4 Best Tri-Band Routers in 2022

This is our review of the very best tri-band routers for 2022. Welcome!

To find out what the best ones were, we put a whole lot of them to the test. And overall, we can tell you that the best is the ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600. This Mesh system has it all, and it uses its three bands in very clever ways.

ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) AX6600 White
Source: Asus.com

ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) AX6600

Best Overall

  • Type: Wi-Fi Mesh router
  • Tested max speed: 836.45 Mbps
  • Recommended for: Plans up to 1200 Mbps
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Warranty: Two years

But it might not be perfect for everyone. For example, you might not even need Mesh! That’s why we’ve picked a few more brilliant tri-band routers for you to consider.

Let’s check ‘em out.

4 Best Tri-Band Routers

Here they are, our top four tri-band routers, ranked.

  1. Best overall: ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600
  2. Fastest overall: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500
  3. Best budget: Netgear Orbi RBK752
  4. Fastest Mesh: Netgear Orbi RBK852

Top 4 Tri-Band Routers

So let’s take a closer look at those categories and find out why those routers ended up there. Here are our reviews of our top four. 

#1 Best Overall: ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600

ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) AX6600 White
  • Type: Wi-Fi Mesh router
  • Tested max speed: 836.45 Mbps
  • Recommended for: Plans up to 1200 Mbps
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Warranty: Two years

Pros

  • Super fast Wi-Fi Mesh system
  • Brilliant security
  • Top tier parental controls and QoS

Cons

  • 2.4 GHz band is a little slow

Tri-band networks don’t come much better than this. The ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600 uses its third band in fine style to allow for many devices to achieve fast speeds from it, and to improve the connections between Mesh satellites on the network.

Let’s start with the latter. The ZenWiFi is a Mesh system, which means you can add multiple satellites to the network that stay connected to the same network name. This means you can extend the range of the network indefinitely.

ZenWiFi utilizes this very well as it uses its third band as a ‘backhaul’ band to improve the connection between the satellites. This means you’ll get faster speeds on your Wi-Fi device when you’re further away from the original router than you will with other Mesh systems.

But it’s not just a backhaul band. ZenWiFi lets smart devices connect to that third band when the original 5 GHz band is becoming full on the bandwidth. So, more devices can achieve faster speeds. Smart, right?

And on the subject of speed, this system is quick. We tested the top speed on a Wi-Fi 6 device from 5 ft away and managed to clock in at 836.45 Mbps. That’s fast!

The only slight issue with the performance is that of the 2.4 GHz band. This is the band that generally is slower, but has a wider range. But if you position your satellites in the right way, this will only really be an issue if you are connecting tons of devices so that both 5 GHz bands are full.

We love the features of this system. First, you’ll get AiProtection Pro free for life when you buy the AX6600. This is a brilliant bundle of top tier parental controls and antivirus technology. It’ll go a long way to keeping your network safe, as well as the people who are using it.

There’s Adaptive QoS too. This tool allows users to select a handful of devices to get particular priority from the network based on the activities you’re trying to do with it. For example, there’s a gaming mode that will lower the latency and improve the speed of your game consoles.

So really, this is just about the perfect Mesh system. There’s no wonder we named it as our best Mesh system overall for 2022. And, it’s the best piece of tri-band kit out there in our eyes. Great work, ASUS!




#2 Fastest Overall: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500

Netgear RAXE500
  • Type: Wi-Fi Mesh router
  • Tested max speed: 1203.59 Mbps
  • Recommended for: Plans up to 2000 Mbps
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 6e
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Immense Wi-Fi speed through 6 GHz band
  • Wide range
  • Mesh capabilities

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No QoS and limited parental controls 

If you’re looking for pure speed from your tri-band router then the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 could be the right choice for you. Wi-Fi routers do not get much faster than this, and it has three bands!

The third of those bands is something a little different. It’s a 6 GHz one instead of the standard second 5 GHz band like you’ll get on most tri-band routers in the world at the moment.

That’s because of a new piece of technology called Wi-Fi 6e. Released in 2021, this is the latest Wi-Fi protocol and manages to bring in the next level of internet speeds. 

And in the case of the RAXE500, that next level is 1203.59 Mbps according to our tests. It’s the fastest Wi-Fi router we have ever tested!

Here’s the thing though. You’ll need a specific device if you want to use the 6 GHz band. Because the technology is so new, not many devices support it yet. There are only just over 10 smartphones for example, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6.

If you don’t have a Wi-Fi 6e device then you’ll need to use the 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz bands of the RAXE500 to get online. And they’re not quite as quick, but they’re not slow either.

We managed to get a speed of 770.94 Mbps using the 5 GHz band of the RAXE500 which isn’t incredible, but it’s far from slow.

We’re also fans of the range of the RAXE500. We found it to be between 100 and 110 ft, which is enough range for a medium-large home. 

So what’s wrong with this router? Well, the lack of features is the key thing. It’s a super expensive piece of kit, so you’d expect it to be packed with features, but this is not the case.

For example, there’s no QoS at all. This means you won’t be able to select devices to have priority over the network. Considering that it’s a tri-band router, Netgear might have assumed a lot of devices will be connected. But they’re all going to get the same treatment here.

In terms of parental controls, there are some. But they’re very limited. To upgrade them, you’ll need to pay even more money to subscribe to Netgear Armor. This is an antivirus and parental controls bundle from Netgear that comes as an annual subscription.

Netgear Armor is quite brilliant, but it feels like a shame to have to pay for it considering the price of the router in the first place.

Nonetheless, the RAXE500 is still quite incredible. It champions some very exciting technology and at the end of the day, 1203.59 Mbps is ludicrous.




#3 Best Budget: Netgear Orbi RBK752

Netgear Orbi RBK752
  • Type: Wi-Fi Mesh router
  • Tested max speed: 805.61 Mbps
  • Recommended for: Plans up to 1200 Mbps
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Quick speeds for a reasonable price
  • One year Netgear Armor free
  • Super easy setup

Cons

  • No USB ports
  • No QoS

If you want to save a little bit of money but still get a tri-band router, the Netgear Orbi RBK752 is your best bet.

Okay, so when we say ‘budget’, that might be a bit of a stretch. It’s not really possible to find a true budget tri-band router yet as the technology is expensive. But of all our picks today, this is the most affordable.

But you don’t have to compromise on performance. The RBK752 is still a very strong contender from our picks today. We still managed to achieve an impressive speed of 805.61 Mbps in our test from 5 ft away!

Of course, this is a tri-band router. But the way the third band works is different to that of the ASUS AX6600. Instead of acting as both a backhaul band to enhance the connection between Mesh satellites and as a third band for smart devices, the RBK752’s third band is simply backhaul.

So, the connection between the Mesh satellites on the Orbi network is very strong. This means you’ll be able to add a whole lot of satellites to the network, increasing the range substantially but still holding up fast speeds.

On the downside, the bandwidth isn’t going to be as wide as it is on the AX6600. There’s just two bands for devices to connect to: the 2.4 GHz and the one 5 GHz.

In terms of features, the RBK752 does okay. It does come with excellent security and parental controls through Netgear’s Armor product, and that means top network security as well as strong safety for vulnerable users.

However, these will be gone after you’ve owned the system for one year. That’s because this is a subscription model and you’ll need to start paying after your one year free trial expires. We still recommend doing it though!

Sadly, there’s no QoS. As a result, you won’t be able to select priority devices if you want to get an extra injection of speed and lowering of latency for them as and when you choose.

Overall, the RBK752 comes up very strong. And it’s a little less expensive than both the ASUS AX6600 and its older brother, the RBK852.




#4 Fastest Mesh: Netgear Orbi RBK852

Netgear Orbi RBK852
  • Type: Wi-Fi Mesh router
  • Tested max speed: 851.86 Mbps
  • Recommended for: Plans up to 1200 Mbps
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • One of the fastest Mesh systems going
  • One year free Netgear Armor
  • Super easy to use and set up

Cons

  • No QoS
  • Very expensive

The Netgear Orbi RBK852 offers one of the fastest combinations of Mesh and tri-band technology on the market right now. A deadly combo, but one that comes at a price. This is also one of the most expensive router/satellite combos out there right now.

As it’s the upgrade of the RBK752, you’d expect it to offer faster speeds. And it does. We recorded a speed of 851.86 Mbps which is mighty impressive.

That kind of speed is going to be more than enough for a large family or even an office space full of employees using the internet quite heavily. 

Of course, you’ll have to pay for the difference. The RBK852 is one of the most expensive Mesh systems out there. So, we only really recommend paying the extra if you have a fast enough internet plan.

Like the RBK752, there’s no extra 5 GHz for your devices to connect to. This system is only tri-band in the sense that it offers a backhaul 5 GHz band to enhance the connection between the satellites.

This does have the benefit of improving the overall range and speed of your Mesh network. You’ll be able to get faster speeds from further away from the original router with this Mesh network than you will with standard dual-band Mesh systems.

Unfortunately, the RBK852 lets us down a little with the features again. Netgear seems to have a bit of a habit of doing that. 

You do get a one year free trial of Netgear Armor. So, for that year, you’ll get some of the best parental controls and antivirus technology on the market. This is great for protecting any kids using the network, and also the network as a whole.

But once that one year runs out, you’ll need to pay even more money as a subscription. You can see the bill from this system starting to rack up. That’s the price you pay for a super powerful Mesh kit!

Once again, there is no QoS here. You won’t have the option to set priority devices on the network when you want. That can be a little frustrating if you’re going to have a lot of devices connected to the network at the same time.

Nonetheless, overall, this is a really impressive Mesh system. If you can ignore the price and the lack of QoS, it’s one of the best out there. So, we recommend this one to those who have very fast internet plans and want to make the most out of them.




Tri-Band Router Buying Guide

Buying a tri-band router is a fantastic way to get a lot of devices connected to your network at the same time and perform well. Or, it can be a fantastic tool to get fast speeds across a large Mesh network.

But you probably already know this if you’re in the market for tri-band already! So what else do you need to look out for? We recommend considering the following things when you go about making your decision on which tri-band router to buy.

And if you feel like you still need more info once you come to the end of our buying guide, you can check out our ultimate router buying guide. It’s got all the info you could possibly need!

Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6?

You won’t find many tri-band Wi-Fi 5 routers out there. Realistically, there isn’t much point to them. A lot of people buy tri-band routers in order to get great speed on many devices, but Wi-Fi 5 is a lot slower than Wi-Fi 6.

Let’s break it down. Wi-Fi 5 had been the standard Wi-Fi protocol since 2015 before it was replaced in 2019 by Wi-Fi 6. Now, most new routers are Wi-Fi 6 and the price for these routers is coming down all the time.

These days, you can find many budget Wi-Fi 6 routers. Just not many budget tri-band ones just yet.

If you need to know more about Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 side by side then check out our comparison article

Other Wi-Fi 6 technology

If you’re looking for a tri-band router, there’s a good chance it’s because you want to connect a lot of devices to your network. And Wi-Fi 6 is perfect for that thanks to two key features: MU-MIMO and OFDMA.

These features work together to maximize the network efficiency and bring top speeds to devices even when a lot of them are connected, and it does this in very smart ways.

MU-MIMO uses the router’s beams to seek out smart devices and direct the beams towards them, resulting in fewer wasted beams. OFDMA has a similar goal but it achieves it by assigning subsets of subcarriers to the devices. Smart, right?

Wi-Fi 6e

On the contrary, all Wi-Fi 6e routers are tri-band. Take the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, for example. This is one of the first routers to adopt this news technology as Wi-Fi 6e was only released in 2021. 

The hallmark of a Wi-Fi 6e network is that it has a 6 GHz band instead of a second 5 GHz band. This 6 GHz band can achieve faster speeds (well over 1 Gbps in the case of the Nighthawk).  

The only issue with this is that not many devices are able to support the 6 GHz band yet. For example, there are only a handful of smartphones that include the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6. Plus, these routers can be super expensive as it is very new tech.

It might be a few more years until the majority of the electronics market adopts Wi-Fi 6e technology. Until then, we recommend closely considering which devices you have and whether Wi-Fi 6e is worth it for you. 

QoS

If you are connecting a lot of devices to your network, another useful tool is something called QoS. It lets you select priority devices on the network, boosting their performance by throttling the bandwidth to all other connected devices. 

Devices can use up a lot of bandwidth even when they’re dormant by performing updates, syncing data etc. To minimize the impact this has on your network, QoS is key. 

Parental controls

This one doesn’t have a lot to do with tri-band routers but it’s still a smart thing to consider, especially if you’re going to be having children using the network.

Parental controls allow users to restrict access to certain types of content to certain users. Sometimes, it allows you to do this on a timed basis. It can help keep your children away from harmful content and to keep them focused if they’re doing their homework, for example.

Security

Security is important on any network, but particularly so on a network with a lot of connected devices. If the security of the network becomes compromised, it puts all the devices connected to it at risk.

Security comes in two forms, generally: antivirus and encryption. The former keeps outside threats away by blocking malware etc.

Encryption is more about locking down your sensitive data such as financial information. Of course, this can be quite crucial in this day and age!

Warranty

One final thing that we recommend looking at is the warranty of your router. This will protect you should the issue incur any issues during the period it lasts for.

You may have noticed that most of the routers in our top picks today only offer one year of warranty. That’s because they’re from Netgear, who are traditionally a little restrictive with that. 

However, some brands such as ASUS offer two or three years of warranty. TP-Link goes even further and actually offers limited lifetime warranty on some of its products! 

Tri-Band Router FAQ

Want to know more about tri-band routers? Check out these questions and answers.

Do I need any extra hardware with my tri-band router?

If you decide to go for any of the routers we’ve picked today, and you have cable internet, you’ll also need to buy a modem. None of these routers are modem/router combos like the ones you might get from your internet service provider.

For some help finding one, you can check out our guide to the best modems

Which network providers support tri-band?

All networks support tri-band routers. The splitting of the 5 GHz band isn’t down to the network itself, it’s simply the work of the router. 

If you need some help deciding on an internet provider in the US, you can check out our directory of them.

How do I know if a router is tri-band or not?

Having three bands is a big selling point for a router, so the manufacturer should make it pretty clear if their router has a third band. You should be able to see it on the box in the store or on the product page online.

A quick Google search about the router should reveal the answer if you’re still unsure. 

Last Thoughts on Tri-Band Routers

Having three bands on your home network is a great way to get faster speeds for multiple connected devices. It can also serve to boost the connections between satellites on a Mesh satellite.

For both of these reasons, we’ve picked the ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600 as our favorite tri-band router. It does both of these functions in fine style and comes with loads of great features and fast speed, all for a reasonable price.

But perhaps one of our other top picks is better suited to what you’re looking for? Make sure you choose wisely. A tri-band router could be a great boost for your home network.

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment