If you live in a house with a large amount of streamers, it would make sense that you are looking for the best router for 4K streaming that you can get. After all, the most powerful routers can still run into streaming trouble from time to time.
But what do you look for in a 4K streaming router? What questions should you ask yourself?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions yet, we are here to give you a hand. Through the proper research and knowing what you want, you can easily find the best 4K router that you can get.
8 Best Routers For 4K Streaming (2021)
1. Netgear R9000
2. Linksys EA9500
3. Netgear R7000
4. Zyxel Armor Z2
5. Netgear AX4
6. TP-Link Archer A7
7. Motorola MR2600
8. Netgear RAX120
WiFi 6 Standard
1. Netgear Nighthawk R9000 WiFi Router
Best Router For Streaming 4K Overall (Editor's Choice)
When it comes to the best router for 4K streaming, you really can’t do better than the Netgear Nighthawk R9000. The Nighthawk series in general is impressive in all of the features that it offers and this router is no exception.
This router is a sleek, black design with four performance antennas that can be positioned toward the areas of your network that need the best signal. It is meant to lay flat on a table or counter and has six performance antennas included to help give you a boosted and a more direct signal throughout your network.
The Nighthawk series is made for high performance, making it already incredibly powerful before you take into consideration everything else you can get from this one.
This is the ultimate router for performance. This is a tri-band router, which you might not even have known existed. Tri-band in this case means that you get a 2.4GHz band, a 5GHz, and lastly a 60GHz band, something that you really won’t find on the market right now. That is how impressive this router really is.
The Nighthawk also offers you ReadySHARE, which is an automatic backup for USB storage as well as the memory of your router as well. There is a Nighthawk app available that you can use to help you not only setup your router, but it will allow you to keep track of what is happening within it, giving you extra peace of mind and security. Combine all of that with the 7.2 Gbps and the 1.7GHz quad core processor and you have a router that can easily handle all of your 4K streaming needs.
2. Linksys Max-Stream EA9500 Router
Now if you are looking for a router that is even higher performance and the Nighthawk R9000, we have a recommendation for you. The most high performance router for 4K streaming is the Linksys Max-Stream AC5400.
The physical design of the Max-Stream AC540 is futuristic. In fact, it looks more like a drone than it does a router. Part of that is due to the whopping eight performance antennas that are popping out of it everywhere. It is made to lay horizontally rather than vertically, especially when working around all of those antennas.
A router of this capability is meant to be able to handle multiple devices streaming at the same time.
The Max-Stream AC1900 router is built to handle the demands of the modern apartment. With the MU-MIMO built-in, you will be able to easily stream games or movies without having any kind of down time. It comes with Beamforming built-in as well, which should increase the coverage of your wireless signal.
The Max-Stream is also a tri-band router that is made to handle wireless speeds up to 5.3Gbps, which is insane. Individually, the 2.4GHz band offers speeds of up to 600Mbps and the two 5GHz bands are made to handle speeds up to 1000Mbps and 2166Mbps. What does it all mean? This router is built for speed.
This router also offers you a USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet ports in order to give you a wired-in connection if that is something that you want. You can also connect an external storage device in order to move files around or share them throughout the entirety of your network.
3. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 WiFi Router
Budget Friendly 4K Router
Another good 4K router that you should consider is another part of the Nighthawk series: the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. Unlike some of the other models, however, this one is made to be lighter on the budget.
The R7000 is a flat router that is a nice, sleek, black plastic with three performance antennas coming out of the top. It is ultimately designed to handle online streaming and gaming with its 11AC speed and performance.
The design also includes the USB 3.0 port as well as its easy and straightforward installation. No one should have to face the trouble of installing a router when they just want the WiFi up and running.
This Nighthawk router is an AC1900 with a built-in 1GHz dual-core processor. With the Beamforming+ features, the Nighthawk’s reach should make it all around your network as needed, helping you make sure that you avoid the pitfalls of dead spots around your home.
This router also offers a dynamic QoS that will help you prioritize your bandwidth to giving you the uninterrupted signal to the devices that need it. This means that any videos, music, or games that you might be streaming will not be interrupted if there is a lag in signal. Your gaming or videos should not be disrupted across your WiFi, giving bandwidth where it is needed the most.
As an added bonus, this router also has a great amount of security, including parental controls, allowing you to keep your network as safe as possible.
4. Zyxel Armor Z2 Wireless Router
If you are looking for a router that steps away from the common brands, but one that is still one of the best 4K routers, take a gander at the Zyxel Armor Z2. This router is made for optimization of streaming devices and does not disappoint its users.
The design of the Zyxel Armor router is sleeker and more contemporary than most routers that are on the market. It has four performance Beamforming antennas to help you direct the wireless signal toward the devices that need it the most.
The packaging that it comes in is also simple and easy to get your router hooked up so that you can finish setting it up on your own. The price of this router was also meant to be competitive enough to match up with the better-known router brands.
This is a fairly high performance router. Its chipset is made for 2600Mbps with 4x4 MU-MOMO technology to help you have an accelerated transition from your wireless devices. As a result, streaming 4K will not be a problem for this router at all. One of the most important performance pieces is the placement of the antennas on the router. You can move them where you need to be and give the right amount of signal to the devices that need it most.
It is also supposed to have an easy setup but also confusing instructions with the booklet, so it might take some amount of patience to properly get your settings in place and your router up and running. This router also has a great parental lock option to keep younger users from tampering with it.
5. Netgear Nighthawk RAX40 Router
Another hit from the Nighthawk series is the Netgear Nighthawk RAX40. This router is made for fast wireless speeds that are going to knock your socks off.
The design of this higher performance router is sleeker than some of the others that you might have read in our other recommendations. This router comes with two performance antennas and while that is certainly less than other routers, that does not detract from this router’s capabilities.
Design-wise, this router does take up a bit of space, but it also looks more like a ship from a sci-fi show than a router, so if you’re having trouble concealing it, you could just say it’s a model spaceship. For its capabilities, the size is worth it.
This router brings all of the stops out that you can get. It can handle from 20 to 30 devices as well as 16 WiFi clients simultaneously. It might only have two antennas to work with, but that does not make it any less powerful. The uplink and downlink OFDMA allows efficient data transmission across multiple devices at the same time.
If you think about it, this router is really representative of the modern home network. With most people having one or more devices that use WiFi, it makes sense to have a router that is literally made to make that happen. This router also works with existing devices, supporting new and old devices easily, which can really make a difference if you are commonly streaming 4K videos or gaming online.
6. TP-Link Archer A7 Smart WiFi Router
Another 4K streaming router that we are going to look at is the TP-Link Archer A7. This is an excellent router that was made to perform well without taking away all of your hard-earned cash.
This router has a stand that is designed to easily accommodate all of the cables in the back while still helping keep your router as cool as possible, but it does mean that the router looks differently than other routers that you might have already seen.
With multiple ports, one of the best things that you can do is that you can wirelessly access one of the USB ports, which can be handy when you are not in the same room as the router. The design of the Archer A7 includes three high-gain antennas, which will increase your Wi-Fi signal to reach every corner of your home.
The Archer A7 is designed to boost signal throughout homes up to 2500 square feet, which should work for most of us out there, especially those of us in apartments. In some cases, you might still find that you have a signal even when you are outside.
The Archer A7 will help out in households that have been competing over the bandwidth. The dual band speeds can reach up to 1750 Mbps, providing 3X faster Wi-Fi than other traditional routers do.
An added perk, there is a TP-Link app that will allow you to access the Archer A7 even when you are not at home. This allows you to adjust any settings or security concerns that you might have remotely. It does come with parental controls as well as QoS, and can even work with Alexa when needed.
7. Motorola MR2600 Wireless Router
Even when you are on a budget, you shouldn’t settle for a router that will not be able to keep up with all of your streaming your needs. For that reason, we suggest the Motorola MR2600, which is such a great combination of 4K streaming at a good price.
The MR2600 comes with four adjustable external antennas. The antennas we meant to provide you with concurrent performance across both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands. This router is admittedly tricky to set up, but it does use Motorola’s setup wizard that can help you get through the process easier than if you didn’t have it.
This budget-friendly router actually has the MU-MIMO technology that you need for online gaming. Combine this with the implicit and explicit Beamforming, which is like a signal boost in the direction the antennas are pointing and, as a result, you will have lightning quick speed and awesome range, giving you impressive performance for a budget friendly router.
Even though this is considered budget friendly, the AC2600 also will give you a USB3.0 port, Smart QoS support, a fire wall, parental controls, and so much more. The Gigabit Ethernet ports will allow you to hardwire in any device that you need to be sure doesn’t lose signal throughout your apartment. You should be able to get consistent and reliable speeds throughout your apartment by using this router.
The upload speeds on this router are about average when compared to other routers, but since you are getting this one at such as reasonable price, you know there will be some concessions.
8. Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 WiFi Router
WiFi 6 Standard
The perfect WiFi6 standard router for 4K streaming is the Netgear Nighthawk RAX120. This router is unlike many others that you have probably seen and its power and performance is really unmatched.
Looking at the design, the RAX120 has two fins instead of the more traditional external moveable antennas that you would find with most routers. The antennas are still high-gain antennas, but you cannot move them to point in specific directions, like you can with the typical type of antenna.
The Nighthawk RAX120 has two 3.0 USB ports, instead of one. It even has a 2.5/5G Ethernet port, which will really help with connected speeds. All of this connectivity capability will allow you to connect just about any device that you want to have a direct connection. That can supply you with uninterrupted coverage for the devices that really need that level of reliability.
The performance of the RAX120 is really what makes it a great choice for 4K streaming. The RAX120 can reach speeds up to 6 Gbps, which is incredible for streaming. Most ISPs cannot give you speeds like this, but if you have some high speed capability in your internet speed package, this router will make the best of it.
The Nighthawk RAX120 can easily support 12 simultaneous streams. That means that it has more capacity to support many WiFi devices at the same time, which will keep your network running smoothly without any trouble, regardless of how many devices are on at the same time. It also comes with Beamforming+, which will help you reach up to 3500 square feet in coverage as well as MU-MIMO technology.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Router For 4K Streaming
Speed & Wireless Standard
Some of the numbers that you see listed in the product description of a router might not make a lot of sense to you, but they do matter. The standards are set to help regulate internet speeds. The original was 802.11a which has since somewhat evolved.
The different standards can operate on different channels. So 802.11ac can operate in the less crowded 5GHz, which will prevent any online interference. Ultimately, as long as you are aiming for a router that has dual-band or tri-band, you shouldn’t need to know the standard that you are using in order to use it.
Dual-Band or Tri-Band
The amount of bands that your high performance 4K router needs will depend on what you need them for.
Dual-band works well with the average household, offering two bands to hop onto. The 2.4GHz is the most commonly used band and is therefore the most congested. 5GHz has more channels and is less used so you are less likely to run into too much traffic from your neighbours.
Tri-band normally means that you have a second 5GHz band to work with, which works well because of the large quantity of channels that you have to work with. You will need dual-band for sure, but whether you need tri-band depends.
Quality Of Service (QoS)
The quality of service (QoS) is another factor that you should consider when you are looking for the best router for 4K streaming. QoS is what allows you to prioritize devices across your network.
Not everyone or every device is going to need all of the bandwidth and the devices that would be detrimental if kicked offline should be giving the best priority.
It is made to help you against dropped signal on the devices that really can’t afford the interruption. If you don’t have too many devices on your network, this might not matter at all for you.
MU-MIMO and Beamforming
Multi-user, multiple-input and multiple output (MU-MIMO) technology is used to allow consistent communication across your wireless router.
Having the router be able to talk to more than one device at a time allows you to stream something in one room while be working on something else in another. The router acts as a middle man to keep your coverage going.
Beamforming has more to do with the quality of your antennas strength and the direction that the signal is being pushed towards. Both features will make your wireless experience all the more enjoyable and easier when it comes to 4K streaming.
Generally, a faster processor is considered better for your router than a slower processor would but, but not all firmware can handle that level of speed. That said, with any of these routers listed, you will not have a processor problem.
You should be looking at what your network’s needs are before you dive into one type of processor over another.
The channels and banding have more to do with the success of your router than the processor does, but it all depends on the situation. Faster processors do hold up for long term wear and tear as well.
You might not have considered the importance of antennas when it comes to choosing a router, but they are incredibly important. Not all routers have external antennas.
In fact, some are built inside of the router, or are contained within fins, but all are important when it comes to the range and power of your signal. You will need to make sure that you get a router with high gain antennas that can reach the entirety of your network.
Ports are another factor that you should think about when it comes to your router. 1 G or 2 G Ethernet ports will allow you to wire in devices directly into the router for the most stable connection.
Likewise USB 3.0 ports are ideal to connect storage devices that can be accessed across the network. Think about what you would like to have connected to your router to have an idea of the ports you should be looking for.
How Much Internet Bandwidth Do You Need For 4K Streaming
One question that you might not have considered when it comes to your router is how much bandwidth do you actually need to stream 4K? Ultimately, that depends on your streaming service and your ISP, both of which you have little to no control over.
The minimum bandwidth that you need to stream will vary from service to service, but generally speaking, any device should be able to handle 4K streaming if they stick with speeds that are 25Mbps or faster, which should not be terrible hard to find.
You will also have a better time with this if you stick with dual-band or tri-band router, both of which offer up channels that would be hard to find if you are.
Wi-Fi vs Ethernet For 4K Streaming
While we all know that wireless is much more convenient than a wired connection, the question will continually come up of which is ideal.
Wireless devices, such as tablets and smartphones will never need to be connected to an Ethernet port for streaming. Ethernet is simply faster than Wi-Fi. The signal does not have to transmit through the air to reach the device in question, but is instead brought directly through the cable.
For this reason, for HDTVs and game consoles, it is ideal to use Ethernet to stream rather than Wi-Fi. The speed of your internet package should also be taken into consideration.
You should never have to settle for anything that is less than the best when it comes to 4K streaming. You should think about how many streaming devices there are within your network and how much bandwidth they might take up. But really, you need to be sure that your router is meeting all of your needs.
The best router for 4K streaming is Netgear R9000 followed by Linksys EA9500.
Some things to consider include the amount of antennas, the size of the router, and the amount of channels that you should be using. Do not buy the first router that you find, but read through our recommendations for some educated wisdom.