So, imagine you’re sitting at home with some friends, showing them an awesome video on YouTube, when all of a sudden the video freezes in the middle of the action, then a few seconds later that dreaded buffering icon shows up in the middle of the screen. Awkward. This is something that has happened to all of us, but if it happens to you regularly, it might just be time to upgrade to one of the best routers. Sure, you could fork out some extra money every month to upgrade your internet service, or even scatter some of the best wi-fi extenders throughout your home – but the first thing you should consider is picking up one of the best routers you can buy.
The first thing that’ll happen when you search for ‘wireless routers’ on Amazon, however, is that dozens of devices from different manufacturers will flood your screen. It can genuinely be a pain to pick out the best one for your needs. Fortunately, the TechRadar editorial team has put together this list of the best routers that we have tested and reviewed throughout 2017. And because they have all genuinely earned our seal of approval, you should be confident that they’ll fit your needs and won’t die out on you. So no matter what it is you need out of your router, sit back, relax, and check out the best routers you can buy in 2017.
With Google Wifi, you can finally say goodbye to the days when the only way to achieve true wireless freedom throughout the house was with a bunch of outlet-bound range extenders. It’s become clear that Google Wifi, and systems like it, truly are the future of wireless routers. The premise of Google Wifi is simple – you buy a set of points and place them around your house. Then all you have to do is scan a QR code, and voilà! They’re all set up.
Read the full review: Google Wifi
Unlike Google Wi-Fi, the Netgear Orbi wireless mesh system ships with two units rather than three: a router and a satellite, much like a cell phone signal booster. It’s expensive, but once you get past the price, you’ll see that the price tag is justified. Its simple setup, requiring little more than being plugged into a modem and a spare wall adaptor, makes the Orbi accessible to say the least. Add that to its stately performance and you’ll see why we love it so much.
Read full review: Netgear Orbi
Billion is back at it again, this time with the fastest router it’s ever produced. Exhibiting a throughput of 2,400Mbps over both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, the BiPac 8900AX-2400 isn’t conventionally attractive by society’s standards, but it is immensely capable. In lieu of a shabby interface, this router dons a wide range of ports for added storage down the line in addition to integrating a state of the art ADSL2+ modem.
- This product is only available in the UK and AU as of this writing. US readers: check out a comparable alternative in the Linksys XAC1900.
For those of us clinging to (presumably leased) routers supplied to us by our ISPs, the Starry Station makes Wi-Fi easier without handing over your clean money month after month to a greedy conglomerate. Not only is it fast, bearing download speeds that are typically around the same as a Verizon FiOS stock router, but the Starry Station is stylish enough where you won’t have to tuck it away in a cabinet that will inevitably obstruct its signal. What’s more, it manages to avert those pesky numerical gateways that no one wants to memorize.
Read the full review: Starry Station
- This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the .
It’s not everyday you encounter a router that doubles as an NAS, or network-attached storage device – a type of server box that allows you to store and access files over your local internet connection. The Synology RT2600ac, on the other hand, combines the best of both worlds, going as far as to deliver third-party applications such as VPNs and DLNA media servers. There’s even Apple Time Machine support for over-the-air Mac backups.
The antithesis to wireless mesh systems, the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM doesn’t boast a particularly flashy design. However, by compromising in the looks department, Linksys was able to pull off a versatile wireless router aimed at traditional PC enthusiasts. Giving you boundless control over your wireless network connections, whether you want to toggle on and off guest connections or prioritize media devices, the WRT 3200 ACM has you covered.
Read the full review: Linksys WRT 3200 ACM
- This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the .
Known for its NAS devices, extenders and powerline adaptors, it’s a wonder Zyxel would ever come out with a dual-band gaming router. Yet, although it’s not nearly as extravagant (or spider-like) in its outward appearances as the Asus RT-5300, the Armor Z2 AC2600 is a solid gaming router debut from Zyxel. Toting Dynamic QoS, otherwise referred to as StreamBoost, for the prioritization of more demanding connected hardware, a configuration app called Zyxel One Touch and MU-MIMO support, this router’s lofty price tag is damn near justified.
Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
Like Google Wifi and Netgear Orbi, Linksys is fighting the good fight to keep wireless routers simple. Although it costs a bit more to use than those aforementioned mesh systems, the Linksys Velop is easily configured in about five minutes, thanks to the companion app you can get via either the App Store or Google Play. It cuts out the middleman, i.e. Wi-Fi extenders, in favor of a seamless wireless internet that will cover the whole house without requiring you – the user – to constantly switch networks as you enter another room.
Read the full review: Linksys Velop
You might recognize the name from its ROG gaming hardware, but what you may not be aware of is that Asus has shaken up wireless networking as we know it with an evidently rigorous array of hardy wireless routers. The RT-AC88U is no exception. Outfitted with the top-of-the-line 802.11ac spec, Asus’s quad-antenna, whale of a router is made better only by its inclusion of NitroQAM technology, which is designed to allow for 4K video streaming and online gaming to take place simultaneously under the same roof.
If routers had a fashion contest, Netgear’s D7800 would be among the top contenders. Its solid black finish is complemented by a quartet of antennas. Plus it’s damn fast and bettered by its inclusion of a duo of USB ports paired with an eSATA connector. The real centerpiece, though, is the VDSL 2 modem built into the Nighthawk X4S D7800, negating the need to buy or lease one separately. The outfitted software isn’t too shoddy either; a simple Dynamic QOS system makes it a breeze to govern a multitude of devices on a single home network.
Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
-  We’ve also picked out the best best wi-fi extenders of 2017