Best wireless routers 2018: the best routers for your home network

null

Nothing is worse than having your favorite Netflix show pause, only to have that dreaded buffering icon show up. And, if that happens to you regularly, it might just be time to buy one of the best routers available in 2018. After all – buffering icons should stay in the past, where they belong.

The first thing many people do when dealing with these internet issues, unfortunately, is just throw more cash at their ISP. But Even if you have the fastest internet in the world – it won’t matter if your wireless router isn’t up to the task. And, with all the devices that need constant internet connections today, the best thing you can do is pick up one of the best routers. And, we’re here to help you do just that.

Unfortunately, the router market is filled with dozens of different devices – so, finding the best router for your needs can be difficult. Don’t worry though, we’ve created a list of the best wireless routers you can buy in 2018. No matter what you need to do on the internet, you can be confident you’ll find the best router for your needs right here.

1. Google Wifi

The future of wireless networking gets affordable

Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 101.41 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: 47.53 Mbps | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each) | Features: AC1200 2 x 2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi, TX beamforming, Bluetooth Smart ready

Super simple setup
Great value
Limited hardware control
Lower AC rating

In a lot of ways, Google Wifi is truly the future of wireless routers, and with it, you can finally bid farewell to the days when the only way to achieve wireless freedom was a bunch of unattractive range extenders in all of your power outlets. The premise of Google Wifi is simple – you buy a set of points and place them in key locations around your house. Then you just simply scan a QR code, and you’re done. They’re set up. 

Read the full review: Google Wifi

2. Asus RT-AC86U

Performance as loud as the design

Speed: : 802.11ac 1734 Mbps down | Connectivity: : 5 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: : MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS WTFast Gamers Private Network

Extensive firmware
Great speed and coverage
Complex firmware
Divisive looks

 

Anyone who’s familiar with Asus, and especially its more gamer-centric products knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into here – especially regarding design. The Asus RT-AC86U looks like the result of a Mountain Dew-fueled deal with the devil, and it will certainly stand out wherever you put it. Underneath that garish design forever, is hardware that, for its price, wholly stands up against its competition. You won’t be paying a premium here for the ‘gaming hardware’ and, if you’re looking for a fast router at a good price, you can’t really go wrong here.

Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U 

3. Netgear Orbi

Wireless coverage that’s high-end, almost to a fault

Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 90.14 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: 93.69 Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN + 3 LAN for Router, 4 LAN for Satellite), 1 x USB 2.0 port | Features: 4GB flash memory, 512MB RAM, AC3000, MU-MIMO ready

Excellent coverage
Easy setup
Mighty pricey
Finicky Wi-Fi band settings

Unlike Google Wi-Fi, the Netgear Orbi wireless mesh system comes with just two units instead of three: a router and a satellite, much like a cell phone signal booster. And, it may be expensive, but it's worth it – its simple setup, requiring little more than being plugged into a modem and a wall adapter, makes the Orbi extremely accessible. Add in its fantastic performance, and it’s easy to see why the Netgear Orbi is one of the best routers you can buy in 2018. 

Read full review: Netgear Orbi

4. TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

Weird looks, great performance

Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: up to 2,167 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: up to 1,000 Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x LAN, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 | Features: MU-MIMO, Tri-band Wi-Fi, 8 external antennas, Alexa voice control

Fast and powerful
Alexa and IFTTT support
Expensive

If you want high-end wireless performance from a device that looks like something out of an 90s Sci-Fi movie, you’re going to want to check out the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2. Sure, it’s not a Mesh Wi-Fi system like Google Wi-Fi, but it’s unique in its ability to bridge consumer and enterprise users by offering high end features at an affordable price point – and with easy setup. Yeah, it looks weird, but if you’re looking for the best router for a large home, you really can’t do much better.

Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

Netgear Orbi Pro overview

5. Netgear Orbi Pro

A mesh router for the office

Speed: 802.11AC 3Gbps | Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN | Features: Modular network coverage, modern design, easy setup, traffic separation

Easy to deploy
Fantastic performance
Very expensive

If you work in an office, and you’re ready to bring your networking into the modern age with one of the best routers for businesses, you seriously need to check out the Netgear Orbi Pro. Much like the Netgear Orbi mentioned earlier in this guide, the Orbi Pro is a modular Wi-Fi mesh system, but it makes some design and performance changes that specifically cater to the business user. It’s not cheap, but if you run a business where you can’t afford anyone slowing down due to slow Wi-Fi, it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: Netgear Orbi Pro

6. Amplifi HD

Bringing style to mesh networking

Speed: 802.11AC 1300mbps | Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN | Features: Modular network coverage, modern design, LCD touchscreen

 Modern aesthetic 
 Easy to set up 
 More expensive than competition 

While it may be more expensive than the Google Wifi for similar performance, the Amplifi HD as a clean, modern style that would make Apple jealous. While this may seem like a minor point for some, this aesthetic means that nobody will be ashamed of installing this router in a nice open space – which will only boost it’s already-great performance. In our testing we didn’t notice a difference in performance, whether right next to the main router, or upstairs next to one of the included mesh units. This is one of those routers that matches great performance with great looks – as long as you have the cash to support it.

Read the full review: Amplifi HD 

7. Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router

A gaming router with the performance to back it up

Speed: : AC3200 | Connectivity: : 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0 | Features: : Killer Prioritization Engine, Customized Firmware, 1.8GHZ Dual-Core CPU, MU-MIMO

Great Wi-Fi speed
Easy to use firmware
Very expensive

On the surface, the Linksys WRT32X might not look that different than Linksys’ heavy-hitter, the WRT3200. And, well, that’s not actually that far off. The WRT32X takes all of the successful components of that highly rated router, and puts them in a gamer-centric router with a custom firmware that’s extremely easy to navigate and a very subdued and attractive visual design. You will be paying a premium for this repackaging, but if you’re looking for reliable ping performance that online gaming requires, the Linksys WRT32X takes one of the best routers and tailors it to your needs.

Read the full review: Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router 

8. Billion BiPac 8900AX-2400

A highfalutin router that doubles as a modem

Speed: 802.11ac: 2,400Mbps 802.11n: 2,400Mbps | Connectivity: 1 x DSL port, 4 x 1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 x EWAN Ethernet port, 1 x USB 2.0 | Features: Built-in ADSL2+ modem, 1 x 2.4GHz; 1 x 5Ghz bands, LED status lights, reset button, power button

Good performance
ADSL2+ modem included
Clunky interface
Only USB 2.0

 Billion has done it again and delivered the fastest router it’s ever released. Boasting a throughput of 2,400Mbps over both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, the BiPac 8900AX-2400 is a beast – even if we wouldn’t consider it aesthetically pleasing. In lieu of a dated interface, this router features a wide range of ports for added storage down the line on top of integrating a state of the art ADSL2+ modem. 

Read the full review: Billion BiPac 8900AX-2400

ea

9. Starry Station

Wi-Fi made easy (and attractive)

Speed: 802.11ac: 1,300Mbps 802.11n: 450Mbps | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit LAN port | Features: Dual-band Wi-Fi technology, 3.8-inch LCD touchscreen, embedded speaker/microphone

Elegant, simple interface
Touchscreen offers info and control
May need to rewire source
Gets noticeably loud

For those of us still clinging on to those wireless modems rented out by our ISPs, the Starry Station makes Wi-Fi a breeze without handing over piles of cash every month to a greedy conglomerate. Not only is it fast, boasting download speeds that are usually around the same as a Verizon FiOS stock router, but the Starry Station is also beautiful – enough so that you won’t feel the need to hide it away in a cabinet, obstructing its signal. Plus, it manages to avoid those pesky numerical gateways that no one wants to memorize. 

Read the full review: Starry Station

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Linksys Velop.
Linksys Velop
$178.49

10. Synology RT2600ac

NAS or router – why don’t we have both?

Speed: 802.11ac: 1,733Mbps 802.11n: 800Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit WAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x SD card reader | Features: 512MB RAM, 1.7GHz dual-core ARM Qualcomm IPQ8065 processor, MU-MIMO, beam-forming, 4GB flash storage

Easy-to-use web interface
Great hardware extras
Pricier than other AC2600 routers
Not the fastest 802.11ac router

It’s not everyday you encounter a router that doubles as an NAS, or network-attached storage device – a type of server box that allows you to store and access files over your local internet connection. The Synology RT2600ac, on the other hand, combines the best of both worlds, going as far as to deliver third-party applications such as VPNs and DLNA media servers. There’s even Apple Time Machine support for over-the-air Mac backups.

Read the full review: Synology RT2600ac

The 10 best wireless routers

?
Google Wifi
$115
Netgear Orbi
$144.99
Starry Station
$271.67
Synology RT2600ac
$159.99
Linksys WRT 3200 ACM
$198
Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 Wireless Router
$169.92
Linksys Velop
$158
Asus RT-AC88U
$199.99
Deal ends Sun, 27 May
Netgear Nighthawk X4S
$187.95
Linksys WRT AC1900ACS
$159.99

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