The Best Wi-Fi Router

The Best Wi-Fi Router

Our pick

TP-Link Archer A20

TP-Link Archer A20

The best Wi-Fi router

TP-Link’s Archer A20 is easy to set up and has three wireless bands instead of the usual two, which helps it handle more connections at once. It’s big, but it is our top performer, and it includes advanced features, such as link aggregation, that will appeal to the technically inclined.

Buying Options

$190 from Amazon
$200 from Newegg

The TP-Link Archer A20 tri-band 802.11ac router passed all of our performance tests with top marks. If you don’t have a huge or complicated house that needs a mesh-networking kit, the Archer A20 is the best choice to replace an older router or one that doesn’t have the range, speed, or reliability you need now. The Archer A20 has features such as a quad-core processor and band steering over its three channels (two 5 GHz and one 2.4 GHz), which can help you connect your household’s growing collection of wireless devices while avoiding dropped connections and slowdown.

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Runner-up

Synology RT2600ac

Synology RT2600ac

If our main pick is unavailable

The Synology RT2600ac has only two wireless bands instead of three, but it still offers excellent performance. It’s easy to set up, you can expand it into a mesh network, and you can fine-tune its wireless settings to improve performance (though most people shouldn’t need to worry about it).

Buying Options

$217* from Newegg
$200 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.

The Synology RT2600ac is a bit pricier than our pick, and it finished our performance tests in a dead heat with the Asus Blue Cave and Asus RT-AC86U for second place. It has a dual-core processor, rather than a quad-core, and it lacks a third wireless radio, which means it may reach its limits earlier than the Archer A20. You can extend the RT2600ac into a mesh network with the add-on Synology MR2200ac router; purchasing a mesh-router kit is often less expensive than buying two separate routers to create a mesh network, though, and many mesh kits have extra features, such as dedicated wireless bands, that help them perform better.

Budget pick

TP-Link Archer A7

TP-Link Archer A7

For smaller spaces or fewer devices

The TP-Link Archer A7 is great for smaller spaces. It’s an excellent performer, it typically costs less than half as much as our top pick, and firmware updates have improved it significantly.

Buying Options

$65* from Amazon
$73 from Staples

*At the time of publishing, the price was $52.

TP Link’s Archer A7 router is relatively inexpensive, and it’s a great choice for small homes or one- or two-bedroom apartments. TP-Link has improved the Archer A7 since we tested it in 2018, adding band steering (here called Smart Connect) and TP-Link OneMesh support via firmware updates. The A7 lacks beamforming and MU-MIMO, two high-end features that can improve speeds but aren’t vitally important, but still performs well at shorter distances. On our toughest test it outperformed two higher-priced competitors, though the Archer A20 and other top performers still beat it overall. It’s typically less than half the price of the Archer A20, and we think it’s the best router you can buy for less than $100.

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Our pick

TP-Link Archer A20

TP-Link Archer A20

The best Wi-Fi router

TP-Link’s Archer A20 is easy to set up and has three wireless bands instead of the usual two, which helps it handle more connections at once. It’s big, but it is our top performer, and it includes advanced features, such as link aggregation, that will appeal to the technically inclined.

Buying Options

$190 from Amazon
$200 from Newegg

Runner-up

Synology RT2600ac

Synology RT2600ac

If our main pick is unavailable

The Synology RT2600ac has only two wireless bands instead of three, but it still offers excellent performance. It’s easy to set up, you can expand it into a mesh network, and you can fine-tune its wireless settings to improve performance (though most people shouldn’t need to worry about it).

Buying Options

$217* from Newegg
$200 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.

Budget pick

TP-Link Archer A7

TP-Link Archer A7

For smaller spaces or fewer devices

The TP-Link Archer A7 is great for smaller spaces. It’s an excellent performer, it typically costs less than half as much as our top pick, and firmware updates have improved it significantly.

Buying Options

$65* from Amazon
$73 from Staples

*At the time of publishing, the price was $52.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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