The 5 Best WiFi Routers – A Comparison
In networking terms, we live in the age of wireless LAN (WLAN). As a result, the primary form of entertainment in households has shifted from cable TV to streaming services. Thus, WiFi routers have become an indispensable piece of technology. Modern-day routers handle two or more bands of frequencies while providing a host of other features. They also seamlessly integrate with Alexa and other IFTTT applets to enhance the overall experience. With the advent of WiFi 6, there are more choices on the market than ever before. In this article, we will aim to collate all the information available in the market, to help you pick the ideal router for your home.
|Image||Name||Maximum Throughput||LAN Ports||Price Rating|
|TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router||450 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1300 Mbps (5 GHz)||4||$|
|Linksys Dual-Band WiFi Router AC1200||300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 867 Mbps (5 GHz)||4||$|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6900P) AC1900||600 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1300 Mbps (5 GHz)||4||$$|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 AC2600||800 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1733 Mbps (5 GHz)||4||$$$|
|Asus RT-AX88U AX6000||1148 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 4804 Mbps (5 GHz)||8||$$$$|
TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
This product is an excellent option for those looking to save a few bucks. It is a dual-band router, with a maximum throughput of 450 Mbps for 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps for 5 GHz. So, 4K content streams without buffering. It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for hardwired LAN connections and three fixed antennas. As a result, it improves the range of the WiFi network. Centralized file-sharing capabilities are possible using the lone USB 2.0 slot at the back of the device. Also, it has complete Alexa integration and above-average Quality-of-Services (QoS) options. The main trade-offs come in the form of clunky software and sub-par data transfer speeds. However, at $50, better options are hard to come by.
- Throughput speeds are exceptional at this price
- For a budget option, the features available are commendable
- The network has excellent coverage
- USB 2.0 does not allow file transfer at very high speeds
Linksys Dual-Band WiFi Router AC1200
This product is worth considering if your budget cannot exceed $100. It is an ideal choice for people who forget their routers once they’re set up. It is a dual-band device, operating at a combined maximum speed of 1.2 Gbps across the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. With only two antennas, this is ideal for a small apartment setting. It also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired LAN. Lastly, the inclusion of a faster, USB 3.0 port speeds up centralized file sharing and FTP requests. The software simplicity makes setting up and managing the network an absolute breeze. The performance at 2.4 GHz is mediocre at best. Hence, if simplicity is what you’re after, this product deserves a look.
- Excellent 5GHz performance
- USB 3.0 speeds up file transfers
- Easy to set up and manage
- A guest connection is available only on 2.4GHz band
NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6900P) AC1900
This product is a solid contender in the mid-range market. The aggressive industrial design can be polarizing, but I am a fan personally. The maximum throughput speeds are impressive, with the 5 GHz band clocking up to 1300 Mbps. This router also has four Gigabit ports for LAN connections. Also, three detachable antennas offer maximum network coverage. MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multi-Input-Multi-Output) technology is one of my favorite features in this device. It dramatically speeds up the network by allowing all devices to share the bandwidth.
Moreover, the USB 3.0 port enables rapid file transfer between connected devices. The host of QoS features thrown in the mix offset the average 2.4 GHz performance. In short, if your budget allows it, you need not look elsewhere for your next router.
- Alexa integration
- Great performance at 5 GHz band
- QoS offers amazing user-flexibility
- 2.4 GHz performance is just average for the price
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 AC2600
This product is for the serious gamers out there matched with an equally serious budget. It is easily one of the most feature-rich routers in the market, and this justifies the price tag. With a whopping 2.6 Gbps of maximum total throughput, tasks that rely on prompt data transfers experience no stutters. Besides, DumaOS software greatly enhances your online gaming experience through an array of advanced features baked into the router. Moreover, there are four detachable antennas for increased network coverage and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. One major issue I have with this device is the inclusion of only two USB 3.0 ports. At this price, I would have liked to see a faster USB 3.1 port. In conclusion, if you are someone who extensively plays online games, this product will not disappoint at the slightest.
- MU-MIMO technology speeds up the entire network
- DumaOS offers a wide array of features aimed at optimizing online gaming
- Top-of-the-line data throughput for a better online gaming experience
- Price is the only dampener
Asus RT-AX88U AX6000
If early adoption of technology is your forte, Asus delivers exactly that. Consequently, you will be paying an “early adoption fee” in the form of a hefty price tag. The maximum throughput speeds are otherworldly due to the WiFi6 protocol. Gigabit ports are plentiful, with eight of them present at the back of the device. Furthermore, four antennas maximize the range of the network, ensuring really fast speeds all over your house. Finally, the inclusion of a high-speed, USB 3.1 port is the icing on the cake. Obviously, this router is not for the faint of heart (or wallet). If you’re in the market for a router and do not want to upgrade any time soon, this is the direction you might want to look at.
- WiFi6 is the future, and this will put you on the bleeding-edge
- Eight Gigabit Ethernet ports offer maximum LAN flexibility
- QoS options are plentiful
- Clients supporting WiFi6 are yet to hit the mainstream
Picking the Best WiFi Router – How to Make the Right Choice
|TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router|
|Linksys Dual-Band WiFi Router AC1200|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6900P) AC1900|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 AC2600|
|Asus RT-AX88U AX6000|
For the comparison above, I have picked five of my personal favorites and pitted them against each other. Of course, there cannot be an all-encompassing winner, as several factors determine the ideal solution. Firstly, you must have an idea of the area you want your network to cover. Secondly, you must know your use-cases. Are you someone who games online frequently? Do you stream 4K content to your TV? And lastly, money talks. Having a larger budget will significantly simplify your purchase decision. Now, the onus is on you as the consumer. What is your choice going to be?