• Wireless access points can significantly improve your wireless coverage while giving you more controls and security
  • We recommend to enhance your network with access point in the majority of cases, especially if you have a big space to cover or many users
  • In this article, we tested a few of the top brands on the market to bring you the best access point overall, for home but also a wallet friendly option.
  • Learn more about what an access point or best access point for business

Our top pick

Best Wireless Access Point

Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO

Best Wireless Access Point

Our top wireless access point choice is UAP-AC-PRO. It has minimalistic design with great software and hardware. IT supports Dual-Radio 3×3 11AC MIMO technology, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac [more details]

$268.99 on Amazon

Alternatively, we recommend Linksys AC1200 Wireless Access Point ($145.49). It does not have some of the enterprise functions Ubiquity would have, which is not needed for home users while having much better price. If you need to spend even less money, TP-Link EAP245 V3 Wireless AC1750 ($86.80) if the best cheap wifi access point. You will loose in speed and performance, compared to Linksys or Ubiquity, but still sufficient.

What is a Wifi Access Point? A wireless access point is a networking device that provides wireless access to wireless devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc., on the network. Since wireless networking is the domain of WAPs, they are connected to routers so that they can perform wireless action on the data in transmission. They function much like a hub in that it doesn’t regard the data that crosses it. Rather, it simply forwards information that comes in one wired or wireless portal to another wired or wireless portal. In this case, a WAP cannot be referred to as a “router” since it does not perform the function of one. Although it’s not as robust as a network adapter, it can enhance a Wi-Fi network when installed.
Learn more in our detailed guide on what an access point is?

Features to Consider While Buying a Wireless Access Point 

1. Support for Various Services

One thing that’s constant in this industry is the continuous introduction of new products and services. As wireless usage becomes more widespread, more and more services will be released into the market. Therefore, it’s important for your AP to support the existing ones and have room for the newer services as they arrive through upgrading.

2. IEEE Standard

Whichever access point you decide to go with, ensure that it supports, at the very least, the Wave 2 802.11a standard. This is one of the things that’ll affect the overall performance of your access points. IEEE standard AP should provide an uptick in your Wifi performance and efficiency, so it’s a must-have.

3. MU-MIMO Support

This term stands for multi-user, multi-input, multi-output. It’s a wireless technology that encompasses a network setup where a group of users connects to the network simultaneously. The newer version of the 802.11 standards supports this technology, so it’s important for new access points to support it. This may prompt companies to include the support in their devices either by pushing it to old devices through updates or make it built-in on newer models. If you’re a large business organization with a group of employees that need to connect to the network simultaneously, you should pay attention to this when deciding on your next access point purchase.

4. Controller-based vs Standalone Access Points

Controller-Based Access Points

Controller-based are mostly used in Enterprise networks or large networks. The controller is a server that connects all the wireless access point in one place. It allows you to control them all from a central location/server. They are mostly used for large networks that contain lots of APs.

Stand-Alone Access Points

This is the type that’s plugged into a regular local area network. It’s a single access point to provide wireless access to the LAN, creating what’s called WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

5. Single Radio or Dual Radio Access Point

Single Radio Access Points

A single radio access point operates with only b/g/n or IEEE 802.11a, the standard being b/g/n. In most cases, new ones come with the later. This, therefore, means you have to use one that is compatible with the configuration of the network adaptor.

Dual Radio Access Points

These are more nuanced and more versatile than single radio APs. They’ll work with either IEEE or 802.11a or b/g/n, thus providing a robust option for both organizations and individuals. For example, if you need to set up a mesh network, a double radio access point will be more effective than a single radio version. It’ll help prevent wireless intrusion while giving access to devices using the 802.11a network adaptor.

6. Antenna Settings to Consider

External Antennas

In some cases, there might be a need to cover a wide area that hosts only a handful number of people. Think about parks, recreation centers, etc. In such cases, there’ll be a need for a strong network signal, which can be provided by access points with external antennas.

 Built-in Antennas

This is not as powerful as external antennas and can only cover a small area network such as an office. In most cases, standard signal strength will be enough. This can be routers with a built-in access point that provide you with internet access.

Best Wifi Access Point Brands to Consider in 2019 

Cisco Access Points

Cisco has been around for a very long time, providing a wide range of devices for consumers and businesses. And they don’t look to be slowing down. In fact, the company is a proud owner of a great deal of networking patents with more to come in the future.

As one of the most popular brands in this space, and probably the oldest, Cisco has to maintain its leadership position and they are poised to do so. In addition, they’re one of the only few brands that dominate the wireless access point market through essential products and technologies.

In terms of popularity, they are at the top of the list and that’s evident in the number of products they have in the space and how they’ve continued to innovate. Their products range from security products to enterprise routing, and recently, to IoS technology.

As you can see, if you’re in the market for new networking devices, you’ll likely come across this brand. They have a dozen access points with different prices, types, and shapes. In most of their devices, you’ll find they maintain similar designs and the crispy Cisco embedded in these products are conspicuous and not easy to miss.

Most importantly, if you’re looking for high-end and professional access points, you’ll likely find a good one from Cisco. As they serve the higher-end portion of the market, they are not often the best choice for consumers. So, if you’re looking for something in the mid-range or lower end, you’ll want to consider Unify or TP-Link below.

Unify Access Points

Unify is one of the leading providers of communication solutions and networking products with a track record for performance. One of the focal points of their marketing is providing a satisfactory user experience. Adopting such a policy has a good effect on the level of customer retention. Thus, this has earned them a good place among the list of popular brands, especially when it pertains to wireless access points.

Even though Unify’s headquarter is in Munich, Germany, they are present in over 100 countries with products spanning across web collaboration and networking devices. Your next product will probably be from this company.

Like TP-Link, they procure both consumer and business solutions at the mid- and low-range levels. So, if you’re a small business or individual looking for a unique solution, Unify probably has you covered. Although they’re not as popular as Cisco or TP-Link, their undiluted performance over the years has gained them a good standing and a handful of loyal customers.

TP-Link Access Points

Like Cisco, TP-Link is one of the oldest brands in the technology space with a wide range of products for both consumer and business applications. When it comes to making network devices, TP-Link really knows their stuff, which is while they always pop up when comparing brands in the industry.

Unlike Cisco, however, they serve the lower- and mid-range section of the market, which sets them apart. And yes, they have a great deal of affordable and consumer-friendly access points. This doesn’t mean they don’t have enterprise-level APs that can be had on budget, they are just a few in between. And even though their products cater to this wide spectrum of the user base, they don’t compromise their stand on providing affordable products.

Moreover, their diverse product line speaks of value and reliability that you’ll find in high-end brands too. So, if you’re looking for a good alternative to Cisco, but with a lower cost and similar performance, consider TP-Link.

Most importantly, their access points come at various forms and prices, even though they’re not as diverse as those of Cisco. For anyone in the market for budget-friendly access points though, we’ve reviewed one of their popular products. Make sure you check it out and compare it with other products in the category so you can make an informed decision.

Linksys Access Points

Linksys is an American company that products wireless access points for homes, retail shops, restaurants, and small business setups. They have other network hardware products including VoIP equipment, modems, Ethernet switches, wired and wireless routers, etc.

The company was founded by Taiwanese couples, Victor and Janie Tsao, who’ve since sold the company. It was first purchased by Cisco but later sold to Belkin in 2013.

Their dedication to producing quality products have earned them a good reputation and goodwill. Thus you’ll find they have some of the most popular products on the market. These products are not just affordable, they’re the epitome of quality. This is supported by their commitment to top class design and technological approach meshed in good customer service.

Like the other brands on this list, Linksys also provides innovative products to enable individuals and businesses to access the internet easily and affordably without compromising safety and security. If you want a good quality access point, you’ll want to look at some of the product from this company too. As their timeline is spread on a good performance, they’re considered to be one of the reliable names in the networking industry that you can trust.

As you’ll see in the upcoming review, their build and design are well drawn out and the performance of their wireless access point is top-notch.

Best Wireless Access Point: Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-US

Amazon Reviews:
  • 2 pack access point
  • Dual-Radio 3×3 11AC MIMO technology
  • Supports up to 300 Mbps, 2×2 MIMO for the 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps, 3×3 MIMO for the 2.4 GHz band

Expert Review

This is the best access point for both small and medium installation. We chose it mainly for the best value for money, outstanding build quality and good functionality. It supports PoE+, easy to install and configure.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Minimalistic design with an aesthetic appearance
  • Built-in LED light for status monitoring
  • Feature security slot below for added security
  • Comes with USB 2.0 port to connect to the PA system
  • Allows for controller-based or standalone installs
  • Doesn’t need a controller
  • Comes with all the necessary mounting accessories

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Needs IT professional installation

It’s an undisputed fact that Ubiquiti makes the best wireless access point. Both in terms of price and performance, they rival Cisco products and are steps ahead of the others in the race. If you’re contemplating on your next wireless access point for home, look no further than the Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO.

Why is UAP-AC-PRO-US the best wireless access points?

  • Tech Specs: The device was created for both home and business applications. With rock-solid features like MIMO technology, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standard support, waterproof design, and a great many other enterprise technologies.
  • Quality Build and Design: The Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-US Unifi AP has a fantastic look. Once installed, resembles a smoke detector. The steady blue light emanating from the top can easily match any home decor. And anyone with aesthetic tastes could use it as a stylish nightlight. For those who don’t want any of that, it can easily be turned off. The waterproof capability allows for outdoor installs too, thus making it a well-rounded device for both home and business use.
  • Easy configuration: It comes with the latest 802.11 ac/n/g standard and support for the PoE+ 48v. While it can be added to any home setup, it’s more of an enterprise business solution than a consumer-grade Wifi solution. This is because the setup might require professional handling. If you’re not technically inclined, you may want to enlist the help of a technician so you can get everything running smoothly. Not all wireless access point for home can be installed by the average consumer. So, don’t be put off by the installation requirements.
  • Thought-through Installation: As stated previously, it might be a bit complicated to the average consumer to install as some of them require are physically and technically oriented. Consequently, it comes with some accessories, like the PoE injector, to ease the installation for those who want to try.
  • Ease of Use: For someone with experience, this is probably an easy unit to set up and use. Aside from the fact that it comes with everything you need to mount it, the base software is easy to navigate.

How does UAP-AC-PRO-US compare to Other Unify Access Points?

One of the strengths of this unit is that it comes with more power on the 2.4 GHz band compared to the Ubiquiti UniFi AC Lite AP. However, it’s much bigger. So, if you’re looking for something slightly smaller, you may want to look at the AC Lite AP. Even with that, be ready to make some tradeoff in terms of speed and overall performance.

Ubiquiti UniFi AC Lite AP vs UAP-AC-PRO-US

Compared to the Pro model, Ubiquiti UniFi AC Lite AP ($155.79) meant for indoor use and is the most suitable for the home. So, if you’re in the market for the best Wifi access point for home, you may want to go for this one. The Pro version, on the other hand, can be used outside as long as it’s in a covered area. 

Also, it’s much more compact and smaller. It’s simplistic and portable design means it doesn’t take as much space. It can easily be construed as a smoke detector compared to the Pro version, which screams “Wireless Access Point”.

In What Case Should You Buy Ubiquiti UniFi AC Lite AP ($155.79) ?

Although it offers lots of option through the Unify controller, such as managing the wired and wireless network and guest access. However, this is might not be for you if you’re not a tech-savvy person since you may be faced with some technical difficulties during installation and sometimes while using it. So, if you’re an average consumer, you may want to look at other devices.

Things You Need to Know Before You Buy it?

It’s one of the smallest access points with a diameter of 16 centimeters and a little over 3 centimeters height. Therefore, it’s much easier to install in any part of the home. It has a LED ring on top, which indicates the current state of the UAP. It’s not very bright and you can turn it off. The advantage of the LED indicator is for identifying specific unit if you manage a dozen devices in the network. Finally, it features dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz promising a 300 Mbps and 867 Mbps transfer rates, respectively.

Frequenly Asked Questions

How to install you install UAP-AC-PRO-US?

UAP-AC-PRO-US supports PoE and can be powered with a compatible networking device or use your PoE injector. The installation should be straightforward as long as you follow the instructions. Before installing it, you’ll need the Unified controller software, which you can install on your PC or Mac computer. But you can also run it on your Raspberry Pi.

What Is the Difference between UAP-AC-PRO-US and a Traditional AC Router

One of the great thing about this model is that you can buy and install more than one unit throughout your home. This is even more important if you’re experienced slow connection on your Wifi in some parts of your house. You could have one in your bedroom and another one in the living room. A traditional AC router won’t give you this flexible. Either you buy another one to replace the current one or manage the old one. You simply won’t get any added benefit from having more than one.

What Do I need to Know Before You Buying UAP-AC-PRO-US?

It’s one of the smallest access points with a diameter of 16 centimeters and a little over 3 centimeters height. Therefore, it’s much easier to install in any part of the home. It has a LED ring on top, which indicates the current state of the UAP. It’s not very bright and you can turn it off. The advantage of the LED indicator is for identifying specific unit if you manage a dozen devices in the network. Finally, it features dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz promising a 300 Mbps and 867 Mbps transfer rates, respectively.

Best Wi-Fi Access Point for Home: Linksys AC1200

Amazon Reviews:
  • Dual band (2.4 gigahertz + 5 gigahertz) data transfer speeds up to 1.17 Gigabits per second
  • PoE+ (Power over Ethernet Plus)
  • Transmission rates: 866 Mbps (for 5 GHz radio), 300 Mbps (for 2.4 GHz)
  • WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and WiFi Protected Access II (WPA2)

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Inexpensive and easy to setup
  • Impressive data transfer speeds
  • Supports PoE for device scalability
  • Suitable for small and medium home use

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Doesn’t have VPN support
  • No enterprise-level features for cloud-based service
  • Lacks the ability to authenticate guest wireless access

Tech Specs

Linksys is another reputable company that products networking devices for the home. Why the company has gone through acquisitions (from Cisco and then Belkin), the dedication to quality manufacturing processes has not waned. If you’re considering the best Wi-Fi access point for home, the Linksys AC1200 Access Point is a strong contender.

Build and Design

This AP comes in a hexagonal shape like that of a smoke detector, which makes it easy to mount on the wall. It’s also light, weighing just one pound, so you don’t have to shed hairs to set it up. It doesn’t have any of the normal LED lights you’ll find on other APs on routers though. But that doesn’t affect its performance as you’ll soon see.

Setup Process

The Linksys AC1200 Access Point is compatible with PoE, which makes it easy to add other devices like camera, etc. Even if you don’t need all of that now, you can take advantage of this capability if you need to scale your network in the future. Just like other wireless access points, it comes with software with browser-based management that’s straightforward and easy to navigate. 

Cloud Management

When you need to manage several access points on a single network, you’ll benefit from a cloud management structure. This system provides an overview of the health of the network as well as real-time statistics of on-going activities on the network. The cloud manager on this AP is designed to simplify the management of several access points from a central location for better efficiency.

Expert Review

The AC1200 Access Point is another one of Linksys popular access points. It features a dual-based cloud wireless integration and all the standards you’d want to see in the best wireless access point for home. It supports both WPA and WPA2 security protocols for enhanced security of your home network. It also comes with an immediate and continuous update through the cloud, which helps you keep your device up to date.

Comparison with other Access Points

One of the great thing about the Linksys AC1200 AP is that you don’t need to purchase extra accessories to enjoy the cloud management capability as you would have done if you choose the Ubiquiti UAP AC PRO. It’s equally more affordable because the Ubiquiti UAP AC PRO will set you back an extra hundred dollars. 

One thing it lacks are LED lights, which you’ll find in both the Ubiquiti AC PRO and TP-Link EAP245 V3 AP. If you don’t mind this, then you should consider looking at other features on this unit before making a buying decision.

Best Cheap Access Point: TP-Link EAP245 V3 Wireless AC1750

Amazon Reviews:
  • Dual band: simultaneous 450Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz
  • 802.3af/at PoE or 48V passive PoE for power supply
  • MU-MIMO, beamforming
  • Band Steering
  • Airtime Fairness
  • Seamless roaming

WHAT WE LIKED

  • It allows you to manage all clients on all APs
  • It lets you monitor the bandwidth on the network
  • Lays the groundwork for a central configuration
  • Installation is straight forward and easy
  • This AP is a good value for money 

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Can only be powered via PoE
  • Requires a bit of
    know-how 

TP-Link is not just another brand. But a reliable network device manufacturer. With a good track record up to date, their access points are expected to be top in class. And the TP-Link EAP245 Wireless Access Point did not disappoint.

Tech Specs

It Supports Up to 1750 Mbps Wifi speeds (450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz).

As a side note, the high this rating, the faster the access point. Compared to the speed rating on other 2.4 GHz APs on the market, the EAP245 is one of the fastest. There are a lot of advantages to this. You get better and faster download speeds. And it’ll make future expansion easier so you don’t have to purchase another access point.

Featuring the Latest 802.11ac Standard

Remember we mentioned earlier in this article that the efficiency and performance of your Wifi network can be boosted with the latest IEEE standard. Fortunately, this unit comes with one. So, it’s going to enhance your connection speed as well as raise your data security. With this AP, you can have peace of mind knowing that your network is secured. 

It comes with 6 Internal Omnidirectional Antennas

The advantage of having a built-in antenna is quite obvious: not having to deal with external antennas. This means there is less error because of the absence of manual configuration.

The Software is User-Friendly 

This unit comes with the EAP controller software that offers specialized management. If you’re a networking veteran, you’ll know that many access points can’t boast of good software. It’s either they’re slow or don’t make diagnosing and troubleshooting network easy. With the intuitive EAP software, you’ll be able to handle delicate processes in the network with much ease. And setting up and configuring the network will be quick too since you aren’t dealing with anything complicated. 

It Supports the MU-MIMO Technology

This ensures you gain superior Wifi speeds on this access point, compared to other brands in the same category. Moreover, it’ll be easy setting up different devices with it due to the support for PoE (Power over Ethernet).

LEDs

This AP comes with LED lights that are placed conspicuously on the unit so they are immediately visible. When it’s working probably, it brings on a green light but will flash red whenever it encounters an error. And the LED will change to yellow when the firmware is upgrading. As you can see, these simple design keeps you abreast of the status of the device at all times.

Expert Review

If you’re looking for a user-friendly wireless access point that’s available in an affordable price, consider this model. It’s designed for enterprise-level application as well as small businesses looking for scalability factor. Compared to products from Cisco, Linksys, etc., it matches stability and reliability with low cost. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best cheap access point, this is worth looking at.

Comparison with other Access Points

One of the plus points of this access point is that it’s inexpensive, compared to the Linksys AC1200 Wireless Access Point and Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO. And even with that, it can still boast of good performance and reliability.

Compared to other items from TP-Link such as the TP-Link AC1200 AP, it costs more. But in terms of speed and performance, it’s far ahead. You get up to 1750 Mbps Wi-Fi speeds (from both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) compared to the 1200 Mbps on the TP-Link AC1200. In addition, it supports roaming so you get the same speed on voice calls and video streaming when you move around.