11 Best Gigabit Routers: Your Buyer’s Guide

best gigabit router

Gigabit Internet represents the highest consumer tier of Internet service available in the country. But those who are looking to stream 4K content, play online games, and initiate downloads at speeds over 1000 Mbps need the appropriate gear to handle the web traffic. That includes one of the best gigabit routers as well as a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. Check out our top picks and you’ll see why it pays to max out your Internet service plan.

What Are the Best Routers for Gigabit Internet in 2020?

asus triband gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports and 8 LAN ports
  • 4×4 MU-MIMO connections
  • Game IPS
Price: $349.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
netgear nighthawk gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 12x12 MU-MIMO
  • Tri-band wireless
  • Supports multi-gig speeds
Price: $499.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
tplink ax3000 gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Easy setup
  • Supports multi-gig speeds
Price: $149.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
linksys wrt gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 160MHz channels
  • 4×4 MU-MIMO connections
  • Open source ready
Price: $213.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
asus dualband gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 2×2 MU-MIMO connections
  • Easy setup
  • Detailed QOS bandwidth prioritization
Price: $67.69 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
google hub gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-performance internal antennas
  • Smart home integration support
  • Easy setup
Price: $98.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dlink ultra gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-performance beamforming antennas
  • 3×3 MU-MIMO connections
  • Easy setup
Price: $479.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
netgear alexa gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • QoS prioritization options
  • Wireless beamforming support
  • Easy setup
Price: $75.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
belkin gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Boosted 2.4GHz range and speed
  • Self-healing feature automatically power cycles device
  • Cheap
Price: $55.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
medialink gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-performance beamforming antennas
  • Easy setup
  • Great customer service
Price: $59.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
linksys smart gigabit router Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 1×1 MU-MIMO connections
  • High-performance beamforming antennas
  • Easy setup
Price: $85.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Asus ROG GT-AC5300

    Pros:
    • 2 USB 3.0 ports and 8 LAN ports
    • 4×4 MU-MIMO connections provide efficient data streaming
    • Game IPS monitors against suspicious network activity
    Cons:
    • High price tag
    • Requires firmware upgrades and configuration out of the box
    • Glitchy UI

    The Asus GT-AC5300 from their Republic of Gamers line is designed to function in the most demanding situations. For most users, the Asus ROG GT-AC5300 is the definition of overkill. This Tri-Band router’s eight directional antennas make it look ridiculously similar to the Dark Tower that houses the Eye of Sauron.

    This router is powerful enough to broadcast through large homes. As long as your walls aren’t too thickly insulated, you should have no need for a range extender in 90% of home setups. The GT-AC5300 has two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band, which allows power users to sequester themselves on the two higher bandwidth wireless frequencies, causing less network clutter. Carefully distributing streaming devices allows the slower 2.4GHz band to be kept clear for less demanding Wi-Fi devices like smart home accessories.

    This router also has MU-MIMO technology (multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output). This technology allows the router to establish separate unique connections to devices in your network. Normally, if two people are trying to stream video on the same network, a router will alternate between buffering both videos. MU-MIMO allows the GT-AC5300 to work more efficiently, creating four unique data streams for your heaviest users.

    With a whopping eight 1 Gbps ethernet ports, the GT-AC5300 is practically a LAN switch. You can connect an unreasonable amount of devices to your network, or pair the last four ports for link aggregation to deliver wireless signals that surpass gigabit speeds. If your ISP offers service higher than 1 Gbps, you’ll need to connect a link aggregation-compatible modem using several gigabit ethernet cables. If they don’t, then this just makes the GT-AC5300 more future-proof. This device also has USB 3.0 ports to connect NAS devices, making it perfect for hosting cloud services like Plex.

    It has all of your typical security features like WPA2 and WEP, but it also has Game IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) technology from Trend Micro. Game IPS monitors network traffic for suspicious activity and prevents intrusions into your network. Throw in the VPN Fusion software, which enables you to run a VPN and ordinary internet connection simultaneously, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a feature that this router is missing.

    However, its price is highly prohibitive, considering you’ll need to spend hundreds of dollars on a DOCSIS 3.1 modem to unleash the full potential of any gigabit router. Additionally, the GT-AC5300 does not ship with the latest firmware, nor does it come configured for optimal performance. The UI makes configuring this router easy enough, but it will sometimes glitch out. When it does, you are left with odd issues like some of your connected Wi-Fi devices disappearing from the network map.

    The plentiful feature set makes this a top pick for those seeking the most powerful home network, but if you are installing your own networking gear for the first time, you’re better off sticking to a more cost-efficient and simple router.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, two 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 5.3 Gbps
    Processor: 1.8GHz 64bit quad-core
    Ethernet ports: 8

  2. 2. Netgear Nighthawk AX12

    Pros:
    • 12x12 MU-MIMO connections provide efficient data streaming
    • Tri-band wireless provides huge max throughput
    • Supports multi-gig speeds
    Cons:
    • High price tag
    • App GUI could be better
    • Basic QoS

    Currently, the tri-band Netgear Nighthawk AX12 stands out as one of the best routers for a device-heavy household, as it supports 12 simultaneous streams. That means it supports MU-MIMO for up to 12 devices without having to alternate streams (which is where “web traffic” comes from). This device also has an additional 5 GHz band on top of the standard 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz combination, which allows it to support upwards of 40 devices at once before it undergoes any stress.

    The Nighthawk AX12’s antennas can broadcast to an area of 2,500 square feet but this doesn’t factor in physical impediments like walls and interference from neighboring devices. That said, this is still enough coverage for a medium-to-large home. The AX12 has two USB 3.0 ports for NAS devices, a 2.5Gb ps WAN port, and four 1Gbps ethernet ports. The last two ethernet ports support link aggregation to support multi-gig file transfer speeds across your local network. Theoretically, the 2.5Gbps WAN port could be used to stream multi-gig Internet but ISPs aren’t even offering these kinds of speeds commercially yet.

    This router is highly configurable under the hood, making it a great choice for the power user who likes to control how their home Internet traffic functions. It supports useful functions like parental controls, guest networks, DoS, firewalls, and VPNs. It supports QoS too but you have to manually choose which programs get prioritized. The biggest downside is that these are primarily accessed through the Netgear Nighthawk app, whose GUI leaves a lot to be desired from those who have known better.

    As impressive as this router is, it is likely to be overkill for most home networks. That said, if you stream or game hard enough to warrant buying a router this expensive, then you might as well futureproof yourself for the next decade and go with the Nighthawk AX12.

    Frequency bands: two 5GHz, one 2.4GHz
    Max throughput speed: 10.8 Gbps
    Processor: 1.8GHz 64bit quad-core
    Ethernet ports: 2 gigabit, 2 gigabit with link aggregation

  3. 4. Linksys WRT3200ACM

    Pros:
    • 160MHz channels provide added bandwidth
    • 4×4 MU-MIMO connections provide efficient data streaming
    • Open source ready
    Cons:
    • Weak 2.4GHz signal
    • Limited settings in stock UI
    • Open source firmware is still not optimized for this model

    The Linksys WRT3200ACM is absolutely legendary among home network enthusiasts: one of the best gigabit routers to offer open source compatibility.

    What is open source software? If you’re asking that, you can pretty much scroll on to the next pick. If you’re curious and still reading, it is custom third-party firmware like OpenWrt and DD-WRT that can reprogram your router to enhance and unlock certain features of your router.

    This means you have the freedom to turn this router into a wireless adapter for a PC, or into a wireless bridge for another device. Or if a future firmware update causes a bug in your setup, you can revert to a whole new platform.

    That last situation isn’t likely to happen, but it is still a useful feature if you have complex needs for your home network.

    The stock UI is simple and clean, but somewhat limiting for those who are looking to perform these advanced features. Casual users will also appreciate the option to use the Smart Wi-Fi app for Android or iOS to control your home network settings.

    Settings include standard options like security features, guest network setup, and changing your network name and password. Without flashing new firmware, you won’t find more complicated features like limiting a device to a certain band or enabling QoS prioritization.

    Most users will be pleased with its performance out of the box, though. The 5GHz band of this router operates through 160MHz channels, effectively doubling its max throughput to 2.6Gbps. Conventional routers operate at 80MHz.

    For those streaming heavy content like 4K or VR video, 4×4 MU-MIMO support will ensure that your network activity doesn’t negatively affect others on your network by giving you and the next three heaviest users their own unique connection to the router.

    Its 2.4GHz signal, however, does not receive any special attention and is weak in comparison.

    The WRT3200ACM also supports a standard amount of hard-wired devices. It has four gigabit ethernet ports (aside from the WAN port that connects to the modem).

    It also has a USB 3.0 port and an eSATA port, granting extra flexibility in choosing a hard drive for use as a NAS.

    On the exterior, the WRT3200ACM is housed in a lifted body that encourages air flow, and it has a useful LED strip that can be easily turned off.

    Ultimately, there is a lot to like about this router. Its open source software support may still need some kinks ironed out, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an open source router that packs more power than this one.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, one 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 3.2 Gbps
    Processor: 1.8 GHz dual-core
    Ethernet ports: 4

  4. 5. Asus RT-ACRH13

    Pros:
    • 2×2 MU-MIMO connections provide efficient data streaming
    • Easy setup
    • Detailed QOS bandwidth prioritization
    Cons:
    • Does not support multi gigabit speeds
    • Slow to reboot
    • Shorter range than others

    You can leave it to the Asus RT-ACRH13 to prove why you don’t need a multi-gig router to get the most out of your Internet service.

    Setup is easy, whether you use the online UI or the Asus Router App on Android or iOS. You have access to a myriad of features for security, guest networks, QOS, VPN support, NAS configuration, and more.

    The budget-conscious Asus is a dual-band router with a 2GHz band and one 5GHz band. Technically, the 5GHz band on its own can only send about 800Mbps to connected devices, but less active wireless devices can glean an additional 400Mbps or so from the 2.4GHz band.

    Despite these not being the fastest achievable figures, you won’t hear many folks complain about 800Mbps down.

    And even with the value price this router comes at, it doesn’t skimp on extra features. It supports 2×2 MU-MIMO, providing a direct connection for the two biggest network hogs. No one has to share.

    The one downside is that should you need to power cycle your device, startup takes a ridiculously long time.

    The device has a single USB 3.0 port to connect a NAS drive, and four gigabit ethernet ports to connect other networked devices.

    Its wireless range is respectably large, and the device is wall mountable, allowing you to position it out of the way no matter what part of your house gets the best coverage.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, one 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 1.2 Gbps
    Processor: A7 quad-core
    Ethernet ports: 4

  5. 6. Google OnHub AC1900

    Pros:
    • High-performance internal antennas
    • Smart home integration support
    • Easy setup
    Cons:
    • Does not support multi gigabit speeds
    • Only one LAN port
    • No NAS support

    TP-Link’s OnHub AC1900 is a home router that is designed to work with the Google On.Here platform to give your router a more relevant place in your emergent smart home. However, with its cylindrical design, subtle lighting, and built-in Bluetooth speaker, the OnHub looks more like an entertainment device than a wireless router.

    Beneath its stylish casing, the OnHub houses thirteen internal antennas that propagate a powerful Wi-Fi network throughout your house.

    But these built-in oddities are more to demonstrate the versatility of the router than for actual use. Because seriously, who wants to play music off their router instead of their PC speakers?

    The real reason to draw your eyes with these features is to bring your attention to the fact that is a smart home hub as well as a router. The router is setup via On.Here, a feature of Google Wi-Fi networks that can be accessed by typing it into your URL bar.

    From On.Here you can connect smart home devices through the same interface that you would set up your router. You can also use the Google On app on Android.

    It’s all quite smart. And that’s the name of the game for the menu layout as well. You have a simplified display that allows you to adjust the device’s LED brightness, switch its wireless modes, prioritize device traffic, enable a guest network, and more.

    There are some things that this router doesn’t do as smart, however. One such example is the complete lack of ethernet switch on this device. There is one ethernet out port, which means you need a separate ethernet switch if you want to connect multiple devices.

    Another downside is that the device’s one USB 3.0 port is only for firmware updates and does not support a NAS device. Personally, I think they are just tricking you into using Google Play Music.

    However, if this lack of extra features doesn’t concern you, you will still have a high-performing router.

    This router is capable of handling over one hundred concurrently connected devices, so even the deepest apartment dwellers need not worry.

    If you are looking for an easy to setup router that can double as a smart home hub, then it will be a great while until you find something more suitable than the Google OnHub.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, one 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 1.9 Gbps
    Processor: IPQ8064 1.4GHz dual-core
    Ethernet ports: 1

  6. 8. Netgear R6400-100NAS

    Pros:
    • QoS prioritization options
    • Wireless beamforming support
    • Easy setup
    Cons:
    • No way to turn off LEDs
    • USB port is mounted on the front
    • Shorter wireless range

    If you’re looking to hit the sweet spot where you can max out your network performance without overspending, then the Netgear R6400 is worth your consideration.

    This router uses wireless beamforming to deliver dual-band wireless with a combined throughput of 1.7Gbps. It has one 2.4MHz band and one 5GHz, the latter of which is capable of sending a 1.3Gbps signal.

    This router has a dated but functional UI that allows you access to essential settings like parental controls, QoS prioritization, security, guest network setup, and network device management.

    More complex functions are embedded in the advanced menus for those who need it. There is also the Nighthawk app, which helps users that are totally clueless on setup.

    The device has a USB 2.0 port for networked printers and a USB 3.0 port for NAS devices. The USB 3.0 port is oddly placed at the front of the device, which totally ruins its look. The router also has four gigabit ethernet ports.

    One of the strangest features this router offers is support with Alexa. I can’t imagine what this means and haven’t been able to test it, but I can only assume this router is trying to be a smart hub of sorts. I’ll probably pass on that until the ecosystem becomes more secure.

    For now, even without consideration for this feature, the R6400-100NAS is one of the best budget routers.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, one 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 1.7 Gbps
    Processor: 800 MHz dual-core
    Ethernet ports: 4

  7. 9. Belkin AC1900 F9K1124

    Pros:
    • Boosted 2.4GHz range and speed
    • Self-healing feature automatically power cycles device
    • Low price tag
    Cons:
    • Requires firmware upgrades and configuration out of the box
    • Does not support multi gigabit speeds
    • Shorter wireless range

    The Belkin AC1900 F9K1124 is a user-friendly budget router that delivers solid throughput speeds while keeping things simple for those who are new at managing a home Wi-Fi network.

    One unique feature is “self-healing”, which allows you to schedule automatic reboots to keep the device running smoothly. This may help prevent the unusual hangups that all wireless devices are prone to.

    In terms of throughput per dollar, it doesn’t get better than this one. This dual-band router has one 2.4GHz band for low priority devices and one 5GHz band to deliver true gigabit speeds.

    Its 2.4GHz band has increased bandwidth, which can be nice for devices that are far from your router. For closer devices, the 5GHz band is still optimal.

    This device has a serviceable UI, and it allows you to easily make changes to security, parental controls, QoS optimization, and more.

    This router doesn’t come perfectly configured, nor does it always ship with the latest firmware, but updates via its mounted USB 3.0 port are fairly painless.

    Though you shouldn’t expect miracles from it, the Belkin F9K1124 is one of the best budget routers.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, one 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 1.9 Gbps
    Processor: (Not listed)
    Ethernet ports: 4

  8. 11. Linksys Max Stream EA7300

    Pros:
    • 1×1 MU-MIMO connections provide efficient data streaming
    • High-performance beamforming antennas
    • Easy setup
    Cons:
    • Does not support multi gigabit speeds
    • Limited settings in stock UI
    • Shorter wireless range

    The Linksys Max Stream EA7300 is a well-rounded option for a home that requires some dedicated power for gaming and streaming, without going overboard.

    Its dual-band setup is best for the average household. It offers a baseline 2.4GHz signal across a wide connectivity area, thanks to beamforming technology that focus the signal where it needs to go. It also has a faster 5GHz signal for devices dedicated to gaming or streaming.

    The two frequency bands combine to offer a total max transmission rate of 1.7Gbps, with a 1×1 MU-MIMO line to streamline the buffering process for a single device.

    As for connectivity, this router has a standard four ethernet ports, plus a USB 3.0 for networked media.

    Setting up the router is easier than you would expect. It only takes a few steps to get started, and once you reach the web UI, you have easy access to features like parental controls, guest passwords, and firewall settings.

    More advanced features like VPN connections and bandwidth utilization are nowhere to be found.

    Should that happen to be a dealbreaker for you, there are plenty of other routers in this price range that will do the job. However, if they aren’t, then this should be a top consideration if you are looking for a midrange router.

    Frequency bands: one 2.4GHz, two 5 GHz
    Max throughput speed: 1.7 Gbps
    Processor: Dual-Core
    Ethernet ports: 4

How to Take Advantage of Gigabit Internet

For many gigabit service subscribers, the roughly $10 equipment rental fee that most ISPs charge is seen as a necessity for maximizing the value they get from their Internet plan. But that is simply not the case.

There are many great consumer wireless routers that can handle Gigabit Internet so it is in your best interest to ditch the monthly rental fee and buy your networking gear outright.

Finding the most up-to-date networking equipment may sound like a tall order to the Wi-Fi neophyte, but rental equipment from companies like Xfinity, AT&T, and Charter is usually just average at best. That means you are just as likely to improve your speed as you are to save money.

You just need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem (like the ones reviewed in our top DOCSIS 3.1 modem roundup) and a router capable of handling gigabit speeds. There are a few modem-router combo units that fit this bill, but getting two separate units is greatly preferred for easier troubleshooting.

Getting both would cost an average of $300, which is less than three years of equipment rental fees. It could be done for less, but if you’re springing for the best service you can get, you might as well go big.

How We Picked the Best Gigabit Routers

Whether you are shopping to future-proof your home network or just looking for the best value, we’ve laid out the most important criteria for you to consider when picking the best gigabit router for you.

At the top of the list are a high max data throughput and a large wireless range. Our preference goes to routers that use MU-MIMO technology to create prioritized connections to the heaviest users.

A good router should also have a powerful processor. Equally important is a good selection of ports. A USB 3.0 port is a must-have if you want to use an NAS (network-attached storage) device. Additionally, you want a minimum of four ethernet ports if you plan to hardwire devices or do an old-school bridge setup.

One final note is that the routers we reviewed are cable modems, and won’t work for FTTH (fiber to the home) services. FTTN (fiber to the node) and cable services, however, will generally work fine with any of our picks regardless of your ISP.

See Also

7 Best Tri-Band Routers: Your Buyer's Guide

7 Best Docsis 3.1 Modems for Gigabit Internet

7 Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers: Your Buyer’s Guide

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