The 10 Best Long-Range Routers of 2020

Eliminate those dreaded Wi-Fi "dead zones"

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Asus RT-AC88U at Amazon

"The gold standard for routers, offering fast speeds alongside an extended range that can fill an entire home."

Best Mesh: Netgear Orbi at Amazon

"A multi-unit 'hotspot' system with plug-and-play simplicity."

Best for Speed: TP-Link Archer AX6000 at Amazon

"As TP-Link’s first 802.11ax router, the Archer AX6000 makes an immediate impact."

Best for Streaming: Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 at Amazon

"Enjoy smooth, bufferless 8K video streaming."

Best for Gaming: Asus GT-AC5300 at Amazon

"Delivers the kind of performance that serious gamers need with up to 5,000 square feet of coverage."

Best Range: AmpliFi HD at Amazon

"A relatively new Wi-Fi router technology that offers complete home coverage through a multitude of devices."

Best Setup: Netgear Nighthawk X6 at Amazon

"The Netgear Genie app makes installation a snap."

Best Connectivity: Linksys EA9500 at Amazon

"A collection of eight Gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports make this a great choice for busy households or home offices."

Best Open Source: Linksys WRT1900ACS at Amazon

"Featuring a slew of performance-enhancing additions and excellent range."

Best Value: TP-Link Archer C9 at Amazon

"Offers great range at a wallet-friendly price."

If you need no holds barred coverage from your Wi-Fi network, then you need one of the best Long-Range routers. Most routers are good enough to provide coverage in their immediate vicinity, but this collection of routers can extend their networks up to 3,000 square feet without any help.

A long-range router should feature some decent coverage, which means anything upwards of around 3,000 square feet. However, you'll likely also want a router with MU-MIMO, which allows for multiple users on the same network without slowing each other down.

If you're looking for some tips on setting up your first home network, check out our introduction to wireless networking.

Best Overall: Asus RT-AC88U

Asus RT-AC88U
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.5
What We Like
  • Excellent performance

  • Feature rich

  • Powerful software

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Complicated back-end can be intimidating

  • Doesn't have the same range as other models

Powerful, sleek and full of ports, the RT-AC88U from Asus is the gold standard for routers that offer fast speeds alongside an extended range that can fill an entire home. Weighing 2.6 pounds and measuring at 6.5x30x18.8 inches, the Asus isn't small, but with a larger size comes a superb router that's worth every penny. The extra footprint doesn't go to waste, as the Asus is the first router with eight Gigabit LAN ports capable of running eight separate Ethernet-compatible devices simultaneously. Additionally, the Asus is powered by 1024-QAM technology, which offers 80 percent faster speeds at 5GHz (2.1Gbps) and 66 percent faster speeds at 2.4GHz (1Gbps). Accompanying the faster speeds, the AC88U offers 33 percent greater coverage at the 2.4GHz range with the four-transmit, four-receive antenna design allowing expansive coverage in areas up to 5,000 square feet.

Beyond coverage range, our tests showed that the Asus excels with its fun-to-use web interface, easy setup, and outstanding network monitoring features. It includes a built-in VPN, as well as TrendMicro vulnerability detection to ensure a safer and more secure browsing experience protecting against malware. Furthermore, the Asus includes support for MU-MIMO, which offers each connected user his/her own dedicated Wi-Fi connection. And for gamers, the AC88U includes built-in game acceleration and route-optimized servers to offer the lowest ping-times during gaming sessions.

"A perfect fit in any smart home, allowing you to set up automated programs with a variety of smart devices." Bill Thomas, Product Tester

Best Mesh: Netgear Orbi Home Wi-Fi System

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Courtesy of Walmart.com
4.5
What We Like
  • Speedy performance

  • Full home coverage

  • Beautiful aesthetics

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Older devices complicate things

Netgear’s Orbi system gives you a multi-unit “hotspot” system with plug-and-play simplicity. This particular tri-band system comes with two separate units: the Orbi Router and the Orbi Satellite. Technically speaking, the router works like any of the other routers on the list, the satellite unit works basically like an extender. But what’s interesting about a holistic mesh system like this is that they all work together under the same name. So, a Wi-Fi-connected computer will see each unit as its own separate router under one unified name, giving you amazing coverage.

What does that coverage amount to? In this case, our testing showed that the two units will easily cover a 5,000-square-foot home, more than enough space unless you live in a McMansion. The added benefit here is you can string more units into the package to extend the range even further. So, while one unit might not provide mind-blowing range on its own, if you hook up enough of them, you’ll beat the range of any powerhouse router on this list. It doesn’t hurt that they look pretty slick, too.

"When you take the phenomenal range, speedy performance, and MU-MIMO support together in a package, it’s frankly amazing. You will have a hard time finding a better wireless router than the Netgear Orbi." Bill Thomas, Product Tester

Best for Speed: TP-Link Archer AX6000 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX6000
What We Like
  • Wi-Fi 6 Support

  • 8 Gigabit Ethernet Ports

  • Good parental controls

What We Don't Like
  • Large footprint

  • Lacks WPA3 Support

As TP-Link’s first Wi-Fi 6 router, the Archer AX6000 makes an immediate impact. Beamforming and “Rangeboost” technologies help its eight external antennas deliver strong long-range signals. With 802.11ax operating on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands (802.11ac only operates on 5 GHz), this next-generation router supports speeds of 4,804Mbps at 5GHz and 1,148Mbps at 2.4GHz for a combined total of 6Gbps of throughput.

With many households now filled with multiple phones, tablets, 4K video streaming, and smart-home devices competing for download and upload capacity, Wi-Fi improvements need to be about more than range and speed. The 802.11ax standard boasts four times greater capacity and performance, thanks to both uplink and downlink MU-MIMO working with OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) technology to handle heavy wireless traffic much more efficiently. The Archer AX6000 also has features aimed at the safety and security of all these gadgets and their users, such as adaptive antivirus, parental control profiles for groups of devices, and custom levels of active content filtering.

"Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is a fairly new standard, but in addition to offering faster speeds, it’s also better at dealing with interference and busy networks, and has other features that will improve range, especially in crowded homes." Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer

Best for Streaming: Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 12-Stream AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

What We Like
  • Wi-Fi 6 Support

  • Tri-Band Wi-Fi with 12 streams

  • Advanced wireless features

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Few devices can yet take advantage of it

The RAX120 is the absolute powerhouse of the Netgear Nighthawk line. At its core, it offers improved network capacity due to the more modern Wi-Fi 6 technology. This is important for video streaming because, in today’s modern household, it’s very likely that a dozen devices will be streaming video on the same network. The RAX120 stands out with its sheer bandwidth speed, which will enable you to enjoy smooth, bufferless streaming for your favorite TV shows.

Capable of supporting up to 12 simultaneous streams, the RAX120 offers a combined throughput of 6Gbps, which is more than enough to support 4K and even 8K video streaming thanks to the eight separate high-efficiency antennas, which also provide 50 percent higher Wi-Fi range than previous generations. The whole system is supported by the WPA3 security protocol and a dual-core processor. Plus, because it’s a Netgear device, you can control who has access to your Internet connection and when through its intuitive smartphone app.

Best for Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Gaming Router

4.5
What We Like
  • Eight Gigabit Ethernet ports

  • AIMesh Support

  • Gamers Private Network

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Large footprint

Most of Asus’ higher-end routers provide outstanding range, and our testing proved that the Asus GT-AC5300 is no exception in this area, providing high-speed coverage for up to 5,000 square feet, and it also supports Asus’ AIMesh technology, which means you can easily add another one if you need the extra coverage. However, if you’re a serious gamer, you need more than just speed and range, and this is where the GT-AC5300 specifically excels. 

The tri-band Wi-Fi radios offer a combined top throughput of 5,334Mbps across all channels, and MU-MIMO and beamforming ensures that your gaming consoles and other devices will get maximum performance even over Wi-Fi. What’s of specific interest for gamers, however, is the inclusion of the WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN), which helps ensure that you get the best online gaming experience possible, with low-latency and lag-free connections. Other gamer-centric features include VPN Fusion which lets you keep your normal internet traffic running over a secure VPN without slowing down your gaming, plus Game IPS from Trend Micro to protect your gaming PC from hackers and malware.

Although the GT-AC5300 offers some amazing Wi-Fi speeds, Asus also recognizes that many gamers still prefer to jack in with a wired connection, and it’s provided a staggering eight Gigabit Ethernet ports around back, so you won’t need to worry about running out of connections, plus a pair of USB 3.0 ports for connecting external hard drives or printers. 

"You essentially have a dedicated gaming Wi-Fi router combined with the bandwidth you want to support other activities like streaming 4K content." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best Range: AmpliFi HD

AmpliFi HD
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Great range

  • Amazing speed

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

In today’s connected world, everyone wants faster Wi-Fi with better range and fortunately, the tech industry is listening. Enter Mesh networking, a relatively new Wi-Fi router technology that offers complete home coverage through a multitude of devices plugged in around the home or office. AmpliFi HD’s home Wi-Fi system is a new entry into the mesh networking space and is already leading the pack.

Inside the main AmpliFi HD box are six high-density long-range 802.11ac 3x3 MIMO antennas offering speeds up to 5.25Gbps and a range of 20,000 feet. The design of the 5-pound, 4-inch main box is a complete breakaway from traditional router appearance and it’s a well-deserved change.

Setting up the network is as easy as plugging in and watching Internet dead spots in your home disappear. On the front of the all-white unit is a lone multicolored LCD that offers both the current time and speed statistics. Beyond the base router are the white plastic “mesh points” that look like slightly larger USB sticks that plug into traditional power outlets around the home. Overall, the AmpliFi HD is the most robust mesh router on the market and offers unique style and solid performance in both speed and range.

"When it comes to internet routers, top speeds and low-latency can make all of the difference between success and failure in fast-paced online games. Gaming-specific routers focus on optimizing the gaming experience, but this also makes them great high-performance routers for just about anything else too." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer

Best Setup: Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router

4.3
What We Like
  • Tri-band technology

  • Very fast setup

  • Advanced parental controls

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Large footprint

To the average person, routers are undeniably confusing. Between their multiple antennas, bands and inputs, they can be incredibly frustrating to set up. So we’re pleased to recommend the Nighthawk X6 as not only one of our favorite long-range routers but one of the easiest to set up as well. With its tri-band technology plus beamforming, it smartly assigns each one of your devices to an optimal Wi-Fi band, ensuring they can connect at their max speed, up to 3.2Gbps.

As for its simple set-up? Our testing showed us that the Netgear genie app makes installation a snap. It supports a single sign-on (SSO) feature that lets you use one login for all of your Netgear accounts and also enables you to monitor, connect, and control your home network remotely from your iOS or Android phone. On top of that, it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, so you can control your home network via voice commands.

"The Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router is poised to deliver fast and reliable speed to a larger home full of devices." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best Connectivity: Linksys EA9500 Tri-Band Wireless Router

Linksys AC5400 Tri-Band Wireless Router
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.5
What We Like
  • MU-MIMO capable

  • Eight built-in LAN ports

  • Two USB 3.0 ports for file and device sharing

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Very large footprint

  • Bulky, laptop-style power pack

With its multitude of antennas, streamlined black design, and generous collection of ports, the Linksys EA9500 Tri-Band Wireless Router is an excellent addition to any home. While most routers offer both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the EA9500 includes a second 5GHz band to reduce congestion on busy networks and ensure that all of your devices get top speeds. Powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and sporting eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, the EA9500 is ready to tackle any job. The router also supports MU-MIMO technology, so each device connected to the Wi-Fi network can operate independently without affecting the speed of other devices.

Beyond the tri-band Wi-Fi set, the inclusion of 802.11ac offers fast Wi-Fi performance, which our testing showed is especially great for busy households or home offices. All totaled, the 802.11ac connection paired with the three Wi-Fi bands add up to a combined maximum throughput of 5.3Gbps, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports allow you to hook up external storage and stream your media around the house thanks to its built-in DLNA support.

"The Linksys EA9500 Router is a beast, both in terms of size and performance." — Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Best Open Source: Linksys WRT1900ACS Open Source Wi-Fi Router

Linksys WRT1900ACS Open Source WiFi Router
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Open Source

  • Replaceable firmware

  • Stable and reliable

What We Don't Like
  • Older Design

  • Lacks MU-MIMO

Released in 2015, the Linksys WRT1900ACS offers surprisingly great range for a router in its class, actually beating out its more modern replacements, especially in the lower-frequency 2.4GHz band. While the classic Linksys black-and-blue design may not appeal to everyone, the performance of this router will have you all but forgetting its less inspiring appearance, thanks to a slew of performance-enhancing additions and excellent range. Four adjustable, high-performance antennas enhance the 2.4GHz (600Mbps) and 5GHz (1.3Gbps) bands to provide maximum Wi-Fi coverage and performance, and the 1.6GHz CPU helps multiple users in the same home or office simultaneously stream Netflix or game online without any lag.

Overall, the dual-band technology can handle up to four independent lanes of Wi-Fi data traffic at its peak performance of 1.9Gbps, and beamforming technology works to direct your wireless signal to your more distant devices. Unfortunately, the WRT1900ACS lacks MU-MIMO capability for increased efficiency across data traffic, but still handles multiple connections in the same home with aplomb. In addition to its great range, Linksys' open firmware model means you can enhance the router with packages like OpenWRT and DD-WRT that offer a wealth of customizability.

"While most tri-band wireless routers offer an extra 5GHz band, this only helps to improve overall performance if you have more than two or three 5GHz devices competing for bandwidth. A single device won't gain any speed increase from a tri-band router, since it can still only connect to one band at a time." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer

Best Value: TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 Smart Wireless Router

TP-Link AC1900
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Strong Wi-Fi signal

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Limited positioning options

  • Lacks advanced features

Finding a budget-priced router with excellent range isn’t an easy request, but the TP-Link Archer C9 wireless long-range router is an excellent wallet-friendly option. Offering support for 802.11ac and dual-band networks (2.4GHz and 5GHz), the Archer C9 adds three high-powered antennas to create a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal throughout your home or small office. Setup is a snap with the free TP-Link tether app available on both Android and iOS, which allows you to both initiate the router right out of the box, as well as manage settings throughout its life.

From a design standpoint, the all-white aesthetic differentiates it from the traditional black utilitarian look of traditional routers. At three pounds and 13.2x3.9x9.5 inches, the Archer C9 has three detachable antennas that are assisted by beamforming strengthening connections, which help direct the routers signal focus toward devices. Additionally, the Archer C9 is tweaked out-of-the-box to enable gaming and 4K video streaming without interruption even if multiple devices are connected to the network at the same time.

"For various reasons, faster Wi-Fi routers don’t necessarily provide better range. While AC3200 and AC5400 routers offer speeds that make them ideal for handling the increased number of devices that are often found in a larger home, there’s no direct correlation between the speed of a router and the range that it offers."Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer

Final Verdict

If you need your network to reach every corner of your apartment or home without the aid of mesh networks or Wi-Fi extenders, the Asus RT-AC88U has got you covered.

About our Trusted Experts

Jesse Hollington has over three decades of experience in information technology and networking and has installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender, dating back to the days long before Wi-Fi even existed.

Bill Thomas is a Denver-based freelance writer who covers technology, music, film, and gaming. They began writing for Lifewire in January 2018, but you can also find their work on TechRadar. Bill has also worked as an editor at Future. 

Yoona Wagener enjoys helping people simplify processes. She has experience providing technical support and help documentation to end users, building websites for small business owners, and offering career advice to social-impact job seekers. 

Benjamin Zeman is a business consultant, musician and writer based in southern Vermont. When he’s not reviewing tech products for Lifewire, he’s getting nerdy fixing them or solving complex problems for businesses in need of an outside perspective.

What to Look for in a Long-Range Router

Coverage - Placement of the router in your home can make a difference, but if you’ve tinkered with that to no avail, a long-range router will get you covered. They range from 3,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet and up, so consider your space and buy something suitable for you.

Single-, dual- or tri-band - In a large home, a single-band router probably won’t cut it. A dual-band device, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, provides faster throughput and 802.11ac support while also helping to reduce overcrowding. If you want to take it up a notch, look for a tri-band router, which adds another 5GHz band to reduce congestion even further, which can improve your overall speeds on networks with a lot of Wi-Fi devices.

Additional features - Newer routers pack in additional features like MU-MIMO technology and beamforming technology. These help to distribute data more efficiently and route the signal to where it’s needed most. You’ll notice a big difference with these features.