Best Wi-Fi Routers 2015

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. The average home has more than eight connected devices, market research firm IDC says. 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, the latest 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 Asus RT-AC68U ($171) is the best overall choice — and the best if you stream a lot of movies and music — thanks to its pace-setting throughput. But if you're on a budget, you should also consider Netgear's R6220 ($60), which offers welcome features like parental controls alongside solid performance in a reasonably priced router.

Our list of top picks includes recommendations for gamers and those who need maximum range for large homes. 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.

How We Evaluated

We tested all routers in our office using IxChariot to measure throughput at distances from 5 feet to 140 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.

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  • Can you say when you will be updating this article with the newer AC3200 routers that have been recently released by ASUS and Linksys?
  • This was published in 2014. Unless the title was updated, it's a bit disingenuous.
  • I'd like to know how these routers compare to an Apple Airport Extreme AC. Near the same price point as the ASUS and Linksys but can also use a USB hard drive for Time Machine backups of home Macs. But what about performance?
  • Still very helpful ! thanks !
  • Wait yes, what about performance?
  • I am DESPARATE for a router that can accommodate the fine-grained parental control needed to handle two kids with access to around seven devices between them. It has to be easy enough for my wife to use when I'm away (I write software), but advanced enough for me to dig into the configuration details. I can't afford to wait for the Luma guys to get their act together - I need this NOW. Any suggestions?
  • billhorvath said:
    I am DESPARATE for a router that can accommodate the fine-grained parental control needed to handle two kids with access to around seven devices between them. ... I need this NOW. Any suggestions?

    To BILLHORVATH. You may want to check the Synology RT1900ac. I read that it has good parental controls and an easy (and sophisticated) user interface. On the Synology website its says the router is available in many regions but it will only be available early 2016 in North America.

    Quoting Gizmodo Australia "Synology’s RT1900ac router lets you organise just about every aspect of your home’s wired or Wi-Fi network, down to specific devices, specific Web addresses and specific speeds. If you want to make sure your Xbox or Playstation is getting a straight pipe to the ‘net, or if you want to stop your kids from looking at Facebook on their laptops after 10PM, this is the device you need in the middle of your house."