Best Netgear Routers – 2021 Round-up

Austin
| Last Updated: June 6, 2021

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A high-quality router helps you maintain a fast internet connection on multiple devices throughout your home.  

When looking for a router that provides superior internet connectivity, Netgear is one of the most trusted brands for a good reason. 

We’ve compiled these reviews of the best Netgear routers to help you find the best model for your home or office.

Comparison of the Best Netgear Routers

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Up to Mbps data transfer rates
  • Connect up to 25 devices at the same time
  • Protected against internet threats with Netgear armor
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  • Wide 1200 square feet wireless coverage ability
  • Dual band wireless speed of up to 1200 Mbps
  • Equipped with an 880Mhz processor for reaction speeds
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  • Best for the Money
  • Up to 1500 square feet wireless coverage
  • Comes with 2 Gigabit ethernet ports and 1 x USB
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  • Best Netgear Nighthawk Router
  • Up to 6 WiFi antennas for much better coverage
  • Compatible with Alexa for voice control
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  • Best Netgear Router for Gaming
  • Wireless speeds of up to 2600 megabits per second
  • Works well with Alexa voice control
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  • Best Netgear Router for Streaming
  • Data transfer rate of up to 1600 Mbps
  • Parental control included for protection of children
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  • Best Netgear Router for Large Homes
  • Dual wireless types of 802.11b and 802.11a
  • Very reliable WiFi with Tri-band technology
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Who is Netgear?

Netgear has a long history of providing high-quality WIFI routers and is known for its excellent performance and build-quality among all tiers of products. 

Netgear offers many different types of routers to choose from depending on your needs. Its products cater to nearly all budgets and needs, and the higher tier products come with very advanced features. All tiers of routers have a focus on speed and security. 

The products feature gamer-focused routers to ensure performance, mesh WIFI systems for large homes and buildings, and the new Orbi WIFI and Orbi WIFI 6 mesh systems. There are also options for Netgear Smart Parental Controls and Netgear Armor Cybersecurity. 

Where Are Netgear Products Made?

Netgear’s manufacturing primarily occurs in mainland China and Vietnam, with some low-volume manufacturing and pilot lines in Taiwan. 

Who Makes Netgear Products?

Netgear outsources its manufacturing to outside electronics companies such as Sercomm, but it has its own product quality organizations located in Hong Kong and mainland China. 

Who Owns Netgear?

The Chairman and CEO of Netgear is Patrick Lo, who co-founded the company when he saw a need for easy and affordable home networks.

How Long Has Netgear Been Around?

Netgear was founded in 1996 in San Jose, California, and has been a global leader in the networking industry ever since. 

Review of the Best Netgear Routers

We researched Netgear’s full line of routers and found our top picks to review and recommend. Whatever your needs in a router, you’re sure to find one here that’s got you covered.

Best Overall:
Netgear Nighthawk R6700-100NAS

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router, R6700 - AC1750 Wireless Speed Up to 1750 Mbps | Up to 1500 Sq Ft Coverage & 25 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 3.0 USB Ports | Armor Security

PROS

  • VPN supported
  • 4 x 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Great for gaming and streaming 
  • Robust NAS storage performance
  • Beamforming+ for exceptional range

CONS

  • Large design
  • Firmware is buggy sometimes

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers were pleased to get the full speeds they were missing from other routers, and they liked the interface for setting up and using the router. Many people also liked that you get two options of 2.4GHz or 5 GHz connections. Some people say that their speeds more than doubled and performed beyond their expectations. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Netgear Nighthawk R6700 is an ideal router for large homes due to its 1GHz dual-core processor and compatibility with 802.11ac. This Nighthawk product is a mid-range model that provides impressive performance at an affordable price. It provides great 5GHz throughput and NAS storage performance. 

We love its Beamforming technology, one-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and dual-band technology. The 2.4GHz band can provide 450 Mbps, while the 5GHz band provides a maximum speed of 1,300 Mbps. This means the R6700 can provide a theoretical speed of 1,750 Mbps

Bottom Line

The Netgear Nighthawk R6700 is impressively fast for an affordable, mid-range router with some of the best performance in its class. It delivers stable speeds at a wide range and is suitable for anyone looking for a high-quality router at a good price. 

Runner-up:
Netgear R6230-100NAS

NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1200 Mbps) | Up to 1200 sq ft Coverage & 20 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 2.0 USB ports

PROS

  • Great price
  • Advanced QoS 
  • VPN supported
  • 4 x 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Nighthawk app for managing access

CONS

  • Only one USB 2.0 port
  • LEDs are located on the back

What Recent Buyers Report

The Netgear management tool is useful in monitoring devices on the network. Even with multiple devices connected and running, the speed is blazing fast. Most buyers said the setup was easy using the web interface with the basic tab for beginners. The 2.4GHz band worked flawlessly in large houses. Most agreed it’s a great value for the price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Netgear R6230 has a small and sleek design and sits in a very comfortable price range. This small, lightweight unit has some great features for its category, like Advanced QoS, VPN support, options for parental controls, and the Nighthawk app for managing the devices on your network. 

It features dual-band technology, and across the two bands, it offers a theoretical speed of up to 1,200Mbps. The R6230 can handle up to 20 devices at once and performs very well on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The router has one USB port and four Ethernet ports to easily connect a printer and other devices to your network. 

Bottom Line

The Netgear R6230 is an affordable and capable router and is ideal for small to mid-sized homes and apartments. It can handle multiple devices very well without breaking the bank.

Best for the Money:
Netgear C6250-1AZNAS

NETGEAR Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo C6250 - Compatible with All Cable Providers Including Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, Cox | for Cable Plans Up to 300 Mbps | AC1600 Wi-Fi Speed | DOCSIS 3.0

PROS

  • Excellent parental controls
  • Router and modem in one
  • 2 x 1-Gigabit wired connections
  • Great for online gaming and streaming
  • Compatible with most major U.S. providers

CONS

  • Only one USB port
  • No manual settings for QoS

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers said the setup was super fast and easy and that their Mbps speed instantly doubled from their previous router. Many were able to get full bars throughout the entire house when they previously needed an extender for their old router. Gamers said their download speeds were faster and gameplay was great. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Netgear C6250 is a dual-band router and modem in one and offers exceptional speeds for a great price. This model uses Beamforming technology to extend the signal speed and QoS technology for smoother gaming and streaming. 

The C6250 also features dual-band technology and can deliver theoretical speeds of up to 1,600Mbps. A big plus for us is that this router/modem combo is compatible with most U.S. internet service providers, which gives you more control and makes it possible to ditch a monthly rental plan.

Bottom Line

The Netgear C6250 is a great choice for those living in smaller or medium-sized homes or apartments and who are looking for a router and modem in one. It’s an ideal option for people with mid-tier internet plans. 

Best Netgear Nighthawk Router:
Netgear Nighthawk R8000-100NAS

NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R8000) - AC3200 Tri-band Wireless Speed (Up to 3200 Mbps) | Up to 3500 Sq Ft Coverage & 50 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 2 USB ports | Armor Security

PROS

  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports
  • Nighthawk app supported
  • 4 x 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Tri-band for up to 50 devices
  • 6 fold-out amplified antennas

CONS

  • Fairly large
  • No eSATA port

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers were grateful that the router could handle over 25 devices at once. Some people experienced almost eight times the speed of their previous router, even at the farthest part of the house. Many buyers said the security and monitoring features were fantastic, and they wish they wouldn’t have waited so long to switch. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Nighthawk X6 features tri-band technology and six external fold-out amplified antennas for impressive speed and performance. The X6 also uses Beamforming+ technology, which guides unused bandwidth straight to the connected devices to boost the existing signals. 

The Nighthawk X6 uses a 1GHz dual-core processor to reach peak network performance and can produce top speeds of 3.2Gbps over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. We love that with USB 2.0 ports, USB 3.0 ports, and four one-gigabit Ethernet ports, there are plenty of options for connecting your devices.

Bottom Line

The Nighthawk X6 offers superior streaming and gaming speeds on multiple devices for an excellent home network experience that’s free from buffering and frustration. This Nighthawk model features superior advanced technology at a more affordable price than some of the other routers in the Nighthawk series. 

Best Netgear Router for Gaming:
Netgear Nighthawk XR500-100NAS

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping

PROS

  • Futuristic look 
  • Provides low ping
  • MU-MIMO Beamforming Technology
  • DumaOS gaming software works great
  • Great close-range throughput and file-transfer performance

CONS

  • A little bulky
  • Pricier than competing models

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers enjoyed the DumaOS software and couldn’t recommend it enough. Gamers loved being able to prioritize their gaming devices and manage the other devices on the network. Gamers also said it was the best investment made toward their gaming setup and that the price was great for everything you get out of this router. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Nighthawk XR500 is geared directly towards online gamers. With features like an integrated geo-filter to reduce ping times, QoS for prioritizing your gaming devices on your network, and a gaming VPN, it’s easily our top pick for gaming. 

We love the DumaOS gaming software and dashboard, which shows the bandwidth use in real-time and allows you to limit the distance between other online gamers and servers. The Nighthawk XR500 has MU-MIMO technology, Quad-Stream, and a total network speed 2.6Gbps over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. 

Bottom Line

The futuristic Nighthawk XR500 is a gamer’s dream router with phenomenal speeds and the gamer-centric DumaOS interface. The combination of double-width data channels, reduced ping times, and features like geo-filtering make this our top router for gamers, by far.

Best Netgear Router for Streaming:
Netgear R6330-1AZNAS

NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6330) - AC1600 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1600 Mbps) | Up to 1200 sq ft Coverage & 20 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 2.0 USB Ports (R6330-1AZNAS)

PROS

  • VPN supported
  • Very easy to install
  • Nighthawk app supported
  • 4 x 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 amplified antennas with QoS support

CONS

  • Requires app for installation
  • Limited configuration options

What Recent Buyers Report

Setup was really easy, and the router exceeded the speeds of buyers’ internet service providers. This model works great for streaming on smart TV with no issues, and the Nighthawk app is useful. Many buyers agreed that having four wired Ethernet ports was nice and that setup was plug-and-play. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Netgear R6330 has a coverage range of about 1,200 square feet and uses dual-band technology. The 2.4GHz band offers a speed of 300Mbps, with the 5GHz band reaching 1,300Mbps of bandwidth. It’s rated for up to 20 devices at a time, which makes it a great choice for streaming. 

With its USB 2.0 port and four one-gigabit Ethernet ports, you can easily set up a home media server. We love that it’s easy to install, supports the Nighthawk app and VPNs, and is available at an affordable price for anyone who loves streaming. 

Bottom Line

The Netgear R6330 has great security features, is easy to use, and allows plenty of connected devices without latency or lagging.

Best Netgear Router for Large Homes:
Netgear Orbi RBR20-100NAS

NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Mesh-Ready WiFi Router -- for speeds up to 2.2 Gbps over 2,000 sq. feet, AC2200 (RBR20)

PROS

  • Tri-band technology
  • Convenient Orbi app
  • Strong WIFI performance for large homes
  • Pairs with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Over 2,000 square feet of coverage with a single router

CONS

  • Fairly large
  • Only 2 Ethernet ports

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers said they love the sleek design and that it’s very simple to install and set up using the Orbi app. Users love that if they get the single router, they have the option to expand their setup later. Buyers reported they had absolutely no dead zones in the house, even in detached garages. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Netgear’s Orbi Mesh System is a powerful router system that can eliminate dead zones in large houses. We love that you can opt to use the satellites for the system to cover a house that’s up to 5,000 square feet. 

The Orbi app is intuitive and makes setup easy and managing the devices on your network a breeze. Because of the tri-band technology and MU-MIMO, the Orbi can handle a very impressive amount of devices at one time without buffering and sacrificing speed. 

Bottom Line

For anyone who’s paying for high-speed internet and has a large home, the Orbi may be the right router or full mesh system for you. Even if you don’t have an especially large home, the high-performance Orbi has a lot to offer.

What Makes Netgear Stand Out from the Competition?

Netgear has a very connectivity-focused and innovative history, and it has always aimed to meet and exceed people’s expectations. Netgear’s founder, Patrick Lo, was a pioneer and played a significant role in creating and shaping the home networking market during its infancy. 

Why Are Netgear Products So Popular?

The routers’ Genie, Nighthawk, Circle, and Orbi apps monitor and control your router and internet access in an intuitive and user-friendly way. Netgear products are made durable, affordable, and stylish and are easy to install and set up. The company is a trusted and popular brand for computer networking products. 

How Do Netgear Routers Compare?

Here are some comparisons to consider if you’re wondering how Netgear routers stack up against other routers and products. 

Netgear vs ASUS Router

Netgear and ASUS are very similar in performance. Both Netgear and ASUS are durably built and long-lasting and carry the latest WIFI 6 devices. Many of them run on Quad Core processors, with some running on Dual-Core processors. 

They also both are primarily tri-band devices with some dual-band. ASUS devices have AIProtect, a software to guard against cyberattacks, and Netgear uses Netgear Armor. Both brands offer an industry-standard one-year warranty. 

Orbi vs Nighthawk

Nighthawk Mesh WIFI 6 System is a dual-band mesh system and is available in a two-pack. Compared to the more expensive Orbi WIFI 6 mesh system, Nighthawk has lower bandwidth, fewer antennas, and no dedicated backhaul channel. Nighthawk provides up to 3,000 square feet of coverage per node and is best for speeds of 300 to 400 Mbps. 

Orbi is a tri-band mesh system and is available in packs of two to four. This system covers up to 5,000 square feet and handles up to 40 connected devices. Orbi supports up to 6Gbps internet speeds. 

Belkin vs Netgear

When you compare similar models between the two, Netgear routers generally perform better over greater distances. Netgear also tends to offer more features, such as built-in parental controls. However, Belkin’s Linksys-branded routers typically rank very well. Belkin offers a slightly longer warranty than standard at two years. 

Netgear vs Netgear 5G

Netgear 5G routers support a 5GHz WIFI connection, while a “regular” Netgear router only supports the 2.4GHz band. Both frequencies have benefits. The 2.4GHz band is slower but covers a longer range, while the 5GHz band is much faster but doesn’t cover as far. Higher frequencies cannot penetrate walls as lower frequencies can, but they tend to have less overcrowding since fewer devices use the 5GHz band. 

Google WiFi vs Nighthawk

Both systems use a mesh setup to eliminate WiFi dead zones in larger homes and come in a sleek, compact design. Each node covers up to 1,500 square feet for both brands, but the Google WiFi comes in packs of one or three nodes, and the Nighthawk comes in a two-pack. Where the Nighthawk system stands out against Google WIFI is its WIFI 6 technology, giving you impressively faster speeds and allowing your network to handle even more devices. 

How to Set Up a Netgear Router

The easiest way to set up your Netgear router is through the Nighthawk app, but not all Netgear routers support the app. If your model doesn’t, you can take these steps:

  1. Use an Ethernet cable to connect your modem to the yellow port on your router labeled Internet.

  2. Connect your computer to one of the other Ethernet ports on your router. 

  3. Press the Power button on your router and go to routerlogin.net on any web browser.

  4. Log in using the default credentials. The default username is admin, and the password is password. 

  5. Go to ADVANCED and then Setup Wizard.

  6. Click on the Yes radio button and then Next. 

  7. Choose and enter a new admin password. 

  8. Select security questions and provide answers. 

  9. Click Next, and you’ll see a Congratulations! page. 

  10. If you’d like to print your network settings, you can do this now.

  11. Click Next, and if a firmware update is available, click Yes to update it. 

  12. The router will reboot, and you can log in using admin and your new password. 

  13. The setup is now complete. 

Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of the steps:

How to Login to Netgear Router

There are two ways to log in to your Netgear router -- through the Nighthawk mobile app or by using a web browser. You can only log in through the Nighthawk app if you have a supported router. Start by connecting the router to your PC and powering on the router.  

Log in with a web browser:

  1. Launch your choice of web browser from any device connected to your Netgear router’s network.
     
  2. Locate the router IP address. For most Netgear routers, you can enter routerlogin.net or 192.168.1.1 in the address bar to display the router login window. 

  3. Enter the admin username and password for your router. Check the instruction booklet for the default username and password. You can usually also find the login credentials on the router itself. 

Log in using the Nighthawk app:

  1. Go to nighthawk-app.com to download the Nighthawk app on your mobile device.

  2. Make sure your mobile device is connected to the Netgear router’s WIFI network. 

  3. Open the Nighthawk app and log in using your Netgear account. 

Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of the steps:

Netgear Router Troubleshooting

Sometimes issues crop up with even the best hardware. Follow these troubleshooting tips for some of the most common problems. 

Where is the WPS Button On My Netgear Router?

The WPS button will be in different locations depending on your router model. Some models use a combination WPS/Reset button on the back of the router. Others will have a dedicated WPS button on the top, front, or back of the router. Refer to your router’s manual if you’re still having trouble locating the WPS button. 

Can’t Connect to Netgear Router

If you’re unable to connect to your Netgear router, try these steps:

  1. Connect your computer to the router using an Ethernet cable. 

  2. Access the command prompt on your computer. For Windows, type ping 192.168.1.1, and for macOS, type ping 192.168.0.1.

  3. If it’s not working, try disabling any proxies and deleting cookies.

  4. Test out the router with a different browser or computer. 

  5. Finally, try turning the router off and powering it back on. 

Netgear Router Won’t Connect to Internet

If your router isn’t connecting to the internet, try these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Disconnect your router, and connect your computer directly to the modem. If you’re still not getting an internet connection, contact your internet service provider. If this reestablishes your connection, reconnect your router and continue troubleshooting.

  2. Attempt to log in to the router. If you can’t log in, make sure all cables are attached and secure, and the Internet LED is lit. If it isn’t lit, check your manual for troubleshooting light status.

  3. If everything is secured and the Internet LED is lit, try turning off the router and turning it back on. 

  4. If you’re still unable to log in, perform a factory reset. If you can log in, run the router’s Smart Wizard to finish troubleshooting. 

Conclusion

If you depend on a fast internet connection for multiple devices, then a good wireless router is an important asset. Whatever your primary reason for using a router, Netgear offers a wide range of routers to suit your needs. We hope our reviews have helped you pick the right Netgear model for you.

Netgear Orbi RBR20-100NAS

People Also Ask

If you’re considering a new Netgear router, you likely have some questions. To help you save time on research, we’ve identified and answered some of the most commonly asked questions about Netgear routers below. 

Does Netgear Work Without Internet?

If you don’t want to use your router for internet access, you can still use it to provide local networking between WIFI connected devices or by using Ethernet cables. You can use your router without an internet connection to connect devices, such as computers, printers, smartphones, and smart TVs. 

How Much is Netgear WiFi a Month?

Netgear is not an internet service provider, so they don’t offer monthly plans for WIFI. Netgear is a computer networking company, and its routers allow you to connect multiple devices to your existing internet and share files across devices in a local network. If you want WIFI, you need a monthly plan with an internet service provider and a modem. 

How Long Do Netgear Routers Last?

Your Netgear router should last many years, but how long you’ll keep your router before buying a new one depends on how up to date you like to stay on the latest technologies. Netgear is a high-quality brand that continually seeks to bring new technologies worldwide. Because of this, you may want to seek out a new Netgear router every few years, well before your current Netgear router gives out. 

How Many Lights Should Be On a Netgear Router?

There are several lights on a Netgear router. The first is the power light, which will be green or amber, and the second is the internet light, which will show green, white, or amber. The 2.4GHz and 5 GHz WIFI radios, USB, Ethernet, and WPS lights are solid or blinking white. 

How to Reset Netgear Router

To reset your Netgear router, first, confirm that the router is on. Locate the Reset or Restore Factory Settings button on the back. Use a tool like a paper clip to press and hold the button for seven seconds. Release the button, and the router is reset. 

How to Update Netgear Router

Connect your computer to your router using an Ethernet cable and go to routerlogin.net. Log in using the username and password you chose when you first logged in. Go to ADVANCED > Administration or Settings > Administration. Select either Router Update or Firmware Update and click Check. If new firmware is available, click Yes to update. 

Is Netgear Good?

Netgear is a leader in high-quality wireless routers and has been providing excellent performance for over 20 years. They are considered one of the most reputable brands for routers and computer networking equipment on the market today. They truly show their expertise with their high-end routers, such as the Nighthawk series. 

What is Netgear Smart Connect?

Smart Connect is a tool your router uses to choose the best radio band to give you the best WIFI performance on your Nighthawk router. It balances your 5GHz WIFI connections into two different radio bands: the 5GHz radio 1 band and the 5GHz radio 2 bands. 



Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.