Best Wireless Routers for Streaming

These are the top routers for smooth streaming, seamless gaming, and pretty much everything else

Best Value
Product image of TP-Link Archer AX55 Router
TP-Link Archer AX55
Price:
$129.99
  • pro
    Speeds up to 2.4 Gbps
  • pro
    Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
  • pro
    Great price on mid-range device
Best Overall Performance
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Router
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
Price:
$299.99
  • pro
    Speeds up to 2.1 Gbps
  • pro
    Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
  • pro
    Optimized for high-speed and multiple connections
Best Budget Pick
TP-Link AC1750
Price:
$79.99
  • pro
    Speeds up to 1.3 Gbps
  • pro
    Dual-band Wi-Fi 5
  • pro
    Very affordable price for decent router
Best for Gaming
Product image of NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router
Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router
Price:
$369.99
  • pro
    Speeds up to 5.4 Gbps
  • pro
    Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
  • pro
    Powerful router optimized for gaming
Best for Big Homes
Product image of NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System
NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System
Price:
$687.28
  • pro
    Speeds up to 6 Gbps
  • pro
    Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
  • pro
    5,000+ square foot coverage area that can support 100 connections
Easton Smith
Mobile, TV, & Moving Expert
Read More
February 22, 2022
7 min read

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If your favorite Netflix series is looking a bit choppy, your games are laggy, or your Zoom calls keep disconnecting, the problem might be your wireless router. It’s probably time for an upgrade.

We recommend the TP-Link Archer AX55 for most home streamers. It balances quality features, like a fast transfer rate and good coverage, and an affordable price. But if you’re looking to get into competitive gaming or otherwise put a strain on your internet bandwidth, then the Nighthawk XR1000 or Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 would be better suited to the challenge.



Best wireless routers comparison chart
Router
Price
Wireless data transfer rate
Wireless Standard
Details
TP-Link Archer AX55$129.992.4 Gbps802.11ac/b/ax/g/n
ROG Rapture GT-AC5300$299.992.1 Gbps802.11ac/a/b/g/n
TP-Link AC1750$79.991.3 Gbps802.11ac/n/a/n/b/g
NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router$369.995.4 Gbps802.11ax/a/b/g/n/ac
NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System$687.286 Gbps802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax

Amazon.com List prices as of 01/28/22 1:48 (MT). Full disclaimer.

Features to look for in your Wi-Fi router

You’re about to shell out some hard earned dough on a new router. So you want to be sure you’re getting the best product available. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important features to consider in a router.

  • Speed: We’re not talking about the speed of your internet (how fast information passes from your modem to your router), but the speed of your wireless data transfer (how fast information passes from your router to your computer). This speed is mostly dependent on your router's wireless technology (e.g. Wi-Fi 6), internal processor, and coverage area. Make sure you get a router that gives you enough speed for your daily activities.
  • Coverage: Wi-Fi routers often have built-in antennas and other features that can boost their range. Those with bigger houses may want to opt for a mesh router system, which uses multiple devices to boost coverage.
  • Price: Some of the newest routers cost way more than they need to, while sporting unnecessary (and sometimes faulty) features. We think it’s usually best to go with a well-trusted and well-tested model that’s cheaper, even if it’s a few years old.
  • Compatibility: Most routers will work with most internet connections, but you should still double check that your modem and computer will work with the device you’re buying.
  • Special features: Some modems have special software and hardware that can make them especially good for gaming, wireless security, reliable streaming, and other priorities. Find a router that’s optimized for your lifestyle.

TP-Link Archer AX55: Best value

Product image of TP-Link Archer AX55 Router
Wi-Fi 6 technology
4 external antennas for strong coverage
Affordable price
Starting at
$129.99

If you want a well-rounded router that’s perfect for streaming the latest movies and shows in HD/4K/8K, then the TP-Link Archer AX55 is the way to go. It’s the perfect mix of performance and affordability that will satisfy almost everyone.

Are you an Xfinity or Spectrum customer?
Megaphone

We’ve written separate reviews of the very best routers for both Xfinity and Spectrum internet customers.

The AX55 is equipped with Wi-Fi 6 and four powerful antennas, which can provide fast internet connectivity with low latency throughout most small-medium sized houses. You should be able to connect over a dozen devices—from Smart TVs to laptops—without an issue (assuming your internet is fast enough).

TP-Link Archer AX55 features
Price
Wireless data transfer rate
Wireless Standard
Frequency Bands
Ports
Details
$129.992.4 Gbps802.11ac/b/ax/g/n2.4 GHz and 5 GHz1 Gigabit WAN 4 Gigabit LAN 1 USB 3.0

Amazon.com List prices as of 01/28/22 1:48 (MT). Full disclaimer.

This TP-Link wireless router has plenty of cool extra features, like enhanced security through HomeShield and Alexa Compatibility, but the real selling point is the price. It’s a fast, reliable, Wi-Fi 6 equipped router for under $130.

View on Amazon

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300: Best performance

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Router
Tri-band connectivity
1.8 GHz Quad-Core processor
8 external antennas
Starting at
$299.99

Sometimes you just need the best—no ifs, ands, or buts. When it comes to wireless routers, the gold medal for overall performance has to go to the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300. You could upgrade to the GT-AX11000, but it’s probably not worth the higher price.

This router is as powerful as it looks, with eight external antennas, two 5 GHz bands (and one 2.4 Ghz band), Wi-Fi 6 technology, a computer-grade internal processor, and plenty of other features. It’s great for streaming, gaming, and literally anything else you can throw at it.

ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 features
Price
Wireless data transfer rate
Wireless Standard
Frequency Bands
Ports
Details
$299.992.1 Gbps802.11ac/a/b/g/nOne 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands1 Gigabit WAN 8 Gigabit LAN 2 USB 3.0

Amazon.com List prices as of 01/28/22 1:48 (MT). Full disclaimer.

$300 is a lot to spend on a wireless router, no matter how powerful it is. But that price tag stings less when you consider how future-proof this machine is. It’s equipped with the latest Wi-Fi technology, ports, and a wildly powerful internal processor, meaning it should perform beautifully for years to come.

Ready to upgrade your internet?
Bullhorn

Getting a top-of-the-line router like the GT-AC5300 only makes sense if you have internet to match. If you’re looking to up your speed for streaming, gaming, or working, check out our review of the fastest internet service providers.

TP-Link AC1750: Best budget pick

Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 technology
Very affordable outstanding features
Starting at
$79.99

If you want to get a great wireless router that costs about half as much as the other machines on this list, then go with the TP-Link AC 1750.

At this price point, you will lose out on a few features. You’ll get Wi-Fi 5 instead of 6. You’ll have to live with a 1,300 Mbps transfer rate. You’ll be stuck with USB 2.0 instead of 3.0. But, let’s be honest, a few years ago we were all happy without those things anyways.

TP-Link AC1750 features
Price
Wireless data transfer rate
Wireless Standard
Frequency Bands
Ports
Details
$79.991.3 Gbps802.11ac/n/a/n/b/g 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 1 Gigabit WAN 4 Gigabit LAN 1 USB 2.0

Amazon.com List prices as of 01/28/22 1:48 (MT). Full disclaimer.

Casual users who just want to stream the new Disney+ series, play some Xbox, and occasionally Zoom in to a work meeting should be very pleased with the AC1750. The biggest drawback is the Wi-Fi range, but people with a two or three bedroom house should be covered.

View on Amazon

Want to save some money on your internet bill too?
Money

Paying less for your wireless router is great. But paying less for your monthly internet service is even better. Read our guide on lowering your internet bill to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000: Best for gaming

Product image of NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router
Up to 5.4 Gbps speeds
1.5 GHz Tri-Core processor
Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
Starting at
$369.99

If you want a machine that will be fast and reliable enough to keep you connected during your COD: Warzone match, we suggest the NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000. You’ll especially want the extra power if you’re a streamer or have multiple gaming devices running at the same time.

This router has a powerful 1.5 GHz processor, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and up to 5.4 Gbps transfer speeds. But what really makes this the best router for gaming is the DumaOS 3.0 software inside.

According to NETGEAR, this Duma operating system can prioritize your gaming traffic, connect you to the best servers, and lower your ping by up to 93%!

NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router features
Price
Wireless data transfer rate
Wireless Standard
Frequency Bands
Ports
Details
$369.995.4 Gbps802.11ax/a/b/g/n/ac2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 1 Gigabit WAN 4 Gigabit LAN 1 USB 3.0

Amazon.com List prices as of 01/28/22 1:48 (MT). Full disclaimer.

At nearly $300 dollars, the Nighthawk XR1000 is a pricey piece of equipment. But we have a good amount of faith in NETGEAR products overall, plus this router has future-proof tech, like Wi-Fi 6, USB 3.0, and a super high data transfer rate. You shouldn’t need to replace it for a long time.

View on Amazon

Is your internet optimized for gaming?
Light Bulb

There’s only so much that your wireless router can do if your internet connection is slow at the source. Maybe it’s time to upgrade to one of the best internet providers for gaming?

NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System: Best for big homes

Product image of NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System
Up to 5,000 ft.2 of coverage
Connect up to 100 devices
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 technology
Starting at
$674.99

Even the best Wi-Fi routers will have a problem covering larger houses, small businesses, and apartment buildings. The key to unlocking better Wi-Fi range is called mesh. A mesh Wi-Fi router uses multiple devices to create one large, seamless network.

The best mesh Wi-Fi router on the market right now is NETGEAR’s Orbi AX 6000.

This sleek device uses tri-band Wi-Fi 6 technology, giving you up to 6 Gbps of speed (that’s just absurdly fast). It allows you to connect up to 100 (!) devices at once, without buffering. It has more than enough power to keep you, your family, and even your neighbors streaming video in high definition.

NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System features
Price
Wireless data transfer rate
Wireless Standard
Frequency Bands
Ports
Details
$674.996 Gbps802.11a/b/g/n/ac/axOne 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands1 2.5 GB WAN 4 Gigabit LAN

Amazon.com List prices as of 01/28/22 1:48 (MT). Full disclaimer.

The basic Orbi AX6000 package comes with a wireless router and one “satellite”. These two devices connect together to give you up to 5,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage. But, if you want more, you can get up to 12,500 square feet of coverage with additional satellite devices.

View on Amazon

Recap: Best Wi-Fi routers for streaming (and everything else)

We just threw a lot of information at you. So let’s take a step back and review before we say goodbye. Here’s what we love about the five best wireless routers.

  • TP-Link Archer AX55: This reliable Wi-Fi 6 router is the perfect mix of cost and performance, making it ideal for most casual internet users.
  • Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300: If you’re looking for the most powerful wireless router on the market, then this is the machine for you. It will give you incredible speeds with tri-band Wi-Fi 6 technology and good coverage with eight built-in antennas.
  • TP-Link AC1750: Those who just want a simple, reliable router for streaming, light gaming, and other low-bandwidth tasks will do great with this super affordable device.
  • Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router: For those who want to stay at the top of their game, there’s the XR1000, with super-fast wireless technology, gaming optimization, and a powerful internal processor.
  • NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System: This mesh router system will give you the best coverage (and speeds) available for your large house, apartment complex, or small business.

Methodology

We’re proud to provide well-researched, objective, and trustworthy reviews of products. So here’s a little glimpse into our process.

These are the features that we considered while evaluating the best wireless routers.

  1. Speed and wireless technology
  2. Price
  3. Coverage area
  4. Special features and optimizations
  5. Compatibility with computers and modems

We weighted these features differently, depending on the category (i.e. we gave more attention to price for our best budget pick). But, in all cases, we chose products that we think are reliable, fairly priced, and well-liked by other customers.

FAQ

What about Wi-Fi 6E?

You may have heard of the newest and most powerful form of Wi-Fi that’s labeled 6E. This technology uses the ultra-wide 6 GHz band, allowing for incredibly fast data transfer speeds.

While some routers—like the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500—are beginning to use Wi-Fi 6E, we don’t think it’s worth adopting this early for most people. The products are still buggy and pricey. And, frankly, most people don’t even have the internet speeds that would require Wi-Fi 6E transfer speeds.

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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