Choosing the best wifi router for your home is not always an easy task. There are hundreds of routers out there, and knowing which router provides the best combination of range, quality of service, and ease of use/setup is nearly impossible without trying it out yourself. Here at Hometop, we sifted through the data to analyze over 100+ routers based on reviews, warranty information, and listed specs to narrow down the selection to just ten.
We then purchased all ten routers and tested them over the course of three weeks out in the real world ourselves to see how they performed.
There was a lot of data to crunch. So, to help you make a purchasing decision in five minutes or less, we summarized the test results below.
BEST WIFI ROUTER
300mbps DL speed
2 LAN ports
1 Years Warranty
BEST FOR BUDGET
300mbps DL speed
3 LAN ports
3 Years Warranty
BEST MODEM ROUTER
300mbps DL speed
2 LAN ports
2 Years Warranty
The full testing procedure is described here. We used three different devices (including one mobile device), and two different speed test apps (Ookla’s Speedtest App & T.R.A.I’s MySpeedApp), Wifi Analyser App & Meteor App to determine which router was the winner. All of our tests were done in a multi-storey home.
Best Wifi Router For Your Home
Our tests and experiments left no other conclusion than that the Xiaomi Mi3C is the best wifi router on the market right now. It topped the charts on each test, with best in class features, range, QoS controls, and ease of setup and use.
The Xiaomi Mi3C supports download speeds of 300Mbps and also has 2x LAN ports. It’s extremely minimalistic in design, and initial setup is very easy with a QR code printed on the box to download the app you control it from. Almost all router settings can be controlled from the app itself (including updating the firmware).
Here are a few highlights from the Xiaomi which made it our pick for best wireless router:
- 300mbps support - speeds tested great.
- A range of 22 metres - the best in the test group.
- QoS setup was easiest amongst all the routers - you only need to select the device and set its speed (no need to input the IP address of that device manually)
- The router settings screen on the browser is one of the best designed of all the routers - colorful, minimalistic, displays real-time internet speeds, and even lists the bandwidth consumption of each device using it
- Parental controls & DoS protection are supported
- Includes Dual-ROM for hassle-free updating of the firmware (regular updates are promised)
- Can be used as a wireless repeater.
- Overall sleek design. Truthfully, there’s really not much to complain about at all with the Xiaomi Mi3C.
It boasts just about every feature you could ever need, and provides a user experience that is quite frankly, unparalleled.
That said, there were a few things we wished Xiaomi would have done a little better:
- Only 2x LAN ports and no Ethernet cable provided - this is minor, but the fact they didn’t include an ethernet cable is kind of annoying.
- Minor translation issues on the Router screen - some of the translation from Chinese wasn’t 100% accurate on the software. But still good enough you could understand the meaning
- Warranty is only one year - this was the shortest warranty of all the routers we tested.
Our Budget Pick and Runner-Up Tenda N301
The Tenda N301 is a 300Mbps router with QoS, WPS, and wireless repeater functionality. It was one of the most compact routers we tested (along with its single-antenna twin, the Tenda TE-N3). A close second to the Xiaomi, the Tenda boasts many of the same features and specs, but with a slightly more complicated QoS setup, no app support, and manual firmware upgrades.
Here are some of the things that we liked about the Tenda N301:
- 300Mbps support - speeds tested great.
- Extremely small size - it won’t take up a lot of space and you can hide it away.
- Simple setup - easy to use browser based user interface.
- Second best range in our test group (17 metres)
- Supports QoS
- 3-year warranty
- Can be used as a wireless repeater
- Price is ~Rs. 300 cheaper than the Xiaomi
As you can see from this list, there’s no doubt the Tenda N301 packs a lot of great functionality in small package. But there are a few things that is just didn’t do as well as our top pick which we felt were drawbacks:
- No app support - more complicated to control and update.
- Firmware updates are manual - you have to download them from website and install them yourself.
- QoS setup is complex - manual IP address entry and setup is required.
That being said, if you’re fairly tech savvy, and don’t mind a more cumbersome user experience, the Tenda N301 is still a great option for a home wifi router. You’ll even save a few hundred rupees in the process.
Best Wifi Modem Router Netgear D1500
We know that some of our readers may need a wifi router with modem capability. While the majority will probably be just fine with having separate devices, there are some advantages to having them both in a single device (no nest of cables to sort through being among them). So in our tests, we also made sure to try out a few wifi modem routers as well.
We found via our experiments that the Netgear D1500 is the best choice in this category. While it lacks some of the usability features of the two wifi routers above, it’s added modem capabilities give it a entire new range of versatility.
Here are a few of the things we liked about the Netgear D1500:
- 300Mbps support
- A simple user interface
- 2-year warranty
- 15-metre range
- DoS protection
And here are some of the things we didn’t like:
- Initial setup is complex due to the modem functionality
- Password mentioned below router making it a little less secure than other routers.
- No app support
- QoS setup is complex and requires manual IP address input for each device
- No customer care number provided
As a pure wifi router alone, the Netgear D1500 does not perform quite as well as the routers we previously discussed. But, it’s still the best choice for those who need the combination of a modem and router in one. We have no problems recommending the Netgear D5100 for those who need a modem router.
Here's how we tested
Here at Hometop, we are constantly thinking up new ways to go beyond the surface with our reviews, so you can make a quick purchasing decision and also know that you've made the right call.
And for this review, the conclusions we drew above all came from extensive hands-on testing and experimentation in the field with running actual equipments.
To get the top 10 routers that we would buy, we went through every single router on Flipkart and Amazon to identify the best ten. We did this by sorting through all the routers based on many parameters from number of reviews, stars to number of years it is covered by the warranty.
(Our rockstar researcher un-boxing the routers)
Our complete analysis of the routers in the Indian market left us with the following list of contenders
The list of wifi router contenders
We then devised an appropriate 3-test regimen and then tested each of the ten wifi routers that we had purchased and scored them.
The 3 tests we performed were:
1. Overall ease of use and setup
2. Range of signal
3. QoS ease of use and setup
The results of these tests showed us unequivocally that the Xiaomi Mi3C is the best wifi router for your home (it won all three). Here’s how we conducted each test.
Test #1: Overall Usability
Setting up a router can be a complicated process, so it was important for us to note which ones were the most user friendly in things like firmware updates, setup and installation, etc. For this test, we first unboxed each router individually, documenting the contents included with each, the features mentioned on the boxes and the respective customer care details.
Next, a single router was selected and was connected to the modem using the instructions provided with the router. During setup, the following things were noted and scored:
1. Are the LAN/WAN ports labelled and colour coded? This helps you distinguish between the different types of ports and makes for a quick install.
2. How easy is the software interface used to setup the router to use? This aids in the setup once everything is physically connected to the internet. A router settings screen has long been similar to a Computer BIOS screen (dull and full of technical text which is hard to understand), so making this process easier is a huge advantage in usability. A simpler, less complicated router settings, is preferred and also the UI must be such that you can access the various features easily, set passwords and QoS without much issues.
3. How easy is it to setup or change the password? This is part of the user experience and a well thought out user interface will certainly help to make this as painless as possible.
4. Is there a customer care number? Customer support is part of the user experience, so it’s important that there is a customer care number included somewhere in the box for assistance should you need it.
(Shows the UI of the Mi3C router)
With the exception of the Mi3c all routers come with at least 1 Ethernet (RJ 45) cable, the Modem routers pack in an extra RJ 11 cable and a Splitter. The Ethernet cable comes in handy when a person needs to manually connect an extra PC to the router.
A router shares internet wirelessly and anyone with a wifi enabled device can access the wifi without the owner’s permission hence the network must be wifi protected. Most routers come with a Wi-fi password mentioned below the router, while this seems good, it isn’t. Any person who frequents your house can easily read and use the password.
Another set of routers come with no password written, but the first connection you make it advises you to set a password before you login to the router settings this is a much safer approach. The Netgear D500 & D1500 require the ISP provided Username & Password to function, this can be a bit difficult for setting up (All other routers & modems did not ask for this username/ password).
Except the 3 Netgear devices, all others feature Customer Care no on the boxes. This is helpful during some setup issues for a new user.
Another user friendly feature is a Mobile app which lets you see the router without having to go into the conventional system of browser login. 2x TP- Link routers (WR841N, WR 740N), 1x Mi3C & 1 Netgear (WNR614) support mobile apps.
All have a QR code/ Link on the box/ inside the box which you scan with a phone camera, type in the details & you get the same router settings screen (This is helpful as using the Browser login option on mobile devices can be cumbersome due to their smaller screen sizes).
The winner of this test was the Xiaomi Mi3C. It’s interface, controls, and overall design was clearly done with the user in mind, and it scored the best out of all the routers we tested. It even included an app you could control the router from and download by scanning a QR code!
Test #3: QoS Setup and Usability
Using multiple devices on a single router can sometimes disrupt the bandwidth usage for everyone on the router. Hence, most routers come with bandwidth control capabilities (Quality of Service) that help to control bandwidth between apps and devices (allowing a more efficient use of that bandwidth).
But while this is a very useful feature to have, it’s not always very accessible or easy to use. So during our tests, we noted ease of use and setup for QoS (very important in our scoring, since the whole point of this feature is to increase efficiency, not make it worse by wasting time trying to set it up).
The actual testing procedure we followed was simple. We set the desired upload and download speed for our test devices and then measured the resulting speeds using a speed tester app. Each was noted and scored.
Once again, the Xiaomi Mi3C’s superior user interface made it the winner.
During the QoS test most Devices failed to perform properly and ended up returning speeds higher than the set values.
Later upon investigation it was found that the Input speeds value entered were in Kilobit format while the Routers needed a Kilobyte input for some.
This becomes confusing as Routers are sold claiming speeds in Megabits, Internet is advertised in Kilobits or Megabits, Speed test app checks the ISP speed & informs the value in Megabits even Ethernet speeds are mentioned in Megabits/ Gigabits, between all these out of the blue asking for converted values in Kilobyte can confuse the user (especially considering the complexity required to set QoS properly).
8 Kilobits = 1 Kilobyte, 8 Megabits = 1 Megabyte & 8 Gigabits = 1 Gigabyte, as seen above this gives user the feeling that their internet, router, Ethernet has high speeds but in reality it’s not always, Eg. A 300Mbps router actually can transmit at 37.5 MBps (300/8 = 37.5), A 1 Gigabit Internet is actually 125 Mbps only not 1024 MBps. Not so fast then is it?
We highly recommend the Xiaomi Mi3c wifi router for use in your home.
It provides amazing features that are not matched by any other wifi router on the market and provides a user experience that is unparalleled.
Here at Hometop, we’re committed to researching and analyzing the latest products in-depth (not just on the surface level), to help you make a decision on what to buy in 5 minutes or less. Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis.
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