To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best wireless router 2024: Get faster Wi-Fi at home, including Amazon spring sale discounts

Best wireless router

Find the best wireless routers to help improve your speed and coverage

If your Wi-Fi connection is constantly dropping, or if Netflix keeps juddering and buffering, the culprit is probably your Wi-Fi router. Choose from our list of the best routers you can buy, however, and you can improve your Wi-Fi performance, speed and coverage – and ensure you’re getting the most out of your broadband connection.

We’ve picked out a range of our favourite models for you below, with prices starting surprisingly low – and every single one has been through our rigorous testing procedure to make sure it delivers on its promises. Below, you’ll find our buyer’s guide, followed by a selection of the best wireless routers on the market, from the best budget routers to the latest superfast Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 speed demons, alongside links to our full-length, in-depth reviews.

Best router: At a glance

Best router for most peopleAsus RT-AX59U (~£125)Check price at Amazon
Best cheap routerTP-Link AX10 (~£50)Check price at Argos
Fastest routerNetgear Nighthawk RAXE500 (~£500)Check price at Amazon

How to buy the best wireless router for you

Before investing in a new router, think about how it will work with your internet connection. A few models have built-in ADSL2+ or VDSL2 modems, allowing them to connect directly to DSL or fibre broadband services. Most however just offer a WAN port, and expect you to provide your own modem.

If you don’t have a standalone modem, check whether your ISP-supplied router offers a “modem mode” that will let it do the same job. If it doesn’t, you can connect a new router to a spare Ethernet port on the old one, and use this as your main home network. However, in this configuration your new network will technically be a subnet of the old one: this could cause issues with communications between devices, or if you want to set up port forwarding.

READ NEXT: The best mesh Wi-Fi routers for the ultimate in coverage

Should I upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-F 6E or Wi-Fi 7?

Wi-Fi 6, 6E and 7 are the latest official wireless standards, as ratified by the IEEE and, generally speaking, the standard supported by a given wireless router will govern how fast a connection a wireless router can provide. Wi-Fi 6 is the most widely adopted of the latest standards. It’s faster than Wi-Fi 5 and fast becoming ubiquitous, has better penetration so that all corners of your home or office can get a decent signal, and since it’s designed for the connected age, it gets bogged down much less than 802.11ac when lots of devices want to connect at once. As such, when purchasing a wireless router, we recommend, as a minimum, buying a router that supports Wi-Fi 6.

Routers supporting Wi-Fi 6E offer users the ability to connect over an extra frequency band, adding 6GHz to Wif-Fi 6’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz, this supports three ultra-wide 160MHz channels with no overlapping frequencies, meaning there’s more throughput available. The downsides are that only modern laptops and smartphones can utilise Wi-Fi 6E’s 6GHz frequency band, and Wi-Fi 6E routers tend to be a lot more expensive than those supporting good old Wi-Fi 6. Our advice? Stick with Wi-Fi 6 until the price comes down unless you have a specific need for ultra-fast wireless.

Wi-Fi 7 is newer than Wi-Fi 6E, support is very thin on the ground right now and hardware is even more expensive. However, it brings with it attractive features such 4×4 MIMO on all frequency bands and multi-link operation (MLO), which allows compatible devices to transfer data across all three radio bands at once. It’s the fastest, most up-to-date wireless technology around but as with Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 is in its infancy, so you’re best off giving it a swerve for now.

What’s the difference between dual-band and tri-band?

All modern routers can transmit and receive on two radio bands at once. The 5GHz and 6GHz bands are fast, but some older devices don’t support it; the 2.4GHz band is slower, but it has a longer range so it can be good for big old houses with thick walls.

So far so good, but when multiple clients try to connect to the same radio, contention and interference can slow things down. This applies especially to 802.11ac – so a tri-band router contains two separate 5GHz radios, allowing twice as many devices to communicate simultaneously at full speed.

As we’ve mentioned, though, Wi-Fi 6 copes much more elegantly with simultaneous connections, so tri-band technology is generally unnecessary with the new standard.

What’s the difference between a wireless router and a mesh system?

A mesh system does the same basic job as a router, but alongside the main unit it comes with additional “satellites”, which you place around your home to help distribute the wireless signal more widely. A mesh kit will be more expensive than the average router, but if you’re struggling to get a decent connection in the far reaches of your home, it could be the perfect answer. If that sounds good, check out our guide to the best mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market.

How to use two routers to extend range Step 3

What speeds can I expect to see?

Router manufacturers advertise some very fast transfer speeds, but these are theoretical maximums: you’ll never get close to them in real life.

They also have a misleading habit of adding up the speeds of different radios to come up with a total data rate. For example, if a router has a 2.4GHz radio that supports speeds up to 400Mbits/sec, plus two 5GHz radios rated at up to 867Mbits/sec, the manufacturer may tot these up to advertise a total speed of 2,134Mbits/sec. In reality, no single device will get a connection faster than 867Mbits/sec, and the real-world transfer speeds you see will probably be less than half of that.

Don’t get too hung up on extreme speeds: it’s nice to be able to quickly copy big files around your personal network, but when it comes to downloads and video streaming, the limiting factor is usually your internet connection rather than the router.

READ NEXT: The best Wi-Fi extenders to buy

How many wired Ethernet ports do I need?

Ethernet ports are far from obsolete. Many “smart” home devices come with low-power hubs that need to be wired into your router, and if you plan on adding a NAS drive to your network at any point, that’s also going to occupy a port. We’d suggest you look for a model that has at least four ports – although if need be, you can buy a low-cost Ethernet switch to attach more wired devices to your router.

Some high-end routers let you aggregate two ports into a single 2Gbits/sec connection, or may even have special high-speed ports rated as high as 10Gbits/sec. In practice, you’re not likely to find much use for these abilities: sure, you can give your NAS box a super-high-speed link to your router, but when you want to actually access your files, the connection from the router to your laptop will act as a bottleneck.

What other features should I look out for?

If you have kids, you might want to choose a router with built-in parental controls. Some let you restrict access to the internet on a per-device basis at certain times of day, or limit it to a certain accumulated amount of time; some even provide category-based web filtering. There are software packages that can do the same thing, but router-based controls are easier to keep on top of and administer.

Finally, a USB 3 socket makes it easy to share a hard disk or flash drive with your whole network. It’s a cheap alternative to a NAS drive for easily sharing files, although it won’t give you the security of a properly configured RAID array. USB 2 works too, but it’s a lot slower.

How we test wireless routers

We put all wireless routers we review through their paces before deciding whether to recommend them on this page. Not only do we connect them to our own home network and try out their features, and we also put them through a battery of performance tests to see how well they perform at short and long range. All our tests are performed in a domestic setting to give you an idea of how they might fare in your own home.

We test the performance of every wireless router in exactly the same way. We install the router in the same room every time, using default settings for internet access and Wi-Fi, and we then hook up an Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro NAS appliance to one of the LAN ports. Next, we connect a test laptop equipped with a 2×2 Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E network card to the router wirelessly. Finally, we walk around the house with the laptop and carry out a series of file transfer tests to and from the NAS drive in each location and over each of the router’s frequency bands.

This data is then presented in the reviews in the form of comparative charts so you can see how the router compares against its closest rivals.

The best wireless routers to buy in 2024

1. Asus RT-AX59U: The best router for most people

Price: £125 | Buy now from Amazon

Asus RT-AX59U pictured from the front on a blue, grey and yellow patterend rug

The Asus RT-AX59U isn’t the fastest Wi-Fi 6 router around, nor the cheapest – but it provides decent wireless coverage for a very reasonable price. That makes it a strong choice for shoppers who don’t demand enthusiast levels of performance.

Indeed, the hardware is more versatile than you might expect for the price. Wi-Fi 6 connections can go up to a maximum speed of 3.6Gbits/sec, while three LAN ports allow for a decent number of wired connections. There’s a pair of USB connectors, which you can use for external storage, printer sharing or 4G/5G mobile internet.

Even better, the RT-AX59U uses the same firmware as Asus’ premium routers, so you get a best-in-class suite of software features. You can delve into and configure almost every aspect of your home network, apply security and parental control settings and define up to 16 VPN connections. Asus’ AiMesh technology also lets you easily connect any other compatible Asus router or repeater to extend your wireless coverage.

If you’re willing to pay more, you can get a faster router with Wi-Fi 6E, multi-gigabit Ethernet and better long-range performance. But for most homes those high-end models are overkill; the RT-AX59U does all you need.

Read our full Asus RT-AX59U router review for more details

Key specs – Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6); Stated speed: 4.2Gbits/sec; Ethernet ports: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet; USB ports: 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec)

2. TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500): The best cheap Wi-Fi 6 router

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

The TP-Link Archer AX50 pictured on a grey and yellow rug, at an angle facing to the left of the frame

In the absence of the Honor Router 3, which is now out of stock in most places, the honour of cheapest Wi-Fi 6 router falls to the TP-Link AX10.

For less than £60 it has support for the latest Wi-Fi standard, is easy to set up and use and it delivered a solid performance in our testing, besting the more expensive Netgear Nighthawk RAX40 for speed.

But it’s a bit basic when it comes to core features. There are no USB ports and no MU-MIMO, which leads to slightly slower long-range performance than the outgoing Honor Router 3. Overall, though, we can’t complain for the money, especially since it’s recently been reduced to a tempting £58.

Key specs – Modem: None; Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6); Stated speed: 1,500Mbits/sec; USB ports: None

3. Linksys MR7350: The fastest sub-£100 wireless router you can buy

Price: £91 | Buy now from Amazon

A close up of the Linksys MR7350 against a white background, facing slightly to the right

It might not be the prettiest wireless router you’ve ever seen but the Linksys MR7350 is seriously quick and seriously good value thanks to a price drop.

Even at the original price – £157 – you’d struggle to find a faster router but at a price of £91, nothing gets close. At this price, we’d have considered given it a 5-star Best Buy rating.

The only problem we had with it was with its usability and the sluggishness of its web interface and a rather limited feature set but if you don’t mind putting up with that, it’s a fabulous router for very little cash.

Read our full Linksys MR7350 review for more details

Key specs – Modem: None; Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6); Stated speed: 1,200Mbits/sec; USB ports: 1 x USB 3.0

4. Asus TUF Gaming AX5400: The best router for gamers on a budget

Price: £168 | Buy now from Amazon

The Asus TUF Gaming AX5400 router pictured on a yellow and grey rug, at a slight angle, facing to the right

If you’re a gamer on a budget, the Asus TUF Gaming AX5400 is an interesting proposition. It’s much cheaper than most gaming-specific routers but still comes with some enticing specifications and performance is impressive.

Speeds over Wi-Fi 6 are rated at up to 4.8Gbits/sec, which matches the most expensive routers we’ve tested, and up to 4.3Gbits/sec for Wi-Fi 5 devices. The only place where costs have been cut is the 2.4GHz radio, which maxes out at 574Mbits/sec.

This combines with solid performance in our testing and a handful of useful gamer-centric optimisations to make the AX5400 a tempting buy for value-focused gamers and regular folk alike.

Read our full Asus TUF Gaming AX5400 review for more details

Key specs – Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6); Stated speed: 5,400Mbits/sec; Ethernet ports: 5 x Gigabit Ethernet; USB ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec)

5. TP-Link Archer AX90 (AX6600): The best value tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router

Price: £216 | Buy now from Amazon

The TP-Link Archer AX90 pictured on a yellow and grey rug at a slight angle facing to right

We don’t see many tri-band Wi-Fi 6 routers, simply because dual-band is usually enough for this latest technology to deliver strong, fast results to all parts of your home. But there are still reasons why you might want a tri-band – if you have lots of computers using your network simultaneously or you want to dedicate one connection to your gaming PC, for instance, and don’t want to share the bandwidth with other members of your household.

That’s what the TP-Link Archer AX90 gives you, and for a surprisingly reasonable price as well, although there is a significant caveat. In order to hit that low price, one of the 5GHz radios is high speed and one is low speed, with the third, a legacy 2.4GHz radio, in place for compatibility. Performance is super impressive – on a par with our favourite Wi-Fi 6 routers, including the Asus RT-AX82U, and although this router is a touch more expensive than that device, it does give you the extra flexibility of an additional router.

Combined with built-in parental controls, network scanning and QoS capabilities, plus the ability to expand the router into a mesh system using TP-Link’s OneMesh system, the AX90 offers a fantastic all-round package for the money.

Read our full TP-Link AX90 review for more details

Key specs – Modem: None; Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax); Stated speed: 6,600Mbits/sec; USB ports: 1 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2

6. Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500: The fastest router we’ve ever tested

Price: £465 | Buy now from Amazon

The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 router, pictured against a yellow and grey rug

Wireless router speeds have come on a lot in recent times and nowhere is this clearer than in the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, which is hands down the fastest standalone router we’ve ever tested.

It employs the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard to transfer data over the new 6GHz band and has an enormous total bandwidth of 11Gbits/sec. It supports 4×4 MIMO on each of its three frequency bands and can reach rated speeds of up to 4.8Gbits/sec on its 5GHz and 6GHz networks and 1.2Gbits/sec on 2.4GHz networks.

Coupled with multigig Ethernet, the router delivered the fastest Wi-Fi transfer speeds we’ve ever seen, reaching mind-boggling downloads of 152MB/sec at close range.

The only catch is that it’s hugely expensive, so you’re definitely paying for that phenomenal performance, but if you want the very best of the best this router is the place to get it.

Read our full Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 review for full details

Key specs – Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6E); Stated speed:11,000Mbits/sec; Ethernet ports: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x 2.5Gbits/sec; USB ports: 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec)

7. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000: The best router for gamers

Price: £340 inc VAT | Buy now from Amazon

Asus ROG Rapture wireless router pictured on a yellow and grey rug

Keen gamers can get along with any kind of router but Asus’ ROG models come with a host of features that are designed to boost your experiences.

The Asus ROG is the newest model in the line-up and it’s a fantastic choice. It’s cheaper than the top-of-the-line GT-AXE11000 and so doesn’t support the latest 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E band, but it has almost all of the rest of the features that Asus’ top model has and it performs brilliantly as well.

Rated speeds reach 4.8Gbits/sec over 5GHz and 1.1Gbits/sec over 2.4GHz and the router performed very speedily in our network testing at close range, although it did fall off at longer distances.

With a host of tools designed at optimising gaming traffic, including a LAN port that automatically gives priority to devices connected to it, a “Game Boost” mode that prioritises internet traffic going to and from recognised game servers, and built-in port-forwarding rules for over 70 games, this is a fabulous all-rounder.

You even get parental controls and security included in the price.

Read our full Asus ROG GT-AX6000 review for more details

Key specs – Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6); Stated speed: 6,000Mbits/sec; Ethernet ports: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x 2.5Gbits/sec; USB ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec), 1 x USB 2

8. Asus RT-AXE7800: The best Wi-Fi 6E router

Price: £232 | Check price at Amazon

The Asus RT-AXE7800 pictured on a grey, blue and yellow rug

The striking six-sided design of the RT-AXE7800 demands attention – and so does its performance. Using regular Wi-Fi 6 we measured download speeds of 88MB/sec at close range, and a very creditable 28MB/sec even at the far end of the house. That means most people can expect strong, reliable wireless coverage throughout their homes, without having to pay more for a mesh system or additional extenders.

Things are even better with Wi-Fi 6E; connecting from a 6GHz-compatible laptop we saw tremendous download speeds, topping 100MB in multiple rooms – although performance wasn’t quite as strong over longer distances. A 2.5GbE socket allows for multi-gigabit wired connections, too.

As well as fast Wi-Fi, the RT-AXE7800 benefits from Asus’ terrifically versatile firmware, which is loaded with advanced features. Network security and parental controls are built-in for free, and Asus’ support for third-party VPNs is the best in the business.

All of this goodness comes at a remarkably low price – just £232 at the time of writing. That’s a steal for this excellent combination of performance and features.

Read our full Asus RT-AXE7800 router review for more details

Key specs – Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6E); Stated speed: 7.8Gbits/sec; Ethernet ports: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet; USB ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec)

9. Netgear Nighthawk RS700S: The best Wi-Fi 7 router

Price: £799 | Check price at Amazon

Netgear Nighthawk RS700S pictured on a grey, blue and yellow rug

The Nighthawk RS700S promises Wi-Fi performance the competition can only dream of. It can go up to an incredible 11.5Gbits/sec on the 6GHz band, with an additional 5.8Gbits/sec of bandwidth for 5GHz connections.

To get those amazing data rates, however, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 7-compatible computer or phone, and those are as yet hard to come by. It’ll probably be the latter half of 2024 before Wi-Fi 7 is commonplace on new computers.

Still, even with current-gen devices, the Nighthawk RS700S is a very speedy router. We measured download performance of up to 95MB/sec over Wi-Fi 6, and 137MB/sec using Wi-Fi 6E. There’s 10GbE too, for ultrafast wired connections. And software support is well covered, with Netgear’s Armor platform providing security for your home network, and a comprehensive Parental Control service, too, although these are add-on subscriptions.

It is, admittedly pricey, but so far it’s the best way to get the massive speed potential of Wi-Fi 7.

Read our full Netgear Nighthawk RS700S router review for more details

Key specs – Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be); Stated speed: 19Gbits/sec; Ethernet ports: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet; USB ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec)

Read more

Best Buys