Homeowner content is free. We may earn a commission when you click links through our site. Advertiser Disclosure

Upgrading from a single-band router to a dual-band one significantly improves the network performance. They are also more affordable than tri-band units, but many available choices may cause confusion.

As a tech reviewer, I have spent a lot of time using dual-band routing devices. I now have a deep understanding of what makes them best. So, I’ve handpicked the top models based on rigorous testing on various parameters.

7 Best Dual-Band Routers in 2024

Whether you need a device that provides a long range or one that can handle network-intensive tasks such as gaming, streaming, etc., you’ll find an ideal match.

Not only the high-end, but I’ve also included the mid-tier and budget models, catering to different needs. Without further ado, let’s get to the reviews.

Sale
TP-Link Archer AX6000
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • WiFi Range: Up to 2,500 Sq Ft
  • Supported Internet Plans: Up to 2 Gbps
  • Number of Devices Supported: 40+
  • Ports: 1 x 2.5G WAN + 8 x Gig-E LAN + 1 x USB-C 3.0 + 1 x USB-A 3.0
  • App Support: Yes

One of the first Wi-Fi 6 routers in the market, the TP-Link Archer AX6000, still holds its position as a reliable router with dual-band WiFi support. Courtesy of it, you can expect a decent performance both in terms of throughput capacity and range.

Compared to my previous pick, there’s only one 2.5G port but eight 1 Gbps ethernet ports that provide robust wired connectivity.

Speeds & Performance

It boasts the same 6000 Mbps of throughput, with band-wise speeds as follows:

5 GHz: 4804 Mbps2.4 GHz: 1148 Mbps

In my tests, TP-Link AX6000 showed not exceptional but quite solid speeds. Paired with the Optimum 2 Gig Fiber plan, the 5 GHz band could churn out a download speed of 1756 Mbps, while uploads fared out at 1232 Mbps.

At the same time, the 2.4 GHz didn’t drop much, with speeds of 1292 Mbps and 884 Mbps, respectively.

I connected a variety of devices, including laptops, smartphones, two smart TVs, and gaming consoles, yet the AX6000 was quite stable. Technologies like OFDMA and MU-MIMO made that possible.

Ports & Wired Speed

Ports are also ample, with eight gigabit LAN ports and one 2.5 Gbps WAN port, offering you multiple options to establish wired connections. Besides, the LAN ports support Link Aggregation, so your devices have some additional bandwidth to exploit.

Connecting with Gig ports extracted speeds at 1902 Mbps and 1475 Mbps, higher than wireless bands.

WiFi Coverage & Device Capacity

I tested this TP-Link router in my friend’s 2,000 Sq Ft house, and courtesy of its eight-antenna setup, none of the corners were void of signals. Aside from that, receiving bandwidth on 28 different devices wasn’t difficult.

Security Features

TP-Link seems to be diligent in keeping security at the heart of its device. Be it keeping your data encrypted to the ability to create a VPN, it has got most covered. It also has some handy features like guest access, access control, and DDoS protection.

Besides, there’s a premium HomeShield on offer with some advanced features like antivirus protection, malware blocking, and others.

Next, the router has some incredible parental controls that you can customize for each user by creating separate profiles and selecting what they can and what not.

Conclusion

With powerful specs and performance, TP-Link has created a perfect balance between the price and its offerings. With eight Gigabit ports, link aggregation, and a multi-gig port, the router finds its place amongst the best wireless routers out there.

For more details, check out the in-depth review of Archer AX6000.

Pros

    • Eight LAN ports
    • Link Aggregation support
    • One 2.5 Gbps port
    • Great wireless speeds
    • Decent WiFi coverage

Cons

    • Some security features are paid

3. Best Value for Money: Netgear Nighthawk RAX54S

Sale
Netgear Nighthawk RAX54S
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • WiFi Range: Up to 2,500 Sq Ft
  • Supported Internet Plan: Up to 2 Gbps
  • Devices Capacity: Up to 50
  • Ports: 1 x Gig WAN + 4 x Gig-E LAN + 1 x USB 3.0
  • App Support: Yes

Netgear RAX54S is an excellent medium to transfer data at a fast pace to nearby devices by combining 802.11ax WiFi 6 high-speed operations. Compared to my previous pick, it brings robust control with 1 year Netgear Armor subscription.

Besides, a powerful processor, beamforming+ tech, and many others satiate the network needs of most smart devices.

Speeds & Performance

With WiFi 6 support, the throughput capacity of Netgear RAX54S maximizes at 5400 Mbps, where the respective band-wise speeds are as follows:

5 GHz: 4804 Mbps2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps

In my Nashville test lab, paired with the Cox 1 Gbps plan, the router excelled in delivering lots of data on my Dell XPS laptop kept close to it.

Using the Ookla speed test app, the test system registered 818 Mbps of data flow downstream and 661 Mbps upstream. Note that the speeds were measured on the system 20 feet away from the source.

Netgear RAX54S Speed Test

The router’s bandwidth, however, fell off sharply when I moved to a distance of 40 feet. At this point, its respective throughput for download and upload dropped to 309 Mbps and 213 Mbps. The signals, however, almost blanked out at 60 feet.

Irrespective of the speed drops, RAX54S passed my informal saturation test, where the bandwidth was distributed to support 4K streams on my smart TV, audio streams on my smartphone, and file downloads on my laptop.

During the entire session, the sound and video were skip-free without any drop-ups, freezes, and artifacts.

WiFi Coverage & Devices Capacity

The Nighthawk router has four adjustable antennas with a stipulated range of 2,500 Sq Ft, making it fit for any two-bedroom house.

In reality, the antennae with beamforming+ tech could transmit signals as far as 2,100 Sq Ft, meaning it left a few dead spots in my Nashville test lab.

Moving on, the antennas work in tandem with MU-MIMO and OFDMA to concentrate the signal strength on the connected devices. As a result, I could connect up to 42 devices with the bandwidth simultaneously.

Ports & Connectivity

The jet-black RAX54S with a rectangular case, curved top, and several gem-like facets looks pretty on my tablespace and entails five ethernet ports on its rear panel.

Each has a 1 Gbps speed capacity, with maximum real-time speeds of 978 Mbps for downloads and 821 Mbps for uploads. This paves the way for no-nonsense gaming and streaming tasks.

Security Features

While RAX54S matches most routers with WPA3 encryption, guest network access, and VPN, it takes a step further with its Armor package of security features. Generally, it’s paid in most Netgear routers, you have free access to it for one year.

It includes features like malware detection and eradication while defending the devices from accessing infected websites or other devices.

Conclusion

By combining fast speed with the most powerful security software, Netgear Nighthawk RAX54S comes forward as one of the most reliable dual-band WiFi routers. It not only fulfills the network needs of your family but lets you browse in peace.

However, it has a hooped-up price compared to my previous pick, and potential speed drops over a distance are the reason it’s ranked fourth.

Pros

    • Excellent value for money
    • Premium Armor subscription
    • Excellent close-up performance
    • Quick setup & management
    • Customization potential

Cons

    • Distance speeds are not great

4. Best from Linksys: Linksys Hydra Pro 6

Sale
Linksys Hydra Pro 6
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • WiFi Range: Up to 2,700 Sq Ft
  • Supported Internet Plan: Up to 2 Gbps
  • Devices Capacity: Up to 30
  • Ports: 1 x Gig-E WAN + 4 x Gig-E LAN + 1 x USB 3.0
  • App Support: Yes

If you’re one of those who seeks a versatile router without having to pay a truckload of money, take a look at this Linksys Hydra Pro 6.

It has a series of quality features in its trunk, starting from ever-so-reliable WiFi 6 support, 160 MHz channel, and intelligent mesh technology. And putting it in test beside Hydra 6, the former has got better speed, range, and overall performance.

Speeds & Performance

Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is a dual-band WiFi 6 router with a speed rating of AX5400, and the band-wise split is as follows:

5 GHz: 4804 Mbps2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps

I tested the router at my test lab in Nashville, where I have a 1 Gig fiber internet plan from Cox. And based on week-long tests, Hydra Pro 6 turned reliable.

With my test device 20 feet from Hydra Pro 6, it delivered a throughput of 812 Mbps for downloads and 668 Mbps for uploads.

Linksys Hydra Pro 6 Speed Test

At 40 feet, the respective download and upload throughput of the Hydra router dropped to 489 Mbps and 331 Mbps. That’s almost a 40% speed drop on doubling the distance.

However, more than speeds, great consistency is the benchmark of a good router, and my experience was positive. During my week of use, Hydra Pro 6 passed my saturation test, where I streamed 4K videos on my Dell XPS laptop, played online games, and listened to online music on my smartphone.

All video and audio came through perfectly with no freezes or glitches.

WiFi Coverage & Devices Capacity

As mentioned earlier, the tests were carried out in my 2,500 test lab in Nashville, and the router managed to cover almost everything except a few corners.

In numbers, around a 2,300 Sq Ft area is well-managed by the Hydra Pro 6, so it’s a smart pick for any two-bedroom apartment.

But even if you have a large space, utilize its Intelligent mesh tech and pair another Linksys router for seamless connectivity.

Here, beamforming plays a crucial role. Added to it, the MU-MIMO and OFDMA tech lets me connect up to 25 smart devices at once.

Ports & Connectivity

It’s good to go with wired connections along the back, including a broadband WAN input and four wired outputs, all limited to 1 Gbps though. By contrast, TP-Link AX6000 has a faster 2.5G input.

Also, there isn’t any support for link aggregation. Nevertheless, the available ports make way for speeds up to 936 Mbps, paving the way for no-nonsense gaming and streaming.

Security Features

In terms of security, Hydra Pro 6 doesn’t include much to be excited about, but it entails the basic set of features like WPA3, VPN, SPI firewall, and auto-firmware update. These work in tandem to secure the datasets traveling over the network and ensure they aren’t compromised by any means.

Conclusion

Overall, establishing a balance in features, performance, and cost, Hydra Pro 6 from Linksys is a good mid-range option. Its speeds and range are great, but it lacks a multi-gig port and strong security features like my top recommendations.

Irrespective of that, it’s worth a pick for a digital household that watches 4K streams, plays games, and downloads.

Pros

    • Great WiFi speeds
    • Small and easy to install
    • Decent WiFi range
    • Wide 160 MHz channels
    • Great stable speeds

Cons

    • Average security controls

Sale
TP-Link Deco X60
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • WiFi Range: Up to 7,000 Sq Ft
  • Supported Internet Plan: Up to 1 Gbps
  • Devices Capacity: Up to 150
  • Ports: 2 x Gig-E LAN
  • App Support: Yes

If most of your large house is void of a network, then a mesh system is your ultimate solution. TP-Link’s Deco X60 comes with a massive 7,000 Sq Ft range, which is higher than all the options featured on this list. However, the device lacks a 2.5 Gbps port and also doesn’t have a USB port.

Speeds & Performance

Deco X60 has a maximum data-transfer ability of 3000 Mbps, and its band-wise speeds are as follows:

5 GHz: 2401 Mbps2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps

With the available speeds, I’m confident it appeals to anyone with an internet plan of up to 1 Gbps. And with a similar plan from Cox, the overall experience was excellent.

I tested the speed 20 feet away from the router and managed an impressive 801 Mbps for downloads and 636 Mbps for uploads.

TP-Link Deco X60 Speed Test

That’s fast. Such speeds let me stream up to 35 UHD videos at a time, making it suitable for a small workplace with 10-20 people and even a large family.

In comparison to other mesh systems out there, it checks out pretty well. Moving my test device farther away at 40 feet, I could manage respective speeds of 548 Mbps and 364 Mbps, bettering my previous recommendation.

So even at a distance, high-quality streaming and gaming are feasible. Besides, with QoS, you can prioritize any task in the crowd of multiple internet-based tasks and access better speeds.

WiFi Coverage & Devices Capacity

The three-unit X60 mesh system comes at a stipulated range of 7,000 Sq Ft. To test it out, I installed it at my client’s five-floor corporate establishment, where the main router was kept in the basement while the other two on the third and fifth floor respectively. And the entire 6,120 Sq Ft space was encased with signals.

The signals were stable across the space courtesy of mesh tech, beamforming, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA technology. All of these work in tandem to let you stream 4K videos on up to 85 devices at once, sufficing the needs of my client’s workspace.

Ports & Connectivity

The small yet visually appealing Deco X60 units have two Ethernet ports on their rear panel with a Gigabit speed capacity. That’s less than most of my picks. Besides, there aren’t any USB ports for network storage devices.

But with the available ports, you can engage in high-speed downloads, 4K streaming, and gaming without any lags or latencies.

Security Features

Deco X60 has a HomeShield basic security suite with features like guest access, VPN, SPI firewall, WPA3, and auto-firmware update.

These seldom work to protect the data transferred through the network and let you browse in peace. Aside from that, with the app, you can remove any unwanted devices and block any malicious or dangerous websites.

Conclusion

If you need strong signals and reliable speeds in a large house or a business setting, the Deco X60 is my go-to mesh router that has dual-band support. The available bandwidth, and multi-device handling ability, alongside advanced networking technologies, work to suffice most of your internet needs.

Pros

    • Excellent range
    • Handles many devices at once
    • Decent speeds
    • QoS for traffic prioritization
    • Easy to install

Cons

    • Only two Ethernet ports
    • No USB port

6. Best Secure Router: Synology RT2600AC

Sale
Synology RT2600AC
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 5 wave 2 (802.11ac)
  • WiFi Range: Up to 2,000 Sq Ft
  • Supported Internet Plan: Up to 500 Mbps
  • Number of Devices Supported: 100
  • Ports: 1 x Gig WAN + 4 x Gig-E LAN + 1 x USB 3.0 + 1 x USB 2.0
  • App Support: Yes

For people valuing network security over other features, Synology RT2600AC is a great dual-band AC router to pick. Its top-tier security features and parental controls protect your network and devices from major threats.

Speeds & Performance

RT2600AC has a maximum speed capacity of 2600 Mbps, with speeds distributed over bands as follows:

5 GHz: 1800 Mbps2.4 GHz: 800 Mbps

The router performed decently well in my throughput tests with the Cox 500 Mbps plan. Over the 5 GHz band, it almost topped the charts with download and upload speeds of 487 Mbps and 215 Mbps at close range (15 feet).

While increasing the distance by 30 feet, download speeds stayed at around 275 Mbps, which is still pretty impressive.

Its performance wasn’t bad over 2.4GHz, with download speeds averaging 250 Mbps and 135 Mbps over 5 feet and 30 feet, respectively. Similarly, respective upload speed scores were 87 Mbps and 52 Mbps.

And even though the values are lesser than the above-mentioned options, it’s still fast enough to deliver a faster internet connection.

Ports & Wired Speed

The port is something I wished I could have more of, but you can still connect two of your bandwidth-hungry devices to it, where one is plugged in with the modem.

With download speeds of 505 Mbps and uploads taking place at 275 Mbps, it’s more than capable of handling any heavy-bandwidth tasks. Besides, its single USB 3.0 port fosters faster file transfers.

WiFi Coverage & Device Capacity

RT2600AC, despite its four-antenna setup, has a decent range of 2,000 Sq Ft. Nevertheless, any of your mid-sized apartments or a small workspace is filled with powerful connections.

You can easily take any internet-bound tasks over 40-45 devices at a time. MU-MIMO, beamforming, and QoS do have a major role to play in this respect.

Security Features

Now let’s address the devil in the room, i.e., security. Some of the standout features of this router include threat detection and elimination, guest access, VPN, DDoS security, intrusion prevention, automatic security updates, and firewall management.

These features ensure no external agents, threats, or malware can impend your network or connected devices. And the best thing is the company doesn’t charge a single penny for these.

Aside from that, its parental controls are best among the lot. There are features like traffic monitoring, scheduling, and user profiles, which let parents ensure their kids aren’t viewing anything inappropriate over the internet. And its remote control feature lets you do it from anywhere.

Conclusion

Synology RT2600AC is among the most secure routers on offer. Its throughput capacity and coverage, and in turn, overall performance is also decent. But its coverage and port setup could be better and, therefore, the rank.

To learn more about this device, read its full review.

Pros

    • Advanced security tools
    • Strong network security tools
    • Solid dual band performance
    • MU-MIMO data streaming

Cons

    • Old WiFi standard
    • Middling coverage

7. Cheapest Option: ASUS RT-AX55

Sale
ASUS RT-AX55
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • WiFi Range: Up to 3,000 Sq Ft
  • Supported Internet Plan: Up to 500 Mbps
  • Devices Capacity: Up to 30
  • Ports: 1 x Gig WAN + 4 x Gig-E LAN + 1 x USB 3.0
  • App Support: Yes

Last but not least, presenting to you a cheap yet reliable option, Asus RT-AX55. It has WiFi 6, powerful antennas, a 3,000 Sq Ft range, and free-of-cost advanced security features that add a few brownie points to the total.

Speeds & Performance

Asus RT-AX55 has a maximum theoretical speed cap of 3000 Mbps, where the band-wise speeds are as follows:

5 GHz: 1200 Mbps2.4 GHz: 600 Mbps

The theoretical speed cap suggests its viability with plans equal to or less than 500 Mbps. And testing with a similar plan from Cox, the overall performance was excellent.

I’ll start with the top speed: from 20 feet away, the RT-AX55 managed a download speed of 352 Mbps and an upload speed of 287 Mbps.

ASUS RT-AX55 Speed Test

And moving further to 40 feet, the respective download and upload speeds clocked at 265 Mbps and 189 Mbps.

So the question is, is 350 Mbps of the Asus router fast? Well, yes, with it, you can engage in online gaming, 4K streaming, Zoom calls, web browsing, and more, jitter-free. Even at a distance, streaming and casual gaming were viable.

WiFi Coverage & Devices Capacity

Coverage-wise, the Asus RT-AX55 stoops ahead of most models in this price bracket with a stipulated value of 3,000 Sq Ft.

Kept centrally in my Nashville test lab, the router managed to encase every corner with signals, so it’s safe to put my bet on 2,600 Sq Ft as an actual range. Besides, its AiMesh support lets you establish a mesh network with a similar router or extender.

The device further brings in MU-MIMO tech to support multiple connections on the bandwidth at once. In my test, the numbers maxed out at 25, which is not great when put alongside my previous pick, but ideal for a family of 4-5 people.

Ports & Connectivity

The usual-looking RT-AX55 entails a usual set of ports, i.e., one WAN and four LAN ports, each with a 1 Gbps maximum speed capacity. My laptop plugged in delivered up to 494 Mbps download speeds, and with minimal interference, you can have an unmatched gaming experience.

Security Features

RT-AX55 instills the Asus AiProtection classic package that contains security and parental controls from Tenda Micro that you get free for your life.

The available security options let you keep the network free from outside threats like malware, viruses, or others, and with the available parental controls, you can protect those who use the network.

Conclusion

Coming just below $100, the Asus RT-AX55 is a cheap yet dependable routing unit that balances most features. The standalone range is great, and the available technologies let you access decent signals for your internet-based tasks, even at a distance.

Its only downside is its throughput and device capacity, which is better than most of my recommendations.

Pros

    • Long WiFi range
    • AiMesh support
    • QoS for traffic prioritization
    • Easy to install
    • Stable throughput

Cons

    • Middling throughput capacity

Key Notes from the Author

Dual-band comes with 2 wireless bands i.e. 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz. Both of them work simultaneously to provide good speeds and reduce network interference.

The 2.4 GHz handles the devices that are far from the router, while the 5GHz is used by devices near the router.

Selecting an ideal dual-band device is like finding a needle in a haystack. No worries, I’ll help you get your ideal pick for your space.

So, follow these key pointers:

  • Ensure your selected router claims throughput capacity to work well with your subscribed internet plan.
  • The higher the speed, the more tasks you can take over at a time, so make your decisions wisely. Don’t go for speeds you don’t need.
  • These routers have Wi-Fi 5 and 6 standards; the higher it is, the more future-proof the system is, and the greater the speed.
  • Traditional routers have a maximum coverage of 3,000-3,500 Sq Ft, but if you have a large area to cover, get a mesh system with the desired range.
  • Ensure your selected router has ample ports (Ethernet and USB) to satiate the hunger of your bandwidth-hungry devices.
  • Check the security features your router instills. Most routers offer basic features for free and charge for advanced ones.

With that out, let’s dive deep into reviewing some top models in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between dual-band and tri-band?

The primary difference between dual and tri-band is an additional band (5 GHz or 6 GHz) in the latter. It provides the router with more channels to transfer data packets and, therefore, less congestion and, in turn, faster performance.

Is it better to separate 2.4 and 5GHz?

Yes, it’s better to separate 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands. The idea here is to make sure there is less competition for the same channels. In this way, you can maximize your overall network performance.

What is the benefit of using a dual-band router?

These devices offer a lot compared to single-band routers. To start, it’s much more reliable and faster than the latter, alongside better coverage, to say the least. Aside from that, users have the flexibility to switch between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and get the best signals possible every time.

Verdict

Despite the emergence of tri-band and quad-band routers, dual-band still holds its relevance, courtesy of its compatibility with high-speed plans to deliver fast and reliable performance.

I hope my curated list helped you pick an ideal device. However, if you can’t, here are some of the best in each category:

  • If you don’t want to compromise with the features and aren’t bothered by the price, go for ASUS RT-AX88U Pro.
  • For those looking for a reliable device but don’t want to spend much, get the Netgear RAX54S.
  • Lastly, if you want the cheapest option and a major upgrade to your ISP-rented device, pick ASUS RT-AX55.

With that comes an end to my list. You can go for any models available that suit your needs, but make sure not to cheap out on features in order to save a couple of dollars.