When it comes to wireless routers, NETGEAR is a household name. This company's routers cater to most budgets and requirements, and all its offerings, right from the most basic ones to the highly advanced models, offer great performance and features. However, you must be wondering what are the best NETGEAR routers in 2021? Well, you've come to the right place, as we'll give you a selection of hand-picked options.
NETGEAR's routers focus on both speed and security. There are also gamer-centric router offerings to ensure smooth performance in multiplayer games. Most models come with some sort of basic firewall protection and the ability to control the router from a smartphone. However, the software on the lower-end models might not offer a whole lot of customization options. Most NETGEAR routers are compatible with OpenWRT or DD-WRT firmware and can be easily flashed if the user is comfortable with the process.
For this article, several factors were considered for narrowing down the best NETGEAR routers available. These include the maximum potential throughput, number of bands supported, maximum coverage offered, connectivity options, and more. The popularity of these routers with buyers was also taken into account.
So, with that information, here are the 8 best NETGEAR routers to buy in 2021.
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 (R8000)
|Features||Tri-band (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz + 5Ghz); 6 antennas; QoS prioritization; Open-source ready; 1GHz Dual-core CPU; NAS ready|
|Data Transfer Rate||3.2 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 2 (1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0)|
|Dimensions||14.41 x 11.54 x 3.58 in|
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 is one of the best long-range wireless routers that can work at more than 1000 ft distances. The router offers a total potential throughput of 3.2Gbps on one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. Each band can be assigned individual SSIDs and can be individually prioritized. The Nighthawk X6 offers NETGEAR single sign-on support to log in to multiple NETGEAR products at once and monitor their activity from your smartphone. Support for both implicit and explicit beamforming means that coverage is ensured no matter the client device's location.
However, be aware that NETGEAR's support is not known to be the best-in-class, so you might want to check with them first regarding their support policies. The recent firmware updates have mostly catered to the UI and have hardly added any new features. The antennas also cannot be replaced for larger ones to extend the range.
- Pros: Good feature set; Wide coverage; Powerful antennas.
- Cons: Antennas cannot be swapped for larger ones.
2. NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700
|Features||Dual-band (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); QoS packet scheduler; 1GHz dual-core CPU; 3 Antennas; Easy Setup; Built-in gaming VPN client|
|Data Transfer Rate||1.7 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 1 (USB 3.0)|
|Dimensions||11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 in|
The NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk is a great option for streaming and multimedia enthusiasts that is also easy on the wallet. With combined speeds of up to 1.7Gbps, Nighthawk R6700 should be more than enough for catering to multiple devices that stream HD or 4K video. The three antennas provide enough coverage for a medium-sized apartment. Given the price, it does not offer high-end features such as beamforming abilities, but as long as the router is properly placed, it should not be much of a concern.
The included software gets the job done and offers advanced features such as QoS scheduling but will disappoint those looking for more granular controls. Those looking to connect their home media server, VPN, PCs, and smart TVs all at the same time will find a worthy purchase in the NETGEAR R6700.
- Pros: Dual-band; QoS; Gigabit speeds; Top-rated router.
- Cons: The Web UI is not the most feature-rich.
3. NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000
|Features||Dual-band (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); QoS packet scheduling; 1GHz dual-core CPU; DDoS prevention; Smart Parental Controls|
|Data Transfer Rate||1.9 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 1 (1x USB 2.0)|
|Dimensions||11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 in|
The NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 offers the perfect combination of performance and security. It is one of the best secure routers available on the market today, and it also boasts of the performance to boot. The high theoretical transfer speed up to 1.9Gbps ensures enough bandwidth for gaming and multimedia. It can also cater simultaneously to multiple devices such as an Xbox One, PS4, PC/Mac, or a smartphone. To ensure each device gets an adequate share of the total bandwidth, you can also use the included QoS functionality to allocate resources for your game and still have some bandwidth left over.
The Nighthawk R7000 offers a plethora of options for security-conscious users. The included software has enough options for setting parental controls and filtering unwanted domains along with built-in DDoS protection. Of course, while the built-in software is feature-rich, you can also install a compatible open-source firmware. The Nighthawk R7000 also provides an OpenVPN client for remote monitoring or connecting to third-party VPN servers. Do keep in mind, however, that NETGEAR support can sometimes get frustrating.
- Pros: Feature-rich; Built-in DDoS prevention and OpenVPN; Good monitoring and QoS.
- Cons: Occasional Wi-Fi drops (resolved by recently released firmware updates, though).
4. NETGEAR R6080
|Features||Dual-band (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); 8 MB flash + 64 MB RAM; 2 antennas; Supports up to 15 devices; Parental controls included|
|Data Transfer Rate||1 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 0|
|Dimensions||7.05 x 8.62 x 4.29 in|
The NETGEAR R6080 was one of our best picks in the best routers under $50 category, although it costs slightly above that price. But you get a lot for your money with support for dual-band Wi-Fi, NAS, firewall protection, and more. Although this isn't a Nighthawk router, NETGEAR bundles the feature-rich Nighthawk App for controlling most aspects of the router from a smartphone.
Do bear in mind that the 1Gbps rated theoretical speed is for both the bands combined. That means you get only up to 700Mbps in the 5GHz band, so if you're already using a higher bandwidth plan from your ISP, you might have to look elsewhere. Understandably so, the LAN ports at the back are also just 10/100 ports. However, if you have an internet connection of less than 1Gbps, this router will perfectly fit the bill at a fraction of the cost.
- Pros: Affordable; Gets the basics right.
- Cons: Not really suitable for connections at 1 Gbps or above.
5. NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 (R9000) - NAME
|Features||Tri-band; 4 antennas; Dynamic QoS prioritization; 1.7GHz quad-core CPU; NAS ready; Built-in Plex Media Server; DFS Support|
|Data Transfer Rate||7.2 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||6 / 2 (2x USB 3.0)|
|Dimensions||8.8 x 6.6 x 2.9 in|
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 offers the 802.11ad standard, which yields a maximum throughput of 7.2Gbps — enough bandwidth for the most demanding tasks. The 1.7GHz quad-core CPU ensures zero bottlenecks while working with simultaneous 4K streaming and multiplayer gaming. Support for MU-MIMO ensures each connected device gets its own bandwidth. The Nighthawk X10 comes with a built-in Plex media server and 6 months of unlimited backup to Amazon Drive.
The Nighthawk X10 offers enough performance to cater to a large number of clients. However, you might encounter a few issues during the setup. Pay heed to any warning messages and follow the instructions to troubleshoot them. While the router has 4 powerful antennas, proper placement ensures that there are no dead spots. Once everything is set up, make sure to take a backup of your settings and flash the latest firmware.
- Pros: 802.11ad support; Built-in Plex server; Can handle a large number of clients.
- Cons: Range is not adequate sometimes; UI needs improvement.
6. NETGEAR Nighthawk XR300 (R9000)
|Features||Dual-core 1Ghz CPU; Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi; High-performance antennas; Optimized for gaming; Powered by DumaOS|
|Data Transfer Rate||1.7 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 1 (1x USB 3.0)|
|Dimensions||7.2 x 11.2 x 2.4 in|
NETGEAR is one of the most reputable routers, so it's not surprising that this company offers gaming routers. If you're on the market for a high-end router, you're going to love what the XR300 offer. Powered by DumaOS, this model is designed with gamers in mind as it dramatically reduces lag.
Aside from giving you the option to use a wired connection (there are four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports), you can take advantage of its wireless capabilities as well. Combined speeds of up to 1,750Mbps should meet the requirements of any gamer out there, especially if you're into fine-tuning your Web connection. DumaOS gives you control over QoS, network monitoring, and choosing the right geo-filter. Finally, you should also know that the XR300 is fully compatible with all gaming systems out there, including PCs, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and more.
- Pros: Great for gamers; DumaOS provides plenty of flexibility; Reduced lag; Compatible with numerous gaming systems.
- Cons: Only one USB port.
7. NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro Gaming
|Features||Dual-band (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); QoS packet scheduler; 1.7GHz dual-core CPU; 4 Antennas; Easy Setup; DumaOS; Built-in gaming VPN client|
|Data Transfer Rate||2.6 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 2 (2x USB 3.0)|
|Dimensions||14.93 x 10.84 x 4.18 in|
The NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro Gaming was one of our choices for the best gaming routers, and it continues to offer great performance, albeit at a premium. The XR500 is powered by DumaOS built from the ground-up for gamers with features such as game prioritization from consoles and PCs, bandwidth usage statistics, and location-based QoS. It also comes with a built-in gaming VPN client to protect the user from DDoS attacks.
Gamers would want the absolute best performance from their devices, and the XR500 easily delivers in that regard. The 4 antennas ensure that the Wi-Fi range is excellent even in large homes. However, do note that DumaOS does not provide a mobile app, and only the remote admin can only be secured to one IP or range. If lag-free online gaming is what you are after, the NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk is one of the best you can get.
- Pros: Great gaming performance; Built-in VPN support; Gamer-focused UI.
- Cons: No mobile app for DumaOS; Only one IP can access the remote admin.
8. NETGEAR R7500-200NAS Nighthawk X4
|Features||Dual-band (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz); 4 antennas; Dynamic QoS prioritization; 4×4 Wi-Fi architecture; 1.4 GHz Dual-core CPU; NAS ready|
|Data Transfer Rate||2.3 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 2 (2x USB 3.0 + 1x eSATA)|
|Dimensions||13.8 x 10.2 x 3.2 in|
The NETGEAR R7500-200NAS can be one of the best Wi-Fi routers of choice if having good NAS connectivity is your main criteria. An eSATA port's presence ensures that you can connect your storage devices at full speed via a traditional SATA interface. Also, the 1.4GHz dual-core CPU ensures almost no bottlenecks while streaming media via a media server or playing multiplayer games over the network. The 4x4 Wi-Fi architecture with MU-MIMO helps ensure each connected client gets its own share of bandwidth, which, of course, can be prioritized using QoS settings in the software.
Needless to say, the performance of the Nighthawk X4 is excellent, and the performance has improved further with the new firmware. The default software is pretty barebones, though, and if you are looking for more granularity, we strongly suggest flashing DD-WRT firmware.
- Pros: Good NAS performance; Supports a large number of clients; Great for connecting external storage.
- Cons: Firmware can be more feature-rich; Occasional signal drops.
While we have your attention, why not expand your knowledge on routers made by NETGEAR? We're here to help, as we've answered some commonly asked questions, found below.
Are NETGEAR Routers Good u0026 Reliable?
Did You Know that NETGEAR was the first to introduce the world's fastest wireless router? Yes, that's true - and this fact says a lot. This is an American company headquartered in San Jose, California. After over 20 years of being on the market, NETGEAR is one of the most reputable companies in the domain of routers and other computer networking equipment.
We'll also add that NETGEAR is known for its range of high-end routers, which is where the company's expertise truly shows. Many of those are designed for gamers in mind, such as the NETGEAR XR500, but you'll find plenty of reliable routers for home use - like the Nighthawk R7000, Nighthawk R6700, and the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6.
Do I Have to Pay Monthly for NETGEAR Routers?
No, there's no monthly fee involved here. The prices are one-time expenses. This means that once you buy any NETGEAR router, the device stays in your possession as long as you decide to use it.
However, we do understand why you might be having some doubts. Besides getting a router, you also need a Web connection - sold by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). As you know, you need to pay a monthly fee to connect to the Internet, and you are free to use any of your local ISPs. Then, you can install a NETGEAR router to get the most out of your Web connection.
How Long Should a NETGEAR Router Last?
In general, you can expect any router to last for about 5 years - and maybe even more. Of course, this depends on your interest in using the latest available technologies.
A reliable router brand, such as NETGEAR, provides high-quality routers and constantly invests in bringing new technologies to the worldwide market. This is why we see new-generation products being released on a yearly basis. Of course, you don't have to update or replace your router every single year, but a span of around 5 years is the period after which a new router can bring many benefits.
How Much Does a Decent NETGEAR Router Cost?
All of the options present on our list of the best NETGEAR routers are more than 'decent' - and they all come with their strengths and weaknesses. Home users without plenty of 'advanced' needs will find lots of reliable NETGEAR routers priced from around $60 to $150. Gamers and individuals who truly want the best will find that they need to invest from around $150 to $300+.
What's The Best NETGEAR Nighthawk Router?
The Nighthawk lineup provides a sizeable range of reliable routers suitable for different needs, requirements, and budgets. If you're an average home user, we recommend the Nighthawk R6700 or Nighthawk R7000. And if you have more demanding needs, you should be more than happy with the Nighthawk XR500 and Nighthawk XR300.
What's The Best NETGEAR Router Under $100?
Dear readers, that would be all for our list of the best NETGEAR routers you should consider buying. If you have additional questions, don't hesitate to post a comment below. We will do our best to provide a timely response.