When we went on the hunt for the best router in 2017, we measured dozens of different features, stats, and metrics against one another to come up with a list of the top five you’ll find on shelves today.
For starters, all the routers we chose must have a minimum bandwidth rating of 1900AC and pump out at least 200Mbps on the 5GHz spectrum. We made sure the router had a bevy of extra parental controls and firewall settings as well, so you can be sure your family is always protected when they’re on the web. Last but not least, contenders like our #1 pick the Linksys 3200ACM wireless router come with future-proof tech such as MU-MIMO, which ensures that you’re always getting the fastest possible connection no matter where you’re browsing from in the house.
To see why the AC3200ACM beat out the rest of the competition, read on in our annual roundup of the best routers in 2017!
|Linksys WRT3200 ACM Smart Wi-Fi Router||TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 Wireless Router||Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 WiFi Router||Linksys EA9500 Tri-Band MU-MIMO Router||D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router|
|Rank||#1 – Editor’s Choice/Best Home Router||#2 – Best Budget Wireless Router||#3 – Best Wireless AC Router||#4 – Best Range Wireless Router||#5 – Best Router for Gaming|
|Full Review||Linksys WRT3200 ACM Review||TP-Link Archer C9 Review||Netgear Nighthawk X6 Review||Linksys EA9500 Router Review||D-Link AC3200 Review|
|WiFi Types||802.11 b/g/n/ac||802.11 b/g/n/ac||802.11 b/g/n/ac||802.11 b/g/n/ac||802.11b/g/a, 802.11n (2.4 GHz only), 802.11ac|
|Ports||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN||8 Ethernet, 1 WAN||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN|
|WPS Setup & Security|
In my nearly half-decade long career of reviewing the newest technology in wireless hardware, I’ve learned a lot about what makes a great router, and where the rest of the duds are so obvious you can see them coming from a mile away.
How we choose the best of the best are three main factors: the signal strength, the number of onboard features, and price. The routers on this list are all at the head of their game in these arenas, and consistently offer top-of-the-line performance alongside a fair price and a plethora of extras that users can utilize to perfectly customize their own wireless networking experience at home or their office space.
All the routers we’ve chosen run at a spec of 802.11ac, the latest version of Wi-Fi transmission technology to be released, and also feature a minimum of two wireless bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
Wireless router technology has evolved rapidly in the past few years, incorporating a plethora of new wireless bands, transmission standards, and extra features that are all designed to keep up with the demands of a modern home.
Older routers that use b/g/n to transmit their signal aren’t built for the way people use their wireless networks these days, whether it be streaming Netflix in 4K, downloading file sizes that can stretch into the tens (if not hundreds) of gigabytes, or playing online games that demand the absolute lowest ping/latency possible to get you to the top of the local leaderboard.
If you find yourself running any of these activities but are constantly shaking a fist at your at the dreaded “buffering” symbol as it mocks you from the other side of the screen, a router upgrade could be just what you need to solve these problems and so many more.
Similarly, if you’re updating your smartphone every year to the latest model and splurging on a shiny new laptop shortly after, your router should get just as much consideration as any other technology you use on a daily basis.
Your wireless router is the last boundary between your devices and the rest of the internet, which is why it’s important to ensure that it’s running the latest firmware with the best firewalls, and always has enough horsepower to spare whenever you tack on a new laptop or phone to your endlessly growing network of personal mobile technology.