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When you finally decide to invest in your own Wi-Fi router, it can be tough to narrow down your options. From QoS prioritization to app management, routers on today’s market have a lot of features to consider. But even the most advanced features can’t make up for a spotty signal and no-coverage zones in your very own home.
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Based on ease of setup, number of bands and the best coverage money can buy, we’ve chosen the best long-range Wi-Fi routers for more reliable internet in any household size.
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Best long-range routers of 2020
|Linksys AC2100||Easy setup|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 AC1900||Cable-compatible Nighthawk novices|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk D7000 AC1900||DSL-compatible Nighthawk novices|
|ASUS RT-AC86U||5GHz coverage and speeds|
Best for easy setup: Linksys AC1200 Dual-Band WiFi 5 Router
When buying your own router, setup should be as easy as possible. The Linksys AC1200 makes getting Wi-Fi at home easy, plus, it’s pretty affordable compared to most long-range routers.
The Linksys AC1200 router has more than 3,700 five-star reviews on Best Buy, and more than 1,900 customers cite easy setup as one of its most stand-out features.
You can configure a Linksys router using a variety of methods including wireless configuration via iPhone or iPad. You can also set up your new router using the Smart Setup Wizard on your desktop or laptop computer. Set up instructions for cable internet users are available online as well.
Best for DSL-compatible Nighthawk novices: NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (D7000)
This device is compatible with DSL internet providers, like CenturyLink and Frontier, and costs a reasonable amount. Although large in size, customer reviews state it’s easy to set up, has a longer signal range than other Wi-Fi routers they’ve tried, even in homes with multiple floors. Three antennas help distribute Wi-Fi signals throughout the house, and the angled antennas help signals stay stronger as they travel through walls.
Best for cable-compatible Nighthawk novices: NETGEAR Nighthawk DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router (C7000)
This version of the Nighthawk AC1900 router works with cable internet connections. It is compatible with cable providers such as Xfinity and Spectrum. Reviews of the cable compatible Nighthawk model state amazing reach, a consistent, powerful signal and easy setup.
Best for 5GHz coverage and speeds: ASUS RT-AC86U
This is the newer version of the AC68U, which previously beat the Nighthawk in signal range in an MB Reviews test.
Like the Nighthawk model, the AC86U uses multiple, angled router antennas to help maximize signal strength and distance. ASUS also includes a RangeBoost feature in the AC86U model, which they claim gives you up to 120% coverage. The AC86U also includes dual-band options so you can browse on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
When the router’s signal was tested by Digital Citizen on 2.4GHz, it beat other tested models in signal strength throughout the house. But, on 2.4GHz, it did not give the fastest download or upload speeds.
However, on the 5GHz test, the RT-AC86U offered amazing signal strength, often beating or tying the other tested routers. Using the ASUS RT-AC86U 5GHz band, Digital Citizen testers reached a maximum download speed of 716.25 Mbps and a maximum upload speed of 521.7 Mbps.
Other solid long-range routers you might want to consider to maximize your Wi-Fi at home include:
- The TP-Link AC1900 Smart Wireless Router – operates using beamforming technology and utilizes three external antennas
- The NETGEAR Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi System – uses Mesh network blankets to connect every room in your home and maximizes speeds throughout the whole
- The Motorola N450 Router with DOCSIS 3.0 modem – uses Power Boost wireless technology to amplify your Wi-Fi signal and acts as a 2-in-1 modem/router
The right long-range router for you will be based on your internet connection type, your budget and how large your home is. If you’re looking to enhance your current internet signal, buying a Wi-Fi extender might be a better option for you.
But as you shop for a new internet provider or plan to move, investing in one of the long-range routers above can help you enjoy faster speeds throughout your entire home.
Originally published 03/05/19. Last updated 06/02/20.