I have no doubt you would agree that modern men and women will find it tough to spend a day (some even an hour) without connecting to a network. Most people these days can’t see any use for a smart TV, computer, tablet or other devices if they are not connected to the Internet. Therefore, choosing a good router that will keep all these devices connected is an important task.
To make this task easier and save you time, we’ve researched and compiled a list of the best wireless routers of 2018 available below. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide in the end of this post to help you make an informed decision when buying a new WiFi router for home or small office.
Best Wireless Routers 2018
One thing I should mention is that it is possible to find cheaper routers on the market than the ones we have reviewed in this article. But while some of the models listed below carry a hefty price tag, they are most likely to satisfy the needs of most customers.
1. Netgear N750 Dual-Band 4 port Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (WNDR4300) – Best Router for HD Video Streaming
Netgear has always been a leader in providing high-quality networking environments and devices. Hence, you should not be surprised that we start our list of best wireless routers of 2018 with their particularly exceptional Netgear N750 dual band router.
This model can significantly boost the wireless connection in your home even if you have multiple WiFi devices simultaneously connected to the network. It delivers up to 300 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz and up to 450 Mbps in the 5 GHz range. Plus, giving to the product description, the total bandwidth of the N750 model is in fact 750 Mbps.
This router operates in two ranges of wireless networks, which is particularly useful when you want to avoid any interruptions of the Wi-Fi signal. Besides, the device delivers a strong signal and is especially beneficial for large private homes.
By connecting a disk drive, you can easily turn the router into a full-fledged DLNA media server, find and play your favorite media files in the network. The ReadyShare “cloud” option of the Netgear N750 works with both USB hard drives and printers. That is, with this router you will effortlessly access any connected drives in the local or global network.
The Gigabit Ethernet port and the Advanced QoS offer smooth HD video streaming that can delight all demanding gamers and video lovers. The Netgear N750 is compatible with Apple Time Machine, which gives you the opportunity to make backup copies of Mac computers. And on top of that, the router supports VPN and thus allows you to access your home network securely.
But let us tell you what we really love about this product apart from its outstanding characteristics.
Netgear N750 can be used along with the Netgear Genie application, which was specifically developed by Netgear for Android and Apple devices with the purpose of monitoring and configuring the home network remotely. Just picture it, after you install the application on your phone or computer, you can easily measure the speed, change the SSID and network password, create guest networks and manage parental controls.
Is there anything else that you might want from your home router?
2. Asus RT-AC68U Dual-Band Wireless AC1900 Gigabit Router – Best Dual-Band Router
The powerful router delivers a stable wireless signal at two bands: the 2.4 GHz band provides up to 600 Mbps while the 5 GHz delivers up to 1300 Mbps for Gigabit wireless data rates.
You can definitely enjoy an ultra fast and super reliable connection as the model features five Gigabit Ethernet ports and a Broadcom TurboQAM technology.
The product comes with an RJ-45 Ethernet cable, power adapter and a quick instruction guide and is extremely easy to set up without the need of configuring any IP addresses or gateways.
Through the built-in USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, you can connect any external devices, storage drives or printers. The AC1900 model also features a Cloud Disk that allows you to access and copy data to the NAS when remote. Besides, the router includes VPN, a dual-WAN, and a pack of advanced networking tools.
For sure, the model can handle a number of WiFi devices and can stream high amount of data without any problem. And like the other Asus routers, the AC1900 comes with AsusWRT, an operating system with a super interface and a lot of functionality. Through this intuitive and dynamic system, you will become insanely good at accessing connecting external devices and storage and managing the network in general.
The only disadvantage of this product is that it cannot be installed in an upright position, which might be a deal-breaker for some users. Well, you will need to allocate more space for this router, as it is bigger in size compared to other models (8.7x 6.3x 3.3 inches without the detachable antennas).
Still, we can say without reservations that the ASUS Company offers a successful network solution with its AC1900 model. This router is a perfect option for homes and businesses with great WiFi needs. It delivers high-quality WiFi coverage and provides fast speed with cable. And it is so powerful that it can be used as a home server for media streaming, data sharing, and personal cloud services.
3. TP-Link TL-WR841N Wireless N300 – Best Cheap Wireless Router
Next on our list is the TP-Link TL-WR841N. This WiFi router outstands other cheaper models with its intuitive well-structured setup interface. Even if you do not have any experience configuring a router, you will soon master the process with this product.
The model features two high-gain 5dBi antennas and a powerful amplifier for fast and stable connection at a maximum range. The signal is excellent even in the larger area, without many dead zones and interruptions. The speed of the router is 300 Mbps, which is perfect for smooth HD video streaming, for playing online games and placing Internet calls.
Having in mind the extremely affordable price, you will be more than happy to observe the router’s exceptional WiFi transmission.
This less expensive TP-Link model is equipped with a QSS button for quick security setup in case of possible infiltrations of the network. It also features 4 Ethernet ports 10/100 Mbps for connecting multiple devices through cables. In addition, the router includes an IP bandwidth control, which allows you to check the bandwidth allocated to each device.
In case you run into any issues with your TP-Link router, (that will be quite unlikely), you can rely on the company technical support, available 24/7 by phone or email.
When it comes to shortcomings we should mention that the router offers a relatively limited speed of LAN ports (100 Mbit/s). Plus, you should have in mind that it has a low data transfer rate and hence it is not very suitable for fast transferring of high loads of data.
4. Apple Airport Extreme Base Station ME918LL/A – Most Elegant Design
The new Apple Airport Extreme router is considered to represent a “glimpse in the (near) future”. If you want to bring your home network to a new level, this 6th generation Apple WiFi router will meet your needs by providing very good performance at a relatively good price. It delivers solid output at both the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequencies simultaneously.
Do keep in mind that this dual-band router requires a modem to operate. But on the other hand, it offers fast impeccable performance, supports 802.11ac specifications. What is more, its date rates can go as high as 1.3 Gbps.
But let’s face it, many clients buy the AirPort Extreme simply because of its very visually pleasing design. Yes, in line with the other Apple products, this model also has a very appealing look – even with its 6 antennas on top (three for the 2.4 GHz band and three for the 5 GHz band). It is only 6.6 inches high with a small 3.85-inch base. Plus, it comes with a built-in power supply.
The router comes with clear and simple instructions for setup. In fact, the setup assistant is part of the iOS and the AirPort Utility for OS x, and as long as you have connected the router to your DSL or cable model, you will have no problems configuring the network on an Apple device.
If you are already a fan of the Apple product and possess an older version of the router, you do not have to hurry to the store to buy the newest one. Let’s face it, the changes are not so noticeable (apart from the size of the device) neither are any significant improvements in the performance.
5. TP- Link Archer C7 (AC1750) Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router – Best Wireless Router Under $100 dollars
Apparently, with the TP-Link routers, you do not need to spend a lot to cover your home with high-quality WiFi network. The total available bandwidth of the device is 1750 Mbps: the router delivers up to 450 Mbps at the 2.4 GHz and 13000 Mbps at the 5GHz band. When it comes to speed of routers at that price category, Archer C7 is a premium choice.
The tests of the router reveal that the device offers rather powerful WiFi signal, large coverage, and a high data rate. On top of that, it is compatible with different operation systems (best with Android and iOS) and comes with solid management settings on the TP-Link Tether app for maximizing the performance of the network. The application allows you to configure the network, monitor other devices and connected users, setting parental control.
Archer C7 has a classy design with six antennas. It features two USB ports for instant connection to printers, scanners, and external hard drives. Anyone connected to the network can have a remote access to these devices via FTP server. Another great thing about Archer C7 is that it supports 802.11ac.
6. Linksys WRT54GL Wi-Fi Wireless-G Broadband Router – Best Router for a Mid-Sized Home
The key strength of the Linksys WRT54GL router is that it delivers solid output at transferring data between stations and devices.
The router itself is very compact even with its two external antennas. It is equipped with four full-duplex fast Ethernet ports. And in fact, it is quite easy to connect multiple computers to the Ethernet network through the 4-port switch and the Wireless-G Access Point of the router.
Linksys WRT54GL is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista 32/64. In addition to that, it supports WPA2 standards, as well as TKIP and AES encryption standards that will all keep your network safe and limit any hacks and infiltrations.
If you opt for this model, you should have in mind that the package does not include a modem. Moreover, the router comes with not so powerful original firmware. Still, the router performance can be improved by installing another firmware (such as DD-WRT or OpenWRT).
7. D-Link Wireless Broadband Router (DIR-605L) – Best Wireless Router for Home Use
This model is great for fast exchange of files between connected devices. You will be really amazed by the fluidity of such operations. Note that this is a single-band router with wireless frequency range at 2.4 GHz.
You can remotely monitor and control the router and all connected devices via the mydlink portal or the QRS Mobile App. Meanwhile, the setup of the device is also so simple that you do not have to waste time figuring out how to connect and configure the router. Perhaps, you already know that the QRS Mobile App is available for iPad, iPhone, and Android.
DIR-605L might not be the preferred choice for users who do not have much available space on the desk. Unfortunately, the antennas cannot be disassembled, which might not be very convenient for those who plan on packing and using the router at different locations.
This model offers dissent performance with a stable signal at very friendly pricing. It has a complete N300 Technology and features SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) firewall and WPA2, designed to help you perform everyday web activities within a reliable and secure network.
With this model, you get four separate Ethernet ports for fast device connectivity, 802.11g and 802.11n wireless LAN that, of course, are compatible with older network standards.
We won’t lie to you, D-Link DIR 605L is great for quickly transferring and sharing files between devices and for surfing safely the Internet without worrying about any major interruptions of the signal.
8. Asus RT-AC5300 Wireless AC5300 Tri-Band Gigabit Router – Best Wireless Router for Gaming
Asus RT-AC5300 is a smart choice for anyone in search of great performance and functionality. Do you enjoy online gaming? Are you fond of high-resolution video streaming? If yes, this router will definitely catch your eye
But, bear in mind the device price!
Really ideal for gaming, RT-AC5300 is a tri-band wireless router (dual bands at the 5 GHz and single 2.4 GHz), delivering up to 5.3 Mbps. It supports the latest 802.11ac 4×4 technology via a Broadcom chip and is compatible with older N/G/B WiFi standards.
The model is new to the market and has some fantastic features that improve the speed, security, and the overall experience of the network. RT-AC5300 has 8 removable antennas and comes with an Airadar beamforming technology, offering unparalleled network coverage even in larger households with thick walls. Another major improvement in the model is the NitroQAM technology, which facilitates the smooth streaming and transferring of data and the ultra fast speed.
In line with the other Asus product, the RT-AC300 is sold with the AsusWRT operating system that is very convenient for accessing and controlling all necessary information and functions like parental control, external storage, and QOS system. Another real advantage for the entire home are the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, via which you have the ability to directly connect and simultaneously share all types of devices such as printers and hard drives.
Besides, the router comes with the SmartConnect tool, designed for allocating the fastest available connection relative to the location of any connected device.
Thanks to the AiProtection, your computer is immune to infiltrations and hacker threats. In addition, the router will detect automatically any threats and will allow you to filters or restrict any applications or sites that should not be accessed by children.
Yes, there are other alternatives to the RT-AC5300 that come at a much lower price, but our testing suggests that this is really a top-level product. It is our strong recommendation for users who require extremely high wireless traffic on multiple connected devices. With the RT-AC5300, you can make transfers at high speed over the network on a single device and still be able to enjoy maximum speed on the other connected devices. Check out this slideshow by PCmag to learn more about the numerous functions of this device.
9. Netgear AC5300 Nighthawk X8 Tri-Band WiFi Router (R8500-100NAS) – Best Router for Multiple Devices
The Nighthawk X8 meets all criteria for an outstanding wireless router that is simple and works properly, offering the perfect networking experience.
There are a few wireless competitors to the Nighthawk X8 at this price range (like the aforementioned Asus RT-AC5300, for which we can say that lags a bit behind the Nighthawk only because of its back-end and application support).
The Nighthawk X8 features seven Ethernet ports – 4 traditional LAN ports, 2 aggregated ports for increased bandwidth with high-end NAS and one connection port. Besides, it has two USB ports (a 3.0 and a 2.0). That all translated into no obstacles for any additional network devices and storage.
It has an 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection with a bandwidth reaching 5.3 Gbps on a number of connected devices. It delivers fast connection on a single 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands through 4 antennas. On top of that, supports MU-MIMO technology: it is a DLNA and FTP server. It also successfully runs VPN utilities and comes with security (DDoS) protection as well as an integrated firewall.
As a user, you can benefit greatly from the intuitive and well-structured Genie Netgear application through which you can access the administration panel of the router, diagnose and control the router. The standard Netgear browser access screen is also very simple, detailed and clear, allowing you to accomplish any configuring, monitoring, and managing tasks. With this model, it is extremely easy to repair and adjust the priorities within the network.
The device does not freeze even during simultaneous powerful downloads and data transfer. Its coverage is excellent, suitable for large homes.
10. Linksys AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router – Best Router Under $200 dollars
At a reasonable and competitive price, the Linksys AC1900 wireless router is an excellent choice for keeping everyone at home connected to 802.11ac WiFi with the option of MU-MIMO streaming, which effectively manages the bandwidth and broadcasts the signal to the targeted devices. Thanks to the dual-core 1.4 GHz processor, the router can handle three simultaneous data streams.
It will be able to serve your needs well with its dual band speeds, which can reach 1.9 Gbps combined. With this router, your Internet connection will be extremely powerful. For best possible performance we recommend that you assign the more intensive activities (such as online gaming and 4K movie streaming) to the 5 GHz band and other basic operations to the 2.3 GHz band.
With its four Gigabit Ethernet, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 ports you can have an instant remote access to external storage devices and printers, share and quickly transfer large files over the network. The router comes with the latest AC technology for streaming and playing online games on multiple devices and offers excellent coverage in medium-sized homes.
The status and quality of the signal on each and every device as well as the network settings, in general, can be monitored and adjusted through the Smart WiFi network map and manually through the 3 external antennas.
If you purchase this router, you will have a secure and stable network without experiencing any slowdown or buffer problems even with multiple devices connected at the same time.
Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide
Finally, here are a few things to consider before buying a wireless router.
Should you compromise on price?
Per some customers, a WiFi router in the middle or high price range is a waste of money, since many cheaper ones can deliver the same performance. Yet, many of the cheaper models also require extra configurations and, as our experience shows, are also a more likely to stop functioning properly sooner. On the other hand, it is not the wisest decision just to go for the most expensive available models.
Single- Dual- or Tri-band?
Some routers can coomunicate over a single radio band, while others can use two or three. Single band routers are the least expensive models, that operate on 2.4 gigahertz frequency and are good for accessing the Internet.
Dual-band routers are somewhat more expensive and operate at 2.4GHz and 5 GHz. These allow uninterrupted connectivity of multiple devices.
And Tri-band routers have three radios, one 2.4GHz and two that operate at 5GHz. These are primarily used in small offices and large private residences, where many devices may be connected to the network, requiring it to handle heavy traffic, file downloads, video streaming and online gaming.
What should the Wi-Fi standard be?
All modern routers, manufactured after 2014, support a new Wi-Fi standard, called 802.11ac and can work with older standards. The different kinds of wireless standards are mostly backward compatible. The newer AC routers will work perfectly well with n300 devices.
What should the speed rating be?
The routers can provide different speed rates on different bands. The speed of a router is usually advertised in Mbps. Typically, the budget routers have a predetermined speed (the mid-range 802.11g models offer 54 Mbps, 802.11n routers – about 150 -600 Mbps, while the 802.11ac routers offer above 1Gbps. Plus, be aware that the actual performance that you will achieve will be much lower than the stated maximum speed rating included in the product description. The speed is often subject to and reduced by protocol overhead, distance, obstacles and other external interference.
In general, for home use we recommend a router that can reach 300 Kbps or more on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 or higher Kbps on the 5 GHz band.
Which other features are important?
The modern WiFi routers come with warranty terms (usually between 1-5 years). The warranty is also important for you, especially if you want a manufacturer that is committed to a higher standard of product quality and support their products.
What is the role of USB ports?
The USB ports add additional benefits to the user. Generally, the modern routers come with 4 Internet ports, which is more than enough for the average user. If you are used to transferring data between multiple devices through USB ports, a router can be connected to printers, scanners, and other external devices. A USB port with a 3.0 standard can also be used for creating a home “cloud storage”. Routers with GB ports are more expensive.
Should you consider the size and design of the router?
Even though it does not add much to the very performance of the router, the look can be an additional attractive decoration for many households. Besides, it is often put on a visible central space and should be appealing to the eyes. Size and portability might also be a decisive factor for clients who plan to install the router in confined space or travel.
The movable antennas of a router add a tiny bit more coverage in the household in contrast to the integrated and fixed antennas.
Why should you consider our list of models?
All the models were tested and objectively reviewed so that you can make an informed choice. Of course, you are free to choose a model that best meets your needs, preferences, and capabilities.
There are many other popular models from brands like Belkin, Huawei, SMC, ZyXEL and others. But if you are still on the fence, just check the sales rankings at online retailers to filter your options and build your short list of best routers. You do not have to spend lots of money for routers newest generation, it might be better to buy a router with a generation behind the cutting edge technology so that you can use more of the perfected features and avoid the technology that is still in beta state.
Where should you buy your router?
We have included links in the article so that you can click on any of the recommended WiFi routers and find their best price. We believe that currenly Amazon.com is the best place to purchase electronics from, as they provide a comprehensive A-to-z Guarantee Protection.