While network providers have got a little better in recent years, chances are the default router delivered from your supplier isn't going to be top-shelf. It's going to have limited range, stability and performance and, simply put, that is where investing in one of the best wireless routers of 2023 comes in.
Whether you're after the best gaming router or the best router for 4K video streaming, upgrading your home WiFi hardware can make a big difference to your internet speeds and stability. Even if you have one of the best laptops around, if you don't have one of the very best wireless routers installed in your home then you run the risk of missing out on features and functionality that you might need – not to mention improved Wi-Fi coverage.
Remember that getting a great router alone won't speed up your internet, you'll still be getting the speed you agreed with your ISP and if you want to supercharge your connection you'll probably need to pay more.
Where a new router can help, though, is in getting that wireless signal faster even as it gets further away from your router, making sure that WiFi signal is more stable, and managing device loads more intelligently. Just like the best mesh networks, best SSDs and best webcams, a higher-quality router can elevate your entire computing experience.
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Which is the best wireless router in 2023? The top 3
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The best wireless router for most people is the TP-Link Archer AX11000. It offers an impressive mix of features and performance at a price that's just right, and it's definitely got broad appeal as far as routers go.
The best premium wireless router is the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000. It's a beast of a wireless router, and it's going to offer everything you need and then some – though it's going to cost you as well.
The best budget wireless router is the D-Link R15 Eagle Pro AI. Despite its low price, it comes packing plenty of functionality, and it's perfect if you're looking to get as much bang from your buck as possible when upgrading your network.
If you don't mind the looks of the Archer AX11000 from TP-Link, and you can stomach the price, then we reckon this is just about the best wireless router upgrade out there. If you're going to buy a new router then you might as well go all in on the idea, and the TP-Link Archer AX11000 is simply packed with features and performance to improve your network.
There's support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard for a start, plus a triple-band system that means the router won't break a sweat as you add more and more devices to the mix. No fewer than eight Ethernet ports mean you can easily hook up a host of computers and consoles with wires, and you even get a couple of USB ports added to the mix as well.
For even more details on this top-rated wireless router, and to see how it stacks up against a quality rival, then check out T3's TP-Link Archer AX11000 vs Asus RT-AC86U comparison feature.
We've been very impressed with the Netgear Nighthawk router series down the years, and the XR1000 is no exception. This is a powerful, premium and pricey Wi-Fi 6 router that's going to give you everything you need to pipe speedy wireless internet around your home... and then some.
Despite its top-tier specs, the router is actually very straightforward to set up, and comes packed with behind-the-scenes technology to make sure you never see a blip or a dead zone in your home. If you do want to dig into the settings and do some of your own traffic prioritisation, for example, then that's possible too.
It's particularly good for gamers, with extras such as the ability to find the closest and fastest servers for your online matches. You know that you're getting quality when you see the Netgear badge on the box, and the Nighthawk XR1000 is another device where that's the case.
If you're looking to get Wi-Fi 6 for the cheapest possible price then the D-Link R15 Smart Router is likely to be of interest: the "smart" part refers to all the background AI algorithms that are running to make sure every one of your devices gets enough bandwidth to do what it needs to do (and the router is able to support up to 128 devices in total).
With simple setup, wide Wi-Fi coverage, reliable operation and a choice of three wired ports, you get a lot for your money here. For upgrading speeds and range in smaller properties it should be ideal, and for larger areas you can easily combine the R15 with other D-Link kit to set up your own mesh network.
It's really the price point that's the star here though, because you'll struggle to get these Wi-Fi speeds and this many features in a router than costs the same or less. While there are of course more powerful routers out there, with more options and features to play around with, you're also going to have to pay significantly more to get your hands on them.
Best wireless router 2023: The best of the rest
Not everyone needs or wants all of the advanced features you can find on some of the more expensive routers listed here, and for a more modest choice we recommend the Linksys MR8300: you still get features and performance way above what you would expect from a standard home router, but you don't have to pay a small fortune along the way.
Despite the appealing price, you still get high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi across an impressively wide range – enough to cover every house under mansion size – while the on-board software intelligently manages connections from dozens of devices. You can also add several nodes to use the Linksys MR8300 as part of a mesh network too, if needed.
The TP-Link Archer AX90 (AX6600) is a cheaper alternative to the TP-Link Archer AX11000 - it'll cover a home up to about four bedrooms using its eight antennas, and offers plenty in the way of speed to boost the capacity and efficiency of your home network. With TP-Link OneMesh support, it can be used with other compatible Wi-Fi extenders to stretch coverage to every corner of your home, eliminating Wi-Fi dead spots.
A tri-band router with Wi-Fi 6 technology, it'll intelligently assign your devices to the best channel, meaning you'll be able to make the most of your home network and your tech. Through the intuitive Tether app, you can prioritise certain devices, like your gaming consoles for instance. You'll also get some voice control through Alexa - you can manage your guest network and run speed tests without needing to open the app or your web browser.
Now admittedly the Asus GT-AX11000 ROG Rapture isn't going to appeal to everyone in the looks department, but when the performance of a router is this good, do the aesthetics really matter all that much? With support for triple-band connectivity, the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, and a bunch of cool software features, this wireless router is hard to beat.
This router will certainly cost you, but with eight antennas on board, the GT-AX11000 should be able to spread Wi-Fi into the furthest reaches of your home (it can also be used as part of a mesh setup). As for those cool software tricks that come built in, they let you do everything from prioritising particular devices to customising port forwarding settings.
Anyone shopping for the best wireless router should give the top-of-the-line EXO AC3000 from D-Link careful consideration: tri-band connectivity, six high-strength Wi-Fi antennas, and an abundance of USB and Ethernet ports means this device will do everything you need from your router and then some. You can combine the router with the various mesh networking options that D-Link manufactures, or use it on its own.
There's smart assistant support here too, so you can, for example, turn the internet off with an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice command when it's time for the kids to go to bed. In terms of both parental controls and Quality of Service management the D-Link DIR-3060 excels, making it an even more appealing proposition for your next router.
Right at the start we'll admit that the Netgear Nighthawk AXE11000 costs a substantial amount of money, but it's also a fantastic router, with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6E technology. It also has a futuristic look that we're very fond of (any visitors to your home are certain to ask questions).
You get coverage of up to 3,500 square feet (325 square metres) with this router, and speeds that top out at a very impressive 10.8Gbps. There are actually eight antennas packed into this router, and they're designed to make sure that you always get a rock solid connection from any device.
If you need high-speed wired connections then that's covered too, while managing everything through the accompanying mobile app couldn't be any easier. If you have the budget to be able to afford the Netgear Nighthawk AXE11000 then you're definitely not going to be disappointed with the performance or features.
Don't be deceived by the looks of the Archer VR2800 from TP-Link (also known as the TP-Link AC2800): this may appear to be a very plain and unassuming router, but it packs in stacks of performance and functionality. There's the high-speed, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi support to begin with, followed by support for multiple connections to single gadgets.
Setting up the device is easy and from there the intuitive user interface lets you manage features such as parental control and individual access for devices. The router performs strongly in terms of speeds and range too, which makes it well worth considering as an upgrade if you're weighing up the best wireless routers on the market in 2020.
If you're after a router that supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standards and looks like it just arrived from another planet, then perhaps the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 is the router you're looking for. It's particularly good at keeping multiple devices connected at high speeds, and doesn't get ruffled by having to beam Wi-Fi across long distances inside a home.
This really does raise the bar in terms of specs for a Wi-Fi router, from the way it manages data traffic between devices, to the number of connections it can keep going at once, and it's one of the most affordable ways of getting Wi-Fi 6 up and running in your dwelling. There are five wired ports too, and you can use two of them together for increased speeds.
How to choose the best wireless router for you
Router manufacturers like to throw a lot of specs around, but when it comes to choosing the best wireless router, you should pay particular attention to the maximum bandwidth, an indication of how well and how quickly multiple devices can be connected, and the Wi-Fi standard supported.
The newest Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is the best to go for in terms of futureproofing, though not quite everything supports it just yet. The earlier 802.11ac is still going to be enough for the majority of people when it comes to gaming and 4K streaming, but if you want to spend extra for Wi-Fi 6, then the option is there and it should only prove more useful as time goes on.
You also need to look out for extra software features that might come in handy: traffic prioritisation for gamers, for example, or parental controls if you want to help your kiddywinks stay safe on the net.