Best Wireless Routers in 2020
In this guide we’ve gathered a list of the best WiFi routers available in 2020 based on performance, range, speed, and overall value. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, work from home, or just need better internet performance and range, give these a try.
What the decision really comes down to is how much speed you need, and how big your home is and the coverage you need. So, choose from our list below broken down by a few top categories.
Best Wireless Routers at a Glance (2020)
- Best WiFi 6 Router: Asus RT-AX88U AX6000
- Best Cheap Router: TP-Link Archer A9/C9 (AC1900)
- Best Mesh Router: Google Nest WiFi
- Best Gaming Router: TP-Link Archer C5400X
- Best Budget Mesh Router: Eero AC Dual-Band Mesh WiFi
- Best WiFi 6 Mesh Router: Netgear Orbi AX6000
Before we begin, we want to mention that most users use a combined modem and router offered by their internet provider, and pay a monthly rental feel for it. By choosing a router from our list you’ll save money and get better, faster internet speeds. Here’s more information about each one of our recommendations.
Read: Best Cheap Routers Under $100
Best WiFi 6 Router: Asus RT-AX88U AX6000
WiFi 6 is the latest, greatest, fastest version of WiFi that you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot about in 2020 and beyond. And while only select devices like the iPhone 11 Pro, Galaxy Note 10/S20 and select laptops support it right now, all future devices will. So, if you’re in the market for a router you might as well buy one that’s future-proof, fast, and efficient with devices available now, and in the coming years.
WiFi 6 delivers faster speeds, longer range, less latency and more security. This router is perfect for gamers, those that use TV streaming services, and just about everyone else. You’ll get support for Dual-Band, WiFi 6, 802.11ax, 8 lan ports on the back, TrendMicro security built-in and it even supports AiMesh, if you’d like. It’s expensive and looks a bit crazy, but it’s one of the best options available today.
Best Cheap Router: TP-Link Archer A9/C9 (AC1900)
The TP-Link Archer A9 (or C9) is the best Wi-Fi router for those on a budget, and our favorite cheap router of 2020. Actually, that does it a disservice, because it’s honestly the best router for “most” people. It delivers excellent 802.11ac performance, tons of features and Alexa support all at a low price. In fact, most routers under $100 don’t offer AC1900 speeds, or even AC1200, making this a cheap and fast router. Not to mention it packs four Gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0 port for connecting storage devices.
We love the easy setup and included app, parental controls, solid performance, loads of features and the Alexa integration. This isn’t just a router, it’s a smart router. Plus, it still has all your usual QoS controls, customization tools, Dual-bands and everything else you expect from a router. Honestly, if you’re on a budget and want faster internet than what you have now, just buy this and thank me later.
Best Mesh Router: Google Nest WiFi
We’ve recommended Google WiFi for several years, and in 2020 Google released its all-new Nest WiFi. This is whole-home mesh WiFi made easy. Google’s Nest WiFi is fast, simple to control with the dedicated app, and so easy to set up that your parents could do it. You literally use the app to take a photo of the bottom of the router, tap a few buttons, plug them both in and you’re all done.
Plus, it’s a 2-piece mesh WiFi system, which means it’s perfect for large coverage or 2-story homes. Google claims the Nest WiFi can blanket a big 3,800 square-foot home with fast internet. Mesh WiFi systems use multiple pods throughout the house to share your internet connection to every corner. What makes these great, in addition to offering fast stable internet and WPA3 security standards, is the Nest WiFi modules double as Google Home speakers for the Google Assistant or streaming Spotify. Plus they look really elegant. Neat, right?
Best Gaming Router: TP-Link Archer C5400X
The best gaming routers are the ones with crazy designs, insanely fast speeds, and no latency issues for people playing Fortnite or Call of Duty for hours. And while there are several excellent (and expensive) routers aimed at this segment, the TP-Link Archer C5400X is probably our favorite gaming router, and the router to beat.
Offering truly excellent performance with best-in-class tri-band performance, crazy fast speeds in both 2.4 (AC5400) and 5 GHz, not to mention impressive coverage that will blanket your entire home with fast WiFi. You might not like the weird design, but those eight antennas are what send fast WiFi signals upstairs, to your corner office, or out in the garage while you’re playing Xbox until 3 AM. Then, being a premium router means it comes with tons of optimizations, controls, features, and security controls that will surely be more than enough for most gamers. Or, get the ASUS AX11000 but it’s nearly $400.
Best Budget Mesh Router: Eero AC Dual-Band Mesh WiFi
If you have a large 2-story home and just need better and more reliable internet wherever you are in your house, consider getting a Mesh Wifi system. Mesh WiFi systems use multiple pods that overlap each other so everywhere in your house gets a reliable connection. And while it can be confusing having to setup not one, but three different devices, the Eero Dual-Band Mesh WiFi system is dead simple to use. You set up one of the three pieces, and then just plug in the other two at different areas of your house, and that’s all.
It does all the work for you, pairs together everything and those two other routers extend the range of your WiFi to blanket your entire home. Better yet, Eero comes with subscriptions to 1Password, MalwareBytes and Encrypt.me VPN, ensuring everyone in your home is safe and secure.
Best WiFi 6 Mesh Router: Netgear Orbi AX6000
$599 at Amazon or $699 at Best Buy
Last but not least we wanted to recommend the impressive Netgear Orbi AX6000 setup. This offers the latest and greatest technology in WiFi 6, tri-band, and mesh routers, giving you the best of both worlds (or all 3) to ensure your entire home has insanely fast, stable, reliable, and secure internet whenever you need it.
The Netgear Orbi AX6000 certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s fast and future-proof. Most Mesh WiFi systems have a little drop off from one device to the other, but reviews suggest the Netgear Orbi AX6000 is fast no matter what. Using the latest tri-band technology it’ll be able to deliver whatever internet your ISP has to offer, although most people can’t even buy an internet speed fast enough to top these things out. The main 2.4 GHz band is crazy fast, and the second 5GHz band serves as a dedicated channel for transmissions between the router and its satellites. Real-world tests show it’s one of the best options around.
Unfortunately, it’s insanely expensive and you’ll likely be able to get similarly fast WiFi 6 Mesh systems later this year for a lot less money. For now, though, this is about as good as it gets when it comes to wireless routers.
A Few More Thoughts
When it comes to choosing the best Wi-Fi router for you and your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options and lost in the tech specs, standards, and weird numbers. So, all you really need to know is how much speed do you need, and what type of coverage do you need in your home.
The internet speed and router speed is determined by the speed of the internet you get from your internet service provider and your modem. These days, most people don’t need anything more than about 100 Mbps, and most “wireless ac routers” can deliver that to your home. A newer 802.11ac router will be perfect for almost any household and internet plan available in 2020. And while there are faster Gigabit internet options in select cities, that’s not a concern for most people. Basically, a typical AC router around $100-$200 is more than enough for any household.
Of course, there are newer WiFi 6 or AX routers, but there still aren’t very many devices capable of accessing WiFi 6 like phones and laptops. So, unless you have a fast 6 Gbps internet plan and are using a dozen devices at once, you likely won’t see much benefit from paying for a Wi-Fi 6 device right now.
And last but not least, you need to think about WiFi router coverage. A basic router/modem combo typically offers around 50ft of range, if you’re lucky. That’s the one your internet provider gave you when they came and installed your internet. A better (but still basic) standalone router will generally increase that to around 50-100 feet of range, if not a little more. Essentially enough for a small apartment, home, or condo.
When you start getting into 2-story homes, bigger 3,000sq ft houses and more, you’ll want something a little better like what we’ve detailed above. preferably a mesh router that uses multiple devices to send the signal throughout bigger houses.
So, buy what works best for you and your house. Then, expect regular updates to this post as we test other routers and more options get released throughout the year.