Best Wireless Routers of 2018

It’s impossible to fully enjoy a fast Internet connection without a great wireless router. From laptops to mobile devices to Internet-connected smart home gadgets—wireless Internet access has become a necessity like electricity or water. Because we know that the selection of wireless routers can be a bit overwhelming, we’ve picked the best wireless routers of 2018 for regular home users, gamers, and people on a budget.

Best Wireless Router for Home

A wireless router for home should be reliable, secure, and easy to configure. For most people, mid-range wireless routers offer the best value as they tend to have all the important features that can be found in high-end wireless routers without the premium price tag.

Before you spend money on a new WiFi router, we highly recommend you run a wireless site survey using NetSpot to determine whether your current WiFi router doesn’t already deliver satisfactory coverage. NetSpot makes wireless site surveys and analysis a matter of a few simple clicks, and it’s available for free for both Windows and macOS.

Winner: TP-Link Archer C9

Our “Best Wireless Router 2018 for Home” award goes to the TP-Link Archer C9, which has everything the best home router should have and more. This router supports the latest 802.11ac standard, and it can simultaneously broadcast a 2.4 GHz 600 Mbps connection and a 5 GHz 1300 Mbps connection for up to 1.9 Gbps of total bandwidth. Its three antennas provide strong wireless coverage in all directions, and the router’s beamforming technology can precisely focus the signal to where it’s needed the most. At the heart of the TP-Link Archer C9 is a 1 GHz dual-core processor that can easily handle even the heaviest loads and process multiple wireless or wired tasks.

TP-Link Archer C9

Runner-Up: Linksys EA6900

A great alternative to the TP-Link Archer C9 is the Linksys EA6900 wireless router, which also has three antennas and can simultaneously broadcast a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz connection. What we like the most about the Linksys EA6900 is the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi mobile app. This polished app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets makes set up effortless, and it also significantly simplifies the configuration and customization of the router, allowing you to change your password or use parental controls with a few simple taps on the screen.

Linksys EA6900

Best Wireless Router for Gaming

If you’re an avid gamer, it makes sense to purchase a wireless router that can keep your ping low and stable even when other people connected to the router are watching high-definition movies over the Internet or are downloading very large files.

Winner: Asus RT-AC88U

Asus sells many gaming routers, most of which have been nominated as best WiFi routers 2018 by prestigious tech magazines, but we believe the Asus RT-AC88U offers the best bang for your buck. It features NitroQAM technology, which delivers a combined 3167 Mbps wireless speed and ensures that everyone on your network can enjoy smooth streaming and low-latency online gaming. It also boasts Adaptive QoS (Quality of Service) for activity prioritization. The router’s four antennas support state-of-the-art beamforming technology for maximum coverage and the strongest signal possible. These and other features make the Asus RT-AC88U the best WiFi router 2018 for 99 percent of gamers.

Asus RT-AC88U

Runner-Up: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

It’s impossible to read wireless router reviews and not come across the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 and its eight eye-catching and, admittedly, frightening antennas. This high-end gaming router represents the pinnacle of wireless technology. Just the fact that it features a PC-grade CPU shows that Asus went all-in in its effort to create the best wireless router for gaming.

As if the hardware of the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 wasn’t enough to satisfy the needs of amateur and professional gamers alike, this beastly WiFi router also has several noteworthy gaming-specific features that put it in a league of its own. Perhaps the most impressive piece of gaming technology is called Game Boost. With this technology, the router analyzes network traffic and prioritizes gaming packets, giving games a second level of acceleration for the best possible performance. The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 also includes built-in support for the Gamers Private Network, which provides you with a better online gaming experience, reduced latency, lower ping, and far fewer lost packets.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Best Budget Wireless Router

Selecting the best wireless routers in the budget category is not easy. When price matters, compromises have to be made. WiFi router reviews of budget routers are often skewed based on the reviewer’s personal preferences and needs. That said, there are some budget wireless routers that have received nearly unanimous praise, and below is our favorite.

Winner: TP-Link Archer C5

The TP-Link Archer C5 supports the next-generation WiFi standard, 802.11ac, and it’s capable of transferring data at up to 1.2 Gbps, with up to 867 Mbps over 5 GHz and up to 300 Mbps over 2.4 GHz. The router can be managed with ease using the TP-LINK Tether app for iOS and Android devices. The app is used for everything from the initial setup to security settings to parental controls. On the back of the router are two multi-functional USB 2.0 ports for printers or storage devices, and there’s also one gigabit Internet port and four gigabit Ethernet ports for ultra-fast wired Internet access. Best of all, the two dual-band antennas that come with the TP-Link Archer C5 wireless router are replaceable, allowing you to swap them for high-gain antennas to enjoy even better wireless coverage. As always, we recommend you use NetSpot to check whether the replacement antennas have really led to a stronger signal.

TP-Link Archer C5

Runner-Up: Asus RT-N12

If there’s one thing that all Asus wireless routers offer, it’s reliability. Even in the budget category, Asus has yet to release a wireless router that would fail to meet our expectations. The Asus RT-N12 is a perfect example of how Asus is able to come up with fantastic low-cost products that perform even better than some mid-range routers from competing brands. The Asus RT-N12 is easy to setup, easy to use, and hard to live without because of its dynamic bandwidth allocation and access control.

Asus RT-N12

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