The best Netgear routers

Netgear makes a wide range of routers. Whether you're a gamer, content creator, or streaming fan, here's how to pick the best one for you.

Best mesh

Netgear orbi 9 black edition router on a plain background

Netgear Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System RBKE963

Best overall

Netgear Nighthawk raxe500 router roundup

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 WiFi 6E Router

Best for gamers

netgear nighthawk pro xr1000 roundup

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi 6 Router XR1000

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A router is an absolutely essential part of any home here in 2023, and Netgear routers have been delivering fast, reliable internet for the better part of three decades. They don’t slack on security, either. In 2021, the company won our Best of What’s New award in the security category for its Netgear Armor technology. And while the company offers strong products across the board, you’ll want to choose the best Netgear router to match your bandwidth, coverage, and speed needs.

Routers are essential components—they work with your modem to create a home network of interconnected devices capable of simultaneously delivering high-speed internet to all your devices. After all, what’s the point of your high-definition television if you can’t stream 4K video quickly? If your wireless connection lags, how can you stream the latest virtual reality, PC, and video games? Netgear routers use the most advanced WiFi technology to deliver low ping rates to gamers (meaning smoother gameplay), glitch-free video conferencing, and high-definition downloads with consistent, reliable speed. This buying guide explores and recommends the best Netgear routers for your home streaming needs.

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How we chose the best Netgear routers

Living in a house with two remote-working adults and two obsessed teenage gamers, I know how essential it is to have reliable, fast internet that can juggle multiple devices without lag. For this buying guide, I researched over 20 models of Netgear WiFi routers. All the models I reviewed support WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E, the newest, most advanced (next-generation) WiFi, at least in a practical sense. WiFi 6 and 6E make connecting to the internet more efficient by splitting fast connections across a network of devices. As individuals and families are now connecting to more devices, this is crucial for optimal performance.

Purchasing your router, rather than renting from your internet provider, saves you monthly cash on your internet bill and allows you to select a router model ideal for your home and lifestyle. I compared models based on features like network communication speed, frequency channels, wireless signal range, security, parental controls, customer reviews, and prices. So whether you want the most powerful Netgear router on the market or a high-speed solution for your apartment, we have options to keep your home network lightning-fast and seamlessly connected.

Over several decades, I have covered innovation, tech, and business for the likes of Fast Company, Popular Science, CyberArk, and many others. I specialize in distilling complex ideas and technical data into easily consumable content, providing straightforward recommendations, advice, and explanations. 

The best Netgear routers: Reviews & Recommendations

While we offer specific recommendations for different types of users, it’s worth checking out all the entries before purchasing. There’s always some overlap between needs and models. The best Netgear router for you depends on your specific usage, living space, and needs. While you can buy Netgear routers at most major electronics retailers, many models (especially on the high end) offer a free year of the Netgear Armor security software, usually costing $99 annually.

Best overall: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 WiFi 6E Router

Best overall

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 WiFi 6E Router


  • Speed: Up to 7.8Gbps
  • Ports: Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports + one (1) 2.5G/1Gbps Multi-Gig port and USB 3.0 Type-C port
  • Signal Range: Up to 2,500 square feet
  • WiFi Technology: 6/6E
  • WiFi Streams: 8 simultaneous WiFi streams
  • Security: Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls


  • Sleek modern design
  • Six antennas deliver stronger connections with less interference
  • Netgear Armor provides an automatic shield for cybersecurity


  • Very old wireless products may take some work to get connected

The Nighthawk RAXE300 router is our choice for best overall because, for a reasonable price, it delivers an impressive spec sheet and can easily handle a larger network of devices without compromising speed. For less than $400, you’ll get a powerful router that uses WiFi 6E—delivering the fastest WiFi and the greatest capacity for your new WiFi 6E-compatible devices (such as Apple’s M2 iPad Pro, 2023 MacBook Pro, 2023 Mac mini, and lots of current high-end Android phones). By reducing data loads on the other two bands (tri-band), WiFi speeds increase for all networked devices. The futuristic design, which resembles a stealth aircraft, utilizes six pre-optimized antennas to deliver strong connections throughout your space, up to 2,500 square feet. 

This router will handle networks with multiple users, even all high-definition streaming. With eight simultaneous WiFi streams, your household can all enjoy no-lag AR/VR gaming, 4K streaming (it could handle 8K if that were a thing), and seamless video calls at the same time. Other significant features include many ports that allow for wired connections. For internet safety, this router is compatible with Netgear Armor for state-of-the-art cybersecurity. For families, parents can access Netgear smart parent control, which allows parents to manage screen time and accessibility, all with the Netgear app. If you’re a typical or semi-advanced internet user, this likely has everything you need for a very reasonable price.

Best mesh: Netgear Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System

Best mesh

Netgear Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System RBKE963


  • Speed: Up to 10.8Gbps
  • Ports: Three 2.5G connections, nine 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 10 Gig Internet port
  • Signal Range: Up to 9,000 square feet
  • WiFi Technology: 6/6E
  • WiFi Streams: Quad-Band technology and Dedicated Backhaul WiFi
  • Security: Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls


  • A 3-piece WiFi system, including one router and two satellites, covers up to 9,000 square feet 
  • Get max speed connections for up to 200 devices
  • 10 Gigabit internet port allows you to connect to the fastest internet plans


  • Pricy to get started

Netgear Orbi RBKE963B Mesh system is our upgrade pick because it’s the most flexible and powerful WiFi system offered by Netgear. With up to 10.8Gbps WiFi speeds and coverage for up to a whopping 9,000 square feet, including front and back yards, this 3-piece mesh system is ready for your smart home and high-definition devices.

An attractive design, the three-piece Orbi system features 12 internal antennas, a 2.2 GHZ quad-core processor, and high-power amplifiers within each device. Style-wise, each device looks identical, but one is your router, and the other two are satellites. Each device allows for wired connections with LAN ports and gigabit ethernet jacks. While this system may offer more than you need now, as more internet companies offer higher speeds and more devices adopt WiFi 6E, this system will prepare your home network for the future.

This package includes one year of the Netgear Armor security software for free if you buy directly from Netgear. The Black Edition is also exclusive to so get it there if you prefer it to the white version.

Best for gamers: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi 6 Router XR1000

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi 6 Router XR1000


  • Speed: Up to 5.4Gbps
  • Ports: Five (5) 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports—1 WAN & 4 LAN, USB 3.0 Type-C port
  • Signal Range: Up to 2,500 square feet
  • WiFi Technology: 6
  • WiFi Streams: 6 simultaneous WiFi streams
  • Security: Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls


  • Fast file transfer speeds
  • Users can customize and filter game servers with Geo-Fencing
  • Ping Heatmap lets you see your connection quality to each server
  • Bandwidth Allocation—allows you to prioritize gaming devices


  • May require firmware updates to avoid delayed transmission of WiFi signal

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 router is our choice for best for gamers because of the unique features and customized controls designed specifically to enhance gameplay. This slim router features a red and black design with four antennas which helps it fit in with the aesthetics of most PC gaming accessories. You can often find this model on sale for up to $100 off its retail price, making it a very solid buy if you don’t need the WiFi 6E functionality.

Gamer-friendly features include DumaOS 3.0 software, which was built specifically for games. It reduces ping rates by up to 93% (which means less jittery gameplay and lower buffering times) and allows for lag-free online gaming. Users can maximize internet speed with custom controls that prioritize applications and devices, eliminate network congestion and enhance the gaming experience. The Geo-Filter setting helps you filter out high-ping game servers and helps you choose the server with the best connection. It takes a little work to get everything set up perfectly for your gaming, but that elbow grease will pay off when you’re lagging a lot less than your competition.

Best for small homes: Netgear Nighthawk 4-Stream AX3000 WiFi 6 Router RAX40

Best for small homes

Netgear Nighthawk 4-Stream AX3000 WiFi 6 Router RAX40


  • Speed: Up to 3Gbps
  • Ports: Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN & 4 LAN) and USB 3.0 Type-C port
  • Signal Range: Up to 1,500 square feet
  • WiFi Technology: 6
  • WiFi Streams: 4 simultaneous WiFi streams
  • Security: Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls


  • Stream 4 devices with HD & 4K UHD content at the same time
  • Two external antennas help extend strong WiFi signals throughout your home
  • USB 3.0 Port allows you to backup and access stored media


  • No WiFi 6E

Netgear Nighthawk AX3000 router is our choice for best for small homes because it delivers speed up to 3Gbps and offers four simultaneous WiFi streams up to 1,500 square feet. While many specs of this router match our choice for best value, this router also delivers a higher internet speed connection at a reasonable price (again, maximized for smaller spaces).

With WiFi 6, this router efficiently delivers faster internet speed to multiple devices in your network, allowing you to stream ultra HD 4K/8K quickly. It also allows you to try out Netgear’s security services free of charge for 30 days (after which you can decide if you would like to pay to continue to use it). Netgear Armor offers a wide range of cybersecurity protections, and Netgear Smart Parent Controls allow parents to monitor and limit access to devices within the network. This reasonable price tag brings bang for your buck and will allow your family to stream multiple devices quickly and precisely.

Best for families: Netgear Nighthawk 12-Stream WiFi 6E Router RAXE500

Best for families

Netgear Nighthawk 12-Stream WiFi 6E Router RAXE500


  • Speed: Up to 10.8Gbps
  • Ports: Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN & 4 LAN) + one (1) 2.5G/1Gbps Multi-Gig port, two (2) USB 3.0 ports
  • Signal Range: Up to 3,500 square feet
  • WiFi Technology: 6E
  • WiFi Streams: 12 simultaneous WiFi streams
  • Security: Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls


  • Tri-band offers 200% more spectrum than dual-band
  • More high-bandwidth WiFi channels
  • Ultra-low latency for an enhanced gaming experience
  • High-speed WiFi up to 10.8 Gbps


  • May be overkill for some more casual users

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is our choice for best for techie families because it delivers impressive speed, can juggle multiple users, and covers up to 3,500 square feet. When you have a high-tech household, this powerful router is a great choice; it offers the same WiFi connection speed as the Orbi mesh system. The RAXE500 is under $500 on sale, making this much more comparatively affordable.

With 12 streams of WiFi 6E, your network will be able to connect multiple devices with state-of-the-art speed. A new 6GHz band offers fast speed to new WiFi 6E devices and reduces data loads with three bands (Tri-band). This high-powered router is a great option for a techie family with multiple smart devices and the latest 6E technology.

Best budget: Netgear 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router R6700AX

Best budget

Netgear 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router R6700AX


  • Speed: Up to 1.8Gbps
  • Ports: Five (5) 10/100/1000Mpbs Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN & 4 LAN)
  • Signal Range: Up to 1,500 square feet
  • WiFi Technology: 6 Technology
  • WiFi Streams: 4 simultaneous WiFi streams
  • Security: Standards-based WiFi Security, Netgear Armor, Smart Parental Controls


  • Unleash fast speed on multiple devices with WiFi 6
  • 1.5GHz Quad-Core processor for stronger streaming and gaming experience
  • Use the Nighthawk app to protect and monitor household


  • Not for larger homes, as the signal range covers up to 1,500 square feet

Netgear R6700AX router is our choice for best value because it is available for less than $100 and delivers strong connections best for smaller households. Using four streams of WiFi 6 technology, you’ll get more consistent speed and connectivity on all your network’s devices. Simultaneous dual-band allows for better connection and less interference.

Setting up your WiFi and managing your settings, speed, and security is managed through the Nighthawk app. You can also use voice control to control your network, as this router is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. With a lower price point, this isn’t the absolute fastest on our list, but for most average users, this affordable router will deliver the speeds they need for fast streaming, gaming, and video calls. The Nighthawk app also allows you to keep tabs on speed and performance.

Things to consider when choosing the best Netgear router

When you are in the market for a new router, there are important things to consider before purchasing. Here are some factors to remember to help you choose the best router for your home:

Compatibility with your internet provider

Before you decide on a router, check with your internet service provider to ensure the router will be compatible with your current modem.

Size of your space

Think about the size of your space and the location where you will install the router. Ideally, a router should be in the center of your home. Wireless coverage is based on square footage; more square footage covered means a more expensive router. Most people should be good with a single router, but if you have a larger space or a spread-out space, you may opt for a mesh system that offers routers and satellites to extend WiFi coverage.


Routers and mesh systems vary in price from under $100 to well over $1,000, with higher-end models offering high-speed connections, more coverage area, and customizable features. 

Netgear Armor

In 2021, we awarded Netgear’s advanced network security tech our coveted Best of What’s New award in the security category. Netgear Armor monitors the network and its devices for malicious activity. Once it identifies something troubling, it addresses the problem while alerting other users and devices of the problem. That keeps you informed about security issues that may pop up on your network and fixes them before they can cause serious harm. Netgear Armor typically costs $99 annually for a subscription, but some routers on this list offer a free year if you buy directly through

Hardware compatibility

The latest WiFi technology, 6 or 6E, offers significant improvements, but you should check to see if your hardware is compatible to reap the benefits. Your laptop, smartphone, and other smart home devices should also support WiFi 6/6E.

WiFi bands

Most routers are at least dual-band, supporting frequencies like 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) and 5 GHz. Other routers offer tri-band, which broadcasts three signals. Newer routers may include a 6 GHz band. WiFi bands affect speed and range. If you use a lot of smart devices, you should be aware of your WiFi bands for optimal setup.


While routers provide WiFi, they also can be hardwired with an ethernet cable for devices like PCs and TVs to ensure they operate with the fastest internet speed. Make sure you have enough ports for the devices you want to hardwire.


Routers often come with cybersecurity protection and parental controls. Many of Netgear’s routers come with a free trial of Netgear Armor (internet security) and Netgear Smart Parental Controls, which will cost extra if you choose to use them.


Routers offer differing maximum speed levels; the faster the speed, the more expensive the router. However, it’s important to consider that your internet provider determines the maximum speed, so ensure you have upgraded your internet service package.


Q: What is the most powerful Netgear router?

The most powerful Netgear router is the Orbi 960 Series Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System. This router can cover up to 9,000 square feet, including front and backyards, with up to 10.8Gbps WiFi speeds. Netgear’s Quad-Band technology and dedicated backhaul WiFi allow you to connect up to 200 devices with maximum speed.

Q: What is the best Netgear router for streaming?

The best Netgear router for streaming will be high-speed, allowing you to access your content lag free. The Netgear Orbi line is a great choice for streaming; this high-end state-of-the-art router delivers speed up to 10.8Gbps, revolutionary Quad-Band mesh, and WiFi 6E technology.

Q: What is Netgear Armor?

If you want to add extra security to your network, Netgear Armor relies on Bitdefender to monitor your network and devices for malicious activity. Once it detects a bad actor, it can notify the network and all the devices thereon in seconds. This prevents the problem from propagating while the security software does its work. It costs $99 for an annual subscription, but you get a free year with select routers if you buy directly from the Netgear site.

Final thoughts regarding the best Netgear routers

Even if you have the most basic needs for internet in your home or office, choosing the right router can make a big difference in the quality time you spend on your computer or phone. The best Netgear routers run the gamut from advanced mesh network systems to basic (and rock solid) stand-alone devices that dish out a constant stream of connectivity exactly where you need it. The company’s excellent and hard-earned reputation and broad product offerings will keep the TikToks flowing for years to come.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.