Linksys is a brand with a reputation. Fortunately, it’s a positive one. Linksys routers tend to offer a consistent level of quality even as they provide options covering a whole range of price points and specialized needs. The last few years have seen a ton of great Linksys routers, but tracking down the specialized information in one place can be hard.
We’re here to help you recognize the best Linksys routers of 2020 but also to help you recognize the top router for a given situation. From gaming to office networking, you’ll find a broad amount of applications on our review list, but we’ll also go over the basics so you can know what traits you should be looking for when you go shopping for a Linksys router.
TD;LR - Best Linksys Routers:
- Linksys EA7500 Dual-Band Router
- Linksys Max-Stream AC5400 Tri-Band Router
- Linksys WRT AC3200 Dual-Band Open Source Router
- Linksys EA6350 Dual-Band Router
- Linksys Mesh MR8300 Tri-Band Router
- Linksys WHW0302 Velop Mesh Router
- Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual-Band Gigabit Router
- Linksys EA9300 Tri-Band Wireless Smart WiFi Router
- Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual-Band WiFi Gaming Router
- Linksys E2500 (N600) Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
1. Linksys EA7500 Dual-Band Router
A Versatile Home and Office Choice
The EA7500's deceptively understated design masks one of the best feature sets for power users around. MU-MIMO support offers greater stability when connecting multiple devices to your network, and it can connect with a simple USB 3.0 flash drive to serve as a dedicated server for your home or office. Then there's the management app which is well designed and accessible but positively overflowing with options. From setting up guest networks managing specific devices and access, there's a great flexibility to your options. In short, this router can do just about everything, and it does it at a very fair price.
2. Linksys Max-Stream AC5400 Tri-Band Router
Performance Like a Street Racer
The best router for anyone's given needs is going to naturally be penned in by natural circumstances, but if you were to ask us what the best Linksys router is if money was taken out of the equation, the EA9500 would be our immediate choice. The download speeds of over 5 Gbps rank among the best, and with access to MU-MIMO technology and three different frequency bands, you can have a ton of different devices connected without having to worry about your bandwidth getting throttled. Best of all, it's solid and reliable, able to maintain consistency even during long periods of prolonged and high intensity usage.
3. Linksys WRT AC3200 Dual-Band Open Source Router
Nearly Endless Customization Options
There are internet users who just want to plug their device in and trust it to work. But for those who like a more hands on approach to network management, the WRT3200ACM 802.11ac ranks among the best choices. While the performance specs here are strong, the biggest selling point is the inclusion of support for OpenWrt or DD-WRT. That means that you can write some pretty complex scripts to oversee your network management settings, but it's certainly not for the weak of heart. But even if you just want to take this router as it is, you'll get all the best 802.11ac features.
4. Linksys EA6350 Dual-Band Router
A Reliable Budget Router Choice
If you just want a Wi-Fi router that can get the job done without much hassle or cost, the meager price point of the EA6350 is definitely promising - and it provides you some of the best bang for your buck you'll find. Considering the price, the download speeds of over a Gbps are really impressive and capable enough to keep pace with most internet service plans. There are four ethernet ports here, so you can cluster together the most high priority devices, but the inclusion of Beamforming technology ensures that even devices halfway across the house can get the traffic they need.
5. Linksys Mesh MR8300 Tri-Band Router
A Cheap Entry for Mesh Networking
If you were to just glance at the specs, you might ask why the Linksys MR8300 is priced as high as it is. But the mesh technology at work here really places this router among the best Linksys offers. If you're looking for the more advanced connectivity a mesh network offers, this router is equipped to handle it. Even more importantly, it makes setting up a mesh network easy. Where many mesh routers require a pretty functional technical knowledge, the easy setup and operation here means that you can extend the connection at your home or office without having to jump through unnecessary hoops.
6. Linksys WHW0302 Velop Mesh Router
A Hub for Your Expansive Mesh Network
Linksys' earliest attempt at creating a mesh router doesn't continue offer the best features and specs, but it's a sturdy piece of hardware with some solid performance and technology in place to make sure your wireless network is stable. And the presence of two separate nodes here transforms what would be a pretty high price point into an actually compelling deal. With both nodes in place, your coverage ranks among the best. You can cover up to 4,000 square feet with these nodes, so they're more than capable of working in homes with as many as five bedrooms.
7. Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual-Band Gigabit Router
This 802.11ac router sports an ease of use that makes it accessible to newer users, but beneath the accessible interface is a vast sea of customization options that transforms this into one of Linksys' top models for networking experts. There are - of course - parental controls, but that's just scratching the surface of a networking interface that also includes some of the best quality of service performance Linksys offers. This router helps you make the most of what you have, and what you have here is pretty impressive.The speed here is as good as any dual band router can deliver.
8. Linksys EA9300 Tri-Band Wireless Smart WiFi Router
The Max-Stream is a router that's forward looking: specifically looking forward to a future where smart homes are predominant. Native Alexa compatibility provides you with voice controlled access to the router's key features, and the wide bandwidth coverage and solid range ensure this would be a smart router even if it didn't come with "smart" capabilities. The configuration and monitoring options rank among the best too. Quality of service controls are nice to have, but the meticulous scheduling options available with this model makes it a dream for people who want constant control over their web traffic.
9. Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual-Band WiFi Gaming Router
Gaming routers are a dime a dozen, but models as good as the WRT32X are exceedingly rare. Built from top to bottom with the needs of gamers in mind, the WRT32X is designed to automatically determine which channels are being used for gaming experiences and provide them with network priority. Even better, it bounces all over the radio frequency spectrum to minimize the amount of unwanted wireless noise. Dynamic frequency selection gives you more options of how your data travels in both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHZ bands - and the result is some of the fastest and most reliable performance around.
10. Linksys E2500 (N600) Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
There are few routers as compact as the N600, and its small stature is accompanied by an equally lightweight price tag. This is the product to beat if you just want basic performance but the ability to carry it with you just about anywhere you travel. It's also designed fully with the needs of less experienced customers in mind. The Cisco Connect interface is really accessible, and that extends to higher end features. Even seemingly complicated features like the ability to set up a guest network can be accomplished with no experience.
Linksys Routers Buyer’s Guide
So what distinguishes Linksys routers from all the other routers on the market today? A name, and everything that comes with it. Linksys is known for their quality, and it’s reflected pretty clearly in the specs we broke down for all of the routers on our list. That is if you know how to read specs for routers. We’ll dig a little deeper into Wi-Fi router knowledge so you can find the best Linksys routers regardless of whether you can find reliable reviews for the routers that interest you.
Linksys isn’t afraid to disclose the speeds of their equipment, and the numbers that define Wi-Fi speed are concrete, so you can pretty readily tell how good a router is going to work. The one thing to keep in mind is that even the best Linksys routers simply add up all the speeds from all the different channels. With the likelihood that these devices will be running on both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz channels with the potential for more, you can be pretty certain that 2.2 Gbps download speeds won’t translate into a max speed of 2.2 Gbps for a single device.
You’ll want to pay attention to that raw number, but you’ll probably want to dig a little deeper, too. What’s the throughput for your device? That will tell you the speeds and stability all of your devices can individually get. Also, keep in mind that getting the best specs with routers from Linksys often means making a compromise. 5 GHz bands are blindingly fast but don’t work great with devices a long way away. If you’re operating on the 2.4 GHz band, by contrast, you can expect some decent range but a significant drop in Wi-Fi router speed.
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If we were talking about the best modems of 2020, Wi-Fi speeds might be the only performance spec worth paying attention to. But when looking at a Wi-Fi router, you have to consider at what distance it can connect to your wireless devices. If you’re looking for a gaming router for a small apartment, range won’t be that big of a deal. But if you’re trying to outfit a larger home or small office, you might want to pay more attention to range.
While range is a good hard and fast way to determine how well routers can broadcast a signal, there isn’t any guarantee you’ll hit the max range suggested by Linksys. Obstacles can dramatically shorten your wireless range, so err on the side of caution when evaluating the listed range for a router from Linksys.
Any router you find from Linksys should be comfortably capable of handling at least 10 or 15 wired devices. That should be enough for most average consumers, but room for more devices should be a priority if you’re in an office or a household that’s heavy on the usage of wireless devices.
On the upside, device support often goes hand in hand with the number of channels a Linksys model can work with. The best Linksys routers support streaming on both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands, leaving users with more channels for splitting up their bandwidth. Linksys will almost always list the number of supported devices, and they sometimes tell you how much you can get on both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz band. This is an especially large consideration for Linksys routers in the office but can be largely ignored by prospective Linksys customers with fewer demands.
Routers are primarily there to lend wireless capabilities to your home or office, but there’s still nothing quite like a wired connection when you want the fastest speeds possible. Wireless technology – even when broadcast on the 5 GHz channel – isn’t as effective for high demand exercises as a wired connection. Most users might not even make use of more than one ethernet port on their Linksys device.
But having more means you can get speeds that extend beyond what the 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands can accomplish. With the right positioning (and the right amount of ethernet ports), you can ensure that the most resource heavy products in your home can achieve the best levels of speed and reliability.
Linksys typically packs four ethernet ports into their hardware, but they may offer as little as one or as many as eight. For most customers, eight ethernet ports is going to be total overkill, and four will instead be the sweet spot. You only really need to start looking at anything beyond that in a very few specialized circumstances. The hassle of getting multiple platforms connected via an ethernet port is going to be a highly impractical choice for the majority of customers.
For many customers, the number and power of USB ports might actually be more useful than a lot of ethernet ports. That’s because a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port can set up a utilitarian drive like a printer or hard drive without having to lean into the quality of the wireless signal Linksys can promise.
A USB 3.0 port is the protocol to beat here. It offers faster transfer speeds, which is an especially useful trait to have when trying to create a shared device with wireless capabilities. If a router by Linksys has multiple USB ports, you can often expect to find one USB 3.0 port and a worthwhile but still capable USB 2.0 port.
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If you’re looking to get a new router, there’s a lot to like about Linksys. Our guide can help you find the top Linksys models around, but we encourage you to cast your net a little wider. We offer a variety of specialized articles and review lists focused on modems, routers, and other networking technology.If you liked our article on linksys routers, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.