Best Wireless Routers of 2022
Say goodbye to WiFi dead zones and hello to easier setup and stronger security
Your wireless router is responsible for handling all the data that flows into and out of your home through your internet service provider (ISP).
“If I’m paying for a 200-megabit internet connection, can I actually get data that fast with my wireless router?” says Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing at Consumer Reports. A good router can help you make sure the answer is yes. But if you experience problems with dead spots or slow connections, Fisco says, it could be time to go shopping.
There are dozens of models in our ratings, split across two categories: multi-unit mesh routers and single-unit wireless routers.
A single-unit router plugs directly into your modem.
Mesh routers feature one unit that plugs into the modem, plus one or two additional units, referred to as “satellites” or “beacons,” that can be stationed in other parts of your home. The units “talk” to one another, creating what’s known as a mesh network.
Netgear Orbi AC1200
This model, which comes in a pack of three, combines speedy performance with a price that’s among the lowest in our ratings, but it’s a WiFi 5 model, so it might not be ideal for those who surround themselves with lots of state-of-the-art gadgets.
Our testers give it high marks for throughput (more commonly referred to as “speed”), ease of setup, and data security. You’ll also find handy features like smartphone-based setup and management, automatic firmware updating (which helps keep your data safe), and a single built-in Ethernet jack. WiFi is plenty fast, but a wired Ethernet connection offers even faster speeds for, say, downloading large games to your video game console.
There are, however, no built-in USB ports, which can be useful for connecting and more easily sharing peripherals such as printers and external hard drives among the various devices in your home.
Google Nest Wifi
Google currently makes two WiFi routers: This Nest-branded one and another, lower-end model simply known as Google WiFi. The Nest model, which is a three-pack, ranks higher in our ratings in part because of its faster performance. Both are WiFi 5 routers.
Beyond fast speeds, this three-pack also offers smartphone-based initial setup and management, and automatic firmware updates.
The model has two built-in Ethernet ports but zero built-in USB ports.
Eero Pro 6
This model, the latest in Amazon’s higher-end mesh router lineup, supports WiFi 6, which lets you future-proof your home network, receiving the full benefit of WiFi 6-compatible devices as they become available.
In addition to fast speeds, the model offers smartphone-based setup and management, and automatic firmware updating. It also doubles as a smart home “hub.” When combined with, say, an Alexa-powered smart speaker, such as the Amazon Echo or the Sonos One, you can use voice commands to control select smart lights and surveillance cameras.
The models has two Ethernet ports and one USB-C port for peripherals.
Netgear Nighthawk AX6
This Netgear model is a strong performer even in larger homes, offering four Ethernet ports, one USB port, and support for WiFi 6. It features nice-to-haves like smartphone-based setup and automatic firmware updating, too.
Oddly for a model this powerful, though, it doesn’t support quality of service (QoS), a feature that lets you choose which devices get priority access to WiFi so that, for example, the Zoom call on your laptop stays stutter-free when the kids are playing Xbox.
This WiFi 5-compatible model is marketed to gamers (which might explain the aggressive design aesthetic), but it will perform well for anyone who wants fast speeds and lots of Ethernet ports (eight in total) for connected devices aimed at maximizing those speeds.
The device features smartphone-based setup and management, and a single USB port. It does not support automatic firmware updates, though, so it’s up to you to routinely make sure you have the latest security patches installed.
This WiFi 6 model, new to our ratings, ticks off many of the boxes you want to see in a router nowadays: fast speeds and the usual assortment of bells and whistles.
You’ll find smartphone-based setup and management, automatic firmware updates, and four built-in Ethernet ports and USB port.
Home WiFi Mesh Networks
Can’t get a decent wireless internet connection in your home? On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports expert Nicholas De Leon explains to show host Jack Rico how mesh networks provide faster speeds and better coverage.