The best Wi-Fi routers

Connect to the internet without dropouts, slow speeds, or other inconsistencies.

Best Overall

Eero Pro 6E

eero Pro 6E

Best long-range

TP-Link Deco X55

TP-Link Deco AX3000

Best budget

Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System

Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System

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If your home’s wireless internet network is flaky, or certain rooms of your home have been dubbed “dead zones,” an underpowered Wi-Fi router is probably to blame. This is especially true if you live with multiple people with an ever-growing list of devices. It’s often no longer sufficient to rely on the router/modem combo provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) for good service. Investing in one of the best Wi-Fi routers will guarantee you’ll have a strong, fast, consistent internet connection throughout your entire home.

How we chose the best Wi-Fi routers

A Wi-Fi router is the bedrock of your connected home and arguably the gadget you’ll rely on most throughout the day, so stability is paramount. We’ve done a mix of research and hands-on testing to determine which Wi-Fi routers to select for this guide, factoring in the size of your home, how many devices you have, the main reasons you’ll use the internet, and how much you’d like to spend. The good news is that there’s never been a better time to get a Wi-Fi router. Companies have upped their game substantially, making their networking gear more sophisticated and easier to use.

The best Wi-Fi routers will receive regular updates to continually improve their security and gain new features, but download and install them at a time when you won’t be interrupted. You can set up and manage these routers using apps rather than logging into them using an IP address—we’ve been there, and it’s not fun—which is especially handy for troubleshooting. Even budget-priced entry-level routers have these features, which is a good sign that home networking is being taken seriously. Finding the best Wi-Fi router amidst all this competition can be tough, but that’s why we’re here to help.

The best Wi-Fi routers: Reviews & Recommendations

The sudden rise of remote work and school, combined with everything from security systems to speakers to countertop ovens to toothbrushes becoming internet-connected and “smart,” has put a strain on aging networking gear. Various ISPs (Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum) can offer good modem-router combos, but if you don’t research carefully, you might find that comes at a higher cost with lower capabilities. Our selection of Wi-Fi routers comes from a wide variety of well-known and trusted brands that can relieve bandwidth congestion. Each router has a specific feature that helps it stand out, but all of them clear a set bar of quality. You’re sure to find one that fits your needs and budget.

Best overall: eero Pro 6E

Eero Pro 6E


  • Speed: 2.3Gbps
  • Range: 6000 square feet
  • Wi-Fi version: 6E
  • Mesh: Yes


  • Ultra-fast speeds
  • Supports the latest Wi-Fi version
  • Excellent coverage
  • Easy to set up and manage


  • Expensive

Eero continues to make the best Wi-Fi routers for most people over six years after its hardware debuted and brought mesh Wi-Fi routers into the mainstream.

In our tests, which included uploading and downloading large files while streaming video on a TV and downloading digital games on the Nintendo Switch, we never felt a reduction in performance. Granted, our tests were conducted using a Gigabit fiber optic internet connection, so your results will vary based on your internet package. We were sent a two-pack of Eero Pro 6E routers and mostly stuck to using one, which covered all but the deepest reaches of a three-floor condo.

We only had trouble in one far-off room on a different floor from the router, which necessitated installing the second router. The second router eliminated that one dead zone and improved the consistency of our network overall. If you have thin walls, there’s no reason why one of eero’s routers would be sufficient for your entire space. You always have the option to add additional eero routers to your home network since this is a mesh Wi-Fi system.

Setting up and configuring an Eero remains as straightforward as it ever has. The company’s app is world-class and makes the process seamless. We were guided through all the necessary steps to get up and running: Plugging eero’s router into an outlet, connecting it to our cable modem using an Ethernet cable, and waiting for its LED to flash blue, which let us know it was ready for setup. The only information you’ll need to enter is your desired network name and password. Once the router is configured, it’ll ask whether you want to set up any additional hardware and automatically check for a software update.

In our opinion, this is the way home networking hardware should always work. Eero’s routers do all the heavy lifting, with minimal—if any—maintenance needed to keep your network going. Another positive feature eero has going for it is the overall design of its hardware. These routers have no antennas, nor are they tall, monolith-like beasts that’ll draw unwanted attention from guests. The squat, bulbous Wi-Fi routers can sit on a desk or next to a cable modem without looking out of place.

Security-conscious users will appreciate the Pro 6E’s support of WPA3 and the option to fortify their network further with eero Plus. The paid service costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year and includes the ability to block ads, set up content filters, or block apps at the Wi-Fi router level. This means you won’t have to set specific parental controls on children’s devices or worry about them using a potentially malicious app on a smartphone or tablet. Eero Plus also includes subscriptions to 1Password (a password manager), (a VPN), and Malwarebyte (antivirus software), to further protect internet-connected hardware on your network.

Eero’s Pro 6E routers have a pretty steep price tag—especially if you opt for the three-router package—but this is the type of big up-front, one-time purchase that’s well worth the money. Once these Wi-Fi routers are set up, you won’t have to worry about having a good internet connection again. We’re also encouraged by the fact that Eero supports its hardware for a very long time. Its first-generation routers received software updates and security patches until early this year. Eero also offers a 25% discount on its newer routers when you trade in old ones, which is a more useful (environmentally-friendly) option than throwing them out or keeping them in a drawer.

Best for gaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro XR1000 Gaming Wi-Fi 6 Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro XR1000 Gaming WiFi 6 Router


  • Speed: 5.4 Gbps
  • Range: 2500 square feet
  • Wi-Fi version: Wi-Fi 6
  • Mesh: No


  • Very high top speed
  • A USB port for use as a media server
  • Four Ethernet ports for wired connections


  • Its look is slightly garish

A strong, stable internet connection is imperative for online gaming, and if you can get beyond its confusing name and garish look, there’s a lot to like about NETGEAR’s Nighthawk Pro XR1000 Gaming Wi-Fi 6 Router. Its marquee feature is its top speed of 5.4Gbps, which guarantees lag-free wireless gaming if your internet package is fast enough. The Wi-Fi router is also equipped with four Ethernet ports if you want to wire up your gaming PC and three consoles for even lower latency (lag). These Ethernet ports are complimented by a USB port, which allows you to hook up an external hard drive and use this router as a media or file server. Many people won’t take advantage of that feature, but it’s nice to have.

Wireless networking has always been too slow for many fast-paced online games like first-person shooters. Players whose connections introduce even milliseconds of lag are put at a big disadvantage. Conversely, having your gaming PC or console hooked up to your Wi-Fi router with a cable can limit its placement options. Netgear has aimed to mitigate these issues by developing an operating system called DumaOS 3.0. This software, which runs on the XR1000, was designed specifically to address latency. It does so by automatically connecting to the fastest servers in your region and prioritizing internet bandwidth used by gaming hardware. Will it be perfect all of the time? No. But unless you’re playing online games competitively, you shouldn’t notice that much of a difference.

The XR1000 is a single-point router, which means its signal won’t reach as far as a multi-router mesh Wi-Fi system. If the range is your biggest concern, look elsewhere. That said, this router’s monstrously high speeds and gaming-specific features make it a great get if that’s your primary use case.

Best Wi-Fi 6: eero 6+

eero 6


  • Speed: 1Gbps
  • Range: 1,500 square feet
  • Wi-Fi version: 6
  • Mesh: Yes (Potentially)


  • Easy to set up and manage
  • The potential to add more router later on
  • Sleek look


  • Locks you into a specific hardware ecosystem

Our experience with Eero’s higher-end hardware has been so positive that recommending its entry-level eero 6+ router was a no-brainer. The eero 6+ shares almost all of the same features as its higher-end sibling: an understated look, fast speeds, easy setup and maintenance, support for Eero Plus, in a smaller, single package. Eero offers the 6+ in a one-, two-, or three-pack to enable a mesh Wi-Fi setup, but we’re recommending a single router this time around because its 1,500-square-foot range makes it the perfect choice for many single-floor houses and apartments. The Eero 6+ isn’t quite as fast as the Pro 6E because it only supports Wi-Fi 6, but that won’t be an issue for everyday tasks like downloading files, casually playing games online, or streaming videos and music.

We like that eero offers the ability to scale up your network over time, adding new routers as your needs change, or technology evolves. For example, you can get a single eero 6+ at a relatively low price today, then pick up a multi-router Pro 6E bundle down the line and add them to your existing network. This modularity puts eero’s 6+ at an advantage compared to a typical single-point router. If all you need is a single Wi-Fi 6-compatible router for your home, eero’s 6+ is the one to get.

Best mesh: Linksys MX8503 Atlas Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi Mesh System

Linksys MX8503


  • Speed: 8.4Gbps
  • Range: 9,000 square feet
  • Wi-Fi version: 6E
  • Mesh: Yes


  • Incredible top speed
  • Massive range
  • Broadcasts signal at three frequencies


  • Prohibitively expensive

In many ways, Linksys’ MX8503 Atlas Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi Mesh System is the best consumer-level wireless networking hardware available today. It has the highest top speeds, furthest range, most sophisticated wireless signal, and optimization features that ensure over 195 devices can be added to your network without suffering from wireless interference. The catch? The three-router system costs $800—on sale from its MSRP of $1000—which makes it a no-go for all but the most hardcore internet users with the fastest internet packages and greatest networking needs. If you’re one of those people, the MX8503 is peerless.

Its top speed of 8.4Gbps will max out any internet package currently available in the United States and can handle the 5-Gigabit connections as they roll out in select markets over the next few years. Getting these Wi-Fi routers now will futureproof your network for the next decade—or however long Linksys supports this hardware—where speed is concerned. We’re also confident that this three-router system will be able to cover your entire home given its range of 9,000 square feet, though you can add more routers if you feel that it’s necessary.

One of the reasons for the MX8503’s dominance is that it can connect to devices on three frequencies: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. Very few devices will be able to connect to the routers at 6Ghz, but the ones that do will enjoy the fastest speeds because there’ll be little to no interference. We’ve had the opportunity to test some of Linksys previous-generation networking hardware and found it pretty easy to set up and manage. The setup process is similar to eero’s, but we found the Linksys mobile app (iOS and Android) to be a little more cumbersome.

Linksys’ MX8503 Atlas Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi Mesh System isn’t necessary for many homes, but small businesses that occupy a floor of an office building may find the high-speed potential and range appealing. If money is no object, and you want to live your tech life on the cutting edge, don’t hesitate to choose these Wi-Fi routers.

TP-Link Deco X55


  • Speed: 3Gbps
  • Range: 6,500 square feet
  • Wi-Fi version: 6
  • Mesh: Yes


  • Expansive range
  • Optimizes its performance based on your usage patterns
  • Surprisingly reasonable price


  • Slightly lower top speed

If you have a multi-story home that needs a big internet upgrade, TP-Link’s Deco X55 is the best mesh router system for you. It covers 6,500 square feet, which is almost 10% more space than our best overall pick, from a three-pack of routers that costs less than half the price. Now the X55 is only Wi-Fi 6, which means its top speeds are lower than what’s on offer from eero and Linksys, but the value is still there. If you have an internet package that supports speeds of 500mbps or less, the difference in performance will be negligible—if any exists at all.

It should be no surprise that the best Wi-Fi solution for long-range needs is a mesh router system. For the best performance, we recommend setting one of TP-Link’s routers on each floor of your home. TP-Link says the routers will learn your usage patterns—which devices in which areas demand the most bandwidth—and optimize itself to accommodate your needs. That means the game console in the basement that routinely downloads large files will get priority over a bedroom TV streaming YouTube videos in HD. Smart home gadgets should do all these tasks in the background, so we’re glad TP-Link has built this feature into its hardware.

Our experience with older TP-Link link routers has always been positive, and we’ve been especially pleased with the company’s Deco app. TP-Link makes a whole host of smart home accessories, so it makes sense that it’s streamlined the setup process for internet-connected gear, but it’s still nice to see. If you’re totally new to mesh Wi-Fi routers, this is a good place to start. TP-Link says the X55 routers can automatically detect some security issues, but you can fortify your network with a paid HomeShield Pro account. The service, which costs $5.99 per month or $54.99 offers advanced parental controls, DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, and advanced protection for smart home accessories.

If you’re suffering from recurring network issues due to the size of your home, this set of TP-Link’s Deco X55 should fix them pretty easily. The range it offers at its price is also impressive, making it a particularly good value for those in larger spaces.

Best portable: NETGEAR Nighthawk M1

NETGEAR Nighthawk M1


  • Speed: 150Mbps
  • Range: N/A
  • Wi-Fi version: 5
  • Mesh: No


  • Compact
  • Battery-powered
  • LCD display shows key information


  • Expensive

Netgear’s Nighthawk M1 is a mobile hotspot, which means it can connect to a cellular satellite using a SIM card and create a unique Wi-Fi network. If you’re a frequent traveler, this battery-powered device is a must-have since you can access the internet from your phone, tablet, computer, or gaming device. Its 150Mbps speeds may not be impressive compared to the other Wi-Fi routers recommended, but none of those can run on battery power or fit into a backpack or pocket. One of the M1’s most impressive features is its Ethernet port, which allows you to use it in place of a cable modem and connect it to another Wi-Fi router. In this mode, the M1 would receive data from a cellular satellite and send that data through a Wi-Fi router, which would then communicate with all your devices. You could create a whole-home mesh Wi-Fi router system anywhere in the world with this setup—though that would require lugging several Wi-Fi routers in your luggage.

The Nighthawk M1 is technically impressive, but it does have some limitations. It only works with AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards, and the speeds you get will entirely rely on the strength of the 4G LTE cellular signal it receives. If you’re in an area with low bars, your Wi-Fi speeds will suffer. The good thing is that you’ll be able to see the quality of your network at a glance by looking at this router’s LED screen, which displays the strength of its cellular connection, battery life, how much time and data is left on your month’s internet plan, which network it’s connected to, and how many devices are connected to it. That’s a lot of information, but Netgear did a great job arranging it so that it’s easy to read and understand.

If portability is your primary concern, and you want to take Wi-Fi with you everywhere, Netgear’s Nighthawk M1 is the right gadget for the job.

Best budget: Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System

Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System


  • Speed: 867Mbps
  • Range: 4,500 square feet
  • Wi-Fi version: 5
  • Mesh: Yes


  • Low cost
  • Solid range
  • Built-in parental controls


  • Not Wi-Fi 6 compliant

Let’s cut to the chase: Vilo is offering a three-router mesh Wi-Fi system for under $100 without making any serious compromises. That’s all you really need to know about this set of Wi-Fi routers, but it’s worth going into additional detail. Vilo’s routers support Wi-Fi 5 with speeds of up to 867Mbps and a range of 4,500 square feet. These specs are fine for common use cases like videoconferencing, downloading games, online shopping, and streaming movies. You can set up and manage these routers using an app and pick up additional ones to extend the range of your network down the line.

We like that Vilo allows you to set per-device restrictions and time limits on specific devices, so you don’t have to constantly look over a child’s shoulder to ensure they’re not looking at anything objectionable or wonder if they’re secretly on their phone after bedtime. The lack of Wi-Fi 6 support and lower speeds that come along with that will matter if you pay for a gigabit internet plan, but it’s a non-issue if you’re on a package that’s 300Mbps or less. You can eke out more performance from devices with an Ethernet jack by connecting them to one of Vilo’s routers directly. The difference in speed won’t be too big, but you may end up with a slightly more consistent connection.

All mesh Wi-Fi router systems used to cost several hundred dollars, and while the price of this networking gear has come down some recently, the value of Vilo’s Wi-Fi routers can’t be overstated. If you have a fairly large home and don’t need the fastest possible speeds for work or play, you can’t go wrong here.

What to consider when buying the best Wi-Fi routers

Below are the features we considered most important when determining the best Wi-Fi routers to select for this guide:


It’s hard to argue against speed being the most important factor in choosing a Wi-Fi router because it’s the likeliest reason you’re upgrading from the one you have. There are a couple of steps we recommend taking before picking up new hardware to determine whether or not it’s worth the investment.

First, see whether the speeds you’re getting from your current setup match up with the plan you’re paying for from your ISP. If all of the internet packages in your area are slow, getting a new Wi-Fi router isn’t going to make much of an improvement in this area. If you’re getting speeds far slower than what you’re paying for, and you’re using a standalone Wi-Fi router connected to your ISP-supplied modem, consider picking up an Ethernet cable that supports gigabit speeds. This cable will set you back less than $10, and may fix your issue. Finally, contact your ISP to see if there’s an issue on their end or if the hardware they supplied you is faulty. ISPs can reset your cable modem remotely, resolving a surprising amount of internet issues.

If you’ve followed these steps and still determined you want or need a new Wi-Fi router, make sure to choose one that supports a slightly higher speed than what you’re paying for. For example, if you’re paying for an internet connection that supports download speeds up to 100Mbps (megabits per second), pick a router that supports speeds up to 500Mbps. You’ll always lose some bandwidth between your Wi-Fi router and device—especially if there’s a wall in the way—so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most modern Wi-Fi routers have maximum speeds that are several times higher than what an ISP can deliver, but it’s something to consider.


If you’re looking to expand the size of your network, the first Wi-Fi router spec to look at is its range. For the best results, look at the size of your home and get a router that’s rated to cover an area that’s slightly larger to account for Wi-Fi signals getting weaker as they go through walls.

If you have a smaller home, you may only need a single-point router, which, as its name suggests, sends Wi-Fi signals out from one place. Single-point routers typically have multiple antennas, which can be arranged in different directions to help encourage even coverage. If upgrading from a modem/router combo provided by your ISP, you have experience with a single-point router.

We recommend getting a mesh Wi-Fi router system if you have a large home, dense walls, a lot of internet-connected devices, or any combination of the three. Mesh Wi-Fi systems rely on multiple routers placed in different parts of your home to create a giant network. Devices will automatically connect to the router closest to them, and you’re guaranteed to get better overall coverage with this type of system. The downside is that you’ll need to dedicate multiple outlets in different parts of your home to networking hardware.


Nothing is more important than internet security, so choosing routers that support the latest encryption technologies was paramount. The routers we recommend support the third-generation Wi-Fi Protection Alliance standard, shortened to WPA3. This disallows outside interlopers from easily hacking into your network through security holes. That said, the best first line of defense against network hacking is a strong password. Your ISP-supplied modem/router combo will come with a network name and password, but it’s up to you to create a good one when you’re setting up your own hardware.

Wi-Fi version

You’ll see this tech spec a lot, but it’s less important than you may think. Basically, versions of Wi-Fi used to be classified by the number 802.11 followed by a series of letters. This became confusing because the letters didn’t follow a set pattern: For instance, 802.11N was worse than 802.11AC, which was worse than 802.11AX. The Wi-Fi Alliance moved to a numbered versioning system to help consumers distinguish between different models but has since muddied the waters a little bit. The current Wi-Fi standard is Wi-Fi 6E (the E stands for enhanced), while Wi-Fi 7 hardware was announced at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2023. We’re only recommending Wi-Fi routers that support Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E for simplicity.

One important note is that Wi-Fi is a backward-compatible tech standard, which means your Wi-Fi-enabled devices don’t need to support the same Wi-Fi version as your router. If you buy a router that’s Wi-Fi 6E compliant but have gadgets that were made 10 years ago, you’ll have no problem connecting them to the internet. On the other hand, you’ll reap the full speed and connectivity benefits of your Wi-Fi router when you upgrade to newer hardware.

Wi-Fi bands

Most modern Wi-Fi routers have two bands, which means they send a signal at two frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Older dual-band routers will actually create two separate Wi-Fi networks (typically shown as “Network Name” and “Network Name 5G”). In contrast, newer ones automatically connect to your device at the correct frequency. The benefit of sending a signal out at multiple frequencies is to reduce wireless interference. Many wireless technologies—wireless landline phones specifically—would use the same spectrum, which could reduce the effectiveness of your Wi-Fi router. Some routers have three bands, with the third reinforcing the 5 GHz spectrum.

Ethernet ports

The main purpose of a Wi-Fi router is the create (or extend) your home’s wireless network, but many of them also have Ethernet ports, which allow you to use them as a wired networking switch. The truth is that a wired internet connection will always be faster and more consistent than a wireless one—though the gap has closed significantly and is basically imperceptible in most cases.


Q: What does a Wi-Fi router do?

A Wi-Fi router receives an internet connection from your cable modem and sends out a wireless signal, which your devices can receive and use to access the internet. A Wi-Fi router can also be used as a wired networking switch simultaneously.

Q: Will a better router increase internet speed?

This depends. Your Wi-Fi router will not get you faster speeds than the package you’re paying for allows you. However, it may allow you to get the top speeds you’re paying for more effectively than your current networking equipment.

Q: How much should I spend on a router?

This depends on the features you want, but you shouldn’t have to spend more than $100 on a Wi-Fi router.

Q: Should I consider a mesh router?

If you need to cover a large space with a wireless network, we recommend considering a mesh Wi-Fi system consisting of two or more routers. If you have a small space, a single-point router may be sufficient.

Final thoughts on the best Wi-Fi routers

A good Wi-Fi router should be practically invisible—a device that does its job without hiccups and allows you to connect to the internet with ease. The routers available in 2023 are faster, more reliable, and easier to set up and troubleshoot than ever before. You should be able to use them for several years regardless of how many Wi-Fi-enabled devices you bring into your home. If you’re planning to build a smart home, a solid Wi-Fi router is the place to start.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.


Brandt Ranj Avatar

Brandt Ranj

Staff Writer, Commerce

Brandt Ranj is a commerce reporter at Popular Science. He writes about the latest and greatest gadgets, from headphones and TVs to chargers and cables. He splits his time between New York City, Long Island, and Croatia, carting test gear around the U.S. and the globe.