The 7 Best Netgear Routers to Buy in 2018

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Netgear has long since been synonymous with excellent routers and modems and its current lineup is unquestionably the company's best hardware ever. With some of the fastest gaming routers available alongside some of the top budget options for the price conscious, there's no question that Netgear has a router option for everyone. Our list below features Netgear's best routers on the market right now.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Netgear Orbi

5

Netgear's Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi comes with a router and a satellite unit to provide corner-to-corner coverage in up to a 5,000-square-foot home. (Available upgrades boost coverage to 7,000 square feet.) The system has a simple setup via the Netgear Orbi smartphone app, so plugging in the system and getting online takes minutes. The tri-band coverage works with the "home" unit that acts as a base for the signal strength and the "satellite" unit (which can go anywhere in your house) to provide amplified signal strength and eliminate dropped connections. The Orbi also works with Amazon Alexa voice commands and the smartphone application allows for parental controls. There's even the ability to set up guest Wi-Fi networks, as well as connect new devices.

Best Speed: Netgear Nighthawk X6

4.9

The Netgear Nighthawk X6 is integrated with Amazon Alexa for voice command prompts and features six external high-performance antennas that combine with tri-band Wi-Fi for increased performance and signal strength. A 1GHz dual-core processor works alongside three offline processors to maintain network performance, while Netgear's Smart Connect software works to allow each device to connect to the strongest signal.

Beamforming+ technology helps to improve on existing signals by directing unused bandwidth directly at each connected device. And setting up the X6 is a snap, thanks to the downloadable Netgear Up smartphone application on both Android and iOS that can connect you to your home network with just a few taps. With a total speed of 3.2 Gbps across the 2.4 and 5GHz 802.11ac bands, the X6 just smiles at online gaming or 4K streaming.

Best Gaming: Netgear Nighthawk Pro

4.8

One of the best-reviewed gaming routers on the market, the Netgear Nighthawk Pro is specifically with gamers in mind. The hardware includes gaming-specific features such as QoS for prioritizing gaming devices on the network for the best possible signal and allocating any extra bandwidth to eliminate lag. A gaming dashboard helps to show real-time bandwidth use, so users can help minimize ping times, while a gaming VPN allows instant connection to any VPN client to maintain security and privacy.

Monitoring network strength is easy via the downloadable Netgear smartphone application and the dual-core 1.7Ghz processor helps to maintain the hardware performance and support the demands of online gaming traffic. With four external antennas for increased signal strength, the Nighthawk Pro adds MU-MIMO and Quad-Stream technologies for even more of a gaming boost. Add in a total network speed of 2.6 Gbps across the 2.4 and 5GHz bands and you've found a gaming router worthy of its price tag.

Best Value: Netgear R7500-200ANS Nighthawk X4

When it comes to a standout combination of performance, price, and reviews, the Netgear R7500-200NAS Nighthawk X4 router is an incredible choice. Achieving 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1,733 on the 5GHz band, the X4 is designed to perform well. The four-stream (4x4) Wi-Fi architecture is ideal for lag-free gaming or 4K streaming on Netflix, while MU-MIMO technology helps direct signal at every connected device to increase wireless strength and stability.

Internally, the X4 hardware is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor for reducing packet loss and maintaining range while working concurrently with Dynamic QoS for enhanced gaming connectivity. The four-high performance external antennas include Beamforming+ technology for an additional boost to the signal and for properly directing bandwidth to devices that need it most.

Best Budget: Netgear Nighthawk AC1750

Compatible with 802.11ac, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 provides speeds up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and up to 1,300 Mbps on the 5GHz band. Capable of simultaneously supporting up to 12 devices at a time, the Nighthawk offers incredibly easy setup with the company’s smartphone application. There, parents can find a slew of parental controls and options to create guest networks, as well as updating the router with the latest firmware for up to date security and performance.

Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice command usage, the Nighthawk has a dual-core processor inside that powers the hardware to help maintain steady performance. The three external high-performance antennas can be directed toward device locations (i.e. a desktop or television) for improved signal strength and range.

Best Streaming: Netgear Nighthawk X4S

If you're a big streamer you'll want to take a closer look at the Netgear Nighthawk X4S. With speeds of up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and up to 1,733 Mbps on the 5Ghz band, the X4S adds Dynamic QoS for lag-less gaming, plus stable 4K video streaming. The inclusion of MU-MIMO technology adds even more signal stability during 4K video streams by directing performance at devices using increased bandwidth to maintain signal strength.

Setting up the X4S is super straightforward using the downloadable smartphone app, so users can up and running within minutes of first connecting the X4S to a home network. The four high-gain external antennas pair with Netgear's Beamforming+ technology for increasing signal range and strength, which comes in handy for any medium to large size home.

Best Splurge: Netgear Nighthawk X10

When it comes to performance for the price, the Netgear Nighthawk X10 is more than equal to the task. With eye-popping speeds, the X10 is among the fastest routers available, using 802.11ac connectivity and reaching speeds of 7,200 Gbps across the 2.4 and 5Ghz bands. The internal hardware is driven by a quad-core, 1.7Ghz processor that handles 4K streaming, VR gaming, Web browsing and pretty much anything else.

The inclusion of Dynamic QoS provides an additional performance boost by prioritizing bandwidth availability by application and directing any unused signal strength at bandwidth-heavy tasks (such as gaming or 4K streaming) for increased speeds. Additional extras include MU-MIMO for supporting simultaneous connections and helping to double Wi-Fi speeds for mobile devices. The four external antennas add even more signal amplification to maximize range and throughput for the most demanding Internet users.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 127 hours testing three of the top-rated Netgear routers on the market. To get the most complete results, our testers installed them at home, connected everything from their smartphones to their TVs, and reported on their performance. We asked them to consider the most important features when using these Netgear routers — from their setup to their speed — and we’ve outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Netgear Router

Ports - The point of a wireless router is to provide a wireless network connection, but there are a lot of cases where it’s better to plug a computer, game console, or another device into an Ethernet port. Count all of the devices that you want to connect via Ethernet, and look for a Netgear router that can accommodate your setup. The alternative is to invest in an additional Ethernet switch later on.

Multiple antennas - Unless you live in a tiny studio apartment, you’re going to need a Netgear router that comes with multiple antennas. Three is enough for most houses and small businesses, but you’ll need four or more if you have a big, multi-story house or a large office.

Multiple bands - You can get by with a single-band router for most basic usage but look for a dual- or tri-band Netgear router if you want to connect a lot of devices at once. Some dual-band routers can provide a solid connection to up to 20 devices at once, and tri-band routers give you even more options.

Test Results: Netgear Orbi (Best Overall)

5

What We Like

  • Fast speeds

  • Simple setup process

  • Configurable options

What We Don't Like

  • Pricey

  • Bulky

Netgear Orbi
Netgear Orbi parts
Netgear Orbi detail
Netgear Orbi information

Netgear’s Orbi High-Performance AC3000 was so beloved by our testers that they gave it a perfect five-star rating. Why? One of our reviewers observed that his speed and range increased noticeably. “I get a very good connection even working out in the yard,” he noted. Plus, the connection was consistent, with one tester reporting that the router “provided seamless connectivity” throughout this home. Our reviewers didn’t have much to report in terms of negatives, but one did feel it was a bit bulky.

Test Results: NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 (Best Speed)

4.9

What We Like

  • Tri-band technology

  • Very fast setup

  • Guests Wi-Fi access through EZ Mobile Connect feature

What We Don't Like

  • Big

NETGEAR Nighthawk X6
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 vertical
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 parts

Setting up this router was a breeze for our testers — one reported he was able to install it in just 30 minutes. But that wasn’t all: “The user support is exceptional and the ease of use is second-to-none,” raved one reviewer, who also said he would “immediately recommend this to any family member who had multiple Internet users in their home, power users who abuse their Internet connections, or even professional gamers.” On the flip side, our testers wished this router was a bit smaller.

Test Results: Netgear Nighthawk Pro (Best Gaming)

4.8

What We Like

  • Allows for bandwidth allocation

  • Easy to connect devices

  • Geo-filter reduces lag

What We Don't Like

  • Big

  • Antenna placement restricts placement

Netgear Nighthawk Pro
Netgear Nighthawk Pro back
Netgear Nighthawk Pro parts
Netgear Nighthawk Pro front
Netgear Nighthawk Pro monitor

This router was a big hit with our testers who game frequently. One of our reviewers thought that this router would work especially well for those who are “very particular about their Internet connection” because it has QoS (which allows users to allocate bandwidth) as well as device prioritization features. Our testers did wish that this router were slightly more space efficient, and one reported his game lagged once (though none of our reviewers ever had to reset the router completely).

Need more info before you make your decision?

Find more tips and recommendations in our ultimate router buying guide.