Our Top Pick for 2016: NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Home Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
Read our full review.
When you want a strong and consistent Internet connection you need the assistance of a quality router. Wireless connection also requires a solid conduit by which your laptop, tablet, iPad, and smart phone will be able to retrieve data at an exponential rate. If you don’t lease a router from your Internet Provider, you can purchase a wireless router. By doing so, you will reduce your monthly Internet service bill. Listed below are four wireless routers which are highly rated for their outstanding delivery for residential network performance. These routers produce and maintain good signals as well as provide protection for stored data.
Table of contents
- #1 Gold Pick (1st Place Winner)
- #2 Silver Pick (2nd Place Runner-Up)
- #3 Bronze Pick (3rd Place)
- #4 Budget Pick (Best Cheap)
Up to 1900 Mbps
600+1300 Mbps Speed
AC3150 with 4-Stream and NitroQAM technology
Remote Access To Help Manage Home Network
Delivers up to 3150Mbps Wi-Fi Speeds
1 x Gigabit WAN port, 4 x Gigabit LAN ports
Easy & automatic installation
Smart Connect Helps Devices Run Faster
AiCloud Multimedia Sharing
1GHz Dual Core Processor
Powerful 1.4GHz Dual-core CPU
AiProtection with Trend Micro for Complete Network Security
High Powered Amplifiers & Antennas
2-year Warranty And 24/7 Technical Support
#1 Gold pick (Winner): NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Home Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
View it on Amazon for $179.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
NETGEAR has a strong reputation for manufacturing quality routers. The Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Router is able to handle your browsing commands within milliseconds. NETGEAR understands the information needs you have and that’s why this router is enabled to produce 600+1300 Mbps. Without this level of speed, you will be dealing with slow uploading pages. Your need for information may be related to developing a research paper, accessing email, downloading a song, watching a movie, or reading a book. Whatever you desire to do while you’re online, the NETGEAR Nighthawk router excels compared to standard ones.
This smart based router revolutionizes the way web pages are loaded. If you’re an avid gamer, you will enjoy the rapid streaming function that this router generates without compromising your position. It doesn’t matter where you are located inside of your home, this router can track your device instantly with beamforming technology. This type of technology increases and stabilizes Internet strength. The three antennas installed on this router is able to send and receive connection signals through high-powered amplifiers which cover the entire radius of your home. So you don’t have to worry about moving around from one room to another to stay connected.
This wireless router takes WiFi service to another level. The charging force behind this rapid production is the 1GHz Dual Core Processor. This router is compatible with X Box One and X Box 360 gaming equipment. If you want to connect to Netflix or YouTube, this router will increase the streaming speed so there’s no interruption during viewing. You can also connect to online entertainment streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.
This router has the capability of protecting your software and files through free backup service. You can be confident that your MAC or PC is safe while you’re online. The NETGEAR Nighthawk comes fully loaded with five 10/100/1000 Mbps – (One WAN and 4 LAN), Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB ports – (One USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port), ReadyCLOUD USB and ReadyShare. These components provide easy access for you to plug in gaming accessories.
If you’re not too knowledgeable about setting up a wireless router, a quick install guide is provided to help you become familiar with parts and other features such as the 256 MB, the 802.11 a/b/g/n. This 3.5 pound router measures at 13.7 X 10 X 1 X 3.1 inches and the flash memory is 128. The operating system is compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 8.1, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, and Linux. These features are bonuses that can help you enjoy every moment of your online connection.
The genie remote access can help you stay abreast of your network activity. You can view the activity of any device that’s connected to your network even when you’re away from home. This can help you monitor and detect any unauthorized access. You can also grant access if you like to a guest. Additional features include the ability to link your iPad or iPhone AirPrint, stored media files, and EZ Mobile Connect. If you need to transfer files from one device to another, you can do so very quickly. The developers at NETGEAR understand that you may not understand a lot of technical jargon and processes that the Internet requires for you to access its contents. That’s why all of these functions are already taken care of for you.
Thousands of Amazon customers have recognized this benefit and have found this router to be one of these best on the market. 71% of these customers rated this router five stars. This router has even impressed a long term IT professional with its capabilities. The customer noted how the Nighthawk router was able to keep up with the demands of his device inventory. Other customers praised this router for its speed and cost-effectiveness. When you have several devices that require various amounts of Internet strength, you need a supply system that can produce consistency.
While some customers were absolutely ecstatic about this router’s performance, others thought it lagged behind or stopped its production completely. This could definitely cause problems especially if you’re working on a project or playing a game. Since most customers have had a good experience with the router, this could be an Internet Provider issue or defective routers could have made its way to the retailer.
A video review provided by Unicorn Reviews is available on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn6lYAjMg0). The reviewer gives a thorough overview of the router’s features. The router is a relatively nice size. The signals were displayed to show the different ports. The reviewer emphasized how easy it is to set up the router. A simple plug in process for the power cord and Ethernet cable appears to be all that’s required. When you visit NETGEAR’s login website and follow the instructions, you should be good to go. You can also access the NETGEAR Genie with your smartphone to change or update settings.
#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): ASUS Wireless-AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Home Wireless Router
View it on Amazon for $149.31*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
The ASUS Wireless-AC1900 Home Wireless Router is rated highly because of its turbo performance. If you purchase this router, you can expect a definite data rate of 600 Mbps which is delivered by the TurboQAM™ technology. The connection ports include: 1 X Gigabit WAN Port, 4 X Gigabit LAN ports, and 1 X USB 3.0 0/1 X USB 2.0 support Printer/HDD (3G/4G dongle) sharing. The AiRadar with Beamforming technology ensures that every device within your network has full access.
The AiCloud is also a unique technology that makes it possible for you to share media files that are outside of your home or smartphone network. Your network will be protected by AiProtection with TrendMicro™. This security system provides coverage for all of your devices. Weighing at just 1.4 pounds, this black router measures at 6.3 X 3.3 X 8.6 inches and operates efficiently with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS.
This router’s RT-AC68U comprises the ASUSWRT user interface. This user-friendly interface allows you to access its contents to set up the router. If you’re concern if you’ll do a good job setting up this router, there’s no need to fear because three simple steps is all you need to complete. However, if you run into any problems, the accompanying support CD will explain anything you want to know. The two-year warranty will also be available if your router malfunctions.
The ASUS Wireless Home Wireless Router has been able to generate some positive results for more than 2,000 Amazon customers. The fast moving processing of browsing commands will help you remain in control of your Internet experience. The full coverage and quality of this router has made a lasting impression on many who needed a router that can handle the demand. However, some issues were found to be worth mentioning as some customers were not able to gain the consistency and initial connection that they desired. The lifespan of some routers were also shortened for various reasons. As a result, this router was perceived as an invaluable purchase.
An extensive review is available on YouTube to help you gain a little more knowledge about this router’s performance (www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYz2tz_HcSE). The reviewer’s analytical review is very detailed and technical. He goes on to give theoretical examples of possible speeds you can obtain when using this router. The various signal symbols are explained to give you clarity about which lights should be lit when the router in turned on. The ports are also shown so that you’ll know which coordinating cable should be plugged in a specific location.
The close view of this router helps reduce any apprehension you may have about the setup process. Each port, button, and switch is labeled clearly. The LED ON/OFF button gives you the option of using the LED lights. Although this button is optional, the reviewer suggests leaving it on. By doing so, you will avoid any possible confusion about whether or not the router is working properly.
If you’re wondering why this router is positioned upright and not flat like most routers, the reviewer Babbling Boolean explained the risks and limitations if the router were placed in a downward position. He also tested the signal range outdoors and found the strength level to be rather slow but achievable when he was patient with the loading process. Further analysis of the ASUS Home Wireless Router Software was another feature Babbling Boolean found to be worth mentioning. The reviewer gave a brief overview of the main features that you will have access to when enabling, updating, or authorizing access. The traffic manager and parental control interfaces are shown to provide a summary of available options.
#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): TP-LINK AC3150 Wireless XStream Processing 4-Stream Home Wi-Fi Router
View it on Amazon for $199.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
When you’re looking for a quality home wireless router, you need one that is innovative and able to manage a variety of commands. The TP-Link AC3150 Wireless XStream Wi-Fi Router can deliver up to 3150 Mbps with NitroQAM technology. As a result, your WiFi service will be ramped up to well over dual 2.4 GHz (1000 Mbps) as well as 5 GHz (2167 Mbps). Your devices will also operate on an expedient level with Smart Connect technology.
This router reduces interruptions significantly through 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU and two co-processors. When the Ethernet cable is connected, this router will accelerate the connection speed. The beamforming technology also makes it convenient to use any device you prefer by detecting and tracking user prompts. It is also MU-MIMO Ready. The four antennas located on the back of the router ensures stable connection for devices within a 10,000 square feet radius. ASUS offers additional support with a two-year warranty and 24-hour technical support.
This 3.6 pound router measures at 7.8 X 10.4 X 1.5 inches and is compatible with Microsoft Windows 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. The radio frequency level of this router is 802.11 a/b/g/n with 802.11 A/C. This router does an outstanding performance when you need want to game, stream music, or watch movies. If you discover that you need more bandwidth, the QoS technology will move into position to fulfill your request.
The USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports are the primarily gateways by which you can share media files. These USB ports can also be used to connect to your devices and hard drive when you tap into the VPN. The setup process for this router can be completed through your phone or tablet. After you download the Tether app, you can change your router’s settings. If you find that the setup process is too complicated, you can contact technical support for assistance.
71% of 2,595 Amazon customers rated this router five stars. The remaining 29% of customers found issues with device connectivity, USB 3.0 port speed, and erratic signal outputs. These issues could reveal possible challenges with the router’s faulty components or syncing process with their Internet service. If you run into issues like this, it’s best to contact your Internet Provider and the manufacturer to target the source of the operating problem. Sometimes it’s easy to blame one source over the other without knowing the exact cause. So rather than settling for tossing a product to the side, you can get assistance from a technical support agent to see if you missed any steps in the installation process.
John R. Delaney (2016) wrote a detailed review on this router. The overall rating was good and the editor summarized the router’s key features in a very concise way. Delaney (2016) showed competitive routers so that readers could compare the pros and cons. According to Delaney (2016), … “The TP-Link AC3150 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Archer C3150 is a good choice if your household has multiple wired and wireless devices vying for bandwidth”.
Nerd Techy has a review which sheds light on this router regarding the cost effective benefit that is gained if you choose this router. He explained the leverage between the number of your household devices, your Internet service delivery, and a router’s performance. According to Tech Guru (2016), these factors can ultimately determine the output that your router yields. Tech Guru’s (2016) analysis of this router high speed production is a good reason to add this to your “consider purchasing this list”. You can read the full review by visiting www.nerdtechy.com/tp-link-ac3150-archer-c3150-review.
#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Home Router
View it on Amazon for $39.97*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
This smart router gives you the capability to access and control your home’s wireless network from anywhere. This router generates a dual speed up to N300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) and AC867 Mbps (5 GHz) for media apps. When using the 2.0 and fast Ethernet, you can share and print media files. The AC1200 + and the USB 3.0 port can transfer large files when necessary. The Smart WiFi function enables you to organize and control your devices as well as monitor access to your network. If you purchase this router, you will also receive a CD-ROM with Setup Software and Resources, an Ethernet cable, and power adapter. This router also comes fully equipped with 1 x USB 2.0 port. Weighing only 1.2 pounds and measuring at 13.3 X 10.4 X 27.4 inches, this router can fit neatly inside your entertainment center.
The four Ethernet ports provide connection for several devices so you can enjoy movies, games, and much more. This router maintains a strong connection regardless of which devices are used simultaneously. It has the strength to streamline processes quickly. This router delivers speed 2.8 times quicker than standard routers. 84 customers purchased this router from Linksys and 38 of the customers rated this router five stars. The average rating was 3.7. This is due to some problems encountered with Windows 10, technical support, and connection problems. One reviewer warned others not to purchase this router because it does not have AirPrint (www.linksys.com/us/p/P-EA1600). If this is not an issue for you, the Linksys AC1200 WiFi Dual Band + Home Router can still meet your WiFi needs.
Varying opinions about this router’s performance can also be found on www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124529. Some of the pros that were mentioned included easy setup, full coverage, good interface experience, and WiFi range. The cons however, included the WiFi range’s inability to connect to an older laptop, nonflexible antennas, and the lack of AirPrint capability. The reviews on this site and the reviews posted on Amazon reflect similar challenges. These concerns are worth bringing to the manufacturer’s attention especially if some customers have received defective routers.
Samantha Brittany posted a brief demo video on YouTube to provide a closer look of the user interface, the router setting tabs, parental controls, and much more. This tutorial can help you decide if this router is the best one that will help you accomplish your gaming and other Internet browsing goals (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JFZMfWV40Y). This expansive demo is worth taking the time to watch because you will gain more insight about how to prioritize media, test speeds, and manage stored content.
The features offer a wide range of benefits. You’ll receive close and distant access to your Internet service. The gaming and streaming functionality are other benefits that standard Internet service may not be able to offer at an optimal rate. The Linksys AC1200 Home Router provides top rate speed and consistency. The Smart WiFi control also increases your ability to stay aware of any suspicious activity and increase protection for your children’s wireless devices.
The level of speed is the ultimate benefit you should look for when purchasing a router. This feature will determine if you’re able to send and retrieve data without interruption. It is also a key component in the level of quality you will experience during gaming and streaming. Every router does not operate on the same level. If you need more information about how to determine an adequate level of speed for your devices, Haroon A Raja (2014) offers suggestions on “How to choose the best router for your connected home” (www.connectedly.com/how-to-choose-best-router). You’ll learn about WiFi channels, router class and speed, link rates, range, and other pertinent information you may not understand.
Ports are essential to the connection process. These openings are the primary entries through data is interpreted and communicated. According to Techopedia … “A computer port is a connection point or interface between a computer and an external or internal device. Internal ports may connect such devices as hard drives and CD ROM or DVD drives; external ports may connect modems, printers, mice, and other devices. There are several types which are serial, parallel, SCSI, and USB. The USB ports on a router basically determines the quality of communication your devices receive.
Dong Ngo explained the purpose of the router to be … “the central device of a home network into which you can plug one end of the network cable. The other end goes into a networking device that has a network port. If you want to add more network devices to a router, you’ll need more cables and more ports on the router. Prior to purchasing a new router, check your devices to see if they will be compatible with the new router. Most should be, but it’s always best to check before making an investment in new equipment.
When you’re not an IT expert, you need to access interfaces that are very simplistic in format. Labeled icons or apps help streamline the user experience and increase your chances of setting up your router properly. Support CDs and instruction manuals are also useful in guiding you through the installation process. A thorough overview about router interfaces can be found on Juniper Networks. Additional resources are listed on this site to assist you if you encounter any configuration problems. Although brief in content, the information found here may be useful if it’s not available in a router’s instruction manual.
Security is one of the primary features you should look for due to the sensitive nature of data stored within media files, passwords, and your online activity. When a router is equipped with dual processing and a security system that reduces data breaches, it’s a good sign that you’re on the right track with the product selection. Otherwise you will compromise sensitive files and expose your network to viruses and threats that could cost you more than your original upgraded router investment. If you’re not too knowledgeable in this area, research a few security features and then compare which router has one of the quality security features to help you decide which router is the best option.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Accessing the Internet is a necessity and becomes a priority when you have personal and professional business matters to manage. While regular Internet service is beneficial to some extent, a router can increase the delivery of data. If you have multiple devices that are used regularly in your home, you need a router that can hold the signal strength level without major assistance. The routers listed in this review have demonstrated high levels of positive data processing.
The last thing you want when trying to access the Internet on any one of your devices is prolonged interruption. When shopping for a router, you should evaluate the types of ports, Mbps, and smart technology that is available in the router. This will give you an idea whether or not a router is worth buying. After all, you want to be able to maximize and secure your streaming ability.
Discussion and comments
We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?
Do you know of an even better product?
- Babbling Booleen. ASUS RT-AC68U Dual Band AC1900 Router In-Depth Review, March 1, 2015
- Delaney, J. R., TP-Link AC3150 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Archer C3150
- Juniper Networks, Router Overview, October 30, 2014
- Newegg. Linksys EA6100 AC1200 WiFi Wirless Dual Band+ Router, Smart WiFi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere
- Ngo, Dong, Home Networking: Everything You Need to Know, June 5, 2016
- Raja, Haroon, How to choose the best router for your connected home, July 22, 2014
- Samantha Brittany, Linksys AC1200 Wi Fi Wireless Dual Band Router Review
- Tech Guru, TP-Link AC3150 (Archer 3150) WiFi Router Review, April 26, 2016
- Unicorn Reviews, Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 Review, March 24, 2015