Finding one of the best Wi-Fi routers is perhaps the most crucial tech decision you will make. It's the device that ensures that you have solid connectivity for every other device in your home, making it the literal foundation of your network. Whether you use your connection purely for entertainment or it's a crucial piece of your work from home or remote learning setup, it remains vital that it can keep up with your needs.
After dozens of hours researching the best wi-fi routers available today we have gathered together a collection of the best of the best for a wide variety of different needs. Regardless of your budget, wireless needs or home size we have the best Wi-Fi router for you.
- How to install a new router
- Where to place your router for the best Wi-Fi signal
- Best USB Wi-Fi adapters in 2022
What is the best wi-fi router?
The best wi-fi router for most people today is the TP-Link Archer AX21, it offers a fantastic blend of value to performance that will easily meet the needs of most users. The TP-Link Archer AX21 can cover most homes or apartments with enough bandwidth to support multiple users streaming HD or 4K content, surfing the web, or gaming online. It's also one of the most affordable routers to feature Wi-Fi 6.
The TP-Link Archer AX21 is reasonably compact, allowing you to find an ideal central location for it without too much difficulty and the four antennas can be rotated and positioned to allow for optimal coverage throughout your home. The four additional LAN ports and the USB Type-A port should be enough for most users peripheral needs. The solid TP-Link Tether app makes setup and management of the router easier than browser-based management, but that of course is available as well if you prefer.
While the TP-Link Archer AX21 is the best wi-fi router for most users, for those that need more performance, more coverage, or those that want to spend a little less there are other excellent options on the market that will be the right fit for you. Take a look at the full lineup of our favorite wi-fi routers below and we’ll help you identify the perfect fit for you.
Here are the best Wi-Fi routers you can buy today
While the run-of-the-mill appearance of the TP-Link Archer AX21 won't grab you the solid Wi-Fi 6 performance and incredibly affordable price point should.
TP-Link has delivered a number of our favorite affordable routers in the past and the Archer AX21 follows in that tradition with specs that dramatically outperform its roughly $100 price. The easy-to-use iOS/Android app allows you to easily set up and handle basic features without turning to the web interface including some simple traffic prioritization. More complex tasks will still require that you turn to the web interface, but many users won't find that necessary.
Despite its budget price point you get some higher-end features like Alexa support, including Wi-Fi Simple Setup, which makes setting up any Alexa-enabled devices in your home quick and easy.
There are certainly benefits to the higher-end options covered on this page for some users, but if you are looking to cover a medium-size home (up to 2,500 square feet) and don’t have either a bounty of peripherals to connect or incredibly demanding bandwidth needs, the TP-Link Archer AX21 is the best Wi-Fi router for you.
If you are already bought into the Google Home or Nest ecosystems, then the Nest WiFi is an easy recommendation. For those who haven’t dipped their toes into either yet, this is an excellent entry point. The Nest WiFi is a mesh Wi-Fi router that can be purchased individually or with multiple extensions depending on the size of your space. The standard two-pack is rated for up to 3,800 square feet, so it should be plenty for most homes.
While it doesn’t offer the fastest top speeds, it will deliver sufficient bandwidth for the web browsing and HD or 4K video streaming needs of a multi-user household. The added bonus is that you get a built-in Nest Mini equivalent speaker in the router and any additional access points for both smart home interactions and music playback. This can manage the rest of your smart home devices and act as part of a whole home speaker system with other Nest or Google Home speakers.
The relatively small size and pleasantly rounded fabric design of the Nest Wifi are additional points in its favor. Unlike many Wi-Fi routers, you are going to want to leave this out in the open due to the smart home/speaker functionality, which is also ideal for delivering a solid Wi-Fi signal around your home. For those with complex networking needs, the Nest WiFi may fall short as it doesn’t offer some more advanced options, but if you want an easy-to-use solution, the Nest WiFi is one of the best.
Affordable and Wi-Fi 6 were mutually exclusive concepts for a router until recently, but the TP-Link Archer AX50 (a.k.a. AX3000) is another option that proves this is no longer the case coming in under $150.
While gamers or those with extensive smart home needs may need more than the four gigabit LAN ports and USB 3.0 Type-A port available on the TP-Link Archer AX50, it is more than enough for most users. You get the most up-to-date Wi-Fi 6 tech along with other enhancements like MU-MIMO and beamforming. At 12.99 x 9.65 x 2.95-inches, it is on the larger side which depending on your setup may not be convenient.
Gamers looking for the highest throughput possible might want to take a look at our gaming-specific recommendation (see below) and those with larger homes (over 2,500 square feet) should consider a mesh option, but the TP-Link AX50 manages to make Wi-Fi 6 accessible without sacrificing anything that will impact the majority of users.
While the Asus RT-AX86U Gaming Router would be dramatic overkill for most people, gamers are one category of Wi-Fi users that will use every last bit of performance that they can wring out of the hardware to avoid a single dropped frame.
The dual-band design can deliver up to 5.7Gbps over its Wi-Fi 6 and 160MHz channels. The antennas can be rotated to optimize the signal depending on the layout of your home and placement of the router (they are replaceable if you want to upgrade them later). The true 2Gbps wired and wireless speeds are among the best available today.
While the router offers solid coverage for approximately a 2,500 square foot home on its own, it’s worth noting that additional Asus routers can be added on via the company’s AiMesh system (it doesn’t have to be the exact same unit) to fill in a gap in coverage if necessary.
If you are looking to spend less than $50 on a new router then the TP-Link Archer A7 is the easy answer. Like its larger sibling, the TP-Link Archer C2300, the Archer A7 isn’t going to win any design awards for its simple black casing and three antenna array. Sill, the end result is a solid performer for an amazing price.
The app and web-based customization tools are easy to use and let you set a variety of options to optimize your network for specific activities. For example, you can enable parental controls along with some basic security features.
The limitations with the TP-Link Archer A7 are the overall range, which is probably sufficient for a roughly 2,500-square foot home and multiple users hitting the network hard with taxing activities like 4K streaming or gaming. The best Wi-Fi routers don't have to be the most expensive options.
If you go for the spare-no-expense model of tech purchasing, then let me introduce you to the Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000, a Wi-Fi 6 router that offers the best speeds of any mesh network option on the market. The downside is that it costs more than twice what a solid mesh option like the Nest WiFi will give you, and delivers advantages that will go unnoticed by most users.
Unless you have a gigabit connection in your home or are pushing around a lot of data within your home network, then you just aren’t going to appreciate the faster speeds that are provided by the Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000. But if you are looking to future proof your home setup, this router is going to be ready to stream 4K or 8K video to multiple screens in your home without breaking a sweat.
Coverage shouldn’t be a problem with up to 5,000 square feet from the two-pack and additional satellites will add another 2,500 square feet of coverage each. While the white and silver design of the Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000 isn’t offensive by any means, you might not want it to be a part of your room decor.
While it doesn’t have an integrated speaker like the Nest Wifi, you can control the system with voice commands from either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Extras aren’t really a big part of the experience with the Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000. The same goes for the software, which doesn't have the same extensive customization options you’ll find from a gaming router or even our top recommendation, the TP-Link Archer C2300. It’s pretty much just focused on delivering the fastest performance across the widest coverage, and with that, it delivers.
The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 can be a confusing option because it's a solid, mid-range router with a price closer to what you would expect for a mesh network or a high-performance router. So what are you paying extra for? Security.
The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 offers an abundance of security features baked in, like 802.11i data encryption and a double firewall that will help anyone on your network stay free from hackers and malware. Beyond that, it also includes a three-year subscription to Bitdefender Total Security, a comprehensive security suite that, by itself, would cost over $200.
Beyond this functionality, it offers reasonable performance for those with less than 2,000 square feet to cover in their home and will deliver enough bandwidth for most families. The router also has a nice collection of ports, including four 1Gbps LAN ports and two USB Type-A ports, meaning you should have no problem getting any smart home or other connected devices up and running. It’s also worth noting that the antennas are removable and could be replaced with high-gain or amplified antennas if you need a bit of a signal boost.
Mesh Wi-Fi routers and smart home tech have both been popular product categories over the last several years and Samsung has brought them together in the affordable SmartThings Wifi. Available as either a single unit or in a three-pack to take advantage of the mesh features, SmartThings Wifi is already less expensive than most of its competitors and also serves as a SmartThings hub, a device to manage your smart home devices that would cost over $100 on its own.
While each individual SmartThings Wifi doesn’t have a tremendous range, the combined three-pack should be sufficient to cover at least a 3,500 square foot home with enough bandwidth to keep all of your family’s devices streaming video while giving the required signal to smart home devices. One of the best Wi-Fi routers paired with one of the best smart home services is a nice combination.
The name isn't terribly memorable, but the Asus RT-AX88U is an impressive Wi-Fi 6 router and likely to be one of the best Wi-Fi routers available for some time. Available for between $300 to $350 you won't feel like you are being punished too much for future-proofing your wireless network even if you don't have too many Wi-Fi 6 devices just yet.
The router comes with a wide assortment of ports to connect including eight 1Gbps LAN ports, and two USB 3.1 Type-A to connect up any peripherals. Built-in software includes Trend Micro AiProtection that provides both general security and parental control options.
With support for Wi-Fi 6 along with a host of other modern features like MU-MIMO, OFDMA and beamforming it is about as future-proof as they come and ready to handle a houseful of users without a problem. And if you want to prioritize the traffic from some devices, say a PS5 or Xbox Series X that's easy to set up in settings.
Serious gamers may want to consider our more gaming-specific option (see Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 above), but even those with larger homes could still consider the Asus RT-AX88U as it supports the Asus AiMesh allowing you to add additional compatible Asus routers as needed.
How to choose the best wi-fi router for you
While it can be daunting to look at even this list of the best wi-fi routers and identifying which is the right one for you, it really comes down to a few critical pieces of information about your needs. If you’ve made it through the list and still find yourself unsure then consider the factors below, which we have also addressed in our descriptions for each individual wi-fi router above, and then you should be able to return to the list and narrow it down to the best wi-fi router for you.
Square footage: If you live in a home or apartment that is less than 2,000 square feet this shouldn’t be much of a concern, every wi-fi router on our list will cover that space without issue. Larger homes will need to consider a more powerful router and those with especially large or unusual layouts will probably be best served by a mesh option to cover every corner of your space.
Max Data Transfer Speeds: Your needs here will depend both on what you are doing with your network and the number of users on it simultaneously. The more data intensive tasks you are running and the more users you have the higher you want this number to be. For a single user even the 1.3Gbps in our lowest end options will be sufficient in most situations, a family will probably want to look to the 2.2Gbps and up options, while 6Gbps and beyond are the territory for those with particularly high-end needs or those looking for a future-proof solution.
Extras: A bit of a catch-all here, but if there is some specific need or focus that you have that can help you identify the best wi-fi router for you quickly. Are you particularly security conscious? We gave you an option for that. Do you want an option that also integrates your smart home technology? We have a couple of different options there. Are you a hardcore gamer or looking to be able to stream 8K content? Again there are options above tailored to both of these activities.