Best Wi-Fi Routers 2018

Product Use case Rating
TP-Link Archer C2300 Best Overall 4.5
Netgear R6220 Best Value 4
Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro Gaming Router Best for Gaming 4.5
Netgear Orbi Best Mesh Router System 4
Linksys EA8300 Max Stream Best for Power Users 4
AmpliFi HD Best for a Large Home 4

Based on our in-depth testing and reviews of more than 15 routers, the TP-Link Archer C2300 ($145) is the best overall choice, thanks to its category-leading throughput and extensive feature set. 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.

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. Make sure your home network can handle today's networking needs by getting up to speed on the latest wireless routers.

Latest News and Updates (September 2018)

  • TP-Link has joined the game! The company’s first gaming router, the TP-Link Archer C5400X, is a tri-band powerhouse with 8 positionable antennas and a massive 5400 Mbps of throughput. Throw in a a 1.8-GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU helped by three co-processors and 1 GB RAM, along with 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and it’s clear the TP-Link is playing to win.
  • Netgear brings Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to your mesh routers with the new Orbi Voice, which combines an Orbi mesh satellite with Alexa technology and room-filling Harman-Kardon sound, letting you control your router and smart home with your voice. The Orbi Voice features the same tri-band Wi-Fi and Fastlane3 technology that makes the Orbi our top pick for mesh systems. Hitting stores this October, the Orbi Voice will sell as either a standalone unit to add to an Orbi Mesh network ($299.99) or included in a bundle package with the Orbi Tri-Band WiFi Router ($429.99).
  • TP-Link has announced the Archer C2700, it's new lightining fast router that features an Intel Home Wi-Fi chipset and AC2600 dual-band Wi-Fi. TP-Link is packing in the features, with MU-MIMO, Airtime Fairness, Beam-Forming, L2TP VPN, Band Steering and Link Aggregation, as well as compatibility with Alexa and IFTTT for all your smart home needs. The TP-Link Archer C2700 will be available later this year for $169.99.

Types of Routers: Standalone and Mesh

Routers that support the latest wireless standard, called 802.11ac, help alleviate traffic 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.

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.

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 Much Do Routers Cost?

Current 802.11ac routers often sell for under $100 for basic, dual-band models. Many models will sell for more, but deliver better coverage, and range up to $300. You can also buy mesh routers for whole-house coverage, security routers that protect your network, and gaming routers that deliver performance optimized for online gaming, but all of these options come at a premium.

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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  • Mark Spoonauer
  • frawenz
    I am not sure at all what to buy for a 3,800 sqft really old home with plaster in the walls. We will be renting three guest rooms that will all need access to good wifi and a separate password. I need very fast (preferably wired) and reliable internet for work that doesn't slow down when guests use the internet. I would really appreciate a recommendation with approx. pricing. However, a good system is a higher priority to price.
  • avtella
    The Qualcomm CPU/WiFi chipset based Netgear R7800 has the best 5Ghz range/performance of any consumer router I have tested (am a beta tester) and a pretty good 2.4Ghz performance as well. Better than any on that list to be honest. If you want in depth reviews look at small netbuilder and CNET has some simpler reviews too but the R7800 in pretty much most sites, tops other routers in 5GHz performance and range. VPN performance is also better than the Linksys units as it has more powerful/newer gen CPU. Also its the only one with a properly working MU-MIMO implementation. The R7800 actually is more powerful CPU and WiFi chipset wise than the R8500, only advantage the R8500 has is the extra 5Ghz band which I don't think will help you that much and will definitely not increase range by any means. The Synology RT2600AC also uses the same hardware as the R7800 and is also a good alternative.

    Broadcom based routers from Netgear/Linksys (Marvell based units as well)/Asus can cause performance degradation with MU enabled, as Broadcom's implementation sucks. The Asus 86U is also close to the R7800 WiFi wise but its Broadcom based, though using an improved WIFi chip compared to older Broadcom units. FYI compared to the 88U (similar to R8500) the 86U is actually more powerful and using newer gen hardware, only reason the 88U is higher priced is due to extra lan ports.
  • frawenz
    Thank you avtella, really appreciate it!!!
  • robo21
    I would avoid Netgear like the plague, I have had the worst support experiences with them. 90 days tech support, lousy warranty and their technical support staff lies trying to sell extended support packages. They actually told me that I needed to upgrade my Internet Service File for $99.95. What a crock!
  • r.s.lynn
    I want to buy a new wifi router that has the functionality to allow geographically distant family to download selected photos and videos from a USB-attached external hard drive. It would be convenient for me to know which wifi routers have US-based tech support. ASUS does not have, at least not at level 1, native English speakers, and the ones I spoke with had poor English skills.
  • dnrcohen
    I have a backhouse that is about 75 feet away from the main house. We will be connecting a desktop (in the backhouse) , a laptop and a phone line (although none will probably be used at the same time. Which router would you recommend. Thanks!!