Folks are probably tired of hearing my story. It seems these threads keep popping up.
I had two 4th Gen AE that weren't failing, but were not providing great coverage either. I was looking for something with movable antennas and was eyeing the ASUS RT-AC88U, but due to cost only, I opted for a Linksys EA8500 router and RE7000 extender.
Granted the EA8500 isn't as sleek as the Apple AE, but it sits in the basement, so it's no bother. I placed the RE7000 on the second floor wirelessly extending the network. Later, I changed this to hard wired and I'm able to get signal across our property.
I have been extremely happy with my Netgear Nighthawk AC1700. It's been rock solid for over a year now, only needing (really, optional) an occasional update. That said, if I was doing it from scratch, I would get a Eero or Google Wifi for mesh coverage.
I too bought a NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (R7000).
Model from a few years ago, so no new weird widgies, still popular, not too expensive, not too cheap.
It's been rock solid for four months. Router puts out plenty of signal, so house not big enough to need mesh or repeaters.
I can still pick it up at the end of the block.
Vast improvement over my dying Airport extreme.