If you are currently working from home and possibly have a partner and kids also hooked up to your wireless network, then you know how easy it is to encounter a bottleneck of connections that freezes all of your screens.
An example of a worst-case scenario for you could be that your work process requires constant updating of a program and that your internet stalls whenever these necessary updates occur since the internet simply does not work that great when too many devices are attached to the same WiFi network.
You may still need to purchase a new router! Broadcasters can also find themselves needing a router that can connect to multiple devices such as a computer, camera, and audio board but find that they cannot do so without service interruption.
Don’t think that you are stuck with any of these problems. Technology exists to make it easy for everyone to access the internet as much as they want, with as many devices as they want and all at the same time.
You Need A Router with Multiple WiFi Extenders
The solution to the internet bottleneck is to get a powerful WiFi router that can handle multiple devices. The purpose of a router is to take one internet signal from your cable modem and make it available wirelessly to all of your other technology.
This article is divided into two parts. In the buyer’s guide, we are going to take a look at some of the key features you should be looking at when buying a router, and then we will make our top 5 recommendations for the best WiFi routers for multiple devices.
Buying Guide – Best Wireless Routers
The best way to set up home WiFi is to use a wireless router in tandem with the highest speed internet that you can afford.
WiFi routers take the internet signal from your cable modem and send it to all devices requiring an internet connection. When shopping for a wireless router, it is important to get one that can handle fast connections while at the same time keeping your content secure.
However, keep in mind that no matter how good your router is, it will only be as good as the wireless service supplied by your internet provider.
To achieve full coverage, wireless routers work best placed in a central spot in a home, not in a corner. Most contemporary routers have multiple antennas, some with extenders to help increase their range. Some models have as many as eight antenna arms to help extend WiFi-33 coverage to every area of your home. However, make sure that you have that central spot in your home picked out to optimize your wireless service.
Wireless Router Basics
A wireless router is a device that transforms an internet signal from a cable modem into a radio frequency that other devices can pick up. It is essentially a broadcast signal that is run through the router. Quality routers allow you to prioritize, secure and optimize connections to certain devices.
It is possible to rent a modem and router from an ISP (Internet Service Provider), but it is much cheaper to buy your own. Be sure to buy a powerful router as, after all, it is a broadcast signal that all of your devices must be able to pick up on.
Common WiFi Terminology
Here are some common WiFi terms that you might need to familiarize yourself with before buying a router.
The WiFi Alliance
The WiFi Alliance is a global group of manufacturers that ratify new signal standards as they are invented and become available. The latest WiFi technology is based on the 802.11 protocol, and it has been upgraded from 02.11g, 802.11n, 802.11a, 802.11ac over the past few years.
You don’t have to worry too much about going obsolete too fast as each upgrade is designed to be compatible with any 802.11 series that was previous. What is important is that you stick with the latest model you can afford in the 802.11 router series.
The latest and greatest broadcast standard for routers is the new WiFi 6 standard. This standard is just coming on the market, so the WiFi 5 router is still the most common type.
Devices that work with the WiFi 5 router will definitely work with the WiFi 6, so keep that in mind if you are looking to buy with an eye to the future.
Single Unit Routers
Single unit routers are the most common routers on the market. They are a box with a broadcasted wireless signal and usually have several ethernet points as well.
These units are best for those who have just one or two devices to connect to the router and a smaller area without obstructions to the signal. Don’t buy this if you want to broadcast to several devices on multi-floors.
The term dual-band basically means that the router can broadcast at both the 2.4GHZ and 5.0GHz frequencies.
There can be an advantage to this because older devices, such as older cell phones and televisions, can only accept 2.4GHZ, while newer ones accept 5.0Hz. This helps your WiFi to be automatically prioritized to the equipment you mistakenly thought was obsolete.
There are even tri-band routers on the market. The tri-band router broadcasts with one 5.0 Gh.z frequency antenna and two 2.4 Gh.z frequency antennas.
Mesh Networking Systems
Most people visualize a router as being a solitary unit with antennas that can broadcast to several places in a home.
A mesh networking system uses multiple nodes placed in different locations to help create a web of wireless connections that provides a signal where it is most needed. You may need to buy a mesh networking system if you live in a situation where your modem can’t be placed centrally in your home.
This article focuses on single-unit routers that broadcast from antennas.
How many Devices Do You Have?
Before you buy, count up all of the devices that have to be connected by the router and note the types of ports that will be needed to hook them up by ethernet (if needed.)
It’s also a good idea to overestimate the WiFi capacity you will need, as people tend to collect additional wireless devices over time. The more the streaming involved, the higher capacity router you will need.
The internet speed that you need for your router will be determined by the top speed offered by your internet provider and the speed that your modem can handle. Average broadband speeds tend to be around 100 Mbps, and exceptional ones reach 150 Mbps.
When buying a router, it is important to consider the wireless coverage area. A basic single-unit router generally has a range from between 50 and 100 feet which is quite enough for most apartments and small homes.
If your space is more than 2000 square feet, you may need to invest in a more powerful WiFi 6 router or a mesh router.
One of the drawbacks of using WiFi has always been the risk of security breaches. Therefore, you must make sure that any router you buy supports WPA2, which stands for WiFi Protected Access Protocol.
Also, be aware that your internet security is only as secure as the least secure device that connects to it.
To protect your entire home network, consider getting a router with second step encryption, device monitoring, and the ability to block people from the devices entirely.
Before You Buy – Wireless Router Tips
Here are some helpful things to remember when buying the wireless router that is right for you.
- Your wireless router is only as good as your ISP package, so there is no sense in buying a super-fast 6 GPS if your internet package is limited.
- Wireless internet is not for every situation, so if you are planning to connect a computer or other device directly to the router using an ethernet cable, make sure it has a LAN cable.
- Configuring your wireless router with a smartphone app is a great idea, so be sure to see if the router you are shopping for comes with one.
- If your router comes with two external antennas, know that the best reception to be had is with one antenna pointed straight up and the other straight down.
Before ordering, be sure to make a list of everything you hope to get out of your new router, such as the number and type of ports, type of security protocol, and parental controls. Read the product descriptions and note the features of each to make sure that you purchase the most appropriate one for you.
Our Top 5 Picks for 2022 Routers
Our picks for the top 10 routers of 2022 were based on several criteria, including affordability, cybersecurity, number of antennas, and broadcast power and range.
1. Best Multi-Device Household Router – The Asus RT-AX86U
The Asus AX86U is one of the most customizable routers on the market, with a generous two-year warranty and enough power to support a gamer, a remote worker, an artist on an iPad, several phones, Alexa, and your doorbell at the same time.
It is a good middle-of-the-road choice for a family that requires several device connections and a fast speed.
- WiFi Spec: AX5700
- Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/Yes
- Ports: 1 WAN/1 Multi-Gig WAN/ 4 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3
- Processor/Memory/Storage: quad-core 1.8GHz/1GB/256MB
- WiFi chip: Broadcom BCM4908/BCM43684
- Peak 802.11AX performance: 929.7Mbps (at 15 feet)
- Range: 95-feet
- Size: 9.0 x 6.7 x 3.1 inches
- Estimated Annual Electricity Cost: $15.00
The Asus RT-AX86U has a black folded origami design with red racing stripe detailing at the bottom. It is crowned by three evenly spaced antennas and is augmented on the interior by a patch antenna. Cooling vents along the top and bottom keep it operating at 105F.
There are five downstream ethernet ports and two Gbps ports on its back, one at 1 gigabit per second and the other at 2.4Gbps per second. Two ports can be configured for top-speed output, which is good news for gamers.
The units’ back panel features an input broadband connection and five downstream gigabits per second ethernet LAN ports that can help plugged in gaming devices reach top speed.
There is very few WiFi 6 routers on the market that rival this one. It can broadcast on two GHz bands and one 2.4GHz to deliver up to 10.8Gbps to wireless devices. It also has the capability of casting wireless signals up to 150 feet without signal disruption, which makes it a top WiFi 6 router on the market.
In terms of power, efficiency, and speed, gaming routers don’t get any better than this.
However, this router does have some challenges casting a signal through metal walls, but with no obstructions, it can stream live on several devices at once.
To set up the router, you plug it on and power it up. You can then download and install the router’s app on an iPad or computer. Create a password, and it will set itself up automatically.
You can then configure the router to connect to several devices, create alerts and enable parental controls. It also has a diagnostic feature to help troubleshoot problems before they become headaches. The only thing that it lacks is the ability to operate as a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The Asus RT-AX86U is offered at $249, which is very affordable considering all of its great features.
The RT ZX86U comes with a two-year warranty that includes service and support, and you can buy an additional two years of support for $80.00.
- Completely customizable
- QoS and parental controls
- Fast internet casting to 150 feet
- Apps that tune the routers for best playing give gamers an edge.
- Energy-efficient at $15.00 a year
- No wall mounts
- Less security than other networks
- Can’t operate as a VPN
For under $450, this state-of-the-art WiFi 6 is a must-have for any serious gamer or anyone who has a houseful of gamers.
Its two main drawbacks are lower security protocols and problems with casting a signal through metal walls. It has an impressive reach of 150 ft. You can also fine-tune this router with apps so that you have the edge over the competition when playing against the competition.
The fact that it can handle several streamers at once means that it is also a more than adequate customizable router for both home and office.
2. Best WiFi 6 Router for Multiple Gamers – ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
The futuristic-looking ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX1100, with eight swiveling antennas circling its large flat base, resembles a robotic spider that has been flipped on its back.
Not only is this unique router quite the conversation piece, but it also runs the sought-after WiFi-6 with low latency and powerful 10.8Gbps maximum through-put.
This large router is perfect for a house full of gamers and streamers. It is a tri-band with four Gigabit LAN ports, a single 2.5 G Ethernet connection, and two USB 3.0 ports. At $450, it seems expensive, but it has many optimizations and can even be paired with other Asus routers to create customized mesh networks.
- WiFi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri Band
- Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/Yes
- Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN gigabit per second, 1 2.5Gbps LAN, 2 USB 3.0
- Processor/Memory/Storage: 1.8GHz quad-core/ 1GB/ 256MB
- WiFi chip: Broadcom BCM 43684
- Peak 802.11ac performance: 731.4Mbps (at 50 feet)
- Range: 95 feet
- Size: 9.4 x 9.4 x 2.8 inches
No doubt, this gargantuan tri-band router was designed for gamers to show off to their rivals! It has aggressive, cool lines with eight screw-on antennas and the ROG logo lit up in LEDs. The antennas can swivel any which way you need to optimize your connection to as many devices as you like.
The base is solid black with coral details on the antennas. Inside is a WiFi 6 chip as a quad-core 1.8GHZ processor, 1 G of ram, and 256MB of space for settings and firmware.
The back of the unit boasts a row of LED indicators as well as four downstream gigabit Ethernet ports and a single 2.5G Base T Ethernet for those who prefer to go wireless. There are also two USB 3.0 connectors for attaching a printer.
One of the unique things about this router is that players can register their favorite games on the app, which automatically optimizes it for a boosted play performance.
Although it was built for gamers, it has many features that make it a good family home router. It has QoS, which helps prioritize internet use, a time scheduler, and parental controls.
It also has a security scan that works by insisting on improving password strength and adding two-step encryption, but it does not have any security “extras’ such as Norton Core or F-Secure routers.
The set-up is accomplished using an app on your phone or iPad. The app was designed for a phone and is only displayed in vertical phone dimensions.
Once you are inside the app, you create an account and scan for the router’s identifying QR code on its base. You can then set up your internet security preferences, including the option to secure the unit with Touch ID.
After configuring your basic settings and prioritizing connections, you can then register the free Bitdefender software that comes with it. You can also pair the router with a speaker and have it respond to Alexa commands or block inappropriate content by setting it up to Disney’s Circle Up App.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is offered at $430.00, which is a deal considering that it is a state-of-the-art WiFi 6 router with a lot of security and encryption that can cast a strong signal (150 feet).
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 comes with a one-year warranty on parts and 90 days of service and support from their staff.
- Unique look – a conversation piece
- Rubber feet won’t scratch.
- Powerful WiFi 6
- Fast and flawless performance
- QoS for wireless prioritization
- Parental controls
- Less secure than other routers (lacks Norton-Core)
- No wall mount
- Short warranty and limited support
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is one of the fastest of the new WiFi 6 routers out on the market, allowing 1.389Gbps of throughput through floors and walls, as long as you are still within 15 feet of the router.
At $430, it is more expensive than many others, plus its set up by the app and lack of support does feel quite impersonal. However, the fact it looks like a miniature spaceship makes it quite the conversation piece, and if you have a houseful of gamers, this is the ideal option for them.
3. Best WiFi 6 Router for Small Spaces – The Netgear Nighthawk AX* (RAX80)
The Netgear Nighthawk AX (RAX8) looks like a miniature spaceship and delivers the fastest speed possible to multiple devices in your home, as long as they are not more than 90 feet away.
It is a little more expensive than other similar devices, but its speed and efficiency are unrivaled because it inhabits the newest WiFi 6 technology.
- WiFi Spec: AX6000
- Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No
- Ports: 1 WAN/5 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3
- Processor/Memory/Storage: Broadcom quad-core 1.8GHz/1GB/512MB
- WiFi chip: Broadcom BCM43684
- Peak 802.11ac performance: 1.389Gbps (at 15 feet)
- Range: 90 feet
- Size: 12.0 x 8.0 x 6.3 inches
- Estimated Annual Electricity Cost $19.50
The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAZ80), as mentioned earlier, looks like a silver and black spaceship just landed on your desk. It has a very large 12 x 8 base, and the wings are 6.3 inches high when unfolded. The wings unfold from the base to act as powerful antennas. Although powerful, they remain in a static U position and can’t be aimed or pointed to help enhance coverage in other areas of your home.
It also has soft rubber feet that keep it from scratching the table, and it also has mounts so it can be hung on a wall. Vents on top and at the front help dissipate heat and keep the unit at 105F.
The LED indicator lights on the Nighthawk AX8 are tiny and can be shut completely off if you don’t like flickering lights. There are five individual Lan Ports and a USB port on the back of the unit.
A unique feature of this router is that it has a switch that allows you to turn the WiFi completely off, which converts it into a wired router.
When it comes to moving data, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 is practically unrivaled. It has the ability to move 1.389Gbps of data at 15-feet, making it ideal for a household that has a couple of gamers. However, its performance does wane once you move your device more than 15 ft from the router. You might completely lose the signal at 90 feet.
It is also energy efficient, costing about $10.50 a year to use, even if you have it turned on 12 hours a day.
Its set-up can only be accomplished using the Netgear Nighthawk set-up app on your iPhone, Android phone, or iPad. You create an account in the act and then boot up the router. The app will do the rest to connect the device.
You can then configure Netgear’s Armor software which includes unlimited use of Bitdefender at the discount price of $45.00; a bargain because Bitdefender usually costs $250 for a family pack. You can also pair this router with Alexa or Google Assistant. Parental controls can be set with Disney’s Circle App.
The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 is offered at $400, which is a fair deal considering all we have mentioned about it!
The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 comes with a one-year warranty, 90 days of service, and support from its staff. You can buy an additional two years of support for $80.00. To make up for the lack of support, the Netgear product support site has many DIY videos to help you troubleshoot such issues as configuration and optimization.
- Unique look – a conversation piece
- Rubber feet won’t scratch.
- Powerful WiFi 6
- Fast and flawless performance within 15 ft.
- Security software with lifetime update
- Multi-gig input and port aggregation
- Energy-efficient a$11.50 a year
- Performance declines at 15 feet.
- Set up is only by the app that displays vertically.
- Antennas can’t be aimed or pointed.
- Short warranty and limited support
The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 is a fast WiFi 6 router that has some unexpected limitations. For instance the antennas can’t be aimed or pointed, which is not so much of a problem when you are sending signals from room to room on the same floor, but a big problem if you want to broadcast from upstairs to downstairs. The best thing about it is it’s unique look, like something out a sci-fi movie, and perhaps the sleek design is why it is a bit more expensive than other routers.
4. Best Router for Cybersecurity – The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300
The Nighthawk AC 2300 is a very simple, mid-range router with 802.11I data encryption and a double firewall. It comes with three years of unlimited use of Bitdefender’s total security package. It is ideal for individuals who work with sensitive data.
The Bitdefender scans your network regularly for viruses, once again making sure that you don’t lose sensitive data. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with an iPad or an iPhone, so if you work with Apple products, this may not be the best router for you.
Bitdefender is a big deal because it uses machine learning to detect the newest threats to your attached devices, adding targeted defenses against ransomware and other attacks. You can also program this router to shred files or wipe a computer if lost or stolen.
It also comes with a router VPN that can help secure every device you own as well as help you access streaming online that requires one. Nobody else will have access to your files.
- WiFi spec: 802.11ac/dual-band
- Number of antennas/removable: 3/Yes
- Ports: 1 WAN, 4 LAN, 2 USB 2.0
- Processor: Dual-core 1.0 GHz
- Memory/storage: 256MB/128MB
- WiFi chip: Broadcom BCM4365E
- Size: 11.2 by 7.3 by 2.0 inches
- Peak 802.11ac performance: 626.6 Mbps (at 5 feet)
- Range: 95 feet
- Price: $300
This solid black flat router is so plain that it is almost innocuous. It is slightly sloped from the back, and a row of small dim LED lights signal its various functions. When all is well, the lights glow a soft white; it glows amber when something needs your attention.
It is topped with three antennas that can be twisted to steer WiFi transmissions in your preferred direction. If you need to, you can unscrew these antennas and swap them for stronger ones.
Below the antennas is a connection panel with a broadband-input ethernet port alongside four downstream ethernet ports to which you can connect drives or printers.
Based on its dual-band operation, the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 can set up three lanes of traffic utilizing both 2.4 and 5 GHz channels. It uses a beam to create the fastest connection possible with the router, but its 802.11ac reach is shorter and less efficient than the latest WiFi 6 models. Still, it is unrivaled in what it can do in terms of security.
This router excels at sending strong WiFi through walls, but the signal often drops off at around 100 feet. It handles two family members on two devices well and may handle up to six devices if two are handled by ethernet ports.
The NetGear Nighthawk’s set-up takes a little longer than other routers, as you have to install the NightHawk app on your phone and then install the Bitdefender software on your main computer. After creating an account, you are asked to create two-factor authentication using a fingerprint scanner.
Once you are in the app, you create an account and scan for the router’s identifying QR code on its base. You can then proceed to set up your internet security preferences and Touch ID. After configuring your basic settings and prioritizing your connections, you can then register the free Bitdefender software that comes with it and enable parental controls.
The NetGear Nighthawk AC2300 seems expensive at $300.00, but even though it does not have a big WiFi signal reach, it sets the standard for home routers when it comes to cybersecurity. For a smaller household, the router’s reach of 110 feet might be just the right amount of WiFi.
The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 comes with a one-year hardware warranty, and when you are installing the app, it will try and sell you another 90 days of service for $30.00
- Unobtrusive compact design
- Excellent cybersecurity features
- Double encryption with Touch ID
- 3 years of free Bitdefender’s Total Security Package
- Only reaches 110 feet
- No way to manage the ports
- Short warranty and limited support
If cybersecurity is a big concern for your business, then the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 is the router for you.
Although it seems expensive for its reach of only 100 feet or so, you have to factor in the fact that you are getting three years unlimited use of Bitdefender Total Security. If you bought that Bitfender Total Security Family Pack, it would cost $250.00, more than half the price of the router.
All-in-all, this is best for smaller buildings and families of full-time streamers and part-time gamers.
5. Best Router for A Low Budget – The TP-Link Archer A7
The TP-Link Archer A7 is our top pick for those on a low budget as it delivers a surprising number of features, including four Gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0 port.
It does not deliver the latest WiFi 6 performance, but it comes pretty close with a peak WiFi cast of 80211ac. It does have a very wide range compared to most routers, operating best at 5 feet away and losing the signal at about 80 feet.
Still, it is an incredible value at the low price of $53.99 as it comes with many of the features of more expensive units, including parental controls, dual bandwidths, and a fast set-up process.
- WiFi spec: AC1750
- Number of antennas/removable: 3/No
- Ports: 1 WAN/4LAN gigabit per second, USB 2.0
- Processor/memory/storage: Qualcomm Atheros 750MHz/128MB/16MB
- WiFi chip: Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563
- Peak 802.11ac performance: 647.4 Mbps (at 5 feet)
- Range: 80 feet
- Size: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
This is a smaller discrete router that can be tucked away anywhere. It boasts a front display of soft green LCD lights and four LAN ports, an ether port, and a USB port at the back. Three unremovable antenna sprout from its back plate. It is a conventional unit with a 750-MHz processor and 128MB of RAM, built more for necessity rather than zooming or gaming.
The TP-Link Archer A7 is incredibly fast if it sits about five feet away from the client but begins to drop off once it hits a floor above or below, or a wall. This makes it a dedicated office or game room router rather than one that runs streaming for a large home. Without obstruction, however, the signal from this router can run to 100 feet.
This router excels at sending strong WiFi through walls, but the signal often drops off at around 80 feet. It handles two family members on two devices well and may handle up to four devices streaming content all at the same.
The TP-Link Archer A7 is quite easy to set up. You can install it on a web browser or use the company’s tether link available on iOS or Android. To register your account, you use the name and passcode printed on the router’s included card, and then you are connected to a set-up wizard that takes you through all the steps.
Once you are in the app, you can set up your Home, Main, and guest networks, list the devices that are online, and set passwords. Clicking on the Tool tab takes you to LED light control, parental controls, and QoS priority.
The TP-Link Archer A7 may not have a lot of bells or whistles or a big WiFi reach, but it does have many features of more expensive routers such as QoS priority and parental controls. For a smaller household, the router’s reach of 80 to 110 feet might be just the right amount of WiFi, and the low price of $35.00 just can’t be for this type of technology.
The Archer TP-Link comes with a two-year warranty and 24-hour tech support. The TP-Link website also offers quite a few installation set-up videos and trouble-shooting videos.
- A simple, compact design
- Few cybersecurity features
- Great low price
- 2-year warranty
- Low WiFi reach of 80 feet
- Very little cybersecurity
- Better for browsing than gaming
If you need an affordable, no-nonsense browser that only needs to enable WiFi to a room or two, the TP-Link Archer A7 is perfect for you.
It is a better router for browsers than streamers, although it can handle smooth streaming on at least two devices. This is not a family-sized browser and is more meant for a single person or couple living in a smaller apartment.
In terms of price, it would be very hard to find any piece of technology as good as this for $35.00.
How We Chose Our Top 5 Routers for Multiple Devices
We based our selections on several factors that may or may not affect your own decisions.
Our top choice, the Asus RT ZX86U, has it all, including the WiFi 6 far-reaching signal and the ability to outfit a household of streamers and zoomers with glitchless connectivity.
Our second choice with WiFi 6, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, is so powerful that you could practically open a gaming arcade with it. The Asus ROG Rapture is $200 more than the Asus RT ZX86U, but you can do almost anything you want with it, except use it as a VPN.
Our third choice, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8, also has WiFi 6 feature. It has an incredible reach of 150 feet and can support several gamers. The fact that it looks like a miniature spaceship also makes it an interesting piece of tech to own.
Our last two choices both boast plainer, black bases with antennas. The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300, our fourth choice, was built for maximum cybersecurity and is quite expensive for a non-WiFi 6 modem at $300. However, the budget-conscious can opt for the ten times cheaper TP-Link Archer A7 that has next to no cybersecurity and costs $35.00.
Clearly, the router for multiple devices that is right for you is going to be the one that was most designed to fit your lifestyle and immediate need, whether it be for mixed-use of business and pleasure, heavy gaming, the need for privacy, or parental controls, security or affordability.