The best WiFi routers 2021 in the test: reviews & experiences

The best WiFi router 2021 in the test - Nowadays the internet is an integral part of everyday life. Almost every German household has an internet connection. A WLAN router with modem enables the Internet connection via WLAN or Ethernet cable.

The decision to buy a router should not be taken lightly. As the heart of the home Internet, a good router can be a real blessing. Nobody wants to be constantly faced with slow internet or even internet outages.

We test the best WiFi routers for you and help you with the purchase decision so that you have reliable internet at home.

Content

    What is a router?

    WiFi router devicesA router, regardless of whether it is a WLAN or a classic LAN router, is used for communication between different end devices in a network. The router is the center of all communication. A router not only enables the end devices (cell phone, tablet, PC, television, etc.) to be connected to one another, but also to the Internet. Devices can exchange information with one another through a WLAN router. For example, a modern television set can display content directly from a cell phone or PC without having to be connected by cable.

    In summary: A router enables communications from end devices to one another and to the Internet (integrated modem required). In contrast to the classic modem, a WLAN router usually enables a faster and more stable connection to the Internet.

    How does a wireless router work

    A so-called modem is integrated in most modern routers. This allows the devices to be connected to a DSL connection and thus serves as an interface to the Internet. Most Internet providers only deliver a simple modem with their contracts. However, a router is much more than just a simple modem; it allows you to create your own, fast and stable WLAN network.

    When a website is called up on a computer, mobile phone or tablet, the input is transmitted to the router. The router sends the request to the Internet. The received answer is then forwarded back to the end device by the router. With a WLAN router, all of this works via the router's WLAN interface and without cables.

    What types of routers are there

    In addition to the WLAN router discussed here, there are various other types of routers.

    LAN router

    Ethernet cableThe simplest implementation of routers. With a LAN router, various end devices can be connected to one another via an Ethernet cable. A LAN router also allows end devices to be connected to the Internet, provided that a modem is integrated in the router. The disadvantage of LAN routers is that a cable is absolutely necessary. The biggest advantage is that LAN routers are often significantly cheaper than WLAN routers. Today, however, LAN routers are rudimentary. Cell phones, for example, cannot be connected to the Internet using an Ethernet cable.

    WLAN router

    A wireless router is the standard today. They usually have an integrated modem and thus allow a (wireless) connection to the Internet. As with the LAN router, end devices can also be connected to one another via an Ethernet cable or wirelessly via the WLAN interface. Inexpensive WLAN routers often cost little more than LAN routers and have now almost completely replaced them.

    DSL router

    A DSL router is also a type of wireless router. However, the functionality of a normal WLAN router is expanded with a telephone system. DSL routers can be used for making calls over the Internet.

    LTE router

    An LTE router is also basically a WLAN router. The difference is that LTE routers are often used in areas where DSL is still too slow or not available. An LTE router accesses the 4G or 5G LTE network instead of wired Internet. This works in exactly the same way as, for example, the mobile Internet on a cell phone. Otherwise, LTE routers are identical to classic WiFi routers.

    WiFi router - what should I look out for?

    A WLAN router can meet many different requirements depending on the equipment. They are the heart of all cordless and wireless communication at home. When buying a good WiFi router, there are a few important criteria to consider.

    EquipmentFeaturesEasy configurationpower consumptionSpeedExtra featuresMesh WiFiPrice-performance ratio

    Equipment

    A good wireless router should have at least four Gigabit Ethernet ports. This enables end devices to be connected to the home network and the Internet by cable instead of WLAN. In addition, a modern WLAN router should make it possible to connect wirelessly to other devices using the WPS button. Another desired feature is a WLAN button, which enables the WLAN network to be switched on and off at the push of a button. A USB port, if possible at least 3.0, should also be available. Depending on the requirements, routers should also have a modem or a telephone system (DSL router). The best-known DSL routers are the Fritz! Boxes, popular in Germany.

    Features

    All modern WLAN routers should support IPv6 and current security procedures and individual passwords. In addition, server services such as print and media servers and a NAS function should be available if possible. A dynamic DNS function can also be important for some users.

    Easy configuration

    You probably already noticed that wireless routers are sometimes complicated. Especially if there is no technical know-how available, when buying a WLAN router, make sure that it is easy to configure. Some wireless routers come with a set-up wizard to simplify configuration. It should also be checked whether customer service is available.

    power consumption

    Most users have their WLAN router in continuous operation. Similar to household electronics such as a refrigerator, electricity costs should not be neglected. A router with a continuous consumption of 10 watts generates 105 kilowatt-hours within a year. If you calculate with a kilowatt price of 25 cents, this leads to annual costs of 26 euros. A WLAN router with a higher acquisition cost but low power consumption can therefore pay for itself relatively quickly.

    Speed

    If you want a fast WiFi connection, you should make sure that the router uses the latest WiFi standard. The old “802.11g” standard limits the data transfer rate to 54 megabits per second. The new “802.11n” standard, on the other hand, already allows 900 megabits per second. In the meantime there is even an even better “802.11ac” standard, which allows transmission speeds of over 1 gigabit per second.

    Extra features

    Anyone who owns a smart home may be interested in other functions. Modern WLAN routers enable network hard drives to be connected or even the control of intelligent heating thermostats via app. Some telephone-enabled WLAN routers also offer additional functions such as an answering machine.

    Mesh WiFi

    No matter how good and expensive the router is, every WLAN has its limits. In fact, there is a regulated radio and transmission power in Germany that must not be exceeded. After a certain distance, even the best routers end. This can lead to problems, especially in large houses. A router that supports a WiFi mesh system is the solution. The actual WLAN router serves as the basis. The other routers or mesh systems are so-called “satellites” and only need power from a socket. They extend the radius of a WLAN router, which is particularly important for apartments and houses with more than 100 square meters.

    Price-performance ratio

    Perhaps the most important and summarizing factor is the price-performance ratio. There are a lot of different wireless routers to choose from, so there is something for every user. You should be clear beforehand what the most important criteria are for you. If you have extra requirements, need the most modern WLAN standard and telephone function, you usually have to pay more for them.

    What does a wireless router cost

    The prices of WiFi routers vary widely. You can already find routers for 20 euros, others cost up to several hundred euros. If you have a really low budget, you may even be able to use a LAN router. However, we recommend the slightly more expensive, but simply better wireless routers. As already mentioned a little further above, the electricity costs should also be taken into account in the purchase price.

    The best WiFi router in comparison

    So we have already learned that modern WiFi routers have to meet a large number of criteria. The best WiFi routers combine the functions of several devices with one another. They are a modem, telephone connection and router in one. In our comparison, we consider the equipment, performance, installation and functionality of the WLAN router.

    1st place: AVM Fritz! Box 7590

    AVM Fritz! Box 7590The AVM Fritz! Box 7590 is an absolute high-end WiFi AC + N router that works 5 GHz with 1733 megabits per second (Mbit / s) and 2,4 GHz with 800 (Mbit / s) and supports WiFi Mesh.

    The AVM Fritz! Box also has a telephone system for landline and internet and offers voice-to-mail and face-to-mail. You can connect up to 6 cordless phones. The AVM router acts as a media server and allows photos, films and music to be distributed within the home network to televisions, tablets, hi-fi systems, cell phones and more.

    The AVM Fritz is also suitable for gamers! Box 7590, as it offers 4x Gigabit LAN connections. You can also connect hard drive or printer directly via one of the 2x USB 3.0 ports.

    This WiFi router is also suitable for large apartments and houses, as it supports WiFi mesh. The AVM WLAN router is also suitable for your smart home. It can control sockets or radiator controls directly. VDSL is also supported.

    Advantages:

    • Extensive equipment
    • Easy installation and operation
    • Strong performance and speeds
    • Supports Mesh WiFi

    Disadvantages:

    • Expensive

     

    Sale
    AVM FRITZ! Box 7590 WLAN AC + N router (DSL / VDSL, 1.733 MBit / s (5GHz) & 800 MBit / s (2,4 GHz), up to 300 MBit / s with VDSL supervectoring 35b, WLAN Mesh, DECT -Base, media server, suitable for Germany)
    • High-end wireless AC + N router to multi-user MIMO with 1.733 (5 GHz) + 800 MBit / s (2,4 GHz) at the same time, supports wireless mesh
    • Telephone system for the Internet and landline with voice-to-mail and fax-to-mail, integrated DECT base station for up to six cordless telephones, connections for analogue and ISDN telephones
    • Mediaserver (UPnP AV) distributes films, photos and music in the home network to suitable receivers such as tablets, televisions, hi-fi systems and more
    • 4x Gigabit LAN for connecting computers and game consoles, 2x USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports for printers and memory in the network. Compatible with Annex-J connections from Deutsche Telekom
    • Scope of delivery: FRITZ! Box 7590, power supply unit, 4,25 m DSL telephone connection cable, 4 m DSL cable, 1,5 m LAN cable, installation instructions, TAE / RJ45 adapter, TAE / RJ11 adapter

     

    2st place: AVM Fritz! Box 7490

    AVM FRITZ! Box 7490 WLAN AC + N routerThe little brother of the AVM Fritz! Box 7590. Nevertheless, the AVM Fritz! Box 7490 is also an absolute high-end WLAN router with AC + N that supports 5 GHz. This WiFi router also allows WiFi mesh.

    The only difference is the AVM Fritz! Box 7490 compared to the 7590 version that it only supports speeds of 450 Mbit / s. Everything else is identical to the big brother. This WLAN router also serves as a telephone system for landline and internet and offers voice-to-mail and face-to-mail. Up to 6 cordless phones are also supported. It is also possible to distribute photos, films and music within the home network to televisions, tablets, hi-fi systems, mobile phones and more.

    Like the Box 7590 version, 4x Gigabit LAN and 2x USB 3.0 ports are available.

    Advantages:

    • Extensive equipment
    • Easy installation and operation
    • Slightly cheaper than AVM Fritz! Box 7590
    • Supports Mesh WiFi

    Disadvantages:

    • Still relatively expensive
    • Speeds limited to 450 Mbit / s

     

    AVM FRITZ! Box 7490 WLAN AC + N Router (VDSL / ADSL, 1.300 Mbit / s (5 GHz), 450 Mbit / s (2,4 GHz), DECT-Basis, Media Server) (Refurbished)
    • This certified and refurbished product has been tested and tested to ensure a mint condition and new functionality, with minimal to no signs of wear. The product contains all relevant accessories and a warranty of at least one year.
    • Data transfer rate: 1.3 Gbps
    • Features: NAT support, VPN support, IPv6 support, built-in DECT phone base station, Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), DHCP server, UPnP media server, 3G USB dongle support, Stateful Packet Inspection Firewall (SPIF), 3T3R MIMO technology
    • Frequency band: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz

    3rd place: AVM Fritz! Box 6660 Cable

    AVM Fritz! Box 6660 CableAVM dominates our list of the best WiFi routers. The AVM Fritz! Box 6660 Cable Router is the current AVM flagship for everyone with a cable connection.

    The WLAN router offers a blazingly fast WLAN connection with up to 2400 Mbit / s through Wi-Fi 6 and uncomplicated operation and setup. It offers an integrated DECT telephone system for a total of six DECT telephones. There are 2x USB 3.0 ports for printer and storage media and 4x Gigabit LAN ports.

    4x Gigabit-Lan, 1x 2,5 Gigabit-Lan and 2x USB 3.0 connections are available. Mesh WiFi is also supported. A great extra function is the creation of a time-limited guest WLAN for visitors. The WiFi router also has various access controls and a child safety feature.

    Advantages:

    • Fast WiFi
    • Incredibly good equipment
    • Easy to set up and use
    • Supports Mesh WiFi

    Disadvantages:

    • Extremely expensive

     

    Sale
    AVM FRITZ! Box 6660 Cable (DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem, 2x2 WLAN AX (Wi-Fi 6) with 2.400 Mbit / s (5 GHz) and 600 Mbit / s (2,4 GHz), 1x 2,5 Gigabit LAN -Port)
    • Router with integrated DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem (2x2 OFDM channel bundling), downward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0, suitable for all cable connections including Vodafone, Unitymedia and much more
    • 2x2 WLAN AX (Wi-Fi 6) with 2.400 Mbit / s (5 GHz) and 600 Mbit / s (2,4 GHz) for stable gigabit speeds with a variety of devices
    • Mesh master function: FRITZ! Box combines distributed WLAN access points (e.g. FRITZ! Repeater) into a dynamic, intelligent WLAN network
    • VoIP telephone system with versatile comfort functions for all telephones (analog, DECT and IP telephones), DECT base for up to 6 cordless telephones, e.g. B. all FRITZ! Fon models
    • 4 Gigabit LAN connections, 1x 2,5 Gigabit LAN connection, 1 USB 2.0 connection for printer and memory, integrated media server (UPnP AV) for films, photos and music in the home network

    4th place: TP-Link TL-WR8421 WLAN Wireless WIFI Router

    TL-WR841NIn contrast to our three front-runners, the TP-Link TL-WR8421 WLAN Wireless WIFI Router offers a cheap alternative.

    However, many of the impressive features of the test winners are missing. This router allows WiFi speeds of 300 Mbit / s, which is completely sufficient for video streaming in HD quality. A nice feature is the possibility of IP-based data rate control. This allows you to determine which computer is assigned which data rate. 4x LAN ports are available. There is also a WPS button. WPA / WPA2 encryption is offered to protect your WLAN from uninvited users. In summary: The TL-WR810N router is an inexpensive router that offers all the basic functions that are absolutely sufficient for many users.

    Advantages:

    • Attractively priced
    • Solid WiFi router
    • Simple installation

    Disadvantages:

    • Speeds are limited to 400 Mbit / s
    • No WiFi mesh
    • Some users report annoying "beeping"

     

    Sale
    TP-Link TL-WR841N N300 WLAN router (for connection to cable / DSL / fiber optic modem, 300 Mbit / s (2,4 GHz), WPS, print / media / FTP server) black / white
    • 300 Mbps wireless speed; Ideal for interruption-prone applications such as HD video streaming
    • Two antennas increase the robustness and stability of the WLAN significantly
    • Easy Wi-Fi security encryption with a simple press of the WPS button
    • IP-based data rate control allows you to determine how much data rate is allocated to each PC
    • Compatible with IPv6, system requirements: Microsoft Windows 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10, MacOS, NetWare, UNIX, Linux

    5th place: TP-Link Archer C7 5-gigabit ports dual-band WLAN router

    TP-Link Archer C7 dual-band gigabit WiFi routerThis router also comes from TP-Link. The TP-Link router works according to the latest WLAN generation 802.11ac and enables 2,4 Mbit / s on 450 GHz and up to 5 Mbit / s on 1300 GHz. The router has three external 5dBI antennas and three internal antennas to guarantee maximum WiFi coverage.

    1x USB connection and 4x gigabit ports are available. It is also possible to set up guest access without releasing the local network. The Archer C7 supports IPv6 and thus helps to future-proof your network. Configuration is also easy and takes just a few simple steps. In our test, the Archer C7 is a good average between price and function. Unfortunately, we noticed that the wireless router does not reach the promised speeds in the test.

    Advantages:

    • Modern WLAN standard 802.11ac
    • Three external 5dBI antennas
    • Easy installation and setup
    • Good value for money

    Disadvantages:

    • Only 1 USB port
    • The promised speeds were not achieved in the practical test
    • No WiFi mesh

     

    TP-Link Archer C7 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router (1300Mbps (5GHz) + 450Mbps (2,4GHz), 1750Mbps, 5 Gigabit LAN Port, 1 USB 2.0 Ports) Black
    • WLAN routers for connection to an existing network or a cable / DSL / fiber optic modem (WAN) work according to the 802.11ac standard, the new WLAN generation
    • Simultaneous operation on 2,4 GHz with 450 Mbps and on 5 GHz with 1300 Mbps, total data rate: 1,75 Gbps
    • Three external 5dBi antennas and three internal antennas provide maximum wireless coverage and reliability
    • A USB ports: easy sharing of printers, files or multimedia
    • Included in delivery: TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, three detachable dual-band antennas, power adapter, CD, Quick Installation Guide

     

    6th place: Netgear Nighthawk R7800-100PES X4S AC2600 Gigabit Wireless Gaming Router

    Netgear Nighthawk WiFi routerThe Netgear Nighthawk is a wireless gaming router without an integrated modem. A special feature of the router is that it works with Amazon's Alexa. The particularly high WiFi speed from the WiFi router is particularly impressive. Up to 2,53 GBit / s are promised. This allows streaming of 4K content or professional gaming without delay, for example. The four external high-performance antennas and a powerful amplifier should also improve Internet connectivity. Netgear provides an app that not only helps to set up the router, but also to manage the various devices that access the router. The Netgear Nighthawk Gaming Router is ideal for all those who do not value telephone functionality, but only want the best Internet speed. The Nighthawk offers 4x Gigabit and 2 USB 3.0 ports.

    Advantages:

    • Extremely fast
    • Four external antennas for better connectivity
    • Easy installation and setup
    • Provides seamless WiFi for up to 45 devices
    • Easy setup via app

    Disadvantages:

    • No integrated modem
    • Very expensive

     

    Netgear Nighthawk R7800 WLAN Router AC2600 (X4S Dual-Band Quad-Stream, up to 2600 Mbit / s, coverage up to 175 m² & 45 devices, 4x 1G Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0 & 1x eSATA ports, MU-MIMO & Dyn . QoS)
    • FAST WLAN PERFORMANCE: Use the WLAN coverage for up to 175 m² with AC2600 speed (dual band with up to 800 + 1733 Mbit / s)
    • RECOMMENDED FOR UP TO 45 DEVICES: Reliable streaming videos, online gaming, surfing the Internet and networking smart home devices
    • 4x GB LAN CONNECTIONS: Connect computers, game consoles, streaming players and other wired devices in the vicinity with 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Fast 1,7 GHz dual-core processor, 4 reinforced antennas, Beamforming +, MU-MIMO, Dyn QoS, Alexa voice control and much more
    • USB PORTS: Share storage drive or printer for connected devices via 2x USB 3.0 & 1x eSATA ports, or create personal cloud storage

     

    7th place: Linksys WRT3200ACM-EUR Wireless AC3200 Open Source Router

    Linksys WRT3200ACM WiFi routerThe Linksys router takes second to last place in our comparison. This is not because it is not recommended, but because it is unfortunately incredibly expensive. Linksys is aware of this, however, and accordingly markets the WRT3200ACM as "Enterprise-class WLAN for the home". The WLAN router is equipped with the latest Tri-Stream and MU-MMO technology. These technologies enable even faster WiFi speeds of up to 3,2 Gbit / s. Despite the high price, the WLAN router unfortunately only has 1 USB port and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

    There is a 1,8 GHz dual core processor in the wireless router that can handle even the heaviest network traffic with low latency. The WRT3200ACM is also completely open source capable, so that experienced users can personalize the router, for example to create a secure VPN set up or convert the router into a web server.

    Advantages:

    • Extremely fast
    • Four external antennas for better connectivity
    • Open Source
    • Low latency due to dual core processor

    Disadvantages:

    • Extremely expensive
    • Initial configuration relatively complicated
    • No WiFi mesh

     

    Sale
    Linksys WRT3200ACM-EU Wireless AC3200 Open Source Router (3200Mbit / s, MU-MIMO, 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1x USB 3.0, 1x eSata Smart WiFi app) black
    • 1,8 GHz dual core processor
    • DFS certified + 3rd radio unit as scanner
    • 256 MB Flash and 512 MB RAM
    • 4 powerful antennas; Tri-Stream 160 technology
    • eSATA, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports

    8th place: Asus RT-AC85P home office router

    Asus RT-AC85P home office routerAsus advertises that the Asus RT-AC85P is the best router for solving reception problems and offers a coverage area of ​​up to 150 square meters. In fact, the Asus WLAN router achieves a large reception radius with its three powerful antennas, which, however, cannot keep up with solutions such as Mesh WLAN. A modem is also not integrated in the Asus RT-AC85P.

    Speeds should be 1733 Mbit / s at 5 GHz and 600 Mbit / s at 2,4 GHz. Revolutionary MU-MIMO technology is also integrated in the Asus RT-AC85P, which allows several devices to be connected in parallel without slowing down the network. ASUSWRT is really good software that comes with the wireless router. It allows the user to use an intuitive interface to simplify the setup of the router and the detection of several devices.

    Advantages:

    • MU-MIMO technology
    • Supply area of ​​up to 150 square meters
    • Intuitive ASUSWRT software
    • Low latency due to dual core processor

    Disadvantages:

    • No integrated modem
    • No WiFi mesh

     

    Asus RT-AC85P Home Office Router (WiFi 5 AC2400 MU-MIMO, 4x Gigabit LAN, app control, USB 3.1, IPv6, VPN, PPTP, OpenVPN)
    • Wi-Fi router to solve home network reception problems - Recommended for a Wi-Fi coverage area of ​​up to 150m²
    • Without integrated modem - operation takes place behind any modem or modem router - even when the router is forced by the provider
    • AC2400 WLAN total speed (simultaneous dual-band WLAN bandwidth with up to 1733 Mbits over 5 GHz & 600 Mbits over 2.4 GHz) + Gigabit WAN / LAN
    • Fast chipset with 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and 256 MB RAM for fast data processing
    • Scope of delivery: ASUS WLAN router, quick start guide, network cable, power supply, 3-year warranty card

     

    Frequently asked questions about wireless routers

    What are the advantages of a router over a modem?

    Nowadays hardly any consumer uses a simple modem. A router converts the provider's data into a digital signal. This enables forwarding to an end device without cables. A mode always has only one LAN connection. A router can therefore reach more devices and that without cables. In addition, many routers offer other functions such as VoIP, VPN and child protection.

    What does a router cost?

    The cheapest routers start at 10 euros. Large companies sometimes pay tens of thousands of euros for a router. So the price range is very large. Most good routers range between 50 and 200 euros.

    Does a router replace the modem?

    Yes and no. Most wireless routers include a modem and a modem is always required to connect to the Internet. A WLAN router with a modem effectively replaces a modem.

    What is DSL

    DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. With DSL you can make calls and surf the web from the same line.

     

    About Kevin Benckendorf

    Kevin Benckendorf grew up in Germany, but at home all over the world. His passion is the latest technology. Whether hardware or software. He is always up to date and tests the best new releases for you.