This dedicated guide features top routers for 2020, along with some crucial pieces of information that you need to know before you make your buying decision.
As per our in-depth research and testing, we have compiled a list of top routers of the year based on a different set of requirements like budget, performance, superior-tech, and more. We have picked the TP-Link Archer C2300 as the overall winner because of its pricing and fantastic performance.
For bigger homes, wherein coverage plays a pivotal role for a router, we believe that Nest WiFi is the best mesh router to tend to your needs. It offers excellent connectivity and coverage to blanket your entire house. Additionally, it also features a built-in Google Home smart speaker for seamless voice control. Similarly, for hardcore gamers and power users and ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 seems to be a perfect pick.
We are going to walk you through our top picks for 2020 one by one so that you can soak in some tech wisdom and make your decision with an informed mind.
1. TP-Link Archer C2300: The Best Router
Pros: Excellent performer, Affordable, Antivirus protection inbuilt, 2-year warranty
Cons: Heats up a bit
Wireless Standards: IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz | Wireless Security: 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA-PSK2 encryptions | Antennas: 3 removable antennas | Ports: four 1-Gbps LAN, 1 WAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 | Size: 8.5 x 7.5 x 1.5 inches
The TP-Link Archer C2300 features a minimal design. It performs exceedingly well by juicing out one gigabit of data per second. This easy to carry and easy to place router is not only one of the fastest ones in its range but is also the one packed with features like antivirus, QoS, and parental controls. If you have a family or are in a co-living space, then this one will handle all your speeds without giving you a hard time. What’s more? It only costs $120, which is cheap for the performance you get.
The TP-Link Archer C2300 is aimed at home networking. Performance-wise it graciously rivals top-of-the-class routers like the Linksys WRT 32X and Netgear Nighthawk XR500 in performance. It packs Broadcom’s BCM4365E WiFi chip, which equips it with a dual-band network to run three data traffic lanes. The Archer C2300 has 512MB of RAM and 128MB of flash storage gearing it with a throughput of up to 600 Mbps (2.4GHz mode) and up to 1.625 Gbps (5GHz mode). Theoretically, the bandwidth goes up to 2.225 Gbps on this router.
On the outside, this one has four light indicators for power, internet connection, and activity in 2.4GHz and 5GHz modes, respectively. If you are one of those users who do not like flickering lights on a device, then you can turn the lights off on this router.
We find TP-Link’s Archer C2300 to be one of the fastest routers in the mid-range. Its firewall and security abilities fiercely protect your home network from hack attacks and also let you customize as per your need.
2. TP-Link Archer A7 (Best router on a budget)
Pros: Best on budget, Decent overall performance, 2-year warranty
Cons: Lack of customization, Short-range for bigger places
Wireless Standards: IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz | Wireless Security: 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA-PSK2 encryptions | Antennas: 3 non-removable antennas | Ports: Four 1-Gbps LAN, 1 USB 2.0 | Size: 1.3 x 9.6 x 6.4 inches
For the ones who want a router that feels like a real upgrade on a budget, then they need to consider the TP-Link Archer A7. It delivers good performance on 802.11ac with better features than most of the routers available in the price range. The Archer A7 houses four Gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0.
Under the hood, this dual-band router is powered by Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 Wi-Fi chip paired with a 750-MHz processor. It houses 128MB of RAM and 16MB of flash storage, which seamlessly handles its firmware and settings. The Archer A7 gives a maximum throughput of 450 Mbps on 2.4GHz band and up to 1.3 Gbps on the 5GHz band. It can offer a total bandwidth of up to 1.75 Gbps.
With its notable performance and features, the Archer A7 has an easy-to-follow setup process and is also equipped with parental control features. There’s a dedicated TP-link app that you can download to steer your data consumption from anywhere. The inbuilt Quality of Service (QoS) software in the Archer A7 makes sure that the performance level is maintained. At $57.99, this router’s performance is ideal for small families.
Although the Archer A7 lacks a physical switch to turn off its lights on the outside, it does offer users an option of Night Mode that can be enabled through its firmware settings. In comparison with Netgear’s R6220 router in a similar range, the TP-Link Archer A7 gives a thumping performance and rises to be the best router that can be purchased on a tight budget.
3. Nest WiFi (Best mesh router)
Pros: Easy setup, Security updates, Inbuilt Google Assistant
Cons: Short-range, Lesser configuration options
Wireless Standards: IEEE 802.15.4 Thread (2.4 GHz) | Wireless Security: WPA3 encryption, Automatic security updates | Antennas: 4 non-removable antennas | Ports: Two 1-Gbps LAN | Size: 4.3 x 4.3 x 3.6 inches
With the changing times, mesh routers are becoming one of the top picks for tech enthusiasts who want tech and design to be the best. While there are several WiFi mesh routers available on the market, we found the Nest WiFi to be on top of the game. Made by Google, this modern and compact router comes with Google Assistant and speaker functionality. It’s like getting Google Home that doubles as a router.
The Nest WiFi by Google blankets the entire home with strong WiFi signals. It has one of the easiest setups. The Nest WiFi is not the perfect router, but in the race of mesh routers, it comes up as victorious. Also, this one is more affordable than other mesh routers in the range, such as the Netgear Orbi with Orbi Voice extension.
On the inside, the Nest WiFi comes powered by the customized versions of Qualcomm QCS400 chipsets. It has a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a pair of Digital Signal Processors (DSP). There is 1GB of RAM clubbed with 4GB of flash storage. Enabling its automatic firmware update functionality, the Nest WiFi comes equipped with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM).
The router relies on the Google Home app for user controls. Although it limits the configuration options, there are some functionalities like adjusting the router glow and network testing that make it worthwhile. The bottom line is that if you want a router that shows the evolution of tech by integrating a speaker and voice assistant, then the Nest WiFi should be your pick. Of course, we would have preferred a better and broader range, but for the sake of comparison, you will be happy to know that it outshines Netgear Orbi in that arena.
4. Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (Most secure router for home)
Pros: Easy setup, 3 years of security software, Super performance
Cons: Short-range, Expensive
Wireless Standards: 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit | Wireless Security: Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2—PSK) and WEP, Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT) | Antennas: 3 removable antennas | Ports: 1 WAN, four 1-Gbps LAN, two USB 2.0| Size: 11.2 x 7.3 x 2.0 inches
Priced on the upper side of the list, the Nighthawk AC2300 may seem like a coveted high-performing gaming router, but it is more than that! This router from Netgear has been hailed as a Cybersecurity champion. The Nighthawk AC2300 (RS400) proves to be a bang for your buck as it offers a good range coverage for most homes, but its real value comes to the forefront when we talk about the sophisticated cybersecurity specs that it packs.
Netgear and Bitdefender have left no stone unturned in making this route hack-proof. Three years’ worth of Bitdefender Total Security software comes bundled with the router. The RS400 is an ideal pick for homes with security as the major issue. The router has been packaged to safeguard connected smart devices like TVs to cameras against malware attacks. Once installed, the RS400 blankets the entire home with security.
Under the hood, the RS400 is powered by a Dual Core 1GHz processor that amplifies wireless, wired & WAN-to-LAN performance. It comes with 256 MB of memory and 128 MB of flash storage to support firmware and settings. Interestingly, the router also features MU-MIMO technology that makes it ideal for streaming HD content on multiple devices.
What else? Users get the support from a dedicated Netgear Nighthawk app that makes the router setup easier and also lets users control the router remotely. The dashboard in the app is intuitive that enables internet speed tests and more.
Overall, the RS400 router is an ideal router for gamers and heavy-date consuming users. It also makes for a perfect addition to mid-sized homes and families at $300.
5. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 (Fastest router with WiFi 6)
Pros: First Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) router, Super performer, Customizations, 2.5Gbps wired connector
Cons: Expensive, Bulky
Wireless Standards: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IPv4, IPv6 | Wireless Security: WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise , WPA2-Enterprise , WPS support | Antennas: 8 removable antennas | Ports: RJ45 for 10/100/1000 BaseT for WAN x 1, RJ45 for 2.5G BaseT for WAN/LAN x 1, RJ45 for 10 100 1000 BaseT for LAN x 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 x 2 | Size: 240 x 240 x 60 mm
Designed for gamers, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the first Wi-Fi 6 router that offers beast level performance for large homes as well. It is a tri-band gaming router with speed and performance optimizations paired with AX speeds that enable users to set aside one 5GHz band only for gaming purposes. The AX11000 has eight antennas giving it a somewhat daunting outlook. Inside, the GT-AX11000 is powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz with 1GB of RAM and 256MB of space.
Additionally, the GT-AX11000 packs RGB lighting and Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) technology that equips it for mapping congestion-free wireless channels. It also houses an exclusive mode that allows users to run VPN on the router alongside a regular internet connection. What makes it a killer router for gamers and heavy users is the port forwarding and Trend Micro’s AiProtection Pro security features. Priced at $449.99, the AX11000 makes for an ideal buy for the ones who are pro gamers or the ones who live in a big house.
ASUS’ ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 makes other powerful routers look regular. Being one of the most expensive routers on the market, this one creates an edge for itself by adding WiFi 6 support. In the future, we will get to see more routers getting launched with WiFi 6 compatibility, but for now, the GT-AX11000 rules the segment.
This brings us to the end of our buying guide for top routers of 2020. We hope you find it helpful in making an informed buying decision. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, routers play a pivotal role in ensuring WiFi internet connectivity, and that is why you should always do your share of research before finalizing one for your home or workspace.