The best wireless routers are designed to make your web surfing and downloading tasks a lot easier. Wireless Routers have replaced wired networks at homes and business places because they support multiple devices in the same network, and are cost-effective.
If you have a broadband Internet connection at your home, you sure need a wireless router. Surfing the web on a mobile device without a high-speed Wi-Fi internet connection would be a daunting task. Thanks to the rapid advancement in technology, old routers have been upgraded, and today we are able to download and upload data in the blink of an eye.
If you are using an outdated router, then chances are that you are considering getting a new router which features the latest hardware configuration and supports the 802.11ac networking standard. For those who don’t know, the 802.11ac standard routers have an excellent range and are several times faster than conventional routers. In turn, this results in less download time and quick web surfing. Most of the modern day routers are powered by NitroQAM, a new technology that lets users download Internet data at breakneck speeds. Besides speed and range, the modern routers also offer other benefits like easy maintenance and parental control to cater to the needs of home users. You even have USB ports which make it easy to share printers in the home.
With that in mind, I have prepared a mini guide of the best wireless routers 2017 to make things easy for you. I spent several hours researching online for the right information and several more hours testing the Wi-Fi routers, so what I have included in this post is a list of the top 10 routers which you can compare and purchase if you are planning to get one.
But before we start, I want to tell you that the routers that I have discussed below are not for everyone. Not for the budget-conscious people, especially because they come with an expensive price tag. But at the same time, they are worth the money you invest when it comes to performance and reliability.
802.11 b/g /n
NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000
D-Link DIR 890L
Netgear Nighthawk R8000 X6
802.11 b/g/ n /ac
802.11 b/g/ n /ac
Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena
Linksys WRT1900 AC
TP-Link Archer C7
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
As you can see in the picture, this one sports a slim and sleek design, which is actually quite common in other Asus products as well. Coming in a complete black box that has accents of red in the antenna, this one looks real good and stylish even at first glance.
Asus is a no stranger to Computer users or regular online gamers. But in case you didn’t know, Asus is one of the most popular brands known for manufacturing a range of top-notch routers. RT-AC88U is one of the best models designed by them so far, and it’s available for less than $300 and is therefore one of the most economical wireless routers you can consider buying right now.
Nevertheless, looks are secondary and performance is what matters when it comes to a wireless router. On that note, let us review the performance of the Asus RT-AC88U.
It’s basically an AC3100 router that comprises eight Gigabit of LAN ports that help the router transfer data at amazing speeds allowing the user to download and upload files in a jiffy. What’s more, it also has a dual-band router that is capable of doubling up as a NAS too. Amazing, right?
When it comes to the web interface design, again the designers have paid full attention to every detail and made the router intuitive and user-friendly. We tested the Wifi on 2.4 Gigahertz bands as well as 5 Gigahertz bands, and found that it was able to perform well with no lag in speed at any point of time.
Because of the user-friendly web interface, the installation of the router is as easy as 1-2-3. All you need to do is connect the equipment to your Computer and Internet and switch on both. The interface will run automatically giving you a couple of options to choose for the configuration purpose. Depending on your convenience, you can do it manually or by using the wizard.
The Setup wizard would assign a PPPoE, Static IP, or Dynamic IP to your router depending on your Internet connection type. Once that is done, you will be allowed to categorize your SSIDs with different names and also set a network encryption key for the bands. This concludes the configuration process.
The router allows multi-client multi-user, multi-in multi-out (MU-MIMO) data buffer, which was incredibly fast on the 2.4 and 5 Gigahertz bands that we used. But in terms of file transfer, the ability to read/write data was not up to the mark.
To sum it up, the RT-AC88U router is a great choice if you are looking for speed and performance. In simple words, it’s worth what you are paying for.
Some people consider this as the best wireless routers 2017 from Netgear. If you are not aware, the brand is well known for launching a range of high-end wireless routers that are a huge favorite among users. Over time, the name Netgear has become synonymous with state of the art networking hardware and top notch wireless routers.
Today, we sit to review a popular router called NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000. Nighthawk? Weird, isn’t it? Well, the makers have named it so because it looks pretty much like a night hawk (or a fighter jet). This one is AC1900 offering a data download speed of 600 Mbps on the 2.4 Gigahertz band and 1,300 Mbps when operated on the 5 Gigahertz band.
Personally, I prefer R7000 to R8000 as it is more economical and easy to install.
When I asked some of my friends who have used R7000, I was told that it might not be the most powerful Netgear wireless router in the market. But I decided to find it out myself. So come on, let’s review.
At first look, we must say that the router looks stylish. It sports a minimalistic design and is all-black with three detachable antennas. Probably, the only concern for us was that the router is a bit heavy and bulky – like a nighthawk. People who have less space on their computer table might definitely prefer something a lot lighter and slimmer.
That said, it’s only a problem that is more subjective and if you have enough space in your room to fit the bulky nighthawk router, then you would never have anything to complain about with respect to the size of the device.
When it comes to performance, there are very few wireless routers that can match the awesomeness of Netgear Nighthawk. We tested its efficiency on both 2.4 Gigahertz and 5 Gigahertz bands and it never faces any hurdle or slowdowns the whole testing time.
The router put a stellar performance when tested on several ranges and the bands are as good or better than that of an average Ethernet connection. Now, shifting our attention to the features of Netgear Nighthawk, we’d say that the AC1900 model comes with a DD-WRT which means it can effortlessly run on third party firmware from Linux.
Also, the Wi-Fi router comes with QoS (Quality of Service), which helps users to effectively manage the download and upload speed of the Internet connection according to their usage needs. Again, a pretty cool feature to have, we must say. What’s more, the device also has the OpenVPN support. And with the added presence of the Open DNS, there is the built-in parental control feature incorporated into the router, which is a pretty cool thing to have if your kids are using the system when you’re not around at home. If you are looking for something more, then here’s what: the router is also capable of doubling as a NAS, which again is an appreciable thing about the Nighthawk router.
On the whole, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is a top notch router that is also a great bang for your buck. Yes, the size could be a problem for some, but that’s subjective as we said earlier. There were some minor performance related niggles on the 2.4 Gigahertz band as well. However, taking everything into account, and weighing the various features and price of the router, we would say it is still one of the best wireless routers in the stores at the moment, and it’s ranked #2 on our list.
Now, we are going to take a look at one of the top wireless routers from D-Link, the company which has made a name for itself in the market of networking by launching some of the finest products. AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi DIR-890 is what we are going to review today.
Even at one good glance, we would say that the DIR 890L is undoubtedly one of the most funky looking wireless routers we’ve seen so far. The Nighthawk, which we reviewed earlier, resembles a hawk, but this one, the DIR-890 looks more like one that is designed by a team of ardent car racers. Anyways, look isn’t the only thing, right? With no further ado, dive deep into the features and performance aspects of the router.
The DIR-890 is pretty impressive when it comes to speed and effectiveness.
While testing, we found that the router is easy to set up, user-friendly, and really really fast when it comes to streaming data on the Internet. Plus, there’s a bonus too: the router can double up as a NAS with the inclusion of an additional hard drive, which is pretty cool.
However, please remember that DIR-890 is a tri-band router which is suited for the high-end users than the normal Internet surfers.
As discussed earlier, the design is unique and impressive, and there is nothing wrong with it. The router is an all-red device having minor shades of black in it. It would go particularly well with computers that have a red and black scheme.
The DIR 890L is a must-have for people who live in a place that has a lot of Wi-Fi connectable devices and need constant Internet connection. The router comes with six antennas and assures proper range with no major signal distortions. Nevertheless, if you face any problem with the antennas, then it’s worth knowing in advance that they are non-detachable.
In the number of tests that we conducted, we found that the range was reliable, which we didn’t quite get to see with some other routers that we tested.
It makes sense to know that if you are someone looking for multiple LAN ports, then the DIR-890 may not just be your ideal choice because it only comes with the four LAN ports which itself is a drawback as there are other routers in the market that come with eight LAN ports. That apart, the router is good in all other aspects.
Apart from the attractive design of the router, there are also other appreciable factors that come with it. We’d say that the DIR-890 router from D-Link is definitely one of the best choices for people who value style over efficiency and even performance wise, it doesn’t disappoint if you prefer having 4 LAN ports for your Internet usage needs.
If you were impressed by the Nighthawk R7000 model but still decided to read our best wireless routers 2017 reviews looking for something better (and not afraid of tossing more money) then here is something for you: Nighthawk AC3200.
The next range model from Netgear called R8000 X6 is a tri-band router that is a bit pricier than its cousin versions but is smart to convince the high-end router buyers with its additional range of features.
When it comes to color, the Nighthawk AC3200 resembles its earlier version and in terms of design, it is a bit bulky but looks smaller when compared to its younger sibling. It still looks good. There are six antennas in the router, but don’t worry, if you want to free up some space, you can do so by collapsing the antennas with ease.
Performance-wise, we found that the Nighthawk AC3200 is as impressive as its younger version. Now, you might wonder how this router can justify its higher price tag when compared to its cousin.
Well, let’s dive deeper into the features and other interesting aspects of the router. Let’s start with a common but impressive feature. The router is capable of doubling up as a NAS with an additional hard drive. However, the difference is that, the NAS does a pretty dandy job on this router when compared to most other routers that we tested. It offers impressive download speeds on the 5 Gigahertz band, and obviously lesser on the 2.4 Gigahertz band but the speed wasn’t that bad in any way.
Summing it up, Netgear R8000 Nighthawk X6 is a top notch Wi-Fi router with some noticeable drawbacks that make one think twice before buying it. However, on a positive note, if you are on a hunt for a router that performs exceptionally well on a 5 Gigahertz band with the addition of a NAS, then look no further than this one. It is also one of the best performing gaming routers 2017.
If you are on a hunt for a wireless router that looks good and performs exceptionally well, then check out Asus RT-AC3200.
Just by seeing the pic, you could say that it’s a tri-band router that is quite expensive. However, it comes with quite a lot of features that seem to justify its price tag. So, if you don’t mind tossing a few more bucks on a router that packs a range of features and performs extremely well, then this could be your perfect choice. Please explore more details on RT-AC3200 on Asus official website.
Look wise, the router is no different from the other models from Asus. However, it has six antennas that are detachable and replaceable by better ones when the user wants to do so. The design and build quality are great but these are not the selling points for a router that is this expensive. But one can’t just deny that any user would fall in love with the router going by just the design and aesthetics alone.
The RT-AC3200 is more suited for people who like to network a lot than others and for those who crave for top-end hardware configuration. In the several tests that we conducted, the device managed to demonstrate great speed and overall, the performance was good on a respectable range.
We liked the web interface of the router – it’s incredibly easy to set up. However, if you are a starter, then you might need some time to learn the features and making the most of the router.
What’s more, the router is capable of doubling up as a NAS or an OpenVPN server, which is an added advantage for users.
On the downside, the router kind of lags behind on the LAN ports – it has only four of them. So if you are looking to connect more devices, this might not be the best choice. However, it should be a great fit for home use.
We would like to conclude by saying that the Asus RT-AC3200 is a bonanza for network enthusiasts, but on the other hand, is a bit too much for the average Wi-Fi Internet users.The router sports a beautiful design, is well-built, and comes with quite a lot of features that offer users a tempting reason to buy one. However, if you are an average user looking for a lighter and cheaper version of the same, then you would be more happy to check out AC1900. For the Internet freaks, the Asus RT-AC3200 model is still a safe bet that will justify its price and last longer than many other routers in the same price range.
Next in our lineup is the Wireless RTA2600 Athena router from Amped. This, again, is one router that is more appropriate for network enthusiasts than the regular users. However, it’s six in our list for a reason. It lacks the stylish attitude of the other networker-friendly routers that we’ve just reviewed in this post so far.
But wait, there are more than enough features that make the router an ideal choice for the regular users and high end users alike. In the multiple tests that we conducted, the router performed fairly well and although it doesn’t have too many features like its counterparts, it still comes pretty polished and is quite easy even for starters to know what its features are – that way, it saves you endless hours of research and testing to get used to its applications. It comes with a responsive control panel that makes setting up and configuration a painless process.
The router features a highly efficient hardware that helps it perform exceptionally well under all conditions with no jitters whatsoever. The compact design is another thing we liked about the router – it fits in well in less space. However, the hardware isn’t a behemoth when compared to the other top range routers in our list. It’s okay for beginners who are looking for an affordable router with a limited range of features that meet the expectations of the average Internet user.
The performance of RTA2600 was quite good, without distortions at the time of testing. We even tested the router on multiple devices at the same time, and it still managed to give a stellar performance. I personally think that’s the highpoint of the model.
Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena is definitely one of the best wireless routers available in the market today, and it proved to be one of the best Wi-Fi routers 2017 that we reviewed. However, it wouldn’t be the best choice for the active network fanatic. But for the average user, it brings a lot to the table causing very less mess.
This isn’t a tri-band router; it’s one of the best dual-band wireless routers from the popular Linksys. It comes with the AC1900 standard support so it is capable of handling speeds of up to 600 megahertz on the 2.4 Gigahertz band and up to 1,300 megahertz on the 5 Gigahertz band. That’s appreciable, but the question is can the router match up to the brilliance of the other high-end routers in our list? Come on, let’s find out.
At first glance, the router reminds us of the beautiful design and color schemes that are a popular thing among all routers made by Linksys. However, it makes sense to know that WRT1900 AC is also one of the bulkiest routers around, so you will probably have to clear a lot of space on your table before putting this in there.
The router comes with four antennas and a replaceable firmware so you have the extra option to get more mileage with an upgraded firmware later on. We ran a speed test and found that it is very reliable in terms of speed. It was also easier to setup and configure when compared to the other high-end routers we tested earlier.
Another great feature is (now this is a usual thing in almost all routers that we reviewed) the router’s ability of donning the role of a NAS server with the inclusion of an external hard drive. Now, that’s not the highlight of the router. The best thing comes in its NAS performance, which is superior to many other wireless routers that are out there in the market. There is also the DLNA and UPnP support feature, which is a good thing about this router in terms of having more features. The performance was amazing on both 2.4 and 5 Gigahertz bands.
For more details on the performance of the router, here is a post by Samara Lynn published on PCMag that gives the router a 4.5/5 for its performance and other specs.
So, is the WRT 1900AC the best router in the market? Well, not exactly. There are some notable drawbacks like its bulky design and hard-to-understand software parameters. In terms of performance, we’d still say that it is one of the best routers you can get in the market. But, on the flip side, it lacks the major features that meet the requirements of hardcore networking enthusiasts. If you are an average user that is looking for great value for money, then WRT 1900AC could be a great bet.
If you are on the lookout for a budget-friendly Wi-Fi router, look no further than TP-Link Archer C7. It’s priced at less than $100.
It’s one of the best routers that cater to the needs of casual web users as well as gamers. It is also capable of delivering a data streaming speed of up to 1.75 Gbps.
Look-wise, the router is stylish and performance-wise, it manages to deliver an unbelievable performance for less than $100. That makes the router a great choice for users in different classes.
Going a bit deeper into the specs, we were not too happy with the build quality. It can break or get damaged easily when dropped on the floor. The router takes up more space, so ensure that you keep other items a bit far away. In a nutshell, we’d say that TP-Link Archer C7 is more of a beginner’s router.
It’s yet another dual-band router in our list. It comes with six antennas out of which three are internal and the remaining are external. Thanks to the presence of more antennas, we were able to see a decent amount of range and even the data streaming speed didn’t disappoint us in any way. And yeah, it has the NAS doubling up capability but we also want to add that the NAS performance was more average than good.
When it comes to drawbacks, although the router is very reasonably priced, it lacks some good features that are a common thing in most other high-end routers. But, as mentioned earlier, it’s a perfect fit for entry-level users who prefer something very inexpensive to satisfy their daily hunger for gaming and data streaming.
This one is the younger cousin of the D-Link DIR-890 model that we assessed some time ago. However, the manufacturers have introduced some nice changes to make this one better and more powerful so that users can differentiate between the two. By the way, this is a dual-band router.
Okay, what about performance? Well, DIR-880L managed to outrank its older sibling in terms of performance. This one packs a number of interesting features and is more user-friendly as well. So, are you curious to know what major factors differentiate DIR-880L from DIR-890? Come on, let’s review.
Look wise, both routers look almost very identical, as it has been the trademark of all D-Link models. But the good thing is, the DIR-880L model comes with detachable antennas that can be replaced based on your demand for a better Wifi range. And yeah, routers that come with detachable antennas are compact and easy to accommodate in a small space, and this one is no different from other such devices. Another great thing about the DIR-880L is, users can remotely access and manage their data using the default cloud service offered by D-Link. Well, this is no gimmick ladies and gentlemen; it’s a very handy feature that helps you get the best of web surfing and downloading experience from different rooms in the same house.
While testing, we found out that the router performed exceptionally well on both the 2.4 and 5 Gigahertz bands. Even the Wi-Fi range was pretty good with no drop in signal throughout our use. In terms of data transfer, again the router performed very well – there was no inconsistent speed or disconnection.
One of the few less desirable aspects of the router is its bugging web interface, which is not user-friendly. If you are a starter or someone who is not used to the D-Link lineup of routers, then we seriously recommend that you check with your other users to know if you’ll be comfortable with the router’s web interface.
Overall, DIR-880L is still one of the best wireless routers in the market. It has the style and efficiency with very little compromise for users. If you have decided to go with any of the top D-Link routers, then this could be something you might want to consider buying.
Okay, here is one from Apple. It’s called Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station.
Nope, the router was not designed by accident. Apple doesn’t do that! This top-notch router from Apple is wireless and is pretty impressive in a lot of ways. Let’s take a look at some factors that differentiate the Apple router from its rivals.
Let’s start with the physical aspects. We all know that Apple is a renowned name for world-class designs that are hard to find elsewhere. The router from Apple looks no different than its other computer products. That said, the design is still good enough to grab the attention of Apple lovers and new users. In terms of performance, the router is simply top class. However, the Airport router is a dual-band router and is capable of entertaining the newest Wi-Fi standards. It is very fast, and it easily handles large volumes of Wi-Fi data from multiple devices at consistent speeds. Simply put, the router is bang on target when it comes to speed and performance, and is just another proof that Apple is indeed a name to be reckoned with when it comes to technology-friendly gadgets.
If you ask me to pick out the negatives of the router, I must say there aren’t many that would make a buyer reconsider his or her purchasing decision. The only issue could probably be the fact that it could have been a better upgrade over its earlier versions. However, it’s already fast and awesome, so upgrading is more of a personal thing to worry about.
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station is still one of the best wireless routers 2017 from Apple. It’s fast, consistent, and performs well throughout with no jitters.
Almost all Wi-Fi routers in the market will set a unique IP address for the multiple devices that are connected to the network. As you probably know, these IP addresses are static and can’t be viewed by the public. This ensures better security for your Internet activities.
For beginners, it’s best to go for good wireless routers that have a user-friendly web interface and deliver consistent speed on the lower band. In other words, make sure you choose routers that are easy to set up and are user-friendly.
If you are someone into NAS server, then look for routers that support the same with the inclusion of an external hard drive. They should be easily plugged in and out of the connection port that is present in your wireless router.
There is this technology called DLNA, which allows users to have a better control over audio, video, and media-rich content so you can get the best of networking experience. If you are a networking freak, then it would be a wise choice to consider Wi-Fi routers that are DLNA-enabled.
Apart from the ones mentioned in the post so far, we would also like to tell you that most top-end routers come with extras like network prioritization, parental controls, backup on the server, and the ability to share printing over the USB.
Here is a wireless router FAQ guide featuring a list of questions that you should be asking before buying a router.
So, we’ve just concluded our roundup of the best 10 wireless routers in the market for 2017. But wait, that’s not it. Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from each router in terms of features, speed, and functionality, it makes sense to know some guidelines that will help you make a smarter purchasing decision.
Apart from the factors that we have just discussed so far, it’s also important to note that each router comes with a different range of parameters like speed, price range, bands, and specific Wi-Fi standard that make us go deeper into the specs before tossing money on one.
If you are quite knowledgeable about WiFi routers, then you might wonder why I didn’t mention the newest AC5300 models from Asus and Netgear in my roundup. Well, here are some reasons why I skipped them:
Simply put, if you buy AC5300, then you will probably end up paying so much for something that isn’t worth its price tag. Are you going to make that big mistake? I hope you won’t.
When it comes to technology, there are three important factors that make a router work the way it does. They are as follows:
For your better understanding, I have complied below a list of various wireless routers that are available in the market.
These are among the fastest of routers delivering a combined speed of 1750 Mbps. But the problem with them is that the high-speed isn’t evenly distributed among the bands. The 2.4 Gigahertz band gets only 450 Mbps speed whereas the 5 Gigahertz bands get 1,300 Mbps of speed.
In terms of size, usually these are smaller than the AC1750 routers, but they are good in the sense that they offer a very high download speed of 600 Mbps on the 2.4 Gigahertz band and 1,300 Mbps speed on the 5 Gigahertz band.
Even these routers are slowly moving into the class of tri-band routers, and they deliver a total speed of 3,200 Mbps out of which 600 Mbps is set aside for the 2.4 Gigahertz band and 2,600 Mbps equally distributed between two 5 Gigahertz bands.
AC5300 routers are the newest kids on the block; they deliver an overall combined speed of 5.3 Gbps (or 5,300 Mbps). The fact that they are incredibly fast (in fact, they’re the fastest routers in the market) makes them incredibly expensive too.
Nevertheless, at the moment, no computer, laptop, or mobile device is capable of supporting such incredible speeds, so we would say it won’t be a great choice investing so much in the AC5300 routers. At least, not for the moment.
There is another totally different set of routers in the market and they are the DD-WRT compliant routers that are supported by a Linux based third party firmware. They pack a lot of improved features when compared to the regular routers that are available in the market. In essence, it would be more appropriate to say that DD-WRT routers are much like phones that are jailbroken or rooted.
As we see, there are endless options when it comes to choosing a wireless router for your internet usage. Routers from every brand are different and unique in their own class, and there is a healthy competition among router models from the same manufacturer itself.
As we see, the market is packed with tons of wireless routers with each of them being special in their own way. It’s never an easy job to decide which router would be ideal for one’s needs. I hope this review has helped you to a great extent when it comes to assessing your needs and choosing a router accordingly. The list was prepared after carefully reviewing the routers and understanding the needs of the average consumer. From the budget to features, every router that we have mentioned in the list caters to a different audience. It’s up to you to choose which one you want based on your requirements.
But, please remember that there is no such thing called one-size-fits-all. Sometimes you may have to try using a couple of routers to find out which one suits your needs better. We hope we’ve included all the top routers in the market. In case, you felt that we missed out any, feel free to write to us. Thanks for reading. And happy router hunting!