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The five best wireless routers of 2023

Camryn Smith

Jan 6, 2023 — 7 min read

Owning your own router is an investment that usually pays off within a year. We researched all the latest models to find our favorites.

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 speeds you can achieve and how much data you can use, it’s your wireless router that establishes that much-desired home Wi-Fi 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. Prices for wireless routers vary greatly depending on their capabilities. You can find budget options around $50, while the latest hardware can go all the way up to $500. 

Our top picks:

How we chose our favorite wireless routers

To find the the best wireless routers, we focused on three factors while we were comparing models: 

  • Speed: The more devices and users, the higher speeds you’ll need, so aim high. 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Features: Many wireless routers come with additional security features like guest networking, automatic firmware updates and remote management features. We required all of our routers to have the latest WPA, WPA2 or WPA3 certifications. 

Overall, we narrowed our search down to over 20 of the models according to customer reviews and ratings from testing sites like Consumer Reports. From there, we compared the features and prices on each one to find the best value for every situation.

What about Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is an industry certification program based on the 802.11ax standard for wireless networks. It was approved by the Wi-Fi alliance in February, 2021, and it allows for 30% faster speeds, lower latency and higher data capacity. Many devices are equipped with Wi-Fi 6, like the iPhone 11, 12 and newer Samsung Galaxies. But you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router to take advantage of them, and these tend to be on the pricier side. 

The five best wireless routers of 2022

Best router overall: Netgear Nighthawk AX8

Netgear Nighthawk AX8

What we like

  • Excellent speeds

  • Wi-Fi 6 compatible

  • Great security features

Things to consider

  • Expensive

  • Not great for larger homes

Netgear’s Nighthawk AX8 tops our list as the best overall router because of its consistently strong speeds and overall performance. More than any other router we looked at, the AX8 is able to cut through walls and floors, delivering gigabit speeds to every corner of the house. Netgear says this model can connect devices up to 90 feet away, but you can expect performance to tail off after about 50 feet. If you need more range, we recommend a mesh network (more on that below). 

The AX8 also has advanced malware protection and the latest firmware updates upon installation. It even works with Disney’s Circle app, which allows you to block inappropriate content on certain devices.

Best router for gaming: ASUS RT-AX86U

ASUS RT-AX86U router

What we like

  • Wi-Fi 6

  • Fast speeds and great range

  • Gaming features

  • Multi-gig port

Things to consider

  • Expensive

The ASUS RT-AX86U has everything you need for a great gaming experience. It has a well-deserved 4.5 stars on Amazon due to its Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and gaming-centric features. It also has a 2.5 multi-gig port that can get you even faster wired speeds.

While this router is a great option if you’re looking for a strong-performing Wi-Fi 6 router, we picked it as the best router for gaming because of its gaming features. You will have access to the ASUS app, where you can tweak your router settings to achieve the best customizable gaming experience. It also has Mobile Game Mode if you choose to direct traffic to your mobile device. It tests great in latency, offering extremely low lag making it ideal for gamers. While it may be a bit expensive for a general-purpose router, its features make it worth it for serious gamers. 

Router with fastest speeds: ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router

What we like

  • Capable of fastest speeds of any router

  • Wi-Fi 6E compatible

  • Four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port

  • Multi-gig LAN/WAN port

Things to consider

  • One of the bigger routers around

  • Expensive

  • Many devices are not yet compatible with Wi-Fi 6E

Whether you’re a gamer, have a big household or just want to make sure you’re using every bit of your high-speed internet connection, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is the top-performing wireless router on the market. It is the first router that supports the Wi-Fi 6E standard—the fastest Wi-Fi you can get — boosting its speed up to 11,000 Mbps.

At 12.7 by 12.7 by 2.4  inches, it’s one of the biggest models on the market, with eight adjustable antennas. It’s important to note that although this router offers the fastest speeds, many devices are not yet able to support Wi-Fi 6E, something to consider if your devices aren’t compatible. If this is the case, you may be better off choosing the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, the older model that supports Wi-Fi 6.

Best budget router: TP-Link Archer A7

TP-LINK Archer A7 router

What we like

  • Great short range speeds

  • Two-year warranty

  • Affordable

Things to consider

  • Works best in apartments or smaller homes

  • Uses older Wi-Fi 5 standard

The Archer A7 isn’t the newest router from TP-Link — it first debuted all the way back in 2018 — but it still holds up as a workhorse router that outperforms many models twice its price. Speeds can still get up to around 650 Mbps at close range, which is well above what most Americans are getting

The Archer A7’s issues come into play with bigger homes. It has a range of about 80 feet, but you can expect speeds to decrease significantly the further away from the router you get. It’s also the only router on our list that uses the older Wi-Fi 5 standard. While newer devices that have Wi-Fi 6 will still work with the Archer A7, you won’t see the same speed and bandwidth benefits. If you want to invest in a wireless router that will take you through the next decade, it’s probably worth spending a little more for a Wi-Fi 6 router.  

Best mesh router: Eero 6+

Eero 6+ mesh router

What we like

  • Easy to set up and use

  • Wi-Fi 6

  • Solid performance

  • Great coverage

Things to consider

  • Pricey

If you’re looking to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 or a mesh network, Amazon’s Eero 6+ is a great option. This upgraded version of Amazon’s Eero 6, available in a two or three-piece system, provides coverage for homes up to 4,500 sq. ft. and is known for its easy installation. The nodes are also small with a clean design, so you won’t have trouble finding space for them in your home.

The Eero 6+ does not support multi-gig connectivity like some other top mesh systems on the market, but it still produces fast, consistent speeds and coverage that make a difference in multistory homes. You can also easily manage the system through the app, whether it’s tracking speeds or activating parental controls. While it may seem expensive, it offers great performance for the price. With 4.5 stars on Amazon, the Eero 6+ is a reliable choice for your mesh network.   

Why you should buy your own router

In general, buying your own router instead of renting will usually pay itself off in about a year. Most internet service providers charge around $5-$15/mo. for modem and router rentals, while those same models usually cost about $100.

Granted, you still may have to pay a modem fee regardless, but in most cases, you’ll get faster speeds and save money in the long run by purchasing your router. Purchasing instead of renting will also give you the ability to choose a better-performing router and customize it to your personal network needs.

Learn more about renting vs. buying your router

You may need a faster internet plan

While a new router can significantly increase your internet speed, it can only work with the connection your ISP is giving you. In many cases, the quickest way to a speed boost is to upgrade your internet plan. Not sure if you’re getting what you’re paying for? Take our speed test below to find out.

Your speed test results:

Download Speeds

888 Mbps

Upload Speeds

88 Mbps

Need more for the price?

Try these helpful hacks to improve your internet speed. Or if you just want more bang for your buck, check out providers near you with more speed for the price. Either way, we’ll help you find what you need.

View providers near me Rather chat? Give us a call: (844) 451-2720
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Pro Tip: For best results, use an Ethernet cord to connect your router or modem directly to your device before you run the test.

If the speed that comes up is significantly slower than your plan advertises, a wireless router could give you a lift. For more steps you can take, we recommend checking out the following guides:

The bottom line

While Wi-Fi routers can initially be expensive, they often pay for themselves over a long enough period because you won’t have to worry about equipment fees through your internet provider anymore. And if you want to have a fully connected smart home or a lag-free gaming setup, a powerful router is absolutely essential. But a router can only do so much — let our experts know if you need any assistance in choosing a home Wi-Fi plan or use our free serviceability tool to check which providers are in your area.

Camryn Smith

Written by:

Camryn Smith

Associate Writer

Camryn Smith is an Associate Writer with Allconnect.com. She specializes in writing about the broadband industry and helping consumers navigate complex internet service purchasing decisions…. Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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