Whether you’re dealing with slow speeds or WiFi dead zones, a new router can improve your internet experience. Reviews.com spoke with networking experts and WiFi geeks to get to the root of what matters.Their top picks come with the latest protocols and recommended frequencies, have been independently tested for speed and range, and boast a great track record with consumers.
A lot of things factor into your home network performance: the speeds in your internet plan, your home’s layout, the number of devices connected and the way they’re being used, and regional internet traffic. Routers range from budget $20 picks to $400 powerhouses. While top-of-the-line is always appealing, an expensive router is overkill for the majority of users and you may not need the features that make it worth that price tag. We found routers with the latest protocols and recommended frequencies, verified independent testing, and a great track record for working for the majority people.
Best for Budget
If you’re just looking to optimize your internet speed, but aren’t interested in messing around with features, the TP-LINK – Archer C7 AC1750, delivers solid performance at an affordable price ($90). The Archer is speedier than others in its price range, and if you don’t need anything morethanquicker internet, this router should solve your connectivity issues and save you money. Unlike most rented routers, the Archer C7 has two frequency bands so you can hop onto a less crowded channel and get an instant speed boost. However, the Archer will struggle with 10+ devices connected and can’t direct signal to specific devices, so households with several people actively using the internet will want to consider a step up.
Best for High Traffic
If you have a large and/or multi-story home with and are looking to support several devices across a larger space, they recommend the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 ($180). It’s designed to host a larger number of devices while maintaining high speeds — perfect for the family with more than a few connected gadgets. If you’re interested in toggling more advanced features, like beamforming (directingsignal to devices) and Quality of Service (designating priority to specific apps), the Nighthawk comes with a Genie app for accessible customization. This router also comes with a separate Disney-sponsored app for Parental Controls, making it easy to set boundaries on surfing during homework time and late night sneaky streaming.
Best for Large Homes
If a powerful router just isn’t covering dead spots in your sprawling home, a mesh system may be for you. It’s basically a fleet of mini routers that ping internet signals and data packages around your home for more blanket coverage. The Google Wifi AC1200 System ($274) is our favorite as it’s more affordable and accessible than others on the market. Google WiFi’s interface offers modified advanced features, like Parental Controls and Quality of Service,thatare easy for beginners to utilize. On the other hand, that can be limiting if you’re used to taking advantage of advanced tinkering.
Best for Gamers
For those looking to hack their routers to host a VPN (virtual private network – a layer of privacy to prevent your data being sold to advertisers) or enable MU-MIMO (to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously), the Asus AC88U ($270) is a powerhouse. It has a built-in game accelerator that will prioritize data from online games to prevent any lag or buffering. It has 8 ports, ideal for connecting printers, home automation, or external storage devices. It’s overkill for the average user, especially if you aren’t willing to fiddle with the features, but if you need internet connection with no lag and you like to control your network, this is your mothership.
Click here for their full guide to wireless routers.
Great Lakes Computer can optimize your business network.
While keeping your home network running smoothly is a crowd pleaser, keeping your business network running is great for your bottom line. Your office network needs to perform at its highest ability. We offer an agentless network assessment that ensures your systems are running at peak performance. You will also gain peace of mind that your IT Service and Network Service providers are doing what you are paying them to do.