No matter how fast your Internet provider is, without a router capable of meeting the height of that speed, you will run into choppy frustrating connections. It gets even worse depending on the number of people using your connection in the house. The solution? Pick up one of these home routers and truly achieve the speeds you pay for.
When buying a router, the big number to look out for is how many gigabits per second (Gbps) it can transfer – that tells you how fast data will be sent over the network, showing how quickly websites will load and data will transfer. If you’re not expecting to be watching huge videos or playing intensive games, then it might be less important to get a higher number, but quicker is always better, and the speed of internet connections is getting ever more important. Another thing to check is whether the router has a modem in it, or will need a separate one. You might have already been given a modem, which is needed to get internet into your house, and so only need the router itself, or you might be looking to replace both, and get them in the same box.
If you’re looking to stream high-quality video, or need your network to take the load of a big family, this will give you a fast enough connection. It's likely that you won’t be able to make the most of this router’s blazing speed, but it’ll ensure you’re future-proofed and won’t have to shell out for a router all over again.
This is fast and smart – with features such as a computer chip that portions out the internet efficiently. It also has clever fast ports to connect hard drives to it so that you can get information from them from anywhere and is easy to set up.
This is small, not as ugly as other routers (though that’s not a difficult achievement) and decently priced. Despite all that, it manages to get a powerful connection over a very wide range.
This packs in much of the speed and power of more expensive routers but comes in at less than $200.
Looking like a cross between a killer robot and a stealth bomber, the Nighthawk is the router equivalent of both. It has super-fast speed – up to 3.2Gbps – and its strange look hides efficient antennae that ensure you can get a connection even far away.
This has a modem built in, which means that it can be plugged straight into your phone line and will start working instantly. It can take any kind of connection, including fibre-optic, and beam it powerfully around the house, and it comes with special software for easy set-up.
Verdict: Best home router
The Linksys EA6900 is powerful, well-built and not too expensive — enough to power a houseful of people, with all the connections they’ll need, and more. If you’re looking for something cheap but still powerful, the Asus RT-N56U will do the job with no complaints. And if you’re looking for something elite, the stealthy Netgear R8000 Nighthawk will handle super-HD films, fast gaming or multiple connections without breaking a sweat.