It may not be sexy, but a router is one of the most important purchases you’ll make. A poor router will make everything from watching Netflix to basic web browsing a stuttery, frustrating experience.
As a result you should always do your due diligence when picking your next one. But with the sea of choice available, and with every router targeting a very different segment of the market, knowing the right one to get can be tricky.
Here to help, we’ve tested all the big and small players’ products to offer you a definitive list of the best routers currently available.
Scroll down to check out our in-depth explainer, detailing the different types of routers there. Then carry on down to check out our list of the best on the market.
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Video: How to improve your home’s Wi-Fi
This Week’s Best Router Deals
TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 at Amazon.co.uk | Was £135.99 | Now £92
Linksys WRT1900ACS at Amazon.co.uk | Was £229 | Now £149
What should I look for in a router?
We’ve taken one of the key choices out of your hands. Previously, picking between a Wi-Fi ac-grade router or one that only subscribes to the slightly older a/b/g/n standards was an important decision, but all of our recommended models are of the new-age type.
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The biggest advantages of ac are that it offers better range and maximum theoretical speeds. You can sometimes get better n-grade performance for less if you stick to the old standard, though ac is future-proof and a/b/g/n is not. In short, nothing other than ac will do. For more information, read our 802.11ac vs 802.11n feature.
The next thing to consider is how much you’re willing to spend. The cheapest entry in this round-up costs under £100, though if you’re willing, you can shell out more than £200 and get your hands on a range of advanced features, such as one with a built-in VDSL2 modem so you don’t need plug your new router into the one provided by your ISP.
Good range is especially important if you live in a house rather than a flat, and would ensure all rooms pick up the same strong Wi-Fi signal. Thanks to the integration of USB ports, the best routers can now cater to printers and external hard drives, while cloud support enables you to even use your mobile to quickly tinker with settings.
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Related: Best Wi-Fi Extenders
For many, ease of use is a major selling point. There aren’t too many things more frustrating than trying and failing, and then failing again, to get your home network up and running.