TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Wireless Router
It can be frustrating to wade through the budget-friendly end of the router market. Too often, the affordably-priced routers demand major sacrifices in throughput speeds, wireless range, or reliability, and are often not a great long-term choice. Despite this, it's entirely possible to find competent routers from reputable manufacturers at affordable prices. Considering how much expertise TP-Link has in providing quality networking equipment at incredibly reasonable prices, it should come as no surprise that the Archer A7 earns our recommendation.
The Archer A7 offers a modern, no-nonsense design that makes no attempt to hide the fact that it is a wireless router. The glossy top surface gives the A7 a premium vibe, but it displays dust and picks up fingerprints extremely easily. All of the status lights are located on the front panel and provide useful information at a glance; if you find them distracting and want them turned off, you'll need to navigate through the web interface and enable "Night Mode" by specifying a time range. Tucked between the rear-mounted external antennas are the typical connections: 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, the Internet input that goes to your modem, and a single USB port. Here's one area where the Archer A7 cedes some ground to pricier models - the USB port is 2.0 only, so it's not the greatest option if you want to link a hard drive for wireless sharing.
Wireless performance is where the Archer A7 shines. While it doesn't have the sheer horsepower of the more expensive routers with dual-core processors, the Archer A7 is more than capable of supporting modern households with multiple computers, tablets, phones, and smart devices that rely on an internet connection. SmallNetBuilder's testing (https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32196-tp-link-archer-c7-ac1750-wireless-dual-band-gigabit-router-reviewed) shows respectable throughput in the 2.4 GHz band; the real surprise is its 5 GHz performance that allows the Archer A7 to punch way above its weight. Despite its clearly budget-friendly internal hardware, reliability is a strong point as well - there's plenty of feedback from happy users who report whole-house Wi-Fi coverage with no dead zones, drop-outs, or restarts. The Archer A7 is unique in that it offers direct compatibility with Amazon's Alexa as well - you can even use Alexa to create a guest network and connect devices to it without ever touching the router itself.
The real draw of the Archer A7 comes from its unbeatable value proposition. Retail pricing is at $79.99, which is fair on its own; online pricing often drops to well under $60. It may be light on features, but the respectable performance and proven reliability means that the Archer A7 is one of the most budget-friendly ways to noticeably boost your wireless network.
Note: The TP-Link Archer A7 is an Amazon-exclusive product. The similar (but not identical) C7 model looks and performs similarly, but drops Alexa compatibility and often costs slightly more online than the A7.