Best Wi-Fi routers for 2024 tested and rated

If you’re fed up with that old router from your ISP or just want more control over your home network while taking full advantage of the internet speeds you pay for each month, these are the best Wi-Fi routers you can get today. 

In order to determine which Wi-Fi routers are truly the best, we put them through extensive real-world testing, though we use networking benchmark software like Keysight IxChariot and iPerf3 too. We test each of the Wi-Fi routers we review at 15, 50, 75 and 100 feet to measure their range and throughput. Additionally, we see how well each Wi-Fi router performs when it comes to pushing data through walls and ceilings. The Wi-Fi 7-powered Asus RT-BE96U is currently our top pick overall while the TP-Link Archer AX55 at just over $100 is great choice for those on a tight budget.

To make your upgrade easier, we’ve rounded up all kinds of different routers to fit your needs. Whether you want a cutting edge router with Wi-Fi 7 or a more modest yet still significant upgrade with a Wi-Fi 6E router, there’s something here for every budget. Likewise, besides traditional Wi-Fi routers, we’ve also showcased several of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems which give you whole-home Wi-Fi without the need for a Wi-Fi extender.

The quick list

The best Wi-Fi routers you can buy today

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Best Wi-Fi router overall

The best Wi-Fi router overall

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 7/Tri-band
Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No
Ports: 1 10GPS/ 1 gigabit WAN, 1 10Gbps, 3 gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.0
Peak Throughput: 1.948Gbps
Size: 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.0 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent range
+
Top throughput
+
Built-in security software
+
Can act as a VPN server or client

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky and expensive

The Asus RT-BE96U is a blazing fast Wi-Fi 7 router that checks all the boxes, though it is on the expensive side at $699. For the price though, you're getting a tri-band router with built-in security software and excellent range. The Asus RT-BE96U has eight antennas at the top which can be rotated or angled for a better signal. The device itself sports a sleek, all-black design with a subtle "7" on the top to let you know this is a Wi-Fi 7 router after all.

One reason you might consider spending a bit more on the Asus RT-BE96U is for its excellent speeds. During our testing, this router delivered 1.948 Gbps at 15 feet and it was able to hold a connection even when our test laptop was 105 feet away. There are plenty of ports at the back including several multi-gig ones. With the Asus RT-BE96U, you get a 10 Gbps and a gigabit WAN, a 10 Gbps LAN and three gigabit Ethernet ports plus two USB 3.0 ports for moving data across your network from a flash drive or external hard drive. If you have a need for speed and want a reliable router you can use for years to come, the Asus RT-BE96U is currently your best option.

Read our full Asus RT-BE96U review.

Best budget Wi-Fi router

The best budget Wi-Fi router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6 (AX3000)
Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No
Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN gigabit per second
Peak Throughput: 823.7Mbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 10.2 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent range
+
2-year warranty
+
Lots of setup options
+
Small and easy to hide

Reasons to avoid

-
Security software costs extra
-
Disappointing mid-range speeds

The TP-Link Archer AX55 is a Wi-Fi 6 bargain with a list price of just $130. However, you can often find it on sale for just over $100. For the price, you're getting a small and easy to hide Wi-Fi 6 router with excellent range, lots of setup options and a 2-year warranty. The TP-Link Archer AX55 is a dual-band router with four antennas that can also be repositioned for a better signal.

During our testing, the TP-Link Archer AX55 was able to reach speeds of 823.7 Mbps at a distance of 15 feet and it had an overall range of 110 feet. On the back, you'll find a single gigabit WAN port along with four gigabit LAN ports as well as a USB 3.0 port for moving data across your network. The TP-Link Archer AX55 has an all-black design with some cutouts at the top and soft rubber feet on the bottom. If you're after a quick, easy and inexpensive upgrade for your home network, the TP-Link Archer AX55 will more than do the trick.

Read our full TP-Link Archer AX55 review.

Best Wi-Fi router for gamers

The best Wi-Fi router for gaming

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band
Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/Yes
Ports: 1 WAN, 4 1-Gbps LAN, 1 2.5-Gbps LAN, 2 USB 3.0
Peak Throughput: 731.4 Mbps
Size: 9.4 x 9.4 x 2.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Performance improves with distance
+
Plenty of customization options
+
Impressive 2.5Gbps WAN port

Reasons to avoid

-
Very large in size compared to other routers

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is perfect for gamers, with speeds that improve over longer ranges, low latency and all the features that gamers expect. The GT-AX11000 is large though, with a gargantuan base, eight swiveling antennas, and massive 10.8Gbps maximum throughput. This wireless router has connectivity in droves, thanks to its tri-band design and four downstream Gigabit LAN ports, a single 2.5G Ethernet connection, and two USB 3.0 ports. In our testing, it managed to deliver 731 Mbps at 50 feet with a total range of 95 feet.

Built-in customization and gaming-oriented optimizations provide plenty of control, and you can even pair it with other Asus routers to build a mesh network to cover larger homes. At $450, it is expensive, but this is one of the best gaming routers for those that want an edge online.

Read our full Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 review.

Best Wi-Fi mesh system

The best mesh Wi-Fi system for most people

Specifications

Wi-Fi spec: Wi-Fi 6e/Quad-band
Number of antennas/removable: 12/No
Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN (base unit), 4 LAN (satellites)
Measured peak throughput: 1.009 Gbps
Size: 11.1 x 7.5 x 3.0 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent mesh performance
+
Easy to set up and configure
+
Optional security software, parental controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Costs $1,500 for router + 2 extenders
-
Just 90 days of free tech support

Netgear's Orbi WiFi 6E (model number RBKE963) is one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems on the planet — and also one the most expensive. But if you have money to burn, a gigabit broadband connection from your ISP and an enormous house, then this is probably the mesh system for you. 

The Orbi WiFi 6E can cover up to 9,000 square feet but adding a third satellite can expand this up to 12,000 square feet. At a distance of 15 feet, the router's 6-GHz channel delivered throughput of more than a gigabit per second. 

Each unit has 12 antennas and four Ethernet ports (one rated at 2.5 Gbps), and the system creates channels on the 2.5, 5 and 6-Ghz bands, plus a fourth 5-Ghz one for backhaul between units. Netgear offers trial subscriptions to its Armor security software, which includes Bitdefender antivirus, and parental controls. You'll also have to pay for tech support after 90 days. However, if you can afford to pay for this mesh system, you won't mind. 

Read our full Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E (RBKE963) review.

Best budget mesh system

The best budget mesh Wi-Fi system

Specifications

Wi-Fi spec: Wi-Fi 6 (AX1800)
Number of antennas/removable: 4/No
Ports: 1 WAN/1 LAN gigabit per second
Measured peak throughput: 622.1Mbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 4.3 x 4.3 x 4.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Excellent range
+
Extra security
+
Small router and satellites

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of customization options
-
No dedicated backchannel for data

The TP-Link Deco X20 is an inexpensive mesh Wi-Fi system that's relatively small and very easy to set up. In fact, during our testing, we were able to get it up and running in 15 minutes or so using the company's Deco app which also allows you to enable parental controls and comes with built-in security. For just $200, you can cover up to 5,800 square feet with a strong Wi-Fi 6 signal.

Unlike with other mesh routers, all of the Deco X20 units are interchangeable and serve as either a router or a satellite. Each one has two gigabit Ethernet ports at the rear but there aren't any USB ports for sharing data from a flash drive across your network. In our testing, the Deco X20 achieved download speeds of 622 Mbps at 15 feet with a total overall range of 95 feet. If you're looking for a budget mesh Wi-Fi system with units that are easy to tuck away on a bookshelf or place on a countertop, the Deco X20 delivers quite a lot of value for the price.

Read our full TP-Link Deco X20 review. 

Best for large homes

The best mesh Wi-Fi system for large homes

Specifications

Wi-Fi spec: Wi-Fi 7 (BE4300)
Number of antennas/removable: 10/No
Ports: two 2.5Gbps, two 10Gbps
Measured peak throughput: 1.781Gbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 8.4 x 7.1 x 3.4 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Simple app
+
Small AC adapter
+
Good performance up close
+
Uses 320MHz ultra-wide data channels
+
Two 10Gbps and two 2.5Gbps networking ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Performance falls off quickly at distance
-
Extra security, parental controls and networking stats cost $100 a year

The eero Max 7 is Amazon's first mesh Wi-Fi system with Wi-Fi 7 and unlike its predecessor the eero Pro 6E, it has a brand-new design. Sure, these new devices are larger but this is because they have 10 antennas as opposed to just 6 as well as more ports at the back. There's also been a significant price increase with a three-pack selling for $1,700 but the best Wi-Fi 7 routers — and especially mesh ones — all cost a bit more since they're using the latest and greatest wireless standard.

One of the best things about eero devices is that they are all compatible with one another which means you can use your old eero mesh router to extend your network further. At the same time, you can also use an Echo Dot as a mesh extender when you need more range in a pinch. 

At the back of the eero Max 7, you'll find two, 10 gigabit Ethernet ports, two 2.5 gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB-C port for power. In our testing, the eero Max 7 delivered speeds of 1.781 Gbps at 15 feet and had a range of 95 feet. As always, we were impressed by how simple the set up procedure was and just how much we could do from the eero app, especially with an optional eero Plus subscription.

Read our full eero Max 7 review.

Best long-range router

The best long-range router

Specifications

Wi-Fi spec: Wi-Fi 6 (AX6000)
Number of antennas/removable: 8/No
Ports: Router – 1 WAN/4 LAN; Satellite – 4 LAN
Measured peak throughput: 806.9Mbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 10.0 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Extended range
+
Armor security software
+
Can create LAN for home automation devices
+
Much improved mid-range Wi-Fi 6 performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Large devices
-
Slow set up process
-
Included support limited to 90 days

The Netgear Orbi RBK863SB is a tri-band, Wi-Fi 6 mesh router that builds on the company's Orbi RBK852 with improved performance and a brand new, all-black color scheme (it's also available in white) sold exclusively on its site. Also, by using an innovative new antenna design, it has even better mid-range performance with download speeds that are four times faster than its predecessor at 50 feet. Like other Orbi devices though, you're paying a premium but for the price, you get excellent performance and plenty of ports.

With a three-pack, the Orbi RBK863SB can cover up to 8,000 square feet with a strong Wi-Fi signal but there's also a four-pack that covers 10,000 square feet — perfect for very large homes. In our testing, the Orbi RBK863SB delivered speeds of 806 Mbps at 15 feet and each unit had a range of 105 feet. 

At the back of the main unit that serves as the router, you'll find a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port along with four gigabit Ethernet ports while the satellites only have these four gigabit Ethernet ports. With your purchase, you also get access to Netgear's built-in Armor security software for free for one year but after that, it costs $100 annually. If you have a large home you need to fill with a strong Wi-Fi signal but don't want to pony up the extra cash for the Wi-Fi 7-equipped Orbi RBE973, the Orbi RBK863SB is a great option and looks stunning in black.

Read our full Netgear Orbi RBK863SB review.

Best Wi-Fi 6e

The best Wi-Fi 6E router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6E (AXE11000)
Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No
Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3.0
Throughput: 2.396Gbps
Size: 12.0 x 8.6 x 3.3 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Top speeds with 6GHz band
+
Very customizable
+
Security software built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Throughput declines quickly with distance

The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 was the first Wi-Fi 6e router to hit the market, and the results are mind-blowing. By adding the new 6-GHz band to the already impressive capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, the Nighthawk RAXE500 delivers category-leading performance — but at $599, it's not cheap.

This tri-band device more than lives up to the hype by delivering 2.39 Gbps at 15 feet during our testing. Add this to the slick design and highly customizable configuration options, and the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 becomes one of the best wireless routers we've ever reviewed. While it’s best at close quarters and is one of the more expensive routers on this list, the RAXE500 is worth every penny if you have the need for speed.

Read our full Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 review. 

Best Wi-Fi 7

The best Wi-Fi 7 router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 7 (BE19000)
Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No
Ports: Two 10Gbps (one can be used as an SPF+ fiber port), four 2.5Gbps, USB 3.0
Throughput: 1.824Gbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 11.9 x 10.3 x 3.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Good range
+
Can act as VPN server or client
+
Excellent throughput at short range
+
Built-in security software and data screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Large footprint

The TP-Link Archer BE800 is unlike any Wi-Fi router we've seen before thanks to its new V-Fold design language. Unlike other routers you'll want to tuck away, this is one you're going to want to have out in the open, especially as its 2.4-inch, big dot display can show everything from the date and time to the weather and even custom animations.

 Besides its looks, the Archer BE800 is relatively affordable for a powerful, Wi-Fi 7 router at $599. However, if that's out of your budget, check out the cheaper Archer BE550 for just $300. There's also the more expensive Archer BE900 with dual displays. 

At the back of the Archer BE800, you'll find two 10 gigabit Ethernet ports, four 2.5 gigabit ports and a USB 3.0 port. In our testing, the Archer BE800 was able to reach speeds of 1.8 Gbps at 15 feet with a maximum range of 115 feet. If you're tired of your boring old Wi-Fi router and want to upgrade to the latest wireless standard, then the Archer BE800 just might be for you.

Read our full Archer BE800 review.

Router specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Wi-Fi RouterWi-FiWi-Fi SpecPortsSize (LWH)
Asus RT-BE96UWi-Fi 7BE19000 1 10 Gbps WAN, 1 gigabit WAN, 1 10 Gbps LAN, 3 gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.013.8 x 13.8 x 3.0 inches
TP-Link Archer AX55Wi-Fi 6AX30001 gigabit WAN, 4 gigabit LAN, 1 USB 3.010.2 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000Wi-Fi 6AX57001 gigabit WAN, 1 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN, 4 gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.29.4 x 9.4 x 2.8 inches
Netgear Orbi RBE973Wi-Fi 6EAX108001 10 Gbps WAN, 1 2.5 Gbps LAN, 3 gigabit LAN11.1 x 7.5 x 3.0 inches
TP-Link Deco X20Wi-Fi 6AX18001 gigabit WAN/LAN, 1 gigabit LAN4.3 x 4.3 x 4.5 inches
Eero Max 7Wi-Fi 7BE43002 10 Gbps WAN/LAN, 2 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN8.4 x 7.1 x 3.4 inches
Netgear Orbi RBK863SBWi-Fi 6AX60001 10 Gbps WAN, 4 gigabit LAN10.0 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300Wi-Fi 6EAXE110001 gigabit WAN/LAN, 1 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN, 4 gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.012.0 x 8.6 x 7.3 inches
TP-Link Archer BE800Wi-Fi 7BE190002 10 Gbps WAN, SFP+ fiber port, 4 2.5 Gbps LAN, 1 USB 3.011.9 x 10.3 x 3.8 inches

Testing results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
DistanceAsus RT-BE96UTP-Link Archer AX55Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000Netgear Orbi RBE973TP-Link Deco X20Eero Max 7Netgear Orbi RBK863SBNetgear Nighthawk RAXE300TP-Link Archer BE800
15 feet1.948 Gbps823.7 Mbps642.23 Mbps2.003 Gbps622.1 Mbps1.781 Gbps806.9 Mbps1.153 Gbps1.967 Gbps
50 feet392.7 Mbps288.4 Mbps615.74 Mbps495.1 Mbps255.4 Mbps146.9 Mbps547.7 Mbps215.8 Mbps335.6 Mbps
75 feet402.1 Mbps89.6 Mbps731.37 Mbps174.8 Mbps112.7 Mbps132.7 Mbps195.3 Mbps148.6 Mbps91.5 Mbps
100 feet31.4 Mbps15.0 Mbps544.01 Mbps25.3 Mbps50.1 Mbps16.8 Mbps26.2 Mbps18.9 Mbps19.8 Mbps

When to update your router

Maybe you’ve noticed that your current Wi-Fi coverage feels slower than it used to, have been experiencing spotty reception, or maybe you just need something better equipped to handle the demands of the growing number of smart home devices at your house. If you’ve been dealing with any of these issues, a new router should be able to fix these common problems.

It’s also worth upgrading to a new Wi-Fi router if you’re still using older hardware. If you have an old Wireless-N or Wireless-AC (retroactively renamed Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 respectively) router in your home, you should definitely consider upgrading to something more current. Newer standards will not only provide faster connectivity but there are other benefits as well. For instance, your smartphone battery will last longer as a result of more efficient device management and your connected home gadgets will all feel much faster with these more capable standards.

The other big reason to upgrade your router is that you’re tired of paying a monthly rental fee for a router from your ISP. Since average equipment rental fees cost anywhere from $10-15 each mount, a new router can pay for itself in just a short amount of time while providing you with better service and features. Just don’t forget to pair it with one of the best cable modems if you want to entirely free yourself from the extra costs that often come with broadband internet packages. 

How to choose the best Wi-Fi router for you

When it comes to choosing the best wireless router for your home or small business, it’s easy to get lost in the complex networking jargon and obscure technology standards. However, all you really need to know is how to answer two key questions: What speed do you need for your internet connection? And what sort of coverage do you need?

Speeds and standards: The internet speed you need for your router is determined by the speed you get from your internet service provider as well as the speeds supported by your modem. For most people, a standard 802.11ac router will handle all but the highest performing plans, like Gigabit internet plans that aren’t available everywhere just yet. With average broadband speeds at 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 (aka 802.11ax) which is a faster standard that’s better suited for households with a lot of smart home devices. There are many Wi-Fi 6 routers available today, though there’s an even newer twist on this standard called Wi-Fi 6e that takes advantage of a newly opened part of the radio spectrum.

Wi-Fi 6e-enabled devices, such as laptops and smartphones, are still few and far between. Unless you’re using a dozen devices at once, you likely won’t see much benefit from upgrading to Wi-Fi 6e at this time. See our article What is Wi-Fi 6E: Routers, devices and how it's better than Wi-Fi 6 to learn more. 

Coverage range: The other part of the wireless equation is coverage area. A basic standalone router will generally offer 50 to 100 feet of range, so that it can easily cover the majority of apartments and smaller homes. If you have a house with 3,000 square feet or more of space, you’ll want to consider a mesh router instead which use multiple devices to provide a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout larger homes. These are especially helpful in multistory houses or in homes with dead spots where the Wi-Fi signal drops out.

A close-up shot of the rear Ethernet ports of a TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Ports: Though wireless connectivity is the main thing you want from a Wi-Fi router, you’ll also want to think about wired connections. Ethernet offers faster connectivity for devices like game consoles and smart TVs that use more bandwidth and USB ports are handy for connecting older printers or storage to your network.

Input is another issue, especially if you live in an area where Gigabit internet is available. With a Gigabit connection, an older router can be a bottleneck, slowing down your entire home. Some routers can even aggregate two inputs for even faster connectivity.

Price range: Current 802.11 ac routers often sell for less than $100 for basic, dual-band models. More expensive modems range up to $300 but offer better coverage and faster speeds, while gaming routers have built-in optimization features and typically sell for more. New routers using the Wi-Fi 6 standard (previously known as 802.11 ax) often cost $400 or more.

Keeping up on everything happening in the networking world can be difficult, so check out our helpful guides on the latest technology, like What is a mesh Wi-Fi router, and do you need one?  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 Wi-Fi 6e, we're always providing the latest info about the newest products and innovations. 

How we test the best Wi-Fi routers

A picture of the MSI RadiX AXE6600 next to a Pixel 6a running a speed test

(Image credit: Future)

We test every router we review to measure performance and range, in addition to hands-on use to evaluate the ease-of-setup and quality of settings and features.

Throughput describes how much data the router can move back and forth over its wireless connection. Higher throughput will serve you better in data-heavy uses, like streaming video, gaming, or connecting multiple users at once.

We measure throughput using IXChariot, first at a 5-foot distance without obstructions, so that we can gauge the maximum amount of data that the router can move. We then measure how much data the router can move at 50, 75 and 100 feet, so that you can also choose the best model for smaller homes and apartments, where short-range performance may be the priority.

We also test performance through walls and ceilings, to determine how well a router can provide signal in the Wi-Fi-dampening conditions common to many buildings and homes.

For mesh routers, we perform additional testing to determine how well the mesh system does sending a signal through both the main router and through a satellite unit.

Following out throughput tests, we also put the router through real-world tests by connecting a number of devices — laptops, TVs, smartphones, and tablets — and stream a number of games, TV shows and movies simultaneously to see how well the router performs under strain.

For more information on how we test networking devices, check out our guide on how we test Wi-Fi routers along with our more general how we test page for Tom's Guide.

Written by
Anthony Spadafora
Written by
Anthony Spadafora

As someone who's been working from home for the past six years, Anthony Spadafora has tried everything from Wi-Fi extenders to powerline adapters to get the most out of his home network before finally upgrading to a mesh Wi-Fi system. Along the way, he's tested out loads of different routers and network configurations. Based on what he's learned, Anthony tries to highlight the critical role Wi-Fi routers play in our day to day lives and how a mesh network can help solve the most common connectivity issues like Wi-Fi dead spots. 

Reviewed and Tested by
Brian Nadel
Reviewed and Tested by
Brian Nadel

With experience in testing, using and evaluating wireless data from before Wi-Fi was even a word, Brian Nadel has tried out and reviewed every major router available in his home networking lab. A LAN nerd, his philosophy is to use the router the way you would, testing networking gear for ease of setup, performance, security and above all for value. The result is peace of mind when it comes to choosing the right router.


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Best mesh routers | Best Wi-Fi 6 routers | Best Wi-Fi 7 routersBest gaming routers |  Best Wi-Fi extenders | Best powerline extenders | Best cable modems