A Full Review of the Best Wireless Routers of 2020

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In an era where wireless connectivity is dominating all else, having a wireless router has become a necessity. Now, for anyone who’s not aware, a router is a network device that is used to forward data packets between computer networks. Using that logic, a wireless router can send and receive the data by wire or wirelessly.

In their most common application, most wireless routers get internet access by a modem via a WAN cable and then they transmit that data wirelessly to the devices connected. This setup is used everywhere; homes, offices, schools, you name it.

Because of this wide range of applications, picking the right router to suit your needs is more important than what most people give it credit for. There are so many things to take into consideration including range, speed, compatibility, and connectivity.

To simplify that process, we have prepared a list of the best wireless routers available on the market right now. They come in all shapes and sizes and their prices vary, depending on the performance and the features they offer. The list is in an ascending order of price and it has the router’s highlighted specs to help you make that decision.

TP-Link Archer A10 $119.04

TPLinkArcher

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi:
    • WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac/n/a (5GHz)
    • 802.11n/b/g (2.4GHz)
  • Antennas: 3 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed: 1733Mbps (5GHz) & 800Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

First on this list is the Archer A10 by TP-Link, which happens to be one of the most well known brands in the world of routers. The Archer A10 isn’t exactly the cheapest offering from TP-Link but it is the least expensive wireless router that we’ve selected in this list. One of the main reasons why the Archer A10 is included here is the amount of features you get with this router for the price.

To start off, the Archer A10 offers some of the best Dual Band WiFi speeds of 1733Mbps for 5GHz and 800Mbps for 2.4GHz. The 3 antenna design along with the inclusion of MU-MIMO, Smart Connect, and Airtime Fairness makes sure that this router delivers this speed consistently and with a high throughput.

Sure it doesn’t have any USB ports or WiFi 6 like most other products in this list but for under $120, what you do get is a pretty good bargain. TP-Link recommends this to be best for 3 bedroom houses, for which the range is adequate.

The design of the Archer A10 is clean and basic. You get a normal looking router with a dual texture design on top. Towards the front, it’s gloss black plastic, and towards the rear it’s a matt mesh finish, probably for some ventilation. The 3 removable antennas stick up from the back and they can be folded flat for a wall mount.

Linksys Mesh MR8300 $164.99

LinksysMesh

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  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac/n/a (5GHz)
    • 802.11n/b/g (2.4GHz)
  • Antennas: 4 (Non Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x USB 3.0
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed:
    • 867Mbps (5GHz)
    • 867Mbps (5GHz)
    • 400Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 IPv6
  • Alexa Support: No

Next up, it’s the Linksys Mesh MR8300 coming in at $165. It is the first tri band router on this list with two 5GHz bands and a single 2.4GHz band. The speeds on these bands are 867Mbps (5GHz) and 400Mbps (2.4GHz), however, one of the 5GHz bands can go up to 2200Mbps.

As its name suggests, the MR8300 supports the Velop Mesh technology, which is a huge convenience feature. For those of you who don’t know, this mesh technology allows the router to connect to a couple of range extenders or “nodes” to cover a larger area under the same WiFi signal.

Unlike the TP-Link that we saw earlier, this has an additional USB 3.0 port at the back to allow the connections of external peripherals like hard drives and printers. The MR8300 can also be managed by the Linksys smartphone app for iOS and Android where you can set/change passwords, modes, security, and a lot more.

The Linksys MR8300 comes default with a 4 antenna setup with an antenna on each corner. The antennas are adjustable but aren’t removable which means you won’t be able to replace one. The router itself has a rectangular shape with perforations in it. In the middle, there’s a gloss piece with the Linksys logo along with a multi colored LED indicator.

Google Nest WiFi $169

Nest

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  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
  • Antennas: Internal
  • Ports: 1x WAN & 1x Gigabit LAN
  • Power Input: 15W
  • Speed: 866Mbps (5GHz) & 400Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: No

Google has some pretty sophisticated smart home products and its Nest WiFi router is no exception. It is a dual band router that operates on 2.4GHz and 5GHz and can reach speeds up to 400Mbps and 866Mbps on each band respectively.

Like the Linksys router, the Nest also uses a Mesh WiFi system that allows multiple repeaters to be connected to it. However, this time, they’re called “points” and, along with extending the range, they can also act as smart speakers for playing music or using Google Assistant.

Speaking of the range, it’s pretty impressive with the Nest WiFi router as it can cover an area of up to 2200sq ft. By adding just 1 additional “point“, that area can be effectively increased to 3800sq ft. This not only makes sure that this setup can cover the whole house but also a large office complex as a router and point can each connect to 100 devices at a time.

The Google Nest WiFi has an unconventional design as it’s cylindrical in shape and has no visible physical buttons. Most people like this design and refer to it as “living room friendly” and “minimalistic”, so it depends on your personal preferences if you’ll like it or not. However, for what it is and what it’s supposed to do, it couldn’t be better especially coming below $170.

D-Link DIR-867 $180

DlinkDIR

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  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz)
  • Antennas: 4 (Non Removable)
  • Ports: 1x WAN & 4x Gigabit LAN
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed: 1300Mbps (5GHz) & 450Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: No

Right on the $180 mark, there is the D-Link DIR-867 dual band wireless router. Right from the start, you’ll notice that it has a pretty normal design. There’s a rectangular base with 4 antennas sticking out from the corners. On top of the base, there are 4 LED lights that indicate power, network access and whether the router is working on the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz one.

The aforementioned antennas are adjustable but non removable, which means that you can lay them flat when mounting the router on the wall but can’t replace them yourself. What’s impressive is the speeds that the DIR-867 offers with 450Mbps for 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps for 5GHz.

Unfortunately, there’s no Mesh WiFi technology with D-Link DIR-867 but that can be fixed by using a third party repeater. What it does have, however, is the MU-MIMO that allows it to have an exceptionally well throughput even with multiple devices connected.

Like the Linksys Mesh MR8300, this can also be managed via the D-Link Wi-Fi smartphone app for iOS and Android. That makes it all the more easier to control various settings of the router including setting it up for the first time. Most people might find this a bit pricey for $180 as D-Link isn’t that popular. However, for what it offers and compared to more expensive offerings, it’s a solid deal.

ASUS RT-AC86U $186.09

ASUSRT

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  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac/a/b/g/n (2.4/5GHz)
  • Antennas: 3 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x USB 3.0
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed: 2167Mbps (5GHz) & 750Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

When you cross the $185 boundary, you find yourself face to face with the Asus RT-AC86U, by far the cheapest offering by the brand in this list. Asus is well reputed in the world of technology and is famously known for its gaming equipment. The RT-AC86U isn’t exactly an all out gaming router but it gets incredibly close.

Let’s start with the design of the RT-AC86U, which certainly has the looks of a gaming router. The base is rectangular from the top but it has angular textures and creases with red accents hinting towards the gaming heritage. There are 3 adjustable and removable antennas, which is always a welcome and convenient addition.

This also has the Asus AiMesh technology which allows you to connect multiple Asus routers that support AiMesh, so that they can be used as wireless repeaters to extend the range of the WiFi signal. This is super useful if you intend to use it in a large house or an office complex where there’s a large area to be covered.

Most router settings can be managed from the ASUS Router app for iOS and Android which includes passwords, security settings, and even parental control. What makes this unique so far is that it has an inbuilt network protection, which can prevent hackers from gaining access to your private network.

Synology RT2600ac $199.99

Synology

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  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac/a/b/g/n (2.4/5GHz)
  • Antennas: 4 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x USB 3.0
    • 1x SD Card Reader
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed: 1730Mbps (5GHz) & 800Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: No

Synology isn’t exactly a popular name, in fact, most of you would probably be hearing it for the first time. However, that doesn’t mean that it produces low quality products. Quite the contrary, actually. The RT2600ac serves as a perfect example of one of those products as we shall now see.

The RT2600ac has 4 antennas that are both adjustable and removable. Since it’s a dual band router, the max speed on both bands is 800Mbps (2.4GHz) and 1730Mbps (5GHz). This might not be as much as the Asus RT-AC86U but you probably don’t need that much unless you’re gaming. It also supports Mesh WiFi via an additional MR2200ac repeater unit to extend the range.

Along with the standard 4x Gigabit LAN, 1x Gigabit WAN, and 2 USB ports, the RT2600au also has an additional SD card slot for network file storage access. The router can be controlled via the Synology Router Manager (SRM) desktop app which gives you a wide range of settings to customize according to your liking.

As far as the design is concerned, Synology plays it safe while adopting a unique look. The backside of the router is raised such that it tilts forward, exposing the ventilations slats on top. Two of the antennas are connected at the back while the other two are towards the side. There are 9 operational LED lights on the top indicating which feature is being used now.

Netgear Nighthawk X4S R7800 $229.99

NetgearNighthawk

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
    • 802.11 a/n/ac (5GHz)
  • Antennas: 4 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 1x eSATA
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed: 1733Mbps (5GHz) & 800Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

If you ever wonder what’s the most popular name in the performance router market then it’s probably Netgear and the Nighthawk X4S R7800 is its “budget” entry in this list. Like Asus routers, Netgear also aims its products towards gaming enthusiasts who want the best possible speeds with minimal latency.

As expected from a gaming router, the Nighthawk X4S has an angular wedge-shaped design that certainly adds to one of its quirks. The top is tilted forward so that you can always have a look at the 11 LED indicators. The sides are covered with ventilation holes, which are a necessity for high performance devices.

The removable antennas are good for 1733Mbps (5GHz) and 800Mbps (2.4GHz) wireless data transfer speeds. Unfortunately, there isn’t any Mesh functionality, however, the Nighthawk X4S does have MU-MIMO technology for consistent speeds even with a high number of connected devices. Like most other routers, it also has Amazon Alexa support for voice control purposes.

Speaking of control, you can take care of most of the settings via the Netgear Nighthawk WiFi Router smartphone app. It lets you easily set up the router for the first time and manage the passwords, security, and parental controls. There’s also a ReadySHARE option that allows you to share your stored files across the network via the connected USB.

Netgear Nighthawk XR500 $249.99

NetgearNighthaukXR500

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
    • 802.11 a/n/ac (5GHz)
  • Antennas: 4 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
    • 2x USB 3.0
  • Power Input: 12V~1.5A
  • Speed: 1733Mbps (5GHz) & 800Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

Step up from the X4S and we see another product by Netgear and this time it’s the Nighthawk XR500. Now, this is the first product here that is properly marketed as a gaming router and it shows. It is claimed to be optimized for low latency situations, which can be pretty useful while playing an online FPS.

The biggest giveaway that this router is aimed for gamers is the looks. The Nighthawk XR500 straight up looks like a stealth fighter jet thanks to the extreme angles and creases on this device. There are 11 cleverly placed LED indicators for power, internet, both Wi-Fi bands, guest Wi-Fi, both USB ports, and the four LAN ports. The only out of place thing is the placement of power and WPS buttons of the top of the device.

Despite being a bit more expensive, the XR500 offers the same wireless data transfer speeds as its younger sibling, which might bum people out, especially those who were expecting superior raw performance. Netgear boasts features like Geo-Filter, Quality of Service (QoS), and Network Monitor that counter high ping and laggy situations for the smoothest possible gaming experience.

The Nighthawk XR500 also offers security features like an inbuilt Hybrid VPN system that allows a secure VPN connection to all the connected devices, protects network identity and prevents possible DDoS attacks from hackers. $250 may seem too much but for an entry-level purpose built gaming router, the price is justified.

TP-Link Archer AX6000 $299.99

TPlinkArcherAX6000

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 6
    • 802.11ax/n/b/g (2.4GHz)
    • 802.11ax/ac/n/a (5GHz)
  • Antennas: 8 (Non Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 8x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x USB 3.0
    • 1x USB-C 3.0
  • Power Input: 12V~5A
  • Speed: 4804Mbps (5GHz) & 1148Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

TP-Link makes a return once again, however, this time it’s the high end Archer AX6000 wireless router. Now this is the first device on this list that features the latest and greatest WiFi 6 technology, which results in a pretty spectacular spec sheet. Let’s find out what you get for $300.

Even though the Archer AX6000 isn’t marketed as a gaming router, it most certainly looks the part. It has an Octagon shaped base with an antenna on each corner. That results in a total of a whopping  8 adjustable yet non removable antennas. The gloss black finish on top makes a cross while the rest has cooling slats. Where the cross meets in the middle, there’s a premium looking TP-Link logo with an LED indicator underneath it.

One benefit of having WiFi 6 is the insane speed that comes with it. This device can transfer data with speeds of 1148Mbps on 2.4GHz and 4804Mbps on 5GHz, making it the fastest router here so far. It’s also the first wireless router here to feature a USB-C port, which most tech enthusiasts will love having.

The Archer AX6000 comes with TP-Link’s inbuilt HomeCare™ Antivirus that can check malicious sites, prevent port intrusion, isolate an infected device, and provide you with logs/notifications for any connected device. $300 for a TP-Link router does sound absurd but for a device that can do all this, it can convince any tech savvy to spend the cash.

Netgear Orbi RBK50 $318.31

NetgearOrbi

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac/a/n/b/g (2.4/5GHz)
  • Antennas: Internal
  • Ports:
    • 1x WAN
    • 3x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x USB 2.0
  • Power Input: Not specified
  • Speed: 866Mbps (5GHz) & 400Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

Next, there’s another Netgear product and this time, it’s the Orbi RBK50 mesh router. Unlike most Netgear routers, this is not intended for gaming at all, hence the underwhelming specs. It is made solely for home and office WiFi purposes and it excels in that department.

Looks wise, the Netgear Orbi RBK50 can get mistaken for a smart home pod rather than a router. It has a unique oval cylindrical design and it sits upright. All the antennas are internal which means that the outside look can remain clean and minimalist. On top there’s an oval LED strip running along the edge and at the back towards the bottom, you have all the buttons and ports tucked away. For people who take aesthetics into consideration, this is a solid pick.

As mentioned earlier, this is a Mesh Router meaning it can connect to a repeater device in order to extend the range of the device and connect more devices. The good news is that the Orbi RBK50 comes with a repeater device called a “satellite”, which kind of justifies the high price. In fact, coverage is one of this device’s strong suits as the router alone can cover up to 5000 sq ft.

All this simplicity, however, comes at a cost of mediocre performance. Even though it’s over $300, it still has WiFi 5 which results in slower data transfer speeds compared to the less expensive rivals. The number of available ports are also fewer, not to mention the outdated USB 2.0. However, let’s not forget the purpose of this device and that’s home use only. It may be underwhelming for a gamer but for a person who needs consistent WiFi throughout his/her house, this is it!

ASUS RT-AC88U $339.99

ASUSRT-AC88U

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 5
    • 802.11ac/a/n/b/g (2.4/5GHz)
  • Antennas: 4 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 8x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x USB 3.0
  • Power Input: 110V
  • Speed: 2167Mbps (5GHz) & 1000Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: No

Asus returns with its RT-AC88U wireless gaming router, this time coming in at $340. Even though it’s quite expensive compared to the RT-AC86U, there are a lot of similarities in these devices, especially in the looks. In case you feel a bit underwhelmed, do know that this device has been out for a while but can still compete with today’s routers.

The RT-AC88U features the same stealth fighter jet style design found with the RT-AC86U, however, it’s much less aggressive here. The 8 LED indicator lights are now on top instead of the front edge. Thankfully, however, there are no buttons on the top, leading to a much more cleaner look. The removable antennas also look better as they have holes in them with red accents, which scream gaming heritage.

Despite its age, the RT-AC88U still impresses in the connectivity department with a whopping 8 gigabit ethernet LAN ports along with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. For the time, it was groundbreaking but now it’s standard equipment. The data transfer speeds are also respectable thanks to the MU-MIMO technology. They are 1000Mbps for the 2.4GHz band and 2167Mbps for the 5GHz band.

Despite the decent specs, it’s hard to justify the high price tag for a device that came out such a long time ago. But if we look at it in a way that this router has been tried and tested by gamers and has been the first choice for many, it kind of makes sense. The Asus RT-AC88U is reliable and can still compete with the internet speeds of today which is why it’s still considered one of the best wireless routers out there.

Netgear Nighthawk AX8 RAX80 $391

NetgearNighthawkAX8RAX80

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 6
    • 802.11ax/n/b/g (2.4GHz)
    • 802.11ax/ac/n/a (5GHz)
  • Antennas: 2 (Non Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x WAN
    • 5x Gigabit LAN
    • 2x USB 3.0
  • Power Input: Not specified
  • Speed: 4800Mbps (5GHz) & 1200Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

The last entry from Netgear is its beautiful Nighthawk AX8 RAX80 wireless router that finally features WiFi 6 technology again. Apart from its spectacular looks, it also puts down solid performance, which makes it worthy of being in a gamer’s wishlist in 2020.

We can’t talk about the Nighthawk AX8 without talking about its distinctive styling. It has two fixed antennas (non adjustable and removable). They make a cohesive flow with the body thanks to the way they’re moulded. From the front, the device makes a U shape, which is unlike any other router out there. Sure, it does have drawbacks like the lack of adjustability but, at this point, most people won’t care about that.

The performance is top of the line thanks to the WiFi 6 technology. You can get insane data speeds of 1200Mbps on 2.4GHz and 4800Mbps on 5GHz. These happen to be one of the fastest data transfer speeds on any wireless router out there which makes this perfect for gaming. Other features like Beamforming+, MU-MIMO, Dynamic QoS, and Smart Connect help keep this router at the top.

However, it’s not just about gaming. Features like 8 simultaneous streams allow it to connect to 4 time more devices than a standard wireless router. This is perfect for a large house or an office with lots of devices connected to the same router. It also has app controlled settings that allow parental controls and website filtering, making the Nighthawk AX8 more versatile. Is it worth $391? Yes, but only if you need all the extreme specs, which is highly unlikely for most of us.

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 $447.81

ASUSROGRapture

Buy now on Amazon.

  • WiFi: WiFi 6
    • 802.11ax/n/b/g (2.4GHz)
    • 802.11ax/ac/n/a (5GHz)
  • Antennas: 8 (Removable)
  • Ports:
    • 1x Gigabit WAN
    • 4x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x 2.5Gbps LAN
    • 2x USB 3.1
  • Power Input: 110V
  • Speed: 4804Mbps (5GHz) & 1148Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Protocols: IPv4 & IPv6
  • Alexa Support: Yes

Lastly, there’s the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. A complicated name for a complicated looking device. This router is the best Asus has to offer and it just so happens to be the most expensive wireless router here. So what does it have to claim the near $450 price tag? Let’s see.

Calling the Rapture GT-AX11000 overwhelming would be an understatement. The device looks like an upturned spider (thanks to the 8 antennas). People are either going to love it or hate it but we can’t deny the fact that the looks alone can give this router its gaming credentials. There are random angles and creases especially on the antennas, which have a hole in them with bronze accents.

Just like all the best new premium routers, the Rapture GT-AX11000 has WiFi 6 connectivity, which yields incredible performance figures. We’re talking about transfer speeds of 1148Mbps and 4804Mbps for 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands respectively. These figures are almost the same as the Netgear Nighthawk AX8, which is only slightly cheaper than this. What’s unique to this device, however, is the inclusion of a 2.5Gbps gigabit ethernet port for a faster wired connectivity.

Since it’s a proper Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers), it is purpose built with gaming in mind. The best things about that is the sheer amount of customization options in the router settings. Other features like an inbuilt Firewall and VPN only makes the Rapture GT-AX11000 better. Addressing the elephant in the room, is the insane $450 price justified? Well, it depends. If you’re a gamer and a tech savvy who has the fastest internet and needs the best out there, then yes. Otherwise, no.

A Full Review of the Best Wireless Routers of 2020