When it comes to the strongest and best wireless routers, these top-of-the-line long-range routers are compatible with all internet providers. Yes, any of them. We have listed the top routers for any size home, from a small apartment to a large house. These are very powerful routers in the top tier for gaming, streaming in 4K, and more. Get the best router to run your smart home wifi.
Top 5 Long Range Routers Compared
|Model||Power||Max Speed||WiFi Range||House Size||Price|
|E5600||AC1200||1,200 Mbps||1,000 sq ft||1 story||Amazon|
|EA7300||AC1750||1,750 Mbps||1,500 sq ft||1-2 stories||Amazon|
|RT-AC86U||AC2900||2,917 Mbps||3,000 sq ft||1-3 stories||Amazon|
|RT-AC5300||AC5300||5,330 Mbps||5,000 sq ft||1-4 stories||Amazon|
|Orbi Mesh||AC2200||2,200 Mbps||6,000+ sq ft||4+ stories||Amazon|
What does it all mean?
Now that we’ve thrown all these crazy numbers and router statistics at you, what does it all mean? You probably got a general idea, but we’ll explain. And yes, bigger is better. But not in all cases as you’ll learn here.
Router WirelessAC Strength
The wireless AC strength is the total throughput of the wireless bandwidth. This number comes from both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz channels combined. That is why these are called dual-band routers.
So AC1200 would be about 1,200mbps, and AC5300 would be much higher at 5,330mbps. This will, of course, leave you asking, why is the highest-rated router only 2,200mbps?
Because it has the longest range, and it is not always about wireless speed. Let’s try to clear things up here. The AC5300 can blast 5,300mbps across three bands simultaneously, but can you even use that? Do you have an internet plan fast enough? No, it does not exist. If max speeds are 1Gbps, why does a 5.3Gbps router exist then? This would only really be needed in high device situations where more than 10 people connect at once. And maybe that is your situation, so this is for you.
Returning to the longest range router at only 2,200mbps. Yes, it has a lower total throughput, but it can cast that signal a lot further with satellites. And the likeliness of most households maxing out this usage is nearly impossible. Making it a much better choice for anyone with a truly large living situation.
Bringing us to our next specification.
Max Download Speed
As explained, one would think higher is better. But in the case of a home user on a wireless network, you couldn’t even redline these bandwidth numbers if you tried. For example, even if you were blasting Netflix Ultra HD full throttle, it would only require 25 Megabits per second. You barely scratch the surface with that. So it is safe to say, anything over AC1700 is going to be more than enough if you have a home under two stories.
The router’s range is the key player here, where bandwidth numbers can become important. The idea is the routers all have about the same actual transmit range. Yes, the number and size of antennas do matter, so bigger is better. But the higher the bandwidth, the more speeds you can get at longer distances. The 2.4Ghz channel is a much better signal to connect to at longer ranges, while the 5ghz is faster at shorter distances.
This means that the lower end AC1200 2.4Ghz only carries 400Mbps while the higher end AC5300 2.4Ghz carries 1,000mbps. This will enable your devices that are far away from the base station to get higher speeds.
Now that we understand how the wireless ratings work, it is easier to decide what router is best for your specific house size. All of these wireless AC beasts are single-cast devices that should be placed in the home’s central location. But if that is not possible, the Wireless Mesh option is a sure-fire way to get the best coverage across the entire house by using multiple included satellites. It is the best option for the biggest houses. Let us explain.
What is Wireless Mesh?
Check that out for full details, but here’s the rundown. Wireless Mesh is required for any really large home. Say over three stories or very wide one-story homes. One powerful router centrally placed generally will not have enough transmit power to provide coverage for the entire area. With the mesh, you would put the main router with your modem and the wireless satellites on either side, effectively tripling the wireless coverage distance. You can put the base station on the middle floor, and a satellite on the top and bottom floor and easily cover the whole 4+ story home. Any questions, ask below.
Best 2 Story House Router
Wireless AC 1750
For apartment to 2 story home.
The ASUS AC1750 is the best WiFi router for most apartments and 2-story homes or condos. Yes, even a standard-sized two-story home. It is commonly found in city apartment 1 to 3 bedroom dwelling situations. The AC1750 wireless range will cover a typical family-sized two-story home with no problem. As for city living, it is a strong enough router to overcome wireless interference from your neighbors’ wifi and other electronic devices in the general area. I was using it in a small three-bedroom one-story house, and had excellent coverage across every room except the garage. I used this router for at least a year before reselling it on Craigslist used. Why sell such a great router? So I can upgrade and test new routers.
Best 3 Story Home Router
For larger two-story house or three-story home.
If you live in a large apartment or bigger home such as a 2 to 3-story house, condo, or townhome, this will better fit your wireless speed and wifi range. Even though I only live in a two-bedroom apartment, I now own this router. We have multiple Ultra 4K TVs streaming in super HD, many gaming computers, and many mobile devices, all connected via wireless with zero issues. I love this more than any router I have ever owned or worked with.
Check out the interface.
Strongest Longest Range WiFi Router
Wireless Mesh Orbi
Large 3+ story or even mansion.
The most robust class router made for all large homes, many devices, and top speeds. If you’re in a 3-story or more large square footage flat, this is the most reliable router available with the best range. Some houses are just too large and must use a wireless mesh network. If you’re in a mansion, you need mesh. Period.
For price and performance, the best wireless router choice goes to the dual-band long-range 802.11ac class series by ASUS. However, there are a few options, as shown above. It depends on the size of your house and how many devices you will have connected. These routers work for any ISP; they are also compatible with DSL or U-Verse. Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, AT&T, Century Link, etc.
What makes it the best?
- Best fit for a small or large house
- 802.11ac Newest WiFi Technology
- Dual Band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
- Dual-core processor for instant response time
- Built in USB 3.0 Port + USB 2.0 Port
- Built in FTP Sever Software
- AiRadar Beamforming optimized WiFi for long range coverage
- 3 Detachable hi-power external antennas
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports
- Easy to use ASUS Graphical Web Interface
- App to manage router for both iPhone and Android OS
- File and Print Server built in!
- IPv6 Capable
- VPN Server
- Media Server
- Multiple SSID’s
- Multiple Guest Networks
- Parental Control
As you can see, this router is capable of being a lot more than just a router for your smart home. It has enough features to support a small business wifi system if needed. My favorite part is the dual USB Ports and File / Media Server. What does this mean for you? You can plug an external hard drive into the router and access it from any computer in the house! Yes, like a “Network Attached Storage.” Not only that, you can set up the FTP server and have access from outside of the house. That’s right, a Personal Cloud.
With these features, I can get my important files in any place, any time. Yes, again, even if I am not at home. It also makes it easy if guests want to transfer files to their computers. Everyone loves sharing music. Right? But what if you’re going to share music with your friends who are not at your house? With the FTP server and a few clicks, you can set up an account with a username and password for a friend and let them download straight from your home share. The USB Ports also hook a printer up to the unit and print from anywhere. It is handy if you do not have room for a printer at your computer desk or if you want all the computers in the house to have access to the same printer. Network printing! You could even set up an external DVD Burner to share around the house. I think you get the point now. It’s amazing.
Other Routers with USB?
Be careful with many other brands out there that have USB Ports. Most of them are USB 2.0, which is much slower than the 3.0 Port on this ASUS. But the even trickier part is most of them only allow internal access, meaning you can’t create a cloud for you to access on the go. You might not think you’ll ever need this, but once you use it, you will love it. Imagine on vacation, in a hotel, boom, in your router getting your movies. Or uploading your photos from the trip. Or refilling your mp3 player. Backing up your phone, etc. All done from anywhere. And last but the worst, some USB ports on routers do not function at all. Such as the ARRIS Surfboard series. They are only for manufacturer servicing.
Network Attached Storage Router
This part is huge for me. It is such a great feeling to know that I can save my important files to my computer and back them up to my 5TB External HDD on my router. I never have to worry about my computer crashing again. All of my important work, photos, music, ideas, and even this website, are all safely backed up. And if my house were to catch on fire or any crazy situation, I can yank the drive and run with it. This is reason number one it is a must for me.
Why this long-range router is the best?
People might say that they heard the Netgear Nighthawk was the better wireless router to run a smart home wifi network. Well, this can be true. There is no doubt that the Nighthawk AC wifi routers are supreme devices. Netgear is a reliable, long-standing, trusted manufacturer in the wireless production ring. ASUS is newer to the scene and currently allows more control with the FTP and attached storage. It has what I and many other pros consider to be a better GUI(Graphical User Interface) than the Nighthawk. ASUS stepped onto the scene and started perfecting everything they do, from computer hardware to networking equipment. However, maybe you are a hardcore Netgear fan and do not care. Then get the Nighthawk X8 AC5300 if you want the strongest they have to offer. But you’ll note the reviews are not as good, and they cost more. Not to mention it does not have the ASUS GUI to work with.
Create Your Own Cloud Space
I can’t even say how cool this part is. The built-in FTP Server allows you to plug in an external hard drive right into your router’s USB Port and access it from anywhere inside or outside of your home. Not only can you access this, but you can create user accounts and passwords and allow access to friends, family, business partners and so on. You can easily restrict them to certain folders, file permissions such as view or download only, upload only, the ability to delete files, and more.
Besides the FTP aspect, if you have an XBOX in the house and go to the Media Player, it will automatically pick up the router Media Server storage. You can play video files directly from the network storage without having your PC on.
Any computer in the house can connect, so if you’re playing a song and your friend, roommate or partner says, “Hey, what’s that song?”. You can just put it on the drive, and they can grab it and download it to their computer in seconds. It is the best addition to a home network. I couldn’t even imagine not having access to network storage.
You can also set up an automatic backup system to back up your hard drive to the network storage. This is a great way to fail-proof losing files if your computer were ever to crash.
Long Range Router Conclusion
The bottom line is the ASUS runs the wireless router market due to its low cost, new technology, easy to use web interface and simple set up.
Linksys, now Cisco, used to be the top of the line when it came to home routers, but as time has gone on, they haven’t become much different, and ASUS stepped in to take over with quality.
*Sources: AC5300 | AC2900