Just like the subway lines running under New York, your router keeps your home connected to the internet. Yes, you need a modem, too. But to get internet flowing to every device? That's your router's job. Whether you're binge-watching in , you'll want the best router in the game. And man, there are a lot to pick from, almost like choosing your favorite New York deli.
Don't worry. We're here to help you navigate that choice. And we've done all the hard parts for you.
In 2023, the bestrouters provide a rock-solid connection, wide coverage, top-notch security, and tools that make life easy. But it's like finding an apartment in the city: you've got to consider your own needs. Got a spacious place? You might need a router that can stretch its range. And if your household's buzzing with devices, you're going to want a router that can handle that extra bandwidth, especially if you .
Our top router pick: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500
You've come all this way to live in the big city. Make sure your router vibes well with your smart home. What do you need to keep in mind? First check those reviews (like the ones below) or from others who have purchased routers before. Think about ease of setup, how it performs, and whether the customer service of the manufacturer has your back like a trustworthy doorman. Look into the number of ports, too. It's like deciding how many outlets you need in a room. And don't forget about max speed and range; it's critical, because you're going to want to make sure you get the speeds you deserve.
Whether you're the type who just skims the Times online or dives deep into every corner of the web, there's a router that's perfect for your new place. Overwhelmed? Keep reading for our handpicked choices of the best internet routers in 2023.
The best internet routers in 2023
Top pick: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 stands out like a well-designed high-rise. Weak signals in yards or garages? This tri-band router's extensive range, particularly on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum, has you're covered.
The sleek, modern design isn't reminiscent of those typical bulky routers. Instead, its aesthetic might remind you of a high-end piece of tech. And with its 6G WiFi capabilities, it's ready to match even the fastest internet speeds.
However, it's not without its quirks. The companion app could do with some polishing, and a few more settings options wouldn't hurt. While setting it up might feel like navigating a downtown intersection during rush hour for some, especially with its tech-heavy approach, it's manageable even for those not well-versed in tech.
To sum it up, the Nighthawk RAXE300 isn't just another face in the crowd. It's a standout, both in terms of looks and performance. If you're in the market for reliability and range, this is one of the best routers you can get your hands on.
Why we like the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300:
- Unique design that sets it apart from other routers on the market.
- Excellent range and speed that should work with any connection, including 6G WiFi and gigabit.
- Extensive technical options for those that want to tinker with them.
Runner-up: Asus RT-AX86U
The Asus RT-AX86U stands out thanks to its unique design and performance. It doesn't just handle everyday internet use. It directs it like a boss, like it's a hustling, bustling New Yorker (like you probably are now). It can juggle all those devices under heavy load, even in a house full of gamers.
This router isn't just talk. It sizzles when it comes to connection speeds, clocking over 900 Mbps even from 15 feet away. Its range doesn't falter either as it easily navigates both walls and floors.
It's not just for the gaming enthusiasts, but for every tech user. That's why it offers top-notch features. And while it doesn't come with that Fifth Avenue price tag, it's a must-have for households with binge-watching users or gamers who stay up all night in-game.
It also comes with built-in protection against cyber threats and boasts a two-year warranty. It's a well-rounded choice for those who won't compromise on performance or security.
Why we like the Asus RT-AX86U:
- Blazing fast speeds perfect for heavy internet users and gamers.
- Great for short and long distances, including those in bigger houses.
- Lifetime protection against security threats and a two-year warranty.
Mid-budget alternative: TP-Link Archer AX6000
The TP-Link Archer AX6000 might not be the shining star of the router world, but it's a reliable performer that doesn't demand the spotlight. It's all about striking the right note between what you spend and what you get. You can bank on this model for solid speed and range without having your wallet take a major hit.
Priced more conservatively than some of its contemporaries in the WiFi 6 league, this device doesn't skimp on bandwidth. It's there for your daily streams and online adventures, but for those who see gaming as an extreme sport or those in a house with simultaneous large downloads, you might want to check out other contenders.
However, for the rest of the pack looking for a cost-effective solution, this is your pick. With security features embedded right into the router and a generous offering of 8 Ethernet ports, the Archer AX6000 isn't just a one-trick pony focused on wireless prowess.
The design keeps things sleek and straightforward - a single LED light serves as your operational beacon. Onboard, there's a WPS key ensuring a hassle-free setup with other tech buddies and a switch to make it solely a wired companion if that's what you're after. And the cherry on top is that it's easier on the pocket compared to its peers.
Why we like the TP-Link Archer AX6000:
- The price is right, at typically $100 less than its more expensive brethren.
- It has multiple ports that make it perfect for use as a wired internet connection.
- Its option to turn WiFi off completely makes it great for use solely as a wired router.
Best router for gamers: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 isn't just another router. It's an integral part of a gamer's dream computer. Its design screams power, and with the performance to back it up, it's no wonder it feels like it belongs inside a high-end gaming rig.
Its sizable frame and eight antennas are more than just for show—when it's time to put on a performance, it effortlessly delivers with a staggering 10.8Gbps max throughput. This machine, boasting a tri-band design, four Gigabit LAN ports, a 2.5G Ethernet connection, and not one but dual USB 3.0 ports, is truly a beast of versatility. From enduring marathon gaming sessions to diving deep into a Netflix series, the GT-AX11000 doesn't break a sweat. It's designed to let you leverage every bit of speed your internet service throws at it.
For those who love to tinker, the gaming-focused features of this router will be right up your alley. And if you're looking to cast a wider net of coverage, you can pair it with other Asus routers to establish a powerful mesh network, so you can make sure that every nook and cranny of your place connects at the very best speed it can.
Of course, premium performance comes at a premium price. This might be a bit steep for the average user, but for those hardcore gamers looking for every edge possible, it's an investment worth considering. If gaming is more than just a pastime and you're ready to make the investment, this router stands as one of the best choices you'll find.
Why we like the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000:
- It's perfect for hardcore gamers who want some edge on the competition.
- It comes with eight antennas and boasts impressive performance with 10.8Gbps max throughput.
- It's premium in all respects of the word, boasting blinding fast speeds and long range connectivity.
For a tight budget: Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream
Sometimes, it's not about chasing the top-shelf offerings; it's about finding that hidden gem that delivers without emptying your pockets. Enter the Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream, a budget-friendly choice for anyone who wants to save a little moola. Moving to NYC is expensive, after all.
Compact yet capable, this tri-band router lets you tweak and optimize for the best performance. But, if you're not into customization, just plug it in, and you'll have a dependable connection without the fuss.
It may be best tailored for smaller spaces, but don't let that fool you. It still impresses with its range and speed, making its modest price tag all the more attractive. Whether you're in the mood for gaming, streaming your favorite shows, or just keeping tabs on the kiddos' online activities, this router offers flexibility right from your computer or phone.
Visually, it keeps things understated. Gone are the over-the-top gamer aesthetics, making way for a sleek, no-nonsense design that looks as good as it performs. For those after a mix of aesthetics, functionality, and affordability, the Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream is the name of the game.
Why we like the Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream:
- It's more affordable than many of the other routers in its class with comparable performance.
- It doesn't have the same "gamer" look to it that some users may not prefer.
- It has a wide variety of customization tools that seasoned users can take advantage of.
What is an internet router?
An internet router, or just a "router," is a device that connects your home network to the internet. It manages data traffic and makes sure that each device in your home, including smartphones, laptops, TVs, and more receive information from the web. The router also assigns unique addresses to each device to differentiate them.
Additionally, many routers come with built-in firewalls to enhance security, protecting your devices from bad actors. By managing both incoming and outgoing traffic, routers can ensure a stable internet connection for all the devices you connect to it.
What's the difference between a modem and a router?
A modem and a router are different, but they're both necessary if you want to connect to the internet and use wireless devices. A modem is the device that communicates directly with your internet service provider and brings the internet connection into your home. Once the internet connection is established through the modem, the router then takes over to bring this connection to various devices in your home, either wirelessly or through wired connections.
The modem brings the internet to your "doorstep," and the router makes sure that the internet is accessible for devices inside your house. Most routers come with security features that help protect your devices from potential online threats, while also managing traffic. Sometimes, you'll find devices that combine both the modem and the router into one unit, which people typically refer to as gateway devices or modem-router combos.
What features should you look for in an internet router?
When you're in the market for an internet router, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Consider the speed. Routers often come labeled with terms like "AC1200" or "AX6000." In simple terms, a higher number often indicates a faster potential speed. However, you should make sure that speed aligns with what your actual internet service plan offers. You can't "speed up" your internet by just buying a faster router.
Range is another critical factor, especially if you have a large home or thick walls. Some homes might benefit from routers with a "mesh system," which uses multiple units spread throughout the house for improved. Further, plenty of modern routers offer built-in features like firewalls, parental controls, and sometimes even antivirus protection. Regular security updates can also be a bonus to keep out anyone who might be trying to get into your network.
Also, the number of Ethernet ports on a router can be a deciding factor. Their wired connections are often more stable and faster, which is a boon for those who work at home or even anyone who games online a lot. You'll also want to consider whether the router is dual or tri-band. That means that the router can broadcast on multiple frequencies, which can cut through potential congestion when several devices are online at the same time.
Easy router setup makes the entire situation much less of a headache, too. Many modern options come with easy-to-use apps or user interfaces. And of course, there's the matter of cost. Routers come at all different price ranges so finding a balance between your needs and budget is important. But as always, before making a final decision, you should either read reviews from those you trust, ask around, or set out all your needs and tally them up against the choices you're deciding between.
Why is an internet router important?
First, it acts as a central point of access to the internet for multiple devices, such as smartphones, laptops and smart TVs. That means that all your devices can connect to the internet simultaneously without their own individual connections. In addition to managing multiple connections, routers enhance the security of your online activities. They come with security features that protect your devices and data.
Routers also assign unique addresses to each device, ensuring that data goes to the correct device. Moreover, many modern routers optimize the internet speed and performance, ensuring you get a stable and efficient connection. In essence, an internet router acts as both a hub and a shield for your internet activities, making it a vital component for any household or business wanting a seamless and secure online experience.
What is WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E?
WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E refer to the latest generations of wireless internet technology, designed to improve how devices connect to the internet. WiFi 6, technically known as 802.11ax, is a step up from the previous version, WiFi 5. It offers faster speeds, especially in crowded areas, which makes for a more smooth and uninterrupted connection. It's particularly beneficial in homes with several devices since it's designed to handle multiple connections.
WiFi 6E takes this a step further. WiFi 6E has all the benefits of WiFi 6, but the "E" stands for "Extended." This basically means it has even more bandwidth. As a result, devices using WiFi 6E experience less interference and even faster connections. So, when considering new devices or routers, opting for those compatible with WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E can offer a more reliable and enhanced internet experience.
Should you leave an internet router on all the time?
Leaving an internet router on all the time is safe to do -- just so you don't have to worry about getting up all night and turning it on and then turning it off again. Keeping it on ensures connection to the internet without interruption, and that's especially important for security systems or smart-home devices. Additionally, frequently turning a router off and on might lead to wear and tear over time.
Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind. Routers can get hot, so it's important to place yours in a well-ventilated area to prevent overheating. Also, for security reasons, you should occasionally restart your router. This can clear certain types of malware or potential vulnerabilities, and you of course want to accept updates then they come available.
How do you know when it's time to upgrade your router?
Knowing when to upgrade your router can depend on a few things. One major sign is when your internet speed starts dropping and falling short of the speeds you're paying for each month. If you've done all the typical troubleshooting and determined that your modem isn't the issue, it might be your router. As routers get older, they might not support the faster speeds that newer internet packages offer.
Another indicator is if you have a lot of dropped connections, or if a signal doesn't cover your entire home anymore -- if it ever did. An older router may struggle to handle the load of multiple devices on the same network as well. Security is a huge concern too. If your router no longer gets firmware or security updates from its manufacturer, it could leave your network vulnerable. All of these factors can help you determine when it's time to consider an upgrade so you can get the most possible out of your internet service and wireless network.
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