I hope you’ll agree with me when I say:
Life is not possible today without a good Wireless Router… Or is it?
Well, there is only ONE problem. Finding that “Good” router isn’t an easy job.
That is why I have created a list of Best Wireless Routers 2016. After researching online and spending hours in testing these Wi-Fi routers, I have shortlisted the top 10 routers which you can buy right now.
Best Wireless Routers Comparison
Surely, these routers are not for everyone as some of them carry a hefty price-tag.
With that said, one thing can be said for sure, these wireless routers are good enough to make it to our list of the top 10 best WiFi Routers 2016.
|Picture||Model||Weight||LAN Ports||Wireless Comm||Price|
|Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band(Editor’s Choice)||2.6 pounds||8||802.11 b/g/n||$$ ($200-$300)|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 Dual-Band||3.5 pounds||4||802.11ac||$$ ($120-$200)|
|D-Link DIR 890L Tri-Band(Editor’s Choice)||2.5 pounds||4||802.11ac||$$ ($120-$200)|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk R8000 Tri-Band||4.7 pounds||5||802.11 b/g/n/ac||$$ ($300-$500)|
|ASUS RT-AC3200 Tri-Band||2.2 pounds||4||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||$$ ($120-$200)|
|Amped Wirelss RTA2600 Athena MU-MIMO||2.6 pounds||4||802.11ac||$$ ($120-$200)|
|Linksys WRT1900ACS DD-WRT Dual-Band||1.8 pounds||4||802.11ac||$$ ($120-$200)|
|TP-Link Archer C7 Dual-Band||1.9 pounds||4||802.11ac||$$ ($80-$120)|
|D-Link DIR-880L Dual-Band||1.4 pounds||4||802.11ac||$$ ($80-$120)|
|Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station (ME918LL/A)||2.1 pounds||3||802.11ac||$$ ($120-$200)|
Asus RT-AC88U – Best wifi router to buy in 2017
Most of the computer enthusiasts or users know Asus because of their top of the line gaming hardware.
However, for those who don’t know, Asus is also at the helm for creating several high ends, top of the line routers.
The offer we are going to talk about today is known as the RT-AC88U, the router is priced under $300 and it happens to be one of the best wireless routers one can buy right now.
The wireless router offers a stylish sleek look, something that people will find familiar, especially if they have used an Asus product in the past.
The router is aesthetically pleasing with its complete black construction with red accents along the antennas, it looks straight out of a gaming lineup by Asus.
The RT-AC88U is an AC3100 router which comes with a total of 8 Gigabit LAN ports, do keep in mind that these ports are capable of delivering high-speed internet without suffering from any performance issues, and not to forget that it is a dual-band router that can act as a NAS as well.
With that said, Asus as paid a significant amount of attention to detail even when designing the web interface as it happens to be super intuitive and easy to use.
The WiFi performance of the router on both 2.4 gigahertz and the 5 gigahertz bands stayed faster than ever without any performance decreases.
The installation process of RT-AC88U is a piece of cake, thanks to the amazing web interface.
When you connect it to the PC and internet for the first time and power on the PC, the Asus Web Interface will automatically launch and give you two options to configure the router.
Either you can continue with the wizard or you can configure it manually.
The Quick Internet Setup wizard, will check your intern et connection and configure your router as a Dynamic IP, Static IP or PPPoE, depends on your connection type selection.
After that, it allows you to set a name for each SSID, and then create a network encryption key for each band. After that, it’s all done.
When it comes to performance, the Asus RT-AC88U provides multi-client MU-MIMO data streaming, works extremely fast on both bands (2.4 Gigahertz and 5 Gigahertz) and File reading/writing and transfers were great.
In short, the router is perfect if you are willing to spend money on it, it can be coined as “you get what you pay for”.
NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 – AC1900 Dual-Band Router (Best Router under $200)
The next up is another dual-band router, but this time, the offering is being done by none other than the famous Netgear.
For those who don’t know, the company is famous for creating a plethora of top of the line wireless routers that have become increasingly famous overtime.
Netgear is a company that has dedicated itself towards providing top of the line, unparalleled networking hardware including their brilliant wireless routers.
The product that we are bringing you today is called the Netgear Nighthawk R7000, and as the name suggests, the router looks nothing less of a stealth fighter jet.
The Nighthawk R7000 is AC1900 with 1,300 Mbps speed in the 5 gigahertz band and a 600 Mbps speed on the 2.4 gigahertz band.
I like R7000 more than R8000 because it is affordable and much more easy to install.
During our testing, it was revealed that the R7000 just might be the best Netgear wireless router we have used till date. Curious yet? Let’s find out.
Design & Performance & Features
From the looks of it, the router looks amazing, it has the minimal, stealthy vibe to it, the router has an all-black construction and comes with 3 detachable antennas.
Our only issue on the design front was the weight and the size of the Nighthawk; in all seriousness,
the router is an absolute mammoth and needs quite some free space to be put with ease, not to mention the extra bulk it comes with.
However, we found that issue to be subjective as it happens that you will only need to make space for the router once, and won’t be moving it a lot afterward.
The Netgear Nighthawk offers a stellar performance, as a matter of fact, it is one of the fastest routers we have used till date.
The performance on both 5 gigahertz and the 2.4 gigahertz bands is impeccable and didn’t face any hiccups or slowdowns during the entire testing process.
The WiFi router also manages to perform really well on different ranges, and the bands manage to give you performance that is better than the performance was given by your usual Ethernet connection.
Moving on to the features, the Nighthawk AC1900 is packed with them, if you are wondering what you’ll be getting, you should know that this router comes with the support for DD-WRT, this means that the router is fully capable of running 3rd party firmware based on Linux.
The router also comes with the support for OpenVPN and thanks to the OpenDNS, there is a complete parental control package built into the router.
The router even comes with QoS (Quality of Service) for those who don’t know, this is a feature can let you manage the upstream and downstream of your internet connection.
Pretty cool, we’d say. If you want more, the router can also act as a NAS and a pretty good one, actually.
Overall, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is an impressive router that offers a lot for the price you are paying for it. Sure, it’s bulky and has some performance issues on the 2.4 gigahertz band. But considering the price to performance ratio, the Nighthawk AC1900 is perhaps one of the best routers you can buy in the market right now
D-Link DIR 890L– Best Range Wireless Router
The next up on our list is one of the top tier wireless routers from D-Link, for those who don’t know, the company has a long history of providing some of the best networking products and the AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi DIR-890 isn’t here to tell a different story.
As a matter of fact, it is perhaps one of the most stylish looking wireless routers we have encountered.
Where the Nighthawk resembled a stealth jet, the DIR-890 looks like it was built by race car enthusiasts. But looks aren’t everything, right?
Let’s find out how this router fairs in things that actually matter.
The DIR-890 is an amazing router in terms of speed and functionality.
Testing revealed that the router is fast, easy to setup and use, and has a good speed/range when using for the purpose of Wi-Fi.
Another great thing about this router is that it comes with the ability to be doubled up as a NAS by adding an external hard drive.
Do keep in mind that the DIR-890 is a tri-band router, and if you happen to be a general consumer who just wants a router for normal use, then this one will be an overkill for you.
If you happen to live at a comparatively large place and have a lot of Wi-Fi devices that consistently need to be connected to the internet, this one is a must’ve for you.
Although it does come with six antennas and promises proper range, if you happen to have issues with antennas, you’d be sad to know that they can’t be detached.
During the testing, the range seemed promising enough.
Netgear Nighthawk R8000 X6– Good for Gaming, Video Streaming and much more
If you liked the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 but thought that you want something better (But Expensive), then the Nighthawk AC3200 is just what you are looking for.
Though do keep in mind that R8000 is a compliant, tri-band router, it is quite expensive, but don’t worry, the router comes with enough features that will make you ignore the price point and get it anyway.
The Nighthawk AC3200, although has a similar color scheme of its younger sibling,
it features a redesign, it is comparatively larger in footprint, however, it happens to be much more compact when compared to the older version;
the compactness is because of six antennas that can be collapsed with great ease. With that said, the router still looks epic as far as the aesthetics go.
Speaking of performance, the Nighthawk AC3200 manages to give the same stellar performance as its younger sibling did. A lot of people might think that it’s a waste of money in that case, but like the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, with that said, seems like Netgear did the exact same thing.
Although it is a wireless router, it can be doubled up as a NAS if you attach an external hard drive with it. Luckily, unlike many other routers,
the NAS performance on this one is actually quite good for the price you are paying for it.
The router manages to give incredible speeds over the 5 gigahertz band; speeds on the lesser 2.4 gigahertz band is good enough, but not something to write home about
Asus RT-AC3200 – Tri-Band Wireless Gigabit Router
If you are looking for a router that has a classy, aggressive design and is packed with features. The Asus RT-AC3200 is a win-win deal.
As you can tell, this is a tri-band router with a hefty price tag, but you should keep in mind that a number of features that are packed into this router alone are enough to justify the heavy price tag it comes with.
With that said, if you are willing to spend your money on a router that will give you extremely good performance and a plethora of features that are a dream come true for a networking enthusiast, then check out all the details about the RT-AC3200 by Asus.
The RT-AC3200 is something that is built for network enthusiasts who enjoy the top-tier hardware, the router happens to be incredibly fast in almost all the tests we have done on it,
and has a really good performance over Wi-Fi, with respectable range.
The router also has an incredible web interface that makes it easy to setup, however, newcomers should know that the extensive list of features might confuse them a bit.
Sadly, the router is a bit lacking on the LAN ports as it only happens to have 4 of them, but if you are at a place where not many devices are connected with Ethernet cables, then it shouldn’t be an issue.
Overall, the Asus RT-AC3200 is an overkill for a normal consumer, however, at the same time, it’s a dream come true for any networking lover.
The router is powerful, looks good, and has plenty of features that will have you coming back for more.
With that said, if you’re not heavily interested in the AC3200 capabilities of this router, you can always go for a cheaper AC1900.
Anyhow, the Asus RT-AC3200 is an amazing router that will serve you for a long time.
The next up on our list is the Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena router, and as long as you don’t confuse it with the Greek goddess Athena, the router will not disappoint you.
Although not that much expensive, the router is something that is built for the network enthusiasts, it might not have the bling of the other routers that we have reviewed, but it comes with plenty of features that should be enough for both the average consumer and people who are looking to have some more.
The router managed to fair pretty well in almost all the testing we did, although the router doesn’t have an awful lot of features like some of the other ones, but the ones it has are properly polished and don’t require you to spend countless hours trying to figure out what is what.
The router control panel is incredibly responsive, and very easy when it comes to setting up.
The router also comes with powerful hardware that should keep it afloat without giving any performance issues.
One thing we really love about this router is how nicely everything is packed in a compact design. Yes, unlike some other routers, this isn’t an absolute behemoth.
With that said, the performance on all fronts was respectable enough, and there were no disconnections or whatsoever during our test run.
You can even connect multiple devices via Wi-Fi and the performance will still remain stellar, perhaps that is one of the major selling points of the RTA2600 Athena.
The wireless router is easily one of the best we have used and definitely makes it to the best wifi routers 2016 list. With that said, this might not be the number one pick for hardcore network enthusiasts but it is more than enough to keep things in order without making too much of a mess.
Linksys WRT1900 AC– Best DD-WRT WiFi Router
The next up on our list is a dual-band wireless router from Linksys, the router comes with the support for the AC1900 standard support;
this means that the 5 gigahertz band has a speed of 1,300 megahertz and the 2.5 gigahertz band has a speed of 600 megahertz. But is this router capable enough of holding against most of the top tier routers that we have already listed? Let’s find out.
As soon as you will set your eyes on this router, you will be reminded of the classic design and color scheme that has been gracing the routers from Linksys for quite some time.
With that said, if you are thinking about putting this router on a work desk that is already crammed up, you should know that you are going to need to clear some space as this is probably one of the largest routers we have seen in a long time.
The router has four antennas and the firmware it ships with can be replaced by a completely custom firmware if the user is willing to.
As soon as you take the router out of the box, you will experience that the router happens to be one of the fastest routers available in the market, it’s easy to set up and loaded with features.
With that said, Linksys was kind enough to add a complete capability of doubling up this router as a NAS, however, that’s not the greatest thing, the greatest thing about this router is that the NAS performance is definitely unsurpassed when compared to all the other wireless routers we have been testing.
Not to forget that it also supports UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and DLNA. Last but not the least, the performance on both bands is amazing, and the router performs without any hiccups.
Even the Experts are in love with this wireless router. You can read the article by Samara Lynn on PCMag. It is rated as Excellent and given 4.5 Rating.
So is this router perfect? Apart from some minor subjective flaws like a huge, bulky designs, there isn’t much to write bad about. The router emerged victorious in almost all the testing we have done and managed to perform without crashing on us. The software experience might confuse those who are not experts and at the same time, might be lacking for network enthusiasts. With that said, if you have the money, and you’re looking for a capable router, this one’s your best bet.
TP-Link Archer C7– Best Budget Wireless Router 2017 (Under 100 Bucks)
TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750is the best budget wifi router out there (Under $100).
The router is perfect for people who want to enjoy internet gaming as well as streaming, thanks to the fact that this router has a combined speed of 1.75 Gbps.
With that said, the router is both stylish and incredible at every task thrown at it, and for those who are looking for the perfect price and performance ratio, the router is an amazing choice.
Considering how it is an entry level router, the build quality isn’t all that good and the router seems flimsy, with that said, make sure that you don’t end up dropping the router because it can, and will probably get damaged. And even though the build quality seems to be average at best, the router has a large footprint, so make sure that where you place the router, it has enough space for itself.
Moving on to the thing that matter, keep in mind that it happens to be a dual-band router; the router has a total of 6 antennas, 3 of them are external while the remaining 3 are internal. The increased number of antennas are really good for giving you a respectable amount of Wi-Fi range and the speed also happens to be respectable enough. The router also comes with NAS capability, but don’t get too excited as it is only average.
D-Link DIR-880L– Dualband AC1900 Gigabit Router
Let’s just consider it a younger, yet excellent sibling of the DIR-890 that we reviewed earlier.
There are quite some changes when compared to the DIR-890, for instance, this one happens to be a dual band router. But is it even worthy?
As a matter of fact, according to our testing, this router manages to outperform the much expensive elder brother and has a lot of refined features that are both easy to use and come without a hassle.
So how much difference there is between both routers from D-Link? Let’s find out.
The router has the same design you would expect from a D-Link router, if you are concerned about having detachable antennas, then don’t worry.
All the antennas can easily be detached, and replaced with ones that will provide you higher Wi-Fi range.
With that said, thanks to the detachable antennas, the router is actually very compact.
Another great feature about this router is that it can be remotely managed via the cloud service that is being provided by D-Link, and although it may seem like a gimmick to some, it is actually a very useful feature, especially if you are in a different room than the router itself.
With that said, the parts that represent the performance are actually really amazing.
Testing revealed that this is perhaps a good router, the performance on both bands was amazing, and the Wi-Fi range managed to impress us.
As for the transfer rates, they managed to be perfect, and we didn’t find any sort of disconnection or slow speeds.
The only downside of this router is that the web interface is a bit of a surprise for both the newcomers and people who have been using D-Link routers for a long time.
10. Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station – Elegant and Unique in Looks
The last in our list is all the way from Apple.For those who are wondering if this router made it here by accident, then don’t. Apple has a wireless router, and it’s pretty good.
The router is unconventionally named AirPort Extreme Base Station. So, how does this router fair against other routers in the list? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
Let’s start off by how this router looks. Why? Because obviously, this is something coming out of Apple’s very own helm, and you should know that the router looks exactly like something that will be made by Apple.
With that said, and looks apart, the router is actually very capable and performs really well.
Do keep in mind that it is a dual band router and supports the latest Wi-Fi standards as well.
The router is incredibly fast in all the tests thrown at it, another great thing about this router is the amount of Wi-Fi stability and speed it provides.
To be very honest, Apple truly outdid themselves with this router as it has everything on the right spot.
As for the downsides of this router, there aren’t any that will make you reconsider your decision of buying this router.
The only complaint we have is that the router could have been a proper upgrade over its predecessors, but it wasn’t, and although it is quite fast and amazing, the upgrades seemed subjective.
Finally, the router is probably one of the best routers from Apple till date, it offers fast and stable performance and doesn’t create any issues.
Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide
If you keep the aforementioned points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy a wireless router, right? Hell No!
For those who don’t know, wireless routers come with several things you need to consider before you actually spend the hard earned money. They have different available speeds as well as different WiFi standards and support for multiple bands.
The technology behind a wireless Router?
Every wireless router basically consists of three major points, the router itself, a network switch and a wireless access point.
- The router basically serves the purpose of managing and directing traffic to the different devices connected to your network, in simpler terms, a router is responsible for sending data from your network to the other networks out there.
- As for the network switch, the purpose of a network switch is to connect all your devices that are running WiFi to other wired devices using Ethernet cables.
- Lastly, a wireless access point is just a simple station that has an antenna and the only job of a wireless access point is to transmit and receive wireless signals.
To make things easier for you below is the list of “wireless routers type” you will encounter in the market along with their brief descriptions.
- Dual Band Routers: Perhaps the most common type of routers are dual band routers, if you are wondering why they got such a name, it’s because these routers operate on 2 different frequencies; 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz. They also happen to be the cheapest type of wireless routers available.
- Tri-Band Routers: These routers are comparatively newer in the market and offer three bands; two of the bands are 5 gigahertz and one happens to be the 2.4 gigahertz band. Considering how these routers are still new in the market, they are consistently introducing new and new technologies with the passage of time.
- N600 Routers: For those who don’t know, the N600 routers are the routers that have a combined speed of 600 Mbps; the speed is then evenly split between the 2.4 gigahertz and the 5 gigahertz band. They are comparatively old but are known to get the job done. However, they aren’t suggested for the modern high-speed internet.
- N900 Routers: These routers are the upgraded versions of the N600 routers, these routers have a combined speed of 900 Mbps that is evenly divided between the 2.4 and the 5 gigahertz bands.
Perhaps the latest offering in the market is the AC5300 routers; these routers have a combined speed of 5,300 Mbps or 5.3 Gbps. The speed alone makes them the fastest and the most expensive routers that are currently available in the market.However, there are no Clients (PCs, Laptops, Mobile Devices) available in the market which can support that much speed. So we can say that AC5300 is offering a speed which is useless for now.
With said, there are limitless options available when it comes to finding the wireless routers in today’s day and age, the market is quite saturated and every manufacturer is trying their best to bring up the best possible router there for consumers to enjoy.
Here I’m also going to include some FAQs about Wireless Routers.
Advantages and Functionalities of Modern and Advanced Wifi Routers
- Most modern wireless routers have the ability to provide you with a unique IP address for all the devices you connect to the internet, since how the IP address is unique and not available to public; your network will not be prone to get hacked.
- A good wireless router will always be easy to set up with features that are easy to understand and intuitive. A good wireless router will also make sure that the use of cables is as less as possible in order to stay true to its legacy.
- For people who are into NAS (Network Attached Storage) many flagship wireless routers come with the support for external hard drive, this means that you can easily plug in your external hard drive to the port that is available on the wireless router.
- Most of the top of the line wireless routers come with the support of DLNA, for those who don’t know, DLNA is basically a technology that you can use to have a proper control over how audio, video, and media is handled over the network you are using.
- Last but not the least, most high-end routers also come with some additional advantages like the prioritization of networks, the ability to do shared printing over the USB, parental control as well backup servers for important data.
Final Words – Wrapping it up
Considering how the market of wireless routers is pretty saturated, finding the perfect wireless router is never an easy task. That’s when lists like these come into play. The list was carefully crafted, keeping in mind things like the needs of a customer and how much are they willing to spend on a wireless router.
We hope the list helps you pick the best wireless router according to your budget. Do keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” component, that’s why each router is built to suit the need of different consumers. We have added routers that are for budget oriented consumers as well as the routers that are for networking elites. In case you think we missed on a good router, let us know.