The 9 Best 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless Routers of 2023


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The RundownBest Overall:Asus RT-AC88U at Walmart"The crème de la crème of internet routers offering a combined performance of 3167 Mbps and 5,000 square feet of coverage."Best Mesh:Netgear Orbi at Amazon"Offering a secure system with great coverage and a stronger and faster signal."Best Security:Linksys WRT3200ACM at Amazon"One of the most customizable routers you can by, with solid Wi-Fi performance and advanced security features."Best Budget:TP-Link Archer C7 at Amazon"A great wallet-friendly choice for buyers looking for fast performance on a budget."Best Splurge:Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000 at Best Buy"Offers some of the best pound-for-pound performance available today."Best Value:Asus RT-AC68U at Amazon"Delivers solid AC1900 Wi-Fi performance and a lot of power for the price."Best for Gaming:Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 at Amazon"Offers the performance gamers need, with maximum speeds of 5,334Mbps and a built-in Gamers Private Network."Best Design:Razer Portal at EBay"An unusually attractive look that offers coverage in homes up to 3,000 square feet."Best for Simplicity:TP-Link OnHub AC1900 at Amazon"An attractive router that not only looks great, but is easy to get up and running in no time at all."in this articleExpandOur PicksAbout Our Trusted ExpertsThe Ultimate 802.11ac Router Buying Guide

The best 802.11ac routers will help you make the most of your home internet connection by offering the performance you need for streaming, gaming, video calling, and more. The most popular Wi-Fi standard in use today, 802.11ac (now also known as Wi-Fi 5) supports features like dual-band wireless so you'll be able to use the much faster and less congested 5GHz channels for surfing and streaming. The Best 802.11ac Routers are ideal for everybody who wants the best performance from their home Wi-Fi without having to spend a bundle.

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Best Overall:Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Gaming Router

4.5 Buy on WalmartBuy on Asus.comWhat We Like

Excellent performance

Feature rich

Powerful software

What We Don't Like


Complicated back-end

Weaker range

Asus RT-AC88U Gaming Router Review

While its futuristic style might catch your eye, it's what's under the hood of Asus' RT-AC88U that helps set the tone for this outstanding 802.11ac wireless router. Powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and 1024-QAM technology, the AC88U is blazing fast, with 5GHz speeds of up to 2.1Gbps and 2.4GHz performance that tops out at 1Gbps. Additionally, the four-transmit, four-receive antenna offers 5,000 square feet of coverage on the 2.4GHz band.

Another standout feature is the inclusion of MU-MIMO, which gives every device its own dedicated Wi-Fi connection, preventing multiple devices from slowing down the entire network. With all these great features, it's good to know that setup is a snap with Asus getting you online with a three-step web-based installation process. With maximum combined performance of 3.1Gbps, incredible coverage inside a home, and easy setup, the 2.6-pound AC88U is an easy recommendation for the best 802.11ac router on the market.  

"The router is a dream come true for the power users out there, and is filled to the brim with software features."— Bill Thomas, Product Tester

Best Mesh:Netgear Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi System

4.5 Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

Speedy performance

Full home coverage

Beautiful aesthetics

What We Don't Like


Older devices complicate things

Netgear Orbi Review

A relatively new technology for consumers, mesh networking represents a whole new way of covering an entire house or office with Wi-Fi without taking out a second mortgage. Netgear's Orbi Home Wi-Fi system not only replaces Wi-Fi range extenders, but does so while offering a fast and secure system that provides a stronger and faster signal throughout your home.

Connecting two 1.96-pound Orbis together will provide enough signal strength to cover a 5,000-square foot home, and setting them up is a snap. The Orbi comes preconfigured right out of the box for your internet service provider of choice, and uses tri-band mesh Wi-Fi, with 5GHz speeds of up to 866Mbps and up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, while the remaining 1.7Gbps 5GHz band is used as a"backhaul"channel to keep everything running quickly and smoothly between the main router and the satellite units.

Add in beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies and the Orbi offers each individual Wi-Fi user the best possible signal without adversely affecting others who are online at the same time, and each of the satellite units also includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports so you can hardwire in devices like game consoles and smart TVs for maximum performance.

"Anyone that has a large home or office that needs a fast and reliable network connection will find a lot to love with this router."— Bill Thomas, Product Tester

Best Security:Linksys WRT3200ACM Tri-Stream Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

4.7 Buy on AmazonBuy on B&H Photo VideoBuy on DellWhat We Like

MU-MIMO Capable

Open source firmware

Solid 5 GHz throughput

What We Don't Like

Slower 2.4 GHz speeds

Poor long-range performance

Linksys WRTAC3200 Router Review

The WRT3200ACM is one of the newest entries in Linksys' classic line of routers that dates back almost two decades, and it not only remains one of the most customizable routers that you can get your hands on but also one of the fastest in its class, thanks to Linksys' Tri-Stream 160 and other advanced technologies like MU-MIMO and beamforming. On the 5GHz band, the WRT3200ACM delivers impressive speeds of up to 2.6Gbps, with a healthy peak performance of 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz side. 

In addition to solid Wi-Fi performance, there are also four wired Gigabit Ethernet ports so you can directly connect your PC or gaming console, along with USB 3.0 and eSATA ports to connect external storage devices for sharing media on your network. 

Linksys also offers a solid mobile app for the WRT3200ACM that lets you configure and monitor it from anywhere via Linksys' cloud, but what really sets this router apart is the ability to replace and customize its firmware. While the stock firmware already offers quite a few features, you can replace it with packages from a variety of open-source repositories such as OpenWrt or DD-WRT to automatically tunnel your traffic through a VPN, set it up to act as VPN server, create a personal hotspot, capture and analyze network traffic, and more. 

"With up to 3200 Mbps dual-band wireless speeds, it offers the fastest, most reliable speed and best performance of any current open source router."— Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Best Budget:TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

Very affordable

Still receiving firmware updates

Four Gigabit Ethernet ports

What We Don't Like

USB 2.0 ports only

Poor 2.4 GHz performance

Released in 2013, TP-Link's Archer C7 AC1750 is still a great choice for buyers looking to get the best bang for their buck. The Archer C7 offers 1.75 Gbs in total available bandwidth, with 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 802.11ac 5 GHz band. Boosting signal strength are six powerful antennas, three of which reside externally with the other three inside the C7 hardware. Regardless of their placement, high-speed Wi-Fi reaches just about every room in the house for hassle-free gaming, streaming, or browsing.

Setup is a snap with TP-Link's tether app available for both Android and iOS, so buyers can quickly connect and jump online with just a few steps. The budget pricing does mean it lacks some of the more advanced features of its higher-priced competition (mainly beamforming and MU-MIMO technology), but the C7 still shines as a standalone model at a price point that's easy to stomach.

The 10 Best Budget Routers in 2021

Best Splurge:Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router (R8000)

4.3 Buy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartBuy on Office DepotWhat We Like

Solid tri-band technology

Simplified setup

Easy guest access

What We Don't Like

Large footprint


Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router Review

Set aside the space-age style of Netgear's Nighthawk X6 and look at the feature set, which offers some of the best pound-for-pound performance available today. Offering up to 3.2 Gbps in total Wi-Fi speed, six high-performance antennas guarantee a powerful connection thanks to the 1 GHz dual-core processor and three additional offload processors that boost performance when it matters most. Add in beamforming technology and this 802.11ac splurge adds an even stronger signal for all your devices.

Additionally, Netgear's inclusion of Dynamic QoS bandwidth prioritization selects which devices require the most throughput, providing the fastest possible connection for those devices. With tri-band Wi-Fi on board, the bandwidth prioritization helps ensure that both fast and slow devices are connected to separate networks to maintain Wi-Fi signal stability. Fortunately, these features are easily connected with a simplified setup that requires only minutes to get online.

"We could consistently operate six to seven devices at once without any speed drops or major performance issues across all three bands."— Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best Value:Asus RT-AC68U Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

4.3 Buy on AmazonBuy on WalmartBuy on B&H Photo VideoWhat We Like

Solid Wi-Fi performance

Advanced features

Easy user interface

What We Don't Like

Non-removable stand

Can't be wall-mounted

Asus RT-AC68U Review

Asus' RT-AC68CU 802.11ac router is another outstanding choice that has the latest technology and ultra-fast speeds. Powered by a 1 GHz dual-core CPU, the AC68U offers dual-band 3x3 antenna technology that's capable of hitting up to 1,300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz side. Plus, 4K HD streaming is supported by Broadcom TurboQAM technology.

Additionally, Asus includes a proprietary feature called AiRadar, which adds beamforming technology for amplified high-power signal connectivity. Users will find extended coverage, large speed increases, and a stable signal. Fortunately, these features benefit from an easy setup with the AC68U requiring just a three-step web-based installation process that has users online with minutes. As an added layer of security, Asus also includes AiProtection through Trend Micro, which protects against multi-stage threats and keeps your devices secure.

"The Asus RT-AC68U is not too large or heavy, which makes it ideal for even smaller apartments."— Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best for Gaming:Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Gaming Router

4.5 Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

8 Gigabit Ethernet ports

Two USB 3.0 ports

Gamers Private Network

What We Don't Like


Large footprint

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Review

The Asus GT-AC5300's tri-band performance is aided by dual 5 GHz bands and a single 2.4GHz band with the latest 802.11ac 4x4 technology, capable of reaching a maximum speed of 5,334 Mbps and covering a house or business up to 5,000 square feet. The inclusion of MU-MIMO technology allows the Asus hardware to direct higher speeds in the direction of specific devices based on their maximum capabilities, ensuring that all Wi-Fi connections are working at peak performance. For gamers, the Asus also has a built-in Gamers Private Network (GPN) that ensures stable ping times for increased multiplayer performance while online.

The GT-AC5300 has a four-transmit, four-receive antenna setup, offering both speed and range benefits with an amplified signal reaching areas of your home that might have been dead spots before. Additionally, AiRadar beamforming helps direct signal toward your devices that need it. With all this range and speed, protection against internet intruders is a necessity and Asus is assisted by AiProtection from Trend Micro, which will help detect and eliminate vulnerabilities that exist on your home network.

"You essentially have a dedicated gaming Wi-Fi router combined with the bandwidth you want to support other activities like streaming 4K content."— Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best Design:Razer Portal Mesh Wi-Fi Router

4.1 Buy on EBayWhat We Like

Elegant design

Inexpensive mesh solution

Good coverage

What We Don't Like

Poor signal handoff

5 GHz compatibility issues

Large footprint

Razer Portal Review

While the design may not always be a deciding factor when purchasing an 802.11ac router, Portal's Wi-Fi router has an unusually attractive look that offers coverage in homes up to 3,000 square feet. The design itself almost resembles a flattened pebble, but with features that can replace both a current wireless router and Wi-Fi extender, the Portal is far more than just a flashy device. With patented technology features like FastLanes, the Portal can use exclusive fast channels that can avoid congested Wi-Fi signals and networks.

The Wave-2 4x4 MU-MIMO dual-band internals all boost the Portal to more than 3x faster than any competitive AC3200 router. Additionally, the Portal is mesh-ready, which allows an additional Portal unit inside a single home to create a signal strength that's faster and offers more than three times the coverage of the single unit. Beyond its feature set, setup is a snap; you're online within minutes through the Android and iOS-compatible applications.

"The fastlane tech in the Razer Portal really is a boon for apartment dwellers dealing with the intruding networks of neighborhood routers."— Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Best for Simplicity:TP-Link OnHub AC1900

Buy on AmazonBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

Attractive design

Easy to set up

Good performance

What We Don't Like

Limited feature set

Only one Ethernet port

Requires Google account to set up

Resulting from a partnership between Google and TP-Link, the OnHub AC1900 is a router that looks good enough to put on your dining room table, yet still offers good Wi-Fi performance and a really straightforward user experience. In fact, thanks to Google's pioneering On app, it's one of the simplest routers that you can buy in terms of the set up process.

Under the hood, the OnHub contains 13 antennas that can cover an area of 2,500 square feet with speeds of up to 1,900 Mbps, eliminating dead zones around your home, plus the generous antenna array means that it can also support over 100 connected devices simultaneously. There are also Bluetooth and Zigbee antennas for even more device management options, and it provides unique guest network features that let you share access to a Chromecast with your visitors while still keeping them off your main home network. 

Further, in addition to letting you set up the OnHub, Google's On app lets you manage your internet bandwidth, prioritizing certain devices, as well as troubleshooting network issues, even when you're away from home, and a ringed colour LED light atop the OnHub provides an attractive yet informative way to see what your router is up to.

Final Verdict

For a well-rounded router that provides excellent performance, strong coverage, and versatility, Asus' RT-AC88U is easily our top pick, but if you need to get fast and reliable coverage into every corner of a larger home, the Netgear Orbi is the best mesh Wi-Fi system on the market.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jesse Hollington has over three decades of experience in information technology and networking and has installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender, dating back to the days long before Wi-Fi even existed.

Bill Thomas is a Denver-based freelance writer who covers technology, music, film, and gaming. They began writing for Ach5 in January 2018, but you can also find their work on TechRadar. Bill has also worked as an editor at Future.

Benjamin Zeman is a business consultant, musician and writer based in southern Vermont. When he's not reviewing tech products for Ach5, he's getting nerdy fixing them or solving complex problems for businesses in need of an outside perspective.

Yoona Wagener enjoys helping people simplify processes. She has experience providing technical support and help documentation to end users, building websites for small business owners, and offering career advice to social-impact job seekers.

Andy Zahn has been writing for Ach5 since April 2019. When he's not obsessing over (and writing about) the latest gadgets and consumer technology, he can be found traveling and photographing the wild Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, or tending to a herd of obnoxious goats on a small farm in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens.


How fast does my router need to be for streaming Netflix in 4K?

With the high specs offered by modern routers it may surprise you to know that you only need a connection of around 25Mbps (0.025Gbps) to stream Netflix in 4K UHD to a single device. This means that even the most basic routers can easily meet the needs of a single user, but since the bandwidth of your router is shared across all the devices on your network, more expensive routers offer higher speeds to allow multiple users to get online at the same time without slowing each other down. 

Do I need tri-band Wi-Fi?

Every 802.11ac router offers at least dual-band Wi-Fi, which means your devices will be able to connect either on the 5GHz or 2.4GHz frequencies, giving you the best balance of range and performance. Some more advanced Wi-Fi routers also offer a third band in the form of another 5GHz frequency range, which allows you to divvy up your high-speed devices across two channels. Tri-band routers are a great option for busy homes with lots of wireless devices streaming and gaming at the same time. Since a device can only be connected to a single channel at a time, however, there's no point in spending the money on a tri-band router if you only have one or two users on your home network. 

Shouldn't I buy a Wi-Fi 6 router to keep up with the latest technology?

While you've probably heard a lot about the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, more technically known as 802.11ax, this is still leading-edge technology that very likely isn't even supported by most of the devices on your network. While purchasing a Wi-Fi 6 router may be a good investment for the future, you won't gain any advantage from it unless you also have Wi-Fi 6 client devices, which are relatively rare right now, and once the technology does move into the mainstream, Wi-Fi 6 routers will undoubtedly become both more affordable and even more advanced.

The Ultimate 802.11ac Router Buying Guide

The 802.11ac standard was ratified in late 2013, and these days it's pretty difficult to find a modern router that doesn't support the standard. In fact, even though it took until 2013 for it to become official, it was actually around in draft form for a few years before that, so there have been 802.11ac capable routers available on the market since at least early 2012.

These days, unless you're looking for a really inexpensive router or trying to stay on the bleeding edge of Wi-Fi technology, just about any router you're shopping for will be an 802.11ac router, but with so many on the market it can be hard to sort out what you should be looking for? Should you go for faster AC5300 speeds? What about dual-band or tri-band? Or supporting older devices? 

It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but the good news is that picking out an 802.11ac router isn't nearly as complicated as it sounds, and you only need to consider a few relatively simple factors to pick out the best router for your needs.

Ach5 / Jordan Provost

Why Buy an 802.11ac Router

At this point, 802.11ac is the definitive standard in Wi-Fi technology, having been around in official form since 2013, so the better question to ask might be why not buy an 802.11ac router?

While you can certainly save a bit of money by going with an older or more basic budget-friendly router that only supports the older 802.11n standard, unless you're on a really tight budget, or simply looking for a router for a cottage or dorm, it's a good idea to at least get basic 802.11ac support in your router even if you don't have any devices that support it or if you don't need the faster Wi-Fi performance.

Every 802.11ac router supports older Wi-Fi standards, so you won't be hampering your performance by getting a better router, and you'll be even more ready to support faster speeds when you do need them. Further, as a rule 802.11ac routers tend to offer better performance and reliability even for older Wi-Fi devices thanks to their support for the higher-frequency 5GHz band, which can also be used by 802.11n devices, even though it's rarely found in pure 802.11n routers.

Wireless Frequencies and Standards

When it comes to wireless frequencies, the rule of thumb is that higher frequencies offer faster throughput but shorter range.

While Wi-Fi technology is capable of running at different frequencies, back in the early days manufacturers standardized on the use of the 2.4GHz band due to its longer range and the fact that back then blazing fast Wi-Fi speeds weren't really all that necessary; early 802.11b devices maxed out at 11Mbps, and even the “newer” 802.11g standard was capped at 54Mbps—tortoise-like speeds by today's standards, and plenty for the 2.4GHz frequency range to handle.

However, as faster internet connections became the norm, it was necessary to create faster Wi-Fi standards as well. This began with 802.11n, a new standard that could run on either the existing 2.4GHz bands or the higher-frequency 5GHz range, offering performance of up to 600Mbps. Following that came 802.11ac, which runs exclusively on the 5GHz band, offering potential performance of up to 1.3Gbps. 

Keep in mind, however, that these are theoretical maximums, and for various reasons you'll almost never see those kinds of speeds from a single client device. In practical terms, the best you can expect to get from an 802.11n device is around 300Mbps, compared to around 800Mbps from an 802.11ac client.

Last year, the Wi-Fi Alliance came up with more consumer-friendly names for these standards, so 802.11n is now known as Wi-Fi 4, and 802.11ac is now known as Wi-Fi 5, which makes it more clear where they fit within the spectrum, but these are just new names and the underlying technologies remain exactly the same. 

Dual-Band or Tri-Band?

As we noted earlier, 802.11ac runs on the 5GHz band exclusively. However, since many of the devices that you'll be using in your home likely won't be 802.11ac devices, it's necessary for 802.11ac routers to be backward compatible with all of the older standards, and this means that they also have to support the 2.4GHz frequency range.

As a result, all 802.11ac routers are at least dual-band routers, which is a simple way of saying that they operate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Older 802.11b/g devices will use the 2.4GHz band, 802.11n devices can use either, and 802.11ac devices will stick to the faster and less congested 5GHz band.

However, since 5GHz has a shorter range than 2.4GHz, especially indoors, the lower-frequency band is also important even for your 802.11ac devices, which can fall back to 802.11n when they wander out of 5GHz coverage. You won't get the fastest speeds in this case, but at least you'll still be connected, and in many cases it should definitely be enough for casual surfing and possibly even streaming video.

Ach5 / Yoona Wagener

There are also 802.11ac routers that are tri-band routers, which means that they offer a second 5GHz band to help distribute your devices across two different frequency ranges, improving overall performance by reducing congestion. Think of it like another dedicated highway for your Wi-Fi devices to travel on. However, much like a car can only drive on one road at a time, a single device can only connect to one band at a time, so tri-band routers are only useful if you have a lot of 5GHz 802.11ac and 802.11n devices on your network, and the extra band is only for the 5GHz range, so it won't make any difference at all to your older devices, since they'll have to stay cluttered up in the single 2.4GHz slow lane. 

Speed and Bandwidth

The speed rating on an 802.11ac router—normally expressed as an “AC” number, like AC1900 or AC3000—refers to the total throughput it can offer across all of its Wi-Fi bands. If you have a dual-band router, this usually means that 300Mbps to 600Mbps is reserved for the 2.4GHz band, which as we noted earlier is only used by the slower 802.11b/g/n standards, while the remainder is dedicated to the 5GHz 802.11ac frequency band. 

So if you have an AC1900 router—meaning one that provides 1,900Mbps (1.9Gbps) of bandwidth—you're likely getting around 1,300Mbps (1.3Gbps) on the 5GHz 802.11ac band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n band.

This gets a bit more complicated with tri-band routers, since now the “AC” bandwidth number applies to all three bands, which is why you'll usually see higher numbers on tri-band routers. Generally, the lone 2.4GHz band still gets the slower speed, since most 802.11n devices max out at 300Mbps, while the remainder is divided between the two 5GHz bands—and not always equally. 

For example, one popular AC5300 router offers 1,000Mbps on the 2.4GHz side and 2,167Mbps on each of the two 5GHz channels, while another AC3000 router divvies that up into a 400Mbps 2.4GHz channel, an 866Mbps 5GHz channel and another 1,733Mbps 5GHz channel.

These router speeds usually go well beyond what individual 802.11n and 802.11ac devices are actually capable of, however, not to mention the speed of your home internet connection. The point of these numbers isn't to give you super-fast throughput for a single device, but rather to ensure that your router has enough bandwidth to serve all of the Wi-Fi devices in your home, and much like buying a tri-band router, there's no point in spending more money for faster speeds if you don't have enough Wi-Fi devices—or the internet speeds—to take advantage of it. 

Range and Coverage

If you have a large home, you'll want to make sure you get a router that has enough coverage to reach all of your devices. This is especially true if you have a busy household with a lot of devices, since network congestion can come into play as well, effectively reducing the kind performance you'll get when farther away from the router.

While there are some good standalone long-range routers available, if you have a very large house and can afford it, we strongly recommend getting a mesh Wi-Fi network system, which will make sure you get strong coverage throughout your home by letting you place satellite units where good Wi-Fi performance is most needed.

This is especially important if you want to ensure the fastest speeds are available throughout your home. Since 5GHz signals don't travel nearly as far as 2.4GHz signals do, even the best standalone long-range routers will have you falling back to the 2.4GHz band much more quickly than you might like, which means you'll no longer be using your router in 802.11ac mode. With a mesh system, on the other hand, you can always be close enough to a satellite unit to get a strong enough 5GHz connection, even across multiple floors. 

Wired Connections

As great as Wi-Fi can be, sometimes it's just better to plug a device right in, especially if it's something stationary that's near your router anyway, such as a PC or a game console. 

Wired connections can give you faster performance than Wi-Fi in most cases, and this is especially true for gaming, where low latency is a critical requirement. If you're a serious gamer, or have one living in your home, most Wi-Fi routers just won't cut it, so you'll have to either plug-in using Ethernet, or be sure to invest in a specialized gaming router.

So if you need wired connections for one or more devices, start by making sure that your router has enough Ethernet ports for your needs to begin with, and definitely be sure that they're Gigabit Ethernet, since otherwise your 802.11ac devices will still likely get a faster connection than your network jacks can provide. Also if you're buying a mesh Wi-Fi system, consider whether you'll need Ethernet ports on the satellite units, as not all mesh devices provide them.


What About Wi-Fi 6? 

You may have heard of Wi-Fi 6, also known by its more technical name, 802.11ax. This is the very newest leading-edge standard in Wi-Fi technology, and while it offers some nice benefits, it's not yet widely supported by client devices. If you're buying for the very long term, it might be worth investing in a Wi-Fi 6 router, but in most cases we'd recommend saving your money unless you're absolutely sure that you need the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 and actually have devices that can take advantage of it, since as with any new technology, Wi-Fi 6 routers are expensive right now, but will become more affordable as the technology is more widely adopted 

At this point, 802.11ac, aka Wi-Fi 5, is the mainstream standard for high-performance routers. It's been around since 2013, and is supported by all but the most budget-friendly routers. It's a safe choice that will remain supported for years to come and should meet the needs of all but the most seriously demanding Wi-Fi users. 

Top Brands


Some of the most sophisticated and feature-rich routers you'll find are made by Asus, which particularly specializes in higher-end gaming routers that offer peak performance for busy networks. Thanks to a wealth of options to configure and excellent range, Asus offers some of the most versatile routers you'll find, and its tri-band routers are especially good if you have a really large home with a lot of Wi-Fi devices.


Netgear is one of the more venerable names in the business, having produced routers and other networking gear for over two decades for both home and business applications. The company provides a wide range of routers for different needs, ranging from small apartments and condos to excellent mesh systems that can cover homes of several thousand square feet.


This company is best known for its lineup of really affordable routers, and it offers some good options for those looking for a fairly no frills router that provides good performance at wallet-friendly prices. While TP-Link does make some longer-range routers and even some mesh systems, the company is best known for its solid and affordable wallet-friendly routers.



It's important to buy a Wi-Fi router that will meet your needs, both now and into the future, and that's especially true if you're looking at a more expensive one. However, don't be dazzled by higher numbers and specs like tri-band coverage, since you probably don't need these features as much as you might think.

When picking our an 802.11ac router, the key factors to consider are what kind of speed you actually need, how large of a home you need to cover, and how many devices you have on your network. There's no point in buying a router that's faster than your internet connection, nor do you need a tri-band router if you're a single person living in an apartment or condo, or even a small family with few Wi-Fi devices.