Best Wi-Fi Routers 2017

Product Use case Rating
Linksys WRT1900ACS Best Overall 9
Netgear R6220 Best Under $100 8
Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena Best for Gaming 7
Netgear Orbi Best Mesh Router System 8
Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 Best for Power Users 9
AmpliFi HD Best for a Large Home 8

There's a traffic jam in your home, with a wide array of connected devices — from smartphones and tablets to laptops and media streamers — competing for a share of your wireless network. According to market research firm IDC, the average home has more than eight connected devices.

Routers that support the latest wireless standard, called 802.11ac, help alleviate those issues by providing more than four times the throughput of 802.11n hardware. Plus, by using a more efficient process, newer routers can help save battery life on your mobile devices. But not all 802.11ac routers are created equal.

Based on our in-depth testing and reviews of more than 15 routers, the Linksys WRT1900ACS ($180) is the best overall choice, thanks to its high throughput and extensive monitoring tools. If you're on a budget, you should also consider Netgear's R6220 ($80), which offers welcome features like parental controls alongside solid performance in a reasonably priced router. And gamers will appreciate the ability to customize the Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena router ($160).

A new type of router uses mesh networking, in which a router uses relay points to extend a wireless network throughout your home. The Netgear Orbi ($400) is currently our favorite mesh-router system, although rival mesh systems, including the Eero, the Amped Wireless Ally Plus and Google Wifi have their merits. If you need to fill a large home with Wi-Fi, we recommend the $350 AmpliFi HD.


*The AmpliFi and Netgear Orbi routers were tested at 150 feet.

If there's a router you'd like us to review or if you have any questions about what to buy, drop us a note in the comments. You may also want to check out our recommendations of cable modems and Wi-Fi extenders.

How We Evaluated

We tested all routers in our office using IxChariot to measure throughput at distances from 5 feet to 140 feet. (In some tests, the latter distance was 150 feet.) We then measured real-world performance in an older house with thick walls, to test both range and how they handle simultaneous streams from multiple devices. Other factors used in evaluating the routers include ease of setup and use, software features and available ports.

Here are our top Wi-Fi router picks across several categories.

Related Buying Guides:
Best Modems
Best Wi-Fi Extenders
Best Wireless Printers


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19 comments
    Your comment
  • seoguy
    0
  • Naveen_8
    ASUS RT-AC68U was launched in 2012-2013, i am looking to buy a new router, should i buy this one or wait as refreshing of the model may be due?
    0
  • hmazuji
    i am using an upvel that i am happy with
    0
  • sandyray0521
    My house is an apple house for the most part. iPhone, iPads, Apple TV, iMacs, MacBook Pro lap top. Any comment or advise about using Airport Extreme for my router?
    -1
  • LA_Pasten
    Could you do a review of the Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900? Would be much appreciated.

    ps Thanks for the article and all the info!
    0
  • Jade_8
    You're reviewing WRT1900ACS, but you link to the WRT1900AC, which is about $200, not $124
    1
  • Jade_8
    That didn't sound right, too bad no edit option. WRT1900ACS: you're linking to an older model, WRT1900AC. the newer model you are reviewing is more expensive.
    0
  • Agusdrink7
    I am looking for an ac router, for a 3 story old house. What would be the best solution for 200 MBps. Initially looking to netgear nighthawk 1900, linksys ac1900 or even the amplifi hd long range thanks a lot
    0
  • Oldnuke69
    Since many relatively new PCs still have only 802.11n capability, could you please include the results for that standard in your reviews? Thanks.
    0
  • aussie43
    Speed is not the only consideration for a wifi router. Signal strength, i.e. distance the signal will cover reliably, is also important. It would be good to know how the routers compare in that department.
    0
  • LakeMechanic
    I was looking for the "Best in a congested environment" This holiday season apparently saw a number of my neighbors get Wi-Fi toys & my Wi-Fi performance went way way south. WirelessNetView shows 56 routers on the 2.4GHz band & my Wi-Fi cell phone can't make calls & keeps timing out trying to reach web sites...
    0
  • mtrap
    The netgear nighthawk picture is an ASUS 1900...
    0
  • dinkumdave
    Love you to check the Netgear X10, and also the Ubiquity USG Edgerouter with UAP AP Pro's - just for what I suspect will be an unfair comparison
    0
  • Paul Wagenseil
    Anonymous said:
    My house is an apple house for the most part. iPhone, iPads, Apple TV, iMacs, MacBook Pro lap top. Any comment or advise about using Airport Extreme for my router?


    I have one and I love it, but there are rumors that Apple will stop making them soon. They do still get updates, though.
    0
  • Paul Wagenseil
    Anonymous said:
    The netgear nighthawk picture is an ASUS 1900...


    So it is! Thanks. Fixing that.
    0
  • Paul Wagenseil
    Anonymous said:
    Love you to check the Netgear X10, and also the Ubiquity USG Edgerouter with UAP AP Pro's - just for what I suspect will be an unfair comparison


    The X10 is on the list. We'll have that review soon.
    0
  • Paul Wagenseil
    Anonymous said:
    I was looking for the "Best in a congested environment" This holiday season apparently saw a number of my neighbors get Wi-Fi toys & my Wi-Fi performance went way way south. WirelessNetView shows 56 routers on the 2.4GHz band & my Wi-Fi cell phone can't make calls & keeps timing out trying to reach web sites...


    Does your router create a 5 GHz network? That band is usually less congested. Can your Wi-Fi phone handle 5 GHz?
    0
  • Paul Wagenseil
    Anonymous said:
    That didn't sound right, too bad no edit option. WRT1900ACS: you're linking to an older model, WRT1900AC. the newer model you are reviewing is more expensive.


    Thanks. I suspect that's because our "smart" shopping tool is being dumb again. I'll fix it.
    0
  • Antonio_48
    Linksys wrt 1900 was out in 2014 how could it be top pick in 2017
    0