10 Best Wireless Routers | March 2017

We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. So you just won the lottery and your old router won't cover your new mansion. Or, more likely, the kids are sucking up all your bandwidth and you can't stream Game of Thrones. Wherever you need reliable internet access, at home or the office, and for whatever purpose, one of these dependable wireless routers will take care of you. Skip to the best wireless router on Amazon.
10 Best Wireless Routers | March 2017


Overall Rank: 1
Best Mid-Range
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 10
Best High-End
★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
10
If you want a future-proof option, consider the Netgear Nighthawk X8. With six Local Area Network ports and modern MU-MIMO technology, you can share your internet with many devices at optimal speeds. However, it is not very affordable.
9
The TP-Link Archer C3200 offers industry-leading wireless performance that you can count on. Its intuitive interface helps devices run faster by assigning them to the best available 5 GHz channel, and it allows you to create an isolated guest network.
8
The time-proven Netgear Nighthawk R7000 is a popular choice packed with valuable features, such as a guest network, a USB 3.0 port, backup software, and beam forming antennas. It's perfect for small to medium-sized homes and mid-range budgets.
7
At nearly 2,500 sq. ft., you'll be hard pressed to find another router that has such a large coverage area from just one unit as the TP-Link OnHub AC1900. It downloads auto security updates to keep your network safe and supports over 100 connected devices.
  • premium technical support
  • attractive circular design
  • setup done only via mobile apps
Brand TP-Link
Model TGR1900(BLU)
Weight 3.8 pounds
6
Parents will love the Starry Station. It has a 3.8" touchscreen and a Starry App that lets you set screen time rules and keep your kids' devices offline during certain hours of the day. It also identifies any connectivity issues you are having for troubleshooting.
  • shows devices using the most data
  • easy parental controls
  • looks sleek and modern
Brand Starry, Inc.
Model S00111
Weight 3.3 pounds
5
Each Securifi Almond 3 is designed to completely cover a 1,300 sq. ft. area with uninterrupted internet connectivity. If your house is larger than that, not to worry, as they are designed to be linked together with multiple units for a larger coverage area.
  • has an intuitive touchscreen and app
  • no computer required to set it up
  • built-in siren for home alarm system
Brand Securifi
Model ALM-BLK-IN
Weight 15.2 ounces
4
The TP-Link Archer C7 is an affordable AC1750 router with a golden reputation for high quality, long range signals. It offers one of the best price to performance ratios for small homes and offices and outperforms many more expensive routers in the same class.
  • great at both short and long range
  • amazing performance for the price
  • easy to setup and configure
Brand TP-Link
Model Archer C7
Weight 2.2 pounds
3
The powerful ASUS RT-AC5300 has a strong 4T4R antenna that is able to cover a 5,000 sq. ft. area, making it exceptionally useful in large homes or for small businesses. It also has Smart Connect technology that dynamically switches devices between 2.4 and 5 GHz.
  • handles many connected devices
  • intuitive asus wrt user interface
  • fast ping times for gaming
Brand Asus
Model RT-AC5300
Weight 7.3 pounds
2
The ASUS RT-ACRH13 is a brand new router that is future-proofed by MU-MIMO technology. The router is rated at AC1300, which is plenty fast enough to stream movies while gaming and browsing. It uses high-end beamforming to keep your signal strong as you move around.
  • uses latest technology
  • high speeds at long range
  • very budget friendly
Brand Asus
Model RT-ACRH13
Weight 1.8 pounds
1
For the ultimate headache free and high performance WiFi router, you need the Netgear Orbi. It's easy to setup while still offering advanced features. The router and extenders simply provide the best wireless coverage and performance available.
  • strong signal across large areas
  • ships preconfigured
  • consistently lightning fast
Brand NETGEAR
Model RBK50-100NAS
Weight 6.8 pounds

What Do I (Really) Need To Know Before I Choose A Router?

The price range between wireless routers compares to that of the Straight of Gibraltar, whose depths range between 300 and 900 meters. Not that this equates to wireless router price tags, we're simply explaining that costs can vary greatly. So how does one decide on which router will work best for them? Answering that question is not so black and white, and your deciding factor may depend on what you're looking for at a price you can afford.

The first consideration relies on the range of wireless connectivity you're interested in. Ask yourself how big your property is, whether it's in a house, apartment, small business, or corporate building. Not only that, but consider the construction of these dwellings. Depending on the constructed materials, wireless signals can attenuate. Meaning, if the walls are 4-inch thick brick, you're going to want a router that promises better range, and place it out in the open, as opposed to hiding it in some obscure corner. However, since a better range can increase the cost of a router, it may behoove you to purchase at a lower cost, and consider applying antennas to improve performance.

The amount and types of devices you plan to connect with the router will also affect your choice. To do this, you'll want to look at the wireless protocols: that's those long strings of numbers beginning with 8. Your laptop and your smartphone almost certainly use 802.11n WiFi, so if all you're just using a few of those sorts of devices, you're most likely fine with an 802.11n router. But if we're talking a lot of mobile devices, plus smart TVs, game consoles, etc, then you may want to take a look at the latest, more powerful WiFi tech, like the 802.11ac protocol with beamforming capability; where WiFi signals go directly to a device, rather than bouncing around the dwelling haphazardly.

Another option is one that features MU-MIMO technology, which can provide faster performance for multiple devices. The catch here is that it only benefits certain devices, and you'll have to confirm that your devices are MU-MIMO enabled. Features that are not as difficult to assess include the number of available USB ports, whether or not it has removable antennas, if it allows guest networks, and if you have kids, whether or not it offers parental controls.

Why Fi?

Twenty years ago, nearly 220 million Americans had a television in their home; a number that has since dwindled down by half today. Also twenty years ago, about 120 million Americans used the internet. Today, that number has doubled. Do you see the relation? As Albus Dumbledore might say, the evidence behind the internet taking over the world is incontrovertible - just ask the 13% percent of Americans who don't use it. Asia alone has seen an internet usage increase of 622% in that same time span; they are after all the world's largest internet consumers.

It's obvious that people have an insatiable need to use the internet, but why has WiFi, once described as the "poor cousin" to licensed communications, become today's standard to browsing the web? After all, 94% of hotel patrons say WiFi is the most important amenity; 34% consider it to be a deal breaker. This is largely due to data traffic. People today are constantly on the go and typically have a device well within reach, if not already on their person - which at least 70% of people do. All of this internet use clogs networks, resulting in sluggish performance, resulting in these monopoly businesses having to deal with disgruntled customers.

Another huge factor that dictates WiFi popularity is the seemingly never ending world of smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Ethernet may perform faster compared to a wireless connection, sure, but this day in age no one wants to be tethered by a cable. It's all about portability, hence the extreme demand and expansion of WiFi. But perhaps the biggest reason why we always want to be connected to the Internet is because it's our passport to the entire world.

People used to flood libraries to attain knowledge; today, Google is one step away from helping to answer your question. With WiFi, the possibilities are limitless and there is so much left to be explored. With WiFi, we're always learning, always searching, and with little letdown and zero obligations. Let's face it, a wireless Internet connection is the best relationship you've ever had. And with a little time, an additional millions of device owners will be depending more and more on WiFi and the routers that connect us to it.

This 2004 Article About Wi-Fi Will Make You Feel Hella Old

We'll be honest, we felt a little silly when we set out to research the history of Wi-Fi. A quick glance at the relevant Wikipedia article will confirm what anyone over the age of 15 probably already thinks: it's really not that long since the internet came to our homes through dial-up modems that made, er, distinctive sounds. Or at least - being ancient - that's what we thought.

Until we found this article.

It was 2004. Christina Milian was dippin' it low. The Ocean's franchise was only up to twelve. And The Economist newspaper was reflecting on the brief history of a little thing called Wi-Fi.

There are two aspects to this article that we find really fascinating. The first is the article's general tone of explaining to its readers just what is this 'Wi-Fi' that has the kids so excited: "Among geeks, it has inspired a mania unseen since the days of the internet boom."

The second is when the article tries to predict the future. It gives short shrift to the idea that Wi-Fi is going to undermine the growth of mobile networks, arguing that this was unrealistic...in part because "subscribe to one network of hotspots (in coffee-shops, say) and you may not be able to use the hotspot in the airport". Imagine!

In fact, such are the limitations of this mania-inducing technology that "Wi-Fi is also under threat in the home"! Instead, according to the voice of 2004, by now we should all be talking about WiMax and WiMedia instead. The what, now?

This Economist piece isn't just good for a chuckle: it does a good job of providing an informative and interesting run-down of the science - and the politics - that was involved in bringing Wi-Fi to our homes and public spaces (not to mention why it's really called Wi-Fi!). So fire up your WiMax connection and give it a read.



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Last updated: 03/26/2017 | Authorship Information

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