Best Wi-Fi routers for 2021

Best Wi-Fi routers

 

Switching to the top Wi-Fi routers is the easiest method to improve your home network. They provide rapid connectivity and enhanced performance to each laptop or smart TV, game console, and other gadgets in your home. In addition to better speeds, but modern routers come with integrated security, apps-based settings, and simple parental controls. With so much time being online from work and school to streaming and gaming There’s no better option than the speedy performance offered by the most reliable Wi-Fi routers.

Today’s top wireless routers are designed for homes that are full of connected gadgets, ranging from camera doorbells to Smart TVs, and offer better connections and greater coverage for faster and more efficient Wi-Fi throughout the home.

Have a bigger house? Find the best mesh Wi-Fi solutions

Expand your coverage with the top Wi-Fi extenders

The most powerful gaming routers can boost your Wi-Fi connection to the highest step

This is why we test each one of the hundreds of routers that we’ve examined in order to identify the ones which are perfect for your home needs, with top performance, great range, and at a cost, you can manage to afford. These are the top Wi-Fi routers that you can purchase right now.

What are the top Wi-Fi routers?

Based on our extensive tests, the top wireless router we’ve tested is Asus the RT-AX86U, which is a Wi-Fi 6 powerhouse with the ability to power a house’s worth of connected equipment that can provide pure power for gaming, and securing each device you have. It’s a mix of general-purpose routers, high-end gaming gear, and cybersecurity protection. It’s also priced at a fair price so it’s no wonder that it’s one of our Editor’s Choice.

If you’re looking for a more costly alternative it’s this Netgear Nighthawk (RAX80) Wireless 6 router that knocks the doors off most other routers. The latest wireless standard provides the highest speed we’ve witnessed, and can easily handle a house full of devices connected.

For homes with larger spaces, the coverage needs to be more extensive. is larger and extends to several floors this is the reason you should consider the use of a mesh router. Through our tests and evaluation, we found that we found that Nest WiFi is the best mesh Wi-Fi system that you can purchase. It has a great performance and covers the entire house with signals, and comes with an integrated Google Home smart speaker for intuitive voice-controlled control.

The best Wi-Fi routers available today

Asus RT-AX86U router review
(Image credit: Asus)

Ideal for a large house, and also for gaming

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band

The number of antennas/removable: 3/Yes

Ports: 1 WAN/1 Multi-Gig WAN/ 4 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3.0

High Throughput 929.7Mbps

Size 9.0 by 6.7 inches. 3.1 inches

Motives to purchase

With outstanding throughput and performance. Security software with lifetime updates, Multi-Gig input, and port for aggregation

There are reasons to avoid

It is missing advanced gaming features such as geofencing and ping maps

The Asus RTX86U is a powerful Wi-Fi 6 device that offers great speeds and a host of gaming-related features along with amazing customizable options. With top-of-the-line performance and lifelong protection from malware and intrusions, It’s also an excellent option to secure your home network. It provides an extended period of protection with no cost for subscription and comes with a two-year guarantee.

However, the main draw for the Asus RTX86U is its performance, which is close to the 1Gbps threshold to offer fast and easy connectivity to all your devices. With a great range and outstanding performance, even through walls and floors, the RT-AX86U can be described as a general-purpose router as well as a gaming router. The range of ports and features that it has to offer is a bargain in comparison to the most powerful gaming equipment. It’s even recognized as runner-up for the best Wi-Fi router at the 2021 Tom’s Guide Awards. If you’re looking for the most reliable Wi-Fi router for your whole family then the Asus the RT-AX86U is the one for you.

Check out our complete Asus RT-AX86U review.

Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) review
(Image credit: Netgear)

Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80)

A top router in general

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band

The number of antennas/removable 8/Yes

Ports: 1 WAN/5LAN gigabits per second 2 USB 3.0

Maximum Throughput 1.389 Gbps

Dimensions: 12.0 inches x 8.0 * 6.3 inches

The reasons to buy

High performance, includes malware protection and good configuration options

The reasons to stay clear of

-Expensive-Throughput falls off quickly with distance

It’s the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) Wi-Fi 6 router, high performance and improved security are in sync by combining throughput that shatters through the gigabit/second barrier, with malware protection and Disney’s Circle application for blocking harmful content and controlling family network usage. With its excellent performance on floors and walls as well, its Nighthawk AX8 will work just as well in real life as it does in the lab.

It’s expensive, as the majority of Wi-Fi routers are however the RAX80 provides a simple setup and lets you set the router precisely how you’d like it to. It also has a 90-foot range but provides better performance when you are at a distance of 50 feet. This makes it a better choice for medium-sized houses. If you take it all in it’s the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) is the best Wi-Fi-6 router to buy if do not want to sacrifice performance or security.

Check out our complete Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) review.

Best Wi-Fi routers: Nest WiFi
(Image credit: Google)

A superb mesh router with built-in smart speakers

Specifications

Wi-Fi Specification: 802.11ac/dual-band

No. of Antennas/Removable: 4/No.

Ports 2 – 1Gbps LAN

The peak throughput is 653.2 Mbps

Dimensions: 4.3 by 4.3 inches 3.6 inches

Motives to purchase

Good performance, Google Assistant built-in, and easy installation

There are reasons to avoid

Short range-Minimal configuration options

There are a variety of mesh Wi-Fi options available but while they completely cover your home with wireless signals, our personal favorite is that of the Nest WiFi. Created by Google it’s compact enough to be hidden from view and fashionable enough to ensure you don’t have to. The real benefit of the small mesh units isn’t just their excellent performance. Every mesh part of the system comes with a Google Home smart speaker built into it, which gives you the most powerful voice assistants in the home and a strong wireless signal.

The lightning-fast Nest WiFi provides one of the simplest installation processes we’ve encountered and makes it simple to install extensions around the home. Additionally, it works with all older Google WiFi units you might have. However, the inclusion of Google Assistant really puts it above the rest, offering an easy method to integrate control of your home with a voice as well as easy integration with a variety of the most advanced smart home devices, as well as all the top Google Home compatible devices.

Check out our complete nest WiFi report

Best Wi-Fi routers: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
(Image credit: Asus)

 Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

The most reliable Wi-Fi 6 gaming router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band

The number of antennas that can be removed is 8/Yes.

Ports 1 WAN 4 1-Gbps LAN 1 2.5-Gbps LAN 2 USB 3.0

The maximum throughput is 731.4 Mbps

Dimensions 9.4 inches x 9.4 inches x 2.8 inches

The reasons to buy

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

This is the very first gaming router we’ve tried with Wi-Fi 6 is the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 by Asus is a joy for gamers with the speed that increases over a longer distance as well as low latency. It also has all the features gamers demand. Take all of this together and the majority of other gaming routers are now ranked second the best.

The GT-AX11000 is huge with a huge base and eight swiveling antennas and a massive 10.8Gbps maximum speed. This wireless router connects at an unprecedented rate thanks to its tri-band layout, four downstream Gigabit ports for LAN with it has a single 2.5G base T Ethernet connection as well as 2 USB 3.0 ports. Its built-in gaming and customization optimizations offer ample control, and you can also pair the router with another Asus router to enable mesh networking to make it a better fit for a larger space. With a price of $450, it’s costly, but it is the most reliable internet router designed for those looking to get the edge in online gaming.

Check out our complete ROG Rapture by Asus GTX11000 evaluation.

Best Wi-Fi routers: TP-Link Archer C2300
T-Link Archer C2300 (Image credit: the TP-Link)

The best budget-friendly router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual-Band

The number of antennas and the ability to remove them: 3.

Ports 4 1-Gbps LAN 1 WAN One USB 2.0 1, 1 USB 3.0

The Peak throughput is 939.6 Mbps

Dimensions: 8.5 inches x 7.5 1.5 inches. 1.5 inches

Motives to purchase

+Top performer+Inexpensive+Built-in antivirus protection+Two-year warranty

The reasons to stay clear of

Hot!

The TP-Link Archer C2300 comes with an unassuming design however don’t fall for it that it’s among the most robust wireless routers you can purchase and comes with the greatest performance of any router that we’ve included on our list. It’s the top performer that can deliver almost a gigabit every second of data in our normal tests of performance, and tearing through ceilings and walls easily. It’s not just the Archer C2300 the most powerful router we’ve ever tested, but it’s also compact, quiet, and loaded with top-of-the-line features.

It’s the Archer C2300 comes with built-in optimization tools, such as antivirus, QoS, and parental controls typically included on the more expensive rivals. It costs just $120, which is just a fraction of what comparable competitors are priced, and comes with an extended warranty of two years. The TP-Link Archer 2300 is the most budget Wi-Fi router you could purchase today.

Check out our complete TP-Link Archer C2300 test here.

Best Wi-Fi routers: TP-Link Archer AX6000
(Image credit: TP-Link)

The most affordable Wi-Fi 6 router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band

8/Yes

Ports: 1 WAN/8 gigabit per second, USB 3, USB C

High Throughput 884.4Mbps

Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 2.4 inches

Motives to purchase

+8 LAN ports+Extra security+Inexpensive

There are reasons to avoid

Limited app to take out the LAN cables

Wi-Fi 6 routers can be expensive however value is the keyword for the TP-Link Archer AX6000 router, our most low-cost wireless router. It could be slow on the performance front and may not have the range, but it does offer high-speed Wi-Fi 6, at a cost of $100 less than rival Wi-Fi 6 routers. Consider Archer AX6000 as the affordable router for the initial generation of Wi-Fi devices.

With eight networking ports wired and the ability to connect two of them to produce two-gigabit streams of data, the TP-Link Archer AX6000 router is leading the way in Wi-Fi 6 routers that work just as efficiently using wireless devices, as with Wi-Fi. In addition to security via routers and security features, its Archer AX6000 stands alone as one of the most reliable routers that you can buy for the price of difficult to beat.

Check out our complete review of the TP-Link Archer review of the AX6000.

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 review
(Image credit: Netgear)

 Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500

It is the Wi-Fi speed monster

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6e/Tri-band

No. of Antennas/Removable: 8/No.

Ports: 1 WAN/4LAN gigabits per second 2 USB 3.0

Throughput: 2.396Gbps

The size is 12.0 inches x 8.6 * 3.3 inches

Motives to purchase

+Top speed with 6GHz band+Customizability+Security software

There are reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Throughput declines quickly with distance

It is the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is the first Wi-Fi router to be released on the market, its performance is astonishing. With the addition of a band with 6GHz to the already amazing abilities of the Wi-Fi 6 technology, the Nighthawk RAXE500 offers performance that is top of the line. Equipped with an AXE11000 rating the tri-band router surpasses the hype, delivering almost 2.5Gbps for real-world information. In addition, with the sleek design and the highly configurable configuration options it’s no wonder that it’s easy to see why the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 becomes one of the most reliable wireless routers we’ve reviewed.

In addition to having access to an array of data-generating channels in the spectrum of 6GHz, The tri-band Nighthawk RAXE500 is the first high-performance wireless 6e router. It’s the kind of performance that has earned this model a 2021 Tom’s Guide Award for best Wi-Fi router, despite the fact that it’s not the ideal choice for all. It’s most effective in close proximity and is among the priciest routers you can purchase and the RAXE500 is well worth the money when you’re looking to speed.

Check out our complete Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 Review.

Best Wi-Fi routers: Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (RS400)
(Image credit: Netgear; Shutterstock)

Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (RS400)

The most secure router for your entire home

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual-Band

The number of antennas/removable: 3/Yes

Ports 1 WAN 4 1-Gbps LAN 2 USB 2.0

The maximum throughput is 626.6 Mbps

Dimensions: 11.2 x 7.3 x 2.0 inches

Motives to purchase

Excellent performance and three years of security software + Easy installation

There are reasons to avoid

Short-range- Not much to configure

It’s priced to be an ultra-high-performance gaming router however, the Nighthawk from Netgear AC2300 (RS400) offers a totally different (and maybe more significant) sector: Cybersecurity. The RS400 might provide impressive performance and sufficient range for most households, but the true worth is the protection it offers, with a plethora of security options from Netgear and Bitdefender with three years of security from Bitdefender Total Security Software.

The RS400 is designed to protect the entire home network including your phones and laptops from a variety of smart devices including ovens, TVs, or thermostats to doorbell cameras. With all the devices connected to our home network today, it’s essential to be cautious, as one device that is not secured properly can expose you to malware and hackers. The RS400 will keep your entire home secure and simple to set up and maintain this makes it our preferred security router.

Check out our complete Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (RS400) review.

Best Wi-Fi routers: TP-Link Archer A7
The TP-Link Archer A7 (Image credit: the TP-Link)

Our most affordable wireless router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual-Band

The number of antennas/removable: 3/3.

Ports Four 1-Gbps LAN ports One USB 2.0

The maximum throughput is 647.4 Mbps

Dimensions: 1.3 inches x 9.6 * 6.4 inches

The reasons to buy

A bargain router, reasonable performance, and a two-year warranty

The reasons to stay clear of

-Lacks deep customization options-Limited range

It’s the TP-Link Archer A7 is the top Wi-Fi router designed for users who are on a tight budget. It offers extremely good 802.11ac performance as well as a remarkable amount of features at a lower cost than many other routers. This Archer A7 has great performance for its price, putting over more information than many of the similar-priced routers we’ve tested. It also has four Gigabit connections to LAN and a USB 2.0 port to connect devices.

Alongside its impressive performance and features in addition to its impressive performance and features, it also has a number of features and performance. Archer A7 also has a simple setup process, as well as useful parental controls using an application that allows you to manage and monitor network usage from any location. The Archer A7 may not come with tools for customization, but it comes with parental controls and quality of Service (QoS) software which guarantees superior performance. It’s the most cost-effective WiFi router we’ve tried.

Find our complete TP-Link Archer A7 review.

Best Wi-Fi routers: TP-Link Archer C5400X
The TP-Link Archer C5400X (Image credit: The TP-Link Archer C5400X (Credit: The TP-Link))

 The TP-Link Archer C5400X

Extreme raw performance designed for gaming

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band

No. of Antennas/Removable: 8/No.

Ports 1 WAN 8 1-Gbps LAN 1 USB 2.0

The maximum throughput is 859.5 Mbps

Dimensions: 11.2 x 11.2 x 7.6 inches

The reasons to buy

Fantastic performance, tri-band design and customization possibility and Security software

There are reasons to avoid

-Big-Can’t aim antennas

The Archer C5400X by TP-Link will be the router that you cannot beat and boasts some of the highest performance that you’ll find on any single home network device. It has the highest tri-band performance available offering 1Gbps on its 2.4GHz band and 2.167Gbps for each of the two channels at 5GHz. It also offers amazing coverage, with over 100 feet of excellent coverage that can cover the majority of homes with a strong, clear WiFi signal.

The 8-antenna-inspired design with a spider-like look and the red-on-black color scheme is certain to attract attention but the most attractive factor is the assortment of security and optimization features that will please every power user. With superb bandwidth-allocation controls to allow you to use the huge bandwidth as you like this router offers amazing performance in the hands of the user for gaming or for anything else.

Find our complete TP Link Archer C5400X test here.

Best Wi-Fi routers: Linksys EA8300 Max Stream
Linksys EA8300 Max Stream (Image credit: Linksys EA8300 Max Stream (Credit: Linksys))

 Linksys EA8300 Max Stream

The most powerful router for those who are power users.

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band

The number of antennas/removable: 6/No

Ports 1 WAN 1 WAN, 4 1-Gbps LAN 1 USB 3.0

The maximum throughput is 626.5 Mbps

Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.4 x 2.2 inches

The reasons to buy

Excellent performance and design. Good software and options, plus a compact design.

There are reasons to stay away from

Short-range

For a fully customizable router, We recommend the Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream that’s not just a top tri-band router but also comes with tools that allow you to modify and personalize your router to ensure optimal performance. The compact black EA8300 Max-Stream is capable of moving a large amount of data, however, it is best suited for smaller spaces. However, even with its smaller distance, it delivers remarkable capabilities for a router selling at less than $200.

When you’re allocating bandwidth in order to prioritize media streaming or gaming, or simply creating the parental control, you are able to automate a variety of features, make manual adjustments in the blink of an eye, and even monitor it from your computer or mobile. With so many options to personalize your router’s performance and performance, the LinksysEA8300 Max Stream is a good choice for those who want to be the most powerful user.

Check out our complete Linksys EA8300 Max Review of Stream.

Do you think it is time to upgrade Your Wi-Fi router?

Maybe you’re finding that your WiFi coverage is less responsive than it once did or have experienced poor reception, or you’re in need of a new router capable of handling the demands of an ever numerous variety of smart devices found in the typical home. If you’re experiencing one of these issues A new router will solve these issues.

It’s also worth considering upgrading when you’re running older equipment. If you’re using an older Wireless-N or wireless-AC (retroactively named Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 5 respectively) router at home, it’s time to consider purchasing a newer model. Not only do these modern standards allow for better connectivity, but they also bring additional benefits as well. Your battery on your smartphone will last longer due to improved device management and the connected devices in your home will be more responsive and more responsive with better standards.

Another motive to replace your router would be if paid an annual fee to rent the gateway device provided by your ISP. The average cost for equipment rentals is around $10-15 per month, a brand new router could cost you less than only a couple of months and provide superior service and features, and more! Don’t forget to pair it up with one of the top broadband modems available to relieve yourself completely from the additional fees that typically come with broadband internet plans.

How do you choose the right Wi-Fi router?

When it comes to selecting the right wireless router it’s easy to become confused by the complexities of the jargon of networking and obscure standards for technology. However, all you require is to answer two crucial questions Which speed do you need to speed up the internet? And what kind amount of internet coverage will you require for your home?

Standards and speeds: The internet speed you require for your router will typically determine the amount of speed that you receive through your Internet service providers as well as what speed is available on your modem. The majority of people using a standard 802.11AC router can take care of all but the most amazing plans that are available, such as Gigabit internet plans, which are available only in certain cities. With the average speed of broadband being around 100 Mbps, the majority of wireless AC routers are equipped to tackle the task effortlessly.

The most advanced technology for routers is known as Wi-Fi 6, an improved, more efficient standard that’s more suited to the multitude of devices in our homes today. The latest Wi-Fi 6 routers are accessible, but Wi-Fi 6-enabled devices, such as laptops and phones, are very few and far between. If you’re not using several devices at the same time it’s unlikely that you’ll get the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 in the near future. Read our article about Wi-Fi 6: What’s it all about and why it’s a good idea to know more about it.

Range of coverage: The other part of the wireless equation is the coverage area. A standard standalone router can typically provide up to 50-100 feet coverage and will cover the majority of small and apartment houses. If you own a home with a size of 3000 square feet or more you should think about a mesh router, that uses several devices to offer WiFi coverage throughout the house. They are particularly useful in homes with multiple stories and in homes that have weak spots in which the Wi-Fi signal gets cut off.

ports: While wireless connectivity may be the primary thing you’re looking for from a WiFi router, you’ll also need to consider wired connections. Ethernet allows for faster connectivity to games consoles as well as smart TVs that require greater bandwidth. USB ports are great to connect a printer or other storage device to your network.

It’s another issue with input particularly if you live in an area that offers Gigabit high-speed internet. With a high-speed connection, a slower router can become an obstruction that slows down your whole home. Some routers are able to combine two inputs to provide even more speedy connections.

Pricing range current 802.11ac routers usually cost under $100, for the basic dual-band models. Higher-end models cost from $100 to $300, however, they have wide coverage and higher speeds, whereas gaming routers that have built-in optimization capabilities will typically fetch more. The latest routers that utilize standards like Wi-Fi6 (previously called 802.11ax) typically cost $400 or more.

Being up-to-date with everything that is happening in the world of routers is a challenge, so make sure to take a look at our information on the latest technologies such as what is mesh Wi-Fi router and should you get one? Find the latest information on how to solve the security issues of your router starting with simple steps and ending with advanced security. From router security to more in-depth explanations of WiFi 6 and the new Wi-Fi 6, we’re constantly providing the most up-to-date details on the latest technologies and advancements.

Make sure your entire family is protected by using the most reliable router VPN

What we do to test Wi-Fi routers

Every router we test evaluates to assess efficiency and range and also uses it in the real world to assess the speed of setup and quality of features and settings.

Throughput is the amount of data the router can transfer between the wireless network. We measure this using five feet distance, with no obstructions so that we know the number of data routers can transfer. More throughput can serve you better for data-intensive tasks such as games, streaming videos, or connecting several users at the same time.

The range is the longest usable distance that the router can travel. The longer ranges are ideal for larger houses since rooms are spread over an interval. We calculate the number of data routers that can transfer between 5 or 50, 75, or 100 feet, which means that you are able to select the right model for smaller houses and apartments, where speed and efficiency might be the main consideration.

We also test the performance of ceilings and walls to assess how well the router will be able to provide signals under the conditions that cause Wi-Fi interference typical to many buildings and houses.

In the case of mesh routers, we conduct tests to see how well the mesh router sends signals through the main router as well as satellite units.

Check out all of our home networking coverage:

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

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Brian Westover

Brian Westover is an Editor at Tom’s Guide, covering everything from TVs to the latest PCs. Before being a part of Tom’s Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.

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