Best Wireless Routers For Any Purpose

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 for regular home users, gamers, and people on a budget.

TP-Link Archer C9

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Linksys EA6900

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Asus RT-AC88U

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

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TP-Link Archer C5

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Asus RT-N12

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Netgear Nighthawk X10

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How to Choose the Best WiFi Router?

The most important thing is to know what you need. Are you a gamer who plays online competitive games? Do you like to stream high-definition movies and TV shows from the Internet? Or do you just want faster Internet speeds without paying for features you may or may not use?

Once you understand your own needs, it’s time to pick a few models that fit the bill and read WiFi router reviews to discover their pros and cons. Keep in mind that tech reviews are a picky bunch who likes to point out flaws that will go completely unnoticed by the average user. Use your judgment to separate valid critique from frivolous remarks.



After your new WiFi router finally arrives at your doorstep and you set it up, use NetSpot to measure how much have your Internet download and upload speeds improved and how strong the signal has become.

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
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Our “Best Wireless Router 2022 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.

Pros and Cons
  • Affordable
  • High performance
  • Reliable
  • Easy setup process
  • Elegant design
  • Weaker 802.11n 5 GHz
  • Poor user design of the web UI
  • Can’t be mounted on the wall
Runner-Up:
Linksys EA6900
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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.

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
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Asus sells many gaming routers, most of which have been nominated as best WiFi routers 2022 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 2022 for 99 percent of gamers.

Runner-Up:
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
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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.

Pros and Cons
  • Impressive performance
  • Outstanding range
  • Built-in lifetime protection against online threats
  • Eight Gigabit LAN ports
  • Expensive
  • Bulky

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
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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.

Runner-Up:
Asus RT-N12
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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.

Best WiFi Router for Long Range

The number of available long-range routers has exploded in the recent years. This growth has been fueled mainly by the rise of online gaming and high-definition video streaming. But virtually everyone can benefit from owning the best long-range router on the market, and we know which router that is.
Best for 4K Streaming:
Netgear Nighthawk X10
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With a name like Nighthawk, it’s not hard to make a good first impression, and the Netgear Nighthawk X10 certainly doesn’t disappoint even when you get to know it better. This router is perfect for streaming fanatics because it comes with an integrated Plex media server, allowing users to enjoy movies, TV shows, music, videos, and photos from anywhere, across devices.

The Nighthawk X10 is powered by a fast quad-core processor that can provide network performance up to 7.2 Gbps and easily handle both 4K streaming and virtual reality gaming. The Nighthawk X10 is the first home router with a 10 Gigabit fiber port for fast NAS access. It also supports 60GHz 802.11ad WiFi, which is a future-proof WiFi standard that offers both impressive speeds and an excellent transmission range.

The router is by no means cheap, but it represents the cutting edge of home networking, and it’s guaranteed to perform exceptionally well under all circumstances.

Pros and Cons
  • Superb 5 GHz performance
  • 60 GHz 802.11ad support
  • Lots of geeky features for techies
  • Built-in Plex server
  • Port aggregation
  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Is It Time to Replace My Wireless Router?

If you want to be absolutely sure that it’s time to replace your WiFi router, we recommend a WiFi analysis and surveillance app like NetSpot. Before you spend money on a new router, you want to first check whether your existing router doesn’t perform poorly because of interference caused by nearby wireless networks and other electronic devices.

NetSpot can quickly discover all nearby wireless networks and display all the information you need to determine whether they might be causing issues. That means examining on which channels the networks transmit and ensuring that your own wireless router transmits on a channel with as little traffic as possible.

Also, NetSpot can create an easy-to-understand visual map of your wireless network, highlighting where the signal is the weakest and where it is the strongest. You may discover that your router actually provides a decent coverage apart from one or two areas. In that case, you could simply move the router elsewhere and use NetSpot to check whether the coverage has improved.

If NetSpot reveals that your router is really holding you back from enjoying your Internet connection to its full potential, it’s time to look for a replacement.

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NetSpot

WiFi analyzer app runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10) with a standard 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.

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FAQ
How to make sure that it’s time to replace your WiFi router?

You need to make sure your current WiFi router really needs a replacement before spending money on a new one. Use a WiFi analysis tool like NetSpot to quickly discover all surrounding wireless networks and see whether the issue might be caused by them crowding the same wireless channel as your router is using.

Also look around to see whether there are any physical obstacles near the router that might be just obstructing the signal from getting to where you need it. Some interference might be caused by nearby wireless networks and other electronic devices as well. If everything seems great otherwise, then it may be time to really upgrade your wireless equipment to achieve a better wireless coverage.

How to Choose the Best WiFi Router?

To choose the most suitable wireless router for your needs, you have to identify the latter ones. Do you need WiFi coverage to be strong enough for online gaming? Are you going to stream HD movies? Or do you just need a decent WiFi for work and occasional browsing?

Once you have some favorites, make sure to read reviews. Take the opinions with a grain of salt of course and only take note of reasonable ones. Make sure the place you are buying from has a friendly return policy in case you realize you need a slightly different product.

How to check your WiFi signal?

You can check how your WiFi signal distributes over your space with visual heat maps in NetSpot. With a color-coded heatmap it will be very easy to see where the wireless signal is strong enough and where it is weak and needs an extra boost.

Read next in All about Wi-Fi Routers

If you want to get more information about Wi-Fi, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi routers, the best apps for wireless networking, WiFi signal, etc.

Slow WiFi?
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