Best wireless routers
A steady internet connection is no longer a luxury, nearly every house, apartment, and office has a wireless router.
A wireless router is a medium that equally distributes the web connection over a network of gadgets and electronic devices – a perfect solution for tech geeks and gadget lovers who cannot do without their mobiles and laptops.
WiFi connectivity has become an indispensable part of our lives. From smartphones to laptops, TVs and even lights and fans, you can now control it all online.
A wireless router needed for a fast, flexible connection that can be accessed anywhere within the router’s range.
Moreover, while a LAN or Ethernet cable offers more speed and a secure connection it usually confines you to one place and can be quite cumbersome to manage. You are better off with a wireless router any day. Let us look into the many features and perks of wireless routers along with detailed reviews on some of the best router models in the market.
Wireless Router Brands That Were Left Out and Why?
Other than the names mentioned in the table there are other best sellers in the market as well that did not make it to our top 10 list.
For instance, the NETGEAR R8500 and ASUS AC5300 are two well-known brands that are deliberately excluded from the list above.
Wondering why? Check out the reasons below:
- Both the products are very expensive
- They do not offer any extra services or perks when compared to their cheaper counterparts
- The routers are not very compatible with legacy mobile and similar old devices
Another recently launched the brand that did not make the cut is Securifi Almond Touchscreen.
For, even though its revolutionary smart home automation system had created quite a stir in the market, the slow functionality and weak network connection have a profound impact on the model’s credibility.
Best Wireless Routers
These wireless routers are not for everyone as some of them carry a high price tag. But one thing can be said for sure, these wireless routers are good enough to make it to our list.
#01. ASUS RT-AC88U Dual Band Router
ASUS is a familiar name in the gaming industry and is well known for its top notch hardware products and consoles. The brand’s recent venture into the wireless router market quickly escalated its reputation- it is now a hit among tech enthusiasts and gadget geeks.
The RT-AC88U is a robust dual band wireless router compatible with both 2.4 gigahertz and five gigahertz bands that come with 8 LAN ports and is compatible with all 802.11 b/g/n connections. This user-friendly AC3100 router features a unique NitroQAM design, 3 USB and an incredible speed of 100mb/sec. You can further push the speed limit to almost 1gb/sec if you install the custom made NitroQAM adapters such as the ASUS PCE-AC88.
The sleek and stylish design further enhance the appeal of the product. The sturdy black construction with red accents along the antennas is a classic example of the ASUS gaming design that is both aesthetically appealing and convenient to use. You can even use this dual band router as a NAS (network attached storage) device. It pays particular attention to the minute technicalities and designing details of the web interface, and is smart enough to switch between the bandwidths without compromising on the performance. The basic SSID encryption over the network minimizes the risk of online threats.
This router is very easy to install and doesn’t require any professional assistance; the quick internet setup wizard does the job for you. The device offers a compelling multi-client MU-MIMO data streaming performance that works brilliantly on both 2.4 and five Gigahertz bandwidths. You can enjoy faster downloads and file transfers along with hassle free web browsing, thanks to the tight but customizable connection settings of this Wi-Fi router.
- Offers unmatched speed and performance with 8 Gigabit LAN ports and 3 USB ports
- The innovative NitroQAM design only boosts the speed of this AC3100 router
- The custom made gaming design of the ASUS router is both appealing and convenient to use.
- This ASUS router enables you to have multiple IP connections (dynamic IP, static IP or PPPoE) on one network.
- The intuitive web interface settings and SSID encryption secure your online activities.
- It is hard to connect the router to other electronic devices as the USB 3.0 ports are not readily available. The placement of the ports is more of a hindrance than a help.
- You can use the router as a NAS appliance as well. However doing so reduces the performance and speed considerably.
- Moreover, you will have to invest in a custom made NitroQAM adapter if you want to boost the speed limit of the router.
- It does not work for older models and supports only a central 802.11 ac or higher wireless connection specifications.
#02. D-Link DIR-890L Wireless AC3200 Ultra Gaming Router
Looking for a router that can connect all the gadgets and electronic devices on a shared network? The high-speed AC2300 Ultra Gaming Router allows just that! You can connect smartphones, laptops, TV gaming consoles and more on a single network. The tri-band technology combined with a whopping 3.2Gbps speed delivers unmatched efficiency and performance, making DIR-890L one of the best networking devices launched by D-LINK. The device is ideally suited for both home and workspace and is a delight for gamers and professional web developers alike.
The AC2300 Ultra Wi-Fi router offers three separate wireless connections in one device. You get a standard 2.4GHz band for small scale tasks such as web browsing and emails. The 5GHz band comes with a 1300Mbps speed and handles more complex functions like HD streaming and live online gaming. The 4K media streaming and Facetime feature further boost the gaming experience and provide consistent connection throughout the coverage area. Also, the Smart Connect technology featured in the interface does not require any manual inputs; it automatically connects each device to the server with just the push of a button.
The Smart Beam Forming technology improves the coverage range by directing the bandwidth focusing it to move as and when the devices are shifted around to the set location. This allows you to store data, surf videos, connect with friends and perform other functions online from anywhere in the coverage area. The Live Parental Control and Guest Network connections add on to the router’s reliability. Parents can now block unwanted websites and monitor the connected devices and guest networks in a single interface. The device also comes with a set of 6 fixed antennas for more coverage and stronger Wi-Fi performance.
- The 1GHz Dual Core Processor allows better browsing and network connections
- Users can register in the MyDLink SharePort application to stream live videos and pictures on their smartphones
- A powerful DD-WRT open-source system is compatible with Linux and features a number of customizable features
- Tri-band technology and Band Steering function for better control
- The device is pretty expensive and has limited configuration settings
- The antennas are not detachable and hence difficult to install
- The Wi-Fi range is pretty short and inconsistent when compared to other routers
#03. Netgear R7000-100INS NightHawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Router
Another networking device launched by Netgear, the R7000-100INS is nothing like its predecessors. From the framework to the features everything about this wireless router is unique and designed to suit the average internet user. The rugged construction is both appealing and efficient in delivering a high-speed logical connection to even the remotest corners of the house or workspace. The broad heavyweight framework features angular lines, antennas, and amplifiers for fresh appeal. The device comes with a built-in 3.0 USB port and 4 Ethernet ports to connect external devices and share the data over the home network easily.
This Netgear Wi-Fi router consists of 128 MB flash memory and 256 MB of RAM. The R7000 has some really cool features such as Turbo QAM that help you update the device to an 802.11ac connection. You can also access dual-band technology consisting of 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections respectively. Check out the 800MHz ARM Cortex A9 Dual Core Processors that will completely revolutionize your virtual experience. Other than that the WPS button, VPN feature and Guest Network support are among the few standard but significant features that enhance your overall experience.
Other than the general features, you also get additional perks such as a dynamic QoS technology, Beamforming, and a WPA/WPA2 encryption that helps you set up a customized URL over a personal FTP server free of charge. Also, the Airtime Fairness feature comes in handy during a slow connection and prevents lags by directing the network correctly. The new and improved NETGEAR genie app manages all your files on the phone and can be easily customized when required. The app is also compatible with various systems and interfaces offering a real-time network map, AirPrint feature and QR scan technology for better connectivity.
- The AC1900 provides a 600+1300mbps speed, 1GHz dual-core processor and dynamic QoS for best quality HD streaming faster downloads and amazing gaming experience
- The dual band network divides and channelizes the workload; the bandwidth is distributed as per priority of the task.
- Free automatic backup and real-time network maps for effective control and management of information shared online
- NETGEAR genie access that boosts the reach and appeal of the device.
- Extra ports, antennas, amplifiers, and bands to expand the Wi-Fi coverage range
- Extremely heavy weight and large hence hard to install
- The 2.4GHz band performance is not as competent as its peers
- You do not get access to the Parental Control feature over the web interface
- The NETGEAR genie app does not work efficiently over the internet
#04. Asus RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Wireless Router
We have already mentioned an ASUS router in our list above – the AC88U dual-band model that is quite popular among users worldwide. The next product that we will discuss here is the RT-AC3200 that is both sleek and sturdy enough to offer some serious Wi-Fi speeds 24*7.
The classy yet tough design of this wireless router is armed with a lot of really cool features that would sure catch any tech geek’s interest. The AC3200 is an upgraded version of the previous AC88U and is a lot different than its predecessor. For starters, it is a tri-band router offering faster connectivity. Moreover, the sturdy built and sleek, sophisticated design is not something you can find just anywhere.
ASUS is primarily a gaming hardware manufacturer that has ventured out into the wireless router market. The AC3200 comes with six detachable antennas that can be folded into the device making it compact and portable enough to be moved from place to place. The structure is very similar to that of a gaming console that though a bit bulky is very convenient to use. ASUS routers are known for their incredible speed and connectivity and the AC3200 only uphold this belief. Extremely user-friendly and easy to configure, the model comes with its own quick install setup wizard that allows users to either automatically install the device or set it up manually.
However, the many features and functions of the router might get confusing if you are not familiar with the modern high-tech gadgets and trends of the market. Users can double up the device as an OpenVPN server or a NAS (network attached storage) device by connecting it to an external hard drive. However, on the downside, the AC3200 does not come with many LAN ports (just 4) that limit the range and performance of the router considerably.
- The sleek stylish yet durable design is a treat for the senses
- Sturdy construction featuring six foldable antennas that can be removed easily
- A tri-band high-speed Wi-Fi connection that supports massive data transfers and HD streaming
- Easy to install and configure, thanks to the setup wizard file
- Very versatile, can be used as an OpenVPN server and a NAS device.
- The framework is bulky and does not come with many LAN ports. However, that should not be an issue if you are not using an Ethernet cable to connect your electronic gadgets.
- The router is not to the layman, i.e. someone who is not familiar with the latest high-tech functions of devices in the industry.
- The ASUS AC3200 though better equipped with features costs a fortune
#05. Netgear AC3200 Nighthawk X6 Wi-Fi Router
Netgear is a major player in the networking industry and has launched some of the best Wi-Fi routers and other devices in the market. The product under analyses, the X6 Nighthawk Wi-Fi router lives up to its brand name and has quickly gained a reputation among both amateur and professional online users. The AC3200 X6 Router by Netgear features a unique tri-band technology that is built to automatically connect all the nearby devices such as laptops, phones, consoles, and tabs simultaneously. All the electronic gadgets in your home can now be connected via a Wi-Fi network.
The device offers an incredible speed of 3.2Gbps, the three Wi-Fi bands of one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz, QoS functionality and SmartConnect technology for enhanced performance and consistent speed throughout the coverage range. The X6 model also features a set of 6 standard antennas and a 1GHz Dual Core Processor with three offload processors that deliver a maximum speed of 3.2Mbps. The console of the router is smartly placed, featuring a set of customizable functions and LED lights for better indication and efficiency. The interface consists of the WPS button, the power switch, and the signal indicator.
Considered to be a significant upgrade from the other R7000 and R8000 models, the AC2300 is an excellent wireless router that operates on 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection. The dual USB ports, namely 2.0, and 3.0 USB ports, manage all the external devices and channelize the data transfer over the local network or FTP server. The Guest Network and Parental control is password protected while the WPS encryption ensures safety against hacking, illegal snooping and virus infestation. The router, when clubbed with an external hard drive, can also function as a robust NAS server. Users can also download the free ReadySHARE application that creates automatic backups for your Windows system on the home network.
- 2gbps speed and tri-band Wi-Fi connection that automatically includes all nearby devices
- Dynamic QoS that distributes the bandwidth according to the application and data usage
- Six high-performance antennas and amplifiers that expand the range
- 1GHz dual-core processor and two extra USB ports for efficient storage
- NETGEAR genie for users to create their personal dashboard on the shared home
- The 2.4GHz band is really short and incompetent to meet large demands
- Hefty on your wallet
- Not very efficient and powerful when compared to its peers
#06. Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena MU-MIMO
The Athena MU-MIMO is an amped wireless router that is built for networking experts and gadget freaks. The RTA2600 is the next famous name on our list that is both advanced enough to satisfy the professional web user and user-friendly enough for a layman to understand. The device does not feature a lot of complicated functions, but the ones you do get are of a supreme quality and guarantee a steady and consistent network connection 24*7. Unlike the ASUS models, you do not have to spend hours trying to figure out the settings of the device. The model comes with a competent router control panel that is easy to install and operate.
The RTA2600 wireless router also comes with a robust hardware design that enhances the performance of the device considerably. The framework is very compact, sleek and easy to carry, featuring four foldable antennas and additional USB ports for connecting external storage devices and gadgets. You can connect multiple electronic devices on the network without worrying about a drop in the efficiency or speed of the Wi-Fi connection. Also, the model can be used as a NAS device for storing data online; all you have to do is connect the router to an external hard drive, and you are set. Another significant advantage that the Athena RTA2600 offers customers is the new and improved dual band network that works wonderfully on both five gigahertz and 2.4 gigahertz bandwidth networks.
- The router offers a steady high-speed internet connection regardless of the number of devices connected to it
- You do not need a professional to help you install the router; the quick setup wizard does the job for you in minutes.
- Although the router is not armed with loads of features, it contains all the essential functions required in a competent wireless router
- The wireless router is a costlier than its competitors
- Also, the product does not offer as many services as other routers out there
#07. Apple AirPort Extreme Dual Band
Apple is a well-known brand in the gadget market so much so that name today is almost synonymous to the smartphones we use. Moreover, the company has further ventured out into many other sectors, so don’t be surprised if you find the name in our top router list here. The wireless router launched by Apple is actually pretty good! A unique, innovative and revolutionary step in the networking sector, the AirPort Extreme Base Station is nothing like any other router you will find on the market.
From the exterior design to the inner functionality, everything about this router is new and improved. Sleek, stylish and sophisticated, this wireless router looks like a typical Apple product. This dual band wireless router does not have any extra antennas or external protruding; it is all integrated into the frame. The router is very compact and lightweight that comes with the latest Wi-Fi connectivity features. It works wonderfully on both four gigahertz and five gigahertz bandwidths. The frame also features extra USB ports and an Ethernet port in case you want to use the router as a NAS device. Also, you get a steady 300 Mbps speed no matter how many devices you connect to the network.
The Apple AirPort Extreme is compatible with all iOS and Mac devices. Moreover, the device is very easy to install thanks to the wizard setup file and disk that comes with the router. Considered by many to be the fastest wireless router in the market, the Apple AirPort Extreme is a useful device to have around if you love working on different electronic gadgets all day.
- The router provides unmatched speed and efficiency at both 2.4 and five Gigahertz bandwidths
- Hassle free installation and smooth operation.
- Attractive, appealing and easy on your pocket
- The router comes with just one Ethernet port that limits the range of the device
- The router is not compatible with all platforms such as Andriod and Windows
#08. TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Gigabit Router
The Archer C7 V2 is a feature-rich and powerful wireless router launched by TP-Link, one of the best wireless router suppliers in India. A very basic but capable dual-band AC Gigabit router, this model offers an incredible speed of 1.75Gpbs that is three times faster than other wireless networks. The AC1750 Archer C7 operates on a dual band network that boosts the flexibility and efficiency of the model. You can now work on both 5HGz and 2.4GHz bands attached on the back of the router. The 2.4GHz handles the small tasks such as web browsing, sending emails, etc. while the 5GHz is responsible for bigger jobs like supporting online gaming, HD streaming, and extensive downloads.
The six antenna frame expands the coverage of the device considerably; you get a wider network access and enhanced performance. The Archer C7 also features a set of 3 external 5dBi antennas that serve the 5GHz band along with three other internal antennas for assisting the 2.4GHz band performance. The two multipurpose USB 2.0 ports can be connected to a variety of external devices such as printers, scanners, etc. Now you can now share files through the local network or the FTP server even when you are away from home. You can create a Guest Network Access that provides reliable Wi-Fi accessibility for people guests who are sharing your home network.
You get a superb standard speed of 24 Mbps along with additional IP QoS customization settings for better control. The model can be updated to a better version; it supports 802.11ac standard connection- the next generation Wi-Fi network. Also, the live parental control feature helps you block access to malicious content or other restricted information on the internet. Another feature that sets Archer C7 apart from its peers is the amazing one gigabit WAN port and 4 gigabit LAN port connections that run ten times faster than a standard Ethernet network.
- It offers dual band connections for better performance
- Framework features five antennas and Gigabit Ethernet ports
- You can control the accessibility over the network
- Two additional USB ports and a WPS button for wider coverage
- Three detachable internal antennas
- Excellent wireless coverage and high-speed data transfer
- The device is reasonably priced
- The Archer C7 does not have a USB 3.0 port
- The 2.4GHz band offers very average speed and inefficient for high-speed data transfers
#09. Linksys WRT1900ACS DD-WRT Dual Band
Linksys is another popular brand in the networking devices marketplace and has launched a lot of accomplished routers in the market. The product in question, i.e. DD-WRT is a dual band wireless router that comes with a standard ACS1900 support. The device offers a constant connection on both 5 and 2.5 Gigahertz bandwidths at a speed of 1300 megahertz and 600 megahertz respectively. The large and bulky framework of the model restricts movement. You need ample space to install the device correctly. Other than that the four antennas and custom made firmware make Linksys among the fastest wireless routers in the industry.
The classic design and bold colors used to give the router a unique look and feel. Now talking about its performance, the Linksys DD-WRT can be doubled up as a NAS device by connecting it to an external hard drive. You can also use it as a UPnP (universal plug and play) and DLNA device for faster information transfers and data streaming. The framework also features extra USB ports that expand the range and performance of the router tenfold. You can easily setup the router in a jiffy, all you have to do is install the quick wizard setup file, and the device will be automatically established. Next, customize the settings, and you are good to go.
Some of the features might be a bit complicated for users not used to deal with advanced software stuff. However, if you are a networking enthusiast, then this router is sure a keeper.
- Robust and sturdy hardware design plus a competent software
- Excellent speed and Wi-Fi range that can support multiple devices
- The NAS performance is one of the best in the market
- UPnP and DLNA support for faster data transfers
- Bulky, vast and difficult to handle
- One ethernet port and few LAN ports restrict the performance of the router
- Can be difficult to control if you are an amateur or a newbie to technology.
#10. D-Link DIR 880L Dual Band
The D-Link DIR 880L is a new and improved version of the DIR-890 wireless router discussed above. There are a lot many changes and upgrades in this model when compared to its predecessor. However, both the products are robust and sturdy enough to support all your networking requirements without any glitches. The 880L continues the traditional D-Link design that features detachable antennas, extra USB ports and Ethernet slots for better range and efficient performance. The foldable design further boosts the appeal of the device as the compact frame is easier to carry and store.
You can use the router as a NAS device and even avail the benefits of the D-Link cloud services for extra storage space. The cloud-based management system helps you monitor your data usage and transfers better. What the feature comes in especially handy if you are in a separate room or somewhere far away from the router’s range. Both five gigahertz and 2.4 gigahertz bandwidth performance were impressive. You do not have to deal with buffering or slow information transfer rates anymore, the 880L dual band router takes care of it all.
- Offers long range stable internet connectivity
- Runs smoothly on both 2.4 and five gigahertz bands
- Connected to the D-Link Cloud support for better storage and hassle free management
- The web interface is complicated for first-time users and amateurs
- The device is a bit on the expensive side
Why Do You Need Wireless Ports?
- To connect all devices in your home on one network
- To reduce the wiring around the house
- To ensure a fast, stable and secure internet connection
Things to Consider When Buying a Wireless Router
Now that you know all about wireless routers and how they boost your home network’s coverage area and connectivity let us move on to the essential features and technicalities that one must look for in any wireless router.
Management and Quality of Service (QoS)
Only installing a router is not enough, you also need to manage the workload and channelize the traffic smartly so as to expand the signal strength and connectivity of the device. The bands and extra ports integrated into the frame usually distribute the workload according to priority. Also, some routers offer an additional smartphone application that is compatible with all platforms for controlling the data transmission across different platforms. The Quality of Service or QoS (in short) is not related to the quality of the internet connection but the kind of IP the connection uses. For example, using a VoIP service assist in the better configuration and data flow. QoS helps in optimizing the router’s performance enhancing live streaming, quality of video calls and online gaming. However, QoS cannot increase the device’s bandwidth or speed up downloads considerably.
Almost all wireless routers that you will find on the market operate on a dual band network that features two standard 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Only a few companies have launched tri-band routers. Now, the dual band basically implies that the router has two built-in radios that come in 2.4 and five frequency bands. The 2.4GHz manages the smaller tasks such as web browsing and emails while the 5GHz band is responsible for the most important jobs such as HD video streaming and online gaming. The router judges the priority and intensity of the task before assigning the appropriate band. Tri-bands, on the other hand, expand the connectivity and functionality of the router immensely. It is best suited for crowded network connections where you have to run many things at once. It allows better data management, monitoring, and control and is mostly used in commercial sectors.
Signal Strength and Coverage Area
Routers play a significant role in determining the signal strength and internet connectivity of any network. The coverage area of any wireless router depends on its external Wi-Fi antennas, Ethernet ports, and overall signal strength. When you set up a wireless network, it is imperative that you check every corner of the coverage area to verify the consistency of the signal strength and versatility of the device. Go for a device that features a flexible detachable antenna that can be readjusted easily. Also, many wireless routers have also introduced a beam force technology that focuses the signal directly on the device and shifts as and when the connected device moves.
Gigabit and USB Ports
The number of USB ports determines the connectivity and reach of the wireless router, with the 2.0 and 3.0 USB ports you can connect your devices to printers, scanners, webcams and other systems for enhanced data sharing. Also, the Ethernet ports (also known as Gigabit ports) determine the transfer speed and efficiency of the device. However, before you get a wireless router check if the Ethernet port is compatible with the local network. The ports are usually attached to the back of the router’s framework and can enhance the transmission of data with the other devices on the network.
Speed and Efficiency
The speed and effectiveness of the wireless router are perhaps the most fundamental and important aspect that you must look into. Now the kind of speed you get on a network depends on the load or online traffic the connection is subjected to. A faster router speed basically translates to buffer free streaming and lag-free online gaming experience. The top wireless routers of 2016 offer a standard speed of 300mbps, although there are brands that offer rates as high as 1900mbps! Today, all wireless routers are manufactured in compliance with the 802.11ac standard and are therefore capable of streaming HD videos even over a reasonable distance. The inbuilt Ethernet port and bandwidth is also a factor deciding the speed limit of the router.
Updated 802.11 Wi-Fi Connectivity
The 802.11ac is the standardized network connection according to which all wireless routers are being built. This allows lag-free HD video streaming and lightning fast downloads. There are many different versions of the 802.11 in the market, the latest being the 802.11ac that offers a lot of extra functionalities such as TurboQAM and Beam force technology for a better experience. These versions of the connection depending on your requirement. For instance, if you want a simple traditional router for casual web browsing and light jobs to go for the older versions such as 802.11a/c/n/g. On the other hand, if you are a gaming enthusiast or love watching movies online the 802.11ac version is better for you.
Wireless Data Security
Another perk offered by wireless routers is adequate information security. Routers also provide decent protection against illegal snooping, hacking and virus infestation. Wireless routers provide WPA/2 encryption and SSID broadcast control along with an advanced Firewall to scan and track any signs of malicious files. Other than that the best wireless routers also offer a parental control feature that allows parents to block certain websites and restrict the access to otherwise harmful content that can negatively influence children. Even the guest network connection can be monitored and controlled with some simple configurations. Wireless routers enhance the credibility and reliability of your home network.
The Bottom Line
Finding the best Wi-Fi router can be a challenge for the amateur web browser. You have neither the experience nor the technical expertise about the hardware and software aspect of the device. Our list is a careful combination of all types of wireless routers in the market. From gaming routers to high-tech dual band ones you get everything here.