How is our WLAN router best list created – our evaluation criteria
Note: This is not (yet) a technical WLAN router test, so we have not yet tested all of the recommended models ourselves. Our recommendations are based, among other things, on external WLAN router tests by Wirecutter, or PCMag.com, for example. In addition, we research the entire network and forums such as Reddit for the best wireless routers before we give you recommendations here. Little by little, every single model is tested by ourselves!
In addition to the countless test reports, test videos and comparisons that we have viewed, we base our recommendations on clear selection criteria. For us, a good WiFi router must meet the following:
Solid hardware: Above all, a fast processor that makes the web interface fast and improves performance. No matter how good your end devices are – slow single-core processors in cheap routers can affect performance.
Good throughput: both in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band. It goes without saying that your router should have a good throughput in order to download files quickly and stream videos without any problems.
Good range : both on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band. You should be able to connect to a well-placed router from anywhere in your apartment or house. Some routers are of course better than others here.
Especially for gamers, it makes more and more sense to look for the best wireless router. We have the top 10 in comparison and below we present all of our recommendations to you individually. You can either take a quick look at the most important key data or read more about the installation, configuration, and special features of the respective router.
1. Asus RT AC-88U - Fastest dual-band router for gamers
The Asus RT-AC88U justifies the higher price with an unrivaled and record-breaking 802.11ac WLAN performance of the next generation. With four antennas and NitroQAM technology, which brings out even more speed for you, this router enables an extremely fast WiFi connection. Absolute buy recommendation for gamers (and everyone else too)!
With the Broadcom NitroQAM chipset, the RT-AC88U runs with the same hardware as current AC5300 routers . The only difference is that the RT-AC88U doesn’t have the additional 5 GHz band. However, most of you don’t care, especially since it doesn’t really affect the WiFi speed. Only if you want to have a small LAN party with you and have several active 5 GHz devices in the same network at the same time, then you would notice something. But if you don’t have more than five devices at home, this is THE router for you.
Small disadvantage: In order to get the maximum speed out of the AC88U, you sometimes need a NitroQAM wireless adapter such as the Asus PCE-AC88 *, which means you have a little extra cost. But the investment is definitely worth it: With comprehensive integrated software, eight external Gigabit LAN ports, and a USB 3.0 port with a performance of 100 MB / s, this router is our comparison winner for a reason.
In terms of speed, the Asus RT AC-88U offers you much more than a Fritzbox. With current AC1900-compatible end devices, according to the CNET test, you can easily achieve 645 MBit / s at 5 meters and a massive 335 MBit / s at 30 meters. So it’s no wonder that we have chosen it as the best WiFi router 2021.
- Ingenious web interface / UI
- Very fast WiFi speed & long range
- 8 LAN slots & many useful features for gamers
- Unfortunate No USB 3.0 port
- High price
- NAS performance leaves a lot to be desired
2. Netgear Nighthawk R7000P - Best value for money
The Netgear R7000P Nighthawk is the best WiFi router for most of us, according to Wirecutter. Its good price-performance, many practical features, and solid performance for multiple devices are simply unbeatable in combination (if you are looking for a router WITHOUT a modem). Extreme price-performance recommendation for everyone who is not looking for the fastest model, but wants to make a snap!
With the practical “Band-Steering” (Smart-Connect) your devices are automatically distributed to the two frequency bands so that both have something to do and so that your WLAN doesn’t get slow. In addition, there is a powerful dual-core 1GHz processor, MU-MIMO support, dynamic QoS for prioritizing applications, two USB ports, 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports (4 LAN, 1 WAN) and beam forming. Ergo a good mix of useful features, at the price you can’t complain.
Our price-performance recommendation proves to be mixed in the Wire cutter speed test: 166 Mb / s on the 5GHz band over a short distance, 60 Mb / s over a distance of 10 meters with a wall in between. On the 2.4 GHz band it is still 41.6 Mb / s over a longer distance (there was no information in the test for the short distance).
In the test, however, the router achieved a significantly better value of 337 Mbit / s on the 5GHz band. But be careful: the results vary depending on the test scenario and the Wirecutter test simulated a realistic environment.
- Best value for money for many
- Easy setup
- Top features like MU-MIMO and solid performance
- Not the best speed
- Dual band only
- No modem
3. Fritzbox 7490|Best cheap router with modem
The Fritzbox 7490 is still one of the top wireless routers for gamers. The convenient combination of modem and router saves you an annoying configuration and you can start right away. Great price performance for the lazy gamer!
Compared to its big brother (7590), not quite as fast and fewer features, but many times cheaper!
In practice, the WLAN ac speed is on the 5Ghz band with an ac-capable remote station, according to the chip, with an average of 340 Mbit / s in an acceptable range. With a Broadcom remote station, the speed is drastically reduced to around 92 Mbit / s. If the 7490 runs in then-standard on the 2.4 GHz band, you can still expect around 150 MB / s.
According to the test by Computerbild, the 7490 offers over 300 Mbit / s on 5Ghz-ac, as well as 200 Mbit / s on the 2.4Ghz frequency in the same room. Through 3 walls, it is only 200 or 50 Mbit / s.
But be careful: If performance is all that counts for you, the Fritz! Box 7490 may not be the best choice. However, all 802.11ac routers are currently still expensive, the AVM Fritz! Box 7490 is (still) one of the most expensive. Sure, it offers a lot more than other routers in our comparison, but if you don’t need features like the modem, there are better 802.11ac routers out there. Also, you don’t get an MU-MIMO here.
- Integrated ADSL / VDSL modem and telephony solution
- Good value for money
- Great software with intuitive operation & many extras
- Slower than other WiFi routers in the price segment
- Weaknesses in material and workmanship
- Weak processor compared to similar routers
4. TP-Link Archer C7 1750 - Best WiFi router under 100
The TP-Link Archer C7 is a real tip for bargain hunters who are looking for a great price-performance ratio. Here you get a lot of performance for little money. Top tip for thrifty gamblers!
Partly available for less than 70 euros, the part with its slightly weaker performance is perfect for smaller apartments.
In the speed test, the Archer C7 impresses with a very solid 300 MB / s in the 5 GHz range at a distance of 1.5 meters, but the performance drops significantly to 59 MB / s in the 2.4 GHz range. The TP-Link Archer C7 is more suitable for smaller apartments and can supply 3 devices with enough WLAN power at the same time. For larger apartments, however, we advise you to use a different model.
Related Article: Best Wifi 6 Router 2021
- Very good value for an 11ac router, good price
- Good WiFi range
- High-quality antennas
- Slow USB 2.0 ports
- Only mediocre WLAN speed, especially in the 2.4 GHz band
- Limited configuration, only English setup
5. Linksys WRT 1900 ACS - Fastest AC 1900 DD-WRT router
The WRT1900ACS is an updated version of the WRT1900AC that was released in 2018. The 1900AC was already declared the best DD-WRT WLAN router.
The newer version convinces with stronger hardware and optimal NAS control. Our recommendation for speed fanatics!
The giant baby in its class. According to the router test by Tomsguide, the Linksys WRT 1900 ACS convinces under optimal test conditions with up to 500 MB / s at a distance of 2 meters and thus outperforms routers in the same weight class. So at a distance of around 5 meters, the Linksys still sends at a strong 400MB / s.
At close range (around 4.5 meters), the router achieved an average of 536 Mbit / s in the CNET test and is thus at the top of the AC1900 routers. At a distance of about 30.5 meters, 349 Mbit / s could still be measured.
With powerful hardware, the Linksys WRT1900ACS Wi-Fi router offers fast Wi-Fi performance paired with a very long range. Network storage speed is also fast when hosting an external storage device. In addition, the router has a cool retro design.
Do you fluctuate between the Linksys and the Fritzbox 7490? Check out the following video (the older version of the Linksys, the AC 1900, as compared to the 7490). TLDW: Both are recommendable. Only Linksys has significantly more processor and WLAN power, but unfortunately, no integrated modem.
- Extreme WiFi speed for a 1900 AC router
- DD-WRT compatible
- A lot of setting options & excellent software
- Very large and clunky/plain design
- No MU-MIMO
- Can get relatively warm in full operation
6. Fritzbox 7590 - Fastest WiFi router with modem
The Fritzbox 7590 is AVM’s current flagship and unfortunately only available at a steep price. For all those who are looking for a modem router with great features, very good performance, many functions and easy installation, this thing is recommended without any objections.
Top tip for everyone with a little more budget! Our tester Michel was enthusiastic and runs the part at home.
The data rates of the Fritzbox 7590 are not so good for the price. Chip measures “only” 381 Mbit / s (Intel remote station) and 470 Mbit / s with Broadcom remote station in a realistic 5GHz environment in the WLAN-ac. But you can expect around 366 Mbit / s, which makes the speed of the highly praised Fritzbox 7590 look a bit pale.
So the part is much slower than some of our other top recommendations above. Of course, you get the best router with an integrated modem currently available.
- Very good speed
- Many LAN ports, integrated modem
- 2 telephone connections, 2 USB 3.0 ports
- Firmware problems with Broadcom chips
- High price
- Initial configuration can be bumpy at times
7. NETGEAR R6220 - Best cheap wifi router
The Netgear R6220 is a good choice if you have a limited budget but still want to equip your home with a dual-band WiFi network. Although this router doesn’t offer you top speeds or special features, you still get enough performance for your money.
A snap for the current price! You can be there for less than € 60.
As you would expect from a cheaper router, the Netgear R6220 does not support modern network technologies such as beamforming or MU-MIMO. The processor is not the fastest with 880Mhz either, but somewhere you have to cut back on the price. Nevertheless, you get IPv6 and QoS support, 5 Ethernet ports, and a USB 2.0 port.
In the WLAN router test by PCMag, the R6220 was able to deliver passable performance: 74 Mbit / s in the same room, 48.3 Mbit / s at a distance of 10 m for the 2.4 GHz band. On the 5 GHz band, it turns up to 331 Mbit / s over short distances and 104 Mbit / s over longer distances. We think: definitely decent for the price.
Remember that the guys from PCMag test the part with an ac-capable laptop and the test results vary depending on the device and conditions.
- Very cheap
- Can be mounted on the wall
- Easy setup
- Weak 2.4 GHz performance
- Limited range
8. Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 - High-end WiFi router with the best range
One thing is clear: the Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router (R9000) is not a bargain. But if you want to invest the money and are looking for a router with an excellent range, you will get a state-of-the-art router with countless features.
Noble router with top WiFi range, unfortunately with a price of over 300$ expensive like nothing!
While there are other routers with MU-MIMO, 160 MHz, or 802.11ad WLAN, the R9000 is one of the few that offers all three features simultaneously. Also, the device has six Gigabit LAN ports and one SPF + LAN port for a 10 Gigabit line via fiber optics (this is rare with standard routers). There is also an automatic Amazon Drive backup and Plex Media Server functionality.
Admittedly, there are not (yet) many devices that can use the 802.11.ad and 160 MHz WLAN functions. But if you are looking for a future-proof high-end router and want to upgrade anyway, then the Netgear Nighthawk X10 R9000 is just the thing.
In addition to this, of course, there is one of the fastest throughputs currently available on the market. According to the test by PCMag, the part runs with 558 MB / s on the 5 GHz band (ac) in the immediate vicinity, at a distance of 10 meters still with a strong 392 MB / s. But the performance in the 2.4 GHz band is also impressive: 99.1 MB / s in close combat and 73.3 MB / s at a distance of 10 meters.
PCMag also tested the killer part with a suitable remote station in 802.11ad mode and came up with a hefty 951 Mbit / s. Just note that the ad model is not suitable for long ranges (> 10 meters).
- Very good range
- Fast 60Hz throughput, excellent 5GHz performance
- Lots of features and fast data transfer for files
- Very high price
- MU-MIMO Performance leaves a lot to be desired
- QoS settings restricted
9. Netgear Orbi - Best WiFi mesh network system
Although the Netgear Orbi is quite expensive, it is one of the fastest WiFi routers in our comparison. The router supplied supports up to 3 satellites, of which you get one. The Orbi Mesh Router is perfect for covering large areas (up to 250 square meters) and makes WLAN repeaters obsolete.
Recommendation for everyone who has a huge booth and needs comprehensive internet for 4K streaming & gaming. Not cheap, but you get a lot of performance for your money and optimize your home network with WiFi!
- Phenomenal performance
- Smart Home support (Alexa)
- MU-MIMO support
- Quite bulky
- Extremely price
- Limited functionality on app
10. Netgear XR300 Nighthawk Gaming – best gaming router under $200
The Netgear XR300 is one of the best and fastest gaming routers under € 200. Lots of practical features can be easily set in the good DumaOS interface. Recommendation for everyone who is looking for a solid mid-range router with many gaming features!
We wrote a large test report including pictures for the Netgear XR300. You can read all information about the most important features such as MU-MIMO, QoS for ping reduction, beamforming, etc. There is also a good overview of the DumaOS software and a performance test.
- Solid throughput
- Good range
- Lots of features
- Software annoying at times
- Not enough security settings