The built-in answering machine stores voice messages and sends them to you by email, giving you the opportunity to call back if necessary. Other features Intuitive user interface for router management via web browser, with responsive design optimized for smartphones and tablets Free updates for security and additional functionality (via download or auto-update).
We've spent more than 60 hours testing dozens of routers to help you skip the confusion and find the right Wi-Fi solution for your home. Using your own router and ditching the gear offered by your internet service provider can also save you $10-$15 every month, as well as delivering a better Wi-Fi experience.
ISPs are often slow to update their existing hardware, and a new router will often pay for itself in savings within a year. Picking one of the best Wi-Fi routers listed below puts the power back in your hands, often at a price that can be recouped within the year simply by lowering your monthly bill.
The newer wireless standard offers the best throughput we've ever seen, and will easily handle a whole house full of connected devices. It offers excellent performance that blankets a whole house in signal, and it features a built-in Google Home smart speaker for intuitive voice control.
Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/Yes | Ports: 1 WAN/5 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3.0 | Peak Throughput: 1.389 GPS | Size: 12.0 × 8.0 × 6.3 inches With the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) Wi-Fi 6 router, top performance and enhanced security go hand in hand, combining throughput that smashes through the gigabit per second barrier with malware protection and Disney’s Circle app for blocking inappropriate content and managing family network use.
And with excellent performance through walls and floors, the Nighthawk AX8 will work just as well in the real world as in the lab. By almost any measure, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) is the Wi-Fi-6 router to get if you don’t want to compromise on speed and safety.
There are several mesh Wi-Fi solutions on the market, and while they'll all cover your home in wireless signal, our favorite has to be the Nest Wi-Fi. Made by Google, the Nest Wi-Fi is small enough to hide out of sight and stylish enough that you won't need to.
Each mesh extension of the Nest Wi-Fi system has a Google Home smart speaker built in, giving you one of the best voice assistants throughout the house, along with powerful wireless signal. The speedy Nest Wi-Fi also delivers one of the easiest setup processes we've ever used, making it a snap to set up extensions around the house.
It might be priced like a high-performance or gaming router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (RS400) delivers in a different (and perhaps more important) area: Cybersecurity. The RS400 is built to safeguard your entire connected home, from your laptops and phones to a whole range of smart devices, from TVs to ovens, thermostats and doorbell cameras.
With so many devices on today's home network, you have to be more vigilant, as a single poorly secured gadget can open you up to hackers and malware. The RS400 keeps your whole home safe, and is easy to set up and manage, too, making it our favorite cybersecurity router.
Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 3/No | Ports: Four 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 647.4 Mbps | Size: 1.3 × 9.6 × 6.4 inches It may not be loaded with customization tools, but it offers parental control and Quality of Service (Los) software that ensures better than average performance.
Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No | Ports: 1 WAN, 8 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 859.5 Mbps | Size: 11.2 × 11.2 × 7.6 inches The spider-like 8-antenna design and red-on-black color scheme are sure to turn heads, but the real selling point is the collection of optimization and security features that will satisfy any power user.
When it comes to choosing the best Wi-Fi router, it's easy to get lost in the complexity of networking jargon and obscure technology standards. With average broadband speeds sitting right around 100 Mbps, most wireless AC routers will be able to handle the job with ease.
The latest technology for routers is called Wi-Fi 6, which is a newer, faster standard that's better suited to the many devices found in homes today. A basic standalone router will generally offer 50 to 100 feet of range, ably covering the majority of apartments and small homes.
If you have a house of 3,000 square feet or more, however, you will want to consider a mesh router, which uses multiple devices to provide Wi-Fi signal throughout a larger home. More expensive models range up to $300, but will offer wide coverage and faster speeds, while gaming-oriented routers with built-in optimization features will often sell for more.
Or get the latest advice on how to fix your router's security problems, from simple steps to advanced protections. From router security to in-depth explanations of Wi-Fi 6 and the new Wi-Fi 6e, we're always providing the latest info about the newest products and innovations.
We also test performance through walls and ceilings, to determine how well a router can provide signal in the WiFi-dampening conditions common to many buildings and homes. We also test to see how consistently a pair of mesh units will cover a large area, taking dozens of measurements throughout our lab space and producing detailed heat maps of signal strength and quality.
Your wireless router is responsible for handling all the data that flows into and out of your home through your internet service provider. “If I’m paying for a 200-megabit internet connection, can I actually get data that fast with my wireless router ?” says Richard Disco, who oversees electronics testing at CR.
Mesh Wi-Fi routers feature one unit that plugs into the modem, plus a few satellites that can be stationed throughout your home. Netgear Nighthawk AX1800 (3-Pack) A newer addition to our ratings, this mesh router is a good choice for consumers who have very demanding needs, such as providing enough throughput to support multiple high-resolution video streams, and at different locations, throughout your home.
This is among the very best -performing routers in our ratings, and includes support for Wi-Fi 6, automatic firmware updates, and four built-in Ethernet ports to directly plug in nearby devices such as printers or game consoles. TP Link Deck Whole Home This TP-Link model is a CR Best Buy, which means it not only scores well in our tests but also is quite affordable compared with other options in this category.
Our testers note that you’ll have to manually update the firmware; a number of routers can now do this automatically, helping ensure that you always have the latest security improvements. The Hero Home provides strong speeds even at long distances, offers easy, app-based setup, and has a couple of built-in Ethernet ports for connecting nearby devices.
On paper the Pro model should perform even better (in part thanks to its support of a third frequency band), but this might not be worth the extra money for most folks. The newest models are more expensive ($270 vs. $250 for the entry-level, and $600 vs. $500 for the Pro), but the newer ones might be easier to find as the new year approaches.
Either generation will provide a solid, stable Wi-Fi connection, and there are clear advantages to routers that support the newer standard. It delivers strong performance at a range of distances, has two built-in USB ports so that you can plug in and share peripherals like printers, and supports easy setup using a mobile app.
This model is also compatible with an Asus technology called Animesh, which lets you use additional satellite units (sold separately) to create a mesh Wi-Fi network if you want to expand the range of your Wi-Fi network down the line. Good internet access is important for a lot of people these days.
Especially for those who enjoy online gaming, you will find superior internet performance by connecting your modem directly to your computer or console. You see, there are two types of hardware that bring internet connectivity to your home: modems and routers.
As you can see, wireless routers are very important for opening up your home to its full online potential. Eero takes the old notions of what a wireless router is supposed to be and turns it on its head, dramatically improving Wi-Fi signals in your home in the process.
Wireless internet signals are not very good at passing through walls or climbing stairs. If you’re looking for a basic router that does what it's meant to do without all the bells and whistles, then you’ll love the Security Almond.
A lot or routers require you to install new software onto your computer, and it can all boil down to a major hassle in the end. Security does away with all of that with a touchscreen display that allows you to install the system in as little as three minutes, without having to set up on your PC or Mac.
While this router is easy to set up and very affordable, it only transmits at 300 Mbps, which may not be sufficient if you’re streaming multiple movies at a time or playing online video games. The C7 is a pretty cool looking router, and it features three antennas for better signal reception.
For example, TP-Link has made it easy to control the bandwidth used by individual devices connected to the router. For example, if your student is using the internet to do research for a history essay, they’re not going to be using a lot of data.
TP-Link gives you unprecedented access to your internet protocols (IP) so that you can dictate how much bandwidth is directed to each device. Four Gigabit Ethernet cables and two USB ports make it easier to keep everyone connected and to share data.
One of the things that sets Netgear apart from other wireless routers is there intuitive, user-friendly Genie App. Not only does it make installation super easy, you can also use it to monitor and control your router and internet access.
For example, you can enable parental controls that block harmful or inappropriate IPs, so your children can’t access questionable content. It also provides secure guest access for your friends, so you don’t have to give out your password.
However, we didn’t really notice any difference in performance between this and the C7, so if you’re on a budget, it’s hard to recommend this router over it. It’s a small white cube with a round, digital face on one side.
The Amplify works on the same principle as the hero we reviewed for the Editor’s Pick. The LCD touchscreen allows you to monitor and control the bandwidth of your dual receivers simply and easily.
It only has one USB port, which is pretty disappointing because with the wireless speeds it could have doubled as an NAS very well. I prefer old school computer software, and not having an option for that holds this back from being the perfect router.
The Google Wi-Fi System again bucks the cosmetic trends established in the world of wireless routers. Instead of a cube like the Amplify, Google opted for a more rounded, spherical design that also resembles the work of Apple.
Like the Amplify and hero, these mesh routers work together to spread Wi-Fi around the home. However, the speeds provided are much slower than the Amplify, and in fact aren’t even as fast as the C7.
Google offers two bands of connection, but they only combine for 1200 GPS, which doesn’t seem very fast for the price of the router. We went ahead and tested them in a large home with two floors, and they covered the area better than a traditional router is generally capable of doing.
But for an apartment, condominium or smaller home, there really isn’t a big advantage to using this router because of the price. It uses six different antennas for superior beam forming and performance, helping bring your wireless signal across the home.
The Nighthawk X6 is another sexy, powerful router that offers incredible speeds and range. As the name indicates, the Nighthawk features six beam forming antennas that offer amazing speeds, reliability, and connection throughout the home.
Like the last router, the Nighthawk X6 combines or 3.2 GPS of blinding fast Wi-Fi internet, taking your gaming to the next level or allowing for simultaneous movie streams with minimal buffering. Like other high-end routers, it features Smart Connecting software that automatically pairs you with the best band for your internet activities.
What that means is that this router can process a lot of data, which leads to unequaled internet performance in the home. In addition to app support, the router also comes with a CD for computer installation, something I definitely appreciated.
With the Orbit Home Wi-Fi (produced by Netgear), we return to the world of mesh routers and range extenders. As we’ve come to expect with this new wireless technology, they offer a new, modern aesthetic that helps the satellite to blend in with its surroundings.
Packed inside that cylindrical body is a tribal wireless system beaming at up to 3 GPS! Intuitive apps make installation easy, and the satellite can be conveniently placed anywhere in the house, transforming even the hardest-to-reach areas into Wi-Fi hotspots.
I know that looks aren’t everything where wireless routers are concerned, but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed at the appearance of the Nighthawk X10. Smart technology balances out your Wi-Fi connections, ensuring everyone has the optimal band for their usage.
ALEX makes it easy to organize all your media collections, allowing you to share all your music and movies across your home network. And the router is tied into Amazon Cloud, giving you plenty of virtual storage for all your files.
If you’re looking for the best Wi-Fi router for 4K streaming and gaming, or for multitasking a lot of demanding processes, this is hands-down the best router on the market. If you’re looking for the best overall internet coverage, you’re best bet is to go with hero or one of the other mesh Wi-Fi providers such as Amplify.