Best Wi-Fi Routers Windows Central 2019

Between PCs, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, streaming devices and IoT gadgets, home networks have more connected devices than ever before. Choosing a router that can handle your usage is key to keeping everything connected and running smoothly. No one likes bad Wi-Fi, so here are the best routers available now, from top-of-the-line powerhouses to budget-friendly picks.

Ultimate performance: Linksys EA9500 Max Stream

Staff favorite

With the Linksys EA9500 Max Stream, you get three bands of Wi-Fi, 4 x 4 MU-MIMO, and eight Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect your wired devices. A 2.4 GHz band with speeds up to 1,000 Mbps is perfect for older devices, and two 5 GHz bands at up to 2,166 Mbps support 4K streaming and seamless online gaming. It's expensive, but you can do just about anything with this router.

$350 at Amazon

Best budget router: TP-Link Archer A7

TP-Link's Archer A7 has two Wi-Fi bands, one 2.4 GHz at 450 Mbps for 802.11a/b/g/n devices and one 5 GHz at 1,300 Mbps for 802.11ac devices. A USB-A port on the back of the router allows you to connect external storage for media sharing across all devices in your home, and it includes Amazon Alexa integration.

$52 at Amazon

Next-gen Wi-Fi: Netgear Nighthawk AX8

As one of the first Wi-Fi 6 compatible routers on the market, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 offers up to four times the data capacity of 802.11ac routers with two 2.4 GHz streams at up to 1.2Gbps and four 5GHz streams with speeds up to 4.8Gbps. Its advanced OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 160MHz channel support, Ethernet port aggregation, and 1024 QAM technologies make it powerful and efficient enough to handle dozens of connected devices, including multiple 4K/8K UHD video streams.

$400 at Amazon

Best for gaming: Linksys WRT32X

The Linksys WRT32X's 2.4GHz band offers speeds up to 600 Mbps, and the 5 GHz band up to 2,600 Mbps, and 3 x 3 MU-MIMO ensures your most important devices are receiving an uninterrupted signal. The real kicker here is the Killer Prioritization Engine (KPE), which automatically detects which devices in the area are using a Killer wireless card with the necessary software.

$128 at Amazon

Best range: Netgear Nighthawk R7000P

The NETGEAR R7000P Nighthawk is the updated version of the R7000, now offering slightly higher speeds in its 5 GHz band and a bit better range. The 2.4 GHz band offers speeds up to 600 Mbps for 802.11a/b/g/n devices, and the 5 GHz band offers speeds up to 1,625 Mbps for 802.11ac devices. Bandwidth is automatically prioritized to deliver lag-free gaming and video streaming, and four Ethernet ports provide access for plenty of wired connections.

$170 at Amazon

Best features: Synology RT2600AC

The Synology RT2600AC is a speedy router with a ton of extra features that can be added from Synology's Package Center. Set up a multimedia server, VPN, or P2P file sharing straight from the router. Besides the extra features, you're getting dual-band performance (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), 4 x 4 MU-MIMO, and four Ethernet ports on the back for connecting your wired devices.

$200 at Amazon

Best Mesh: Google Wifi

Google Wifi uses the AC1200 standard with total throughput up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band to provide expandable, comprehensive coverage to homes of any size. It's one of the easiest routers to set up and manage thanks to its user-friendly app, which also lets you monitor bandwidth usage and prioritize connections for activities like gaming and 4K streaming.

$259 at Amazon

Best 802.11AD router: Netgear Nighthawk X10

Netgear's Nighthawk X10 features the 802.11ad wireless standard with a 60 GHz spectrum for better speed on more devices at once, especially when streaming. A quad-core processor keeps things humming along smoothly with multiple devices connected, there are 10 Ethernet ports on the back, and MU-MIMO capabilities help deliver uninterrupted data to your compatible devices.

$360 at Amazon

Gaming on a budget: D-Link DIR 879

WIth up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band, this D-Link AC1900 router uses smart beamforming and intelligent QoS to provide a good gaming experience for small households and apartments. It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back for wired connections and an easily switchable range extender mode.

$69 at Amazon

Worth the splurge: ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Made for gaming but also spectacular at everything else, the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 makes use of a 2.4 GHz band and dual 5 GHz bands for a combined max throughput of up to 5.3 Gbps. Its three bands, eight LAN ports, 4x4 MU-MIMO, and heavy-duty quad-core CPU make sure all your connections are reliable and fast.

$350 at Amazon

If we're making some suggestions

There are hundreds of good routers on the market, and while this is not a comprehensive list of every great Wi-Fi router out there, all of these routers are outstanding performers that can serve any home network well. Our pick, based on all-around performance for gaming, streaming and range, is the Linksys EA9500 Max Stream. It's perfect for networks that get a lot of use because its dual 5GHz radios and eight Gigabit Ethernet ports support plenty of connected devices, while its 5.3 Gbps max speeds ensure uninterrupted 4K streaming and online gaming.

The TP-Link Archer A7 is a more sensible option for the vast majority of people who don't need a top-shelf router, as it costs hundreds less than the EA9500 Max Stream. If you have a smaller home or don't have a ton of internet-connected devices, it offers solid dual-band performance.

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