With the increasing number of devices and gadgets that require a wireless connection to the vast cyberspace of the internet, it is getting more and more important to have a best wireless router at your home or workplace that can manage this increased demand for Wi-Fi connectivity. When it comes to choosing a wireless router, there are so many options to choose from that could overwhelm just about anyone.
A lot of the latest wireless routers available in 2018 are very high spec and (therefore) high priced; while these upper tier wireless routers are very capable of high performance, they’re a bit too overkill for everyone, since each user has his/her own set of needs.
However, spending a little extra on a wireless router that offers a little more than what you need can make all the difference, especially if you live with several family members who’re going to be battling you for bandwidth.
In this guide, we’re going to help you in picking out the best wireless routers for you that will cover both your current and future networking needs. Now, without further ado, let’s look at the 10 best wireless routers of 2018 that we’ve picked out for you.
Top 10 Best Wireless Routers 2018
1. ASUS RT-AC5300
At a glance, the ASUS RT-AC5300 was just what we’d expect from an ASUS device of 2018, it boasts a cutting-edge black and red design with beveled edges and 8 removable antennas that you can adjust to get the best range out of your wireless router. There are four Gigabit LAN ports, a single WAN port and a USB 3.0 opening alongside the power button for the wireless router at the back of the router and LED indicators at the face.
The RT-AC5300 features an aesthetically pleasing and reasonably robust design, however, it has a large footprint of 2.6 x 9.6 x 9.6 inches, making it very demanding of desktop space.
The ASUS RT-AC5300 makes a pretty strong impression at a glance and we were pleased to find out that it delivers the kind of performance that one would expect from such a feature-rich device at this price range. The 1.4 GHz dual-core processor of the AC5300 enables it to manage very fast throughput at each band. The 5GHz performance is on par with most of the highest end wireless routers out there and at 2.5 GHz, the router manages to keep multiple users connected at optimal speeds and at a very impressive range too.
Perhaps what we liked most about the AC5300 was its MU-MIMO (Multi User-Multiple Input Multiple Output) throughputs, which is what makes it one of the best wireless routers for large homes.
The management settings makes use of this and the 802.11ac standard that this wireless router follows to allow you to optimize your network to boost your gaming experience. The file transfer speeds of this router may not be the best we’ve seen but we still believe that the RT-AC5300 deserves to be listed among the best wireless routers for gaming thanks to its Game Boost setting.
The ASUS RT-AC5300 is a large tri-band wireless router with a very fast throughput at 2.5GHz and 5GHz bands and offers numerous management settings as well as MU-MIMO, making it a great pick for those that game frequently and stream 4K videos. However, it may be a bit too expensive for some, but we won’t call it overpriced.
2. Netgear Nighthawk X10
The Nighthawk series from Netgear has managed to keep us satisfied with the design most of the times thus far and the latest X10 is no exception to that. Netgear Nighthawk X10 wireless router boasts a sleek black design with four adjustable antennas, two arches on top the body for aesthetics and LED lights on the top side of the facewards arch. In short, it looks sleek but minimal; like it’s telling you that it means business.
The X10 has six Gigabit Ethernet ports on the backside for LAN connectivity, two USB 3.0 ports and an impressive 10GBPS fiber port to ensure a strong connection to NAS servers. On top of that, it also features MU-MIMO, VPN support, parental control and many more features useful for use at home and offices alike.
If the word ‘Overkill’ had a form, it’d be the Netgear Nighthawk X10. The X10 is only the second wireless router to use the latest 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard. What this means is that Nighthawk X10 wireless router works of the 60GHz band, which naturally means incredibly fast Wi-Fi with speeds touching 4.6Gbps, which is what we saw during our tests. However, it is worth mentioning that the X10 only maintains this speed within a 30 feet radius. It’s impressive nonetheless, though.
The data transfer rate is also true to this new standard; we got speeds of up to 7.2Gbps on the data transfer front. The X10 seems to be designed to out-perform most of the high-end wireless routers currently available out there but it still begs the question: just how much can one benefit from the 802.11ad standard at present?.
There’s hardly a handful of devices out there that support this standard yet but it still means great future proofing for hardcore users. But for most of us, it’s as good as a quad-stream 802.11ac router.
The Nighthawk X10 doesn’t fall short in any department that we could’ve tested it for, making it an absolute best wireless router for streaming, gaming or pretty much anything else. However, the X10 is little expensive ($500) and since the latest 802.11ad standard is not yet supported, it’s not going to be fully effective just yet.
3. ASUS RT-AC88U
The ASUS RT-AC88U is designed for two things: performance and aesthetic, and remarkably, it strikes such a balance between the two that we can’t decide what it does better. The design of the AC88U is sleek and edgy with a black body and red trims in the four antennas, this wireless router would look great next to nearly any gaming rig.
The AC88U is the only home wireless router that offers 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN connectivity, one of which can double as a secondary WAN port. Furthermore, MU-MIMO is present and it’s a dual-band wireless router. The USB 3.0 ports could have been placed in a more accessible manner but other than that, this wireless router has pretty much everything a home wireless router should have.
Simply put, the AC88U is designed to be just right for everyone at home; the MU-MIMO system allows multiple devices to be connected at the same time without any of the devices suffering a lack of bandwidth. The throughput is great at both 2.5GHz and 5GHz bands, making it a breeze to use while streaming HD videos and playing games.
The AC88U allows you to hook it up with an external hard drive for NAS functionality, however, the NAS performance isn’t exactly the best ever but unless you’re going to be using NAS a lot, you won’t really be affected by the NAS performance on this wireless router.
We’re especially pleased with how easy it was to configure and manage the AC88U; the web interface is easy to use and allows you to configure the device automatically as well as manually.
Ultimately, the ASUS RT-AC88U is a wireless router you just can’t go wrong with; it’s just right for pretty much anything you’d want to do that requires a connection to the internet and we believe that this wireless router would stay useful for a good few years too, making it worth the price.
4. Eero Home Wi-Fi system
The Eero home set up is more than just a wireless router, it’s a complete system that you can configure in a handful of ways to create a large coverage area. Out of the pack, you get three identical white units measuring 4.75 x 4.75 x 1.34 inches each.
Each eero unit has two network ports at the back which can be used as bot WAN/LAN, depending on the setting of the system. You can use each unit as an access point, Wi-Fi booster or router.
This ease and flexibility in configuration make the eero home system very easy and convenient to set up. You can buy individual units to further extend the range of your eero system too, making this system the best wireless router for large homes and property in terms of coverage.
While the eero system excels at coverage more than most wireless routers, it falls short in performance. We’re not especially displeased with it but at the high price of $500, this system could have offered us a little more. For starters, the system cannot handle extremely bandwidth heavy tasks locally and needs to be logged into the eero servers to manage.
We would have also liked to see more access restriction options such as parental control on the eero since it is a home Wi-Fi system.
The eero home Wi-Fi system is a great but expensive ($500) tool for internet sharing and covering large properties but it doesn’t perform as well as the other routers in our list that cost about the same.
5. Linksys AC5400
The AC5400 tri-band wireless router from Linksys is designed to handle coverage over large homes and incidentally, it is itself also very large. The design doesn’t look dated by any means but it is still among the bulkiest wireless routers of 2018 so there might not be enough room for it on just about anyone’s desk. Asides from the large footprint, the AC5400 has 8 adjustable antennas and 8 Gigabit LAN ports on board. In short, it really is a monster of a wireless router.
The antennas on board the black enclosure are non-removable though, which we don’t really mind since removing antennas would be counter-productive. The face houses all the LED indicators for bands and internet activity across the LAN ports. There are a single WAN port and 2 USB ports on board: one 3.0 and one 2.0.
Inside its bulky enclosure, the AC5400 houses a 1.4GHz dual-core processor that manages the Wi-Fi throughput across three bands: two bands at 5GHz and one at 2.5GHz. The 2.5GHz band reached speeds of up to 1000Mbps while the 5GHZ bands did up to 2166Mbps in our tests, which would more than suffice for power users such as gamers and 4K streamers.
The MU-MIMO compatibility is what makes this router one of the best wireless routers for large homes with many dwellers. We were also very pleased with the web-based Wi-Fi management interface that can also be managed through a smartphone app. You can toggle settings such as parental control, guest settings and there’s also a network map that shows you all the devices connected to your network.
The Linksys AC5400 is definitely a force to be reckoned with incredible speeds and a slew of useful management features. It’s a great contender to many cutting-edge routers available now but isn’t really a cheap alternative due to its high price of $400.
6. Netgear Nighthawk X8
The design of the AC5300 Nighthawk X8 from Netgear is pleasingly minimalistic, so much that it’s rather straightforward; it’s not here to show off its looks but it isn’t an eyesore either. The top of the enclosure has an interesting wave-like form, without which the router would probably look dated since the three antennas are very simple in design.
There are 2 USB ports under a cover towards the left side of the enclosure: one 3.0 port and one 2.0 port. There are 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the backside, which is good to know since most wireless routers have only 4 ports. Two of these ports can be combined to form a single high-performance connection to NAS servers. This makes external data transfers, media streaming and back-ups much faster than what most routers offer.
Just like the X10, the X8 also received a backlash for overperforming to the extent that only a very few devices supported its standard and made full use of its power. However, in 2018, having an AC5300 tri-band wireless router that can distribute a speed of 5.3Gbps over its 2.5GHz and 5GHz bands is a good idea since Wi-Fi standards are changing fast and you’ll want a router that will last you a few years ahead of 2018 as well.
We were impressed with the top speed of 2166Mbps that the X8 showed us in our tests, we think it’s safe to say that the X8 is among the best wireless routers for gaming and streaming HD content. The X8 does support MU-MIMO though we wish that the feature was activated when we first launched it. The setup interface isn’t as smooth as many other wireless routers either but since this router is targeting more savvy users, setting it up shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. For anyone else, it might be a handful.
Netgear AC5300 Nighthawk X8 is a great router if you have a high-end NAS server that can make the most out of its wired transfer speed but for casual users, there are cheaper alternatives.
7. Linksys WRT AC3200
The WRT AC3200 is the latest iteration of Linksys’s WRT series and it maintains the black and blue design that we’ve seen before on wireless routers form this series. It measures 2.1 x 9.6 x 7.6 inches just like earlier WRT models and looks just as pleasing. On the enclosure, you’ll find four adjustable and removable antennas and a line of LED indicators that let you know the status of internet activity across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands as well as WPS, LAN and USB ports.
Around the back, there are four Gigabit LAN ports, which is pretty standard for home wireless routers, a WAN port, a single USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port that doubles as an eSATA port.
There’s also a reset button located next to the power button on the back which can be useful in case the router starts to act up at any point which can happen with heavy use. The WRT AC3200 also features settings for guests and parental control, in addition to MU-MIMO and media prioritization.
The WRT AC3200 wireless router is really easy to configure through its web client that acts as a setup wizard; you can set up manually as well, which is good news for more savvy users.
During our tests, the WRT AC3200 turned up very strong results with its 5GHz throughput, thanks to its 160MHz channel width (usually 5GHz bands have a frequency of 80MHz). The speeds at the 2.5GHz band are pretty standard, however.
The media prioritization feature is especially useful since it optimizes network settings for client activity such as gaming and streaming; when coupled with the MU-MIMO function, we were able to get optimum performance results on all our laptops performing different tasks within 30 feet of the WRT AC3200 wireless router.
The WRT AC3200 is a moderately priced open source dual-band wireless router, a strong option for those of us who’re looking for many customization options. The number of devices that support 160MHz channel width is increasing so there’s a fair amount of future proofing present, plus, the file transfer speeds are impressive.
8. Google Wi-Fi system
Google’s Wi-Fi system is much like the eero system we discussed earlier on in this page, however, the units of Google are much more compact and pleasing to the eye; each unit is a small cylindrical piece, white in color with a single illuminated blue band across the middle. The build quality is superb and the minimalistic look is something that we believe anyone would be pleased with.
At the bottom of each unit, there’s a single WAN port and a LAN port, which you can use to configure your system as you’d like; each unit can be used as a wireless router, an extender or and access point.
The Google Wi-Fi system is among the easiest wireless routers we’ve ever set up; all you really need to do is plug everything together and then use your Android/ iOS smartphone to get everything functioning.
The app is very easy to use and we believe that no one should have a problem getting their system working. To set up Google Wi-Fi, you’ll need a Google account, however.
A single unit is capable of impressive throughput at 5GHz and 2.5GHz bands and when connected to additional units, the Google Wi-Fi system entirely envelops your home with strong wireless signals.
A single unit can blanket 1200 square feet, which is more than enough for most small homes and apartments while a set of three can do 4000 square feet. Needless to say, the Google Wi-Fi system is among the best wireless routers for large homes.
The Google Wi-Fi system is powerful, incredibly easy to manage and has amazing coverage that doesn’t compromise the strength of the connection and all at a very reasonable price off $300, giving the amazing value of money. A great option for most home Wi-Fi users.
9. TP-LINK AC5400
There are eight antennas on board the AC5400 that can be folded into the top of the enclosure, however, these antennas are not removable but have remarkable power.
The AC5400 wireless router features a 1.4 GHz processor with 3 co-processor units to manage the three bands and MU-MIMO beaming technology. On the back, there’s a single USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port and 5-gigabit ethernet ports, with four for LAN and one for WAN.
The TP-LINK AC5400 might be smaller than other AC5400 wireless routers but it still manages to outperform many of its competitors when it comes to speed and throughput.
The speeds across the 2.5GHz spectrum can go as high as 108.11Mbps download, which is impressive and this speed doesn’t drop much even when the connected device is taken out of the 30 feet distance, which defeats many wireless routers out there.
The set-up is relatively easy thanks to the user-friendly software interface. We had no trouble in figuring out how to get this thing running and we think that you wouldn’t either, even if you’re not really that tech savvy of a user.
The TP-LINK AC5400 is a mid-priced tri-band wireless router that’s capable of performing on par with many higher end models out there that may even cost double the price, making it a great option for users who wish to game/stream at high speeds but do not want to spend too much time setting up.
10. ASUS RT AC3200
Most of the latest wireless routers from ASUS all feature a cutting-edge design that looks great no matter where it’s placed. The RT-AC3200 still has those neat slopes and cuts that one would expect to see on a router from ASUS, but it’s nowhere near as sleek as other models that we’ve talked about in this page; this particular model is large and bulky, but we won’t call it ugly in the least.
However, despite the large size, the RT-AC3200 wireless router only has the usual four gigabit LAN ports and a single WAN port. On top of that, there appears to be just one USB 2.0 port, located next to the WPS button.
We really don’t get why ASUS decided to place the USB 3.0 port at the front instead of when it could’ve been a whole lot neater to have this at the back since this is the preferred port for external storage. The LED lights on the RT-AC3200 protrude outwards, making them easier to check with multiple angels.
The RT-AC3200 is a tri-band wireless router with two 5GHz bands that operate at the speed of 1300Mbps to help reduce the burden of clients on each band so that you can have better speeds for intensive tasks.
However, unless you have many devices that support this spectrum, you won’t be able to reap all the benefits of this access point division.
Just like the ASUS wireless routers we spoke of earlier in this page, the RT-AC3200 is also managed by ASUS’s excellent web interface. There’s a ton of management features that allow you to get the most out of your wireless router and better optimize your connection for intensive tasks such as gaming and streaming heavy videos.
The smart connect feature is particularly useful since it combines all three bands in a single connection so that when a device is connected, it gets the best connection it can support.
The ASUS RT-AC3200 may not be the prettiest wireless router that ASUS has to offer, but it still holds up its end of the deal and delivers the kind of performance that users with a lot of local intensive tasks can appreciate. It’s got a decent set of features that make it worth the price too.
How to Choose Best Wireless Routers?
Now that we’re at the end of our list of the best wireless routers you can buy in 2018, let’s go over the process we go through to choose routers to review in this list.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of wireless routers that you could find out there and we’re sure that most of them are good and will get the job done for you nicely; having said that, picking out the top ten wireless routers for any year is anything but easy.
When we look for best wireless router to list down, we look for the routers that offer the kind of specs and standards that would stay useful for a handful of years to come. We also review the top routers from the previous year and do a bit of digging into how well they sold and more importantly, what the users had to say about them.
The opinions of users provide a much clearer picture to us but that’s not all it takes for us to decide which wireless router is good or not; in order to find out just how well a router would fare in daily home usage and how future proof it is, we run a series of tests on units ourselves.
Ultimately, we’re looking for best wireless routers that not only get the job done but offer good value for money and convenience so we can be fair and help you in making a buying decision that you will not regret.
Features that you should look out for when buying a wireless router
Throughout this list, we’ve talked about Wi-Fi standards, bands and port configurations that might sound alien to those of you who aren’t very tech savvy, so here’s a simpler version of what you’re looking for while buying your wireless router and what these features mean.
You might have noticed that a number of these wireless routers are named AC3200, AC5400 etc. These names aren’t exactly model numbers, they speed tiers of the Wi-Fi standard that the router supports.
The most common Wi-Fi standard supported by most devices is 802.11ac; that said a dual-band wireless router with the speed tier for AC3200 would basically distribute a speed of 3.2Gbps over a 2.5GHz band and a 5GHz band (800Mbps on 2.5GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz).
Sometime later this year, we’re going to start seeing the newer 802.11ad standard being supported by more devices, this will mean higher speeds at faster spectrums, such as the Netgear Nighthawk X10 that has a 60GHz band.
Tri-band and dual-band routers
Most wireless routers of the 802.11ac standard support frequencies on 2.5GHz and 5GHz spectrums. What this means for you is that you get to have two different wavelengths on which your router can power your devices with internet. 2.5GHz is the most common spectrum and is supported by all devices with Wi-Fi functionality but a number of home appliances also run at the same spectrum, which can cause a bit of interference if you’re too far from your wireless router.
The 5GHz frequency is aloof from any interruption caused by other appliances but the signals usually have a shorter range than that of 2.5GHz connections. The 5GHz band has a higher speed than the 2.5GHz band.
Ports and wired connectivity
Just because a router is indeed wireless doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean that you can’t connect to it using a wired connection. As the matter of fact, most PC gamers prefer using a wired Ethernet connection for steadier speeds. Most wireless routers have 4 LAN ports that you can hook up your devices to, to get the most out of your router’s power.
Many network printers need to be connected to your router’s LAN port as well. Having more LAN ports is a good thing if you have a number of power users at home but if a wireless router doesn’t have sufficient ports for Ethernet, you can always buy an Ethernet switch to get yourself more hookups from the same wireless router.
Why buy a new wireless router?
If you’ve had the same wireless router for the past handful of years, then now is a time as good as any to swap it out for a newer model. The Wi-Fi standard is changing and along with that change, many devices will start changing to accommodate this newer standard of wireless connectivity. If you’re a heavy internet user (which most of us are, to be frank), you wouldn’t want your router to lag behind and not support the latest devices.
The newer models of wireless routers come with a number of useful features such as MU-MIMO that optimize your connection in such a way that every user gets their own dedicated stream and no one has to fight for bandwidth.
Getting a new router will future proof your internet connectivity for at least a handful of years, which is why it’s a great time to change your router so that you and your family can continue to enjoy a fast internet.
Best Wireless Router for Large Homes
To make things simpler, we’re going to highlight the routers that we reviewed according to what they’re best for.
Google Wi-Fi system – Best Wireless Router for Large Homes (Editor’s Choice)
The best wireless router for large home needs to be one that can not only cover the entire area with strong signals but can also ensure seamless user experience for all the members of the household. MU-MIMO routers are a must for homes with many power users; if two or more people are gaming or streaming HD movies at the same time, from the same router, there can be a disparity in bandwidth which can ruin the experience for both users.
An MU-MIMO wireless router is able to meet the requirement of each device that’s connected to it so that each device gets the optimum connection speed for the task at hand, this way your whole family could be connected to one wireless router and no one will have to compromise their experience.
The Google Wi-Fi system is probably our favorite router for large homes because of its ability to cover so much area and not compromise the strength of the connection at all. But if your house is smaller than 4000 square feet, MU-MIMO routers such as the ASUS AC88U will work just as well.
Best Wireless Router for Gaming
ASUS RT-AC5300 – Best Wifi Router for Gaming (Editor’s Choice)
When it comes to gaming, a stable connection is a must. Most wireless routers can provide a gamer with a reasonably stable connection but it’s worth mentioning that if several people are connected to the same router, the personal gaming might suffer.
Fortunately, there are routers out there that have management features that allow gamers to optimize their connection to boost their gaming experience in such a way that other users can no longer hog their bandwidth.
The ASUS RT-AC5300 and RT-AC88U are prime examples of the best wireless routers for gaming thanks to their game boost setting that allows gamers to game peacefully with no compromise in their speeds. These routers also look the part more than most other models, so we strongly recommend these to gamers, however, there aren’t the only wireless routers on our list that can facilitate gamers.
Best Wireless Router for Streaming
Netgear Nighthawk X10 – Best Wifi Router for Streaming (Editor’s Choice)
Streaming 4K videos isn’t a task that can be accomplished by wireless routers of a lower tier, especially not when more than one device is connected to the router at the same time. This is where it’s a must to have a dual-band Wi-Fi router that has MU-MIMO functionality so that you get the bandwidth you need to be able to stream your movies and shows easily.
A lot of routers offer great speeds but within a 30ft radius, outside of which speeds tend to drop quite some. This is especially true on a 5GHz connection though not all routers have 5GHz bands that are weak.
At this point the kind of antennas your wireless router has can make a world of a difference. Routers such as the TP-LINK AC5400 have powerful antennas to make sure that your internet connection doesn’t suffer if you leave the room in which your router is placed. Which is why we believe that the best wireless routers for streaming should have great range in addition to MU-MIMO.
So, which router is right for you?
Now that we’ve pretty much hit all the basses that we could have gone over, the question still stands, which wireless router should you pick?
Asus | Netgear | Google | TP-Link | Linksys
By now, you know your best options and you also know what features you need to accomplish certain kinds of tasks so we believe that picking out a wireless router should be a no-brainer for you at this point.
A lot of the wireless routers on our list are meant for more advanced users who’re looking for more customization options to suit their usage and then there are straighter forward Wi-Fi routers that are easier to set up, since most home users are casual users that just want their internetworking, these works better unless you’re insistent on customization options, in which case, you’ll want something like Linksys’s WRT series.
Ultimately, you’re looking for a Wi-Fi router that suits your needs in terms of speed and external storage and is compatible with your devices so that you can get the most out of your internet connection. Do not be afraid to spend a little extra to get features that you need or could be needing sometime down the road, remember that a wireless router is a long-term investment and once you have the right wireless router, you’ll be using it for a handful of years easily.