Given that you want to connect multiple devices at once, you should be more careful while choosing a Wi-Fi router for your home or office. These days, even when you narrow down to a specific price range, you have to choose between single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers. How do you make the right choice? In this guide, we have explained everything you should know about these three types of Wi-Fi routers.

    Single-Band, Dual-Band and Tri-Band Wi-Fi Routers

    Single-band Wi-Fi routers are affordable options, but they compromise speed and performance. Dual-band routers offer a balance between speed, coverage, performance, and pricing. Tri-band routers are expensive but offer unique benefits such as device management and two 5GHz bands.

    Single-Band Wi-Fi Routers: An Overview

    Single-band Wi-Fi routers enable a wireless network only on a single band: 2.4GHz. 2.4GHz is probably the oldest and most common wireless networking band out there. For the same reason, you can find universal support for this Wi-Fi band on most devices, including legacy devices.

    Single-Band Wi-Fi Routers

    The theoretical maximum speed of the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band is 800 Mbps. However, you should know that the theoretical limit is mostly unachievable, especially with this band. Therefore, compared to the other modern options, single-band routers are not a popular option these days.


    • Cost-effective
    • Wide range
    • Compatible with older devices


    • Prone to interference
    • Single 2.4 GHz band only
    • Lower speed capacity

    Dual-Band Wi-Fi Routers: An Overview

    Double-band Wi-Fi routers enable a wireless network on two bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Even though these routers are not the latest, they cater to most people’s needs. Because there are two separate bands, users can enjoy better transfer speeds and less congestion.

    Dual-Band Wi-Fi Routers

    Even though the exact number varies, the theoretical maximum speed on a dual-band router is more than 2167 Mbps. Dual-band Wi-Fi routers also equip additional features that professionals would appreciate. For instance, MU-MIMO technology makes it easy to manage multiple connections on the network.


    • Better speed with a 5 GHz band
    • Less interference on 5 GHz
    • Two bands for device distribution


    • More expensive than single-band
    • 5 GHz has a shorter range
    • Can be complex for basic users

    Triple-Band Wi-Fi Routers: An Overview

    Triple-band Wi-Fi routers can enable a wireless network in three separate bands: one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz band. As you can guess, the triple-band setup can help you reduce network congestion. Triple-band Wi-Fi routers are smart enough to delegate connected devices to suitable bands.

    Triple-Band Wi-Fi Routers

    Therefore, in addition to providing a maximum theoretical speed of close to 7000 Mbps, triple-band routers can stay away from traffic congestion. You have to keep in mind that these routers are expensive, though. It is a worthy future-proofing investment, and we will talk about it in detail.


    • Three bands (one 2.4 GHz, two 5 GHz)
    • High speed and device capacity
    • Reduced interference


    • Most expensive
    • 5 GHz bands have a shorter range
    • Overkill for small homes/few devices

    Speed of Routers

    Here’s a quick look at the theoretical speed limits of Single-Band, Dual-Band and Triple-Band Routers.

    Router Type
    Theoretical Maximum Speeds
    Common Standards
    2.4 GHz
    2.4 GHz
    Up to 600 Mbps
    802.11n (Wi-Fi 4)
    2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
    2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
    Up to 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, Up to 3,500 Mbps on 5 GHz
    802.11n (Wi-Fi 4), 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5)
    2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz
    2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
    Up to 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, Up to 3,500 Mbps on each 5 GHz band
    802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)

    As you can see, theoretical maximum speeds increase as you move between single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers. The exact speed will depend on multiple factors, such as:

    • Wi-Fi version and wireless standard
    • Internet service provider’s limits
    • Signal interference and barriers
    • Efficiency of the router hardware

    Single-band routers, as you can see, are not the best for speed. 600 Mbps is not a good speed for advanced tasks or when you have multiple devices connected to the network. For instance, we will not recommend it if you want to stream 4K content on your smart TV while your kids are using their laptops or tablets.

    Dual-band Wi-Fi routers, on the other hand, bring the best of both worlds. On the 2.4GHz band, you get the same 600 Mbps speed, but the 5GHz band can handle up to 3,500 Mbps. Even though the 5GHz band is not great for long-distance networks, it can help you connect multiple devices with high-bandwidth needs.

    Tri-band Wi-Fi routers offer the maximum theoretical speeds you can expect today. While you get the same speed on the 2.4GHz band, there are two 5GHz bands, which offer 3,500 Mbps each. Combined, a tri-band Wi-Fi router can easily handle a cumulative speed of up to 7 Gbps. But most people do not need these speeds.

    TLDR: Go for dual-band routers for the best speed limits for the price.

    Range and Coverage

    When you have a large home or a multi-story building, Wi-Fi coverage is a concern. Therefore, you need to understand the differences between the coverage capabilities of single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers.

    Router Type
    Coverage Range (Approx.)
    Up to 150 meters (indoors)
    Up to 150 meters (2.4 GHz), Up to 70 meters (5 GHz) (indoors)
    Up to 150 meters (2.4 GHz), Up to 70 meters (5 GHz) (indoors)

    As you can see, the 2.4GHz band is the best option in terms of coverage range. In ideal conditions, you can expect an indoor coverage of 150 meters, which is great. The 2.4GHz band also works well when there are obstructions like walls. However, signals on this band are prone to interference from other appliances such as microwave ovens.

    With dual-band Wi-Fi routers, you have two options. The 2.4GHz band offers the same range of up to 150m. However, you also get a 5GHz band, which offers a shorter range of 70 meters indoors. On the bright side, the 5GHz band has better resistance towards interference and supports great speeds. So, you can connect multiple devices to the 5GHz band without worrying about issues.

    Tri-band Wi-Fi routers take things further by offering two 5GHz bands, each of which has a range of 70m. It can reduce network congestion by a long shot. However, you must have a smart router that can allocate all devices according to their nature.


    • You can find affordable routers from the single-band category, but you may find network congestion and interference
    • Dual-band routers are the best option for coverage and range. You get the 2.4GHz band for devices placed far away. Whereas, the 5GHz band works the best for high-speed needs.
    • Tri-band routers are a future-proofing scenario. If you have too many devices, you can go for a tri-band router, which can smartly allocate them to different bands.

    But keep in mind that these numbers are representative only. Even with the most expensive router, you may not get the 150m coverage. And, as you move away from the router or access point, the speed will decrease.

    Performance of Routers

    Here’s a quick look at what the performance of single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers means.

    Router Type
    Speed Potential
    Device Capacity
    Optimal Use Scenario
    Basic browsing and light streaming; best for smaller homes with fewer devices
    Homes with more devices; mixed use for browsing, streaming, and gaming; supports IoT devices
    Large homes with numerous; heavy streaming, gaming, 4K/8K video, and intense online activities

    By performance, we mean the capacity of the router to deal with day-to-day network tasks.

    Single-band routers are the options with the lowest performance. You should expect lower speeds and the router cannot handle a higher number of concurrent devices. Therefore, you can use these routers at your home or office.

    Dual-band routers offer the best value in terms of performance. Because it has two bands, you can connect more devices. More importantly, we have noticed that dual-band routers are better at device management. They also come with powerful processing units.

    Tri-band Wi-Fi routers are the most suitable when you want to engage in gaming and content streaming. If your network has multiple 4K devices and concurrent downloads, you can benefit from a tri-band router. It currently has the highest device capacity in the market.

    Device Compatibility

    Device compatibility is an equally important concern when choosing between single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers.

    Router Type
    Supported Standards
    Backward Compatibility
    Device Compatibility
    Optimal for Devices
    802.11b/g/n (Wi-Fi 4)
    Yes, with all 2.4 GHz capable devices
    Older devices, simple IoT gadgets
    802.11a/b/g/n/ac (Wi-Fi 5)
    Yes, with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz devices
    A mix of older and newer devices, smartphones, laptops, smart TVs
    802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Wi-Fi 5/6)
    Yes, with all Wi-Fi 4, 5, and 6 devices
    Newest devices, high-performance gaming consoles, 4K/8K smart TVs, advanced smart home systems

    Because dual-band and tri-band routers offer the 2.4GHz band, you need not worry about backward device compatibility as such. For instance, even if you have a 2.4GHz device at home, you can connect it to the Wi-Fi network from a dual-band or tri-band router.

    However, compatibility with Wi-Fi standards is something different. Single-band routers do not have support for Wi-Fi 5 or 6. Instead, you are stuck with Wi-Fi 4.

    Dual-band routers, on the other hand, support Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5. It means you can benefit from the top speeds of the Wi-Fi 5 standard.

    Tri-band routers are necessary when you want to benefit from Wi-Fi 6. For the same reason, you can use it with high-end smartphones and gaming consoles.

    Price of Routers

    You should also consider the price range of these single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers:

    Router Type
    Price Range
    $15 – $50
    $50 – $150
    $150 – $300+

    As you can see, single-band routers are the most affordable option. However, it does not offer much value in this day and age. On the other hand, tri-band routers are the most expensive option. You have to spend close to $300 for a state-of-the-art tri-band router. This pricing itself can be an overkill for most people.

    Therefore, in terms of pricing, dual-band routers are the best option. You can get a great dual-band router or mesh system by paying around $100. Considering the speed and coverage, you can expect a smooth Wi-Fi experience as well.

    Ideal Use-case Scenarios

    We will now discuss different scenarios and recommend the best Wi-Fi router type.

    #1 Home Use

    If you have a small home with fewer devices, you can save money and go for a single-band router. You can get these products by paying around $20. A single-band router will offer standard range and speed. Unless you are into gaming or 8K streaming, the speed will be sufficient.

    If you have a rather big home and many users, it is better to stick with a dual-band router. Because it has the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, you get a balance of speed and coverage. You can use the first band for standard or legacy devices. The 5GHz band is great for high-speed connections.

    You can also consider getting a mesh Wi-Fi system if you have a large property. For instance, I have a mesh system that offers network access to the garage. It is way better than using multiple routers, which can be a mess.

    We do not recommend a tri-band router for home use. That is, of course, unless you have a workstation. In that case, you may need a tri-band Wi-Fi router.

    #2 Office Use

    Even if you have a smaller office, you should avoid single-band routers. Instead, dual-band routers are the best option. You can benefit from increased speed and improved congestion management. It is a great option for those who want to manage multiple devices.

    If your office has more devices, however, it makes sense to go for tri-band routers. Even though these Wi-Fi routers are expensive, you get value in terms of speed and performance. In particular, you can get the best out of both worlds.

    You should also consider getting a mesh Wi-Fi system if you have a multi-story building. We will talk more about it in a bit.

    #3 Gaming & Streaming

    If you are building a gaming/streaming setup, it is better to go for a tri-band router. However, I believe you will be more inclined towards wired systems. But, if and when you need wireless devices, you can get help from the two 5GHz bands on tri-band routers.

    Mesh Wi-Fi Systems: An Expensive yet Great Option

    While you should choose between single-band, dual-band, and tri-band Wi-Fi routers, you should also check out what a mesh Wi-Fi system can offer. If you can invest a little much, a mesh Wi-Fi system is a great choice for multi-story apartments or complex buildings.

    For instance, if you need wireless access from your basement, it is better to go for a mesh system. For the most part, mesh Wi-Fi systems are scalable. So, if your space expands, you can simply add more access points or network backhauls.

    Benefits of a Mesh System

    Here are some benefits of a mesh system:

    • Extensive coverage
      • Seamless roaming
      • Easy setup and management
      • Scalable network
      • Eliminates dead zones
      • Uniform Wi-Fi performance
      • Supports multiple devices efficiently
      • Aesthetic and unobtrusive design
      • Self-healing network capabilities
      • Integrated security features
      • Automatic updates
      • Dedicated backhaul for data transmission
      • Reduced network congestion
      • Optimized for smart home devices
    • User-friendly app control

    But, we repeat, you should be ready for a higher upfront investment.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Tri-Band the same as Wi-Fi 6?

    Tri-band is practically the same as Wi-Fi 6. However, you should not forget that Wi-Fi 6 is a Wi-Fi standard. Having said that, Wi-Fi 6 mandates compatible devices to have three bands: one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. Therefore, you can expect most Wi-Fi 6 routers to have three bands.

    Why would you want a dual-band router?

    You may need a dual-band router for increased speed and better device management. Because dual-band routers have 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the first band offers extended range whereas the second band offers better speed within shorter distances.

    What is the benefit of a tri-band router?

    Tri-band routers offer great value for device management and speed. Because there are two 5GHz bands, the router can offer a maximum total speed of up to 7 Gbps. While the figure is theoretical, tri-band routers offer better performance than single-band or dual-band counterparts.


    In my opinion, you should steer away from single-band Wi-Fi routers even if you have a low budget. Instead, you can go for a low-configuration dual-band router. Trust me, you would feel the difference in speed and performance.

    Similarly, if you have a higher budget, I’d recommend going for a tri-band router or a mesh system. You get a whole bunch of advantages. It is a great way to future-proof your home or office for good. The least, you can avoid upgrades for at least half a decade.


    Pavan Lipare is a tech enthusiast with a profound understanding of routers, WiFi networks, LAN setups, and internet connectivity. His fervent passion for technology extends to digital marketing and SEO, where he combines his technical expertise with strategic insights. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a knack for optimizing online visibility, Pavan is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and empowering others in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of digital connectivity and communication technologies.

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