Best overall

Linksys EA9500 Max Stream

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The Linksys EA9500 Max Stream (about $400) has just about everything you want from a router. You get three bands of Wi-Fi, 4 x 4 MU-MIMO, and a ton of ports to connect your wired devices. A 2.4GHz band with speeds up to 1,000Mbps is perfect for older devices, and two 5GHz bands at up to 2,166Mbps support 4K streaming and seamless online gaming. Toss in some extra features, like device prioritization and parental controls, and you have a strong multipurpose router.

Bottom line: The best overall router is the Linksys EA9500.

One more thing: Add a Linksys Max Stream range extender for those especially large offices or homes.

Why the Linksys EA9500 Max Stream is the best

Tri-band Wi-Fi, impressive range, and a ton of ports make this router hard to pass up.

A large house or office full of devices requires a heavy-duty router, especially when you figure in gamers, 4K streamers, and those who still want a wired connection. The Linksys EA9500 has two 5GHz bands with speeds up to 2,166Mbps, as well a third 2.4GHz band with speeds up to 1,000Mbps. Each band has four simultaneous streams to help maintain speeds across multiple connections.

The router's 4 x 4 multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) capability allows for constant streams of data to up to four of your capable devices, rather than the usual method of rotating data delivery. This is especially important for gamers and anyone looking to stream high-bandwidth video.

Eight Ethernet ports on the back of the router ensure you'll have no problem connecting all your wired devices, and eight antennas broadcast a strong signal throughout your home or office. For a powerful router that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, definitely give this one a thought.

Runner up

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8

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The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 (about $250) has three Wi-Fi bands — one 2.4Ghz at 1,000Mbps and two 5GHz at 2,166Mbps — 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. 4 x 4 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 an amazing router for less money, 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.

Best budget

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 1,300Mbps 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 $85.

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 gaming

Linksys WRT32X

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The Linksys WRT32X (about $300) is a dual-band router aimed at gamers and streamers alike. The 2.4GHz band offers speeds up to 600Mbps, and the 5GHz band up to 2,600Mbps, 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. These devices are given priority, meaning games or video streams are left uninterrupted.

Bottom line: The best router for a house full of gamers is the Linksys WRT32X.

One more thing: Check out our review for more information on what makes the Linksys WRT32X so great.

Best range

NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk

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Ranked highly on Smallnetbuilder for range on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk (about $160) 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 1,300Mbps 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. If it's range you want without having to spend a fortune, this is the router for you.

Bottom line: For the most range for the cheapest price, check out the NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk.

One more thing: NETGEAR has started making an R7000P model with a few more features, but its higher price might not yet warrant a purchase.

Conclusion

The best overall router right now is the Linksys EA9500 Max Stream, but the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 is a close second. A great budget option is the TP-Link Archer C7, gamers will want to check out the Linksys WRT32X, and a relatively cheap router with excellent range is the NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk.

Best overall

Linksys EA9500 Max Stream

See at Amazon

The Linksys EA9500 Max Stream (about $400) has just about everything you want from a router. You get three bands of Wi-Fi, 4 x 4 MU-MIMO, and a ton of ports to connect your wired devices. A 2.4GHz band with speeds up to 1,000Mbps is perfect for older devices, and two 5GHz bands at up to 2,166Mbps support 4K streaming and seamless online gaming. Toss in some extra features, like device prioritization and parental controls, and you have a strong multipurpose router.

Bottom line: The best overall router is the Linksys EA9500.

One more thing: Add a Linksys Max Stream range extender for those especially large offices or homes.

Updated August 23, 2017: We've refreshed this list to include a new best overall router for your Wi-Fi needs.