The Best Wireless Routers to Speed Up Your Internet
Keep your internet from getting bogged down with the best wireless routers for fast performance at the farthest range possible.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
Smart devices are making homes smarter and smarter, and that’s plenty to get excited about. But the more tech-savvy and automated your home is, the more of a drag it can be on your internet, reducing the lightning-fast speeds you’re used to.
Keep your internet from getting bogged down by your smart home and entertainment devices by installing the best wireless routers, boosting performance and range.
What’s the difference between a router and a modem?
A router connects smart devices to WiFi, or a wireless network, and a modem connects that network to the internet. You need both for your home’s smart devices to access the internet. You can purchase them individually or as a modem/router combo. Learn more about the full difference between router and modem.
A quality router helps ensure your internet connection is as fast as it can be. Read on to find the right solution based on your budget, the size of your home, and usage. Don’t forget to check your service provider’s website to make sure what you’re buying is approved and compatible. Watch out for these other hidden reasons your internet is so slow.
Modem/router combo: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10
via amazon.comIf your goal is to get your hands on the best wireless router, budget takes a backseat. NETGEAR’s Nighthawk series routers are expensive, but with good reason. The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 is a modem/router combo that can handle the most connected of homes, making it great for a teched-out house or one with a big family and lots of devices.
Here’s why this powerful, quad-core processor is among the best. First, it’s fast and can handle up to 7,200 Mbps. So if you’re streaming or online gaming, you won’t experience games glitching or streaming shows buffering. Second, the Nighthawk X10 has excellent long range. So if you’re in a big house, you don’t need to be near the router to get a good signal.
Inexpensive router: TP-Link Archer AC1200
via amazon.comIf your needs are much simpler (modest-size house and fewer gadgets), you might be in the market for something as straightforward and inexpensive as the TP-Link Archer AC1200. Just $40, this router has dual bandwidth which reduces buffering — ideal for 4K streaming on your television or laptop. The MU MIMO technology (5GHz band) allows multiple devices to operate simultaneously without the internet stalling out and annoying everyone in your home. Note that this is just a router, so you will also need a modem. In addition to getting a good router, here are some more ways to speed up a slow computer.
Mesh system (router and satellite node): Google Nest WiFi
via store.google.comFrom style to performance, there’s a lot to love about Google Nest WiFi. It’s known as a mesh router system. A main router connects to your modem, and a series of satellite modules, or nodes, placed around your house stretches the WiFi coverage. Both router and modules are four-inch rounded pods—small, plain, and unobtrusive enough to blend into modern decor.
This system is ideal for those who already use Google products and services like Google Nest Hub. Those without a smart assistant in their home will find this a valuable place to start. Nest WiFi Point not only extends the router’s range, but features a smart speaker with Google Assistant app and voice-control capability, including built-in microphones and noteworthy bass.
It’s a scalable system that pairs whole-home coverage (the WiFi point can handle up to 200 connected devices) with a consistently strong signal. It includes a router and a satellite node, so you will still need a modem with this option, too. Once you have a reliable router, make sure you know how often you should be rebooting it.