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Best Router

Best Router
Updated 04 August 2022

Investing in a top wireless router is the best way to keep your home network stable and secure while achieving good download speeds.

After all, it doesn't matter how fast your internet is if you happen to be filtering it through a sub-standard router.

That's where this guide comes in. We've tested some of the very best routers on the market to see which offer the most impressive range, speed, reliability and value for money. Whether you're looking to stream 4K movies or play games without any lag, we have the router for you.

For

  • Wi-Fi 6-enabled
  • Superb speed
  • Funky design

Against

  • Funky design
  • High price

This batwing-looking piece of kit is about as advanced a router as you're likely to want, packing massive speed potential along with an all-important bit of future-proofing. That's right, it's fully compatible with Wi-Fi 6, the next big Wi-Fi standard. That's by no means essential for most users, but given that we are likely to see devices swap to it over time, it's a nice feature to have.

We admit that the Nighthawk design is a bit risky depending on your taste, but, overall, we're taken with its mixture of a bold look with seriously powerful performance. If you want Wi-Fi 6, this is the one for you.

For

  • Unobtrusive design
  • Great ease of use
  • Easy to expand

Against

  • Expensive to start with
  • Not a huge leap from the previous generation

Find us a pie Google hasn't got its fingers in and we'd be surprised — whole-home mesh Wi-Fi is no different. Along with most of its other efforts, Google's Nest Wifi is also predictably fantastic. It's pretty reasonably priced, although it'll still feel steep compared to the router that comes with your internet contract. 

For us, the real difference is in day-to-day use. Nest Wifi has a strong signal to make sure that you get whole-home coverage, and extenders available to widen that coverage if your home needs it.

The router is unobtrusive and easy to set up, and each extender doubles up as a capable smart speaker with Google Assistant on board. It's a market-leading product as far as simplicity and benefits are concerned. 

For

  • Wi-Fi 6-enabled
  • Looks pretty normal
  • Great speeds

Against

  • Expensive
  • Can only mount vertically

While it's not exactly a quiet look, this router from Asus is a little more "normal" looking than some of the other options on this list, which is a plus.

It also offers superb speeds and impressive range, all with a user interface that makes it really easy to set up and tweak to your exact needs.

It's got Wi-Fi 6, just as you'd hope, and therefore does have a high price to show for it, but you should find it a reliable workhorse for years to come.

How to choose a Wi-Fi router

Choosing the right Wi-Fi router can involve a lot of technical jargon you might not understand. Here are some broad questions to help guide you through your decision.

What's your budget?

This is a question that we apply to pretty much every tech purchasing decision, but it's undeniably important. Knowing how much you want to or can afford to spend is really important in ensuring you don't end up going over that budget.

Sadly, the best Wi-Fi routers out there are largely very expensive now, as a result of a push into new territory with Wi-Fi 6, but that's not to say you can't find a bargain at a lower price point if you look.

Are you an online gamer?

While every router on our list will offer great speeds and responsiveness, some are more explicitly aimed at the gamers among us, who might want extra features like ping heatmaps or low-latency options to make sure that their online gaming is never disrupted by a poor connection on their side.

This is something to look into if you are serious about your gaming, as you might find that a gaming router is the best pick. That said, in our experience, these do tend to look a little more outlandish.

Do you want to future-proof?

Wi-Fi 6 is here, bringing improved connections for those devices that support it (which isn't actually all that many yet). While it might be a little superfluous right now, you won't want to update your router every couple of years, so we'd recommend plumping for a Wi-Fi 6 router if you can afford it - it's the best way to ensure you have a router that will stand the test of time.

Does design matter to you?

We've mentioned it a couple of times, and it'll also be self-evident from the list we've compiled, but routers come in all shapes and sizes. Sadly, many of these shapes and sizes are a little bit ugly. It's fine if your access point means the router will be in a hallway or home office, but if it's going to somewhere that is visible all the time or to guests, you probably don't want some crazy spiked monster that takes up a couple of square feet.

We'd generally prioritise functionality over design for something like a router, but it's fair to say that if you want something both impressive technically and nice to look at it might take you a while to discover the right choice.

About the Author

Max joined Pocket-lint after work for Wareable. He is an avid gamer, but writes about whatever is newsworthy, and works across buyer’s guides, features, news and more for the site

About Pocket-lint

How we decided on which products to include

The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you.
We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value.

How we review products

Every product we review we use in real life situations as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
We aren't interested in pointless number crunching or providing you overly long reviews including how we took it out of the box, but easy to read, and more importantly, easy to understand reviews that give you an idea of what it's going to be like to use it.
And don't for a second think that because our quick reviews are easy to read, it means we've not tested the products fully. We have.
We've been covering tech since 2003 and in many cases have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generation before that, and before that, right back to the first model on the market.
We constantly ask the same three questions for every product that we see:

* Does it work?

* Does it make my life better?

* Has it got wow factor?

We like to embrace the tech in our lives putting products through real-life situations rather than a lab and this approach is at the core of everything we strive to do at Pocket-lint.

Why you should trust us

Pocket-lint has been a trusted global authority on all things consumer tech since 2003 and has been at every major tech launch during that time. Whether that was being at the first iPhone launch or the latest round of announcements from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Put simply, we know our stuff.

Our news and features are designed to be useful and in-depth, our buyer's guides, helpful and knowledgeable, and our reviews thorough, but not overly geeky.
Pocket-lint's team is made up of journalists who have been in the industry for decades and are regularly quoted in online publications, national newspapers, and television.
We're here to entertain and inform about the tech that matters.

The publisher earns affiliate commissions from Amazon for qualifying purchases. The opinions expressed about the independently selected products mentioned in this content are those of the publisher, not Amazon.

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