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Best WiFi router: top home router recommendations for 2022
For the best router in 2022, it doesn’t matter how many antennas you have – mesh routers are still the king, according to our testing
What’s the best WiFi router of 2022, according to an expert who deals with this day in and day out? There are a lot of possible recommendations, but one thing is certain: in almost every case, it’s not the one your ISP gave you. Though intended to be set-it-and-forget-it affairs, the default modem/router combo you’re offered when you sign up is not only regularly in need of a reset, it’s often insufficient to cover more than a small, uncomplicated home. For some people, that makes sense: if you really only ever use the internet in one or two adjacent rooms – say, for streaming video, listening to music, or surfing the web for sweet, sweet PS5 restocks – then owning a cheap, single point WiFi system might be the best.
But if you’re even wondering about the best WiFi router, you probably need something better. But what should you pick? A mesh system? Some ungainly, octa-tentacled, RGB-laden monstrosity? Something more traditional? I’ve been obsessing over routers for a long time, and even getting paid to review them for the last two years. For my money, these are the best routers to buy right now.
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What to know before buying a new WiFi router
🤔 Decide where you want a decent wireless connection
📶 Know the trouble spots – furniture, walls, water pipes, other wireless devices and more can kill WiFi
🌟 The newest WiFi standards are nice, but not everyone can benefit
👓 Do you want something you can fiddle with, or something you only have to touch once?
💪 Your router can only do so much – you might need to upgrade your internet plan, too
1. Asus ZenWiFi XD6 mesh WiFi system (2-pack)
Best router overall
✅ Easy setup via app
✅ Great coverage despite small size
❌ Its app isn’t the best
Wireless connectivity: dual-band wireless (2.4GHz or 5GHz) | Ethernet ports: 1 x gigabit WAN, 3 x gigabit LAN (per node) | Other ports: none | Speed: Up to 1Gbps | Dimensions: 126.4mm x 59mm x 129.7mm | Thread supported: No | Coverage: up to 5,400 ft
The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 2-pack beats out Eero’s mesh system to be the best router overall after days of testing has revealed it as a solid system that, while not the fastest 160MHz channel bandwidth WiFi 6 router kit out there, feels remarkably stable compared even to the Eero Pro 6E system it replaced. In benchmarks, it held its own against the very pricey Eero system, handily besting it in up-close tests (on the 5GHz band – the Eero Pro 6E was still much faster on the 2.4GHz band).
Like the best mesh systems, Asus’ ZenWiFi system is easy to set up and configure, and when I transitioned my entire network to it, which includes a couple dozen smart home devices, the experience was remarkably struggle-free compared to most routers – in fact, I didn’t have to reset or re-configure anything, which is rare.
Price-wise, the XD6 2-pack has almost never been at its list price of $379, and it’s typically available in the mid-$200 range, only spiking higher for brief periods. Versus the comparable Eero 6+ 3-pack, the Asus says the XD6 2-pack offers broader coverage, at 5,400 square feet – that’s not likely true in a real-world situation, but it did impress in my just-shy-of 2,000 square feet 2-story home with a basement.
2. TP-Link Archer GX90 WiFi 6
Best gaming router
✅ Small footprint (for a gaming router)
✅ Dedicated 160MHz gaming band
❌ Only one 2.5Gbps ethernet port
Wireless connectivity: tri-band wireless (2.4GHz or 5GHz) | Wired connectivity: 1 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN, 1 gigabit WAN/LAN, 3 gigabit LAN | Other ports: 2 USB ports | Speed: Up to 4.8Gbps | Dimensions: 212mm × 212mm × 51.8 mm | Thread supported: No | Coverage: Up to a 4-bedroom house
Obviously if you’re serious about buying a gaming router, the best thing to do is go wired if you can. But that’s not always achievable, and in the absence of good old cat5e ethernet, the next best thing is powerful WiFi. I’ve looked at some very pricey gaming routers, and although they were very impressive, after testing for the TP-Link Archer GX90 review I wrote for PC World earlier this year, it was readily apparent that the justifications for spending hundreds more on something like the ghastly and powerful Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 were scant.
The Archer GX90 is powerful, sure, with plenty of throughput on its dedicated 160MHz “gaming band” (despite its name, you can connect whatever you want to this band) for fast wireless downloads, but it was the stellar low latency that really impressed – ping to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive official servers I use for testing consistently hovered in the 20ms range which is barely above normal wired latency for me.
That’s ideal for twitchy multiplayer shooters, and can help make cloud gaming (say with Microsoft’s Keystone streaming console, if it’s ever released) feel shockingly similar to playing on a local console for all but the most sensitive gamers. Being priced in the mid-$200 range, TP-Link had to cut some corners, so you miss out on things like adjustable antennas and fancy RGB lighting, and the body of the Archer GX90 definitely feels like cheap plastic. But like a souped-up Honda Civic that hasn’t seen a drop of new paint since 1997, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
3. Eero router
Best budget router
✅ Easy setup
✅ Very small, easy to place
❌ Aging WiFi 5 standard
Wireless connectivity: dual-band wireless (2.4GHz or 5GHz) | Ethernet ports: 2 gigabit | Other ports: 1 USB-C port (power only) | Speed: Up to 350Mbps | Dimensions: 99.4mm x 97mm x 65.9mm | Thread supported: No | Coverage: up to 1,500 sq ft
Just one of the original WiFi 5 Eero routers can be a very capable, supremely affordable internet-beaming cupcake if you’re on a budget. Like the Eero 6+, it features an easy app-based setup and almost never requires resetting or maintenance of any kind. It’s a simple product, with just two gigabit ethernet ports on the back, so if you need more ports than that, you’ll need to pick up an unmanaged switch like the TP-Link SG-108 to expand your selection.
When it’s time for setup, the Eero app presents a remarkably easy guided setup process that takes all of 5 minutes under normal circumstances, and the best part: being a mesh router means it’s modular, so when you want to add pieces later on, you can. Being a simple dual band Wi-Fi 5 router with a max channel bandwidth of 80MHz, it won’t be crazy fast, but even in real-world use it gets close to its 350Mbps throughput limit, which is more than enough for most people. At just $69, that’s a pretty nice deal.
Published: November 18, 2022
Updated: December 27, 2022