The best 10 routers in comparison

Which are the best routers of 2019?

Best routers of 2019 (1 - 5)
router comparison
Comparison winner
router comparison
Comparison winner
Asus RT-AC66U
Comparison winner
Asus RT-AC68U
Comparison winner
Asus RT-N66U
Comparison winner
Amped Wireless RTA15
Comparison winner
Asus RT-N66R
Comparison winner
TP-Link N900
Comparison winner
TP-Link AC1750
Comparison winner
D-Link DIR-850L
Comparison winner
Asus RT-AC56U
Comparison winner
D-Link DIR-865L
Image
Asus RT-AC66U
100points
Asus RT-AC68U
96points
Asus RT-N66U
91points
Amped Wireless RTA15
83points
Asus RT-N66R
77points
TP-Link N900
75points
TP-Link AC1750
74points
D-Link DIR-850L
73points
Asus RT-AC56U
72points
D-Link DIR-865L
72points
Best price
Best price
Summary
Summary
  • General info (85)
  • Performance (53)
  • Antennas (100)
  • Security (88)
  • Features (71)
  • General info (61)
  • Performance (78)
  • Antennas (50)
  • Security (94)
  • Features (57)
  • General info (81)
  • Performance (45)
  • Antennas (100)
  • Security (94)
  • Features (71)
  • General info (67)
  • Performance (66)
  • Antennas (100)
  • Security (82)
  • Features (100)
  • General info (86)
  • Performance (27)
  • Antennas (100)
  • Security (100)
  • Features (57)
  • General info (75)
  • Performance (45)
  • Antennas (50)
  • Security (65)
  • Features (100)
  • General info (75)
  • Performance (53)
  • Antennas (50)
  • Security (65)
  • Features (57)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (77)
  • Antennas (11)
  • Security (82)
  • Features (86)
  • General info (84)
  • Performance (48)
  • Antennas (0)
  • Security (88)
  • Features (57)
  • General info (44)
  • Performance (68)
  • Antennas (0)
  • Security (82)
  • Features (86)
Pros
Pros
  • Removable antennas
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi connection
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi connection
  • More years under manufacturer's warranty
  • Removable antennas
  • Removable antennas
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi connection
  • Removable antennas
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi connection
    • DNS relay
      • DNS relay
      Cons
      Cons
      • Dynamic routing
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • DLNA certified
      • Dynamic routing
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection
      • Dynamic routing
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • USB ports
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • Dual-band technology
      • DLNA certified
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection
      • Dynamic routing
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • Port filtering
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection
      • Automatic IP
      • DLNA certified
      • Port filtering
      • Automatic IP
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • USB ports
      • Internal antennas
      • External antennas
      • URL filter
      • External antennas
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • Quality of Service (QoS)
      • IPv6 enabled
      • External antennas
      • USB ports
      • Wi-Fi speed
      • Port filtering
      General info
      Outdoor capabilityThe device can be set up in outdoor environments.
      Outdoor capabilityThe device can be set up in outdoor environments.
      Warranty periodWhen covered under the manufacturer’s warranty it is possible to get a replacement in the case of a malfunction.
      Warranty periodWhen covered under the manufacturer’s warranty it is possible to get a replacement in the case of a malfunction.N.A.N.A.31N.A.N.A.N.A.1N.A.1
      LAN portsWith more LAN ports you are able to connect more computers to the network directly using LAN cables.
      LAN portsWith more LAN ports you are able to connect more computers to the network directly using LAN cables.4444444444
      WAN portsA WAN (Wider Area Network) port is most commonly used to connect the router to the internet. It can also be used to connect to an external private network.
      WAN portsA WAN (Wider Area Network) port is most commonly used to connect the router to the internet. It can also be used to connect to an external private network.1111111111
      USB portsWith more USB ports, you are able to connect more devices.
      USB portsWith more USB ports, you are able to connect more devices.2N.A.21222121
      Total score for "General info"
      Total score for "General info"
      Performance
      Dual-band technologyDual-band devices can transmit data quickly on the newest 5GHz band, using recent standards (e.g., 802.11n, 802.11ac). They can also use the older 2.4GHz band if needed.
      Dual-band technologyDual-band devices can transmit data quickly on the newest 5GHz band, using recent standards (e.g., 802.11n, 802.11ac). They can also use the older 2.4GHz band if needed.
      Wi-Fi speedA higher maximum Wi-Fi speed results in better performance. This is measured in megabytes per second.
      Wi-Fi speedA higher maximum Wi-Fi speed results in better performance. This is measured in megabytes per second.1750MB/s1300MB/s900MB/s1167MB/s900MB/s900MB/s1750MB/s1200MB/s1167MB/s1350MB/s
      802.11n Wi-Fi connection802.11n is a wireless standard released in 2009. It has faster transfer rates and improved security compared to its predecessors - a, b and g.
      802.11n Wi-Fi connection802.11n is a wireless standard released in 2009. It has faster transfer rates and improved security compared to its predecessors - a, b and g.
      802.11ac Wi-Fi connection802.11ac wireless works on the 5GHz frequency range. It offers higher transfer rates, improved reliability and improved power consumption. It provides advantages for gaming and HD video streaming.
      802.11ac Wi-Fi connection802.11ac wireless works on the 5GHz frequency range. It offers higher transfer rates, improved reliability and improved power consumption. It provides advantages for gaming and HD video streaming.
      DNS relayWith DNS relay or DNS caching, the router stores the response to queries for a short time. This means that the same query will return a quicker response if repeated from another computer in the same network.
      DNS relayWith DNS relay or DNS caching, the router stores the response to queries for a short time. This means that the same query will return a quicker response if repeated from another computer in the same network.
      Total score for "Performance"
      Total score for "Performance"
      Antennas
      External antennasMore antennas result in increased signal strength. External antennas can be repositioned in order to improve the signal, and replaced with a longer antenna if needed.
      External antennasMore antennas result in increased signal strength. External antennas can be repositioned in order to improve the signal, and replaced with a longer antenna if needed.3333333000
      Internal antennasMore antennas result in increased signal strength. Devices with internal antennas often take up less space.
      Internal antennasMore antennas result in increased signal strength. Devices with internal antennas often take up less space.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.3N.A.2N.A.N.A.
      Removable antennasThe antennas can be removed if they are not needed, or replaced with longer ones if necessary.
      Removable antennasThe antennas can be removed if they are not needed, or replaced with longer ones if necessary.
      Total score for "Antennas"
      Total score for "Antennas"
      Security
      Port filteringPort filtering is a type of access control where access to certain internet service are assigned to users using port numbers. This can increase security as well as restricting internet usage.
      Port filteringPort filtering is a type of access control where access to certain internet service are assigned to users using port numbers. This can increase security as well as restricting internet usage.
      URL filterURL filters are particularly useful if you want to restrict web access at specific times. For instance, a company router may be configured so that employees cannot access personal e-mail accounts during working hours.
      URL filterURL filters are particularly useful if you want to restrict web access at specific times. For instance, a company router may be configured so that employees cannot access personal e-mail accounts during working hours.
      Built-in network firewallA network firewall protects a computer network from unauthorized access.
      Built-in network firewallA network firewall protects a computer network from unauthorized access.
      L2TP PassthroughYou can enable L2TP Passthrough. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol for carrying data from one device to another securely over the internet.
      L2TP PassthroughYou can enable L2TP Passthrough. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol for carrying data from one device to another securely over the internet.
      Automatic IPAutomatic IP allows a local area network (LAN) computer to give itself a unique IP address when Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is unavailable to do so.
      Automatic IPAutomatic IP allows a local area network (LAN) computer to give itself a unique IP address when Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is unavailable to do so.
      Total score for "Security"
      Total score for "Security"
      Features
      DLNA certifiedAll DLNA certified products are compatible with one another. When different devices are connected to the same network, data can be transferred easily between them.
      DLNA certifiedAll DLNA certified products are compatible with one another. When different devices are connected to the same network, data can be transferred easily between them.
      IPv6 enabledIPv6 is a newer version of the Internet Protocol. IPv6 operates as a separate network to IPv4, and has the capacity for more IP addresses and more features.
      IPv6 enabledIPv6 is a newer version of the Internet Protocol. IPv6 operates as a separate network to IPv4, and has the capacity for more IP addresses and more features.
      Quality of Service (QoS)With (QoS) Quality of Service, you can optimize performance by deciding which traffic to prioritize when a bottleneck occurs. You can decide which traffic is important based on things like IP address and the type of internet service.
      Quality of Service (QoS)With (QoS) Quality of Service, you can optimize performance by deciding which traffic to prioritize when a bottleneck occurs. You can decide which traffic is important based on things like IP address and the type of internet service.
      Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)Universal Plug n Play (UPnP) is a set of networking protocols that permits networked devices, such as PCs, printers, internet gateways, Wi-Fi access points and mobile devices to find each other and exchange information on the network.
      Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)Universal Plug n Play (UPnP) is a set of networking protocols that permits networked devices, such as PCs, printers, internet gateways, Wi-Fi access points and mobile devices to find each other and exchange information on the network.
      Dynamic routingDynamic routing is useful if you need to configure several routers, as they can automatically find network destinations and best routes, as well as sharing information between routers. They can reroute automatically if there is a fault somewhere.
      Dynamic routingDynamic routing is useful if you need to configure several routers, as they can automatically find network destinations and best routes, as well as sharing information between routers. They can reroute automatically if there is a fault somewhere.
      Total score for "Features"
      Total score for "Features"

      How to choose the best router?

      Routers are electronic devices responsible for interconnecting computers in a single network by sending packets of information from one to the other. Back in the old days (in the 1990s, not that long ago actually), almost everybody used a dial-up connection with a very slow 56 Kbps modem. The modem used home telephone lines to establish an internet connection. Fast forward to present day, and modems are all but dead; they have become obsolete and have been replaced by routers to facilitate a wireless connection or an Ethernet connection for connecting computers to a network. In addition, routers are much faster now. Some of the best routers of 2017, like the Netgear AC-1200 and the Asus RT-AC68U, offer connection speeds near 1000 MBps.

      Routers have now become commonplace in both home and office environments. When buying a router for your home or for your office, you need to consider many key features to find the best router for your application. You can purchase cheaper ones from TP-Link or splurge on the more expensive ones from Netgear if you want added benefits. You must consider specs such as signal strength, speed, antennas, connectivity, and security to get the best performance.

      Connectivity

      Types of routers

      When you are looking for routers, you will frequently come across the terms single band and dual band. Routers essentially come in these two flavors – single band and dual band. Information packets can be sent via routers either on a 2.4 GHz band channel and/or on a 5 GHz band channel. The keyword here is and/or. Single band routers can only use one of the frequency channels depending on the Wi-Fi connection type, whereas dual band routers, as the name suggests, can utilize both frequency bands. Why are there two frequency bands?

      Traditionally, routers only used the 2.4 GHz band to transit packets of data. Due to the overabundance of users and connections, manufacturers decided to use the 5 GHz frequency band in addition to the pre-existing one. This made routers faster. In dual band routers, the 2.4 GHz band is for simple applications, like web browsing and sending emails, whereas the 5 GHz band is more for heavy-duty tasks, for example streaming videos and playing online games. In a single band router, all activities take place over the same frequency channel.

      You will need to decide which router you require based on your needs. If you run bandwidth intensive programs and apps and you do not want to experience interference from other nearby networks, then you require a dual band router like the Netgear R8000 or the Asus RT-AC56U. If you are fine with the lower speed of a single band router, then you can opt for the Asus RT-N16.

      Signal strength and speed

      Another very important aspect to consider is the class of your Wi-Fi router. You may have heard of the IEEE 802.11 standard on many router boxes, but there are also a bunch of letters associated with these. You will find letters like a, g, and n on many of the router standard classifications. The table below details the difference between each of these classes.

      IEEE 802.11 protocol Frequency (GHz) Bandwidth (MHz) Max Data rate (MBps) Indoor Range (m)
      a 5 20 54 35
      b 2.4 22 11 35
      g 2.4 20 54 38
      n 2.4/5 20/40 900 70
      ac 5 20/40/80 5300 35

      The key differences between the various classes are speed and range. 802.11b was the most common standard for Wi-Fi connections for several years until it was supplanted by the much faster 802.11g, which is now the de facto standard for routers on the market. However, due to the ever-increasing problem of interference, two new standards, 802.11n and 802.11ac, came out and offer extremely high speeds, utilizing both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. In most cases, you are good with an 802.11g router. For example, if you need the higher speeds and want the enhanced signal range, then go for the newer 802.11n (Linksys E2500) and 802.11ac (Netgear R7000 Nighthawk).

      A chief parameter of connectivity that should not be overlooked is the Quality of Service (QoS). When many devices on your network compete to use the limited bandwidth, generally the more bandwidth hogging applications will always get precedence, leaving behind other apps, although those apps that consume less bandwidth may be the more important ones. In such a scenario, you want a router with good QoS technology service that prevents this problem. QoS optimizes performance by allocating a set amount of bandwidth for each application so that none of them consume too much. If you like to watch movies or play games online AND download files at the same time, you do not want a bad user experience. QoS will ensure that your experience is unhindered while you are downloading large files in the background. QoS ultimately shapes your traffic.

      Ports

      All routers you buy will have LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network) ports, the latter being synonymous with the internet. When you have many computers in your network, then you want a router than can accommodate all of the machines with an Ethernet cable. This allows for very fast connections between the computers, much faster than if they were interconnected wirelessly via WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network). Most routers will have one WAN port to connect to the central computer that is hosting the network or centrally accessing the internet. Routers will have multiple LAN ports to allow several computers to connect with a cable to the router, thereby being connected to the internet itself.

      Routers these days even have USB ports to allow you to connect peripherals to your computer. If your computer lacks USB ports, then investing in a router that has multiple USB ports will let you connect, for example, a printer or an external hard drive. Every computer on the network can then access the devices that are connected to the router via the USB ports. For instance, the Asus RT-5300 has 1 WAN port, 4 LAN ports, and 2 USB ports.

      Antennas

      Most routers have no external antennas. The antennas they are housed within the chassis of the router and protrude slightly from the sides of the device. Conventional wisdom says that external antennas have much better reception than internal ones, allowing for higher speeds and better penetration through walls with the enhanced signal strength. This is usually true, with users being able to manipulate the antenna on a router (as they would handle the antennas of a very old TV set) to get the best possible signal. Routers with external antennas pose one problem – they take up too much space sometimes. If you lack space in your home or office and just need to nestle your router in a tiny area, then only invest in a router that has internal antennas. However, if you need the boost in signal strength, then buy a pair of standalone external antennas and connect them to your router.

      Security

      Security is perhaps the most important feature you should consider when buying a router. Speed is important but it means nothing if you lose your personal data, such as contact details and credit card information. You want to browse the web in a protected and secure manner and that is achieved by the security parameters and measures your router incorporates. All routers have a built-in firewall to protect your computer network against intrusive online snoopers and data thieves. Typically, a firewall software will only allow certain types of incoming traffic if they have been selected in the Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) section of the software. As a result, your network will not be exposed to or be threatened by unwanted incoming traffic that you do not authorize. Buy a router that has a built-in firewall with SPI features.

      Asus routers have a technology known as Network Service Filter that blocks LAN and WAN packet exchanges and can prevent certain devices from using your network. If you have a device that you want to block from your network, simply input that device into your router configurations and it will be filtered. The Asus RT-AC66U is a great router that exhibits this feature.

      If your router has it, make sure to turn on IPsec Passthrough to permit encrypted data to pass through your router. This will enhance your security, keeping you safe against hackers and breaches. Another protocol you should definitely consider to enable is L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol). L2TP is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol for carrying data from one machine to another in a very secure and protected manner. This protocol encrypts the data and safeguards it as it is being transferred online. If you plan on using a VPN connection on your network, you must buy a router that has the L2TP feature. Consider the TP-Link TL-WR940N router, which has L2TP technology.

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