Greatest Wi-Fi Routers for 2024 – CNET

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$200 at Netgear

Netgear Orbi AC1200 mesh three-pack

Netgear Orbi (dual-band, AC1200)

Greatest mesh router on a price range

Chances are you’ll assume that getting a high-speed plan at an inexpensive price out of your web supplier would assure you constant and quick speeds. Actually, that is simply half the equation. To get probably the most out of your web connection, you will want a router that may entry the speeds you are paying for. That does not imply it is advisable to lay our a fortune to purchase the most effective Wi-Fi routers.

What’s the greatest Wi-Fi router?

The TP-Hyperlink Archer AX21 is the most effective router for most individuals primarily based on our testing — and it is a Wi-Fi 6 mannequin that prices lower than $100. One of the best match in your community relies on a number of elements, from the scale and format of your property to the content material you stream. We have examined dozens of the newest fashions to assist discover choices for each state of affairs.

Count on common updates to this put up as we proceed testing networking units periodically. Once we discover a new router that deserves robust consideration, we’ll add it to this listing with hyperlinks to our most up-to-date check information to be able to at all times discover the most effective router.

Learn extra: Greatest Web Suppliers for 2023

Greatest Wi-Fi routers of 2024

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Obtainable for $75 (or much less in the event you catch a sale), the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX21 is an entry-level, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that helps prime speeds of as much as 1,201Mbps (1.2Gbps) on its 5GHz band. It is nothing fancy, nevertheless it supplied close to flawless efficiency for small- to medium-size houses in our assessments, and it is a cinch to arrange and use, because of TP-Hyperlink’s Tether app.

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Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Pace Ranking AX5400Vary As much as 2,700 sq. ft.Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA2, WPA3Bands Twin-Band (2.4 and 5GHz)

In case you’ve already received a price range router operating your community and also you’re able to improve to one thing extra highly effective, the Linksys Hydra Professional 6 belongs excessive in your listing. With a dual-band, AX5400 construct, full help for Wi-Fi 6, and 160MHz channel help for transferring information extra effectively, it was a wonderful performer in my pace assessments, even managing to outperform flashier picks just like the also-great Asus RT-AX86U.

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Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Pace Ranking AX3600Vary As much as 5,500 sq. ft. (two units)Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA2, WPA3Bands Tri-Band (2.4 and two 5GHz)

For the most effective efficiency out of your mesh router, you will wish to prioritize getting one with help for Wi-Fi 6, plus a tri-band design that features three separate bands of site visitors: the standard 2.4 and 5GHz bands, plus an extra 5GHz band that the system can use as a devoted wi-fi backhaul for transmissions between the router and its satellites. Most mesh routers like that price at the least $300 and even $400, however the TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200 will get you there for round $200.

Ry Crist/CNET

Gaming routers promise excessive efficiency and low latency for die-hard avid gamers, and it is not unusual to search out them promoting for as a lot as $400. At $300, the Asus RT-AX86U dual-band router is not cheap both, nevertheless it’s a powerful worth relative to routers like these — and the efficiency it delivers as a gaming router is outstanding.

Netgear

Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 5Pace Ranking AC1200Vary As much as 4,500 sq. ft. (with two satellites)Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA2Bands Twin-Band (2.4 and 5GHz)

It is not as absolutely featured as methods that price extra, and it does not help Wi-Fi 6, however except for that, the budget-friendly, AC1200 model of the Netgear Orbi mesh router stands out as a transparent worth choose within the mesh class. Presently priced under $200 for a three-device setup with the Wi-Fi router and two satellite tv for pc extenders, it is an inexpensive system that managed to maintain up with each Nest Wifi and the Wi-Fi 5 model of Amazon’s Eero mesh router in our pace assessments, and it would be a fantastic slot in houses with web speeds of 300Mbps or much less.

Ry Crist/CNET

Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Pace Ranking AX6000Vary As much as 5,000 sq. ft.Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA, WPA2Bands Tri-Band (2.4 and two 5GHz)

Beginning round $600 for the two-piece setup seen right here, the AX6000 model of the Netgear Orbi is way costlier than the dual-band model listed above, nevertheless it’s additionally much more highly effective. With a second 5GHz band serving as a devoted backhaul for system transmissions between the router and its satellites and full help for Wi-Fi 6, the system remains to be our top-tested mesh router, with the most effective scores in each our lab-based top-speed assessments and our at-home mesh protection assessments.

Why ought to I improve my Wi-Fi router?

Routers have come a great distance up to now few years, with plenty of immediately’s greatest Wi-Fi router choices boasting spectacular speeds and options price investing in. Over the previous few years, the brand new and improved model of the Wi-Fi normal referred to as 802.11ax (or Wi-Fi 6) has grown extra ubiquitous, boasting sooner, extra environment friendly residence community efficiency. On prime of that, a rising variety of mesh router choices are nicely price contemplating, significantly since lots of them are far inexpensive than the router combo methods that got here earlier than them.

Store round and you will additionally discover new Wi-Fi 6E routers able to sending alerts utilizing newly opened bandwidth within the 6GHz band. Simply do not count on routers like these to return low-cost.

All of which means that you have so much to consider in the event you’re presently available in the market for an improve; that is the place we are available. Whether or not you are involved in gaming routersmesh methods, Wi-Fi 6 routers or simply need one thing first rate that will not break the bank we’re right here to simplify issues and level you in the appropriate course to be able to discover the most effective Wi-Fi router to handle your wants.

How to buy a Wi-Fi router in 2023

At this level, Wi-Fi 6 is well-entrenched because the de facto normal for the newest Wi-Fi devices, so it is price getting a Wi-Fi 6 router in the event you’re on the lookout for one thing new. Wi-Fi 5 routers will proceed to get the job executed, and some stand out as worthwhile price range picks, however you will need Wi-Fi 6 for the newest options and quickest speeds.

For smaller houses and flats with web speeds of 500Mbps and fewer, an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router just like the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX21 will do a wonderful job dealing with your on a regular basis community site visitors. In case you stay in a house with sooner, gigabit-level speeds, or in case you have a number of energy customers in your community, it is price stepping as much as a extra highly effective midrange mannequin just like the Linksys Hydra Professional 6 or the Asus RT-AX86U.

Two Eero Pro 6E mesh router devices sit against an orange background. Two Eero Pro 6E mesh router devices sit against an orange background.

The Eero Professional 6E mesh router is one in every of a rising variety of routers that help Wi-Fi 6E. Units like these can ship alerts within the 6GHz band, which provides plenty of bandwidth and little or no interference.

Ry Crist/CNET

In case you stay in a bigger residence or one with a number of tales, stepping as much as a mesh router that may supply higher reliability at vary makes a variety of sense. You’ll find a full slate of prime picks in my mesh router rundown, however the TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200 stands out as an inexpensive possibility that examined nicely. In the meantime, the Eero Professional 6E is my prime mesh choose for houses with a gigabit connection.

That Eero Professional 6E system is one in every of a rising variety of routers that help Wi-Fi 6E, which provides entry to the ultrawide 6GHz band. The one units that may join over that band are different Wi-Fi 6E units, which implies that it is largely free from interference. Wi-Fi 6E is greater than most houses in all probability want, nevertheless it’s price contemplating in the event you’re on the lookout for one thing future-oriented, because the variety of residence Wi-Fi units that may join over 6GHz is anticipated to develop.

That stated, at this level, the smarter play for future-focused customers could be to carry out till 2024 after we count on to see the complete ratification of Wi-Fi 7, the following huge generational replace for Wi-Fi. Some producers like TP-Hyperlink are leaping the gun with Wi-Fi 7 router releases in 2023, however shopping for in now appears untimely on condition that the usual is not absolutely ratified but and there is not a Wi-Fi 7 system certification course of but.

How we check Wi-Fi routers

Like lots of people, I spent the vast majority of 2020 and 2021 working from residence, together with my router assessments. Final 12 months, I relocated my residence check setup again to our product testing facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

My working process is basically unchanged: I begin by setting every router up in a set location in our lab, and as soon as it is up and operating, I run a mess of pace assessments from 5 totally different rooms close by. I begin in the identical room because the router, I run a number of pace assessments on a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computer with full help for Wi-Fi 6, I log the ends in a spreadsheet, then I transfer to the following room and repeat. As soon as I’ve run assessments in all 5 rooms, I repeat your complete course of, however this time, I begin with a contemporary connection within the room farthest from the router. Your distance from the router if you first join will make a distinction in how the router handles your connection, so operating a cut up of front-to-back and back-to-front assessments helps to maintain my averages rooted in real-world outcomes.

I run your complete course of detailed above (a front-to-back spherical of pace assessments, adopted by a back-to-front spherical) three separate instances: as soon as throughout morning hours, once more within the early afternoon, and as soon as once more throughout night hours. I additionally run a separate spherical of assessments to a Wi-Fi 6E system (a Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone). If the router permits me to separate every band right into a separate connection, then I am going to run separate rounds of assessments for every band to see how they carry out when remoted.

In any case of that, I am left with a complete take a look at how the router’s speeds maintain as much as totally different units throughout totally different distances, in addition to how the router handles different issues, like latency. From there, I make certain to guage every router’s options and its ease of use, in addition to issues like safety requirements, sensible residence compatibility, and general worth relative to the competitors.

Recap on the highest Wi-Fi routers of 2023

One of the best Wi-Fi router for most individuals is the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX21. It has an entry-level price ticket for high-level efficiency, with Wi-Fi 6 help, speeds as much as 1.2Gbps and a well-designed app that makes setup easy. In case you’re trying to improve from a price range router, the Linksys Hydra Professional 6 was one of many prime performers in our testing, offering sooner speeds than routers with a lot larger worth tags. The Asus RT-AX86U is our choose for the most effective gaming router. Like all gaming routers, it is pricy, nevertheless it has the bottom latency I’ve ever seen in our testing — one thing that is important for a very good gaming expertise.

Wi-Fi router FAQs

What does a Wi-Fi router do?

You could be related to your modem as a way to ship and obtain information from the net; your router helps you to do this with out the necessity for a wire. It is principally an enormous, fancy antenna in your modem that allows you to join with it wirelessly, over Wi-Fi. You can even use that native Wi-Fi community to attach with different units at residence, like printers or distant storage servers.

How a lot does a mean Wi-Fi router price?

Entry-level Wi-Fi routers common round $100, however you could find some ultra-cheap fashions for nearer to $50. Mesh methods begin round $200, and it isn’t unusual to see high-performance gaming routers within the $400-$500 vary.

How a lot ought to I spend on a router?

It relies on what you want and the way many individuals and units want to attach, however a small- to medium-sized residence or condominium can in all probability get by with a well-tested dual-band router within the $100 vary. If your property is bigger, it is in all probability price spending extra on a mesh system that may unfold extra constant speeds from room to room. In case you’re working from residence, gaming on-line or sharing bandwidth with a number of housemates or relations, upgrading to one thing like a high-speed tri-band router might be a very good funding too.

How do I arrange a Wi-Fi router?

The old school means is to plug the factor in and join it to your modem by way of Ethernet cable, then sort its IP deal with right into a browser’s URL bar to start the setup. The simpler, extra fashionable means is to make use of the router’s app, which is able to sometimes stroll you thru setup in about 5 to 10 minutes. After setup, you can too use both method to entry the router’s settings or change your Wi-Fi password.

What do the totally different Wi-Fi bands imply?

You may consider your router like a radio — it sends and receives alerts via airwaves. Whereas a radio picks up audio broadcasts in AM or FM airwaves, a Wi-Fi router sends and receives information via 2.4 and 5GHz airwaves (in addition to 6GHz airwaves if it is a fancy Wi-Fi 6E router).

How do I do know when it is time to replace my router?

Usually, you will not want to fret about updating your router greater than as soon as each 5 years or so, if not longer. That stated, there are some things to look at for which may provide you with good purpose to think about one thing new.

What’s the quickest Wi-Fi router?

The quickest Wi-Fi router in CNET’s testing was the Linksys Hydra Professional 6, which retails for lower than $200. On a 940Mbps fiber web connection, it delivered common obtain speeds of 536Mbps and add speeds of 467Mbps throughout our testing facility.

Ought to I take into account a mesh router?

Mesh routers use a number of units to relay a greater Wi-Fi sign all through your property, with fewer useless zones. It is undoubtedly the appropriate method in the event you stay in a big, multi-story residence or if there are a number of spots in your house the place you’ll be able to’t join as reliably as you need.

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