The best Wi-Fi internet routers

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

wireless router

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.

Azyxel NWA1302-AC

Unlike a lot of wireless APs, the NWA1302-AC augments its dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with a generous three Gigabit Ethernet ports - one of which is PoE+ enabled. This ability to provide both wired and wireless connectivity makes it ideal for an office setting, where such versatility is in demand.

Performance is decent rather than exceptional, but with loads of management options and security tools, the NWA1302-AC is a great pick for small businesses. That’s especially true when you consider the low price, too.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

1,300Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 300Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

6x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN, 2x USB 2.0

Price when reviewed: £124 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Azyxel NWA1302-AC review for more information.

DrayTek Vigor 2620Ln

Anyone who’s ever had to deal with their office Wi-Fi going down will appreciate the Vigor 2620Ln; on top of its integrated ADSL2+/VDSL2 modem, there’s a 3G/4G modem (with dual SIM slots) that allows the router to seamlessly switch to wireless data if the main modem fails. What’s more, one of the two Ethernet ports can be configured as a WAN connection, providing yet another possible backup.

It’s not ideal for everyone - it only supports 802.11n, which seems more than a little old-fashioned - but the rich collection of failovers helps it fill a potentially very important niche. In a similar vein, it’s well-equipped for security too, with a built-in 300Mbits/sec SPI firewall and support for multiple VPN connections.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11n

Stated speed

300Mbits/sec (2.4GHz band only)

Ports

2x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN, 2x SIM card

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Price when reviewed: £197 (exc VAT)

Read our full DrayTek Vigor 2620Ln review for more information.

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.

EnGenius EWS357AP

The rise of 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6, brings the potential for much faster speeds - but of what little business-grade hardware there is that supports it, most is highly expensive. The EnGenius EWS357AP, however, bucks the trend by offering a Wi-Fi 6-compatible AP for a very reasonable price.

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There are some issues to be aware of - it comes with a default admin password an open SSID, which from a security standpoint is a big no-no, and a lack of support for the 160MHz channel width means you won’t get the absolute best speeds that the new Wi-Fi standard is capable of. Nonetheless, it’s capable and futureproofed AP that can hit high speeds even on tighter channels.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ax

Stated speed

1,200Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 567Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

1x Gigabit Ethernet

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Price when reviewed: £260 (exc VAT)

Read our full EnGenius EWS357AP 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: £190 exc VAT (twin pack)

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

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.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

2,167Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 1,000Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

8x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1x LAN WAN, 2x USB 3.0

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Price when reviewed: £189 (exc VAT)

Read our full Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream review

Linksys LAPAC2600C

The relatively low price and incredibly easy deployment of the LAPAC2600C makes it a top choice for SMBs, specifically those who want or need 802.11ac Wave 2 speeds and a well-featured AP to deliver them.

Performance and range are both more than good enough - thanks to the 4x4 MU-MIMO aerials on that note - and because clustering is both simple to set up and easy to manage, the LAPAC2600C is one of the better options for scalability as well.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 800Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN

Price when reviewed: £307 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Linksys LAPAC2600C review for more information.

Netgear Insight Managed WAC540

Another well-priced AP, the WAC540 offers a strong mix of security, performance and management tools. 

On the security side, both client isolation and MAC address-based access control lists are supported, while the Insight portal is a very useful resource for monitoring traffic and connected clients.

Up-close speed is great -  we averaged 30MB/sec on the 2.4GHz band - and while this can drop significantly over range, we were impressed by how far the WAC540 could continue to push a signal, even coming through several floors and multiple brick walls.

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Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 400Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN

Price when reviewed: £155 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Netgear Insight Managed WAC540 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.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ad

Stated speed

1,733Mbits/sec on both 5GHz bands, 800Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

7x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0

Price when reviewed: £333 (exc VAT)

Read our full Netgear Nighthawk X10 review for more information.

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.

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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.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 800Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 2.0

Price when reviewed: £180 (exc VAT)

Read our full Synology RT2600ac 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.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ad

Stated speed

4,600Mbit/s (60GHz), 1,733Mbit/s (5GHz), 800Mbit/s (2.4GHz)

Ports

4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN, 2x USB 3.0

Price when reviewed: £291 (exc VAT)

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

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi nanoHD

This dinky AP trades away onboard hardware for a more compact, easily concealable design. While this approach has some drawbacks, such as it only having a single Ethernet port, it doesn’t stop the UniFi nanoHD from performing very, very well indeed, nor from reaching out with a long effective range.

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We’d still recommend adding a UniFi Security Gateway (USG) for more in-depth management options, though this extra expense is made up for elsewhere: both cloud and on-site management, for instance, is free.

Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 300Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

1x Gigabit Ethernet

Price when reviewed: £133 (exc VAT)

Read our full Ubiquiti Networks UniFi nanoHD review for more information.

WatchGuard AP325

If you’re looking for an AP that can slot into an existing network management system, the WatchGuard AP325 might fit the bill: it can’t be used standalone, but it’s got an excellent range of features despite also being easy to set up and use. As it should do, at this price.

Like the Azyxel NWA1302-AC, this also has a PoE+ enabled Gigabit Ethernet port, although our favourite trick is WatchGuard's WIPS (wireless intrusion prevention system) radio.Two of the AP325’s six internal aerials are put to work detecting any unauthorised APs that might be connected to your network, with any prying devices being disabled once found.

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Modem

Gigabit Ethernet

Wi-Fi standard

802.11ac

Stated speed

867Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band, 300Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz band

Ports

1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x LAN WAN

Price when reviewed: £468 (exc VAT)

Read our full WatchGuard AP325 review for more information.

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