Speed test apps are the best way to ensure your Wi-Fi and Internet speeds are up to the task to handle streaming and gaming. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) typically charge more than $ 100 for gigabit Internet connections, so it is important for customers to know if they are getting their money’s worth.
Unfortunately, not all speed test apps are created equal. Depending on how certain applications are coded, results in one application may be slower than in another. Not only that, many ISPs have custom speed test apps and websites that generally try to sell consumers faster plans, even when customers may not need them.
Often times when you call customer service regarding poor internet performance, the representative will direct you to a speed test website created by an ISP. Lo and behold, all of a sudden the internet speed is reverting to higher download and upload speeds than before.
Not that ISPs are lying to you, but using an ISP-created speed test app gives the business an edge. The information is not incorrect, but it does not indicate real-world performance. You will notice that none of our recommended apps are tied to ISPs.
Speed test apps are not an exact science. They are a good approximation, a tool that can help you figure out what is wrong with your Internet connection. We recommend running a speed test at least three times with any app to get an average. It also doesn’t hurt to run speed tests with multiple applications.
Regardless, here’s a breakdown of our best speed test apps.
What are the best speed test apps?
After testing multiple speed test apps, we found those with clean interfaces and less clutter to rank near the top. These include OpenSignal’s Meteor and SpeedTest Master.
But not only the speed tests matter, but part of the secondary information that is also important. These can include what the connectivity is like to different servers, such as the PlayStation Network, or more granular information, such as a graph of your home’s Wi-Fi strength.
What you will find below is a varied number of applications, some that are free, some that come with a surcharge, but all are worth your consideration.
Quick tips before running a speed test
Before running a speed test, make sure your network environment is clean. What do we mean by that? Make sure no one else is using the internet at that particular time. Someone watching Netflix downstairs will affect the data obtained through a speed test app.
While using an app on your phone, make sure your Wi-Fi is set to 5Ghz, if your router supports it, and sit as close to the router as possible. Also make sure there are no obstructions between you and the router.
For anyone testing via laptop or desktop, we recommend connecting an Ethernet cable directly to your router. This will ensure that you get a seamless connection.
Lastly, for both phones and computers, close all background applications that may be consuming bandwidth.
(Image credit: Opensignal via YouTube)
1. OpenSignal Meteor
OpenSignal’s Meteor is a fast, standalone speed test application that offers reliable speed tests with a sleek interface. Not only is it free, it is available on both iOS and Android, but it describes in plain and simple terms what your internet speed is like.
Aside from offering download, upload, and ping response times, it doesn’t provide much deeper network information. However, it does include information on cell coverage, which could be useful when traveling.
You can also test performance on individual applications. For example, I was able to test network performance by trying to ping the Pokémon Go servers.
OpenSignal’s Meteor is one of those rare apps that looks and feels so high-quality that you’re surprised it’s offered for free.
(Image credit: Apple Applications)
2. SpeedTest Master (iOS, Android)
SpeedTest Master is a powerful speed test app for iOS and Android. It offers a host of tools outside of simple speed tests, like being able to measure ping response time for PlayStation Network, Steam, YouTube, TikTok, and social media.
You can also test the Wi-Fi signal strength, letting you know where you need to be for ideal connectivity. Another cool feature is being able to analyze various Wi-Fi signals, informing you which ones offer the best connection. If you are in a busy area with a lot of signals, this app will let you know which is the best option for pinging, assuming the Wi-Fi connection is open to the public.
The downside to SpeedTest Master is that it is not free. While you can use it a limited number of times with ads, to unlock unlimited trials it will cost $ 1.99 / month, $ 7.99 / year, or $ 14.99 / lifetime.
Cost aside, SpeedTest Master is robust and a must-have for anyone obsessed with connectivity.
(Image credit: Google Play)
3. Analiti speed test WiFi analyzer
Speed Test WiFi Analyzer by analiti Experts Group may not be the prettiest speed test app, but it is definitely powerful. The utilitarian design of the program gives you highly detailed information without any fluff. Not only does Speed Test do standard speed tests well, it also has a built-in Wi-Fi analyzer to help detail coverage in different parts of your home. This feature is especially useful for users who have multiple nodes. If you are a nerd of deep Wi-Fi metrics, this app will give you detailed RSSI statistics, a signal analyzer, decoded IEEE 802.11 beacon information, a spectrum map, and TCP and UDP tests for iPerf3 servers. If none of that makes sense to you, then maybe the other speed test apps on this list are a better fit.
Either way, analiti’s Speed Test WiFi Analyzer is available on Google Play and Amazon Appstore. Unfortunately, there is no variant of iOS. The app is available for free, but paying a one-time fee of $ 1.99 will remove the ads. To access the expert features listed above, the app will cost $ 0.99 for 24 hours, $ 1.99 per month, $ 9.99 per year, and $ 19.99 for life.
(Image credit: Pe3k | Shutterstock)
4. Ookla Speed Test (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac)
Ookla’s Speedtest app is one of the most popular. Not only has it been around for years, it offers reliable testing for free. The information it provides is relatively basic, but it gets the job done. Because the app is free, it has ads. There is an option to remove ads for an additional 0.99 cents on both iOS and Android. Windows and Mac versions do not have this option.
The app also tracks your results history, can show you the status of your cellular network map, and has a built-in VPN. Tom’s Guide has not independently tested the strength and effectiveness of the Ookla VPN.
(Image credit: Apple Applications)
5. Fast by Netflix (iOS, Android)
We like Fast by Netflix for how easy it is to use. As soon as you turn on the app, it starts measuring your download speed. There is not even a “go” button.
It is also a very light and basic app, which means you can leave it on your phone without worrying about space. It’s actually so basic that we wonder if it’s just a container for the fast.com website. It is currently available on both iOS and Android.
Fortunately, there is an option to display more detailed information such as downloaded and uploaded latency, upload speed, and your public IP address. Users can also save their results to keep as records.
(Image credit: Microsoft Store)
6. Microsoft Network Speed Test (Windows)
Microsoft’s Network Speed Test application, available through the Microsoft Store, is a powerful tool. It’s light and basic, but it gives you the information you need upfront.
It doesn’t have more robust features like being able to test signal performance or check your overall network range, but it should be sufficient for most people. At the moment, it is only available for Windows computers.
Either way, this clean speed test app records a handful of passed tests for you to compare. It also lists the type of connection used so you’re not accidentally comparing Wi-Fi versus Ethernet tests.
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