Best Wireless Routers in 2023 – our top picks
If you’re looking for the best wireless routers, we’ve got you covered right here.
Everything we do today is done online: work, entertainment, socializing, gaming… other stuff, too. And yet a lot of people just stick with a somewhat lackluster router (or modem/router combo) that their internet company sticks them with (and you usually pay a monthly fee for using it). While you don’t need the best WiFi router on the market, there are a lot of different options out there that will almost assuredly be a better fit for you.
Whether you’re looking for the best budget router, the best AC router, the fastest WiFi router, the most secure router, the best dual-band router, we have a list of the top-rated routers to help you find the right one for you. Without further ado, here are the best routers of the year.
Products at a Glance
How we picked the best wireless routers of 2023
When deciding our pick of the best wireless routers of 2023, we paid close attention to several key factors. Now that its 2023, Wifi 6 capabilities and features are expected in most routers. Alongside Wifi 6 we expect decent coverage and mesh systems, as well as robust security systems, and user-friendly interfaces. Routers on this list will be in the high price range. Having taken all these factors into consideration, here’s what we selected.
Best Wireless Routers in 2023 – our top picks
- Sleek design
- Netgear Armor
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is our top pick on our list of the best wireless routers in 2023. With WiFi 6E technology, the RAXE500 is capable of incredibly fast wireless speeds. This router is steps ahead of the game with support for 2.5 Gigabit/sec ethernet speeds. It’s fair to predict that 2.5 Gigabit/sec ethernet support will be a common feature we’ll see popping up on new routers in the future.
- Supports the latest 802.11ad WiFi standard
- Tri-band technology
- No QoS to improve gaming
A couple things we love about the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 are its max speed of up to 5400 Mbps and its tri-band support (1x 2.4GHz and 2x 5.0GHz).
Like the rest of the consumer wireless routers, this only has 4 LAN ports. But when it comes to wireless connectivity, you can definitely count on it. This router also comes with MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output) technology, which simply means the router can communicate with multiple devices simultaneously at once (rather than having to rapidly switch between devices), ensuring a strong and stable connection.
It’s also worth noting that this router takes security seriously. The HomeCare feature it utilizes is an anti-virus that protects every single device connected to the network.
And lastly, this router lets you set up a personal VPN server to browse the web and access files securely unlike the Linksys AC5400 (one of its strong competitor, also considered as the best Linksys router). On top of that, this one also has a faster RAM and Flash memory.
- Consistent firmware updates
- MU-MIMO capable router
- 2 access points might not be for everyone
What makes the NetGear Orbi Home Mesh (RBK50) great is the fact that it’s rich in features without compromising speed. And because of this, it’s relatively expensive, coming in at around $300 for the 2-set package.
Starting off with the coverage, this wireless router can cover up to 5,000 square feet since it has 2 physical routers. So, if you have a 2-story house, you can put 1 on each floor or you can have one for personal use and the other one for guests.
Separating the access point allows you and your guests to have a more stable and secure connection at all times. And this also keeps the guests from messing around with your personal network. On top of that, each router has 4 LAN ports at your disposal.
Yet another thing that makes this appealing, especially for most parents, is the parental control feature. You can limit the daily time usage for specific websites and applications for specific family members to keep them from browsing the internet too much.
Lastly, it doesn’t feature the traditional square slab with antennas pointing upward design. Rather, it has a modern touch to it– which can be used as decor.
- Great mesh system
- Sleek and subtle design
The Linksys Atlas Max 6E uses its WiFi 6E capabilities to its fullest. With the capacity to handle 12 separate streams of data, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E has the latest compatible technology. This includes the 4×4 MUMIMO technology as well as beam-forming capabilities. As a three-piece mesh system, the Atlas Max 6E can reach far and wide. However, the added bit of hardware does unfortunately make this router much more expensive than its competitors. Regardless, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E features incredible WiFi speeds and a sleek and inoffensive design – making it a perfect router for home and office use.
The Linksys Atlas Max 6E also provides solid configuration features with a straightforward and easy-to-use interface over on the Linksys app. For more detailed configuration, users can head over to the Linksys web interface and fine-tune their preferences. Unfortunately, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E lacks a robust security system that can compare to the likes of the RAXE500. Regardless, this is an incredibly powerful router and sits comfortably on our list of the best wireless routers of 2023.
- Outstanding 802.11ac speed and range
- Reasonably priced
- Asus AiMesh compatible
- Can’t be wall mounted
The Asus AC2900 (RT-AC68U) is another product we proudly present in this roundup. This router is a lot cheaper than the above-mentioned routers but the 802.11ac technology it features performs just as good compared to some of its competitors in the $150 price range.
It doesn’t have a really interesting design. In fact, you can’t even mount this on a wall like most of the routers featured above. Also, this doesn’t have a really sturdy stand (as you can see on the image above) so I suggest you place this in a secured and balanced area.
This router is AiMesh compatible so you can cover more area if you have another Asus WiFi that’s also AiMesh compatible. We don’t recommend using this as mesh though, since its performance isn’t outstanding compared to dedicated mesh routers.
To top it all off, this AC1900 router has an AiProtection Network Security feature, parental controls to restrict websites, and QoS to give gaming and 4K streaming the strongest and most reliable connection. So, if you want to get the best Asus router for the price, this will be it.
Important Features To Check When Buying The Best Wireless Router For You
Buying a wireless router can be a pain, especially if you have little to no idea what features really matter. Even more so as manufacturers include a lot of acronyms and other marketing terms that don’t really have significant real-life impact on most people most of the time.
To make it easy, we’ll only talk about the things that really matter when buying a wireless router this 2019.
Before we talk about the specific specs in detail, it is important to have a passing understanding of wireless protocols. Routers use the 802.11 protocol to send and receive data from devices. There are many versions of this wireless protocol to date (a/b/g/n/ac/ad), with 802.11ac being the most widely used and the 802.11ad being the latest.
These protocols can tell us a lot about the capabilities of the router in question. For instance, the standard speed of 802.11ac is 1331 Mbps– nearly 3x faster than 802.11n (450 Mbps) — while the 802.11ad can handle a lot faster speeds (about 7 Gbps) by using its 60GHz band (which is discussed more below).
Furthermore, the 802.11ac protocol and 802.11ad protocol also utilizes the MU-MIMO (Multiple Users, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology. Simply, this uses more than one antenna to send and receive data (up to 8 spatial streams) for a really fast and uninterrupted surfing experience.
Aside from that, this also supports beamforming technology. Instead of just throwing out the signals in all directions, this sends the Wi-Fi signal directly to the device to achieve a stronger and more reliable connection.
Radio Bands (2.4 GHz, 5.00 GHz, And 60GHz Frequencies)
Routers have what are called bands. In layperson’s terms, each band is like a separate internet source that your router can accommodate. For instance, most routers nowadays are at least dual-band, meaning they have two bands that can run concurrently.
If you have more than two devices using these two bands, then the bands will be forced to switch between these two tasks, effectively splitting that band’s effectiveness between the devices.
- The 60 GHz band offers the fastest speed, but also has the shortest range. You’ll have to stay really close to it or needs to be at least in the same room to get the best connection .This is also limited to the 802.11ad protocol,
- The 5 GHz band is significantly slower than the 60 GHz band, but still insanely faster compared to the 2.4GHz band. But this is somewhat limited to a small area and is only compatible with modern devices.
- The 2.4 GHz band covers the largest area but is undeniably the slowest. Some older devices are only compatible with older network devices. 2.4 GHz is also generally best at going through walls.
It’s worth noting that there are also tri-band routers. As you would expect these have three bands instead of just two. Specifically, they have two 5 GHz bands and one 2.4 GHz band.
Since most routers come as dual-bands, you shouldn’t worry; however, if you decide to dip into some really budget routers, you might find some older single-band routers that only offer a single 2.4 GHz band. Those are best avoided.
In our opinion, a lot of undue attention is given to router speed. Your router can be as fast as you want it to be, but it doesn’t really matter since your internet connection is almost always going to be significantly slower (unless you’re in one of the few cities that have access to Google Fiber). Keep in mind, a good internet connection is about 150 Mbps; and many cities in America don’t even have that.
The slowest router on our list, the Google Wi-Fi system, is an AC1200 with the “AC” representing its protocol and 1200 representing its maximum theoretical bandwidth of 1200 Mbps. Since the Google Wi-Fi system is a dual-band router, that means the 1200 Mbps is split across the two bands: ~800 Mbps for the 5Ghz band and ~400 for the 2.4 GHz band.
Still, in the real world, you won’t really get anywhere near that speed– with this or any other router– unless you’re connected to it with an ethernet cable. Using the numbers obtained from TrustedReviews’ testing, we see that at about 2 meters (roughly 6 feet) you get about 450 Mbps, which is likely way more than you’re getting from your IPS.
Now, the further you get away from it, the more walls are in the way, etc, the worse your signal will get. In fact, when using only one router, he was getting as low as 15 Mbps. That’s definitely bad, and likely lower than what many internet services provide, but it’s still enough to game on or watch Netflix (both require around 5 Mbps at their lowest). It’s also worth noting that according to their tests, several other routers weren’t performing quite so badly.
Now, I’m not telling you to go out and get a worse package with your IPS (remember, if other people are using the internet, things would get really slow, really quick), or to even buy a crappy router, but I am saying there are other features that are more important to consider since most routers will accommodate your maximum internet speeds by default.
Wireless routers these days offer a wide variety of features, all of which are aimed to provide stronger, better, or wider coverage. But the rule of thumb is to choose a router with at least 4 Ethernet ports and is dual-band (has both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz frequencies).
The former gives you the option to connect your computers, laptops, and other network-attached storage drives via LAN, which is the best connection you can get. If you don’t plan to use an Ethernet cable, though, then you don’t really need 4; although, all routers will come with at least one, usually more.
If you’re also involved in transferring large files, a router that supports faster throughput will be essential. And if that’s the case, look for a router that supports link aggregation like the TP-Link Archer C5400X AC5400 featured in this article. This uses 2 Ethernet ports to provide you with significantly faster throughput, sometimes up to 2Gbps. It also acts as a fail-safe feature in case one LAN connection disconnects.
It’s also worth checking whether or not the router supports QoS (Quality of Service) if your main purpose is for gaming or 4K video streaming since this feature basically prioritizes these two, respectively, above any other tasks. For those that want to play games without the stress of their internet letting them down then a purpose-built router for gaming is a sensible choice.
And if you’re a parent, routers that support Parental Control is essential as this gives you full control over all devices connected to the router. Specifically, you can filter which websites the device can only have access to or block inappropriate websites and even pause WiFi access real-time.
Lastly, you’ll want to compare your top picks first before making any decision. This is why I highly recommend you use RouterChart.com. This is a router comparison website that lets you compare up to 3 routers at once to make your selection easier.
What is a mesh router?
A mesh router is designed to provide wide coverage in your home/office. Mesh systems are composed of a central router, from which several other access points (in different locations) further broadcast the signal.
Are WiFi 6E routers worth it?
WiFi 6E is the latest WiFi technology – so if you’re looking for a router that is compatible with all the latest WiFi trends, then consider a WiFi 6E device. Whilst WiFi 6E routers are more expensive, they offer the latest technologies such as MUMIMO and beamforming.
How do I choose a router for my home?
When choosing a router for your home you must consider several factors. First of all, consider the price range you can afford to buy within. Secondly, ensure your router is compatible with your ISP. For those of you with larger homes, you may consider investing in a mesh system to better distribute the signal.
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 takes first place as our best Wifi router of 2023. It’s capable of incredibly fast Wifi speeds, has Wifi 6E technology, and an incredibly effective security system – Netgear Armor. The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is simply a great router.