How much should I spend on a wifi router, they start at $50

6 Replies

My gut tells me to just choose any and call it a day. However, understanding the Airbnb business model I can see how slow wifi could get some harsh reviews coming your way. I would do some more research, but at the end of the day if this is just 1 Airbnb would 500$ really make a big difference over 50$?

The router is only part of the equation here - you can buy a $500 router, but if you have a 5Mbit connection coming to it, it will be little use. 

Usually if you have small apartments, it does not matter all that much which router you go for. However, if the apartments are bigger and there are more walls (e.g 2br and bigger), I suggest either going for a better router with more coverage or purchasing wifi signal amplifiers. 

@Alan Faitel It depends on the size of the property. I had a $150 Netgear which was the top of the line at the time 7 years ago covering a 4 story 7000sq foot mansion.

Obviously I think for the most part you can go based on the coverage level on the box if it gives it. For a 1000 sq ft apartment something simple will suffice. For a 2400 sq ft 2 story home with lots of TVs and opportunities for gaming, etc something better.

@Alan Faitel this:

Big house: go mesh/multiple.

Small apartment: single router.

There’s a lot of talk about Wi-Fi standards on this sector and a focus on the bleeding edge. Truth is most TVs and even guest phones won’t support those for years to come. Focus on reliability, remote management, and automatic updates to help you set and forget it. I also like one with a separate guest network so I can keep my smart home devices segregated.

The CR top recommendation (in 2021) for the Synology 2600 is not wrong: it’s rock solid, auto-updates, and remote manages, but it’s on the pricier end and has more bells and whistles than most owners will ever need.

For larger properties I’d recommend Ubiquiti mesh at the high end or Eero at the middle.

Given that most homeowners don’t have spectrum analyzers or a certification in Wi-Fi design the most important factor to performance is not features or the latest standard, but rather ability to properly configure out of the box.