Best Linksys Routers Windows Central 2019

The best routers are quickly forgotten. They fade into the background and do their job without fault, sometimes for years with no maintenance. For this to come together, it needs to be fast enough for today as well as next year, support as many devices as you'll ever want to connect, and to be expandable if your space or needs change. The affectionately named Linksys MR8300 provides all of this in a simple and convenient package.

Best Overall: Linksys MR8300

The Linksys MR8300 feels like one of the most complete packages on sale. Aimed squarely at being a robust and straightforward networking solution, compatibility with Linksys' Velop mesh nodes makes this an excellent router for almost everyone. With AC2200 speeds and MU-MIMO support, this router will keep speeds high even with a lot of competing connections.

If you've been ready to upgrade your network but have been unable to decide between a mesh network and a more traditional router, this is an excellent product for you. You can have the coverage and features you have become accustomed to in a full-size router with the option of dropping in a Velop node for a bit more coverage if needed.

Four small antennas flank the matte black housing of the router. Four gigabit Ethernet ports on the back next to a USB 3.0 port allow for all of the expansion most people will ever need. With an all-around approach to networking and the platform to expand, this router wants to be your complete network solution for years to come. I think it succeeds.

Pros:

  • AC2200
  • Tri-band
  • USB 3.0 port
  • 4 Ethernet ports
  • MU-MIMO
  • Mesh expandable

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi 6

Best Overall

Linksys MR8300

A normal router with mesh

The Linksys MR8300 brings AC2200 speeds and Velop mesh expandability in a familiar housing. Four Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port finish the package.

Best Value: Linksys EA6900

As a lower profile option, the Linksys EA6900 offers competitive AC1900 speeds with a dual-band connection. While these speeds seem low compared to the other routers on this list, the speed is likely faster than most of the internet connections that will be going into this router.

Even so, these speeds should be able to carry 4K video streams to a couple of devices easily and should be able to smoothly handle several Wi-Fi devices simultaneously thanks to a respectable dual-band connection as well as the quality of service traffic management in the software.

Additionally, a USB 3.0 ports alongside a USB 2.0 port allow for an easy network drive or a place to charge your phone. With a very basic appearance and small antennas, this router will blend in with your other computer equipment quite well.

Pros:

  • AC1900
  • Dual-band
  • 2 USB ports
  • 4 Ethernet ports

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • No mesh option

Best Value

Linksys EA6900

Fast Wi-Fi and a low price

AC1900 Wi-Fi speeds and with a dual-band connection, and USB expansion makes the Linksys EA6900 a fantastic value for money in matte black.

Best Gaming: Linksys WRT32XB

Boasting the intense-sounding Killer Prioritization Engine to keep pings low and consistent in games, the Linksys WRT32XB is a powerful gaming router with a focus on Xbox gaming. That's not to say this router can't be helpful to other consoles or PC gaming; you can set all of that up in the software menus geared towards gamers.

AC3200 Wi-Fi speeds are more than enough for most users and are fast enough to allow 4K video streams. While streaming, prioritization in the software will keep game traffic running consistently, which is more important for gaming. Still, it's nice to have a fast router at the ready if you play something like Sea of Thieves and find a 6GB update waiting for you when you want to play a quick game with friends.

With an aggressive stance and an all-black housing, this router will fit in nicely with other gaming hardware, and the strip of lights on the front will reassuringly display your connection statuses on every connection. Finally, a USB 3.0 port along with an eSATA/USB combo port allows for an easy and cheap network drive. ESATA is an aging standard having been dethroned by USB 3.1, but it is still one of the fastest ways to attach a drive.

Pros:

  • AC3200
  • MU-MIMO
  • Dual-band
  • USB and eSATA
  • 4 Ethernet ports

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • No mesh option
  • No link aggregation or multi-gig Ethernet

Best Gaming

Linksys WRT32XB

A killer prioritization engine

The WRT32XB has an aggressive appearance that shows off its power level. Fast Wi-Fi with traffic management will keep games running smoothly.

Best for Wired: Linksys EA9500

Wired switches are a cheap and effective solution to needing more Ethernet ports, but if you want an all in one solution from Linksysjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj, you need the Linksys EA9500. With eight Ethernet ports and the ability to combine one with the WAN port for a double-speed internet connection, you have plenty of room for expansion. Wireless performance is also top-tier with AC5400 speeds thanks to a tri-band setup.

Modern, high-end features like MU-MIMO and beamforming will help this router keep up with increasing traffic and more wireless devices for years to come. Wi-Fi 6 is left out, but a fast implementation of AC Wi-FI should be enough for the majority of uses including 4K streaming for quite a while.

This router looks and sits like most other new Linksys routers with eight external antennas suggesting this router's powerful speeds even with a lot of traffic. Two USB 3.0 ports allow for an easy network drive that is kept up to speed with a 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU. This is an excellent router for someone with a lot of devices to get online.

Pros:

  • AC5400
  • MU-MIMO
  • Tri-band
  • 8 Ethernet ports
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • Link aggregation

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • No mesh option
  • No multi-gig Ethernet

Best for Wired

Linksys EA9500

It's better to have some extra

Not everyone needs eight Ethernet ports and AC5400 speeds, but if you need the most out of your network, the Linksys EA9500 has everything you need.

Best Mesh: Linksys Velop Dual-Band 3-Pack

Velop is a feature-rich and robust mesh system from Linksys. While competition is heating up in this category, Linksys shows off its history and experience with compact and attractive units available in both white and black plastic. This can be great for helping these mesh routers blend into every room that needs a Wi-Fi boost.

This kit sits in the middle of the range providing speeds good enough for most users streaming HD video or even just browsing the web. If higher speeds are needed, you could step up to a tri-band version, but this package will be more than enough for most people. Each unit is capable of AC1300 speeds (867 Mbps + 400 Mbps) with a dual-band setup.

Supporting MU-MIMO for better handling of a lot of Wi-Fi connected devices, this is an excellent option for someone that needs a consistent and widespread Wi-Fi network. You give up some wired connectivity compared to a more traditional router with only two Ethernet ports on each unit with one dedicated to uplink on the main unit. For a mostly Wi-Fi network, this is a great fit.

Pros:

  • AC1300
  • MU-MIMO
  • Dual-band
  • Easy expansion
  • Available in white and black

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi 6 option
  • 2 Ethernet ports

Best Mesh

Linksys Velop Dual-Band 3-Pack

A mesh with options

With three nodes available in black or white, the AC1300 speeds of each unit will keep the Wi-Fi signal strong and fast all over large or complex homes.

Bottom line

The lack of Wi-Fi 6 in the routers on offer from Linksys is a little confusing, and I can't help but think that this lineup could have used the new technology. Most people can't even utilize any more than AC Wi-Fi with their current devices, which is probably why Linksys is holding back here. The Velop mesh routers provide an excellent mesh option that is competitive in speed and price to anything on the market. All of this leads to Linksys offering a lot of good deals in the low to mid-price range.

A Linksys WRT54G was the first router I ever purchased for use with my Nintendo DS. In recent years the choice hasn't been so obvious, but Linksys has continued to provide a great selection of routers. With the MR8300, Linksys continues its history of high-quality routers providing solid speeds and mesh solutions in one product.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking at Windows Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

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