Best Wi-Fi Routers iMore 2020
Having a reliable Wi-Fi and network connection is one of the most essential pieces of the modern home. Just about everything in our households, from phones to our work from home space, all depend on it to deliver entertainment and to keep us connected to the world around us. If you are ready to give your home network a boost, then we recommend the Eero WiFi System for its ease of use, great speeds, and large coverage area. Don't quite need a mesh system? Don't worry; there are still plenty of great options to choose from.
- Best Overall: Eero WiFi System
- Best Value: Linksys Velop WHW0102 WIFI System
- Best Speeds: TP-Link Archer AX3000
- Best Features: Netgear Orbi Voice Whole Home Mesh WiFi System
- Best Support: Nest Wifi
- Best Convenience: Netgear Nighthawk C1900
Best Overall: Eero WiFi System
While the Eero WiFi System doesn't sport the latest top of the line specs or have the most features, its easy installation and app management makes it simple for anyone to enjoy fast, reliable, Wi-Fi. This router uses mesh networking technology to link multiple nodes around the home together, offering seamless roaming across up to 6,000 square feet.
The Eero WiFi System boasts great speeds, peaking at 550Mbps wirelessly, and up to 1Gpbs over a wired ethernet connection. One set up, Eero will automatically update the system with the latest security fixes and features, making it a true set it and forget its router.
Eero also offers extra security and parental controls like ad blocking, threat scanning, and more, through its Eero Secure subscription service, which is an excellent value for the price. If that wasn't enough, Eero routers are the only ones around that support Apple's HomeKit Secure Router feature that can block your smart home gear from outside threats.
- Easy app setup
- Speeds up to 550Mbps
- Covers up to 5,000 square feet
- Supports HomeKit Secure Router feature
- Eero Secure requires subscription
- Only two ethernet ports per node
- Dual-band connectivity
Wi-Fi for all
Fast speeds, great coverage, easy installation, and automatic updates make the Eero WiFi System the best router for most.
Best Value: Linksys Velop WHW0102 WiFi System
The Linksys Velop WHW0102 WiFi System is a wallet-friendly system that consists of 2 mesh networking nodes that act as a whole home router. This system can cover most small to medium-sized homes, up to 3,000 square feet with wireless speeds that can reach 400Mbps.
Just like with most modern mesh networks, the Linksys Velop system can be set up and managed via an iOS or Android app, making setup and adjustments a breeze. Even with its low cost, Linksys backs this system with a three-year limited warranty, ensuring that your investment will be protected.
- Mesh networking technology
- App management
- Covers up to 3,000 square feet
- Three-year limited warranty
- Wi-Fi speeds limited to 400Mbps
- Limited ethernet ports
- Dual-band only
Mesh on a budget
This affordable mesh system from Linksys not only provides excellent Wi-Fi, but a three-year limited warranty also covers it.
Best Speeds: TP-Link Archer AX3000
TP-Link's Archer AX3000 is one of just a few routers currently available that support the latest and greatest wireless connectivity standard, Wi-Fi 6. This allows for absolutely insane wireless speeds, capable of reaching 3Gbps over Wi-Fi, but you will need a device such as the iPhone 11 that can actually work with it.
The Archer AX3000 features more traditional router styling, forgoing mesh networking for a single access point that powers your home. This limits coverage to just 2,500 square feet, which will work for most small homes, but the speeds make up for it with reduced latency and being able to stream multiple 4K movies and shows at the same time.
- Supports Wi-Fi 6
- Can reach up to 3Gpbs
- Parental controls and pausing
- Low price
- Single access point
- Limited range
- Limited Wi-Fi 6 devices
The Archer AX3000 with Wi-Fi 6 is one of the fastest routers around, capable of delivering up to a blazing fast 3Gbps wirelessly.
Best Features: Netgear Orbi Voice Whole Home Mesh WiFi System
The Netgear Orbi Voice WiFi System crams a whole host of features into one convenient package that includes the main router and a satellite node. The router portion is pretty standard fare. However, the satellite is where the money is as it contains a Harman Kardon speaker, and Amazon's Alexa built right in.
Having Alexa built right in removes the need to have a separate voice assistant lying around, and it still gives you access to streaming music services, weather reports, and more. Netgear also includes parental controls in partnership with Disney Circle, which allows families to set time limits, content filters, and view usage history.
- Built-in speaker w/Alexa
- Covers up to 5,000 square feet
- Extendable Mesh networking
- Disney Circle integration
- Always on mic
- Average speaker quality
Mesh and more
Orbi Voice includes everything that you need, and then some. Alexa, Disney Circle, and a built-in speaker are all on-board.
Best Support: Nest Wifi
The Nest Wifi from Google is a colorful mesh networking system that supports a ton of devices, up to 200 in this package. The 2-pack system is best for medium-sized homes, with coverage extending across 4,400 square feet, and each additional node adds an extra 2,220 square feet.
Since it is from Google, the company's voice assistant is also on-board along with a speaker that gives you convenient access to music and home controls. Simple app set up, and management brings privacy and parental controls just a tap away, and automatic updates ensure that your home is protected at all times.
- Supports up to 200 devices
- Google Assistant built-in
- App set up and management
- Various color options
- Smaller range than competitors
- Price includes just two nodes
- Limited ethernet ports
Nest Wifi can support up to 200 devices, has the Google Assistant, and comes in fun colors that make it stand out from the crowd.
Best Convenience: Netgear Nighthawk C1900
The Netgear Nighthawk C1900's unique combination of cable modem and Wi-Fi router gives you the ability to ditch the monthly rental fees, along with a much-needed upgrade over the standard service issue options. This single access point can support up to 30 devices with basic speeds peaking at 400Mbps, and it can cover most smaller homes below 2,000 square feet.
The cable modem side of things supports the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, and 24x8 channel bonding, which provides compatibility and additional lanes for your data to flow across. While Netgear lists the C1900 as working with all "major" service providers, you may need to verify that it works with yours before purchasing, and even then, it might require a call to get it set up.
- Modem and router combination
- No monthly rental fees
- Single access point
- May require call to service provider
- Small coverage area
- Basic Wi-Fi speeds
- Supports 30 devices
All in one
Netgear's clever combination replaces both your cable modem and router, which can save you some dough by ditching the rental fee.
Wi-Fi routers come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique features and capabilities, making choosing the right one pretty difficult. If you just want a solid, reliable, connection without having to know the ins and outs of how it all works, then we recommend the Eero WiFi System. This mesh system is easy to set up and delivers on the promise of blanketing your home in fast, dependable, Wi-Fi.
In addition to its ease of use and consistent connection, Eero also offers a subscription service, Eero Secure, which keeps an eye on your home's traffic. Starting at just $2.99 a month, Eero Secure enables ad blocking, threat scanning, and parental controls all at the router level. This means that you can simply toggle these features on to have them apply to all of your family's devices without having to configure things on each phone or tablet.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Christopher Close has amassed quite an extensive collection of smart home tech over the years, which requires a stable home network to keep things up and running. If things go awry, Christopher doesn't hesitate to switch up his router to fix the issue.
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