Top Rated Routers For Home – — Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy what you want. If you make a purchase by clicking on one of our links, we may receive a portion of your revenue. However, our selections and opinions are independent of USA TODAY’s editorial staff and any commercial motivations.
The best wireless routers provide the fastest performance to your devices over the longest distances. It’s an easy recipe, isn’t it? But it can be deceptively difficult to know when you need a new router, and even more difficult to buy the right one. After researching numerous routers and testing the last nine over four weeks, we think the best for most people is the D-Link AC1900 DIR-878.
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It’s fast, easy to set up, offers enough space for a large home and should last for years to come. However, if you (or your family) have too many hungry devices, or need a router with as many features as possible, the Asus tri-band RT-AC3200 (or WiFi network system) may be more suitable.
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Whatever magic D-Link has put into the DIR-878 is almost Tolkienesque. We were impressed with the wireless AC performance of this AC1900 router, especially over long distances. DIR-878 is the router to get if you want great speed for minimal clutter and cost.
Compared to other 5GHz Wi-Fi networks or single SSID routers, the DIR-878 achieved the best overall performance in all of our test locations in our wired file transfer test. In the most difficult location of remote testing, the DIR-878 has the best combined read and write performance, almost twice the speed of the next fastest router.
Users will find the DIR-878 a little boring, but the eye-opening performance for its amazing price makes D-Link’s router a must-have. If you have more demanding networking needs, such as double-digit devices trying to handle high-bandwidth tasks at the same time, you may want a better-equipped tri-band router like Asus’s RT-AC3200. Otherwise, the DIR-878 is perfect for most users’ needs.
If you’re tired of dealing with routers that only give you half of what you need, it’s time to shell out the cash for Asus’s RT-AC3200, a tri-band router that has almost everything you need for a price above $200. . It’s fast and full of features, and Asus is focusing less on future-proofing the router in terms of what you can take advantage of now.
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The RT-AC3200 is a “tri-band router,” meaning it offers a single 2.4GHz network and two 5GHz networks to choose from. In practice, you want to split your wireless AC devices between two 5GHz networks, because having too many devices doing too much on one network can affect the speed of the connected devices. The RT-AC3200 can help you manage this with its Smart Connect feature, a strip driver that you have to manually activate in the web settings. However, we found that our devices generally performed better without it.
The installation process for the RT-AC3200 is a breeze. We like that the router prompts you to update its firmware at the end of the setup process, but we hate that its default wireless network is completely open, requiring no password. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be waiting to turn on a new router and watch it join its open network, we like that Asus provides a unique password for the router’s default wireless network.
Usually priced around $80, TP-Link’s Archer C7 is one of the most affordable ways to provide your home with wireless coverage, or at least some of it. While it’s hard to find another AC1750 (or better) router that beats the Archer C7 in price, there are some that are faster than TP-Link’s router, especially over long distances.
The Archer C7’s web settings screen has a lot of options that most users will probably know how to adjust (although they will want to). We love that the routers come with access point mode that’s easy to set up if you already have a good enough router and want to use the Archer C7 to extend your wireless AC connection to other areas of your home.
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This beast of a router AC2600 can deliver insane speeds for all the 4×4 and MU-MIMO devices you have today, which for most people is zero. We like remote performance better.
Netgear does a good job of walking you through the router’s initial setup process, but we were a little annoyed by the many requests Netgear made during the setup process, such as asking users to download the included Genie app and sign up for a Netgear account. We appreciate asking Netgear to update the router’s firmware to its latest version.
We also love that the routers come with “Basic” and “Advanced” tabs on the web settings screen, which helps keep the focus on the important settings that novice routers need to know. It’s easy to access the router’s parental controls, ReadySHARE settings for USB-attached storage or printers, and a built-in BitTorrent downloader, although one of the most useful settings for those who already own a router – access point mode – is a bit buried. . Advanced tab.
Trendnet’s AC2600 TEW-827DRU is overkill for most people’s needs, though it does win some points for being one of the cheapest 4×4 MU-MIMO routers we’ve seen yet. Don’t fall for the future, though; When enough devices arrive that can really use this router’s capabilities, you may be able to buy something that performs better.
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We had a little problem setting up the TEW-827DRU. Configuration Assistant, which is supposed to help users by checking the status of your Internet and LAN connection, keeps our wireless connection offline. We can skip the configuration wizard and adjust the router settings manually; Not a problem for experienced users, but a frustrating problem for those who want an easy way to set up their router for the first time.
Additionally, the router’s firmware update feature states that the router’s shipped firmware (November 2016) is the latest, even though new firmware is available on Trendnet’s website in July 2017. That’s not good for router security and performance, as most people – if they update their router’s firmware – tend to trust what the routers tell them rather than going to the manufacturer’s website to verify.
Netgear’s R7000P is an AC2300 router that shares the great features of the company’s AC2600 R7800 router. For example, both have quality service features that help you prioritize bandwidth for devices on your network, as well as access to the same readySHARE with connected USB storage and printers, a very useful BitTorrent downloader, and a guest network. —Invite networking for the top three.
Netgear has added parental control to the R7000P by including Disney’s Circle service to set access limits by device, filter websites based on your child’s age and interests, and control which websites and services your child views. Use again Your kids will hate you, but the perfect access limit goes above and beyond Netgear’s standard OpenDNS limit (which includes that, too).
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In our latency test, the R7000P delivered the fastest response times at 2.4GHz, but lags at 5GHz. On average, a quarter of our 5GHz requests take more than 400ms to complete.
Overall we’re impressed with the performance of Linksys’ EA7500, although the $160 AC1900 router costs more than we’d like, possibly because of the future MU-MIMO capabilities that Linksys has built into the device.
Setting up the EA7500 is easy, although we found it a bit odd that the EA7500 automatically enables guest networking as part of the initial setup. This isn’t a huge security issue because users only need a password to connect to them, but SSID attacks can be confusing for novice routers. We love that Linksys quickly prompts new users for router firmware updates as part of the setup process, and enabling automatic checks for new firmware is easy in the web configuration, although you still have to log into the interface to actually install. updated
Linksys routers have quite a few features, including parental controls, a “media priority” feature to prioritize bandwidth between connected devices, and even a built-in network speed test (if your browser has Adobe Flash installed). The EA7500 also works well with Linksys’ mobile app, which provides an easy way to view and edit router settings.
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Hello! I am David Murphy. I’ve tried too many wireless routers in my decade – plus being a tech journalist. I’ve spent hours creating real world test scenarios around my 2,563 square foot home, and I’ve researched or reviewed almost every major router you can buy today. No joke: I’m sure I’ve irradiated myself (and/or messed up my neighbors’ wireless signal) because of my deep love of helping people find the best Wi-Fi router for their needs.
We put our router competitors to the test with about a
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