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The best wireless routers for 2020

You likely have a silent, dedicated companion connecting all devices to the internet: The router. It’s an important — and necessary — part of your network. Luckily, we know the best wireless routers that get the job done, whether you’re a PC gamer requiring the ultimate connection or simply want easy, whole home or office coverage.

After reviewing the top routers on the market, our current favorite is the Netgear R6700 Nighthawk. It’s simply a great fit for most consumers. We also list routers for specific use cases, like gaming, high performance, wallet-friendly, and more.

After picking the right router for your needs, make sure to read our guide on the best way to set it up. Need Ethernet cables for your wired devices? We also have a separate list of the best you can buy.

The best wireless routers at a glance

The best wireless router: Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 R6700

Netgear R6700 Nighthawk AC1750

Why you should buy this: It’s fully featured, priced competitively, and provides great speed.

Who’s it for: Just about everyone.

Why we chose the Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 R6700:

This router is the least expensive option in the entire Nighthawk family. You get most of the excellent Nighthawk benefits but at an extremely affordable price. That includes powerful features like beamforming, which targets connected devices to help avoid dead zones.

This router ships with a dual-core processor for better network management. It also features parental controls, backup software, and a standard USB-A port for connecting external devices, like flash drives. Basically, it’s everything you could want in a home router without the need to spend hundreds of dollars.

Another reason we like this model is that moving over to another Nighthawk router is extremely easy if you want different features. There are Nighthawks with more power, Nighthawks that are more affordable, Nighthawks primarily focused on gaming, and so on.

Ultimately, this AC1750-class router (450 + 1,300Mbps) may not offer the fastest speeds available, but it’s definitely enough for the average home. The R6700 is a great starting model, but don’t be afraid to shop around if you want something a little different.

The best high-performance router: TP-Link Archer AX6000

Why you should buy this: It offers Wi-Fi 6 connectivity without compromising performance.

Who’s it for: Those ready to invest in the absolutely latest Wi-Fi technology in their home or business.

Why we chose the TP-Link Archer AX6000:

If you want to invest in the future, this is the model to get. It supports Wi-Fi 6 — formerly known as Wireless AX and 802.11ax — delivering many new benefits and important changes. It’s a huge step up from Wireless AC (now Wi-Fi 5) and is backward compatible with all your current devices.

The Archer AX6000 is an excellent dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router dishing out speeds of up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It’s compatible with important new technologies like OFDMA and MU-MIMO. Port-wise it provides a USB-C port for charging and high-speed data transfers along with nine Gigabit Ethernet ports.

This router includes proprietary technology as well, like software that moves devices between bands if one band is too crowded. There’s Alexa compatibility too, so you can perform basic network management actions with voice commands.

Many router manufacturers already offer Wi-Fi 6 models, but TP-Link’s Archer AX6000 is particularly versatile.

The easiest wireless router to use: Google Nest WiFi

John Velasco / Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It creates a powerful mesh network, perfect for larger homes.

Who’s it for: Anyone who needs a large, uniform network throughout their home.

Why we chose the Nest WiFi:

Google’s Nest WiFi is an excellent example of a mesh network router, where multiple nodes link together to form a wireless network with bigger, better coverage. That makes this router pack ideal for large spaces or homes that struggle with a lot of interference and dead zones.

The router itself can cover 2,200 square feet in a building, but you can bundle it with either one or two “points.” Altogether, you can cover as much as 5,400 square feet.

The real selling point is the ease of use, however. Unlike many other routers, the Nest WiFi makes setting up and managing a home network extremely simple. More than that, the router and points also function as Google Assistant smart speakers that can play music and control smart home devices.

You can buy a single unit for $149, or splurge for the three-pack kit for $349. It costs between $250 and $300 depending on where you shop.

Read our full Google Nest Wifi review

The best budget wireless router: TP-Link Archer C1200

TP-Link AC1200

Why you should buy this: Few routers can compete with the TP-Link Archer C1200 at this price.

Who’s it for: Anyone wanting to expand their network on a budget.

Why we chose the TP-Link Archer C1200:

Looking for a budget router? This $50 TP-Link has everything you need without breaking the bank! It’s a perfect fit for a home that only needs a simple net connection for checking email, browsing, and light media streaming.

TP-Link’s Tether app is one of the better router apps for mobile, meaning setting up and managing the router shouldn’t be a hassle. The router itself features AC1200-class dual-band speeds, two USB ports, and Gigabit Ethernet ports. While these specifications aren’t earth-shattering, they are the important basics you need for a good wireless connectivity.

If you plan to stream 4K content or perform other data-heavy tasks, then you may want to consider a more powerful model.

The best gaming router: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Why you should buy this: It helps prioritize gaming traffic so you never have to worry about lag again.

Who’s it for: Gamers and anyone who want the fastest network possible.

Why we chose the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300:

A good gaming router can be any powerful router that intelligently handles bandwidth demands. If you’re looking for a router that’s specifically designed for intense gaming, however, look no further than this Rapture model. At AC5300, you don’t need to worry about streaming your 4K games — perfect for Google’s Stadia and GeForce Now.

This spider-like tri-band router includes mesh software and adaptive QoS for targeting multiple devices so that you always have a good connection, no matter what corner of the house you’re gaming. Other features include gaming ports, a dedicated ROG game boost mode, and proactive security.

The ROG Rapture essentially has everything you need, especially if you stream your games — but for a hefty cost.

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