Best Gigabit Routers for Superfast Wi-Fi 2022

We tested a batch of routers to see if they really reach gigabit Wi-Fi speeds.

  • Best overall
    TP-Link Archer AX11000
    TP-Link Archer AX11000
    • $281.99*
    • Great Wi-Fi 6 speeds
    • Ready for multigig internet
    • Lacks real gaming tools
  • Best for VPNs
    The TP-Link Archer AX90 has eight antennas supporting six streams on the 5 GHz band.
    TP-Link Archer AX90
    • $270.00*
    • Better Wi-Fi 6 speeds
    • Ready for multigig internet
    • Antivirus requires a subscription
  • Best for gamers
    The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 wings actually fold.
    NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200
    • $429.99*
    • Best Wi-Fi 6 speeds
    • Ready for multigig internet
    • Requires an account to use
  • Best for budgets
    The TP-Link Archer AX20 has four adjustable omnidirectional antennas.
    TP-Link Archer AX20
    • $82.00*
    • Decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds
    • Easy to use web interface
    • No multigig connections

Our pick: Which gigabit router is the best?

TP-Link’s Archer AX11000 is our pick for the best gigabit router. We ran several routers through our battery of tests, and the AX11000 performed exceptionally well, hitting high speeds even outside the confines of the building. It’s not the fastest router, but it handles multiple devices and fast connections with ease. Plus, features like free antivirus and multigig wired connectivity make it our favorite gigabit router.

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 4 best gigabit routers

Compare gigabit router speeds and prices

Best forModelImageMax throughputPriceGet it
Best overallTP-Link Archer AX1100011,000 Mbps$281.99*View on Amazon
Best for VPNsTP-Link Archer AX906,600 Mbps$270.00*View on Amazon
Best for gamersNETGEAR Nighthawk RAX20011,000 Mbps$429.99*View on Amazon
Best for budgetsTP-Link Archer AX201,800 Mbps$82.00*View on Amazon

What should you look for in a gigabit router?

You want a router with the latest standard, Wi-Fi 6, to have a truly gigabit wireless experience. It’s a huge improvement over the previous standard, providing wider channels, faster Wi-Fi speeds (even on the 2.4 GHz band), and improved efficiency. It supports more devices, too, which helps reduce traffic congestion during in-home peak times.

Also, look for a router with more than two download streams per band. Nearly every wireless device uses just two streams to send data and two more streams to receive data—four streams in total (2×2). So you need four or more streams each way to potentially see full Wi-Fi speeds on your device. The best routers in our tests have eight to 12 streams in each direction.

Do you have a gigabit plan to go with your gigabit router?

If not, be sure to enter your zip code below to see what options are available to you.

Best overall—TP-Link Archer AX11000

Best overall

TP-Link Archer AX11000 hands-on

The best gigabit-ready centerpiece for your network

Score:

4

out of 5

The Archer AX11000 is an excellent router if you want fast Wi-Fi speeds at a long range plus loads of wired connections. It’s primed for multigig internet, too, so it can future proof your network for top speeds for years to come.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Good long-range Wi-Fi performance
  • Multigig internet compatibility
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Lack of real gaming tools
  • Repetitive web interface

Price: 281.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Averages slightly behind NETGEAR’s RAX200 and TP-Link’s Archer AX90 in our speed tests, but not by much.
Features 4 Includes premium features like TrendMicro antivirus and parental controls at no extra cost to you.
Design 4 Supports multigig internet with a 2.5 Gbps WAN port and link aggregation.
Setup 4 Walks through steps in the web interface and Tether app to make setup easy and fast in 10 minutes or less.
Ease of use 4 Employs the most user-friendly interface of all the TP-Link routers we tested.

What we like about it: There’s a lot of bang for your buck with the Archer AX11000. It performed well in our tests—it even maintained a fast connection to devices used outside. The RAX200 and Archer AX90 barely outpaced its performance, but the slight difference in speed is made up for by the easy to use web interface and free antivirus. There are plenty of LAN ports for wired connectivity, too, for game consoles, media streaming devices, and computers.

What we wish it did better: Our only real issue with this router is the power connector—it’s small and comes unplugged easily (the power brick is hefty, too). And though TP-Link markets this router to gamers, there are no real gaming tools. Game Diagnostics is just a ping tool, and Game Assistant is merely Amazon Alexa support.

Why do we recommend it? It has great Wi-Fi speeds, loads of wired connectivity options, free antivirus and parental controls, and a user-friendly setup.

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

Best for VPNs—TP-Link Archer AX90

Best for VPNs

A multigig router with built-in VPN

Score:

3.75

out of 5

The Archer AX90 is one of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers we’ve tested to date, but it lacks some of the free premium features available in other TP-Link models. The built-in VPN server and client, however, are great to have.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Great Wi-Fi 6 speeds at long range
  • Multigig internet compatibility
  • Built-in VPN server and client
  • No QoS, antivirus, or parental controls in web interface
  • Subscription-based antivirus

Price: 270.00*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Outperforms the Archer AX11000 in our tests, even at long range.
Features 3 Lacks some of the premium features offered with the Archer AX11000, but wins with the built-in VPN client.
Design 4 Supports internet speeds up to 2.5 Gbps.
Setup 4 Gets up and running quickly and easily.
Ease of use 3 Confines QoS, parental controls, security settings, and antivirus settings to Tether app.

What we like about it: The AX90 did extremely well in our tests, holding its own against the AX11000 and RAX200. Its speeds fell between these two contenders at close range but outpaced the AX11000 the further we moved away. We didn’t see any issues in our video streaming test either—all simultaneous playbacks performed without a stutter.

What we wish it did better: The AX90’s web interface is just okay. Unfortunately, you can’t access QoS, parental controls, or security settings through the web interface—you must use the Tether app. The antivirus component and some parental controls are also locked behind the HomeShield subscription costing $5.99 per month (or $54.99 per year).

Why do we recommend it? It’s ready for multigig internet and supports multigig wireless speeds. It’s a good pick if you want a router with a built-in VPN client and native Amazon Alexa support, although the AX20 model has the same two perks at a lower price and speed.

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
  • LAN ports: 3
  • USB 3.2 ports: 1
  • USB 2.0 ports: 1

Best for gamers—NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

Best for gaming

Blazing Wi-Fi speeds for a hefty price

Score:

4

out of 5

You get what you pay for in terms of speed, but some features that come free on other routers require a subscription here. You also need a MyNETGEAR account to even use this router.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Superfast Wi-Fi
  • Multigig internet support
  • Subscription-based security and antivirus
  • Cloud account requirement

Price: 429.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 5 Outpaces every other router on this list in our testing.
Features 2 Requires four different accounts to use all the features offered on this high-dollar router.
Design 5 Packs plenty of wired and wireless connectivity to get the most out of your internet.
Setup 2 Requires a MyNETGEAR account to use—there’s no obvious way to bypass this requirement.
Ease of use 3 Offers the Nighthawk mobile app as a simple alternative to its cumbersome and ugly web interface.

What we like about it: The RAX200 is the fastest router on this list based on our tests, even as we checked the speeds outside the front door. The Wi-Fi 5 speeds are fairly impressive at a long range, too, although we don’t suggest using the 2.4 GHz band if you’re looking for speed. The router performed optimally in our video tests, as expected.

What we wish it did better: You shouldn’t need a MyNETGEAR account just to use a NETGEAR router. Plus, you shouldn’t need two more accounts and subscriptions for parental controls and premium security features. But that’s the case here, yet TP-Link’s comparable (and cheaper) AX11000 gives you both for free.

Why do we recommend it? It has the best wireless speeds of the routers on our list. Plus, it sets you up for multigig internet when it becomes available in your area. It’s ideal for fast fiber plans like those provided by AT&T and Google.

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
  • LAN ports: 4
  • WAN/LAN ports (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for budgets—TP-Link Archer AX20

Best for budgets

TP-Link Archer AX20 hands-on

Great Wi-Fi speeds at a great price

Score:

3.75

out of 5

The AX20 provides fast speeds, but it’s not designed to go full throttle on more than two wireless devices at a time. The free basic parental controls and the built-in VPN client are a big plus, especially for the price.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Good Wi-Fi 6 speeds
  • Easy-to-use web interface
  • No multigig options
  • Lackluster security features

Price: 82.00*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Keeps pace with more expensive routers in tests, even at a distance.
Features 4 Provides basic parental controls and QoS, plus Amazon Alexa voice support, VPN, and Apple’s Time Machine tool.
Design 3 Packs a lot of speed into a compact design you can take on road trips.
Setup 3 Runs longer than other router setups due to firmware check and update.
Ease of use 4 Streamlines basic settings in the web interface for novice users with more fiddly options in the Advanced section.

What we like about it: The Archer AX20 did really well at close range in our tests, but it doesn’t have the long-range punch like the AX90, AX11000, and RAX200. It’s a good speed for the money, for sure, and the built-in VPN server and client make up for its speed shortcomings. Native Amazon Alexa support is also a plus.

What we wish it did better: The router supports only two streams on each band, so expect slower per-device speeds when more than a single wireless device connects to the same band. The QoS function is rather basic, too—you can prioritize traffic to a specific device for up to four hours, but you can’t specify the type of traffic, like gaming or streaming.

Why do we recommend it? The AX20 has great speeds for the money—even the Wi-Fi 5 speeds are decent at close range. The built-in VPN client is a plus for devices that can’t install VPN software, like game consoles and media streamers.

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

Gigabit router specs and features

Generally, all modern routers support gigabit wired speeds, since modems have at least one Gigabit Ethernet port. But there are other factors to consider if you want to harness all that speed on your wireless devices.

Streams

A modern router sends and receives encoded data simultaneously across a single Wi-Fi channel using spatial streams. The router transmits one stream and receives one stream through one antenna, so generally, a router with two antennas can transmit two streams and receive two streams. You’ll see this written as 2×2 in a router’s hardware specs.

Nearly every wireless device we use supports up to two streams. The problem is, if you have a smartphone, a laptop, and a game console connected to the same band, that adds up to six streams one way. A router with just two transmitting streams can communicate with two of these devices simultaneously using one stream each, cutting their speed in half. The router handles all downloads in sequential order, so in one instance, the router sends data to the laptop and console, and in the next, it sends data to the smartphone and laptop.

This traffic jam is why four or more streams are better. When you see a router boasting 12 streams, it can send data to six wireless devices simultaneously at full speed, or to 12 devices at half speed. Add more devices to the mix, and the connections become sequential.

Keep in mind that some desktops support up to four streams each way (or even eight), but generally, PCs transmit and receive across two streams since they can fall back on Ethernet.

For now, MU-MIMO applies to the downstream only (router to client), but it will support upstreams (client to router) in Wi-Fi 6 Wave 2.

Wi-Fi 6

The big selling point with Wi-Fi 6 is speed. Routers based on this specification can reach 9,600 Mbps (9.6 Gbps) on a single band, up from 3,500 Mbps (3.5 Gbps) with Wi-Fi 5 and 600 Mbps with Wi-Fi 4. Wider and less congested frequency channels help make this speed increase possible.

Wi-Fi 6 allows routers to transmit eight or more data streams simultaneously on a single band. Think of these streams as eight lanes, each with a truck delivering a package to four wireless devices—so, two packages per device. Streams are generally used for high bandwidth applications, like gaming, streaming, and so on.

To help improve the traffic flow, Wi-Fi 6 incorporates Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). Think of this method as a truck carrying multiple packages for multiple devices as it drives down a single lane. OFDMA is generally used for low bandwidth applications, like IoT communications, and it helps alleviate bottlenecks caused by having more devices than your router has streams.

Other Wi-Fi 6 technologies that help improve your connection include Target Wait Time, which allows devices to put their Wi-Fi radio into sleep mode until the next transmission arrives, saving battery power. Overlapping Basic Service Sets (OBSS) reduces latency by “coloring” network traffic, so your wireless devices can communicate more quickly with the router.

Link aggregation

Routers, modems, PCs, game consoles, and set-top boxes usually have at least one Gigabit Ethernet port—a wired port that can reach 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)—so they all fall under the gigabit umbrella. Link aggregation allows you to link two Gigabit Ethernet ports together for a 2 Gbps connection. However, you need a modem or fiber ONT that supports link aggregation to use a 2 Gbps internet connection.

Our verdict

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is our top pick gigabit router. It doesn’t have the absolute fastest wireless speeds, but it’s ideal if you have a multigig internet connection. Plus, the eight LAN ports are ideal if you want to mostly avoid Wi-Fi altogether and use wired connections with your Ethernet-ready devices, like game consoles and desktops. The free antivirus and premium parental tools round out a great package for the money.

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

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.

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max880864833750
Google Pixel 3703671538511

TP-Link Archer AX90

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max860818764692
Google Pixel 3642534464359

TP-Link Archer AX11000

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max820769700648
Google Pixel 3599543477382

TP-Link Archer AX20

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max809741653542
Google Pixel 3620540415327

Other routers we tested

We tested nine standalone routers and mesh kits to determine which routers were the best for gigabit Wi-Fi speeds. Here are the other tested models we do and don’t recommend.

Other routers we recommend for gigabit Wi-Fi

Amazon Eero Pro 6 ($499.00*): We almost didn’t recommend this mesh kit because the speed tests averaged around 772 Mbps on our iPhone 12 Pro Max, lower than what we tested on the standalone routers listed above. But it’s such a joy to use that we highly recommend it for whole-home coverage.

View on Amazon

Other routers we don’t recommend for gigabit Wi-Fi

ASUS RT-AC88U ($289.99*): This is our overall favorite long-range router, but it’s not ideal for gigabit wireless speeds. It’s a Wi-Fi 5 router, and the maximum speed we recorded in tests was just shy of 700 Mbps.

View on Amazon

Google Nest Wifi ($214.15*): We didn’t see gigabit Wi-Fi speeds with Google’s mesh kit. Our Google Pixel 3 saw a 641 Mbps average, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max tested a 635 Mbps average.

View on Amazon

NETGEAR Orbi RBK752 ($349.00*): We tested the three-unit setup, and it just didn’t perform as expected for a Wi-Fi 6 kit. We’ll probably revisit this one in the near future.

View on Amazon

TP-Link Archer A10 ($79.99*): The A10 is a Wi-Fi 5 router, so you won’t see near-gigabit wireless speeds. We recorded a 657 Mbps average in tests, which is decent, but we’ve seen better on other Wi-Fi 5 routers.

View on Amazon

FAQ about gigabit routers

Are three bands better than two?

Yes, three bands are better than two. Tri-band routers usually have more data streams and allow for more simultaneous connections. So if you have multiple phones, tablets, computers, or consoles all on Wi-Fi, you could benefit from the extra Wi-Fi band.

Most modern tri-band routers have one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands. Some newer tri-band routers may use the 6 GHz spectrum as the third band.

Why are real-world Wi-Fi speeds slower?

Actual Wi-Fi speeds are slower than your device’s theoretical maximum speed for many reasons. Radio interference is the biggest culprit. Local radar, microwaves, neighboring Wi-Fi networks, wireless devices, and anything else sending signals over the airwaves can disrupt your signal. Physical obstructions also degrade speed, as they absorb and bounce the radio waves. Device software and hardware limit the connection, too, as does distance.

Under good conditions, you should see 70% of your device’s maximum speed, as defined by your device’s manufacturer. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example, is built with a 1,200 Mbps max speed, but the environment and networking limits reduce its speed to 880 Mbps at the most. A Lenovo ThinkPad laptop may support a faster 2,400 Mbps connection, but the local area conditions may cut that speed in half.

What is max throughput?

Max throughput is the highest possible rate of data that can be processed and transferred from the router to all connected devices simultaneously. For example, the RAX200 has a maximum throughput of 11,000 Mbps, so it can output 11,000 Mbps of data across all three Wi-Fi bands at once: 1,200 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, 4,800 Mbps on 5 GHz-1, and 4,800 Mbps on 5 GHz-2.

How far can a router reach?

At best, routers have a range of up to 100 feet straight out, but manufacturers typically advertise range in square feet. Walls and other obstructions reduce that range, as they absorb the radio waves that transmit Wi-Fi. But even at 50 feet out from the router, you may see half the speed of what you get from two feet away.

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.