Popular budget router

TP-Link Archer C7

Better performance

Linksys WRT1900ACS

The Archer C7 is a popular budget router than can handle an average home's Wi-Fi needs when it comes to throughput and range. It costs about $100 less than the Linksys WRT1900ACS, but it won't quite deliver the same performance.

$70 at Amazon

Pros

  • Two-year warranty, 24/7 support
  • Cheaper than Linksys WRT1900ACS
  • Can cover average homes in a signal
  • Easy setup and management

Cons

  • Lower throughput than Linksys WRT1900ACS
  • Lesser hardware than Linksys WRT1900ACS

The Linksys WRT1900ACS is a real performer, thanks to powerful processor (CPU) and plenty of RAM, and the ports on the back make it easy to locally share files. It is significantly more expensive than the Archer C7, though, so you want to be sure you need this much router.

$156 at Amazon

Pros

  • AC1900 theoretical throughput
  • 1.6 GHz dual-core processor
  • Faster ports for local file sharing
  • Supports beamforming

Cons

  • More expensive than Archer C7

These two routers have similar theoretical throughput and have loads of features, but the hardware inside is really what sets the two devices apart.

TP-Link Archer C7 vs. Linksys WRT1900ACS tech specs

TP-Link Archer C7 Linksys WRT1900ACS
Performance AC1750
(450 Mbps + 1,300 Mbps)
AC1900
(600 Mbps + 1,300 Mbps)
Frequency 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Wireless standards 802.11ac/n/a (5 GHz)
802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
802.11ac/n/a (5 GHz)
802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
Processor Single-core
720 MHz
Dual-core 1.6 GHz
Memory 16 MB Flash
128 MB RAM
128 MB Flash
512 MB RAM
Ports Two USB-A 2.0 One USB-A 3.0
One eSATA
Ethernet Four LAN
One WAN
Four LAN
One WAN
Beamforming No Yes

Performance

On paper, the Linksys WRT1900ACS beats out the Archer C7 in almost all performance specs. It has higher theoretical throughput at AC1900 compared to AC1750, but it's important to note that only the 2.4 GHz band is higher, while the 5 GHz band on both routers maxes out at about 1,300 Mbps. If you're searching for a router to handle gaming and streaming — which are best handled on the 5 GHz band — you might not see a big difference in raw speed.

Connecting multiple devices and streaming data will no doubt be more efficiently handled with the WRT1900ACS thanks to a dual-core CPU and 512 MB of RAM (compared to the Archer C7's single-core CPU and 128 MB of RAM). If you have a lot of devices to connect or you're looking to add external storage through ports on the back of the router, the Linksys router is the better choice, especially when you consider it has faster USB-A 3.0 (compared to USB-A 2.0) and eSATA ports.

Both routers have three spatial streams and can cover a standard home in Wi-Fi. Range will vary based on the layout of your home and how much the signal has to pass through before arriving at your device, but know that the WRT1900ACS has beamforming capabilities that will better target devices for a stronger, faster signal. Overall, the WRT1900ACS is the better performer here, though with a price that's about $100 more than the Archer C7 it simply might not be worth the money, especially if you're not interested in local file sharing or don't have many devices to connect to Wi-Fi.

Features

Both of these routers have a standard set of features that most people expect, including guest network, parental controls, easy setup, an intuitive app for management, and both can be used with open-source firmware like OpenWRT. Thanks to more RAM in the Linksys router, you'll no doubt be able to do more as an advanced user, plus the WRT1900ACS has OpenVPN support built right in with no need for custom firmware.

The Archer C7 has two USB-A 2.0 ports on the back, allowing you to connect a couple of external drives for local file sharing. These ports are common when it comes to external drives, but the 2.0 standard is slower than the USB-A 3.0 and eSATA ports found on the back of the Linksys WRT1900ACS.

Warranty and support are important when buying a router since they generally are expected to last for years. The TP-Link Archer C7 comes complete with a two-year warranty and 24/7 technical support should you run into any issues, while the Linksys WRT1900ACS has a one-year warranty and 24/7 support.

Finally, the look of these routers is quite different. The Linksys has a blue and black color scheme that will undoubtedly stand out, which for some is either a pro or con. The Archer C7, however, is a uniform black color and not quite as large, making it easier to hide.

The Archer C7 can save you a lot of money

The Archer C7 is a great budget router that will work for a lot of people. It has the range to cover a standard home, it has 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, and it costs only about $70. If you don't plan on extensive local file sharing, using custom firmware, or simultaneously connecting a ton of devices, it should prove quite useful.

Budget networking

TP-Link Archer C7

A great budget router for most people.

It might not have the same performance specs as the Linksys WRT1900ACS, but it can nevertheless deliver dependable Wi-Fi to an average household or small office.

For better performance, stick with Linksys WRT1900ACS

If you need better theoretical throughput on the 2.4 GHz band, faster ports for local file sharing, and better hardware inside for superior performance, the Linksys WRT1900ACS is a good pick. Its price, however — about $100 more than the Archer C7 — will no doubt play a big part in your final decision.

Better performance

Linksys WRT1900ACS

A great router for enthusiasts.

If you're an enthusiast looking for a router to tinker with, the WRT1900ACS should prove effective. Its price, though, will probably keep it out of the hands of casual users who just need reliable Wi-Fi for an average number of devices.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.