In this day and age, the Wi-Fi router is perhaps the most important piece of technology in your entire home. Without it, none of your smart gadgets and gizmos would be able to connect to the internet. It’s surprising that so many people neglect to do their research when buying a new Wi-Fi router, instead opting to just go to their local consumer electronics store to pick up the cheapest model they can find. If you’ve made that mistake in the past, it’s time to correct it and we’re here to help set you on the proper path.
Best affordable router: TP-Link TL-WR841N
Getting a good Wi-Fi router doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Believe it or not, you can get a pretty great router these days for less than $20! The TP-Link TL-WR841N Wi-Fi Router offers surprisingly reliable performance and great range for something that’s so shockingly inexpensive. Two 5dBi antennas offer more than enough range to cover an apartment or a small to medium-sized house, and 300Mbps data speeds are more than enough for most users. Unless you’re a hardcore gamer or you have a large family and want everyone to be able to stream high-resolution video at the same time, this affordable model is a great option.
Best basic mesh system: Google Wifi
People with large homes or anyone who wants a Wi-Fi system that delivers the fastest possible speeds and the best possible range will definitely want to upgrade from a regular router to a mesh Wi-Fi system. What you might not realize though, is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good mesh wireless system. In fact, the Google Wifi System has been one of the most popular mesh systems in the world for years and it costs less than some single access point routers. Google Wifi supports gigabit speeds and its three access points are enough to cover about 4,500 sq. ft. of space, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about any dead spots in or around your house.
Best premium mesh system: Netgear Orbi
Google Wifi is great for basic use in most homes, but some people need a little more oomph out of their Wi-Fi system. For those people, we suggest the Netgear Orbi Ultra-Performance Whole Home Mesh WiFi System. Netgear’s Orbi system is lightning fast and infinitely expandable, so you can cover a small 1,200 sq. ft. home or a large 10,000 sq. ft. mansion with ease. The system also supports blazing fast data speeds of up to 3Gbps, so it’s beyond future-proof.
- TP-Link AC1200 Smart WiFi Router. This TP-Link model is by far the best affordable option out there for people looking for gigabit speeds and good coverage for an apartment or small to medium-sized house.
- Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 WiFi Router. If you’re a hardcore gamer who needs speed, versatility, customization, and prioritization for your video game console, it doesn’t get any better than this.
- Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router. This is another great option for gamers. It’s similar to the Nighthawk Pro, but dialed back a bit so it’s much less expensive.
- Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+ Modem + Gigabit Router. If you want a single device that will take care of all your Wi-Fi needs while also replacing your cable modem so you can shave up to $120 per year off your cable bill, this is as good as it gets.
- TP-Link TC-W7960 300Mbps WiFi Cable Modem. This is also a combo device that merges a cable modem and Wi-Fi router, but it doesn’t support gigabit speeds so it’s a bit less expensive than the aforementioned Motorola model.
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