There are several great reasons to reject your ISP’s offer of a free router and get your own. First, you’re going to be paying anywhere between $5 and $15 a month leasing that router. Second, it’s not going to be a top-of-the-line router because that’s understandably hard to offer customer at such a low monthly rate and would require buying new sets every year or two. And three, it gives you no choice whatsoever on arguably one of the most important tech devices in your home.
So if you want to take charge of how well your smart home works (and how fast it is), you should get your own a router. Here’s the good news: They’re extremely easy to set up. They will eventually pay for themselves and afterward save you money each month and they make your expensive home Internet run way smoother and faster on every single one of your devices. Here are the best new router options you can easily get on Amazon with free and speedy shipping for Prime members and, of course, easy returns if they don’t do their job well.
A quick note about dual and tri-band routers, since we’ll be mentioning those: The bands refer to the number of lanes the router is able to use for an incoming and outgoing signal. More bands mean each lane is less congested. And that’s important as our homes become smarter and smarter, placing more and more devices in those lanes. Within each of those lanes, several devices can stream simultaneously. That includes your smartphones and smart TVs, smart assistants, and so on.
NETGEAR Nighthawk 12-Stream WiFi 6 Smart Router, $600 on Amazon: The latest from leading networking behemoth NETGEAR is a router that should last you a decade. And it belongs to the Nighthawk family of devices, which hold a 4.3-star average rating from more than 12,300 reviewers. Aside from looking incredibly stylish, its tri-band design means it can handle three lanes of back-and-forth traffic and NETGEAR promises up to 12 fast streams at the same time. Also using WiFi 6 means no more choosing between the now infamous 5G and 2.4G networks you often see in homes and elsewhere. The router will handle that switch for you itself, giving you the fastest Internet for your device no matter where you are.
Linksys Tri-Band Mesh Wifi Router, $150 on Amazon: Another heavy hitter in the router brand universe brings us a tri-band router with all the fixins except WiFi 6. That’s definitely not a bad things. It just means you’re sticking with the 5G and 2.4G network separation, but the router should be switching you automatically between the two. That means it’s still very easy to use. The routers have gotten a 4.1-star average rating from more than 10,000 reviewers. This workhorse router is a great option to get yourself into the world of owning your own router.
NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System, $700 on Amazon: Welcome to the world of WiFi extenders. The Orbi family has earned a 4.3-star average rating from nearly 9,000 reviewers. Take that same powerful triband signal we discussed above and add a mirror router to it. You place the second one anywhere in your home and it amplifies the signal. Very easy-to-use and highly stylish, the Mesh WiFi system is a must for any large home with lots of Internet users (and their corresponding devices).
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