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What are the Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers?

If your home network has started to slow down or lag behind because of the weight of all your mobile devices, gaming equipment, and their ever-growing demands for data, it may be time to upgrade your wireless router. And what an exciting time it is for Wi-Fi technology, with the advent of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), the newest, fastest, and more powerful version of Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi 6 routers are capable of delivering faster wireless speeds even in rural areas. It’s the latest upgraded version of the new protocol and it adds the 6GHz spectrum as a third band. This means that you can spread your devices across the 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz spectrum allowing you to avoid network congestion while delivering speeds of up to 5.4Gbps with high performance.

Whether you’re a casual user in a small home, a gamer in a family full of gaming enthusiasts, or anything in between, a Wi-Fi 6 router is the solution to better connectivity at home. So, what exactly do these routers offer, and how do they compare when it comes to costs and capability? This guide will help you answer these questions so you can choose the best Wi-Fi 6 router for you.

The big players

These Wi-Fi 6 routers will help you improve your home network no matter your connectivity needs.

Asus RT-AX86U

Asus is among the most popular brands with routers that promise elite performance, advanced controls, and low latency. The Asus RT-AX86U delivers speeds of up to 5.7Gbps, is ideal for gaming, and features cutting-edge technology, including Mobile Game Mode that delivers a low-latency, lag-free mobile gaming experience. You also get a free lifetime ASUS AiProtection Pro with advanced parental controls and WPA2 to protect your home, all for under $300.

Netgear Nighthawk XR1000

Built for every gamer, the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 router offers strong connectivity and improves gameplay by lowering ping by up to 93%. Its low-latency design features a variety of customization options and built-in security offering the user maximum protection against hackers along with commendable Wi-Fi performance. Enjoy speeds of up to 1Gbps for fast streaming and downloading to newer mobile devices, all for a total of $369.99.

Amazon Eero Pro 6

As you would expect from an Amazon product, the Eero lineup of routers have been built to integrate perfectly with Alexa, allowing you to use voice commands to perform tasks such as changing settings. A single Eero Pro 6 covers around 1500 square feet of your home and provides speeds of up to 900Mbps. The three-pack option covers up to 6000 square feet at $599, but you can get the two-pack at $399, or a single device for $229. You can add more routers to expand coverage even further depending on your connectivity needs.

TP-Link Archer AX50

If you’re on a budget and want to upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router, then the TP-Link Archer AX50 offers great value. It can support basic gaming and streaming, work and office calls, and general internet browsing without breaking the bank. For a price of $130, the dual-band AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 router offers speeds of up to 3Gbps which is 2.4Gbps on the 5GHz band and a more typical 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band for faster streaming and gaming. It allows you to connect over 40 devices with coverage of up to 2000 square feet. It also supports all previous 802.11 standards.

TP-Link Archer AX6000

The TP-Link Archer AX6000 boosted by 1024 QAM offers fast wireless speeds of up to 6Gbps (about 4.8Gbps on 5GHz and 1.2Gbps on 2.4GHz) across its bands. It also comes with two co-processors in addition to the 1.8GHz quad-core processor to help manage the quality of your connection. Streamers, gamers, and households with multiple devices trying to connect simultaneously will have an easy connection with the Archer AX6000, all for $250. To ensure your connection is secure, TP-Link offers a free lifetime subscription to HomeCare which feature parental controls and advanced anti-malware protection for the entire network.

Key considerations

When determining the best Wi-Fi 6 routers, it’s important to consider factors such as value, speed, budget, and connectivity. So, which Wi-Fi routers perform better in these key areas?

Best for value

Asus RT-AX86U

The Asus RT-AX86U delivers fast, smooth Wi-Fi connections for all your gaming needs at an affordable price tag. For about the same price that you would pay for most competing Wi-Fi 6 routers, Asus RT-AX86U offers powerful internet speeds in addition to the latest parental controls and WPA security protocol. The future-proof two WAN ports, a standard gigabit Ethernet port, and a faster 2.5-gigabit port offer consistent internet connections. You can also use the two USB 3.2 ports to connect USB storage devices that can be shared on your home network.

With a good range and performance, the RT-AX86U is a general-use router in addition to being an elite gaming router with plenty of features to ensure your connection is fast and stable.

Best for gaming

Netgear Nighthawk XR1000

If your router isn’t keeping up with your gaming needs, then you need a powerful router for gaming and the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 might give you the boost you need. With this router, you will get a strong connection with four times the capacity and 40% faster speeds with Wi-Fi 6. The powerful DumaOS software offers a suite of tools that allows you to eliminate network congestion, prioritize applications and devices, and create the best online gaming experience you want. The software features additional functionality for gamers, including Geo-Filter and Ping Heatmap, for testing and recording data on the ping of the various server options for online gamers to ensure they have the best connection available.

It not only scores well as a gaming router but also provides protection, customizes the data stream, and features plenty of optimization tools to increase speed. The four gigabit LAN ports combine multiple Ethernet sources to achieve a single strong connection.

Best mesh Wi-Fi

Amazon Eero Pro 6

The Eero Pro 6 offers great coverage and speeds including control of your smart home devices. The Eero’s mesh Wi-Fi technology adapts to your space, so that you can consistently stream games and 4K videos, and conduct video conferences from any spot in your home. The Eero Pro 6 works using the same principles as Wi-Fi 5, with a single base station as your primary router and one or more satellite units that you can place around your house. The tri-band system means that it has a dedicated 5GHz band to talk to other Eero nodes in your home without consuming the bandwidth. It’s among the cheaper routers that offer this feature.

Every unit features a built-in Zigbee hub, which allows you to connect your smart home devices without any additional hubs. And with up to 75 devices able to connect to the router, even the most modern smart home should have no problems remaining connected.

Best for the budget

TP-Link Archer AX50

The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a solid purchase if you need a capable Wi-Fi 6 router that delivers fast speeds for multiple users. It supports devices that are capable of achieving 160MHz, which makes it a good option for Wi-Fi users on a budget.

It also comes with a couple of features that are found on more expensive models, including parental controls, link aggregation, USB connectivity, and anti-malware software. It’s also loaded with other features such as four external antennas that support two Wi-Fi bands, four Ethernet ports on the rear, and support for more advanced capabilities such as beamforming, Quality of Service (QoS), and multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) technology ideal for basic and advanced users. You can expect a maximum speed of 2.4Gbps which is perfect for streaming and gaming.

Best for connectivity

TP-Link Archer AX6000

For faster speeds and consistent connectivity, the TP-Link Archer AX6000 scores highly. It’s a dual-band eight-stream router (four streams on every band) powered by the latest 802.11ax technology and 1024 QAM to achieve maximum data rates and speeds. By adding in router-based security and eight wired Ethernet ports, this router stands alone on connectivity, showing that it’s as good with wired devices as it is with Wi-Fi.

It’s easy to install and can be managed using the TP-Link Tether mobile app on your phone. The 1.8GHz quad-core CPU in conjunction with the two co-processors helps eliminate latency and deliver stable performance. The “airtime-fairness” and “band-steering” software ensure that bands don’t get overcrowded and that a single device is not overloaded.

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What others are saying

While opinions differ, this is what some industry leaders had to say about the best Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Asus RT-AX86U

“The Asus RT-AX86U averaged impressive speeds on the 5GHz band. However, the SmartConnect feature, which automatically steers your connection between the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, brought those averages down by too much. Thankfully, you can turn it off.” – CNET

Netgear Nighthawk XR1000

“The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Wi-Fi 6 router is designed for gaming and it delivers solid throughput and file transfer performance. It had a score of 3.5 out of a possible 5. But it’s missing a few features you’ll find on similarly priced models.” – PCMag

Amazon Eero Pro 6

“A single Eero Pro 6 router without any satellites performed very well compared with the competition. It beat out the Netgear Orbi AX6000, but fell just short of the Linksys Velop MX5 and our top performer in this test, the Asus ZenWiFi AX.” – CNET

TP-Link Archer AX50

“The TP-Link Archer AX50 is an affordable mid-range Wi-Fi 6 router that offers great speeds throughput and comes with lifetime malware protection and parental controls. It scored a rating of 4 out of 5.” – PCMag

TP-Link Archer AX6000

“With a rating of 3.5 out of 5, the TP-Link Archer AX6000 delivers relatively fast throughput speeds and features a lot of technology into its sizable frame.” – PCMag

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Will my Wi-Fi 6 router work with older devices?

Wi-Fi 6 is compatible with older versions. This means that if you’re using older devices with Wi-Fi 5 technology, you can still use them with a Wi-Fi 6 router. However, to enjoy maximum speeds, ensure you buy a device with Wi-Fi 6 capabilities.

Can I upgrade my current router to Wi-Fi 6?

Unfortunately, a quick upgrade isn’t possible because Wi-Fi 6 needs new features and components that are only present in the newer versions of the hardware included in the routers.

On the other hand, your connected devices such as your computer may work with an extra PC Wi-Fi card as long as it supports Wi-Fi 6. If you plan to upgrade your laptop, computer, smartphone, or tablet, ensure the device supports Wi-Fi 6. In most cases, the devices will be labeled Wi-Fi 6 Gig+.

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 6/18/22.

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Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.

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