The TP-Link Archer C7 currently offers the best combination of performance and features for a great price, beating out a couple of other picks that came close to being number one which nevertheless make great alternatives.
TP-Link Archer C7
The best budget router for most people
TP-Link’s Archer C7 (AC1750) router offers up dual-band performance suitable for a wide range of users. It has a four-star rating on Amazon with nearly 12,000 reviews, it’s highly reviewed on numerous tech websites, and it’s recommended by members of our staff. If you need a fast router that can cover a standard home in Wi-Fi, this it it.
Who should buy this router
The TP-Link Archer C7 is ultimately the best option for anyone who doesn’t feel the need to drop hundreds on a router. Despite its budget price, you’re getting combined theoretical speeds that caters to those who like to stream in 4K or those who like lag-free gaming, and the six antennas should cover most 2,000 square-foot homes in Wi-Fi.
For anyone looking to keep a few devices running on a wired connection, the four Ethernet ports on the back of the router will prove invaluable, and two USB-A ports are ideal for those who wish to share media across the network. Parents out there can likewise take advantage of parental controls to monitor and prohibit certain websites and content.
Is it a good time to buy this router?
Yes. Thanks to the Archer C7 supporting the 802.11ac standard, all of your modern devices can easily and painlessly connect. Combined with the speed and dual-band setup, this router should remain relevant for years to come.
8 reasons to buy
- Theoretical combined speeds up to 1,750Mbps across two bands.
- Six antennas with beamforming capabilities to reach far corners.
- Two USB-A ports to easily share media.
- Simple setup and intuitive app for later network management.
- Four Ethernet ports for your wired devices.
- Handles new 802.11ac devices.
- Two-year warranty in case anything fails.
- Very well reviewed across the board.
- On/off switch lets you easily switch off Wi-Fi when away.
- Parental controls let you regulate content.
2 reasons not to buy
- There is a cheaper alternative if you don’t need as much speed.
- There is an alternative if you want MU-MIMO capability.
Most people don’t need to spend more for great Wi-Fi
The TP-Link Archer C7 is a dual-band Wi-Fi router that offers theoretical combined speeds up to 1,750Mbps across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This router can handle 4K video streaming, high-speed downloading, and lag-free gaming, opening it up to a wide range of users.
With six total antennas — three internal and three external that can be removed — four Ethernet ports, and two USB-A 2.0 ports, you can connect wired devices and share media across a network that blankets a regular-sized home in Wi-Fi. With added beamforming, devices in hard-to-reach corners stand a much better chance of picking up a quality signal, especially when located behind walls and closed doors.
Setup is about easy thanks to a smart app and management thereafter, including parental content control, is likewise simple, it handles the spectrum of 802.11/a/b/g/n/ac devices, and you can take advantage of a two-year warranty if the router fails. The TP-Link Archer C7 has seen a lot of favorable reviews, both from independent websites and from users on Amazon, amassing nearly 12,000 separate rating for an overall four-star score.
Alternatives to the TP-Link Archer C7
The Netgear R6230 dual-band router is a cheaper alternative if you don’t need the same speeds the Archer C7 has to offer. You’re looking at theoretical speeds of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band for a combined AC1200 designation. You’re still getting a USB-A 2.0 port to connect a media library, and the two antennas are powerful enough to cover a standard home in Wi-Fi.
The ASUS RT-ACRH13 is an alternate option for anyone who would like a sub-$100 router with the added benefit of 2 x 2 MU-MIMO functionality. Instead of delivering data in a rotating manner, MU-MIMO technology allows multiple compatible devices to receive data without interruption. A 2.4GHz band can deliver up to 400Mbps, while the 5GHz band can theoretically hit up to 867Mbps for a combined AC1300 designation.
For most people, the TP-Link Archer C7 is a perfect mix of speed, coverage, and features, plus it costs well under $100. For those who don’t need as much speed, the Netgear R6230 is a cheaper alternative, and for those who would like to serve their MU-MIMO devices, the ASUS RT-ACRH13 is a worthwhile alternative.
The team that worked on this guide
Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
Derek Kessler is Managing Editor for Mobile Nations, where he covers tech across the spectrum. He got his start a decade ago writing about Palm and hasn’t stopped since. In his desk drawer you will find way too many phones. Derek also does a fair bit of technical work (including this fancy page); he’s @derekakessler on Twitter, if you dare.
Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time you can usually find him practicing guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say “Sorry!” it’s only because he’s Canadian.