Technology

Best Wireless Routers Reviews & Buyers Guide

You can extend an internet or a Wi-Fi connection around the house with a good wireless router.
There are so many available in the market today so it can be tough to make a good decision. The best routers are not often the ones that come with fancy brand names either.

Before you make a purchase, you should carefully weigh in both the pros and the cons of the product. If you are currently shopping around for a wireless router, read the review roundup below to help make your decision.

Best Wireless Routers

Asus RT AC3200- Tri-Band Wireless Gigabit Router

The Asus RT-AC3200 wireless router is best suited for homes that heavily use the internet. This router is considerable in size, and offers a number of interesting features. It’s more expensive than most routers, so you will have to make your decision based on the features this device offers.

This router is one of the three “tri-brand” types of products available in the market, along with Netgear R8000 and Linksys EA9200. So it’s quite powerful, and is suitable for a particular type of user. Before you buy, make sure you need all the features on offer because this product is quite pricey.

This router is quite uniquely developed in terms of how it works. Most routers increase speed of the connection with each band. But this router comes with a Broadcom5G XStream Wi-Fi chip, which packs and extra band (hence the name dual-band Wi-Fi). It’s comparable to the ASUS AC1900, but has more power.

Features

The Asus RT-AC3200 features three access points, all separate. The access points are as this: one 2.4GHz 802.11n/g/b capping at 600Mbps, and two 5GHz 802.11ac/n/a capping at 1,300Mbps. The two 5GHz access points give the router 3,200 Mbps of total bandwidth at any given time. That is impressive. This, of course, is the theoretical limit that can vary depending on connection quality and usage.

The advantage of two 5GHz bands is that it reduces the load on each band, which allows for faster connections. If you engage in very data intensive local tasks, this tech can be very useful. The router has a WAN port and dour LAN ports as well, which will definitely be useful.

This router packs some really powerful hardware, including a Broadcom BCM4709 dual-core 1GHz processor and 128MB of flash storage. The processor has 256MB of DDR3 memory. This is as much power as a small server!

Design

Make no mistake, the Asus RT-AC3200 router is massive. It comes with six antennas, all detachable, which adds to the bulk. It has two USB ports, one 2.0 and the other 3.0. It’s a feature that is most useful when you have to connect both older and newer USB devices.

This router has a number of indicator lights in the front. Interestingly enough, these lights prominently protrude. Most routers have lights facing downwards. The idea behind this design choice is that you can see the status lights when looking at the router from above. No more painful squatting!

Performance

Performance wise, this router is quite fast. It can sustain a speed of at least 514Mbps any given moment at a range of 15 feet. The father the router is placed, the real-world speed drops. At about a 100 feet distance, speeds dropped to about 213Mbps. However, this is still above average compared to other routers.

Setup and Installation

This router comes with the standard Asus web interface, which is very user friendly. You only have to plug in and play from the browser to the default IP address (192.168.1.1). The web interface has its own guide if a user needs it.

Pros
  • High-end processor and Wi-Fi chip
  • Powerful dual-band connections
  • Additional band support
  • Solid real-world connection speeds
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Conclusion

All things considered, this is an excellent router to own. Sure, it’s expensive, but it offers many features in return. It packs top-notch hardware, security settings, and good range. This router is packed with many features, like a setup guide and malware protection, that suits home use well.

Sale
ASUS AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band (Dual 5GHz + Single 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router [RT-AC3200] Ultra-Fast 802.11ac 3200 Mpbs Wi-Fi Speed, 3 x 3 Antenna Design, 4 Gigabit LAN Ports, AiProtection Security
15660 Reviews
ASUS AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band (Dual 5GHz + Single 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router [RT-AC3200] Ultra-Fast 802.11ac 3200 Mpbs Wi-Fi Speed, 3 x 3 Antenna Design, 4 Gigabit LAN Ports, AiProtection Security
  • Smart Connect automatically selects the fastest band for all devices individually, based on their demands and capabilities
  • Built-in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports for up to 10-times faster data transfers to USB storage devices1, printer sharing, and 3G/4G dongle support
  • ASUSWRT graphical user interface for easy, CD-free 30-second setup and hassle-free advanced network control
  • Protection with Trend Micro with triple-strength total network security, plus robust parental controls and privacy protection
  • ASUS AiCloud 2.0 lets you access, sync, share and stream your files anywhere, on any internet-connected device

Asus RT-AC88U

The Asus RT-AC88U is a 802.11ac dual-band router. This router stands out because it uses Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology. This tech enables the router to service multiple clients without hurting bandwidth performance.

If that’s not enough to make you buy it, keep in mind that this router is recommended for gamers. This router packs dozens of incredible features, and it’s fast, which makes this device highly suitable for gaming. Plus, it has an appealing exterior as well.

If you are looking for a wireless router that delivers in terms of performance, then this Asus RT-AC88U is definitely a router to consider. It packs more features than what regular home users might need. But if you have heavy Wi-Fi needs or are a gamer, then this is definitely a product to consider.

Design

Most routers look drab and boring, but not the Asus RT-AC88U. Perhaps because it’s made for gamers, this router has a gorgeous red and black exterior. On the inside, the heatsinks are painted red as well, which you can see from the router grill. It looks rather rad. It also has a unique angular shape too, unlike like other routers that tend to be square-ish.

This router is designed to be wider than typical. It’s about 12 inches wide and 8 inches in height. Sure it’s big, but not as humongous as the the D-Link DIR-890L/R. This router comes with as many as 8 LAN ports. There are two USB ports in the front and the back protected by flip covers.

Features

This is a dual bandwidth router that comes with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity. The router is equipped with a Broadcom Wi-Fi chipset that has a neat tech called NitroQAM. NitroQAM allows routers to have higher bandwidth when paired with an adapter. It’s kind of a bandwidth booster that can give as much as a 25 percent boost to any real-world bandwidth. For example, NitroQAM can boost the 2.4GHz port on this router to a whopping 1,000 Mb/s.

One of the major selling points of this router is the MU-MIMO tech that makes it possible to use with up to four Wi-Fi clients while maintaining bandwidth. However, you will need a network compatible with MU-MIMO tech to take advantage of this feature. You can check with your ISP to find out if your network has this capability.

Performance

The RT-AC88U is unsurprisingly speediest on through the 5GHz channel. It can go on an average of 537Mbps when the router is close to the network. When the router is about 30 feet away, it can reach about 302 Mbps. That is a very good range all things considered.

Setup and Installation

It’s very easy to install the RT-AC88U. The router comes with Asus intuitive setup wizard, which as the name suggests, guide you through the process. The console will automatically connect when you connect to router to the PC. You can auto configure the set up or you can manually set it up too.

Pros
  • Perks available for gamers
  • NitroQAM bandwidth boost available
  • MU-MIMO tech allows up to 4 additional Wi-Fi clients
Cons
  • Expensive

Conclusion

Overall, the Asus RT-AC88U is a really solid router. The design and features on offer are really impressive. This router can be expensive too, so it’s not for everyone. If you are a gamer, then this is definitely one of the best routers to own. Setting this up is really easy, and it can maintain good real-world speeds and bandwidth. While some tech features may not be compatible with most devices, this router still has much to offer heavy internet users.

Sale
ASUS AC3100 Wireless Dual Band (5GHz + 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router [RT-AC88U] 802.11ac 3167 Mbps Wi-Fi Speed, 4 x 4 MU-MIMO Antennas, 8x Gigabit LAN Ports, AiRadar Beamforming, WTFast Optimization
15660 Reviews
ASUS AC3100 Wireless Dual Band (5GHz + 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router [RT-AC88U] 802.11ac 3167 Mbps Wi-Fi Speed, 4 x 4 MU-MIMO Antennas, 8x Gigabit LAN Ports, AiRadar Beamforming, WTFast Optimization
  • 1024-QAM technology - 80% faster 5 GHz at up to 2100 Mbps, 66% faster 2.4 GHz at up to 1000 Mbps
  • 33% greater 2.4 GHz coverage with a 4-transmit, 4-receive (4T4R) antenna design, able to reach our widest-ever coverage up to 5000 square feet
  • Expansive Connectivity Options: with exclusively has 8 x Gigabit LAN ports for up to eight Ethernet-compatible devices to connect simultaneously
  • Powerful 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, Faster USB data transfers enjoy up to over 100 MB/s speed and the router download/upload speed (WAN-LAN throughput) up to 1.8 Gbps
  • Smart Connect- Automatically chooses the best band available for you,Dimensions:11.8 x 7.4 x 3.3 ~ inch (WxDxH)

D-Link DIR 890L- Best Range Wireless Router

D-Link DIR-890L/R is one of the best D-Link routers around. It’s decently priced, and offers a lot of high-end features. When this model was first released in 2015, it was one of the first to be available with tri-band and dual-band functionality. It means that you can get three separate network connections using this router.

This router is intended for large homes or places with a lot of internet connected devices. This router can handle 15 connected devices, such as smartphones, gaming consoles, or security cams, at once. It’s also hailed as one of the best routers for gamers.

Design

This is one of D-Link’s best designed routers. It has a stunning apple red exterior. This router is also really large, with a 15 inch width and a 9 inch depth. It looks bulky, but it’s rather lightweight. It comes with six antennas that are not removable. It’s designed with two USB ports, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and also a button for Wi-Fi Protected Setup.

Features

D-Link DIR-890L/R is a tri-band router that offers not two, but three access points. It has two 5GHz bands and a single 2.4GHz brand. The two 5GHz bands can reach 1,300 Mb/s at once, and the 2 GHz one can go up to 600 Mb/s. You can use the bands separately or at once for a whopping 3,200 Mb/s of connectivity. Keep in mind though that this router lacks modern features like MU-MIMO tech.

This router comes with beam forming tech, which means that the router can automatically detect where a certain device is located and concentrate the network towards it. It also has Smart Connect, which means all three networks can connect under one SSID. This simplifies the connection process for homes. This router comes with a number of security features as well, such as website filtering and parental controls.

Performance

This router offers three separate networks, but that doesn’t mean the router is thrice as fast as dual-band ones. It simply means you get three connections. Performance wise, this router’s tests shows that speeds are rather standard. It can reach a signal around 98MB/s when located about 15 feet from the device. At about 30 feet, connection strength is about 78MB/s.

These connections are decent, but not impressive. This router performs decently for file transfer connections as well. At about 30 feet, It can transfer a 2GB file in about 3 minutes. Once again, not impressive, but not awful either.

Setup and Installation

This router is very easy to set up. You only have to plug it in to the computer, type in the default IP address, and then follow the steps provided by the setup wizard. It’s rather simple to follow and requires no technical knowledge.

Pros
  • Offer three separate connections
  • Can connect up to 15 devices
  • Suitable for large homes
  • Has beam forming and Smart Connect tech
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Large and bulky
  • Some new tech is not available
  • Speeds are mid-range

Conclusion

The D-Link DIR-890L/R was the hottest router when it was first released two years ago. Now, some of the tech is bit outdated. However, it still offers excellent performance and features given the price. If you want a decent router for a number of connected devices at a budget price, then this would be a great purchase.

Sale
D-Link AC3200 Ultra Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router With 6 High Performance Beamforming Antennas (DIR-890L/R)
2357 Reviews
D-Link AC3200 Ultra Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router With 6 High Performance Beamforming Antennas (DIR-890L/R)
  • Ultimate Wi-Fi performance with AC3200 Tri-Band speeds (1 x 600 Mbps in 2.4GHz + 2 x 1300 Mbps in 5GHz) to support more connected Wi-Fi devices to your high speed home network
  • Enjoy 4K/HD video and online gaming simultaneously with 3 x 3 data streams and 6 high-performance antennas
  • The 1GHz Dual Core processor gives you powerful wired and wireless speeds
  • Advanced SmartConnect allocates the best possible band for maximal Wi-Fi performance.Wi-Fi Coverage-Large Home,Compatibility: Works with existing and future Wi-Fi devices
  • Advanced AC SmartBeam tracks your connected devices for enhanced Wi-Fi speed and range throughout your home

NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000- AC1900 Dual-Band Router

Netgear Nighthawk R7000- AC 1900 is well known as a budget router that actually comes with top-end features. It costs a lot less than routers with similar features, but performs as well as the higher priced models.

Important note: The Nighthawk R7000 routers were known to have a serious security vulnerability, but last year Netgear issued a security update to the devices. The patch can be manually installed from the official Netgear website. If you purchase your router, ask the seller if the patch is already installed.

Design

Looks wise, the Nighthawk R7000 is rather standard. It has an angular square shape and the exterior is all black. The router has three antennas that can be unscrewed and removed if needed. You can adjust the antennas to get the best signal too. The router can be wall mounted. It has an in-wall AC adapter, which is rather large at 1.5×2.8 x 1.1 inches.

The router has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports in the back.There are close to a dozen status LED bulbs on the front of the router. It’s easy to check if the router is connected or if the ports are connected by looking at the bulbs. There is no physical button to turn off the lights however. There are physical buttons available to turn on power, rest router, and disable Wi-Fi.

Features

This router is dual band, but it’s 3×3 dual-band, which is kind of similar to tri-band. It has two 2.4 and 5 GHz ports one of each. Both ports can reach a bandwidth of 1.9 Gbps theoretically. The biggest feature this router offers is the Genie software that is compatible with PCs, Macs, and Android and iOS devices. Genie is basically a monitoring program for the router.

You can do things like check how many devices are connected, which bands are active, check guest networks, and enable parental controls using the software. With the apps for handheld devices, you can always watch what the router is doing, which is a major perk. It has to be noted that this router doesn’t come with virus scanning software, doesn’t have online storage, and doesn’t allow emergency Internet access.

Performance

Performance wise, this router really delivers for the money spent. It can manage three independent data connections. In real world testing, this router could manage bandwidths up to 445Mbps at 5 feet. It’s less than what a tri-band router can do, but is on par with other dual band routers. The router’s 5 GHz port can reach up to 353.8 Mbps at 5 feet. The 2.4 GHz port can reach up to 91 Mbps of bandwidth. These are not bad considering that this is a budget dual-band router.

Setup and Installation

Setup is easy enough, but you will have to download the setup program from the Netgear website, which can be a pain. Once the download is complete, the router can be connected in about 5 minutes. The download will get the brand’s intuitive software that makes setting up the router a breeze.

Pros
  • Antennas are removable
  • Highly affordable
  • Comes with Genie software
Cons
  • Larger than average in-wall AC adapter
  • Doesn’t come with installation software

Conclusion

Netgear Nighthawk R7000- AC 1900 is an excellent affordable dual-band router. It’s not as speedy as a tri-band router, but for the price it offers wonderful performance. You can expect debt speeds at all times. The software it comes with is very convenient too.

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (R7000) with Open Source Support | Circle with Disney Smart Parental Controls | Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa
18012 Reviews
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (R7000) with Open Source Support | Circle with Disney Smart Parental Controls | Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa
  • Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa/Google Assistant - Control your home network using voice commands
  • Circle Smart Parental Controls - Limit daily internet time for websites, apps, and more
  • AC1900 WiFi-600+1300 Mbps speeds
  • 1GHz Dual Core Processor and AC1900 Wi-Fi: 600+1300 Mbps Speed
  • Dynamic QoS prioritizes bandwidth by application and device for the best gaming and streaming experience

Netgear Nighthawk R8000 X6

Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 has made headlines for several reasons. It’s one of the more expensive routers around, but comes packed with features that more than justify the cost. The most notable feature of this router is that it comes with six antennas that give this router quite incredible range.
Considering the price, this router may not be for everyone. However, if you are a heavy user of wireless data, then you should definitely consider buying this Nighthawk.

Design

The Nighthawk X6 AC3200 has an all black exterior, which aptly suits the name. It looks quite stunning largely thanks to the evenly designed grill. Size wise, this router has dimensions of 11.5×8.8 x2.2 inches, which makes it one of the largest routers currently available.

This router has to be set up horizontally. You can wall mount it too.
Of course, the famous 6 adjustable antennas of the router are all rectangular and each has beam forming tech. The tech can conform to the signal strength of each antenna.

The body of the router has some dozen LED lights to indicate pretty much all the status it’s capable of. Expect at times for the router flash like a Christmas tree. For those who need it, there is a physical switch to turn the lights off.

Features

This router has really versatile firmware. You can set it up as an access point, enter IPV6 connection, or even a Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU). It’s also highly customizable if you are tech savvy enough to manually configure it. The router has three operational channels: two 5 GHz and one 2.4 GHz. Each channel can be set up to have unique network names, max speeds, and security settings.

This router connects with a variety of devices including computers, printers, handheld devices, internet radio, and gaming consoles. The router has a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) protocol mode, which eliminates having to enter the password manually each time.

The router has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports. When a device remotely accesses the router, it will create custom URLs for the devices. The router comes preinstalled with security software.

Performance

The Nighthawk X6 AC3200 is a tri-band router where you can adjust speed for each band. So that means you can reach as many speeds as you like for both old and new devices alike. This adjustable mode keeps older, slower devices from slowing down new ones.

The theoretical max bandwidth for this router is 3.2 Gbps. In real world testing, all channels can reach up to 702.4 Mbps at 5 feet. Though these speeds are decent, it’s disappointing for a tri-band router.

Setup and Installation

This router comes with Netgear Genie software, which makes setup super easy and pain-free. When the router is plugged in, the Genie software wizard will pop up to walk the user through the installation process. It’s really a no-brainer.

Pros
  • 6 adjustable and replaceable antennas
  • Comes with Genie software
  • Great range
  • Many options for customizing
  • Works with a range of devices
Cons
  • Disappointing speed for a tri-band router
  • Large
  • Expensive

Conclusion

The Nighthawk X6 AC3200 may be expensive, but the features are worth every penny. For a tri-band router, it could be faster. However, there are other features that make up for rather decent, not impressive, speeds. This router comes with 6 antennas that can be adjusted and replaced. Overall, this router offers a lot of options for customization and is also surprisingly versatile.

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Gigabit WiFi Router (R8000) Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa
18012 Reviews
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Gigabit WiFi Router (R8000) Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa
  • Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa. Circle with Disney Smart Parental Controls - Manage your family's access to the internet by device, app, or website
  • 3.2Gbps - The fastest combined Wi-Fi speed for uninterrupted streaming
  • Tri-Band Wi-Fi delivers more Wi-Fi to more devices, Six high performance antennas and powerful amplifiers deliver maximum range throughout your home
  • 1GHz dual core processor with three offload processors to boost performance, Smart Connect intelligently selects best Wi-Fi for every device
  • Implicit & explicit beamforming+ delivers stronger connections for all your mobile devices, USB 3.0 port delivers high-speed storage access

How to Pick the Best Wireless Router for Your Needs

Before you make your purchase, carefully assess all the products mentioned above. Weigh in all the pros and the cons listed before you make your choice. Not all products listed above will fit your needs. So it’s up to you to make the decision bases on your budget.

Generally speaking, when buying a router with any type of budget, you should first consider the router’s coverage range. For indoor use, it’s highly recommended to buy a router with a range of at least 150 feet. If you live in a large house, the range will have to extend depending on how big the rooms are.

Don’t buy a router that is not dualband broadband. The product will simply not be worth it in the modern era. Also, the router should support IPv6. A good router will be able to broadcast 802.11n along with older versions. Routers with external antennas are highly recommended.

Don’t forget security aspects either. A good router would be at least WAP2 secured. Some may offer additional security perks depending on the brand. Do pay attention to inputs available too. A modern router should have USB input, and wired ports are necessary too.

Once you have paid attention to all of the above, you will be able to make a sound purchase that you won’t regret later.

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