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Best wireless routers 2021: the best Wi-Fi for your home network

Best wireless routers
We’ve compiled this list of our picks for the best wireless routers for you. (Image credit: Future)
PRICE
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Invest in one of the best routers you can to make your network troubles go away. While you can get a little more performance out of whatever router you have now by adding one of the best Wi-Fi extenders, you will still have an unreliable router handling your internet.

The best routers, however, are made for fantastic network performance and will provide a robust, solid signal. They come with some great additional features as well, such as plenty of ports, smart home support, and network management tools to help with multi-device and user networks. That way, you squeeze every ounce of performance out of that router, whether that’s fighting with or against friends in the best PC games, bingeing the best Netflix shows, or doing daily Zoom meetings with family or colleagues without issue.

Typical routers that your internet provider rent to you just don’t compete with the best routers. No matter if you want to upgrade to cutting edge tech like the best mesh Wi-Fi router or a Wi-Fi 6 router, or prefer a more traditional router, you’ll find something in our list of best routers that will work for your network needs.

Google Nest Wifi

Google Nest Wifi takes the Google Wifi and gives it the capabilities of Google Home. (Image credit: Google)

1. Google Nest Wifi

Google Wifi and Home together at long last

Specifications
Speed: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz/5 GHz simultaneous dual-band
Connectivity: Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: Advanced security chip, Nest Wifi point with Google Assistant, privacy control
Reasons to buy
+Excellent design+Smart speaker(s) included+Even simpler controls
Reasons to avoid
-No major performance gains-Not worth replacing existing mesh

Google kicks things up a notch in its Google Wifi line with its latest installment. Don’t get us wrong; the original Google Wifi is still among the best wireless routers today. However, if you’re all about the smart home life, then you’ll appreciate the pure genius of Google Nest Wifi. The best router 2021 has given us takes the Google Wifi, gives it the capabilities of Google Home and wraps it all up in an even sleeker and more appealing package. It’s a mesh router and a smart speaker in one, all with the simplicity that Google Wifi is known for.

Read the full review: Google Nest Wifi

Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

Wi-Fi 6 meets mesh routers

Specifications
Speed: 802.11ax 4804Mbps down
Connectivity: 2.5 Gigabit Wan, 3 x Gigabit LAN, Gigabit Wan, USB 3.1
Features: MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro
Reasons to buy
+Great Wi-Fi performance+Good security features
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to two routers

Asus has been rolling out some amazing Wi-Fi 6 routers recently, and it has been releasing them for just about every need and budget. With the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), It has also managed to introduce Wi-Fi 6 to that other cutting-edge tech in connectivity; mesh routers. While it is among the more expensive options out there and limits you to two mesh routers, the Asus ZenWifi AX offers blazing fast speeds as well as plenty of flexibility in its setup – such as the option to set up one or two networks using the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. With excellent security features to boot, this is a fantastic choice if you’re looking at mesh routers.

Read the full review: Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

Asus RT-AX86U

(Image credit: Asus)

3. Asus RT-AX86U

An impressive all-around upgrade

Specifications
Speed: 802.11ax up to 5700 Mbps down
Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit LAN, Gigabit Wan, 2.5G Wan, 2x USB 3.2
Features: MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, Parental Control, NVIDIA Geforce Now Cloud Gaming Optimization
Reasons to buy
+Fast Wi-Fi 6 performance+Gaming-focused+Security features
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap

Asus has always had an excellent line of gaming-centric devices, and the Asus RT-AX86U continues that tradition. While expensive compared to run-of-the-mill routers, it’s actually a competitively priced Wi-Fi 6 router. And, considering Wi-Fi 6 is the future in connectivity, this router is a win for Asus and an ace for gamers. It also has some great features for gamers such as a 2.5 Gigabit Wan, the ability to assign an ethernet port as a dedicated “gaming” port, and NVIDIA Geforce Now Cloud Gaming Optimization. Finally, it comes with very useful parental controls if you need them.

Read the full review: Asus RT-AX86U

Asus RT-AX58U

(Image credit: Asus)

4. Asus RT-AX58U

Wi-Fi 6 on a budget

Specifications
Speed: up to 3000Mbps
Connectivity: RJ45 for BaseT for WAN, 4 x RJ45 for BaseT for LAN, USB 3.1 Gen 1
Features: Router app, MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro, Parental Control
Reasons to buy
+Strong Wi-Fi 6 performance+Simple set-up+Good parental controls
Reasons to avoid
-Dual-band only

Wi-Fi 6 is the new cutting-edge technology in networking. And while it offers faster speeds, better connections and larger area coverage, it comes at a price. With the Asus RT-AX58U, the company has been able to offer that Wi-Fi 6 performance at a much more reasonable price. And while it might not carry some of the extra features or ports that some of the more robust options have, it does offer some important ones such as MU-MIMO and Parental Controls. So if you’re looking for a no-frills way to get speedy internet, the Asus RT-AX58U may be the way to go.

Read the full review: Asus RT-AX58U

TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 can bridge consumer and enterprise users by offering high-end functionality at a reasonable price point. (Image credit: TP-Link)

Weird looks, great performance

Specifications
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: up to 2,167 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: up to 1,000 Mbps
Connectivity: 4 x LAN, WAN, USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Features: MU-MIMO, Tri-band Wi-Fi, 8 external antennas, Alexa voice control
Reasons to buy
+Fast and powerful+Alexa and IFTTT support
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Are you in the market for one of the best wireless routers of 2021 and don’t mind a quirky design. If a ‘90s-inspired sci-fi design sounds like it will fit right in your home, then the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 might be the best wireless router for you. It’s not exactly the most modern-looking mesh router out there, but it’s unique in that it can bridge consumer and enterprise users by offering high-end functionality at a reasonable price point and with a relaxed setup. It’s peculiar looking, yes; however, if you’re scouring the market for a wireless router that can cover a mid-sized home, you can’t go wrong with this.

Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

Netgear Orbi Pro

Netgear Orbi Pro is a modular Wi-Fi mesh router. (Image credit: Netgear)

6. Netgear Orbi Pro

A mesh router for the office

Specifications
Speed: 802.11AC 3Gbps
Connectivity: Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN
Features: Modular network coverage, modern design, easy setup, traffic separation
Reasons to buy
+Easy to deploy+Fantastic performance
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive

If you need to bring your office’s networking into the modern age with the best router 2021 has on offer, then you must seriously consider getting the Netgear Orbi Pro. It’s a modular Wi-Fi mesh router that takes some design and performance inspiration from its business-grade competitors. It’s on the more expensive side. However, if you’re running a business where you cannot afford any lags due to poor Wi-Fi, then it’s absolutely worth every penny.

Read the full review: Netgear Orbi Pro

Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23

Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23 is an economical alternative for casual users. (Image credit: Netgear)

7. Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23

The Netgear Orbi, but smaller now

Specifications
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 68.8 Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per unit
Features: Disney Circle parental controls, Pause WiFi, smartphone setup, Tri-Band networking, modular
Reasons to buy
+Fast +Smaller than the original 
Reasons to avoid
-Still expensive 

When the Netgear Orbi hit the streets, it changed the wireless router scene. Then, in 2019, Netgear released the Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23, an economical alternative for casual users who don’t have a grand manor to cover. This makes it a worthy contender for the best wireless routers. Sure, it comes with fewer antennae and ethernet ports than its higher end counterpart. However, it does deliver more than enough to provide very solid network coverage. Plus, the small form factor means that it will have no issues blending in­ – not that you will feel the need to hide it.

Read the full review: Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23 

TP-Link Deco M9

TP-Link Deco M9 incorporates IoT smart home support, alongside industry standard speeds and coverage. (Image credit: TP-Link)

A router for the smart home

Specifications
Speed: 5GHz: up to 867Mbps, 2.4GHz: up to 400Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit WAN/LAN, USB 2.0
Features: Tri-Band connectivity, Dead-zone killer, Built-in smart hub, Built-in Antivirus, QoS, Parental controls
Reasons to buy
+Strong coverage+Easy setup
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

The market is now flooded with wireless mesh routers, but it’s hard to complain when the level of coverage these wireless routers brings tops anything we’ve seen before. With devices like the TP-Link Deco M9, we can see how they’re only getting better and better. By incorporating IoT smart home support, alongside industry standard speeds and coverage, the TP-Link Deco M9 is, without question, an excellent choice for a smart home supporter. Fair warning though, this router is a tad expensive. However, you’re also getting all these features and an outstanding performance in exchange.

Read the full review: TP-Link Deco M9

D-Link Covr-C1203

D-Link Covr C1203 is one of the best wireless routers if you want to upgrade and save at the same time. (Image credit: D-Link)

Wireless mesh networking for everyone

Specifications
Speed: 2.4 GHz: up to 300Mbps; 5GHz: up to 866Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN per node
Features: MU-MIMO, Parental controls, Smart network control, Smart device setup
Reasons to buy
+Affordable +Great coverage 
Reasons to avoid
-Not as fast as it could be 

Ready to jump on the mesh wireless router bandwagon, but without breaking open that piggy bank? You’re in luck with the affordable D-Link Covr C1203. It’s one of the best wireless routers, if you want to upgrade and save at the same time. It offers comparable coverage to that of the Google Wi-Fi while also being affordable, and it also looks futuristic in a great way. It’s somewhat slower than Google’s legendary router, but it will still be fast enough for the typical user. It’s no surprise that the D-Link Covr C1203 gets our vote the best router 2021 if you want a mesh one.

Read the full review: D-Link Covr-C1203 

Eero Home Wi-Fi System

Eero Home Wi-Fi System gives users total control over their network while touting a secure connection through AI. (Image credit: Eero Home)

10. Eero Home Wi-Fi System

Mesh wi-fi for the power user

Specifications
Speed: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz, 5.2GHz and 5.8GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit WAN/LAN
Features: Modular network coverage, modern design, included security software, dynamic rerouting
Reasons to buy
+ Powerful + Blends into the background 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricer than competition

If you’re in the market for a wireless mesh router that gives you a lot of control over your network, then the Eero Home Wi-Fi system might just be the answer. It has a price more premium than that of your standard router, but it also gives users total control over their network while touting a secure connection through AI. Even better, the Eero Home Wi-Fi System comes with subscriptions to 1Password, MalwareBytes and Encrypt.me VPN, which should keep everyone linked to your network safe and secure. 

Read the full review: Eero Home Wi-Fi System 

Joe Osborne, Bill Thomas, Gabe Carey and Michelle Uy have also contributed to this article

Images Credit: TechRadar