Tech

Best mesh and Wi-Fi router deals while you wait for Prime Day


This story is part of Amazon Prime Day 2021, CNET’s guide on everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.

Amazon Prime Day runs from June 21 through 22 — it’s coming up on us fast — but Amazon’s deals have already begun. And it’s never too soon to start shopping for a new router for a decent price. If you’ve been planning to upgrade to a homewide mesh system, a current-gen Wi-Fi 6 router or a budget-friendly Wi-Fi 5 model, this may be the best time to search for good deals before Black Friday.

It’s also a good time to think about upgrading if you and your family members will still be working from home for the near future or if someone in the household has become an avid gamer. The right router quarterbacking your home network can make a huge difference.  

Retailers have begun to announce their rival sales to Prime Day, including Target’s Deal Days running from June 20-22 and Walmart’s Deals for Days taking place June 20-23, so they’re also a great place to look for networking bargains. Father’s Day is almost here, so there are a ton of related sales to look for there as well. 

We’ll be updating these recommendations regularly with all of the best home networking deals we’ve spotted across the web until the last deal dissipates into the ether. 

Router deals available now

TP-Link via Amazon

Though this basic router is about three years old, the Wi-Fi 5 standard it supports is even older, so you wouldn’t be missing anything cutting edge. It’s stood the test of time, and with features like four gigabit LAN connectors, a USB drive port to share content on your network and an app for remote management, it offers the essentials. The $55 price for this can’t be beat — B&H applies a coupon when you add it to your cart — especially if you’re upgrading from an even older Wi-Fi 4 model. It’s occasionally been cheaper over the course of its life, but not so much it’s worth waiting for yet another drop.

Netgear

Like the TP-Link Archer A7, this is a meat-and-potatoes Wi-Fi 5 router, now available at an all-time low of $60; Wi-Fi 5 is a solid choice if none of your devices support the newer Wi-Fi 6 standard. It does have modern conveniences including a phone app to set up and control it, parental controls, remote access and guest accounts.

Netgear

It doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, but the AC1200 version of the Netgear Orbi is still a solid and dependable mesh router, and it impressed us with surprisingly strong signal strength when we tested it out at the CNET Smart Home. Back then, we called the two-piece version of this system a terrific value at $129, and now it’s back to its Black Friday pricing for the three-piece version with an extra range extender for just $100 ($120, with another $20 coupon applied at checkout).

A three-piece mesh system like this one is the best way to cover a large home with a steady, reliable Wi-Fi connection, and $100 is as low a price as you’ll ever see for a well-reviewed, name-brand option that can cover a lot of ground like this one.

Read our Netgear Orbi AC1200 review.

 

Netgear

$115 isn’t an all-time low price for this entry-level gaming router — that’s closer to $90 — but it’s still lower than it’s been for a while, so you may want to think about grabbing it, if not now, then during another sale season. The Nighthawk AX4 features a dual-core processor and support for 4X4 MU-MIMO connections to aggregate faster speeds to devices with multiple antennas of their own. 

Netgear

This well-loved Wi-Fi 6 mesh system can cover up to 7,500 square feet and handle over 40 devices simultaneously, and you can get it at an all-time-low price of $445 for the bundle of tri-band modem with two satellites. It’s not as fast as the top-of-the-line Orbi AX6000 we tested (and briefly found a good deal on), but neither is it as expensive and we consider the AX6000 overkill for a lot of people, anyway.

Expired router deals

Netgear

There’s nothing particularly amazing about this dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with the ability to cover about 2,500 square feet, but it’s a good choice if you know what you’re doing to tweak it for best performance. And now it’s at an all-time low price of $192.

Chris Monroe/CNET

If you’re looking for a mesh system on the cheap, the latest version of Amazon’s own Eero dual-band mesh Wi-Fi 6 router and extender is a great option. It’s available now at an early Prime Day all-time-low sale price of $129. It’s not the fastest mesh router available, but it’s solid and the price can’t be beat.

Read our Eero 6 review.

 

Expired router deals that may return

TP-Link

Technically, you’re only saving about $8 off this already low-priced mesh system, though it was $190 when it launched last year. That may not seem like doesn’t seem like much, but if you want TP-Link’s Deco X20 but don’t need a two-satellite setup, you’re actually saving about $128. The W3600 is just a one-satellite version of the two-satellite Deco X20 that was intended as a Walmart-only offering. So it’s odd that Home Depot has it at a lower price. Speeds are capped at 1,201Mbps on the 5GHz band of this Amazon Alexa-compatible budget mesh, but that’s still significantly faster than the previous-gen Deco P9, which capped things at 867Mbps.

Read 2020 Deco line preview.

 

TP-Link

If none of your devices are Wi-Fi 6 but you still have a ton of them competing for signals on your Wi-Fi 5 network, a tri-band router, with two 5GHz bands, is the way to go. B&H has this one at an all-time low price of $130: $190 plus a $60 coupon that’s applied when you add it to your cart.

Ry Crist/CNET

The Asus RT-AX68U Wi-Fi 6 router earned our Editors’ Choice in November, and this is the first time it’s seen any price drops. $20 isn’t that big of a deal, but for a router we declared “The best Wi-Fi 6 router for the money,” just six months ago, it’s just an extra incentive.

It’s fast, it’s full-featured and easy to use, and even without newer Wi-Fi 6E, it feels sufficiently future-proofed with a WAN port that supports incoming speeds as high as 2.5Gbps. 



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