Best wireless router
"What is the router for me?" we heard you cry. Well, that might be a lie, but we've still gone and found the best wireless routers, home routers and wlan kit on the planet so you can enjoy a networking nirvana. Looking to improve your wireless network to speed up streaming and browsing? We've got some of the best devices, from the likes of D-Link and Linksys, to help find out what is the router for you.
With super speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi now standard, there has never been a better time to improve your home set-up. We've picked out some of best routers - packing high speeds, ports galore and even some unique designs, to make sure you can say bye-bye to buffering.
With its simple set-up, easy operation and seamless integration into your home network, this glossy box from Belkin is a good choice, if you've got the money. The feature set is not the best though, while performance is about on par with some of the others that we tested.
Price: £180 | Belkin
Awesome name aside, the Nighhawk is a quick machine, especially when you're using wireless AC and this makes a big difference when gaming. Lag is reduced dramatically, giving you a much smoother experience. The range is impressive too, one of the best we've seen and it's specced to the ceiling with nifty additions.
Price: £160 | Netgear
While this router from Asus may be one of the cheapest, it's also easily on our favourites, thanks to its impressive feature set. First off there's obviously AC support, then there's a load of cloud functions and a couple of USB ports for a bit of file sharing. It manages to match the other entrants for speed, even if its display of signal bars wasn't always accurate.
Price: £81 | Asus
ZyXel 3 in 1 Travel
A handy pocket-sized router for internet access on the go. Features include router, access point and client bridge (hence the 3 in 1 name) and USB or AC power - handy if you need to recharge from a computer. It's not a particularly cheap option in these days of increasingly ubiquitous wifi, but tech-minded road warriors will still find it useful
Price: £98 | ZyXel
Linksys has pulled out all the stops for its 802.11ac wireless router. Replacing the stellar EA6500, this router is an improvement in almost every way: it's faster, easier to manage, and has both USB 3.0 & USB 2.0 ports. Again, it's halved in price since release, and its blistering pace and catalogue of features more than justify the outlay.
£101 | Linksys
TRENDnet AC1750 Dual Band Wireless
This Dual Band 802.11ac wireless router boasts incredible speed, with a throughput that can climb above 300 Mbps, and superb range. Making short shrift of demanding tasks, it also supports DMZ, Virtual servers, WMM and QoS. A chunky router that churns out excellent power and performance.
£110 | TRENDnet
A tad expensive, but this high-end offering from Asus delivers on all fronts. An 800MHz dual-core processor combines with a new Wi-Fi chip to offer up to 1.3Gbps speed on the 5GHz frequency band and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. You can even turn the LEDs off if it keeps you awake at night. If you can stomach the price, it's one of the best around.
£129 | Asus
It might not be the fastest on the market, but the Almond boasts an innovative 2.8 inch touchscreen that allows you to configure it in seconds. Unfortunately, it only supports the oft-congested 2.4GHz wireless band, but it does it well, with good speeds unless you stretch it to long range. Works as a router, range extender or an access point.
£69 | Securifi
Virgin Media Super Hub
Available exclusively to Virgin Media customers, the Super Hub delivers dual band networks that make it perfect for congested 2.4GHz areas. It's quick at close range and good enough for long range browsing, with an extra wireless antenna. Best of all, it's free for new Virgin Media customers, or cheap to upgrade to if you're already with them.
£50 (upgrade) | Virgin Media
This router is a great performer, with a 800MHz processor and a hardware NAT chip helping it to speed through tasks, but its feature list is where its real strengths lie. For example, the TP-Link tether app, free on iOS, allows you to see which devices are connected and remove any that you don't recognise. Through the app you can also access the media server, and send video directly to your iPhone or iPad. A neat touch.
£80 | TP-LINK
The Fritz!Box is a dual band ADSL and VDSL router, that allows for concurrent use of its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Not only is it fast, but the Fritz!box web interface is wonderfully intuitive and helpful, providing graphs showing you which wireless channels are the most congested. With strong performance on either band, the Fritz!box is a real contender for your cash.
£119 | Fritz!
Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1750 Dual Band Wireless
The Airstation Extreme supports speeds of 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz. It's a little flimsy and its remote access – through a mobile “friendly” interface – is shoddy, but it's packed full of features, and its normal interface it excellent. One to consider.
£125 | Buffalo
TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750
For an affordable price you get a nippy, mid range 802.11ac that can also serve as a brilliant dual-band 802.11n router. Sleek and stylish, it comes with all the features you'd expect if you paid a lot more, and it's easy to set up and configure.
£79 | TP-LINK