We use wireless networks regularly to visit websites, send & receive text messages, download & upload documents, watch online movies, as well as send and receive emails – along with the wired network.
With a wireless router, you can easily connect multiple wireless devices to each other and share the Internet connection. Prepare a wireless router, plug into the power source, connect to the Internet(*) and then use.
That’s all! Too simple, right?
(*) Connect to the Internet through a modem, a wireless router or directly via a fiber optic converter.
It is an easy way to share an Internet connection with multiple wireless devices and connect them together without wires.
However, choosing a good wireless router that suits your needs and fits your budget isn’t a simple task.
There are too many routers from many different brands you can choose from. You may feel confused because you don’t know which one you should choose.
To help you select the right one, we have done our research and created a list of the best wireless routers for 2017. This list contains the top 10 Wi-Fi routers which you can consider purchasing. It also points out pros and cons of each of those routers.
Best Wireless Routers 2017
Undoubtedly, these routers aren’t for everybody. It still depends on your budget as some routers on this list have a high price tag.
However, one thing we can promise is that these routers are excellent based on general criterions. Make sure you also read the pros and cons of each router before purchasing.
- (*) The throughput speed of 5GHz band in short range / long range.
- (**) The throughput speed of 2.4GHz band in short range / long range.
- (***) USB file transfer speeds (reading/writing).
1. ASUS RT-AC5300 – Best wireless router to purchase in 2017
Many of us know Asus as it’s a favorite brand of computer enthusiasts. Their desktop components, as well as gaming laptops, are excellent.
However, Asus also designs & produces high-end routers. The first one on this list is the ASUS RT-AC5300 and has a price around $350. It’s the latest router from Asus and comes with a stylish and sleek design. Many experts consider it as one of the best wireless routers you can purchase right now.
From testing results, it delivers a very fast 2.4GHz & 5GHz throughput speed, up to 5Gbps. With the latest wireless technology – 802.11ac, and three unique radio bands, the RT-AC5300 will provide maximum bandwidth for 4K video streaming and online gaming to multiple clients. This router can also cover up to 5,000 sq. ft.
Along with standard features, this oversized router also comes with game-enhancement options, MU-MIMO technology, 4X4 data transmissions, AiProtection, ASUS Smart Connect, and built-in access to GPN (Gamers Private Network).
It comes with a matte-black case with red edges, the RT-AC5300 has eight adjustable and removable antennas. On the front side, you can quickly connect to the wireless network with a WPS button, as well as enable or disable the wireless network with the Wi-Fi on/off button.
If you have a plan to set up your own cloud storage, AiCloud 2.0 will help you access USB-connected storage devices via the Internet, from anywhere.
The setup process of the Asus RT-AC5300 is very easy. If you are a first-time user, just connect it to your computer, open the browser, type http://router.asus.com, or the router’s IP address in the address bar. After that, follow the onscreen detailed instructions to set up basic DHCP, wireless security, and other settings.
The Asus RT-AC5300 router has excellent performance, based on our tests. It delivers a throughput of 101Mbps with the 2.4GHz band – in the same room distance. With the same range, this router provides the throughput of 515Mbps, with the 5GHz band. We increased the distance to 30-foot, and the throughput of RT-AC5300 is stable at 320Mbps.
- If you often stream 4K video or play online games, the Asus RT-AC5300 is a good three band router, which delivers perfect 2.4GHz, 5GHz throughput.
- It offers a wealth of management settings and MU-MIMO.
2. D-Link AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router
Along with Asus, D-Link is also a favorite brand that designs and produces network equipment, especially modems and routers. The D-Link AC5300 DIR-895L/R is the latest router of them.
Using the same design as the D-Link AC3200 DIR-890L/R (pyramid-shaped and cherry-red design) but a bit large, the D-Link AC5300 has eight adjustable and removable external antennas.
On the top, it features a strip of LED indicators, including Power, 2.4GHz band, 5GHz band, USB and Internet status.
At the back, the DIR-895L/R has:
- 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- 1 x WAN port.
- 1 x USB 2.0 port.
- 1 x USB 3.0 port.
- 1 x Power button.
- 1 x WPS button.
- 1 x Switcher, between router mode and extender mode.
The Setup Wizard makes the installation process of D-Link AC5300 DIR-895L/R much simpler. You only need to connect the router to your computer via an Ethernet cable and open http://dlinkrouter.local./ in the web browser. In less than five minutes, all the settings will be configured the way you want.
In the same room, the AC5300 router provides a throughput of 98.4Mbps in 2.4GHz band, and 515Mbps in 5GHz band. With the MU-MIMO test, the score is 264Mbps in close-range and 134.5Mbps with a 30-foot of distance. This MU-MIMO test score is great.
The next test is file transfer performance. When moving a folder 1.5GB in size from a wired desktop to the USB-attached device, the D-Link AC5300 delivers a very fast reading speed – 78.3MBps. The writing speed is staying around 39.5MBps.
- With the fastest scores of throughput and file transfer, the D-Link AC5300 is a good tri-band wireless router, which comes with a unique and beautiful design.
3. Linksys WRT AC3200 (WRT3200ACM) – Good Dual-Band wireless router for NAS, with MU-MIMO
The WRT AC3200 is the latest MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi router from the Linksys family. It allows you to replace the stock firmware with an open-source firmware for more advanced features.
Powered by a 1.8GHz dual-core CPU, this router uses the latest 802.11ac technology, supports MU-MIMO data streaming, and offers Tri-Stream 160 technology.
The Linksys WRT AC3200 has four removable and adjustable external antennas, lots of LED status indicators, WPS, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, eSATA port, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. Theoretically, this router can reach throughput speeds of up to 600Mbps with 2.4GHz mode and 2600Mbps with 5GHz mode.
Like many other Linksys routers, it’s very easy to set up. You only need to plug in, connect to your computer and then visit http://linksyssmartwifi.com to launch the setup wizard. Instead of using the configuration wizard, you can also do it manually.
In our 5GHz throughput tests, the WRT3200ACM attains 569Mbps in the same room (short range), and 238Mbps at a distance of 30 feet. However, the throughput rate of 2.4GHz is a bit lower than other routers. It reaches 76Mbps and 58.5Mbps for close-proximity and 30 feet, respectively.
When testing MU-MIMO performance, the WRT3200ACM averaged 174Mbps for close-range and 138Mbps for 30-foot. These results aren’t the fastest results, but they are good.
As for transferring files, WRT3200ACM achieves 88MBps and 74MBps for reading and writing. Beating all other wireless routers, the Linksys WRT3200ACM is our new leader.
4. Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 – Perfect wireless router with incredible 5GHz performance and signal stability
Compared to other Wi-Fi routers in the same segment, the Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 is bigger. It makes middle size routers like the Amped RTA2600 Athena look small.
Like so many other wireless routers, the Netgear AC5300 features four big antennas – adjustable for a stronger signal. However, you can’t remove the antennas. Inside the Nighthawk X8 body, there are four internal antennas for the 5GHz band.
The Netgear AC5300 has six Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back, two ports (marked) can be combined into a single wired connection for better data transfer speeds when playing games or streaming 4K video. Therefore, if you use a high-end NAS server such as Synology DS1513+, with multiple LAN ports, the Netgear AC5300 will bring your NAS to a new level, making data transfer much faster.
It also has one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, an ON/OFF WPS switcher, as well as an ON/OFF LEDs switcher.
The setup process is simpler when you use Setup Wizard. You only need to access the interface, via http://www.routerlogin.net or the default IP address: 192.168.1.1. Then sign in with the default username and password (admin/password) and launch the Setup Wizard to start configuring the Netgear AC5300.
Along with the web interface, you can download the Netgear Genie app that is available on both iOS and Android platforms, to set up the router.
When testing the 2.4GHz frequency, the Netgear AC5300 delivers 179Mbps for close-range and 67Mbps for long-range. Meanwhile, the 5GHz band provides a throughput of 630Mbps and 330Mbps for short and long range, respectively.
- This kind of wireless router is only for savvy users, who want to use advanced features.
- For regular users, many other routers can provide equal performance but cheaper.
The Asus RT-AC88U is a dual-band router with many functions. It uses MU-MIMO technology to serve multiple devices concurrently without sacrificing bandwidth. However, to take advantage of this technology, your wireless device must be a MU-MIMO-compatible device.
The RT-AC88U features eight Gigabit Ethernet ports. If you need to use many wired devices, this is the best choice.
If you want to increase transfer rates for NAS, you can combine two Ethernet ports into a single connection that delivers up to 2Gbps.
The Asus RT-AC88U has a matte-black case, four adjustable and removable external antennas, and powered by a Broadcom dual-core 1.4GHz CPU. It also has a wealth of management, and many other standard features, such as WPS or QoS. For these standard features, you can find out more information on the product page.
With the simple user interface, you only need to connect the router to your computer and use the Quick Internet Setup wizard to start to set up it.
The wizard will automatically check your Internet connection and configure the router based on the connection type. After that, you need to choose names for SSIDs, and select wireless passwords.
That’s all! Ready to use!
In close-range, the 2.4GHz band performance is impressive. It provides a throughput of 97.9Mbps. In the long range (30-foot), this router delivers 74.3Mbps of throughput.
Meanwhile, with the 5GHz performance tests, the Asus RT-AC88U managed 537Mbps in close-range and 302Mbps in long-range. With the MU-MIMO mode, the RT-AC88U can serve multiple clients at an average speed of 138Mbps. At 30 feet, the throughput score is around 80Mbps.
When testing file transfer speeds, the average reading speed of the RT-AC88U is 31.9MBps, while the writing speed is 27.4MBps.
- The Asus RT-AC88U is a good dual-band router with many features and a simple user interface.
- It comes with MU-MIMO technology and provides excellent 5GHz throughput.
6. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 – Best wireless router under $200
The Netgear AC1900 isn’t one of the latest products. Released in 2013, it’s still a good choice when searching for dual-band 802.11ac routers.
Priced under $200, the Netgear AC190 has a trapezoid design and looks like a fighter jet.
Powered by a dual-core 1GHz CPU, this router has 128MB of flash storage, 256MB of RAM, two USB ports (1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0), and four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Installation and Performance
It’s not hard to set up the R7000 as you can find the installation guide that comes in the box. With a few steps, the router is ready to use.
The Netgear AC1900 isn’t the fastest 802.11ac router, but it provides good throughput when using the 5GHz band. At 15 feet, it has an average speed of 174Mbps. Meanwhile, the 2.4GHz band averaged 69Mbps at the same distance, in “Wireless-N only” mode.
With Netgear’s ReadyShare technology, you can attach an external hard drive to the USB 3.0 port and access your files from anywhere you want.
- Based on the price tag, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 is also a good choice, based on performance at 5GHz band and the signal range.
7. Asus RT-AC3200 – Tri-Band Wireless Gigabit Router
With three bands, one 2.4GHz, and two 5GHz bands, the Asus RT-AC3200 delivers an average speed of 514Mbps in 15 feet (4.6 meters) and 213Mbps in 100 feet. Meanwhile, the 2.4GHz band averaged 236Mbps and 66Mbps at 15 feet and 100 feet, respectively. These speeds are as fast as we expected.
Compared to the Asus RT-AC1900, the transfer rates don’t improve dramatically. If you want to replace the AC1900 with the AC3200, then don’t. It’s no better than the AC1900 in most aspects, while the price tag isn’t cheap.
However, if you are looking for a tri-band wireless router that can serve multiple 5GHz devices with good performance and has powerful hardware, then the Asus RT-AC3200 is a good choice.
- The Asus RT-AC3200 looks good, powerful hardware with good performance, and has many great features.
- However, if you don’t want to use advanced features, go for the AC1900 as it’s cheaper.
It has a similar design to the D-Link AC5300 but only has six adjustable antennas.
Installing this tri-band router is very quick and easy. You only need to connect it to a PC through an Ethernet cable. Then open the web browser and type 192.168.100.1 in the address bar, log into the configuration page and start to set up the router.
The entire setup process takes about five minutes, and the wireless network is ready to use.
In the 2.4GHz band, the DIR-890L/R measured 92.7Mbps with close-range and 82Mbps at 30 feet. Meanwhile, with the 5GHz 802.11ac throughput test, the DIR-890L/R averaged 558Mbps and 310Mbps for short range and long range, respectively.
In the reading/writing file transfer tests, 52.2MBps is the average reading speed and 26.5MBps for writing.
- The D-Link DIR-890L/R is a good tri-band router that comes with a unique design and delivers high throughput speeds.
- It has all the features that you would expect from a high-end 802.11ac router.
9. Netgear Nighthawk R8000 X6 – A good wireless router for gaming, video streaming, and NAS
Here’s another tri-band router from Netgear, along with two others that we have mentioned above. Called the Netgear Nighthawk R8000 X6, it’s designed for playing games, or streaming high-definition videos because it has impressive throughput scores.
Two 5GHz bands of the Nighthawk R8000 X6 act as performance load balancers. It will automatically configure these 5GHz bands on different channels, which allow you to connect many devices at 5GHz at the same time.
It has a weird design; this tri-band router looks like a robotic bug. There are six external antennas, which easily fold in and out from the router’s case.
Powered by a dual-core 1GHz, with 128MB of flash storage, and 256MB of RAM, the Netgear R8000 X6 has:
- 1 x USB 3.0 port.
- 1 x USB 2.0 port.
- 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- 1 x WAN port.
- 1 x LED ON/OFF switcher.
With a simple web management user interface, you can quickly configure the Netgear R8000 X6 router, and it will be ready to use in minutes.
There is also a desktop application called Desktop Genie, which allows you to manage, monitor and repair network problems. There’s no difference between the web interface and this program.
In the 5GHz mode, the R8000 has a data rate of 482Mbps (or about 60MBps) in the short range. When we increase the distance to 100 feet, it has a data rate of 242Mbps (or about 30MBps). With the 2.4Ghz frequency, the Netgear R8000 X6 scored 134Mbps for close range and 58Mbps for long range.
When we connect an external hard drive into the USB 3.0 port and do a file transfer test, the R8000 scored 72MBps and 43MBps for reading and writing, respectively. Unlike many other wireless routers, the NAS performance of the Netgear R8000 X6 is quite good, based on the price you pay for it.
- The Netgear Nighthawk R800 X6 is a great choice when looking for a wireless router for playing games or streaming videos.
- It’s also good if you want to connect an external hard drive and operate it as a NAS device because the NAS performance is pretty solid.
- You can call it the best gaming router 2017, with an acceptable price tag.
10. Linksys AC1900 (WRT1900AC)
With a medium price tag, the Linksys AC1900 comes with good performance as expected. You can also replace the stock firmware with third-party ones, such as OpenWRT, or DD-WRT. It also comes with excellent NAS performance and has great range when using the 2.4GHz mode.
Powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, the Linksys AC1900 has 128MB of storage and 256MB of RAM (DDR3). It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, one USB 3.0, one eSATA/USB 2.0 port, and a WPS button to perform quick connect.
The configuration process is simple like most other routers as it has the setup wizard, which you can access and follow the instructions to make your wireless network ready for use.
If you have used any Linksys routers before, then there’s nothing different here as the web user interface is very similar.
When doing the 5GHz throughput tests, the Linksys AC1900 reaches 449Mbps in close-range. It’s a fantastic performance result. When we increase the distance up to 15 feet, it averages a speed of 110Mbps.
Meanwhile, when using the 2.4GHz band in mixed mode, it has an average throughput rate of 83Mbps, at 15 feet of distance. If you use N-Only mode, the average performance result should be around 78Mbps.
In the file transfer speed tests, the WRT1900AC router delivers an excellent result, 80MBps and 66MBps for reading and writing, respectively.
- It’s a good wireless router that delivers excellent throughput scores.
- If you are looking for a router for games, video streaming, or NAS, the Linksys AC1900 (WRT1900AC) is a good choice, for a medium price tag.
Wireless Router Buying Guide
Nowadays, you see wireless routers everywhere, and almost every house, apartment, store, and office has one. If you need to set up a wireless network for your home or office, it’s very easy because you can quickly search for a router on the Internet and purchase it.
However, the question is – which is the right wireless router for your needs?
The first thing you should consider before buying a new wireless router is the network standard. The 802.11ac is the latest standard and available in most recent routers.
When you purchase a new router, you should consider the 802.11ac standard as the first choice. However, if you don’t use any devices that support this new standard, you will not see any benefits. So choosing a router with the 802.11n standard could make more sense, and it’s even cheaper.
Don’t focus too much on the theoretical speeds that manufacturers write on the box, or list on the product page. The realistic speeds are far from the theoretical maximum bandwidth.
So, before buying any routers, read the review first. And not just one review! You should find a few reviews to make sure the information you read is reliable. Then add routers you’ve selected to the list and compare the realistic speeds of them. After that, buy the right one that fits your needs and the budget. Sometimes, the router with a higher price tag doesn’t mean it’s better than others with lower prices.
The speed of the wireless router only determines the speed within your wireless network. Buying a faster router does not mean it will help you to speed up your Internet connection.
Despite the fact that wireless networks are very convenient, they aren’t as secure as you thought. When selecting a new router, make sure it supports WPA2, a security method.
Nowadays, WPA2 becomes a required feature so you can easily find it in most routers.
Many high-end routers come with extra features, which will help you to monitor devices, add extra security method, block unwanted users and even view what users are browsing.
There are many wireless routers you can find on the Internet. Good or bad, it depends on many factors. There are various prices, based on specs and features.
Typically, the price of the best wireless routers ranges from $100 to $250. Of course, there are also some more expensive or cheaper. If you have a small budget, you can buy a decent router for $50 or less. However, don’t expect to get all the latest features and get the best performance.