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The best Wi-Fi routers of 2024 (and if a mesh router is right for you)

The best Wi-Fi routers provide a strong internet connection, rapid speeds, and plenty of coverage for working, streaming, gaming, and more.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
TP-Link AXE16000 (Archer AXE300) | Best Wi-Fi router overall, currently on sale
TP-Link AXE16000 Quad-Band WiFi 6E Router (Archer AXE300)
TP-Link AXE16000 (Archer AXE300)
Best Wi-Fi router overall, currently on sale
View now View at Amazon
TP-Link Archer AX10000 Wi-Fi 6 router | Best Wi-Fi 6 router
TP-Link Archer AX10000 Wi-Fi 6 router
TP-Link Archer AX10000 Wi-Fi 6 router
Best Wi-Fi 6 router
View now View at Amazon
Netgear Orbi AX5400 (RBK763) | Best for large homes
netgear-orbi-ax5400-rbk763
Netgear Orbi AX5400 (RBK763)
Best for large homes
View now View at Amazon
Synology RT2600ac | Best VPN Wi-Fi router
synology-rt2600ac
Synology RT2600ac
Best VPN Wi-Fi router
View now View at Walmart
Google Nest Wi-Fi | Best Wi-Fi router for budget
google-nest-wi-fi
Google Nest Wi-Fi
Best Wi-Fi router for budget
View now View at Walmart
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 | Best Wi-Fi router for gaming
ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE16000)
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000
Best Wi-Fi router for gaming
View now View at Amazon
Show more (1 item)

Remote work and home offices are becoming common fixtures in our careers, with permanent work-from-home options available, as well as hybrid flextime.

Companies may require you to show that you have the necessary equipment at home to work. While a microphone for remote meetings and a space to work on your laptop are necessary, hybrid and fully remote roles also demand one key component: Connectivity.

Also: Mesh networking vs. traditional Wi-Fi routers: What is best for your home office?

You might already have internet connectivity and a wireless router good enough to support mobile devices, smart home products, and content streaming services like Netflix. However, you may also need to add work-related systems and software to the mix to create a high-end network with minimal dead spots. If this sounds like what you are looking for, then consider getting a new router or modem to keep up with the square footage of your home.

To find the best Wi-Fi routers, I researched popular and new options on the market and found the top options for different needs and budgets. The TP-Link AXE16000 is my top choice for the best Wi-Fi router overall thanks to its rapid speeds that are excellent for working from home, streaming, or gaming. Check out the rest of my picks for both traditional and mesh Wi-Fi routers below. 

The best Wi-Fi routers of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Rapid speeds
  • NAS compatible
  • Highly capable router
Cons
  • Expensive
  • The design won't appeal to everyone
More Details

TP-Link AXE16000 Archer AXE300 features: Quad-band | Speeds of up to 15.6 Gbps | 6GHz, 5GHz, 2.4GHz channels | 4 Gigabit LAN ports | Guest mode

The TP-Link AXE16000 Archer AXE300 could be your best solution if you need high streaming power for gaming or online work systems that require quick and stable connectivity. It is a quad-band router optimized for heavy use, making it optimal for gamers or workers who need high levels of bandwidth. It's especially useful if you are working from home and sharing your connectivity with other members of your household.

The TP-Link AXE16000 Archer AXE300 is a gigabit Wi-Fi 6 router. It comes with rapid speeds of up to 15.6 Gbps across the 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz channels, a quad-core CPU, high-speed ports, parental controls, optional HomeShield security, and support for over 200 devices.

Also: 10 ways to speed up your internet connection today

While it's difficult to estimate the range, TP-Link's router has eight antennas and is described as suitable for large homes. 

It's currently on sale with 35% off the typical RRP of just under $600, so you can pick up this device for only $388 at the time of writing.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 8 Ethernet ports, 2 USB 3.0
  • A powerful machine
Cons
  • Bulky design
More Details

TP-Link Archer AX10000 Wi-Fi 6 router features: Tri-band | 2.5G WAN | 8 Gigabit LAN Ports | VPN | Speeds of up to 10 Gbps | 5 GHz & 2.4 GHz,1024-QAM and 160 MHz channels | 2 USB 3.0 | 1.8 GHz processor

The TP-Link Archer AX10000 is a high-performance router that stands out as a Wi-Fi 6 model. Choosing a Wi-Fi 6 device now is an investment for future-proofing your home connectivity -- at least, while we wait for the new Wi-Fi 7 standard -- as this standard provides the capacity for devices to send more data during transmissions, which increases speed.

Also: The best mesh routers that will extend your Wi-Fi further

The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is a valuable option for remote workers, gamers, and those who need stable, fast connectivity. This dual-band device supports 2.4GHz/5.0GHz frequencies and is equipped with a 1.8GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, and a variety of ports. TP-Link OneMesh is supported and there are plenty of LAN ports for wired cabling around your home or connecting smart home hubs.

This router is currently available on Amazon with a 14% discount.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Blazing fast speeds
  • Fantastic coverage
Cons
  • Expensive setup for larger spaces
More Details

Netgear Orbi AX5400 features: Wi-Fi 6, 2.4GHz, 5GHz bands, MU-MIMO capable,160MHz channels | Up to 5.4 Gbps+ | WAN, LAN, Ethernet ports | 1GHz dual-core CPU | Up to 12,500 square feet range

The Netgear Orbi AX5400 (RBK763) is a Gigabit Wi-Fi system based on mesh technologies that are best suited for homes that need a lot of coverage. You can harness the network to provide support for up to 75 devices in around seven rooms, making dead zones a thing of the past.

Furthermore, the router system includes parental app controls and support for 160MHz channels, which boosts the speed of mobile device connectivity. You can purchase packs including routers and additional satellites to increase coverage -- starter packs begin at 5,000 square feet.

Also: The best Wi-Fi extenders

A year of Netgear Armor is included for free. Prices begin at $500 for a two-pack and you can also buy individual satellites to expand your range separately.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • VPN option, VPN plus, acts as a VPN server or client
  • Upgradeable with mesh options
  • Up to 3,000 square feet of coverage
Cons
  • Mesh upgrades for larger homes can be expensive
More Details

Synology RT2600ac features: 4x4 dual band | VPN | 1.7GHz processor | Up to 2.53 Gbps | Traffic monitoring

If your employer requires a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while you work remotely, the Synology RT2600ac Wi-Fi router may be a suitable option. A VPN makes internet connections more secure by encrypting communication between browser sessions and servers. It can also be used to mask your original IP address. Therefore, if workers are asked to connect to corporate resources, a VPN can keep access secure.

Also: The best VPN routers

The Synology RT2600ac is a dual-band, MU-MIMO router already equipped with a VPN option, VPN Plus, to act as a VPN server or client. Support is also available for Synology SSL VPN, PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSec. To facilitate the use of VPN servers and clients, the router is powered by a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, as well as 4x4 802.11ac wave 2 radios.

The router is capable of speeds of up to 2.53 Gbps. Additionally, this product has a useful feature for streaming, as it can connect to storage cards or USB 3.0 drives to stream content to TVs and other devices. Granted, it's an older model, but considering the price point, it's still a great upgrade on your ISP-issued router.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Blanket coverage for small and medium-sized homes
  • Scalable with additional routers
  • Bluetooth and voice compatibility
Cons
  • Cost can become pricey for larger properties
  • Some users report setup problems
More Details

Google Nest Wi-Fi features: Coverage of up to 2,200 square feet | Network Assist selects best channels for devices | Manages up to 200 connections | Dual-Band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

One of the most suitable devices on the market for Google ecosystem users is the Google Nest Wi-Fi router. This option aims to keep things easy to set up with "Network Assist," a system that works in the background to select the best channels for your connected devices automatically.

The Wi-Fi router offers coverage of up to 2,200 square feet. As a mesh Wi-Fi device, however, the more access points you add to the router system, the better the coverage will be on your home network. You can select a single pack that comes with one router and one additional Wi-Fi access point. Alternatively, Google offers multipack options, with an estimated coverage area of up to 4,400 square feet.

Also: Modem vs router: What's the difference? 

Google Nest Wi-Fi can manage roughly 200 connections per access point, and each router has two Gigabit Ethernet ports included. Additionally, each access point has an integrated smart speaker with Google Assistant. Overall, it's a great option as an entry-level model in the mesh market.

At the time of writing, Amazon has a sale on the Nest router, making it one of our top choices for those on a budget, especially at 60% off.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • An excellent option for advanced home setups
  • Excellent signal
Cons
  • Expensive
  • A far-from-discreet design
More Details

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 features: Quad-band | Dual 10G ports | 6 GHz | speeds up to 16000 Mbps | Asus AiMesh support

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 is a quad-band Wi-Fi 6E gaming router. Customers continually report great coverage and speed (up to 16000 Mbps). Four frequency bands -- including one at 6 GHz -- provide greater capacity and low latency -- making it a perfect option for hardcore gamers.  

Also: How to set up a VPN on your router

This market has influenced Asus in regard to features, which include gaming acceleration. As a bonus, the router has two 10 Gbps WAN/LAN ports.

At the moment, Amazon is offering 14% off the router's typical retail price of $700, bringing the cost down to just under $600 ($100 off).

What is the best Wi-Fi router?

Based on extensive research, the TP-Link AXE16000 (Archer AXE300) is the best Wi-Fi router, combining scalability, speed, and coverage. While it might be too much of an investment for some, you should consider this router if you want a future-proof heavyweight device capable of handling multiple connections without sacrificing speed or stability. 

Best Wi-Fi routers

Price

Range

Is Wi-Fi 6 capable?

TP-Link AXE16000 Archer AXE300

$388

Large homes

Yes

TP-Link Archer AX10000

$300

2,500 square feet

Yes

Netgear Orbi AX5400

$500

5,000 square feet

Yes 

Synology RT2600ac

$150

3,000  square feet

No

Google Nest Wi-Fi

$68

2,200  square feet

No

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE 16000

$600

N/A

Yes

Which is the right Wi-Fi router for you?

When you decide to either upgrade your existing router setup or replace the bog-standard device your ISP gave you -- which often doesn't allow consumers to enjoy the full potential of the speed they are paying for -- you first need to decide what your connection priorities are. 

If you're at home with multiple occupants and many devices, a mesh network is probably the best way to go, especially if you are on a large property. However, if it is more important to you to have speed and reliability over coverage potential, then a traditional router might be the best option. 

Choose this Wi-Fi router...

If you want...

TP-Link AXE16000 Archer AXE30

A future-proof heavyweight router. While an expensive initial outlay, this router will provide you with the speed and connectivity you need for years to come.

TP-Link Archer AX10000

An affordable but powerful Wi-Fi 6 router. This router certainly won't blend in with the aesthetic of your home, but it will be a valuable connection point for gamers and workers alike. 

Netgear Orbi AX5400

A mesh Wi-Fi network. This modern Orbi system is scalable and can handle numerous devices around the home, providing excellent coverage while remaining discreet.

Synology RT2600ac

A cheap router capable of handling VPNs with ease. It's not the fastest or most stylish router on the market, but this device is still a worthwhile upgrade to the basic routers provided by today's ISPs.

Google Nest Wi-Fi

If you want a cheap, affordable entryway into intelligent mesh networking, this router is for you. However, it is best suited for homes already working within Google Home and Android ecosystems.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE 16000

If you're willing to pay extra for an extremely powerful router suitable for gaming and heavy-duty, bandwidth-heavy applications, this router is for you. 

How did we choose these Wi-Fi routers?

We examined popular and new options on the market, selecting products with various budgets and intended uses in mind. With hybrid and remote working practices now becoming a permanent feature of day-to-day activities for many of us, dedicated and solid routers are now necessary for both business and home life.

It was important to include both traditional and mesh products. Despite the recent changes in work environments, we can't forget that family and friends also need stable connections for entertainment, education, and gaming.

Ultimately, we based our choices on the following features:

  • Internet connectivity: Naturally, this has to be one of the top considerations. With so many of us working from home and reliant on the internet -- not to mention using online services for controlling home devices and entertainment -- we made sure that the products selected would provide the level of connectivity we now all need.
  • Speed & bandwidth: As old, copper cabling transforms to fiber in our cities, we need routers to be able to handle improved speeds. As a result, we considered the channels, WAN ports, processing power, and acceleration options on offer.
  • Additional features: A Wi-Fi router doesn't have to just be that, an access point to the internet. Many manufacturers now implement additional controls and service support to entice consumers, including parental controls, virtual private network (VPN) support, NAS compatibility, and more. 
  • Budget: Not every home needs a blazingly fast, future-proof Wi-Fi router, and sometimes, affordability is key. We have included a selection of devices suitable for different budgets. 

What is the difference between a traditional router and mesh Wi-Fi?

Traditional Wi-Fi routers provide a single access point for your broadband/fiber connections. However, if there are too many connections made at the same time, this can cause bottlenecks and may impact the reliability of a connection. 

It is often the case that standard routers offer improved power and speed when the number of connections is manageable in comparison to mesh, but mesh offers extended, blanket coverage with more access points. As a result, wired and traditional routers are often better for gaming and streaming, whereas mesh is a solid option when you have multiple people and connections in a home. 

Is it worth upgrading from Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)?

Yes, if you are willing to front the expense for a better connection. With our world now dominated by smartphones, IoT devices, and streaming services, an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 gives you access to more streams and potentially faster services. 

Where should I place my Wi-Fi router?

To get the best range and coverage from your Wi-Fi router, you'll want to choose a somewhat central location in your home. Along with ensuring better coverage, a central location reduces the number of walls and obstacles it has to send the Wi-Fi signal through. 

You'll also want to avoid placing it next to other electronics, as their signals can interfere with one another; so avoid putting your router in the kitchen or your home theater.

What does bottleneck mean?

The more connections there are, the greater the risk of connectivity drops and congestion on your home network. 

A bottleneck occurs when there is too much demand for bandwidth from too many devices and this impacts data transmission and requests. Delays in servicing requests can happen when there is too much load on available computing resources. 

Basic routers supplied by your ISP and older models may not be enough now that you spend more time at home and connect even more devices, as they were not designed to deal with too many endpoints. While modern routers are now often able to handle more requests, mesh networking systems are an alternative to reducing the risk of delays and bottlenecks. 

Are there alternative Wi-Fi routers worth considering?

There are lots of options out there if you're shopping for a new Wi-Fi router. Here are other recommendations you might want to explore if none of the above appeals to you and you'd like to take advantage of a bargain. 

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