The 9 Best Wireless Routers of 2020

Shop the best routers for gamers, streamers, large houses, apartments and more

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Netgear Orbi at Amazon

"The Netgear Orbi can cover up to 6,000 square feet and can handle speeds of up to 2.2Gbps."

Best for Simplicity: Google Nest Wifi at Amazon

"If you want a simple, fast setup and a 'set it and forget it' router, this is the one to get."

Best for Larger Homes: Linksys EA7500 at Amazon

"An affordable router that is great for handling lots of devices."

Best for Full Home Coverage: Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System at Amazon

"Comes with three individual routers that you can place around your home for up to 5,000 square feet of coverage."

Best for Smart Homes: Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Hub at Amazon

"SmartThings makes you the master of your domain, with total control over all your devices."

Best for Media Streaming: Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 at Amazon

"Ultrafast WiGig speeds plus a built-in Plex server let you stream your media to a wide variety of devices."

Best Under $50: TP-Link Archer A6 AC1200 at Amazon

"A great little router for an extremely reasonable price."

Best Security: Asus RT-AC88U at Amazon

"Built in security protects you from malware and other online threats along with offering advanced parental controls and detecting network vulnerabilities."

Best for Gaming: Netgear Nighthawk XR500 at Amazon

"The ultimate router for top-notch performance and lag-free gaming."

Best Technology: Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 at Amazon

"For the most up to date tech you can find in a router, the AX8 is where to look first."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Netgear Orbi

Netgear Orbi
Courtesy of
What We Like
  • Full Home Coverage

  • Speedy performance

  • Beautiful aesthetics

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Older devices can complicate things

While you may not immediately recognize it as a Netgear product, thanks to its more living-room-friendly aesthetic, the Orbi is the venerable networking company's first fully mesh system that can deliver solid and reliable performance for every corner of even the largest homes.

The Orbi features a tri-band Wi-Fi system, but actually provides dual-band Wi-Fi to your devices—speeds of up to 866Mbps over 5GHz frequencies and 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz side—while the third 5GHz band is used as a dedicated "backhaul" channel to move traffic between all of the units, which ensures that you can get maximum Wi-Fi speeds from anywhere in your home.

All told this gives it enough range to cover a 6,000 square foot home, and it also has a staggering number of LAN ports for a mesh system—three on the base unit plus four more on the satellite, all supporting Gigabit Ethernet, so you can easily hardwire in a TV or game console for maximum performance.

Best for Simplicity: Google Nest Wifi

What We Like
  • Attractive and simple design

  • Integrates with Google Home

  • Point units double as smart speakers

What We Don't Like
  • No Ethernet ports on points

  • Lacks a dedicated backhaul channel

Google's Nest Wifi is the second-generation of its mesh system that uses satellites—which it calls "points"—that communicate with each other to help cover every inch of your home with a reliable and high-performance wireless network. The main Nest Wifi unit plugs into your internet provider's modem in the same way as any other router, and then you simply drop additional units around your home wherever your network needs more Wi-Fi reach.

With two points, the Nest Wifi can offer up to 5,400 square feet of coverage, which should be enough to blanket all but the very largest homes, and as an added bonus, each point can double as a Google Assistant smart speaker, making this system a really great choice for those invested in the Google Home ecosystem. Thanks to Google's Home and Wi-Fi apps for Android and iOS, the Nest Wifi is also an absolute cinch to set up and manage, letting you get up and running within minutes with almost no fuss at all, and it even lets you set up a guest network for your friends and other visitors and let them get online simply by scanning a QR code.

Good to Know

Some mesh systems and Wi-Fi extenders provide a dedicated "backhaul" channel for maximum performance between the main station and its satellites. In systems without this you may get slower speeds when your computer or smartphone is connected to a "point" instead of the main router.

Best for Larger Homes: Linksys EA7500

Linksys AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router
Courtesy of
What We Like
  • Simple and intuitive router

  • Excellent for streaming with multiple devices

  • Hits speeds up to 1.9 Gbps

What We Don't Like
  • Speeds can fluctuate wildly

  • Software is not robust

If you have a large home, you might have a lot of people with a lot of different devices: Tablets, Alexa, TVs, gaming consoles, phones, and VR rigs all compete for the Internet. So thankfully the Linksys EA7500 lets you connect 12 or more devices at once. It sports both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, speeds of up to 1.9Gbps and an unobtrusive design. You don’t get much in the way of software, and if you stretch the router too thin with way more devices than is normal you’ll get inconsistent downloads, but otherwise this will perform just fine for everyday use.

Best for Full Home Coverage: Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System

What We Like
  • Up to 5,000 sq ft coverage

  • Works with Alexa

  • Quick and easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Slows down dramatically when multiple devices are connected

If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi system that will cover your whole home, look no further than the Eero Mesh system. This system comes with three individual routers that you can place around your home for up to 5,000 square feet of coverage, so you can have a reliable connection everywhere from your basement to your garage and even your backyard, with dual-band Wi-Fi that offers reliable speeds of up to 550Mbps throughout your home.

The entire system sets up in as little as 10 minutes with the Eero app, which also allows you to monitor device usage, change your passwords, and manage parental controls that pause the internet so your children cannot access the web during restricted times. The Eero Mesh system is Amazon certified to work with Alexa voice assistant to turn your house into a smart home.

Moreover, in addition to integrating security that encrypts your data and scans your devices for malicious software, it automatically updates to keep you and your data safe at all times. The system is expandable with other Eero products to give you a larger coverage area. The slim profile and modern design of each router make them blend seamlessly into almost any home decor.

Best for Smart Homes: Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Hub

What We Like
  • Covers up to 1,500 square feet

  • Great app to control all devices

  • Sleek, elegant design

What We Don't Like
  • Not the easiest to install

  • Lackluster tech support

  • Not the fastest (866 Mbps)

If you want to create a Smart Home, you need a smart router, and that means a Wi-Fi mesh router that extends throughout your home and connects all of your devices together to function in harmony. Therefore, we highly recommend the Samsung SmartThings line of products. This all-in-one solution lets you control over 100 devices, and if you buy a pack of three routers you can cover up to 4,500 square feet.

Once you get everything installed, the app allows total control over your smart home, and even includes Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave for managing your smart home devices like lights, doorbells, thermostats, and more. Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant even lets you issue voice commands to it.

Best for Media Streaming: Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200

What We Like
  • Blazing fast three-band speeds of 7.2 Gbps

  • Versatile and durable

  • Integrated Plex Media Streaming

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Signal can’t penetrate walls well

Netgear’s Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Wi-Fi router is powered by a 802.11ac quad stream Wave2 along with a 60GHz 802.11ad Wi-Fi, which gives you up to 7.2Gbps of throughput for 802.11ad-compatible devices. It also includes a 1.7GHz quad-core processor and a built-in Plex media server with two USB 3.0 ports and six Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a 10Gbps SFP+ port that you can use either for connecting a high-speed NAS device or even connecting to a 10-gigabit fiber connection if your ISP can provide one.

Needless to say, this router can absolutely handle whatever you throw at it: 4K streaming, VR gaming, and instant downloads, all lag free. If you can stomach the entry price, this router will be with you for long haul.

Good to Know

Although "WiGig" 802.11ad routers can reach some blazingly fast Wi-Fi speeds, the 60GHz frequency they operate on limits their range to around 30 feet. You'll also need 802.11ad network adapters for your PCs, gaming consoles, or other devices in order to take advantage of the higher throughput.

Best Under $50: TP-Link Archer A6 AC1200

What We Like
  • Affordable and reliable router

  • Can get over a Gigabit per second of speed

  • Setup is easy and hassle free

What We Don't Like
  • The range is lacking

  • Missing some features like Alexa voice support

If you are on a budget, check out the TP-Link AC1200. It offers speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, has a two-year warranty, a USB port, and even has detachable antennas. This is a simple to use, easy to install dual-band router that is tiny (9.05 x 5.68 x 1.45 inches) and lightweight (about a pound). The AC1200 also has MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input and output) technology powering it, which essentially means more than one device can be on the Internet simultaneously without sacrificing speed.

Best Security: Asus RT-AC88U

What We Like
  • Excellent performance

  • Advanced features

  • Solid security services

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Intimidating configuration screens

  • Weaker range

Asus’ RT-AC88U is one of the most feature-rich routers available, and while it’s billed as a “gaming router” it’s actually very well-rounded, offering great performance and sophisticated security features all in one powerful little package. Built in Asus AiProtection powered by Trend Micro protects you from malware and other online threats along with offering advanced parental controls and detecting network vulnerabilities. 

In an era when more and more routers are moving toward using smartphone apps for configuration, we like that Asus still relies on a good old-fashioned web interface, and while it’s quick and easy to get up and running, there are so many features here that some users might find it a little intimidating, but there’s no doubt that it’s a great router for power users. 

In terms of performance, the RT-AC88U provides dual-band Wi-Fi with speeds of up to 2.1Gbps on the 5GHz and 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz side, and the four-antenna design lets it cover up to 5,000 square feet. A collection of eight Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back means that you likely won’t need to add an extra hub or switch to keep your high-performance wired devices plugged in, and there’s a USB 3.0 port for connecting either a printer or, better yet, an external hard drive. 

Best for Gaming: Netgear Nighthawk XR500

What We Like
  • Great bandwidth allocation

  • Lots of ports for PCs and consoles

  • Low lag latency for gaming sessions

What We Don't Like
  • Big and bulky

  • Antennas aren't flexible for repositioning

Sure, the Nighthawk XR500 is pricey, but it also has beefy specs. Namely, it can achieve speeds of 2.6Gbps thanks to its dedicated 1.7GHz processor and four external high-performance antennas, and although you can’t really reposition them, you probably won't need to.

The XR500 can even designate express lanes of traffic to avoid network congestion and reduce lag spikes. Finally, there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports for gaming and streaming, so you can connect your PC, console, surround sound system, and more.

Best Technology: Netgear Nighthawk RAX80

What We Like
  • Up to 6 Gbps of wireless speeds

  • Wi-Fi 6 Support

  • 8K streaming

What We Don't Like
  • Will take a big bite out of your wallet

The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 is the cutting edge in router technology. It boasts a staggering ability to handle 30 to 50 devices at once and can output both 4K and 8K video streaming. With its Wi-Fi 6 technology, it can absolutely handle 20 devices at high volume with blazing fast speeds.

The AX8 sports a quad-core 1.8GHz processor, a full gigabyte of RAM, 512 MB of flash memory, and supports backward compatibility for all existing Wi-Fi devices. And having up to 6Gbps is well above average for router speeds, so you won’t encounter problems streaming, playing games, or downloading big files.

Good to Know

Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is still a fairly new standard, so not all of your devices may support it right away, but if you have a lot of devices on your network, or want maximum performance for things like gaming, the extra speed and more reliable connectivity makes it worth the upgrade.

Tested by

What to Look for in a Wireless Router

Compatibility - As wireless standards change fairly frequently, a router more than a few years old is likely out of date. Even if your devices aren’t yet using the newer 802.11ac or 802.11ax standards, we recommend a router that supports them as a means of future-proofing.

Dual-band vs Tri-band - Dual-band routers have both a 2.4GHz band and a 5GHz band, which ultimately increase your connection speeds, and if you live in a densely populated area, or have a lot of devices on your network, you should consider a tri-band router, which adds a second 5GHz band for added performance and range. For smaller networks and more rural areas, however, a dual-band solution will likely suit you just fine.

Range - The ability of your router to deliver a strong signal to all corners of your home is important, but its positioning will likely make just as much of an impact. Higher-end routers will offer up the better range, but a Wi-Fi extender can also work wonders if dead spots are an issue.

Test Results: Netgear Orbi (Best Overall)

What We Like
  • Very fast

  • Easy to set up

  • Highly configurable

What We Don’t Like
  • Big

  • Expensive

With its perfect 5-star rating from testers, Netgear’s Orbi High-Performance AC3000 proved why it tops our list. One of our testers said the system “provided seamless connectivity throughout the entire home” and added that he could definitely see a difference in his wireless speeds. Our reviewers liked that the network is easily configurable with an option to turn off connectivity for individual devices and parental controls that help you monitor kids’ online activities.

If you’re looking to improve your Wi-Fi range in a large home, this system will definitely deliver: “My home office is at one end of the home, so I had to use a wired network before to get good connectivity,” one Lifewire tester said. “With the Orbi system, I did not face any Wi-Fi issues. I get a very good connection even working out in the yard.”

Test Results: Asus RT-AC88U (Best Security)

What We Like
  • Powerful software

  • Fast speed

  • Easy to connect devices

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Antennas too tall

  • Range could have been better

This router came highly rated by our testers for its “surprisingly simple” setup, easy connectivity, and powerful software. The downsides of this router, according to our testers, were that its antennas were a little too tall and that its range could have been better: "Unfortunately, this router doesn’t have the same range that comparable mesh routers have," one reviewer said, "and you likely won’t be able to get a strong signal across a large home." One tester also noted its high price tag, but said that it was a "premium price for a premium experience."