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Your Wi-Fi router is your gateway to getting online, turning the wired internet connection from your provider into a wireless network for your home. While your internet service provider decides on what maximum data speeds you can achieve and how much data you can use, it’s your wireless router that establishes that much-desired connection for your devices.
However, it’s no secret that not all wireless routers are created equal, and certain models will be a better fit for your family depending on your online activities, amount of connected devices and the size of your home.
Here are our top picks for the best wireless routers in 2020:
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Best for the money: TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750
Speeds: Up to 1,300 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands: 2
If you’re looking for good quality at an affordable price, the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 delivers speeds comparable to those of more expensive routers on the market. This design is compact for easy placement but still boosts the necessary features for great home Wi-Fi including dual-bands and mid-long range. The TP-Link Archer is best for renters looking to connect a few devices without breaking the bank.
Best for multiple devices: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000)
Speeds: Up to 1,900 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands: 2
This Netgear Nighthawk can deliver speeds close to 2 Gbps with the right internet connection and features a triple antenna design with beam-forming technology for a signal that reaches every room in your home. Connect devices that require lower speeds (like smartphones) to the 2.4 Ghz band and connect smart TVs and gaming systems to the 5 Ghz band for optimal performance. The Netgear Nighthawk is best for the plugged-in household with smart home devices and multiple users.
Best for streaming: TP-Link Archer A20
Speeds: Up to 4,000 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands: 3
They call this one the “congestion killer” for a reason. The TP-Link Archer A20 boasts a tri-band system (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz-1, 5 GHz-2 channels) so all your devices perform at the highest level without interference from others. A router with this type of traffic handling is perfect for streamers looking to connect multiple devices and still binge-watch without the buffering.
Best for large homes: TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 wireless router
Speeds: Up to 3,150 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands: 2
The Archer C3150 V2 comes with everything you need for a no-fuss setup and high range Wi-Fi. With the right internet plan, you’ll get speeds up to 3,150 Mbps combined across its two bands. Adjust your settings through the easy-to-use web interface or download the app to monitor your download and upload speeds in real-time. This model is ideal for large households with more than one floor and multiple users.
Best for blazing-fast speeds: Asus AC2900 (RT-AC86U)
Speeds: Up to 2,900 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands: 2
Most gamers are typically looking for the highest speeds they can get. After all, fast speeds typically deliver an uninterrupted connection that’s ideal for gaming. The Asus AC2900 even includes gaming optimization settings like “GameBoost” which enables WTFast routing technology and the Gamers Private Network for that extra bandwidth you’ll need to perform your best.
How do I choose a wireless router?
You might’ve discovered some wireless routers that aren’t on our list, so let’s breakdown some ways to shop for your best wireless router.
Speed — The more devices and users, the higher speeds you’ll need, so aim high. Just keep in mind that while a wireless router might be able to achieve a certain download speed, your internet service provider ultimately decides on what’s possible.
Wi-Fi bands — In most wireless routers, you’ll find both 5 and 2.4 GHz bands. The 5 GHz band can handle more bandwidth but in a shorter range. The 2.4 GHz band can handle less bandwidth but in a larger range. Shoot for a dual or even tri-band wireless router to break up congestion.
Antennas — Any wireless router will only be as good as the signal it projects and the antenna is a major part of that. If your desired wireless router doesn’t have any external antennas, think about choosing a model that’s based on a mesh network.
Let our experts know if you need any assistance in choosing a Wi-Fi plan for your home. Use our free serviceability tool to check which providers are in your area.