The best Wi-Fi internet routers

Poor Wi-Fi coverage or slow speeds? Here are the best routers on offer to refresh your network

If you're experiencing poor internet speeds, one of the problems could be your router. Although bad connections are generally blamed on the provider, often, it's the router that the provider offers you for free that causes an unreliable signal.

One thing's for sure - there's nothing more frustrating than trying to go about your everyday tasks, but seeing that Wi-Fi indicator drop down to just a few (or no) bars and the internet crawling to respond to your request, particularly if you move around the building or even your home. 

But it's time to stop blaming your ISP's connection and instead, start taking a look at that small (usually) black box attached to your phone line or cable if you're using a fibre connection. 

One of the biggest problems associated with a dodgy broadband connection is actually using the router provided when you signed up to your contract. It could only support a few bands, may not have the range of more expensive routers or the signal may be blocked by solid brick walls, which the signal just can't break through.

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But before you rush to the latest electrical superstore, it's time to take a look at what you need from your router, where it's likely to be placed and other considerations, such as how many devices you may need to wire up to it via ethernet.

We've rounded up the best Wi-Fi routers from TP-Link, Netgear, F-Secure and some other vendors to help you find a better router, and ensure everyone in your home or office has a solid connection, whenever they need it.

Synology RT2600ac

Synology is a name more usually associated with NAS drives than routers but its RT2600ac router is superb according to our review.

While it may not be cheap at 180 (at time of review), it is packed with great features, great file-handling capabilities, with entire pages of features transplanted directly from the company's NAS platform.

To further expand the RT2600ac's capabilities, it's possible to install apps from the built-in Package Centre. Synology's Cloud Station and Download Station add-ons are a few clicks away, as is the DLNA streaming server. Other services are more business-like: a VPN server, a plugin for RADIUS authentication, and Synology's DNS server are also on offer.There are more affordable routers available, but if the RT2600ac's features suit your needs, it's a superb little router.

Synology RT2600ac specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Stated speed800Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band, 1,733Mbits/sec on 5GHz band 
Ports4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 LAN WAN port, 1 USB 2, 1 USB 3

Price when reviewed: 180 (exc VAT)

Read our full review for the complete spec

Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream

Although it looks like an imposing slab of a router, the EA9500 is festooned with no fewer than eight antennae. It's not quite the biggest model we've seen, but it certainly fits into the plus-sized category.

But, this big router offers big performance with great speeds and robust features, as long as you can put up with some slightly iffy management software.

The EA9500 servers up an impressively fast connection, with solid download speeds of 14MB/sec. While it isn't quite the fastest router we've tested, it's easily in the top three. In short, if you're looking for fast, pervasive Wi-Fi, the EA9500 delivers.

Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Stated speed1,000Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band, 2,167Mbits/sec on 5GHz band 
Ports8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 LAN WAN port, 2 USB 3

Price when reviewed: 189 (exc VAT)

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Read our full review

DrayTek Vigor 2860AC

DrayTek has plied its trade for years producing wireless routers for small to medium-sized enterprises - and consumers who like to tinker. With the Vigor 2860AC that's not about to change any time soon.

This router is all about function before form and it's stuffed with practical, useful features. At the front, there are six Gigabit LAN ports plus one Gigabit WAN port and a VDSL2/ADSL port for connection to Openreach-based broadband connections. Alongside these is a pair of USB ports that can be used for connecting USB storage, printers or 3G/4G adapters for backup connection to the internet should your main connection go down.

If you're looking for a wireless router to extend the range and reach of your network, then, this clearly isn't the router to buy; but if it's more features you need and the power to control every aspect of your wireless network you won't be disappointed.

DrayTek Vigor 2860AC specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Stated speed1,300Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 300Mbits/sec on 2.4GHz band 
Ports6 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 LAN WAN port, 2 USB 2.0

Price when reviewed: 207 (exc VAT)

Read our full DrayTek Vigor 2860AC review for more information.

Zyxel Multy X

Two Zyxel Multy X nodes

Do you want speed? You've got it with the Zyxel Multy X. Offering some of the fastest data transfer speeds we've ever seen from a Wi-Fi router, this slimline, discreet router offers an all-round good show. With a decent number of ethernet ports for connecting to all your internet-powered peripheries and blazing fast speeds of up to 1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz, even the slower 2.4GHz frequency will impress.

The Zyxel Multy X also offers a huge array of connectivity options, with four ports on each node, allowing you to attach up to seven wired devices without having to tag on a switch. The one USB 2.0 port doesn't do anything yet, although Zyxel has assured us it will have a role in future updates.

What makes the Zyxel router an even better choice is that everything can be managed from the Zyxel smartphone app, including switching bands, changing parental controls and changing its SSID in just a few taps.

Although the Zyxel Multy X doesn't provide a true mesh network, the manufacturer has promised it will support daisy chained configurations in the future. But don't let that rule the Zyxel Multy X out of your router choices it's a powerful piece of kit if you desperately need something to speed up your business broadband.

Zyxel Multy X key specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Stated speed1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 1266Mbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands 
Ports3 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 LAN WAN port, USB 2.0

Price when reviewed: 208 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Multy X review for more information.

Google Wi-Fi

Instead of the traditional setup, where one router is responsible for covering the entire property, helped with range extenders to fill in any gaps, mesh Wi-Fi spreads this out across discrete nodes, creating an interconnected web of blanket coverage that smothers any dead zones.

Similar to Linksys Velop or BT's Whole Home Wi-Fi, Google's solution is a modular network that allows you to simply add a new node to extend the coverage of the network. Unlike traditional range extenders, where the signal is stretched out, you get the same performance from every node. It also features a few advanced tools such as client-switching and band-switching, ensuring that the connection remains smooth and uninterrupted.

Google Wi-Fi key specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Stated speed400Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz spectrum and 867Mbits/sec on the 5GHz spectrum
Ports2 WAN/LANAuto-detect ports, 1 USB Type-C (power)

Price when reviewed: 

Read our full Google Wi-Fi review for more information.

TP-Link Deco M5

The TP-Link Deco M5 is a sleek and stylish mesh networking kit that is far removed from the everyday black box routers. It promises to boost your Wi-Fi signal into every part of your home or office.

It's a little basic, compared with standard routers, but its main purpose is to boost your signal around the home or office. It is also a little costlier with three units in one package, but you will find your network is super-powered with very few blackspots remaining after installing it.

It also features great parental controls if you're using it at home for business and pleasure, and with a three-year antivirus plan built into it, it'll keep your devices protected at no extra cost.

TP-Link Deco M5 key specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Stated speed400Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz spectrum and 867Mbits/sec on the 5GHz spectrum
Ports2 WAN/LANAuto-detect ports, 1 USB Type-C (power)

Price when reviewed: 230 (inc VAT)

Read our full TP-Link Deco M5 review for more information.

TP-Link Archer VR2800

The TP-Link Archer VR2800 offers excellent speeds, is easy to use and comes in at a reasonable price of 200 including VAT. Because it features both ADSL/VDSL modems, it's a worthy replacement to BT, Sky, TalkTalk, EE and Plusnet routers with the fastest available 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless standards.

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Although its price comes in at a smidge below a mesh network like the TP-Link Deco M5, it's worth it just for that extra speed boost. Coverage isn't as good as a mesh network, but if you just need to power up your home broadband or have a small office, it's likely to do the job nicely.

TP-Link Archer VR2800 key specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac Wave 2
Stated speed2,167Mbits/sec at 5GHz, 600Mbits/sec over 2.4GHz
Ports3xLAN ports, 1xWAN/LAN port, 2x USB3

Price when reviewed: 200 (inc VAT)

Read our full TP-Link Archer VR2800 review for more information.

Netgear Nighthawk X10

This behemoth of a router is certainly a top performer in its field, although that does come at a pretty significant price. With a mammoth six Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, it can run a Plex Server natively from any connected hard disk or USB thumb drive.

However, the Nighthawk doesn't include an ADSL/VDSL modem built in, which means it won't be able to replace your provider's router if you're using one of the leading ISPs.

Netgear Nighthawk X10 key specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ad
Stated speed1,733Mbits/sec on each of its 5GHz networks and 800Mbits/sec on its 2.4GHz network
Ports7x Gigabit Ethernet ports , 2xUSB 3.0 ports

Price when reviewed: 400 (inc VAT)

Read our full Netgear Nighthawk X10 review for more information.

TP-Link Talon AD7200

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 is the first router to use the 802.11ad wireless standard, and the result is speeds that can occasionally surpass those offered by a gigabit ethernet connection. It's one of the very fastest routers around.

The downside is that the range isn't quite as good as other rivals, and the signal doesn't really penetrate through walls. If you're working looking to install these in an office, however, that's unlikely to be a problem. If you want to wring every last drop of speed from your wireless connection, this is the way to do it.

TP-Link Talon AD7200 key specs

ModemGigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi standard802.11ad
Stated speed4,600Mbit/s (60GHz), 1,733Mbit/s (5GHz), 800Mbit/s (2.4GHz)
Ports4x Gigabit Ethernet. 1x Gigabit Ethernet WAN, 2x USB3

Price when reviewed: 291 (exc VAT)

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Read our full TP-Link Talon AD7200 review for more information.

F-Secure Sense 

For the security conscious, the Sense router could be the device for you. Designed by cybersecurity firm F-Secure, the Sense has strengthened security settings to protect against some of 2017's nastiest cyber threats.

Designed to be plugged into an existing router, the Sense can protect any smart devices that you have connected to the network from threats like the Mirai botnet.

You can manage security settings through the accompanying Sense Android and iOS mobile app, where switches for protection can be toggled on or off; by default strong security is offered to all devices connected to the router.

The Sense may lack a few of the features more traditional routers have, but then it presents a way to ensure your Wi-Fi network and the devices on it are protected from malware and hacker threats.

You'll also have to pay a yearly license at 102 per year, but that gets you all of the F-Secure security protection and support for up to 25 Windows devices and as many Android gadgets as you like.

ModemEthernet
Wi-Fi Standard 802.11ac
Stated Speed450Mbit/s (2.4GHz), 1,300Mbit/s (5GHz)
Ports 1 x USB 3, 4x Gigabit Ethernet

Price when reviewed: 141 (exc VAT)

Read our full F-Secure Sense review for more information. 

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