Pretty much anything electronic needs to be connected to the internet, which means that your router is going to be working double-time to accommodate all your devices.
How important is it to have a wifi home router that can handle multiple devices? Very. That’s because bandwidth is a finite resource: think of your router as a traffic policeman who directs traffic on a small avenue. The more devices you have, the more complicated it is to keep all of their connections stable. There’s also the factor of wireless interference, when multiple, connected devices are in close proximity to each other, which your router also needs to take into account.
Simply put, there’s no downplaying the importance of having a solid router for a smart home, and because every smart home will have different needs, we’ve come up with a list of the best wi-fi routers for multiple devices that are using the internet for different purposes:
Best Wi-Fi for Multiple Devices: NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router
When it comes to handling multiple devices, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi router takes the cake: it can support up to 45 devices at 2600Mbps. This means you can have multiple people playing online games and enjoy 4k Ultra HD streaming without experiencing lag on either. It also comes with a high-level WPA/WPA2 wireless security, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbors freeloading off your internet, not to mention create a guest network with double firewalls so visitors won’t have access to your private data.
The router is easy to set up and is fairly fool-proof, and while it does require firmware upgrades from time to time, the process is just as simple as its setup. It also comes with a mobile app that allows you to adjust parental controls remotely.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S also comes with a free 90-day customer service option, and while it doesn’t allow you to see which device is using the most bandwidth, it’s still a smart purchase for homes with the maximum amount of smart devices connected to the internet.
Best Budget Wi-Fi Router for Multiple Devices: TP-LINK AC2600 Smart WiFi Router
If the Nighthawk’s price is a little over your budget but you still need a router for multiple devices, then the TP-Link AC2600 might just be for you. For $25 less, you can get roughly the same performance as other high-end models without sacrificing speed and performance.
The AC2600 uses top-of-the-line MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple In Multiple Out) tech to provide excellent connection speeds and connection stability across different devices. It’s also Alexa and IFTTT compatible, which allows you to block malicious websites or websites that aren’t appropriate for younger members of your household.
It’s easy to configure, with exceptional range and signal strength, but we’ve found that the customer support for it is not the most helpful. The router also needs to power cycle every now and then to keep it performing properly. Still, it seems like a small inconvenience to get premium router capabilities at a lower price.
Best Multi-Device Wi-Fi Router with the Largest Distance: Linksys Tri-Band WiFi Router for Home
The Linksys Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router for Home delivers pretty much everything that other high-end routers offer: exceptional connection speeds, signal stability, and multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports, all of which provide the fastest speeds possible for all your devices.
But there’s one thing that sets the Linksys Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router apart from the competition: a feature called Airtime Fairness. This feature allows your router to adjust its Wi-Fi distribution system to help reduce lag in slower devices. It also has the largest Wi-Fi range of other devices at a whopping 1,500 square feet of space, allowing you to extend it even further with third-party Max-Range extenders.
However, while you can create guest networks for visitors, this network isn’t secured by WPA/WPA2 security. Still, for the range that you’re getting, it’s not a terrible trade-off.
Best Wi-Fi Router for Gaming: ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router
Using the latest NitroQAM technology to improve Wi-Fi latency, the ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit Router is one of the best wi-fi routers for smart homes that have multiple gamers accessing the internet. It has a combined 3167Mbps Wi-Fi speed that ensures lag-free gaming within its range.
The router also has adaptive QoS, which allows the router to prioritize gaming activities and gaming data packets over other processes to provide game users with the smoothest internet connection possible. It also has a feature that allows users to create a dedicated bandwidth for solo gamers, just in case someone in the house wants to play solo jungle on LoL without lagging out because the other people are busy playing Warzone.
If all of this sounds pretty difficult to setup, that’s because it is: the ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit router wasn’t designed for families using the internet to access funny cat videos on Youtube. Rather, this is a router that’s dedicated to professional gamers or esports teams, which also justifies its pretty high price point.
Best High Performing Wi-Fi Router: D-Link Exo AC3000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router
If you’re living in a neighborhood with multiple smart homes, or a crowded apartment building with competing wi-fi networks, your internet will probably lag, unless, of course, you have a high-performing router like the D-Link Exo AC3000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router.
The D-Link Exo AC3000 uses a dual-core processor that helps reduce latency in all connected devices, whether they’re streaming videos or playing online games. The intelligent QoS and Mu-MIMO tech that the Exo AC3000 uses also helps reduce buffering and lag by redistributing Wi-Fi to devices that need it the most. It also employs AC Smart Beam technology to extend its range, providing you with seamless internet no matter where you are in your house or apartment.