Best Wireless router 2019 – Our roundup and definitive buyers guide

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Most broadband providers provide their customers with a default wireless router – so many people believe that there is no need for a third party router.

And for a section of people this is partially true. Take your 58 year old mom that likes to browse and potentially pay a few bills, a standard AT&T router may be just fine.

However, for those of us on super fast broadband connections – we want every last drip and drop of bandwidth – we want to know what the best router is and where to buy the best router!



Why pay for a super fast 200 M/Bit broadband connection when Wi-Fi is only delivering 30 M/Bit and that’s not per device either – that’s as a pool, so when the parents are on Wi-Fi and the kids are watching Netflix on 3 different devices – that 30 M/bit is then split 3 ways! That’s why something like the Asus RT-AC88UU is so popular – the WiFi capability of this router is upto 1000 Mbps – more than enough for 100 people watching Netflix on your WiFi network!

If the above isn’t enough – there’s also security… Many of the generic, bottom of the range (and let’s face it – CHEAP) routers that are provided with your connection are not exactly secure (more about this as we get into our round up).

Then there are the gamers. As a gamer myself, the last thing I want is LAG! I absolutely loathe and detest LAG! Most routers that are supplied by default have restrictions in place – those juicy advanced router settings just aren’t available.


11ac Wireless routers offer the best results and are the fastest wireless routers available. The very best (truthful – ignore the boasts of 600mb – it’s not happening) speed that you can hope for on a 2.4GHz band is 450 mb/s. The chipset developer Broadcom have created a speed breakthrough based on non-standard techniques.

It’s outside of the IEEE 802.11 standard and utilises the 256-QAM – Broadcom are calling this “TurboQAM” but at the moment none of your laptops or mobile devices can join this type of WiFi network.

So “what’s the best we can hope for in today’s world” I hear you cry! On the 2.4GHz band you’re looking at around 170MB/s – which is still faster than almost all current broadband connections (in the UK at least).

There is also really no need to purchase a router that has so many antennas that it looks like a spider – unless, you like that kind of thing. Our tests have shown that internal antennas can be just as fast and effective as the ones that look mutated spiders.

Lots of house holds still have a need for LAN ports or Wired Ethernet ports and connections. The main reason is that almost all are at least gigabit connections. Most routers have 4 ports but these can very easily be extended with a cheap gigabit switch.

We have reviewed a range of routers to suit any budget in our pursuit to find the best wireless router and have added lots of router reviews over the year.

If you want to find out what the best wireless router is in 2019 – keep reading! We have identified what routers offer the best Wi-Fi.

We have simply rounded up what we believe are the best wireless routers in 2019. Your budget, wants and needs will dictate what router is the best for you.

BEST WIRELESS ROUTER OF 2019 LIST

1. ASUS RT-AC88U (OUR TOP CHOICE)

PROS

  • MU-MIMO
  • Fast 5 GHz performance
  • Intuitive Web interface

CONS

  • Awkward placing of USB 3.0 port
  • 2.4 GHz band isn’t great
  • Intuitive Web interface

ASUS are a power player when it comes to computer hardware and many enthusiasts may know ASUS from their excellent motherboards but they are also one of the best router manufacturers.

The ASUS RT-88U Dual-band Router is a high end router that has some brilliant features. Including the following:

  • Simultaneous Dual-band Wifi – 2.4GHz + 5GHz
  • 8 Gigabit ports
  • One USB 3.0 port for NAS
  • Ultra fast 802.11ac – boasting ultra smooth 4k streaming

The Asus RT-AC88U truly is one of the best wireless routers available on the market today and all for under $300 (£230).

Everything about this router is top class. The setup is extremely easy and intuitive with a browser window automatically popping up once you have connected it to your broadband provider.

The interface is a breeze for gamers, having specific settings available at the click of a button to give you optimum performance for Xbox Live and the PSN network.

All other settings are clearly available:

  • Network map
  • Guest network
  • AirProtection
  • Traffic analyser plus much more

The Wireless speeds are fantastic – if you’re within 12 feet and on a 5GHz network the speed is in excess of 300 Mbps.

Even on the second floor of our offices we had wireless speeds of 100 Mbps which is absolutely excellent.

Performance coupled with a sleek look and a great software interface make the ASUS RT-AC88U an absolute must buy if you have the budget for one!

Read our ASUS RT-AC88U ROUTER REVIEW in full.

2. NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK R7000

PROS

  • Slick design
  • Unrivaled Attached USB storage speeds
  • 2 x USB ports – one at the front!
  • Brilliant parental controls

CONS

  • Other AC1900 routers have better range
  • Can be difficult to setup when compared to ASUS
  • Premium price tag
  • Interface looks 10 years old

The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router is another dual band wonder router. It’s stunning angular, aggressive looks suggests there’s a beast lurking under its enclosure – and the suggestion is spot on.

It comes equipped with three antennas meaning the WiFi range is brilliant.

The throughput and performance of the Nighthawk R7000 is unrivaled – at the 5 GHz band, the throughput is incredible.

With its use of beamforming – our devices will get a boost when required – the router will adjust it’s signal dependent on where you are in relation to it, meaning no more wasted signal.

The USB 3.0 port is outstanding! It beat every other router hands down in terms of the speed of access with attached mass storage.

The Dual CPU is also something to behold – with 2 x 1GHz chips!

The Nighthawk also supports DD-WRT right out of the box meaning you can run 3rd party Linux based firmware with no modifications or work around needed.

QoS (Quality of Service) is also featured meaning you can control both the downstream and upstream of your connection to the internet.

Read our Netgear Nighthawk R7000 review.

3. D-LINK DIR-890L DUAL BAND ROUTER

PROS

  • Strong Wi-Fi connection
  • Fast storage and Wi-Fi speeds
  • Striking aesthetics
  • Intuitive management interface

CONS

  • It’s pricey
  • Other routers in its class are faster
  • It’s very big
  • Limited configuration options and settings

You will be happy with the D-Link DIR 890L if you have lots of Wi-Fi compatible devices and are looking for a powerful yet easy to use router.

With six adjustable antennas – this router looks like it should belong in a super hero’s penthouse apartment! It not only looks great but has an extremely stable WiFi connection and with the additional USB connection can be used as a more than capable network storage server!

It’s a tri-band router boating both 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz bands! It supports 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless networking. With its beamforming technology, even on the 3rd floor of a three story house, your WiFi signal will be rock solid.

It’s setup is easy and sleek with a very easy to follow wizard.

For the money – it’s a great buy. It has performance, looks and a rock solid feel! It’s ultra-fast speed is perfect for both HD streaming and gaming.

A 1 GHZ Dual Core Processor gives you all the processing power you need to support more devices and apps in your home. Experience the ultimate in lag free gaming and 4K media streaming.

Read our full D-link DIR-890L router review.

4. TP-LINK ARCHER C7 ROUTER (BEST BUDGET BUY ROUTER)

PROS

  • Solid performance for the price tag
  • Feature rich
  • DDRWT capable

CONS

  • Wireless settings are scarce
  • Throughput is so-so

We have selected the TP-LINK Archer C7 router as our best budget buy and for good reason! For less than £100 you get the next generation Wi-Fi standard 802.11ac.

With up to 3 times the range and speed of wireless ‘N’ with a combined data speed of up to 1.75 Gbps over a crystal clear 5 GHz band and 450 Mbps over it’s 2.4 GHz band – it truly is a great choice of router for HD streaming and online gaming – all for less than £100!!

With 4 gigabit LAN ports, this router truly has the spec of a much more expensive router. It also comes equipped with not one but two USB 2.0 ports to connect all of your external mass storage devices such as external hard drives, printers and media!

You can even set it up as an external FTP server for when you’re away from home.

For the price – you simply cannot go wrong. Compact in size and a total breeze to setup.

DDRWT is also possible!

Read our full TP-LINK Archer C7 router review.

5. ASUS RT-AC68U AC1900 ROUTER

PROS

  • Blazing Wi-Fi speeds
  • Long range for Wi-Fi
  • Rapid media streaming
  • Easy setup

CONS

  • The sheer amount of features may confuse some
  • Design is like Marmite – you will love it or hate it

This is a very solid and well built router.

The design is very sleek and it comes with three detachable antennas. It is extremely easy to set up, one of the easiest on the market in fact. It does come with instructions to set up if you’d like to follow these, but you don’t need to as if you plug the router in as soon as you open your internet interface, whether that is Google Chrome or Firefox or whichever you use, an online wizard will pop up to take you through the simple steps to set up the router.

Speed: Up to 1.3 Gbps
Compliance: IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac
Security: MPPE, 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise
Other features: Dual Band, 4 Gigabit ports, 3 antennas, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0

This is a great router and is available for a little over £100!

Read our full ASUS RT-AC68U router review.

6. LINKSYS WRT1900 ACS ROUTER (BEST VALUE)

PROS

  • Brilliant Wi-Fi speeds
  • OpenWRT capable
  • USB and eSATA connectivity
  • Very easy setup
  • Robust chasis

CONS

  • No MU-MIMO
  • Very large router

Linksys have delivered yet again with their WRT1900 ACS router. These are some of its standout features:

  • Superb Wi-Fi performance
  • The User Interface is amazing
  • It has openWRT support out of the box
  • The design is both sleek and robust

It has an excellent processor and lots of RAM helping it run quickly in demanding multi-device and user situations.

It has a dual band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), has a four aerial setup to give it excellent range and is capable of blistering 1900AC wireless speeds. It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet connection ports, native USB 3.0 and it even has an eSATA port that doubles up as a USB 2.0 port.

Internally it house a dual core 1.6 GHz ARM CPU and coupled with it’s 512MB of ram it’s great for use of custom OpenWRT firmwares.

At around £150 – this router is an absolute bargain offering:

  • Rock solid wireless speeds
  • OpenWRT firmware
  • MU-MIMO

If you need all of its features and can afford the £150 – BUY ONE!

7. LINKSYS EA9500 ROUTER

PROS

  • 8 Gigabit LAN ports
  • Seamless roaming
  • Wi-Fi performance that’s out of this world
  • 5.3 Gbps bandwidth
  • MU-MIMO

CONS

  • It’s absolutely massive!
  • Very expensive

This is an absolute monster of a router – huge in proportions with an even bigger price tag!

Along with its huge size and monster price tag is a plethora of advanced features that this sort of price tag commands. With 8 Gigabit ports and an octo antennae and 3 Wireless bands – this router has all the ingredients to be the very last router you ever buy!

Unless you have seen the Linksys EA9500 router in real life, you cannot gauge just how truly huge this beast of a router is and with the 8 atennas sticking out – it looks like something out of a science fiction movie. At 10 inches long (almost a foot long!), 12 inches (a foot long) wide and almost 3 inches tall – without antennas – it truly is something to see. Oh and it weighs over 1.5kg!

So what is the exterior containing inside:

  • Tri-band – 2 x 5Ghz band and one 2.4Ghz band
  • 8 Gigabit ports
  • The latest wireless-AC technology for simultaneously streaming and gaming on multiple devices
  • Seamless roaming – your device will automatically switch to the strongest Wi-Fi signal as you move around your house – meaning you will always have the strongest signal available
  • Wi-Fi speeds of up-to 5.3 Gbps!
  • One USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port
  • 2 x 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU’s keeping everything quick an to the click

Have no fear, questions or doubts – the Linksys EA9500 covers all of your wireless router bases. You will have high performance, amazing Wi-Fi coverage and you can even connect upto 8 wired devices.

8. APPLE AirPort EXTREME ROUTER

PROS

  • Beautifully designed
  • Strong 5 GHz band
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Only 3 Gigabit ports
  • Media streaming is not possible
  • No USB 3.0
  • 2.4 GHz band suffers from poor performance

In terms of aesthetics – everyone knows that Apple is the pinnacle of design – almost everything Apple creates is beautiful to look at and the Apple AirPort extreme router really is no exception!

The router doesn’t have the masses of configurable options and features that some of the routers on out list has but in reality, Apple products are purchased for their looks, not that the Apple AirPort extreme router isn’t a capable router – it is….

It has Dual ban broadcasting – the 2.4 GHz is capable of 450 Mbps and the 5 GHz band is capable of 1300 Mbps – proving that it is a more than capable router.

It only has 3 gigabit ports. It doesn’t have parental control, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi Multimedia nor does it have QoS (Quality of Service).

It doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port – only 2.0.

BUT – it is absolutely stunning. The choice is yours!

Read our full Apple AirPort Extreme router review.

9. ASUS RT-AC5300

PROS

  • The fastest router we have ever tested
  • Unrivaled features
  • 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz are fast
  • MU-MIMO

CONS

  • Expensive
  • USB 3.0 port doesn’t live up to expectations

The ASUS RT-AC5300 is the DADDY of all available wireless routers in 2019. It has incredible top speeds with an absolute treasure chest of features and 2GB ethernet link aggregation.

The price tag is almost $400 (Just north of £349.99) but for that investment, you get the absolute pinnacle of cutting edge Wi-Fi technology including:

  • NitroQAM for unbelievable speeds for single-user throughput
  • MU-MIMI technolgoy
  • 2 x 5GHz bands for fast multi-user performance.
  • Link aggregation allowing almost 2Gbps throughput.
  • USB 3.0 – situated at the rear
  • Tri-band – 2 x 5 Ghz bands and one 2.4 GHz for legacy devices

The setup gives you just as many options as it supplies features. You can set the RT-AC5300 up as a router, access point or even a wireless bridge. The setup is rich in features providing you with options regarding traffic-monitoring, network quality and firewall.

The performance of the ASUS RT-AC5300 is really where it sets itself apart from other routers. The 5 GHz band is the fastest we have ever tested – delivering over 80MB/sec – that’s a full 10MB/sec faster than any router I have ever tested.

Should you buy the ASUS RT-AC5300? This router is the absolute pinnacle of wireless routers and it is the fastest router money can buy. However, it suffers from only have 4 Gigabit ports when other routers in this price bracket has 8 and indeed even ASUS own RT-AC88U ROUTER offers 8.

You can also purchase similar routers (all be it with slower Wi-Fi) for almost half the price – this won’t bother some people but when we look at price vs perfromance, there are other routers that offer a better price point and although this router costs twice as much as other routers – is it twice as good?? Not necessarily.

Read our full ASUS RT-AC5300 review.

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