFi 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 a 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 2167Mbps on the 5Ghz band & 1000Mbps on the 2.4GHz.
Installed in the AC88U is a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, it is teamed up with 128MB flash and 512MB 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 that this wireless router is a spaceship, while the GT-AC5300 is a mechanical tarantula. The AC88U has 4 antenna that is powered by AiRadar which is Asus’ beamforming technology. This helps eliminates 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. I should say this is our second best for gaming; it still has most of the features you can get from the GT-AC5300: AiProtection, GameBoost, WTFast client (free edition).
This wireless router has 8 Gigabit ports; two can be used for Link Aggregation that transforms it to a 2Gbps 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 as an 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 I still feel that it 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. I 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.
In the boxes below, you can find less expensive gaming routers.
- AsusWRT out of the box
- WTF client installed (subscription required)
- MU-MIMO and Beamforming capable
- 1.8GHz Quad-core processor with 1024MB RAM and 256MB 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 8 independent antenna's, 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 just 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 A custom firmware for Asus routers called Asuswrt-Merlin. Keep in mind that installing 3rd 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 5GHz and one 2.4GHz band, one of the 5GHz band 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 5GHz bands have tops speeds up to 2167Mbps while the 2.4GHz can reach speeds up to 1000Mbps. To help out with multitasking and maintaining top throughput Asus installed a PC grade 1.8GHz 64-bit Quad-Core processor teamed up with 512MB flash and 1024MB RAM.
This wireless router is packed with other features that are great for gaming; it has the capability of Link Aggregation that allows your supported device to use LAN ports 5 and 6 as one port making it a 2Gbps port (client should have the 802.3ad capability which is still a ways away from mainstream). The user decides where to play and not the router, with its beamforming technology (AiRadar), it makes sure that you get signal from wherever you are at home. This also allows you to roam around from your living room to your kitchen without connection drops.
Connected via LAN ports 1 and 2 takes priority whenever used by any console or computer when 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 that 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 at 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 would attract buyers to get this router is 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.
This wireless gaming router matches the ROG Rapture in almost every step (same transfer rate, bands, ports, antennas, beam forming) until you get to a few items:
Other Great Gaming Routers That Are Less Expensive
If you're looking for a lesser expensive option, this is an excellent router...obviously given it's my top choice overall!
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 has caused major issues for the routers.
As a result of this, and seemingly Netgears lack of interest in repairing the router, we have dropped this down.
I'm clearly just running down the Asus line here...for good reason though. The software and the extras you get on each router is really the reasons why you should consider this brand.
Best Wifi Router For Long Range
Netgear Orbi RBK50 AC3000
The best router for long range wifi is a unicorn.
To get the best WiFi, 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 my opinion is that you want a router to be as close as possible 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 WiFi woes that you have. This wireless router is Tri-band; but, the second 5GHz serves another purpose. The other 5Ghz band is for your network backhaul that allows the main unit and the satellites to communicate. This results in better speeds since it does not chop off half of 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 5GHz and 2.4GHz. 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 satellite to further extend your WiFi’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 WiFi, the Orbi app does not require you to sign up for an account .
While we like Google products, I get a little reluctant in sending my browsing history to google even more than I already do...
The rest will be following steps from the app until you are done setting up your WiFi system, that easy.
With a single node used, the speed from close range (5feet), download speeds are up to 552.11Mbps moving away at around 50 feet readings fell a bit to just 447.13Mbps. Pushing it to the limits at 150 feet dropped to 229.07Mbps. Testing the capability of this wireless router to penetrate materials common in households it still shows good readings. Through metal it shows 455.70mbps 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 that the Bluetooth radio, the USB port and the ability of satellites to communicate with each other is still inactive.
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 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 wifi option presents a more sleek and aesthetic option for your wifi 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 WiFi is the design. It is 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-Band; 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 512MB memory and 4GB eMMC flash.
- It does not have any external antenna which gives a more elegant look.
- The primary unit has 2 Gigabit port, 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 WiFi covered.
The Google WiFi showed impressive numbers; a single unit can provide speeds up to 450Mbps+ in close range, moving away from it shows 200Mbps 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 will automatically provides you the fastest speed from the nearest node.
The one thing that I do 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, is more difficult to handle as it's being recorded by Google.
The majority of the information that 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.
First is the Linksys Velop; this wireless router is a router needing 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 WiFi, 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 WiFi system for gamers, it sort of excites me.
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 - which is a big thing for multiplayer gamers is also unavailable
- Other features such as Device renaming/listing VLAN setup and support is still in question
Best Wireless Transfer Rate:
Linksys WRT AC3200
Looking for the best WiFi transfer rates on the 5Ghz band?
While being a 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
- USB3.0 and USB2.0/eSATA port combo
- Tri-stream 160MHz
- Open source ready (DD-WRT and OpenWRT)
- 1.8GHz dual-core processor with 512MB 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 the 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 that wants more kick from your equipment then you can certainly go ahead and get an OpenWRT or DD-WRT to do the job done.
A lot of people are possibly confused with all the AC ratings and the speed guarantees by wireless router manufacturers; how, it has come to the point that they are exceeding the speeds commonly provided by routers. To clarify how it came to past, that 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 5GHz band it uses three 160MHz streams capable of 867Mbps each for a total of 2.6Gbps or 2600Mbps. The lower 2.4GHz band is capable of three 200Mbps which sum up to 600Mbps (which is quite low). The total of which is 3200Mbps or the AC rating of AC3200. It is not actually a misleading concept if you just know how it was setup.
So, the WRT3200ACM’s claim at having the fastest 5GHz 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 1.8GHz 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 of the user to monitor and control usage over the cloud through the Smart WiFi 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 5Ghz band does not travel very far and loses signal much more through walls etc.
Best Router Under 100 Dollars:
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 towards the device’s direction to provide better speed.
- Great performance on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz 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 setup 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, I suggest you 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, speeds of up to 450Mbps for your 2.4GHz band and up to 1,300Mbps for your 5GHz 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 you get better signal quality and speed wherever you are.
There are other features that 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 setup and prioritizes access per task. It also supports IPV6 and true VPN (not passthrough); 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 USB2.0 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 dollars you can get for your home.
The Nighthawk R6700 is a fantastic router for under 100 dollars, and should likely be in the first spot due to it's very fast real world speed.
Netgear may have finally addressed the firmware issues that were causing massive issues with their routers, until I know for sure, they will stay in second place.
The Netgear offers basically the same capabilities as the ASUS router, the R6700 does have a bit of a slower processor though.
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.
The Linsys EA6900 in theory offers higher 2.4Ghz speeds than the Nighthawk and the Asus (600 Mbps vs 450 Mbps), but other than that I wouldn't recommend it.
- The Linksys has a slower processor (800 Mhz vs 1.4Ghz 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 is still in question.
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, I still recommend the Asus router.
- The C7 has a slower single core processor vs the dual core 1.4Ghz 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, I would 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 the 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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