Wi-Fi is a staple in most homes nowadays.
But a wireless network isn’t right for everyone. Those looking for faster speeds, a more consistent connection, and increased online security might consider a wired router.
If you’re in the market for a new wired router, then our detailed buyer’s guide and top recommendations will help you narrow down your options.
Wired Router Buyer’s Guide
It’s easy to just rush out and buy the first wired router you come across.
But smart buyers know that it’s important to not only understand the different features of each model, but also which type of wired router is best for their needs and preferences.
Keep the following information in mind when buying your next wired router.
Benefits of Wired Routers
Why does anyone prefer a wired router anyways?
These days, with the prevalence of Wi-Fi in homes and businesses, it might seem odd that anyone would prefer a wired connection.
This is especially true when you consider that wireless Internet is fast, extremely fast. It’s as fast and reliable as it’s ever been.
That said, wired Internet is still faster. Not only that, but it’s also more reliable.
But these are just two of the top benefits of a wired router. Here are a few more.
A wired Internet connection is the right choice for a lot of people, especially those that play streaming games or watch streaming videos.
For desktop computers, and even laptops, a wired router is just as convenient as Wi-Fi. The only real problem is with smartphones and tablets. Most people don’t want to connect these devices to a cable to access the Internet.
Fortunately, it’s typically very easy to use a combination of wired and wireless Internet in a home or business.
Problems with Wired Routers
The benefits of wired routers certainly are impressive, but these devices come with a few cons of their own, especially when compared to wireless Internet.
The main disadvantages of wired routers include:
These disadvantages will turn some people off to wired routers altogether, but a large amount of people still find that the pros outweigh the cons.
How to Choose the Right Wired Router
Choosing the right wired router for your home or business is relatively straightforward.
Though most models are built from the same basic design, there are still a few specific factors you should look at to ensure you buy the right device.
Here are the most important factors to keep in mind:
How to Find the Fastest Wired Router
Out of all the factors listed above, the most important to the majority of wired router users is speed.
Most people that buy a wired router do so for the fast, reliable Internet connection. That means they typically want the fastest possible device.
The easiest way to find the fastest wired router is to use reviews, including ours below, to make your decision.
The technical aspect of router speed is a little difficult for the layman to understand. This is especially true since its based not only on the router itself, but also your Internet service provider.
The key is to look for the letters “ac” on the product’s manufacturer specifications for overall speed.
You’ll typically see the “ac” as 802.11ac. Though the numbers are also important, it’s the letters that you want to focus on.
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, “ac” relates to the theoretical maximum speed of the router.
It gets quite a bit more complicated after this. Those interested in pursuing the topic in more detail can check out CNET’s guide on home networking performance and speed.
How to Set Up and Configure Wired Routers
Setting up a wired router might seem like a daunting task – but it’s actually very easy.
All that it takes is connecting the router to your Internet source and then connecting it to the devices you’ll be using.
What’s left is just some basic configuration through the web interface. Then you’ll be set to go.
Here are the basic steps you need to know:
Connect the WAN port to your Internet source with a cable
Connect a LAN port to the computer with a cable
Plug the router into an electrical outlet
Type the router’s IP address into the web browser
Select the router with a command prompt (Windows) or system preferences (Mac)
Use the installation wizard to configure the router
Use the reset button to restore factory settings if you mess up
Most home wired routers come with just one WAN port and multiple LAN ports. It’s easy to differentiate the WAN port as its often a different color.
The IP address for most routers is found in the owner’s manual. It’s typically also printed on a sticker on the bottom of the wired router itself.
CNET offers a detailed guide on how to set up a home router if you want more detailed step-by-step directions.
Lifewire also provides an excellent resource that breaks down how to connect two routers on a home network.
Your wired router’s owner’s manual will also include step-by-step setup and configuration instructions for that specific model.
Wired Router Privacy and Security
One of the top benefits of a wired router is its improved security over wireless networks.
These routers automatically work on a private local network, meaning that all Internet traffic, data, and activity goes directly from the Internet connection to your computer.
Despite their safety benefits, wired routers are also vulnerable to attack. According to Tom’s Guide, the problems are mostly with consumer routers.
The resource urges you not to use wired routers bought directly from your Internet service provider as these are more likely to be compromised.
It’s far better to buy your wired router from a third-party provider. In particular, you should look for a brand with a solid reputation or privacy and security.
Network World provides a comprehensive how-to guide on the top ways to improve your wired network security.
Wired Routers with VPN
Those with a particular concern for safety and security should look into a wired router with built-in VPN capabilities.
These routers are designed to work with seamlessly a VPN (Virtual Private Network). According to Tech Radar, a VPN is one of the best ways to add an extra layer of security to your home or business network.
Most wired routers with VPN enable connecting between multiple VPN devices.
Home vs Business Wired Routers
There are a lot of reasons why wired routers are a good choice for both homes and businesses.
However, because of the differing needs of home and business users, there are certain routers that are best suited for each application.
Business routers typically use higher quality components, making them more durable. They also come with more LAN ports so that you can connect more devices to each router.
In addition, they make it easier to connect several different routers to the same network. Most also come with built-in VPN that’s specifically designed for businesses.
The downside to business routers is that they’re much more expensive than traditional home wired routers.
What If You Want a Wired Router but Have Wireless Devices
One of the main problems that people have with wired routers is that they’re not ideal for smartphones and tablets.
An easy solution to this problem is to use a wired connection for your computers and a wireless connection for all other devices.
There are multiple ways to go about setting up this type of system.
Perhaps the easiest is to invest in a wired router that also has wireless capabilities. This gives you the best of both worlds in a single package.
Another option is to set up a separate wired router and a separate Wi-Fi router.
Best Wired Router Reviews
Now that you know what to look for in a wired router, it’s time to narrow down your options.
We’ve done some of the legwork for you by reviewing the top wired routers. These are the fastest, highest performing, most secure options available.
Here are the best wired routers on the market.
1. Best Overall Wired Router:
About: Ubiquiti Networks has done it again with their EdgeRouter X.
Packing big performance into a small package, this top-quality but affordable wired router is an excellent choice for just about anyone
It boasts 5 LAN ports for your devices. It’s also notable for its extremely simple setup and installation process. Just use the automatic wizard to set this router up in minutes.
In addition to speed, another highlight of the EdgeRouter X is its reliability. Connections and uptimes are top-notch so you’ll always be able to access the Internet.
Ubiquiti Networks is also a highly reputable company with an excellent customer support team.
Note that this is a true wired router, meaning that it doesn’t come with optional wireless capabilities.
2. Best Budget under cabinet Lighting
About: Those looking for a top-quality wired router that doesn’t break the bank should check out the DataLockIt VPN Mini Router.
In addition to its affordable price, this router is notable for its small size. In fact, it’s designed as a portable router of sorts that you can take with you while traveling.
It still performs just as well in a home, though it only has one LAN port.
Another highlight of this router is its VPN features. It’s compatible with any VPN service that uses Open VPN for a more secure connection. It even comes with a free one-month Nord VPN trial.
Interestingly, and unlike most, this device is powered by USB. Though this definitely makes the router more portable, it somewhat limits its uses at home.
This mini router from DataLockIt boasts wireless connectivity in addition to its wired ports, so that you can use either type of connection depending on your current needs.
3. Best Wired Router for VPN
About: There are a lot of great wired routers with built-in VPN available, but few are better than the TP-Link SafeStream TL-R470T Router.
It comes with a built-in VPN passthrough to make the inclusion of VPN-specific routing simple and easy to set up.
A built-in firewall, IP and Mac binding function, and powerful DoS attack prevention add even more layers of security onto an already secure device.
In addition to its privacy and security benefits, this wired router is notable for its overall high-quality design.
Not only is it built to last, but it features 4 ethernet ports as well as fast and reliable wired Internet speed and performance.
4. Best Wired Router for Gaming
About: When it comes to gaming, you want a router that is not only fast, but that also has low latency and excellent reliability.
The AC1300 Dual-Band Router from ASUS does just that.
It takes the overall quality that the company is known for and tweaks it specifically for a gaming/streaming audience.
This router can take everything you can through at it, including downloading, uploading, and streaming. It even handles streaming gaming on multiple devices without a hitch.
It features four gigabit LAN ports for multiple devices. It also boasts wireless capabilities if you choose to use it with Wi-Fi.
Other highlights include the excellent speeds, strong coverage, and high-quality hardware that is sure to last for years on end.
5. Best Wired Router for Small Business
Not only must a small business router be extremely secure, but it must also offer the ability to connect many devices to it.
The Cisco Systems RV325 checks in as one of the best small business wired routers on the market today.
It features fast speeds, great all-around performance, an intuitive device manager, 16 gigabit ethernet ports, and built-in VPN.
This wired router enables you to seamlessly connect multiple locations. Your remote works will be able to connect to your VPN network with ease.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Wired Router
The best wired router combines performance with affordability as well as a number of ethernet ports for your devices.
Though all of the wired routers reviewed above meet these requirements, the best of the best is the Ubiquiti Networks EdgeRouter X.
It might not be the absolute highest performing, the absolute cheapest, or the absolute most secure, but it does do all three of these things incredibly well.
It’s an affordable option that boasts fast speeds and reliable connections. It has built-in security features and is incredibly easy to set up with the simple installation wizard.
Whether or not you choose this specific weird router, we hope you use the information in our detailed buyer’s guide to help you select the best router for your needs and preferences.