Best Routers for Streaming 2022

We tested more than a dozen routers and handpicked the best for streaming music, video, and games.

  • Best overall
    The TP-Link Archer AX90 ships with an Ethernet cable and a power adapter.
    TP-Link Archer AX90
    • $269.99*
    • Multigig internet support
    • Great Wi-Fi 6 speeds
    • Subscription-based antivirus
  • Best for budgets
    TP Link Archer AX20
    TP-Link Archer AX20
    • $81.99*
    • Affordable price
    • Decent speeds
    • Limited stream count
  • Best for livestreaming
    NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200
    NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200
    • $409.48*
    • Awesome long range
    • Multigig internet support
    • Hefty price tag
  • Best for heavy streaming
    ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
    ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
    • $399.99*
    • Multigig internet support
    • Free security
    • Hefty price tag
  • Best for mesh
    TP-Link Deco X55
    TP-Link Deco X55
    • $219.99*
    • Decent speeds
    • Attractive design
    • Paid premium features

Our pick: Which router for streaming is best?

The TP-Link Archer AX90 is our top router for streaming. It has great speeds for the money, multigig internet support, three Wi-Fi bands, and eight streams to handle all your streaming needs. The only drawback is HomeShield, TP-Link’s security suite, locking the most notable  features behind a subscription.

How we test routers

We vigorously test routers to see how well they stack up against the competition in speed and range. We also evaluate the setup process and dig into the web and mobile apps to see if they’re easy or difficult to use. Check out our methodology section for more information.

The 5 best routers for streaming

Compare router speeds and prices

ModelImageMax throughputPriceOrder online
Best overallTP-Link Archer AX906,600 Mbps$299.99View on Amazon
Best for budgetsTP-Link Archer AX201,800 Mbps$87.93View on Amazon
Best for livestreamingNETGEAR Nighthawk RAX20011,000 Mbps$419.48View on Amazon
Best for heavy streamingASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX1100011,000 Mbps$349.99View on Amazon
Best for meshTP-Link Deco X553,000 Mbps$249.99View on Amazon

What should you look for in a router for streaming?

You can use just about any router for streaming—you don’t need a lot of speed to do so—but we suggest ones with four or more streams on a single band. The higher count ensures your wireless devices have a better chance of seeing their full real-world speeds. We also suggest routers with Wi-Fi 6, as it’s the most common specification today and provides better speeds and data management than other Wi-Fi versions.

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Best overall: TP-Link Archer AX90

Best overall

The TP-Link Archer AX90 ships with an Ethernet cable and a power adapter.

The best well-rounded router for streaming

Score:

3.8

out of 5

The Archer AX90 is a great router for anything you do, whether you’re streaming HBO Max or sharing gameplay with your followers. The built-in VPN server and client are a plus.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Great Wi-Fi 6 speeds
  • Multigig internet compatibility
  • QoS controls in app only
  • Subscription-based antivirus

$299.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Achieved some of the best speeds we’ve tested to date.
Features 3 Prioritizes traffic for better per-device streaming.
Design 4 Supports 4 wireless devices at full speed or 8 at half speed.
Setup 4 Takes no time to get your Wi-Fi network running.
Ease of use 3 Lacks parental controls, QoS, and security controls in the web interface.

* out of 5 points

What we like about it: The Archer AX90 has some of the best speeds to date in our tests and handles our streaming test beautifully. We love that it gets you ready for multigig internet and includes features like a built-in VPN server and client and three bands for better traffic management.

What we wish it did better: We’re not a fan of subscriptions. The AX90 is one of the few TP-Link standalone routers that requires one for antivirus.

Why do we recommend it? You get great Wi-Fi speed for the price. Plus, it sets you up for mesh networking if you want whole-home coverage.

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 6,600 Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 8
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN/LAN ports (2.5 Gbps): 1
  • WAN/LAN ports (1 Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 3
  • USB 3.2 ports: 1
  • USB 2.1 ports: 1

Best for budgets: TP-Link Archer AX20

Best for budgets

TP Link Archer AX20
Photo by Anastasia Hrivnak

Decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds at an affordable price

Score:

3.8

out of 5

The Archer AX20 is an affordable router for a two-person home with several devices. It has decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds for the money plus cool features like a built-in VPN server and client.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Built-in VPN server and client
  • Amazon Alexa support
  • No multigig wired support
  • Limited stream count

$87.93*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Has decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds for the price.
Features 4 Includes a built-in VPN server and client along with Amazon Alexa support.
Design 3 Supports 2 wireless devices at full speed or 4 at half speed.
Setup 3 Takes you longer to get going than the competition.
Ease of use 4 Provides a better, more streamlined experience in the Tether app.

* out of 5 points

What we like about it: It performed as expected in our testing, providing baseline Wi-Fi 6 speeds. But for the price, there’s a lot to love, including Amazon Alexa support, parental controls, and built-in VPN features.

What we wish it did better: There are many things we wished the router did better—more streams and wired multigig speeds, for example—but you can’t expect a lot at this price.

Why do we recommend it? The AX20 is a great router for under $100. It’s suitable for two people with a handful of devices, and it sets you up for mesh networking.

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 1,800 Mbps
  • Antennas: 4
  • Streams: 4
  • Bands: 2
  • WAN ports: 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 2.0 ports: 1

Best for livestreaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

Best for livestreaming

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200
Photo by Kevin Parrish

One of the fastest routers you can get

Score:

4

out of 5

The RAX200 is a powerhouse, perfect for livestreamers who need lots of Wi-Fi speed. It packs plenty of wired ports and data streams to ensure the best speeds for all your devices.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Excellent Wi-Fi 6 speeds
  • Multigig internet compatibility
  • Hefty price
  • Multiple subscriptions for premium features

$419.48*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 5 Surpasses all other routers we’ve tested to date in speed and range.
Features 2 Requires 4 different accounts for full use.
Design 5 Supports 6 wireless devices at full speed or 12 at half speed.
Setup 2 Requires a MyNETGEAR account to even use.
Ease of use 3 Has a clunky web interface but a better app experience.

* out of 5 points

What we like about it: The RAX200 has the speeds you need (and then some) based on our tests. There’s plenty of wireless connectivity too, along with wired speeds of up to 2,500 Mbps. It’s perfect for a fiber internet plan of 2 Gbps or faster.

What we wish it did better: We’re not a big fan of added expenses, and the RAX200 stacks them up. We wished NETGEAR took the TP-Link route and offered free security and parental controls.

Why do we recommend it? The RAX200 has the best speeds in our tests, but what really sells this router is the wired multigig speeds, the three Wi-Fi bands, and the 12 streams. It’s perfect for a home full of content-hungry devices.

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000 Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports (1 Gbps): 1
  • WAN/LAN ports (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for heavy streaming: ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Best for heavy streaming

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

The slower alternative to the Nighthawk RAX200

Score:

4

out of 5

The GT-AX11000 is similar to the Nighthawk RAX200, but you don’t need multiple subscriptions to get the most out of it. However, the tradeoff is a lower Wi-Fi 6 speed.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Free security and parental controls
  • Multigig internet compatibility
  • Hefty price
  • Slower than expected speeds

$349.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Falls short of the RAX200 in Wi-Fi 6 speed but is one of the fastest we’ve tested.
Features 4 Includes free antivirus, parental controls, and a built-in VPN server and client.
Design 4 Supports 6 wireless devices at full speed; 12 at half speed.
Setup 4 Takes longer due to all the extras you normally don’t get on a standard router.
Ease of use 4 Provides a better experience in the web interface than the mobile app.

* out of 5 points

What we like about it: This router has a lot to love, although speed isn’t one of them based on our tests. The big selling point is the router’s capacity: three bands and 12 streams. The free antivirus, parental controls, and VPN components also sweeten the deal.

What we wish it did better: We wish it were faster, but we get the speed tradeoff for the free premium features.

Why do we recommend it? The GT-AX11000 is a good alternative to the RAX200. You get free antivirus and parental controls but at the cost of slower Wi-Fi 6 speeds. There’s multigig internet support along with loads of connections too.

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000 Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports (1 Gbps): 1
  • WAN/LAN ports (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for mesh: TP-Link Deco X55

Best for mesh

TP-Link Deco X55
Photo by Kevin Parrish

A good whole-home system for streaming anywhere

Score:

3.8

out of 5

The Deco X55 is a great alternative to the traditional standalone router. It’s cheaper than the Eero Pro 6 but lacks the dedicated third band for faster speeds.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Attractive design
  • Affordable price
  • Lack of a third band
  • Subscription requirements

$249.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Supplies decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds even on different nodes.
Features 3 Lacks a third, dedicated band for node-to-node communication.
Design 4 Supports 2 wireless devices at full speed; 4 at half speed.
Setup 3 Has a lengthy setup and requires a TP-Link ID account to use.
Ease of use 4 Provides easy controls in the Deco app once you learn the layout.

* out of 5 points

What we like about it: The Deco X55 is an attractive, affordable kit. You get a few extra wired connections and decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds for the money. It does a good job handling multiple streams too.

What we wish it did better: The X55 would benefit from a dedicated Wi-Fi band for node-to-node communications to increase the bandwidth for client devices. Plus, TP-Link should ditch HomeShield for HomeCare.

Why do we recommend it? The X55 is a decent kit for the money. You can’t expect tons of speed, but there’s plenty for a few devices. The extra Ethernet ports come in handy if you want better speeds for streaming.

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 1,800 Mbps
  • Antennas: 2 (per node)
  • Streams: 4
  • Bands: 2
  • LAN ports: 3

Router for streaming specs and features

Technically, you can use any router to stream video and music to your devices—you don’t need a lot of speed to do so, either. But there are a few factors to consider when you want the best router for streaming.

Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 isn’t the latest spec, but it’s the most commonly used in today’s routers, and for good reason. It supports more devices, provides better speeds, and manages data more efficiently than previous wireless tech like Wi-Fi 5. Plus, most modern Wi-Fi devices now support it, so choosing a Wi-Fi 5 router just slows you down.

Streams

The number of data streams a router supports is essential. Think of them as digital cargo ships cruising along on a sea of radio waves. Devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops can handle two at a time one way. So, if you have a router with just two streams on a single band but you have three laptops connected, you get higher latency and slower speeds per device. All three laptops have to share those two streams. A router with six or more streams is ideal in this scenario.

Quality of service (QoS)

You want a router that lets you prioritize traffic received from streaming services. NETGEAR routers, for example, have a Downstream QoS setting you can toggle on to prioritize streaming traffic and lower the priority of all other internet traffic.

Our verdict

The TP-Link Archer AX90 is an excellent router for streaming, hands down. It provides great speeds at a great price, plus plenty of connections to improve your streaming experience. It has a handful of other great features too, like built-in VPN tools, Amazon Alexa support, and more. The HomeShield subscription requirement is the only drawback, but you may not even need it.

Methodology

We test router speed by setting up each router in an office and connecting it to a local test server. Then, we transmit test data between our wireless devices and the server, taking numerous measurements to account for fluctuations in Wi-Fi speeds.

The first tests occur close to the router, without obstructions—so the Wi-Fi is as strong and fast as it’s gonna get. We repeat the process straight out at 10, 20, and 30 feet, with only a glass door obstructing our view of the router. The same glass door and an exterior door blocks our path when we test outside at 40 and 50 feet.

We also run tests in a hallway to the left of the TV room and office—where there’s a glass door, three walls, and an air handler unit blocking our view of the router. The dining room, another testing point, sits to the right of the kitchen, TV room, and office—two walls and a glass door block the path in this test.

To test video streaming, we connect a fast storage device to the router and stream a 4K video to six wireless devices simultaneously—two phones, three tablets, and a laptop—connected to the same wireless band.

Client devices used in testing

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
Wi-Fi specificationWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration2 x 22 x 2
Max 5 GHz speed (AX)1,200 Mbps
Max 5 GHz speed (AC)866 Mbps866 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AX)195 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AC)195 Mbps144 Mbps
Wi-Fi specification
iPhone 12 Pro MaxWi-Fi 6
Google Pixel 3Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration
iPhone 12 Pro Max2 x 2
Google Pixel 32 x 2
Max 5 GHz speed (AX)
iPhone 12 Pro Max1,200 Mbps
Google Pixel 3
Max 5 GHz speed (AC)
iPhone 12 Pro Max866 Mbps
Google Pixel 3866 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AX)
iPhone 12 Pro Max195 Mbps
Google Pixel 3
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AC)
iPhone 12 Pro Max195 Mbps
Google Pixel 3144 Mbps

Router benchmarks

Here are the average 5 GHz speeds recorded for each router. Wi-Fi speeds fluctuate significantly, so these numbers reflect at least three tests taken at each 10-foot interval.

TP-Link Archer AX90

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max860818764692
Google Pixel 3642534464359
iPhone 12 Pro Max
2 feet860
10 feet818
20 feet764
30 feet692
Google Pixel 3
2 feet642
10 feet534
20 feet464
30 feet359

* in megabits per second (Mbps).

TP-Link Archer AX20

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max809741653542
Google Pixel 3620540415327
iPhone 12 Pro Max
2 feet809
10 feet741
20 feet653
30 feet542
Google Pixel 3
2 feet620
10 feet540
20 feet415
30 feet327

* in megabits per second (Mbps).

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max880864833750
Google Pixel 3703671538511
iPhone 12 Pro Max
2 feet880
10 feet864
20 feet833
30 feet750
Google Pixel 3
2 feet703
10 feet671
20 feet538
30 feet511

* in megabits per second (Mbps).

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max818787725689
Google Pixel 3602580489422
iPhone 12 Pro Max
2 feet818
10 feet787
20 feet725
30 feet689
Google Pixel 3
2 feet602
10 feet580
20 feet489
30 feet422

* in megabits per second (Mbps).

TP-Link Deco X55

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max739680613565
Google Pixel 3611573509443
iPhone 12 Pro Max
2 feet739
10 feet680
20 feet613
30 feet565
Google Pixel 3
2 feet611
10 feet573
20 feet509
30 feet443

* in megabits per second (Mbps).

Other routers we tested

We tested over a dozen standalone routers and mesh kits to determine which routers are ideal for streaming music, video, and games. Here are the tested models we do and don’t recommend.

Other routers we recommend for streaming

TP-Link Archer AX11000 ($264.99*): We love the Archer AX11000—enough so that it’s our top pick in other categories. It’s slightly faster than the GT-AX11000 router at a lower price—for now, at least.

View on Amazon

TP-Link Archer AX6000 ($249.99*): This model is similar to the Archer AX11000 but lacks the third Wi-Fi band and extra streams.

View on Amazon

Other routers we don’t recommend for streaming

TP-Link Archer A10 ($128.49*): We don’t recommend this product anymore because we’re shying away from Wi-Fi 5 altogether. Right now, it costs more than the AX20 anyway, which is a superior router.

View on Amazon

NETGEAR XR500 ($174.99*): Here’s another Wi-Fi 5 router we don’t recommend. It’s a tad bit faster than the budget Archer A10 but slower than the ASUS RT-AC88U in our tests.

View on Amazon

FAQ about routers for streaming

How much speed do you need for streaming?

You don’t need a lot of speed to stream music and video, but you need a router that can handle multiple wireless devices simultaneously. We provide a few guides on how much speed you need for music, video, and more.

Are three Wi-Fi bands better than two?

Yes. Each band uses a single radio—one for 2.4 GHz, one for 5 GHz, and in some cases, one for 5 GHz or 6 GHz. Moreover, each band uses a single channel. So, routers with two 5 GHz radios see the lower channels used by one radio and the higher ones used by the second.

That means your devices won’t crowd a single channel and experience slowdowns caused by congestion. Wi-Fi 6e routers have the third 6 GHz band, which is faster but has an even shorter range than 5 GHz.

Disclaimer

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on internet security.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.