Shopping the best wireless router isn’t as exciting as shopping for, say, a new smartphone or tablet. In shopping for a wireless router, maybe you’re only concerned about the price, range, or the form factor.
But the best wifi router isn’t only measured by those factors. It’s understandable why a lot of people aren’t that thrilled in shopping for a wireless router. After all, most wireless routers look almost the same.
Also, most Internet service providers bundle a wireless router into the Internet plans offered to customers.
And once the wireless router is set up, you simply leave it at a corner of the room, right?
But you shouldn’t take a wifi router for granted. For one, the wireless router can spell the difference between a flawless home network and one that is the source of frustration and anger among you and your housemates.
With a new wireless router, you may enjoy faster Internet speeds. This may mean watching streaming movies without any interruption, or playing online games without any hiccups.
And getting a new wireless router may mean that more people in your household can connect to the router, without affecting the speed of each other’s devices.
That said, let’s look at the various types of wireless routers, their features, and pros and cons. This would help you better understand the right type of wireless router for your home or office.
I have spent countless hours to find out the best wireless router 2018. Check out our top ten wireless routers and choose the best one for you.
Best wireless routers 2018 – Our top picks
|Product Name||Weight||LAN Ports||Wireless Compability||Data T. Rate|
|TP-Link Archer C7 Dual Band||1.9 lbs||4||802.11 A/C||1,750 Mbps||Check Price
|ASUS RT-AC3200 Tri-Band||4 lbs||4||802.11 a/b/g/n||3,200 Mbps||Check Price
|Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual Band||1.77 lbs||4||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||1,900 Mbps||Check Price
|D-Link DIR-890L/R Tri-Band||2.5 lbs||4||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||3,200 Mbps||Check Price
ASUS RT-AC3200 – Best Tri-Band Wireless Router
The Asus RT-AC3200 is one of the prime routers of Asus, the reputable Taiwanese electronic company. It is packed in features, from having USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, and a total data transfer rate of 3200Mbps. It also has a futuristic design that can catch the attention of any person.
This could be the best tri-band router today basing from its features. But does it really deliver in terms of performance? Read this Asus RT-AC3200 review and find out.
To fully appreciate the Asus AC3200, let’s look at the specs of this router.
Superior hardware. This router is powered by a dual core processor. It also comes with tri-band 2.4 and dual 5GHz networks. It also has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port for storage and networking.
Tri-band 802.11ac router with Tri-band Smart Connect. This feature automatically maximizes the performance of every wireless device connected to this router.
ASUSWRT user interface that gives users easy access to a three-step web based installation process, as well as numerous advanced options.
Supports dual WAN, allowing users to use a secondary WAN connection as a backup to the primary connection.
With Asus AiProtection that uses the Smart Home Network solution of Trend Micro. This feature can monitor and detect malware, viruses, and even block malicious sites. It also offers parental controls like app filtering and time scheduling.
This is one big router. It measures 2.3 inches in height, 11.4 inches in width, and 7.4 inches in depth. Simply put, it is a big router that can take up much space in the desktop.
The router is colored black, with an angular design. However, unlike its cousin the Asus RT-AC87, it has six external antennas. These antennas are adjustable. Four of the antennas are located on the back, while there’s one antenna on each side.
There are nine status indicators located on the front edge including the power LED, and LEDs for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The single USB 3.0 port is located on the lower right side.
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports are foundon the rear, as well as a WAN port, the solitary USB 2.0 port, power switch, and reset buttons.
Like most of the top routers today, the RT-AC3200 is fairly easy to install. After powering up the unit, the Setup Wizard is displayed on the PC screen. This lets you choose to the setup procedure- either manual set up or through the Quick Internet and Router set up wizard.
You will have to create a password and select the device that operates as the access point. You will then be asked to choose one of the five Internet connection types. Then you can let the SmartConnect feature run to set up your Wi-Fi network.
You may also choose the standard setup, enter the network keys and SSIDs for each band. Once the set-up is completed, you will see the network map page of the user interface.
This router also gets good reviews for its performance. Many online reviews suggest that this router is very reliable, with strong signal and excellent range.
Even if the router is placed in the basement of a house, it can still deliver superior Internet connection speeds to connected devices.
- The Asus AC3200 is very powerful and reliable
- It is easy to set up
- It is cheaper compared to other 802.11ac routers
- It is a bit heavy
The Asus RT AC3200 is one of the top rated routers today, and for good reasons. It is very stable, delivering strong Wi-Fi connection that can match up with any router in the market. It also has a very affordable price tag compared to other 802.11ac routers.
The router may be big and heavy, but this is fairly common in high end routers like the Asus RT AC3200. Despite some flaws in design, this Asus router is highly recommended to any individual wanting to improve his home network.
TP-Link Archer C7 (AC1750) – Best Budget Router
The TP Link Archer C7 could be the best budget router around. It offers good range and signal strength, thanks to its three sturdy external antennas. It offers a total transfer data rate of 1.75Gbps, with 1300Mbps at the reliable 5GHz band and 450Mbps at the 2.4GHz network.
TP Link Archer C7 review will tell you that this is a 802.11ac router that’s very competitively priced. The TP Link AC1750 router features two USB 2.0 ports and buttons for WPS, four Gigabit LAN ports, and a Gigabit WAN port.
It supports 801.11ac. This pertains to the next generation of Wi-Fi. Also called as 5G Wi-Fi, 801.11ac is known for its fast connections, superior range, enhanced reliability, and more efficient power usage.
It can support a total bandwidth of 1.75Gbps. This includes 1300Mbps at 5GHz network and 450Mbps at 2.4GHz band.
Dual band. With two bands—2.4GHz and 5GHz—this router allows more devices to be connected to a home network.
It has dual USB ports for sharing files and media. With this feature, it is a lot easier to connect external devices to this router. You can easily share files, photos, and videos wirelessly with all the devices that are connected to your home network.
It has an intuitive mobile interface. You can easily set up and install your Wi-Fi through the TP-Link tether app which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
This router measures 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches. It’s a fairly large router by today’s standards. The housing is made of a black plastic. Let’s just say that this router won’t win any awards for its looks.
There are three detachable antennas in the router. These antennas are sturdy and can stay upright because of their thickness. There are also three internal antennas in this router.
The two USB 2.0 ports are located in the rear panel, while the four Gigabit Ethernet ports and the Gigabit WAN port are found on the back.
Installing this router is quick and easy. It comes with a resource mini disc along with a quick connection guide, which you can refer in determining how to connect the cables and modem to the router.
You can then insert the mini disc in the disc drive, with an Easy Set up Assistant guiding you through the rest of the set up.
Interestingly, the interface of this router is text-based. It bucks the current trend of router interfaces being graphics heavy. This suggests that this router is more for advanced users who don’t need user-friendly images to be able to set up the router.
This router won’t blow you away with its performance in the same way that more expensive 11ac routers can. After all, it doesn’t have the same hardware that other high-end routers have.
But if you’re just looking for a router which can let you do simple tasks like checking email, streaming movies, and the like, then this router should satisfy your needs.
- This router supports 802.11ac
- It is easy to set up and install
- Relatively affordable
- It is a bit large compared to other routers
Should You Buy It?
If you’re looking to buy a powerful and reliable router that can support 801.11ac speeds without spending too much, then you should definitely get the TP Link Archer C7. This is one of the more budget-friendly 801.11ac routers today, and something you would love to add in your home network.
There are many electronics companies claiming to have made the best range wireless routers. But if you read user testimonials and reviews online, the D-Link AC3200 is among the best routers today. This D-Link AC3200 review will give you the reasons why this router is so highly touted.
D-Link AC3200 – Best range wireless router review
The D-Link AC3200 is big and thus would take up a significant space in your desk. But you would be happy to have this router in your place as it can allow multiple devices to connect to it.
This router has six adjustable antennas. It also has a very stylish shiny red finish. It can be the building block of an extreme gaming set-up.
And once you see how it performs, you’ll be more amazed at the reliability, range, and ease of use of this router.
Tri band WiFi. Having this wifi router at home is like having three routers in one unit. It operates on three bands—one 2.4GHz network that offers up to 600Mbps of data transfer rate, and two separate 5GHz bands that deliver up to 1,300Mbps.
USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports for file sharing and networking devices or printers.
1GHz dual core processor for a more powerful router
Advanced AC Smart Beam. This feature allows users to track devices connected to the router.
The D-Link AC3200 is a monster of a router, both literally and figuratively. Not only is the router capable of supporting fast WiFi but it is also very big and heavy.
This router has a bright, glossy red finish. Its striking angular shape makes it look like an alien spacecraft. We don’t really buy routers for their looks, but the outlandish design of this router is worth mentioning nonetheless.
The router is big, with dimensions of 15 x 9.75 x 4 inches. But because it is big, the router allows for plenty of airflow that can keep its hardware cool.
There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports located at the rear of the device. These ports are for connecting your computers and other networking hardware. The fifth Ethernet socket is where the router connects to the modem.
There are also USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports for sharing printers and storage devices.
Installing this router is pretty simple. Start by connecting the unit to the modem, and then switching on the router.
Boot your computer and then type http://dlinkrouter.local in your web browser. This should find the router’s login page.
The web user interface of the router is very simple and clean. The home page displays the Internet status, the IP address of the router, and the connected clients, if any. It also shows the default gateway information and subnet mask.
The settings page has the Setup Wizard that you can launch to guide you through the installation process. This is also where you turn to if you want to configure your network, set the router password, or adjust the WiFi settings.
You won’t be disappointed with the performance of this router. It is very reliable. You can connect up to 19 devices on this router. What is more impressive is that the Internet speed isn’t affected by the number of devices connected to the router.
The range is also very impressive. You could be up to 40 feet away from the router yet your tablet or smartphone will get good WiFi signal.
- It is very fast
- It has very good range
- The user interface is easy to understand
- The router is expensive
- The router is quite big
This router may have a steep price tag, but you’ll be getting your money’s worth, so to speak. This router has very good signal strength and range. It is also very easy to set up.
Linksys AC1900 Review- Best DD-WRT WiFi Router
The Linksys AC1900 is one of the biggest routers you’ll ever see. It’s also one of the priciest. But don’t let those qualities fool you, as this router is perhaps the best DD-WRT Wi-Fi router around. It is packed with features that explain its rather hefty price and size.
Any LinkSys Ac1900 review will tell you that this is one of the fastest routers today. This router can facilitate Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1,900Mbps. The 2.4GHz network facilitates speed of up to 600Mbps, while the 5GHz band can support 1,300Mbps.
It is powered by a dual core, 1.6GHz CPU that allows it to support high speed data processing to multiple users. It’s an ideal addition to any home or office network where users love to play online games, stream movies, and transfer large files.
It also features USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports for fast data transfer and file sharing. Users can also monitor network activity, prioritize devices or websites, and control the online activity of children.
512 MB of RAM for improved data transfer speed. This enables the router to facilitate wireless transfer of large files faster and without lag. It also allows multiple users to stream movies and play online games.
Four external antennas that improve Wi-Fi coverage and signal strength. This enables the router to deliver high speeds even in multi-story buildings.
With LinkSys Smart Wifi with network map software. This lets users to have total control over their network anytime, anywhere.
Powered by a 1.6GHz dual core processor. This processor enables the router to handle high data.
With USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports for storage and networking purposes
Make no mistake about it—this is a heavy and big router. It weighs 2.2 kilograms, and measures 295 x 195 x 55 mm. This router has one of the largest footprints in the market today.
The router feels rock solid despite being made of plastic. The upgradable antennas are also thick. These are far sturdier than most antennas found in other routers.
This router also has thick rubber feet, making it stable when placed on a desk. But the feet can be slit as well, so that the router can be wall mounted.
This router is easy to install that it would only take you minutes to set it up. Once you have plugged in the router, simply connect to either of its open bands. Then the router automatically opens a page in your web browser. The set up wizard will then start.
The setup wizard is where you can set your passwords, wireless SSIDs, and admin password.
The web interface, however, may appear confusing to first-time users. The lack of standard categories like Administration, Advanced, and System, for one, can make you scratch your head.
Numerous online wireless router reviews agree with what Linksys has promised with this router—topnotch speed and superior range. This router is very reliable that you can connect multiple devices to it without any issues or lag.
Even if your mobile device like smartphone or tablet is a few rooms away from this router, it can still connect easily to this router. You won’t also have any problems streaming videos even in ultra high definition resolution when you have this router at home.
- Fast data transfer rate
- Superior range
- Very easy to set up
- Very expensive
This router may not have the most budget-friendly price tag, but it delivers in terms of performance. It is fast, powerful, and reliable. You can’t go wrong with this router from Linksys, especially if you are into HD video streaming or online gaming.
Types of wireless routers
Things To consider while buying the best wifi router – Buyer’s Guide
Know your network standards:
When you walk into a computer store and ask the assistant that you want a wireless router, he or she may likely ask you—do you want a router that runs on wireless B or a wireless G?
Or do you want a router that runs on a wireless N, or wireless AC ?
You don’t want to get caught scratching your head, right?
Without getting into the technical mumbo jumbo, let’s discuss these network standards.
There are no longer routers that run on wireless B alone. But there are still some new routers that support wireless B.
When we say wireless B, this pertains to the Wi-Fi standard that supports a transfer rate of 11Mbps. The range of routers that support wireless B is around 150 feet.
This type of router also operates at the 2.4GHz band, which we have mentioned is prone to congestion and interference.
Routers that run on wireless G have a maximum transfer rate of 54Mbps. Similar to wireless B routers, these routers operate at the 2.4GHz range. Thus these routers will face the same interference issues that wireless B routers are prone to encountering.
Wireless N routers can support a maximum transfer rate of 300mbps with two antennas. If the router has three antennas, the maximum theoretical transfer rate is 450mbps. These routers can operate at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.
Finally wireless AC routers are the most advanced of the four. These are routers that can facilitate data transfer of up to 1Gbps. It also has a stronger signal strength compared to the wireless N router.
Manufacturers of wireless routers usually advertise the speed of their products in megabytes per second or Mbps. A little bit of history— the first consumer Wi-Fi routers were able to support speeds of 11Mbps. Then the mid-range 802.11g routers supported 54 Mbps before the 802.11n routers supported speeds between 150 to 600Mbps. The newest models, the 802.11ac routers are now capable of supporting speeds of above 1Gbps.
Naturally, you would look at the routers with the highest Mbps rating. However bear in mind that the actual speeds that your devices will achieve in real life are a lot lower than the maximum rating as advertised by the wireless router manufacturer.
Also keep in mind that high speed routers cannot speed up your Internet connection. So if your Internet service provider’s speed isn’t that fast, then don’t expect your router to provide you with speeds of up to 1Gbps.
One of the top considerations in choosing a wireless router is its security options. This is very crucial especially today, with any troublemaker within range capable of leeching off your Internet connection. The wily ones can also access any of the files you have stored on your computer, eavesdrop on your online activities, and worst of all, infect your computer with viruses.
The rule of thumb is this—the router you should get should have at least WPA2. Also, every device that you would add to the network must also support WPA2. If not, then the device and the router won’t be secured at all.
WPA may also work but it is not the best in terms of security. And don’t rely on WEP as this is the least secure, being very much capable of being cracked by Wi-Fi key detectors that anyone can download over the Internet.
There are also routers designed with advanced security features. Some routers also have other features like the ability to monitor devices, add extra encryption, and block users as specified by the user.
There are even routers that allow administrators to see what people who are connected to the network are browsing.
It may seem like impractical to look for a wireless router with a wired connectivity option. After all, isn’t that you’re getting a wifi router to benefit from the convenience of Wi-Fi and get away from cables?
But don’t dismiss Ethernet ports yet. Wifi routers with Ethernet ports allow you to hard-wire devices so that you can benefit from the greater transmission speeds. Wired connections may not be as convenient as wireless but they’re definitely more reliable and faster.
Wireless routers with Gigabit Ethernet ports can let you wire devices such as multimedia servers with Gigabit Ethernet adapters.
Single WAN or Dual WAN:
All wireless routers have a single WAN port that connects the home or office network to the Internet.
However, if you cannot afford to lose Internet connection, then you should buy a wireless router with a dual WAN. Thus, if the first port goes down, the second WAN port will be activated.
This is particularly important in businesses and offices which cannot afford any network downtime. With a dual WAN router, you can continue to run mission critical applications and avoid losing access to other offices, or employees who are working remotely.
Back in the day, USB port was very crucial for networking the printer to the router. This was before printers were equipped with built-in wireless capabilities.
These days, USB ports play a different role in routers—for cheap network storage. You can now plug a flash storage drive or HDD into the back of the router, and then share the data with any device connected on the network.
You can also use the HDD or flash storage drive for a networked media hub, allowing you to stream movies or TV shows on your network.
This is a factor that you will have to consider if you have a big house or office. You obviously want your router to have enough range to cover your home or office.
Generally speaking, routers that run on wireless AC are the best in range. They can provide the best connectivity at the farthest range. Wireless N routers aren’t far behind, followed by wireless G and wireless B.
There are also other factors that can affect the range of the router. For instance, physical obstructions in homes like metal frames, sidings, and brick walls can lessen the range of a wireless router by at least 25 percent.
One integral part of radio communication systems such as radio and routers are antennas. These are designed to pick up incoming signals, or radiate outgoing Wi-Fi signals.
Antennas may be mounted externally, or embedded inside the hardware enclosure of the device.
The good wireless routers are capable of transferring large files or streaming videos around the house. However, signal strength usually declines as the distance between the router and the client (laptop, smartphone, or tablet) increases.
The prices of routers vary depending on the features, number of ports, antenna, range, and other variables. The high end ones can start at a price of $100. The generic ones given by internet service providers are priced at around $10.
You may want to settle for a cheap router that delivers sub-par performance. However, you may not be getting your money’s worth. The router may just frustrate you with poor range or intermittent connection.
Or it may not have enough security features to protect your computer and other devices that connect to it. Worse, the cheap router you settle for may eventually break down after several months of use.
It is not surprising that a lot of people tend to pass up on the opportunity to upgrade their home or office network. Buying a wifi router appears to be very intimidating to a typical individual, what with the number of technical jargon one has to get familiar with.Thus, some buyers tend to take the short cut by just choosing the router with the lowest price. Or settling for the router that comes from a familiar brand, never mind if the router doesn’t suit their needs at all.
But after reading this router review and buying guide, you should have understood how a router works. And you should now have a better idea what to look for in a wireless router.
The truth is that shopping for wifi routers aren’t that complex as it may seem. You will have to consider important factors such as the range, speed, security, number of antennas and USB ports.
You should also be familiar with the various types of wireless routers available in the market, so that you can choose the type that’s best for your home or office requirements. Hope you have already checked out the list of best wifi routers 2018.
Of course, you’ll need to take into consideration the price of the router as well, just like in any other gadget you are shopping for.
Before making any purchase, be sure to check out reviews of the wireless router that you are interested in. This should give you a better idea on what to expect from the wireless router model you are contemplating to buy.