Best Wi-Fi Router

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8, with MU-MIMO capability and tri-band Wi-Fi, is the best router available now.

Best overall

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8

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The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 has three Wi-Fi bands — one 2.4Ghz at 1000Mbps and two 5GHz at 2166Mbps — to best deliver the internet to all your devices. Each band has four data streams available, and the router will automatically assign devices to the best band to maximize speed. 4x4 MU-MIMO capability ensures data is received as efficiently as possible, and the six Ethernet ports on the back allow plenty of wired connections.

Bottom-line: For the best router out there, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 is your go-to choice.

One more thing: If you love the Nighthawk line of routers but don't need quite as much Wi-Fi as the X8 delivers, the Nighthawk X6 is also a great choice.

Why the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 is the best

Coming at you with three bands, four antennas, six Ethernet ports, and MU-MIMO capability, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 is one mean router.

Two 5GHz bands offer speeds up to 2166Mbps for all your newer 802.11ac devices, and one 2.4GHz band with a 1000Mbps speed services all your 802.11a/b/g/n devices. There are four data streams on each band that help maintain speeds across multiple connections. This router will automatically assign devices to the proper band to ensure you're getting faster speeds and no lag when gaming or streaming video; you can also manually set priority.

Multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) capability delivers constant streams of data to your devices, rather than the classic single-user, multiple input, multiple output (SU-MIMO) method of rotating data delivery that could result in stuttering and lag. Performance is so good that Smallnetbuilder gave this router the top rank for routing performance in AC5300 routers.

Six Ethernet ports on the back of the router allow plenty of wired connections, and four external antennas coupled with four internal antennas provides great range. A router this good comes at a price — it starts at about $360.

Best budget

TP-Link Archer C7

TP-Link Archer C7

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Many people don't need a router as powerful or expensive as the Nighthawk X8. Enter the TP-Link Archer C7, which Wirecutter deemed as the best Wi-Fi router most people will ever need. It has two Wi-Fi bands — one 2.4GHz at 450Mbps for 802.11a/b/g/n devices and one 5GHz at 1300Mbps for 802.11ac devices — to better connect all your laptops, phones, and consoles. Two USB ports on the back of the router allow you to connect external storage for media sharing across all devices in your home. This router has plenty of bandwidth for streaming movies, sharing files, and playing games — it starts at only about $90.

Bottom-line: For a fantastic router that costs under $100, check out the TP-Link Archer C7.

One more thing: Manually change bandwidth priority for lag-free gaming and smooth video streaming.

Best for 4K streaming

TP-Link Talon AD7200

TP-Link Talon AD7200

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The TP-Link Talon AD7200 has three Wi-Fi bands to best connect all your devices: a 2.4GHz band at 800Mbps supports 802.11a/b/g/n devices, a 5GHz band at 1733Mbps supports 802.11ac devices, and a 60GHz band at 4600Mbps supports 802.11ad devices. The 60GHz band allows for speeds that rival wired Ethernet connections, perfect for 4K streaming. MU-MIMO capability delivers data efficiently across multiple connections, and eight antennas offer decent range on the lower bands.

Bottom-line: For a powerful router that has a 60GHz band, have a look at the TP-Link Talon AD7200.

One more thing: The 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands have four data streams each, enabling faster speeds across all connected devices.

Best range

NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk

NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk

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Ranked first on Smallnetbuilder for range on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk will reach all corners of your extra-large home or office. The 2.4GHz band offers speeds up to 600Mbps for 802.11a/b/g/n devices, and the 5GHz band offers speeds up to 1300Mbps for 802.11ac devices. Bandwidth is automatically prioritized to deliver lag-free gaming and video streaming, and five Ethernet ports provide access for plenty of wired connections (Clarification: Four of the ports are for devices, while the fifth is the input from a modem) . This router starts at about $170.

Conclusion

For a great router at an even better price, check out the TP-Link Archer C7. If you need a router with great range, go with the NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk. For a router with a 60GHz band for better 4K streaming, have a look at the TP-Link Talon AD7200. For the best Wi-Fi router for all purposes, go with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8.

Best overall

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8

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The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 has three Wi-Fi bands — one 2.4Ghz at 1000Mbps and two 5GHz at 2166Mbps — to best deliver the internet to all your devices. Each band has four data streams available, and the router will automatically assign devices to the best band to maximize speed. MU-MIMO capability ensures data is received as efficiently as possible, and the six Ethernet ports on the back allow plenty of wired connections.

Bottom-line: For the best router out there, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 is your go-to choice.

One more thing: If you love the Nighthawk line of routers but don't need quite as much Wi-Fi as the X8 delivers, the Nighthawk X6 is also a great choice.