It’s not easy to pick the best wireless router overall. For nearly everything computer-related the old adage of “use the right tool for the job” holds true. Most people generally want a router that has a lot of functions, lasts a long time, has good range, and doesn’t cost a lot. In practice, it’s usually better to get the wireless router that is overall best suited to your needs.

Nearly all modern routers have several standard functions that you don’t have to look for. They all can be password protected, have fairly strict security protocols, use the full bandwidth of commercial or home ISPs and allow for networking printers and storage devices.

One thing to look for is cost versus longevity. Contrary to popular belief, a more expensive router doesn’t mean it lasts longer than a cheaper router. A more expensive router usually has more functions and therefore more parts that can wear out over time. They also tend to be more complex and harder to set up. One way to look at it is a cheaper router can be replaced two or three times for the cost of one expensive router. Unless the more expensive one has features you absolutely must have, it often makes more sense to have several cheaper routers than one expensive router.

On the other hand, more expensive routers tend to be more stylish. If the atmosphere and decoration of the room is important, more expensive routers are usually better looking, come with different mounting options, have internal antennae and are meant to either look good or be hidden from view.

One of the biggest complaints about any router is range. If you need wi-fi coverage over a very long range or large area you have two options. If you have a little tech savvy and the time to do research or call support, several routers from the same manufacturer are more likely to work together. This is the best option for a company or school with dedicated IT personnel. However, one of the best kept secrets in getting good coverage is a repeater. A repeater is a device that extends a wi-fi connection without needing another router or even a direct Internet connection. As long as you have a free outlet, a repeater can be used to stretch a signal of any strength or bend signals around obstacles like elevator shafts or thick walls.

In summary, you can be confident that any modern router has the features you need but the environment you use it in will determine how effective it will be. Rather than trying to find one router that can do everything, getting multiple routers or repeaters can be a more effective solution.