The Na v1.6 voltage-gated sodium channel α subunit isoform is abundantly expressed in the adult rat brain. To assess the functional modulation of Na v1.6 channels by the auxiliary β1 subunit we expressed the rat Na v1.6 sodium channel α subunit by stable transformation in HEK293 cells either alone or in combination with the rat β1 subunit and assessed the properties of the reconstituted channels by recording sodium currents using the whole-cell patch clamp technique. Coexpression with the β1 subunit accelerated the inactivation of sodium currents and shifted the voltage dependence of channel activation and steady-state fast inactivation by approximately 5–7 mV in the direction of depolarization. By contrast the β1 subunit had no effect on the stability of sodium currents following repeated depolarizations at high frequencies. Our results define modulatory effects of the β1 subunit on the properties of rat Na v1.6-mediated sodium currents reconstituted in HEK293 cells that differ from effects measured previously in the Xenopus oocyte expression system. We also identify differences in the kinetic and gating properties of the rat Na v1.6 channel expressed in the absence of the β1 subunit compared to the properties of the orthologous mouse and human channels expressed in this system.