A Wi-Fi router is one of the greatest home improvements you can obtain, the router you choose will decide the internet connections of all of your devices, including cellphones, gaming consoles, and PCs. A modern Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) router may give speeds that are several times faster than earlier Wi-Fi 5 (also known as 802.11ac) routers.
But which one should you get? I spent many hours looking through the multitude of routers on the market and personally evaluating many models. I evaluated these routers based on their Wi-Fi router performance as well as their simplicity of setup and operation.
This resulted in a clear winner: TP-Archer Link’s AX73 is the best wi-fi router for the majority of consumers, Its Wi-Fi speed is comparable to the fastest routers I’ve used, but it’s reasonably priced, simple to set up, and doesn’t take up much room on a desk or shelf. I’ve also chosen a few options, including low-cost, mesh, and video routers.
The following are the top Wi-Fi routers for 2022:
The best affordable Wi-Fi router is e TP-thLink Archer AX50, which costs $120 and is available on Amazon.
The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a more affordable, smaller, and less powerful alternative to the finest Wi-Fi router overall.
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, $600 on Amazon, is the best Wi-Fi 6E router.
Netgear’s Nighthawk RAXE500 is a lightning-fast Wi-Fi 6E router that can serve most households at wired Ethernet rates.
The best Wi-Fi 6E mesh router is the Linksys Atlas Max 6E, which costs $1,200 and is available at Best Buy.
Linksys’ extremely fast Atlas Max 6E has the ultimate word in Wi-Fi mesh speed, but it comes at a high price.
Google Nest Wi-Fi, $220 on Amazon, is the best affordable mesh Wi-Fi router.
Despite its older technology, Google’s Nest Wifi remains a simple, low-cost solution with useful smart home integration.
The TP-Link Archer AX73 is an excellent buy, offering top-tier performance at mid-range pricing. It’s even simple to set up.
- Wi-Fi protocol: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
- 4 Gigabit LAN Ethernet ports
- 1 USB port (USB-A) 3.0
- Mesh compatibility: Yes, using TP-Link OneMesh.
Pros: Excellent performance, easy setup, appealing appearance, moderate size, and decent value
Cons: No faster wired Ethernet support.
In today’s highly competitive router market, the TP-Link Archer AX73 reaches the sweet spot. It has the performance and features you want while being under $200.
According to my testing, the Archer AX73, which supports Wi-Fi 6 and claims the highest wireless bandwidth of 5,400 Megabits per second (Mbps), is almost as fast as high-end routers such as the Linksys EA9500, Netgear Nighthawk RAX200, and TP-Link AX6600. When I’m close to the router, I can get consistent real-world rates of up to 682Mbps, but that decreases to 106Mbps at a separate home office. Across my tests, the AX73 was no more than 20% slower than the best performers.
The AX73 includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports, one inward Gigabit Ethernet wide-area network (WAN) connection, and a single USB 3.0 port for directly attaching a storage device to the router.
At this pricing, I’d want to see support for better WAN speeds like 2.5Gbps or 10Gbps Ethernet. Most owners, however, are unconcerned about this since few individuals have access to broadband service that surpasses Gigabit’s capacity.
The AX73 is really simple to set up and operate. Tether, the company’s software used to set up and operate most TP-Link routers, is one of my favorites in the business. However, the app is not required: TP-Link also has an excellent interactive website that can be accessed through a web browser on a PC or Mac.
The AX73’s appearance and size appeal to me, It’s quite standard, and although being bigger than less costly ones, it’s still simple to set on a shelf or desk. Other, speedier routers consume more space and protrude farther from the wall.
The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a small, more humble, and less expensive version of our top selection.
- Wi-Fi protocol: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
- 4 Gigabit LAN Ethernet ports
- 1 USB port (USB-A)
- Mesh support: 3.0 Yes, using TP-Link OneMesh.
Pros: Long-range performance is excellent, and the setup procedure is straightforward. The design is appealing, and the size is small.
cons: The maximum Wi-Fi speeds might be faster.
The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a great Wi-Fi router that makes every other cheap Wi-Fi router pretty much useless. You can get a router for less, but it won’t work as well and the savings won’t be worth it.
Real-world download speeds can reach up to 485Mbps, which is good but not great. This is very fast, but it’s not as good as the best.
But the AX50’s performance at the range is still pretty good. It worked just as well as the extra expensive AX73 in our two most difficult test situations: a sitting room chair on the other side of the house and a separate office. This cheap router also works better than low-cost mesh devices like Google’s Nest Wi-Fi.
The AX50 connects with the same easy-to-use Tether app that other TP-Link routers use to set up. It takes just under five minutes to set up a router.
Power users can still use an in-depth web interface that can be accessed through the web browser on a PC or Mac. It also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, which is common in most modern Wi-Fi routers.
It’s also small, around the size of a Nintendo Switch in its dock. This makes it easy to hide the AX50 on a shelf or desk.
Best router for Wi-Fi 6E
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is a Wi-Fi 6E router that is incredibly fast and can cover most homes at speeds that are comparable to Ethernet.
- Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6E Ethernet ports:
- 1x 2.5 Gigabit LAN, 4x Gigabit LAN
- Two USB-A ports. 3.0 Support
- Mesh: None
Pros: It supports Wi-Fi 6E, has great Wi-Fi performance, and it works well at a distance. It also has a 2.5 Gigabit LAN port.
Cons: It’s big, and for its size, it could benefit from additional Gigabit LAN ports.
The Nighthawk RAXE500 from Netgear is perfect for people who want the most out of a regular Wi-Fi router. It has very fast Wi-Fi speeds appreciated to the new Wi-Fi 6E standard.
I tested Wi-Fi 6E and found that it could go as fast as 827Mbps down and 802Mbps up. In our tests, that is a new high. Performance-wise, Wi-Fi 6 isn’t too far behind. When connected to the 5GHz band, a Wi-Fi 6E device measured a top data speed of 733Mbps and a top upload speed of 632Mbps.
Even at a distance, performance doesn’t change. I saw speeds of up to 100Mbps in an office that was 50 feet away from either the router and had many walls between it and me. That’s not as fast as the Linksys Atlas 6E mesh router shown below, but it’s fast and reliable enough to feel fast.
The Nighthawk mobile app from Netgear makes it easy to set up the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, just like most other routers. It comes with the industry’s Armor security, which sends alerts when new devices are connected or when strange things happen on the network. During my tests, the Nighthawk app was easy to operate and felt fast. You can also use a web browser to make changes to the router.
The RAXE500 router is very big. You might have a hard time putting it somewhere. Given how big the router is, it’s strange that it only has four Gigabit LAN ports. There’s still room. The router also has two USB-A 3.0 ports and a 2.5G LAN port.
The Nighthawk RAXE500 from Netgear is expensive, but it’s worth it because it gives you a flagship experience. It works best in mid-sized homes where a router can be put in the middle. At close range, it can work as well as the Linksys Atlas Max 6E mesh device for less money.
Superior 6E Wi-Fi mesh performance
This ridiculously fast speed of Linksys Whenever you need the best Wi-Fi mesh performance available, go no farther than the Atlas Max 6E.
There are five Gigabit Wide Area Network (WAN) Ethernet ports and four Gigabit Local Area Network (LAN) Ethernet ports (per access point)
- Wi-Fi norms: Wi-Fi 6E
- Number of USB Type-A ports: 1 (per access point)
- Support for Meshes, the Industry Standard
Pros: The access points are visually appealing and provide top-notch performance, range, and wired connection.
Cons: Extremely costly and physically massive access points
There is a lot of hype around mesh systems, but they don’t always deliver on their claims of superior performance. This rule is broken by Linksys’ Atlas Max 6E. By far the quickest mesh router I’ve ever used, this setup crushed the competition.
When in close proximity to the main access point, performance is superb, averaging 753 Mbps in our test. The impressive uploading and downloading speeds in every test scenario are what really sells me on the Atlas Max 6E.
A higher level of efficiency is attainable. A Wi-Fi 6E router is so named because it uses the faster 6GHz band for devices that can make use of it.
The wired network is also quite reliable. Each access point features a USB-A connector for adding devices and four Gigabit LAN connections for local computers. In other words, any of the access points in the mesh network may serve as the main router. However, the extra access points do not support wired connections.
The process of setting it up is simple, but not very remarkable. Linksys features a sleek interface that will walk you through the setup process and give you a wide range of customization choices for your network’s routing thereafter. There is also a web interface, albeit Linksys hides away some of the more complex configuration options.
The actual issue is the cost, which is at least $1,200 for three routers or at least $800 for two. Such a high cost is unreasonable for any wireless router. Price-wise, though, it’s in line with similarly featured routers that also enable Wi-Fi 6E.
Just so we’re clear, most folks don’t need a system so quick or dependable. The Linksys Atlas Max 6E is designed for picky homeowners with expansive properties that use Gigabit-speed internet.
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Lowest-priced top-rated mesh router
Even though it uses older technology, Google’s Nest Wifi is still a great option for connecting your smart home to the internet.
Wi-Fi norms: Connectivity options include Wi-Fi and a total of five Ethernet ports, one of which is a Gigabit LAN.
No USB plugs are available.
Support for Meshes, the Industry Standard
Pros: The router and access points are both aesthetically pleasing and simple to handle, and the access points also serve as smart speakers. competitive cost and dependable performance
Cons: One major drawback: an improved Wi-Fi 6 standard is urgently required.
If you’re looking for a dependable, user-friendly mesh network for your smart home, Google’s Nest Wifi is a top pick.
A three-point Nest Wifi system may be purchased for as little as $300 for a router and third node point (and is sometimes on sale for much less). This is much less expensive than similarly-featured mesh routers from Linksys and Netgear.
Nest Wifi still uses the antiquated Wi-Fi 5 protocol, limiting throughput to a maximum of 100 Mbps. The system’s consistency in performing well across all test environments makes up for this. The Nest Wifi is frequently as fast as low-cost mesh networks that do support Wi-Fi 6 when used at longer ranges.
In order to configure and manage the Nest Wifi router and any associated access points, the Google Home app must be utilized. If you use Google Home to manage other smart home gadgets, like smart lighting or a Chromecast, this feature will appeal to you. Nest’s Wi-Fi bridges may be used with the Google Home smart speaker.
Nest’s Wifi router offers a free Gigabit Ethernet connector for the connection of additional devices. As expected with a cheap mesh router, this is a bit of a letdown.
If you’re looking for a low-cost mesh router, Nest Wifi is still your best bet. Although many of their rivals have already switched to Wi-Fi 6, the performance of low-cost mesh systems prevents them from taking full use of the new standard. And thus, Google’s mesh system remains on top, at least for the time being.
Specifically, how we go about doing things
Using Ookla’s Speedtest software and a file transfer test, I was able to evaluate the router’s performance in real-world scenarios. All performance tests are conducted on an Apple iPhone 12 Mini with the same configuration settings and software application in order to maintain consistency and reliability.
The outcomes of a benchmark are evaluated in four categories around a residence with one floor.
There must be no and over three feet between the desk and the modem/router in the office.
A nightstand in the bedroom, around 25 feet (and a few walls) from the router.
A couch in the living area is around 40 feet away from the router and partitioned off by a few walls.
Space around fifty feet away from the router, in a separate building.
In order to provide a stress-free testing environment, all procedures were carried out while there was no other data being sent across the home network. All of the routers were linked to a Gigabit modem. Using a desktop computer and an Ethernet modem, I made sure my internet service wasn’t slowing me down. In general, the ISP’s network was good for 930 Mbps.
Other factors we thought about
For this article, we looked at many different routers. Our examination of these other options made an impact, for better or worse.
The Asus RT-AX55 is competitive with our recommended low-cost router, the TP-Link Archer AX50, in terms of cost, size, performance, and wired connection. But TP-app links is the one I find most enjoyable to use.
The Asus RT-AX82U looks the part of a gaming router and performs well for the money. The TP-Link Archer AX73 is a better option in my opinion because of its superior gaming-specific capabilities.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is a top-tier Wi-Fi 6E gaming router that offers blistering throughput and a plethora of Ethernet ports for connecting your devices. However, it is quite huge and flashy for most living quarters.
An affordable mesh system that provides Wi-Fi 6 is the Eero Pro, which is sold by Amazon. Comparatively speaking, it performs better than Google’s Nest Wifi, but Google Home provides a superior app experience.
We found the Linksys AX4200, a mesh router system, to have excellent maximum performance, but I was not satisfied with its performance at range.
The Archer AX10 from TP-Link is an attractively cheap option, but its performance lags below that of more competent Wi-Fi 6 routers. Inexpensive alternatives exist, but the Archer AX50 is a worthy investment.
The Archer AX6000 from TP-Link is a high-end router with impressive speed and range, but the more affordable Archer AX73 is almost as fast.
You take your time to watch this video is really educative for insight about the best Wi-Fi routers to buy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wi-Fi Routers
Comparing Wi-Fi version 5 with version 6, which is superior?
The latest wireless standard, Wi-Fi 6, offers significant improvements in speed and range over its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. Our research has shown that, on average, Wi-Fi 6 routers are two- to three times faster than Wi-Fi 5 routers of the same price.
Most modern smartphones, laptops, and gaming consoles (including the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5) support Wi-Fi 6, but you need a router and a device that supports Wi-Fi 6 to get its full benefits.
Routers that use the Wi-Fi 6 standard are backward-compatible with devices that use the previous Wi-Fi standards.
These days, Wi-Fi 6 routers are the gold standard, so I always advise people to get one of them. Every single conventional (non-mesh) router I suggest supports Wi-Fi 6, and this is particularly important to keep in mind when deciding between a mesh network and a solo router.
Which is better, a traditional router or a mesh router?
A router is a single device that sits in close proximity to your modem and handles routing for your network. You’ll want to keep your mesh router close to your modem, but it comes with extra access points that can connect to it wirelessly in other rooms.
For the typical home, I suggest a basic router. To effectively cover a standard 2,000-square-foot, two-story home, a cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 router such as the highly regarded TP-Link Archer AX73 is ideal. When installed in a central area with no neighboring barriers, it can accommodate bigger households.
By using several access points, mesh routers may increase dependability in areas where obstructions, such as a big appliance or a solid block wall, generate Wi-fi routers dead spots. However, I wouldn’t count on much better peak performance; in my testing, mesh routers fell short of expectations.
Mesh routers are promoted as having a simple setup, however, this is not the case in the year 2022.
Router manufacturers have included app-based router controls for all of their devices. Because you won’t have to deal with setting up and managing multiple access points, the TP-Link routers we recommend offer a superior app experience compared to mesh systems.
How does Wi-Fi 6E work?
The most recent wireless protocol is called Wi-Fi 6E. In the early part of 2021, Wi-Fi 6E routers began appearing on store shelves.
The primary improvement of throuters e standard is the addition of a 6GHz band to the more common 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands present in most routers these days.
This new band provides greater transmission speeds than its predecessors and access to previously unoccupied regions of the radio spectrum.
Wi-Fi 6E is in its infancy right now. Almost no routers on the market today are compatible with the standard, and the ones that are maybe rather pricey. Wi-Fi 6E’s full potential isn’t available until you upgrade to a newer laptop or smartphone with a suitable wireless adaptor, both of which are currently hard to come by.
Nonetheless, Wi-Fi 6E is obviously the wireless standard of the future. It’s a huge improvement in efficiency up close. In most cases, connected connections will become unnecessary when Wi-Fi 6E improves to the point where it can compete with the speed of cable Gigabit Ethernet.
Do I need to know the difference between 2.5G, 5G, and 10G Ethernet?
Common routers now handle the 2.5G, 5G, and 10G protocols, although formerly Ethernet meant just Gigabit Ethernet, which allows speeds up to 1Gbps. These provide transfer rates of 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, and 10Gbps, respectively.
Although they’re fast, Ethernet standards above Gigabit Ethernet aren’t practical for most people since only a small fraction of internet service providers can deliver speeds that high.
But if you’re one of the fortunate few with access to ultrafast fiber internet, this function becomes a must for transferring large files quickly and easily between machines on your wired home network.
The word “5G” may refer to either a wireless router’s 5GHz frequency range or a 5 Gigabit Ethernet connection. Nothing to do with the super-fast 5G mobile internet available on modern cellphones.
When it comes to wired internet connections, Ethernet has proven to be the gold standard. An Ethernet WAN port is required for connecting your router to your internet service provider’s modem. The Ethernet LAN ports on most routers allow for the hardwiring of computers and other devices.
Internet Service Provider is what the abbreviation ISP refers to. When you say “Internet Service Provider,” you’re referring to the business or group responsible for bringing the web to your house.
LAN refers to the Ethernet LAN ports found on routers and is an abbreviation for “local area network.” Unless they’re dual-purpose WAN/LAN ports, LAN ports can only link devices on your local area network and not your internet modem.
The term “mesh” reroutersfers to the way in which several access points work together to cover a large region with wireless Internet. Whenever a device in a mesh network is in the range of more than one mesh router or access point, it will connect to the one with the strongest Wi-Fi signal.
In the context of routers, WAN refers to the Ethernet WAN port via which the router is connected to the internet modem.
Wi-Fi routers 5: Wi-Fi 5 is a standard for wireless that debuted in 2013. It was formerly known as 802.11ac. It has been superseded by Wi-Fi 6 and is generally considered to be a step backward.
Wi-Fi routers 6: In 2017, the Wi-Fi routers 6 standard was released, and since then, it has been adopted by the vast majority of manufacturers of consumer electronics, including routers, smartphones, laptops, and gaming consoles. Improvements over Wi-Fi routers 5 are substantial.
New for 2021 is Wi-Fi routers 6E, which, because of the addition of a 6Hz band, may attain speeds even greater than those of Wi-Fi 6. Homesteads with gigabit internet access may benefit from it, but suitable equipment is still hard to come by.
Here are some of the finest bargains on WiFi routers that we’ve found.
Watching movies in 4K resolution or looking professional in Zoom meetings are just two examples of how often a high-quality router comes in handy in everyday life. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best times of the year to save money on our recommendations, but you can get discounts on many of them all year long.
Best Buy is now discounting the Linksys Atlas Max AXE8400 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-fi routers 6E System by $200. We’ve compiled a variety of mesh routers, cheapWi-Fi routers, and more to suit a variety of budgets.