Best Wi-Fi Routers 2019

Product Use case Rating
TP-Link Archer C2300 Best Overall 4.5
Netgear R6220 4
TP-Link Archer C5400X 4.5
Netgear Orbi 4
Linksys EA8300 Max Stream 4
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 4.5

We've spent more than 60 hours testing more than two dozen routers to help you skip the confusion and find the best Wi-Fi router for your home. Based on our in-depth testing, the TP-Link Archer C2300 is the best Wi-Fi router overall, thanks to its superb performance and extensive feature set.

For a less expensive option, the reasonably priced Netgear R6220 offers solid performance and range without skimping on features such as parental controls. The high-powered TP-Link Archer C5400X is our favorite gaming router thanks to tri-band performance and built-in tools for better gaming performance.

But with so many devices in the home clamoring for wireless bandwidth, you'll want to make sure that your space is well-covered with speedy Wi-Fi. So we also recommend mesh routers for larger homes, and Wi-Fi 6 for future-proof Wi-Fi that will deliver top-notch performance for years to come. For an inexpensive way to boost the coverage from your current router, we also review Wi-Fi extenders.

TP-Link Archer C2300 (Credit: TP-Link)TP-Link Archer C2300 (Credit: TP-Link)

1. TP-Link Archer C2300

Best router overall

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 3/Yes | Ports: Four 1-Gbps LAN, 1 WAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 | Peak Throughput: 939.6 Mbps | Size: 8.5 x 7.5 x 1.5 inches

Pros: Top performer; Inexpensive; Built-in antivirus protection; Two-year warranty

Cons: Runs hot

The TP-Link Archer C2300 has a deceptively mild-mannered design, but don't be fooled – it's one of the most powerful routers you can buy. It's the reigning performance champ, pumping out nearly a gigabit per second of data in our standard performance tests, and blasting through walls and ceilings with ease. Not only is the Archer C2300 the fastest router we've seen, but it's also small, unobtrusive and full of high-end features.

The Archer C2300 comes with built-in optimization tools, like antivirus, QoS and parental controls that are normally found on more expensive competitors. At $120, it’s less than half of what similarly performing competitors cost, and is backed by a two year warranty. The TP-Link Archer C2300 is simply the best high-performance router you can buy today.

Read our full TP-Link Archer C2300 review.
 

Netgear R6220 (Credit: Netgear)Netgear R6220 (Credit: Netgear)

2. Netgear R6220

Best budget router

Rating: 4/5 stars

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 2/No | Ports: Four 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 382.4 Mbps | Size: 1.6 x 9.4 x 7.2 inches

Pros: Good performance; USB port for hard drive or printer; On/off wireless switch; Parental controls for restricting web surfing; Low price tag

Cons: USB ports use slower, 2.0 spec; Can't change antennas; Lacks the latest performance-boosting technology

The Netgear R6220 is our favorite budget-friendly router, delivering good 802.11ac performance and a surprising number of features for less than $100. The R6220 has great performance for the price – pushing through more data than most of the comparably priced routers we've tested – and features a USB 2.0 port for connecting peripherals, plus a switch for turning off wireless transmissions when you're on vacation.

In addition to solid performance and features, the R6220 also has useful parental controls and excellent software, with an app that lets you monitor and control network use from anywhere. For our money, it's the best value around for home Wi-Fi routers.

Read our full Netgear R6220 review.
 

TP-Link Archer C5400X (Credit: TP-Link)TP-Link Archer C5400X (Credit: TP-Link)

3. TP-Link Archer C5400X

The best gaming router

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No | Ports: 1 WAN, 8 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 859.5 Mbps | Size: 11.2 x 11.2 x 7.6 inches

Pros: Excellent performance; Tri-band design; Customization potential; Security software

Cons: Big; Can't aim antennas; Expensive

The TP-Link Archer C5400X is the gaming router to beat, with some of the best performance you'll see in any home networking device. It offers best-in-class tri-band performance with impressive coverage, delivering 1Gbps over its 2.4GHz band and 2.167Gbps over each of its two 5GHz channels.

The 8-antenna design and red-on-black color scheme are sure to turn heads, but the real selling point is the collection of optimization and security features that will satisfy any power user. With bandwidth-allocation controls to let you use the massive throughput as you wish, this router puts incredible performance into the user's hands, for gaming or anything else.

Read our full TP-Link Archer C5400X review.
 

Netgear Orbi (Credit: Netgear)Netgear Orbi (Credit: Netgear)

4. Netgear Orbi

The best mesh router

Rating: 4/5 stars

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: Four 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 552.1 Mbps | Size: 8.9 x 6.7 x 3.1 inches

Pros: Phenomenal performance; Dedicated router-to-extension data channel; MU-MIMO technology; Choice of app or browser setup

Cons: Relatively large devices; Expensive; Limited functionality on mobile app

There are plenty of mesh solutions on the market to blanket your home with Wi-Fi, but our hands-down favorite is the Netgear Orbi. A single Orbi unit alone provides some of the best performance we've seen in a router, and with additional satellite units, you can cover a 5,000-square-foot home with seamless connectivity and phenomenal performance.

The speedy Orbi delivers one of the easiest setup processes we've seen, and the combination of smartphone and desktop tools make it easy to manage your network from anywhere, including curfew times and content controls for parents. And newer add-ons let you expand in more ways than one, with weatherproof outdoor satellite units and an Alexa-equipped unit that doubles as a smart speaker. If you've got a big home, the Orbi is the mesh router to beat.

Read our full Netgear Orbi review.
 

Linksys EA8300 Max Stream (Credit: Linksys)Linksys EA8300 Max Stream (Credit: Linksys)

5. Linksys EA8300 Max Stream

Best for power users

Rating: 4/5 stars

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: 1 WAN, 4 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 3.0 | Peak Throughput: 626.5 Mbps | Size: 8.5 x 6.4 x 2.2 inches

Pros: Tri-band design; Excellent performance; Good software and options; Compact; Inexpensive

Cons: Short range

For a truly customizable router, we recommend the Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream, which is not only a great tri-band router, it's also loaded with tools to tweak and customize your router for optimal performance. The small black EA8300 Max-Stream can move lots of data, though it will do best in smaller homes. But even with shorter range, it offers impressive performance for a router that sells for less than $200.

Whether you're allocating bandwidth to prioritize gaming or media streaming, or just setting up parental controls, you can automate many features, make manual adjustments on the fly, and monitor it – all from your desktop or smartphone. With so many ways to customize your router’s performance, the Linksys EA8300 Max Stream is an easy pick for the power user.

Read our full Linksys EA8300 Max Stream review.
 

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 (Credit: Asus)Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 (Credit: Asus)

6. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Our favorite Wi-Fi 6 router

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Pros: First Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) router; Performance improves with distance; Plenty of customization; Impressive 2.5Gbps wired connector

Cons: Expensive; Big

The first router we've tested that features the new Wi-Fi 6 specification, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a gamer's delight, with speed that improves over longer range, low latency and all the features that gamers expect. Add it all up and most other gaming routers are now second best.

The GT-AX11000 is large, with a gargantuan base, eight swiveling antennas, and massive 10.8Gbps maximum throughput. This router has connectivity in droves, thanks to its tri-band design and four downstream Gigabit LAN ports, a single 2.5G Base T Ethernet connection, and two USB 3.0 ports. Built in customization and gaming-oriented optimizations provide plenty of control, and you can even pair it with other Asus routers for mesh networking to cover a larger home. At $450, it is expensive, but worth every penny for gamers wanting an edge online.

Read our full Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 review.
 

How We Test Wi-Fi Routers

We test routers for throughput and range, measuring how much data a router can move, and how well it does at 5, 50, 75 and 150 feet. If you want the best performance in a large, spread-out home, you'll want a router that does well over longer distances. If you're in a smaller apartment, short-range performance will be your priority. Where possible, we also test performance through walls and ceilings, to determine how well a router can provide signal in the WiFi-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. We also test to see how consistently a pair of mesh units will cover a large area, taking dozens of measurements throughout our lab space and producing detailed heat maps of signal strength and quality.

 

What Wi-Fi Routers Cost

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

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


10 comments
    Your comment
  • 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!!
  • ljctx49
    ATT is installing the BGW 210-700 Modem/Router as their latest unit.
    Questions:
    1 - ATT sells the AirTies 4920 as a match to establish a whole house mesh network. Any experience?
    2 - What is the average range of the BGW?
    3 - Why should I buy another router and bridge the BGW for $XXX AND added complexity?
  • captjackny
    How about a review of the Edimax routers? Model 6208 V2 is under $50 and has a lot of features such as 802.11ac.
  • pat.mccarthy07604
    How about the Norton router. Norton touts it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Would like your opinion.