In our homes, we need our devices to communicate with each other and the outside world. What’s the need of having a smartphone, tablet, computer, or laptop that can’t connect to the internet. For this reason, we all require a router befitting the purpose.
Our homes are a bit different, some have a huge home while others have many devices. Other people want more of privacy when online while others want a router they can customize to suit their needs.
For this reason, we will explore different categories of routers. We have reviewed different routers to ensure that your home and needs are well taken care of.
Let us look at the different reviews:
How to choose the best wireless router for your home (Buyer’s guide)
There are several things to consider when choosing or buying a router for your home. This means from all the router brands; you need to know which router to buy to suit your needs and requirements.
The routers are classified using brands, bands, Wi-Fi standard, range, speed, number of devices, privacy, cost, security, among other features. Of all these features, which is the most important?
The important feature in a laptop changes from user to user. What matters the most is your satisfaction and budget.
For some of us, speed is the most critical feature. The Internet speeds have been improving as the times have moved. With the approval of Wi-Fi 6 in 2019, Wi-Fi speeds in our houses and offices are bound to increase even more.
You should always check the internet speeds of your Wi-Fi connection and the Ethernet ports to ensure your devices do not experience lags. The router speeds that you should buy depend on the online activities that you will be conducting.
If you are a fan of gaming or 4K streaming, it is good to get a router with good internet speeds. Also, consider the internet plan that you have subscribed to from your internet service provider.
To know the speeds required for your different online activities, you can check this article.
As times have progressed, people are getting bigger and bigger homes. This means that not every router will be able to cover your home fully with internet.
There are several traditional or Mesh devices that have excellent ranges. Therefore, depending on the size of your home, check the list of the best routers for long-range.
From our tests, ASUS RT-AC88U Router is the router with the broadest coverage. This router can give you a coverage of up to 5,000 square feet.
In addition, you can consider the best mesh systems. Generally, the mesh systems enable you to access fast-internet in every corner of your home.
Number of devices
Over the last 20 years, there has been an explosion of the number of smart devices that are used in our homes. These devices majorly are Wi-Fi or internet-enabled.
These devices include traditional internet-enabled devices like laptops, personal computers, smartphones, televisions, and tablets. However, currently, there are several other devices that are internet enabled.
The newer devices include door locks, sprinklers, LED light bulbs, fridges, alarms, and other devices. All these devices require internet connection for optimum performance.
You can check the list of the best routers for multiple devices. These routers will enable you to connect all the devices at home with fast internet.
As we were testing the routers, we found that Netgear Nighthawk X6 Smart is the router that can support the most devices with high speed internet. This router can support up to 50 devices.
With this in mind, you can choose the router that will work for your home. The router must be able to cover all these devices with high-speed internet.
All the routers available in the market today are tri-band, dual-band, or single-band. The number of band correlates with the internet speed of your router and other features.
Tri-band routers essentially have more features as compared to single-band or dual-band routers.
Therefore, as you are buying your router, it is great to consider this to get a router capable of the performance you require.
As times have progressed, even the router technology has continued to evolve. Moreover, the wireless standards have changed, which have had a significant influence on bands, safety, and internet speed.
Therefore, the newest standard, which is Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standards, delivers faster internet speeds and security features.
The table below gives the differences between the different wireless standards.
|Wi-Fi standard||Year of approval||Frequencies||Maximum data rate|
|802.11ax (W-Fi 6)||2019||5 and 2.4GHz||10-12Gbps|
|802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5)||2014||5 and 2.4GHz||1.3Gbps|
|802.11n (Wi-Fi 4)||2009||5 and 2.4GHz||600Mbps|
Cost of the router
You should always consider the price of the router that you are buying. One of the things to note is that some great routers cost less than 100 dollars. On the other hand, there are routers in the market which cost more than 500 USD.
As you are shopping, note that a router is a device that will last for a long time. Thus, you should make a substantial investment on the gadget for it to give you excellent performance for a long time.
Consequently, consider the cost relative to the features you want in the router.
Privacy and security
There has been an increase in the number of hackers and malware that is available on the internet. These have increased the need to keep our data and personalities secure and private.
Some of the routers available on the market today have better security and privacy features as compared to others.
DD-WRT routers have been shown to give more room for performance enhancement and the use of VPNs. Besides, other routers have also improved their safety and privacy features to suit today’s environment.
Additionally, being able to set Guest Network enables you to keep your connection private and secure.
This is closely related to the privacy and safety features we have discussed above. Robust parental controls are a common feature in most modern routers.
This is because you are supposed to ensure that your children are safe on the internet. Furthermore, most of us would prefer some device-free moments for our children.
These device-free moments include during meal times or sleeping times or any other time. Since our children are more tech-savvy, being able to have parental control is a feature we need to consider.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the best Wi-Fi router 2020?
To get the best router, you have to consider the several factors described above. The router must have a good range, be able to support several devices, give you fast internet, and offer security for your devices and users.
With the question of brand preference and even person’s needs being different our best router might not be the best for your. However, Netgear Orbi Whole home Wi-Fi System (RBK50) aced all our tests and preferences.
You can also check the list of the best routers for 2020 to decide which router better serves your needs.
What is the best affordable/ budget wireless router?
We all need high-performance internet in our homes or offices. However, this must not always come with exorbitant prices. Some great routers cost less than 100 USD.
Netgear Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) – AC1750 performs excellently for its cost. Thus this is the best budget router.
Our recommendation for the best lowest budget router is TP-Link N450 WiFi Router – Wireless Internet Router for Home (TL-WR940N).
As you are getting a budget router, make sure that you don’t sacrifice on the speed, range, safety, and a number of devices. This is because a router should be a long term investment.
What is the best wireless router for gaming?
Some of us are into gaming. For a great gaming experience, you require high performance and an optimizable router. The router must have the latest technology on the device optimization and high internet speeds.
Consequently, Netgear Nighthawk Pro XR500 AC2600 performed well for gaming. The router ensures that you get fast internet speed, prioritization choices, and other features that make gaming enjoyable.
How long do wireless routers last?
A Wi-Fi router is a long-term investment. That is why we recommend that you put a sizable budget to get a router that will give you a long-lasting performance. However, you also need to know when to replace a router.
The average life span or a router varies depending on how well the router was taken care of. Some of the reasons why a router can go bad are overheating, reduced maintenance, and storage, installing the router at a place with lots of dust and interference by people, among other causes.
Therefore, you should replace your router every 3-5 years if you can afford it. You can also change the router to take advantage of the new router technologies in addition to if you get the signs that you need a new router.
What are the types of routers?
A router helps to connect devices and a modem to ensure each device gets an internet connection. We have the following types of routers:
- Wireless router: It is a router that connects directly to the modem through a cable and then broadcasts the data packets wirelessly through an antenna or several antennas.
- Wired router: These routers connect to a modem and then to the computer using cables or wired connections. The router gets the data packets from the modem using the cable and then sends and receives data from/ to the computers.
- Core router: This router connects the devices within a network only and not between multiple networks, as seen in wired or wireless routers. The router may be wired or wireless.
- Virtual router: This one acts as a default router for devices sharing a network, unlike the wireless router.
- Edge router: The Edge router helps in communication between one or more networks but does not distribute data packets within a network.
Getting a router for your home should be as easy as ABC. However, getting a device that meets your needs and those of your household should be paramount as you do your shopping.
The several reviews given on this site will help you to choose a router that will not only serve you well today but into the future. You can consider the factors described above or even have your additional features.