2019 brought usand its promise of . Now, in 2020, the advent of new, options are also to be noted – especially since so many of them are so much cheaper than the systems that came before them.
That means people looking for a router upgrade this year will have interesting new options to choose from. It’s timing too. Most of us are spending more time at home than ever beforeReliable internet connection has never been more important.
All of this has given us a long list of new Wi-Fi router models to test. We’re still dutifully working on it (there are many) but we’ve already found a lot of great tips that are easy to recommend. Whether you’re interested in, , – or if you just want something decent that won’t break the bank – we’re here to point you in the right direction. And take a look at this room as we expect to see accessible to in the 6GHz band .
Expect regular updates to this post as we continue our testing on multiple devices. Whenever we find a new router that deserves strong consideration, we’ll add it to this list of links to our latest test data.
Tyler Lizenby / CNet
Wi-Fi 6 is the latest and fastest version of Wi-Fi, and we expect there will be plenty of new models to support it in 2020. If you want, you can upgrade from a budget router to a Wi-Fi 6 router right now for faster, more efficient Wi-Fi performance from connected devices that support the new standard (the iPhone SE and the Samsung Galaxy S20 are two high profile examples, but the list is growing). Wi-Fi 6 is backwards compatible so your older devices can still connect. However, your new wireless router cannot accelerate this.
All of this means that it is probably too early for most of us to buy a new Wi-Fi 6 router (and don’t forget that you need a very, very fast internet connection to notice the difference the first one Space).
That means, if you want to upgrade now or if you need a new WLAN router and want something future -proof for the next generation of devices, then you should opt for the TP-Link Archer AX6000 . It basically outperformed our performance tests, delivering the fastest top transfer speeds we’ve ever recorded, plus great range and low latency.
The AX6000 debuted at a price of $ 350, but we’ve seen it only cost $ 270. Even at this price point, it’s definitely not cheap, but if you can put it up for sale, it’s a great way to upgrade to a robust Wi-Fi 6 network. And if you can, wait a few months because TP-Link has two new AX6600 routers coming out later this year: the $ 300 AX90 in April and the game-centric GX90, which will be available for 330 this summer Will cost dollars. If nothing else, this likely means a price cut on the 2019 model.
Tyler Lizenby / CNet
If you need a new WiFi router that feels like an upgrade – but doesn’t want to spend hundreds on it – make sure the D-Link DIR-867 is on your list. It impressed us with consistent Wi-Fi speeds and decent features for the price when we tested it for the first time in 2018. It then held its own against top-tier gaming routers when we tested it again in late 2019.
In fact, of all the routers we tested, the DIR-867 was the fastest in the 2.4 GHz frequency band in both our top speed tests and our real world speed tests. This Wi-Fi router also held its own in the 5 GHz band, beating several routers that cost considerably more. It wasn’t the best performance in range, so it is probably best for small houses and apartments, but you still get strong performance for the price of $ 115 or less.
Note, however, that D-Link announced its new line of routers for 2020 at CES. That includes Wi-Fi 6 models starting at $ 120, which are slated to hit stores in the coming months. We’ll keep an eye on these upon arrival and let you know if they’re worth the extra money on the DIR -867.
One final point: The DIR-867 is getting harder and harder to find because of the low availability of existing inventory. We’re currently testing a collection of budget routers, including entry-level Wi-Fi 6 routers like the TP-Link Archer AX10 and the Linksys MR7350. As soon as we find a new top pick, we’ll update this recommendation.
Chris Monroe / CNet
With fast wireless speeds, easy setup, and helpful, easy-to-use app controls, Google Wifi has been our number one choice for mesh routers for the past three years. The second generation follow-up, Nest Wifi is faster, cheaper on the mesh network, and just as easy to set up and use. In addition, the points with extended range now also serve as smart speakers for the Google Assistant. This, along with a new design that comes in multiple colors, is meant to encourage you to keep those things open where they will perform better.
Wi-Fi 6 is not supported (and a Wi-Fi extender to extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal does not have ethernet ports so you cannot connect it to the Wi-Fi router). However, Nest Wifi has some useful current generation upgrades, including support for new WPA3 security standards and 4X4 MU MIMO connections. This means that devices with multiple Wi-Fi antennas can get faster top speeds. Priced at $ 269 for a two-device setup that allows for up to 3,800 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage (a claim that can be found when tested in both a small home and the 5,800 square foot Tips Clear Smart Home confirmed), the dual-band Nest Wifi is currently the best-rounded mesh router on the market and the first to
Even better, at the time of writing on Aug. 19, Best Buy is $ 70 off, just $ 199 for a two-part system. This is very much.
Ry Crist / CNet
It’s not as fully functional as systems like Nest Wifi, and the app controls you use to set it all up are nowhere near as clever – but other than that, the new, budget-friendly Netgear Orbi system is characterized by a clear value selection in the Network category. At just $ 150 for a two-device setup with the Wi-Fi router and a single-range WiFi extender, it’s about as cheap as a mesh network and scored in our speed tests with both Nest and kept up with Eero. It’s available right now for even less – just $ 130.
Of these three systems, Netgear Orbi drove in at the fastest average top speed at close range – and when we put that range to the test in the Tips Clear Smart Home, these two Wi-Fi systems were again displaced. I even like the new design with clever contours that dissipate heat in style.
Interestingly, a new Netgear Nighthawk branded network system was released earlier this year. It looks just like this Orbi system, only it’s black – and it supports Wi-Fi 6. This costs just $ 230 for a two-piece setup and is one of the next mesh systems we’ll be testing out soon. Stay tuned for more information.
Tyler Lizenby / CNet
Starting at $ 700 for the two-piece setup shown here, the Wi-Fi 6 version of the Netgear Orbi (which I call the Netgear Orbi 6 ) is far more expensive than the dual-band version listed above, but also a lot more powerful. With a second 5 GHz band that serves as a dedicated backhaul for the system transmission between the router and its satellites – mind you at full Wi-Fi 6 speed – the system passed our performance tests.
To be precise, the system returned an average speed of 289 Mbps when I spent a few days testing the speed and signal strength in different rooms in my house where I was using a fiber optic internet tariff of 300 Mbps have. This is an almost perfect result that no other mesh system I tested could compete with.
Is that kind of fast performance worth $ 700? I think most will find better value with something less expensive – and you have a growing number of options launching this year. However, if you are currently shopping and just want the best mesh performance money can buy, this is the system.
Tyler Lizenby / CNet
It’s not pretty much as fast as the Netgear Orbi 6, but the Asus ZenWiFi AX mesh router was close by – and at $ 450 for a two-pack, the price is a lot easier to swallow. For the money, you get almost everything you would get with Netgear, including a multi-gig WAN port and a dedicated backhaul band to separate the router-satellite transmission from your network traffic.
$ 450 is still a lot of money, but this easy-to-use Asus router system has proven itself to be extremely powerful and reliable in our performance tests. This makes it just right for a future-proof mesh router that feels part of a high-end upgrade in every way.
Tyler Lizenby / CNet
Gaming routers promise high performance and low latency for die-hard gamers, and it’s not uncommon for them to sell for $ 200 or even $ 300. At around $ 150, the Asus RT-AC86U dual-band routers aren’t cheap either, but are strong value compared to such routers – and this wireless router offers great performance too.
In particular, the RT-AC86U dual-band router recorded the fastest average top speeds in the 5 GHz band of all the Wi-Fi 5 routers we tested. It was also the best gaming router in our latency tests, with a lower average ping over dozen of speed tests than any other router we looked at. That includes fancier gaming routers that cost more and even a couple of Wi-Fi 6 models. In the meantime, you can control the WiFi router with a great, full-featured app that offers a variety of advanced network controls, including parental controls for your WiFi network and device prioritization options.
That activates all of the boxes that most people expect in a good gaming router and gets you there for a price that isn’t too painful for us to recommend. Note, however, that Asus just released a new version of this router that supports faster Wi-Fi 6 speeds, priced at $ 250. We’re still in the process of testing it, but I’ve posted my first speed test data and first impressions and think it’s definitely one to watch out for. When we finish our testing, I’ll update this section to let you know if it’s a better choice than the lower-cost Wi-Fi 5 version listed here, but early indications are very promising.