A lot of us are working from home right now. That's likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, the miracle of the modern internet means that most of the work that used to take place in an office can now happen in Slack messages, Zoom meetings, and Google Docs. Of course, that also means having a reliable WiFi connection is a must.
Whether you're setting up a full-blown remote working office, or just trying to get a little work done while the kids stream Netflix, here are the top five WiFi Routers for 2020:
1. Google Nest WiFi
If you're thinking it might be nice to have a WiFi router that's also a Google Home smart speaker, meet the Google Nest WiFi , which is exactly that. The price starts at $169 for the base router, which will cover 2,200 sq ft. Additional expansion units cost $100 each and cover an extra 1,600 sq ft. The nice thing there is that they also add a smart home speaker to each room you place them in.
Google's Home app isn't exactly the greatest ever, but to be honest, no one has really designed a great app for managing all of the different smart devices you might want to connect. Still, they are relatively easy to get set up, and they're plenty fast enough for your home WiFi needs. By the way, you can save $70 off that base router if you don't want the speaker. The Google WiFi starts at $99, and other than a slightly different look, contains the same technology, just minus the speaker.
The Eero is easily one of the most popular WiFi mesh systems. It's also one of the most affordable. A single router is now only $79 and covers up to 1,500 sq ft. If that isn't enough, you can get a three-pack for $199, and it'll cover a 5,000 sq ft home. It's very easy to set up and it includes security features to help keep your home network safe and free from prying eyes.
It supports both 2.4 and 5 Ghz signals, and the base unit also has a 5.8 Ghz band that supports the satellites. The Eero is especially great for users who want a lot of control over their network and the devices that access it.
3. Netgear Orbi AC3000
One of the higher-priced options on the list, the Netgear Orbi is definitely a power-user option. It's actually the device I use in my home, and honestly, the price is really the thing that keeps me from ranking it higher. It starts at $329 for a two-unit mesh network with speeds up to 3.0GB/s, though unless you have a fiber connection, you're never going to see those speeds.
Yes, I know, there is a newer (and much pricier) version, the Orbi 6, with WiFi 6 built-in. I'll save you some money--skip it, especially if you're using a Mac. None of the current Mac computers have WiFi 6 yet (thought the iPad Pro does). There is, however, a pretty good iOS app that allows you to control device access and set up the built in security, which includes a VPN option.
4. Linksys MR8300
The first thing you might notice about the Linksys is that, well, you're going to notice it. It looks a bit like a spaceship landed from a planet of spider aliens. That said, it's a tri-band router that can be expanded by adding Linksys Velop units for more coverage. I recommend it more for smaller areas where you only plan to use one base station but are looking for reliable coverage. With the MR8300, that's exactly what you get, starting at $179.
5. Netgear Nighthawk Tri-band AX12
This Nighthawk is probably the best option if you have multiple Zoom meetings or Netflix streams happening at the same time. Or, if like many homes, you have teenagers who like to play online games. It also features up to 10.8 GP/s of combined speed, meaning that you're not going to be able to slow it down, even if you try. That's good since it's not going to slow you down either. You'll pay for that speed, however, with the AX12 priced at $499.