Shopping for a new wireless router isn’t fun. A new wireless router isn’t something you shop for every day. But when you do, there are a lot of important wireless router features to consider.
You want a wireless router that will last and is of reasonable build quality. Of course, it should also use the latest Wi-Fi technology to provide blazing fast internet speeds.
So, what are the best router brands? And which router brands should you avoid at all costs?
What Makes a Good Router Brand?
A great router from a brand doesn’t necessarily need to be advanced. We are not talking about individual router models or the features that make one router better than the alternative.
The following article discusses the overall quality across all of their offerings. Here is what we mean by a good brand.
- Price and value: Do you get what you pay for? Do you get more than what you paid for? Are the routers priced competitively, and are the prices in line with the features offered?
- Quality and reliability: Are the products built to last? Does the brand skimp on build quality just to knock a few dollars off the price tag? What’s the average lifespan of one of their routers?
- Customer support: Are people happy with the products they bought from a brand? If not, how does the brand respond? How far will they go to help you solve potential issues? And if a product is defective or doesn’t meet expectations, what will they do to rectify?
At the end of the day, the brand is only one of several factors you should consider before buying a router, but it’s an important one. Few things are worse than spending money on a router that breaks in six months and is backed by horrible customer support.
The Best Router Brands
A quick note upfront; no brand is perfect. That’s the nature of business, but it’s especially true in the realm of gadgets and devices. On the whole, these brands have a track record of producing good stuff, but you may run into a dud now and again. Just know that that’s normal.
Google is one of the more recent additions to the router manufacturing marketplace, but, as you might expect, many of their routers are excellent. Google first entered the market back in 2015 with the OnHub router.
Since then, Google routers have become some of the most popular options on the market. The latest Google router, the Google Nest Wifi, received positive reviews across the board and brings mesh Wi-Fi into residential homes, as well as acting as a smart speaker and the focal point for your smart home.
If you don’t want the full works that the latest Google router brings, there’s always the option of the standard Google Wifi router, which is also an expandable mesh Wi-Fi system. If you’ve been struggling with Wi-Fi coverage in your home, one of these mesh Wi-Fi routers may be the solution.
Netgear is another hardware manufacturer with an extensive history of excellent Wi-Fi routers. In the past, there were some major differences in quality between Netgear’s top-tier routers and their budget models. However, those issues in performance and build-quality appear a thing of the past.
At the top end of the spectrum, you’ll find the Netgear Nighthawk X10, with theoretical maximum speeds up to 7200Mbps, a quad-core processor (yes, in your router!), and Plex Media integration, pushing the boundaries of consumer routers.
If that seems like too much router for your household, check out the Netgear R6400 instead. The R6400 is an excellent choice for small to mid-sized homes, with a decent speed throughput and Wi-Fi range to boot.
Netgear was once hit and miss with consumer routers. More recently, you can rely on a Netgear router to bathe your home in glorious Wi-Fi coverage.
TP-Link remains a popular Wi-Fi router choice, with routers covering all budgets and specifications. Despite being a Chinese company, its products don’t have the same issues of quality that other gadgets produced in the region might have.
The TP-Link Archer C5400 is a powerful tri-band MU-MIMO Wi-Fi router with theoretical maximum speeds of up to 5334Mbps, plus eight external antennas for the upside-down dead spider look.
If that seems a little over-powered, or your internet connection will simply not reach those speeds, you could opt for the TP-Link Archer C3200. The C3200 is the younger sibling to the C5400 but still offers blazing fast speeds, good build quality, and six external antennas.
In short, TP-Link is for value buyers. You won’t find anything as flashy as a Netgear Nighthawk, for example, but you will find robust devices that provide bang for your buck.
Whether you lean towards the high end or the low end, Asus routers are some of the best on the market—but especially so if you have the budget to go for one of the higher-end models. ASUS routers cater specifically to gamers, too, with some options coming from the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand.
Regardless of your status as a gamer or not, some ASUS ROG routers come with extra performance or features that make the brand worth your time.
The eye-catching ASUS RT-AC5300 is one of ASUS’ most popular Wi-Fi routers, with combined theoretical maximum speeds up to 5300Mbps, eight external antennas, MU-MIMO, and a lifetime security guarantee from Trend Micro.
The Asus RT-AC3200 is a solid option toward the lower-end of the router scale. It still packs a punch and will power the Wi-Fi requirements of most households, and comes with the same Trend Micro security guarantee.
Linksys remains a reputable router manufacturer, even if other hardware manufacturers have surpassed them in recent years. The Linksys WRT3200ACM is well-reviewed, provides solid dual-band Wi-Fi performance, and comes in the classic Linksys blue and black color scheme.
One bonus to the Linksys WRT3200ACM is the open-source router firmware, which allows for extensive customization and control over your Wi-Fi network.
If you prefer a mesh Wi-Fi router, check out the Linksys MR9000, which provides up to 3000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage, with speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 3000Mbps.
What Is the Best Router Brand?
The best brand of router is tough to call. Google’s recent Wi-Fi router offerings are excellent, providing great coverage and speed while looking pretty smart. That said, you can’t go wrong with industry-standards like ASUS or a TP-Link router.
Of course, you don’t have to choose a router from the router brands on our list. There are several other decent router brands available, and you might already have a favorite manufacturer.
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