Early Black Friday router deals: Upgrade to mesh or Wi-Fi 6 at a holiday discount

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Holiday buying season is in full swing, Black Friday draws near, and as usual, it’s a particularly good time to try and catch a deal on a new router. That’s truer than ever in 2020, with all sorts of new mesh options on the market, as well as new routers that support Wi-Fi 6, the newest and fastest version of Wi-Fi. And hey, not for nothing, but with most of us doing our best to stay home as much as possible, having the right router quarterbacking your home network can make a world of difference.

If a new router sits on top of your shopping list, bookmark this post — I’ll be updating it regularly through Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond with all of the best home networking deals we’ve spotted across the web. With Thanksgiving still more than a week away, we’ve already got one or two early-bird deals worth checking out, so take a look.

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, I called the two-piece version of this system a terrific value at $129 — now, as an early Black Friday special at Walmart, you can get the three-piece version with an extra range extender for just $99.

A three-piece mesh system like this one is the best way to cover a large-size home with a steady, reliable Wi-Fi connection, and $99 is as low a price as you’ll ever see for a well-reviewed, name-brand option like this one. If your home Wi-Fi network has a lot of ground to cover and you’re sick of dead zones, then this is a deal worth pouncing on. Note this is appearing out of stock to some CNET staff, but not others, so availability may depend on your location.

Read our Netgear Orbi AC1200 review.

Amazon

Amazon-owned Eero released two new mesh routers this fall: the Eero 6 and the Eero Pro 6. Both include full support for Wi-Fi 6, but the Eero Pro 6 boasts faster top speeds and it adds a second 5GHz band for dedicated backhaul transmissions between the router and its range-extending satellites. That’s a key upgrade if you want your mesh router to make the most of Wi-Fi 6.

The Eero Pro 6 isn’t cheap at $599 for a three-pack, but that’s less than you’ll spend for other high-end, triband mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6, including our top picks such as the Asus ZenWiFi AX and the AX6000 version of Netgear Orbi. And, if you’re willing to wait a couple of extra days for delivery, Amazon will include a free Fire TV Cube for folks who purchase through the link below. That’s a leftover deal from Prime Day, but it’s a good offer for a mesh system that held up well in our tests.

Read our Eero Pro 6 review.

Linksys

I haven’t reviewed this particular model, but one of my CNET predecessors on the Wi-Fi beat was a fan of an earlier version of it back in 2017, calling it “a just-right router for small homes.” This one, the Linksys MR8300, is nearly identical to that one — an AC2200 router with four antennas and two 5GHz bands. 

What’s best about it is is the triband design, and the fact that you can use it with other Linksys Max Stream devices to create your own mesh network. The extra 5GHz band will help keep speeds fast across your entire home should you choose to go that route. Now, ahead of Black Friday, you can get it for $30 off at Best Buy, where it boasts a review average of 4.6, with over 1,000 five-star reviews.

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