Finding the right router is no easy task. It’s not enough if you simply pick the cheapest option or the most selling one available. Irrespective of whether the router is wired or wireless, there are a few factors that have to be kept in mind. These include estimating the number of users who would be using the router simultaneously, bandwidth prioritization for games and streaming services, ability to connect to network-attached storage (NAS) and smart devices at home, and of course future expansion possibilities. Don’t worry, we are here to help – as we’ve put together a list of the top 10 best routers that you can buy right now.
Generally, routers are broadly classified into two types — wired and wireless. The wired routers are also commonly referred to as gateways or hubs. Home users generally prefer the wireless ones as they provide flexibility to wirelessly connect all smart devices at home to a single broadband pipe. The options out there can be bewildering, but fret not – Husham.com is here to help you out.
The Top 10 Best Routers On The Market Today!
We’ve separated the wheat from the chaff and have prepared a list of the best routers for your surfing pleasure. So, without further ado, let’s see which routers have managed to make the cut.
1. Linksys AC5400 Tri Band Wireless Router
- Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); Seamless roaming when paired with a Max-stream range extender; 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU; 8 Antennas; Easy Setup; Works with Amazon Alexa.
- Wireless Protocols: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.
- Data Transfer Rate: 5.3 Gbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 9 / 2 (1x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 3.0).
- Dimensions: 14.29 x 5.39 x 11.73 in.
- Weight: 3.25 pounds.
There are wireless routers and there’s the Linksys EA9500. Even though it is not the cheapest of the bunch but has a lot going for it. The router supports MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) for simultaneous connections from multiple users and devices.
With 8 antennas and optional Max-Stream range extender, the Linksys EA9500 ensures adequate connectivity to the most demanding of applications including multiplayer gaming with low latency. On the software side of things, the Linksys EA9500 is easy to set up yet highly customizable. It also offers a mobile app for easy handling right from your smartphone.
Some users have reported about random boot loops and other issues but most of them can be traced back to ensuring a correct power delivery of 12V 2A. If you are in the market for a high-end router, the Linksys EA9500 should top your shopping list.
2. NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro
The NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro should be high on your list if gaming is your primary source of entertainment. The router is powered by a highly customizable DumaOS that shows vital statistics and prioritizes gaming traffic from PCs and consoles. It can also identify which applications are hogging up the network and allocate bandwidth accordingly. The NETGEAR XR500 also comes with a built-in gaming VPN client to protect the user from DDoS attacks.
Performance of this router is top-notch and can easily connect to multiple devices including game consoles. Users have reported excellent coverage even in large homes. There are few points to consider, though. The NETGEAR XR500 does not provide a mobile app for DumaOS and only the remote admin can only be secured to one IP or range. Still, for multimedia and gaming-heavy applications, the NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk is one of the best you can get.
3. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750
If you are into streaming multimedia and gaming but would prefer something easier on the pocket, take a look at the NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk wireless router which offers immense value for money. Although not as sophisticated as its bigger cousin, the XR500, gamers will still be able to derive lag-free gaming and bandwidth prioritization at speeds up to 1.7Gbps.
There are not too many negatives for this router but buyers need to be aware of the 90-day tech support period. After this duration, you may have to pay an additional fee for getting live support from NETGEAR. The configuration page might put off some seasoned experts but firmware updates can be expected at regular intervals to address these concerns.
4. ASUS Whole Home Dual-Band AiMesh Router
The ASUS Whole Home is a dual-band AiMesh Router. AiMesh can link multiple ASUS routers together to create a much more powerful Wi-Fi network hence the name, ‘Whole Home’. The Whole Home RT-AC68U supports a throughput of 1.9 Gbps, which includes 1.3 Gbps over the 5 GHz band and 0.6 Gbps over the 2.4 GHz band. The router has 5 Ethernet slots and 2 USB ports, which is more than adequate for general home use. You can plug in a 3G/4G dongle in one of the USB ports and share it via Wi-Fi with other devices.
The ASUS Whole Home can easily tackle demanding streaming and multimedia applications. The QoS scheduling can be turned off if you don’t need it and the CPU usage has been shown to be pretty minimal despite heavy usage. Do remember to ensure that the latest firmware is installed on all devices if you plan to pick up more than one of these for using AiMESH.
5. TP-Link Archer A7
The TP-Link Archer A7 is a formidable router for home use and can work with both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. TP-Link claims a coverage of 2,500 square feet, which should cover most moderately sized homes. Compatibility with Alexa and IFTTT means you can turn off guest Wi-Fi connections with just your voice.
The router software is easy to set up although users have reported hiccups in connecting to the internet initially. However, configuring the software correctly should alleviate most concerns. For US$69, the TP-Link Archer 7 ticks most boxes for a capable high-performing home Wi-Fi router.
6. ASUS Dual-Band AC1300
The ASUS Dual-Band AC1300 comes across as a pretty capable router for home use. With the availability of both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, you can have a mix of long range and high bandwidth within the same router. The onboard CPU might not be as powerful as some of the more expensive routers in this list but you’ll hardly feel the constraints in daily use. With MU-MIMO and Beamforming, the router is fairly future proof and requires almost no effort to set up.
Users who have purchased this router are all praise for the speeds it offers even when connecting multiple devices together. The included interface was found to be feature enough even for power users who otherwise prefer flashing the DD-WRT firmware for extended capabilities. An icing on the cake is, it can also be used as a repeater if you manage to dig a bit deep into the settings.
7. Ubiquity Unifi Security Gateway Pro
- Features: 1U Size Rackmount; Gigabit and Fiber ports; Secure offsite management and monitoring; 1 GHz dual-core CPU.
- No. of Gigabit Ports: 4 RJ45 + 2 SFP.
- Dimensions: 19.06 x 1.73 x 6.46 in.
- Weight: 5.07 pounds.
Ubiquity is a recognized brand when it comes to enterprise-class routers and the Unifi Security Gateway Pro (USG-PRO-4) offers a robust gateway/firewall solution for anyone looking to expand their networking infrastructure. The USG-PRO-4 comes in a 1U rackmount form factor and includes both Gigabit Ethernet and Fiber connectivity options along with enterprise-ready security and routing features. The UniFi controller software provides all functionality at a glance for network admins.
Setting up the USG-PRO-4 does require some expertise in networking, though. A few users have reported having issues with configuring the router to play well with their network. But given the flexibility in configuration, a seasoned network admin should be able to get this to work with his/her infrastructure. Also, the USG-PRO-4’s fans can get a bit louder at times but third-party cooling solutions such as those from Noctua can be used for a more quieter operation.
8. Mikrotik RouterBOARD RB3011UIAS-RM
Mikrotik is known for robust routers and the RouterBoard RB3011UIAS-RM is a favored choice among small and medium enterprises. With no active cooling requirements, the Mikrotik router is barely audible during normal operation. This router can be programmed and can replace most generic residential grade equipment. The only downside is that you need to learn how to effectively program ReactOS by looking up tutorials online. Network admins also appreciate the responsive Mikrotik tech support.
This router certainly provides everything you expect from a gateway provided you are okay with a slightly steep learning curve of the software and less than Gigabit speeds. At the end of the day though, the capabilities and price more than make up for its deficiencies.
9. TP-Link SafeStream TL-R470T
IIn case you want to keep your budget under control and if your internet speeds are around the 100 Mbps mark, check out the TP-Link SafeStream TL-R470T.
While the TP-Link SafeStream is affordable for a SoHo setup, you’d do best to verify the hardware version before buying. Versions above 2.x are the more advanced ones with a fail-over capability and port re-routing. Once you are sure of the hardware version, this can be one of the best load balancers you can get for home use. However, do remember that you cannot bridge multiple connections into one with this but you can connect multiple connections from the same ISP into this and split up the bandwidth across all connected devices.
10. Google-ASUS OnHub AC1900 Wi-Fi Router
- Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Easy network management via Android and iOS apps; Wave Control for hands-free traffic prioritization; Internal antennas with power amplifiers; Automatic firmware updates.
- Wireless Protocols: 802.11 ac.
- Data Transfer Rate: 1.9 Gbps.
- No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 1 / 1 (1x USB3.0).
- Dimensions: 5 x 7.87 x 5.19 in.
- Weight: 1 pound.
The ASUS OnHub is a Google Wi-Fi router that differs aesthetically from a sea of other available wireless routers. It comes in a smartspeaker design and its omnidirectional antennas help in better coverage even in larger homes. It integrates with the Google On app available for Android and iOS that allows for a much more ‘human’ interaction with the router. Bandwidth can be prioritized with just a wave of the hand over the speaker.
However, it does come with a few caveats. The interface is meant for a hassle-free setup so power users might feel a bit disappointed about the lack of customization options. The TPM module prevents installing custom firmware such as DD-WRT but the trade-off is a much simpler to use device. Performance-wise, the ASUS OnHub does not disappoint and offers great speeds and coverage. The onboard USB port is of little use to home users though, as it does not support plugging in USB storage devices for sharing content across the network.
Dear readers, that would be all for our list of the best routers to consider buying today. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below. We will do our best to provide a timely response.
Written by David Minister