Black Friday is a great time to treat yourself to a new router, one of the least-celebrated and most-ignored pieces of your gaming setup, but also one of the most important. Most of us don't buy a router until, well, our current one breaks. But that's doing the humble router a disservice. You'll enjoy the benefits of a new, more up-to-date router far more than simply doing what your old one did.
Do they matter to your gaming experience? To an extent, yeah—when your router isn't up to snuff, it's miserable to troubleshoot. A good router will just work, and keep your devices fed with a constant, fast connection to download and play games even under heavy load. If you've found yourself with a faulty or flawed router, or genuinely want to upgrade to get better Wi-Fi coverage in your house, now's a good time to save money on a new one.
One of the most tangible upgrades you can make this year is to Wi-Fi 6, which will funnel a fast internet connection from your ISP to your devices that support it. Wi-Fi 6 increases speeds, giving you a good amount of overhead if your router needs to serve multiple devices at once. If you've held off on upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router, want a new, faster router that can handle several devices playing online games, or need a USB wi-fi adapter for your PC, this is the time to look.
We're on the lookout for routers and other networking solutions for wired connections over the Black Friday period. Wi-Fi is great and convenient, but having a wired connection to your router is the best option if you have a desktop PC. Devices like powerline adapters and extenders help widen the reach of your internet while maintaining the best connection possible.
We're primarily looking for routers that offer consistently high wireless speeds, several gigabit ethernet ports, a strong CPU for managing several devices, and wide wi-fi coverage. Routers that offer good QoS management to prioritize gaming or streaming are nice too, but these settings don't matter as much as raw performance.
For other devices like wi-fi extenders and USB wi-fi adapters, they need to be able to take a signal from your router or modem and maintain a constant throughput to your devices. When they work right, networking devices and routers should require zero fuss.
Where will have the best Black Friday router and networking deals?
Amazon - Save up to $80 on the TP-Link AC4000 Tri-band router
Walmart - New Wi-Fi routers starting from $24.50
B&H Photo - Save $90 on the Netgear Nighthawk AX4 AX3000 router
Best Buy - Netgear Nighthawk AX5200 Wi-Fi 6 router half-price at $149.99
Target - Save $30 on the Google Wi-Fi Mesh router
Staples - TP-Link Archer AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 router from $109.99
Newegg - Save $30 on the Asus RT-AX55 AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 router
Black Friday router deals
Netgear Nighthawk AX5200 Wi-Fi 6 Router | Wi-Fi 6 | Dual-band | 4x Gigabit LAN ports | 1.5GHz triple-core CPU |
$299.99 $149.99 at Best Buy (Save $150)
A powerful, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with speeds of up to 4,800Mbps on its 5GHz band. This router will keep your devices fed with fast wi-fi or Gigabit connection speeds on one of its included five ethernet ports.
Netgear WAX204-100NAS Access Point | Wi-Fi 6 | Dual-band | 4x Gigabit LAN ports |
$64.99 $58.99 at Newegg with promo code BCMAY22436 (Save $16)
A great way to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 with 1800 Gbps on its 5GHz band. If your family frequently access the internet with their many devices, their connections will be a lot more stable than they would be on an old router or access point.
TP-Link C5400X | Wi-Fi 5 | Tri-band | 1.8GHz CPU | 8x Gigabit LAN ports |
$279.99 $229.99 at Amazon (Save $50)
This Wi-Fi 5 router is particularly speedy on its 5GHz band and is easy to use. Even at its normal price, it's worth buying for its range and simple QoS management.
Netgear Nighthawk Pro XR500 |Wi-Fi 5 | Dual-band | 4 Gigabit LAN ports | 1.7GHz dual-core CPU |
$249.99 $199.99 at Amazon (Save $50)
Netgear's first gaming router is getting on a bit at this point but that doesn't stop it from being a strong pick. Its dual-core 1.7GHz CPU, fast speeds, and four Gigabit ethernet ports make it worth picking up.
Black Friday powerline adapter deals
Netgear PLP200-100PAS Powerline Adapter | 2x Gigabit LAN port | AC passthrough | Low power usage | 100Mbps |
$109.99 $97.14 at Amazon (Save $12)
While a little pricey, this powerline adapter kit delivers consistent speeds, has an AC passthrough outlet, and doesn't use a ton of power. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a way to monitor your usage, but if you need a faraway wired connection, this is it.
TP-Link TL-PA7017P Powerline Adapter | AC passthrough | Gigabit LAN port | Low power usage |
$59.99 $49.99 at Amazon (Save $10)
For a budget powerline adapter, this is a great choice. It has low power usage and an AC passthrough outlet.
Black Friday extender deals
TP-Link RE650 Extender | Wi-Fi 5 | 14,000 sq ft | 5GHz 1,733 Mbps | 4 antennas |
$159.99 $109.99 at Amazon (Save $50)
This Wi-Fi extender has solid speeds and good coverage with its 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. It also includes MU-MIMO support to manage multiple users at once.
When will Black Friday networking deals start to appear?
Black Friday officially takes part on November 26, although the deals have been rolling since the end of October. We're already seeing plenty of deals pop up on Amazon and Best Buy. Amazon in particular has the best deal right now, a $199 TP-Link C5400X.
What should I look out for in a Black Friday router and networking deal?
Black Friday can be notorious for offering deals that lure you into something you didn't quite want simply because of the savings. To find the best router and networking deals, you want to start with an idea of what you need to fix or improve your current setup. That way, when you see a deal, you can snatch it up quickly and know it'll serve a purpose.
For routers, you want to check if it's Wi-Fi 6 or not. Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wi-fi standard and will generally increase speeds across many newer devices that can make use of it. If you have a fast internet connection, you don't want that to be diminished with a router running on older technology. While Wi-Fi 5 is still fine for most people, there will likely be a lot of Wi-Fi 6 routers on sale to look out for, and this might be the first chance to grab one at a good price.
If you tend to use a wired connection for your PC and other devices, it's good to check if the router has plenty of Gigabit ethernet ports. You don't want to have to fight over who gets the ethernet cable if you're in a place where several people would want to use it. Most routers include a lot of ports, but it's still worth double-checking if you buy a mesh router kit, as those tend to be light on ports. Another important consideration with mesh routers is dual-band vs. tri-band: Tri-band mesh routers are more expensive, but they can use the extra band to create a "dedicated backhaul" to communicate between router nodes without sacrificing speed. This can mean much better performance if you aren't able to plug each mesh node into ethernet.
When it comes to connection speeds, you have to be careful. Router manufacturers will combine the theoretical connection speeds of each of the bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) on a router to come up with a large number. If you dig into the technical specs, you should find the speeds broken down for each band. Keep in mind though that these speeds don't necessarily represent real-world conditions, but they're a good ballpark estimate for how fast it'll be when you get it home.
Check out our Wi-Fi 6 explainer for a breakdown of some other important router features called MU-MIMO and OFDMA, and how they factor into performance.
For Wi-Fi adapters and extenders, you want these to be able to carry and pick up a signal from a good range and maintain fast speeds doing it. They also should have easy-to-use software for setting them up and maintenance.