The best Wi-Fi 6 routers offer fantastic speeds and smart device management, whether in a standalone router or a mesh networking kit. With speedy performance that leaves the older AC standard in the dust, Wi-Fi 6 is a significant upgrade for all of the devices in your home. It even promises better battery life for mobile devices and connected home gadgets, thanks to more efficient connection management. And the latest enhancement is Wi-Fi 6e, which adds an additional 6GHz band, opening up a traffic-free data highway for dramatically faster speeds and truly unbeaten performance.
As Wi-Fi 6 has gone from draft technology to the accepted standard on mainstream devices, we've reviewed dozens of Wi-Fi 6 routers. If you want to upgrade your home network and get something to replace an old wireless AC router, now is the time.
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To help you keep up with all of the new products, we've rounded up some of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers and Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems you can buy. We've selected from among the top selling, top performing, and most innovative products available. Here we highlight routers made for homes small and large, for gaming and media streaming, both standalone units and expandable mesh systems.
The best Wi-Fi 6 routers for going back to school
When you're likely to have children from elementary school to college trying to handle online classes while parents work from home, you need the best Wi-Fi you can get. Something that delivers great speeds for all of your devices, and offers security and parental controls as part of the package.
Thankfully, the Wi-Fi 6 routers listed here all offer great speeds, excellent performance and plenty of handy features, whether you need a single router or a mesh system for wider coverage. They'll walk you through the set up, protect you from hackers and malware, and offer Wi-Fi 6 at pretty reasonable prices.
Check out all of our picks for the Ultimate back to school guide 2021.
What are the best Wi-Fi 6 routers?
Of the many Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market, a few stand out as the most promising, offering better performance, better prices and more functionality.
The best Wi-Fi 6 router overall is the Asus RT-AX86U, a Wi-Fi 6 powerhouse that will leave you satisfied whether you need connectivity for a house full of gadgets or gaming performance that rivals dedicated gaming routers.
For unbeatable performance, the hands down leader is the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, which uses the new Wi-Fi 6e standard to offer incredible speeds of nearly 2.5Gbps. You'll pay a lot for that performance, but if you want the undisputed performance champ, this is it.
The Netgear Orbi with Wi-Fi 6 (RBK852) is the best mesh system to get the new standard, combining the well-loved Orbi's ease of use with even better performance. When we tested it, we were seriously impressed with the performance it offered. And for a less expensive option (that doesn't have the same performance) there's also the cheaper Netgear Orbi RBK752 further down the list.
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The Asus RT-AX86U is a Wi-Fi 6 powerhouse that delivers great speeds and killer gaming features, as well as awesome customization options. With high-end performance and lifetime protection against intrusions and malware, it's also a great option for securing your entire home network, providing long term protection without a subscription fee, and carrying a two-year warranty.
But the real draw of the Asus RT-AX86U is the performance, which approaches the the magical 1Gbps mark to provide speedy and effortless connectivity for all of your devices. With excellent range and great performance – even through walls and between floors – the RT-AX86U is equal parts general-use router and elite gaming router, and the collection of features and ports it offers are a steal compared to some of the top-performing gaming gear. It even gets a nod as the runner up for best Wi-Fi router in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards. If you want the best Wi-Fi 6 router for the whole household, the Asus RT-AX86U is it.
Read our full Asus RT-AX86U review.
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is the first Wi-Fi 6e router to hit the market, and the results are mind-blowing. By adding a 6GHz band to the already impressive capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, the Nighthawk RAXE500 delivers category-leading performance. With an AXE11000 rating, the tri-band device more than lives up to the hype by delivering nearly 2.5Gbps of real-world data. Add this to the slick design and highly customizable configuration options, and the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 becomes one of the best routers we've ever reviewed.
By adding access to a slew of new data-delivering channels in the 6GHz spectrum, the tri-band Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 takes the lead as the first high-performance Wi-Fi 6e router. It's the sort of performance that earned it the 2021 Tom's Guide Award for best Wi-Fi router, even if it's not a great fit for everyone. While it’s best at close quarters and is one of the most expensive routers you can buy, the RAXE500 is worth every penny if you have the need for speed.
Read our full Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 review.
The Netgear Orbi RBK852 updates a long-time leader in mesh Wi-Fi with the speed and capability of Wi-Fi 6. The faster standard and whole-home coverage of Orbi's mesh networking combine with the easy setup and stellar performance that the Orbi name is known for. With tri-band coverage that can handle 5,000 square feet with only a two-pack consisting of a base unit and satellite extension, the Wi-Fi 6 Netgear Orbi looks like it's the best mesh system yet.
In addition to massively improved speeds and handling of multiple devices, the Orbi also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for seamless voice control throughout the house. And every Orbi extension that we've loved in the past works with the new Wi-Fi 6 models as well, whether it's the outdoor extensions or the Orbi Voice that has a built-in smart speaker.
Read our full Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) review.
The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 is a powerful gaming router with Wi-Fi 6 speeds that goes above and beyond other gaming routers with excellent speeds and top-shelf gaming enhancements. The Netgear's high-throughput, low latency design is packed with customization options and built-in security, providing protection against hackers along with superb Wi-Fi 6 performance. It's also great for slightly larger homes, with a range of 105 feet, easily covering that extra room that other routers can't quite reach. If your current router isn't keeping up with your gaming abilities, the XR1000 is one of the best gaming routers we've ever seen.
With an entire dashboard of customization tools, you can optimize the router's performance in a dizzying number of ways, from CPU usage monitoring to stats that identify what apps and devices are using the most data and connection tools that let you adjust connections by ping rates and location.
Read our full Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 review.
The Eero Pro 6 combines tri-band Wi-Fi 6 networking with a mesh setup that's quicker and easier than pretty much any mesh system we've reviewed, making it the best way to get great performance throughout your home without much hassle. With a single unit covering 2,000 square feet with reasonably fast Wi-Fi, the three-pack Eero Pro 6 will blanket up to 6,000 square feet with ease - and we set up the three-piece system in about 11 minutes.
It may not have the highest throughput, but the Eero Pro 6 mesh kit does well at mid-range distances where others peter out, is quick to set up and automatically adjusts just about everything. If you want granular customization, then tools like band steering, local DNS caching and home automation tools, it's got those, too. But the Eero Pro 6 does it's best when it lets you set it and forget it, giving you speedy Wi-Fi 6 without the hassles.
Read our full Eero Pro 6 review.
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With the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) Wi-Fi 6 router, top performance and enhanced security go hand in hand, combining throughput that smashes through the gigabit per second barrier with malware protection and Disney’s Circle app for blocking inappropriate content and managing family network use. And with excellent performance through walls and floors, the Nighthawk AX8 will work just as well in the real world as in the lab.
It may be expensive – most Wi-Fi 6 routers are – but the RAX80 offers easy setup and lets you configure the router exactly the way you want it. It's also got a 90-foot range, but delivers better performance at distances of 50 feet, making it better suited to medium-sized homes. By almost any measure, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) is a great Wi-Fi-6 router to get if you don’t want to compromise on speed and safety.
Read our full Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) review.
Inexpensive, small and easy to set up, TP-Link’s Deco X20 mesh networking kit is a cheap thrill that can help fill a home with Wi-Fi 6 data while protecting a family’s identities with an extra layer of online security. If you want mesh capability and Wi-Fi 6, the TP-Link Deco X20 is the best budget option for covering larger homes with better speed and capability than any older 802.11ac system can match. It even earned the runner up for best mesh router in our 2021 Tom's Guide Awards. Selling in a 3-pack of matching units, the Deco X20 covers up to 5,800 square feet, and can manage up to 150 separate connected devices.
With dual-band connectivity and two gigabit wired connections on each node, the Deco X20 offers great coverage and connectivity with easy setup and management. TP-Link gives you all the tools you need in the accompanying Deco app, which lets you set up your network quickly and control the individual features of the network with illustrated, easy-to-navigate menus. It also protects, with WPA3 encryption and a lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare security and antivirus included with the set.
Read our full TP-Link Deco X20 review.
The Netgear Orbi RBK752 is the smaller and cheaper alternative to one of the best mesh routers on the market, the highly ranked Netgear Orbi RBK852. Selling in a two-pack that can cover up to 5,000 square feet, the cheaper Orbi RBK752 has fewer internal antennas and a less powerful processor, which translate into reduced throughput and range. That makes it well-suited to mid-sized homes, but you'll want to step up to the 3- or 4-packs for larger coverage areas. They may be more expensive, but buying them as a package will be cheaper than adding single satellite units.
The cheaper Wi-Fi 6 Orbi doesn’t place as much emphasis on raw performance, but does manage to include an impressive array of customization options, and offers a way to get the ease of Netgear's excellent mesh networking gear and decent speeds throughout your home for less than the more expensive version.
Read our full Netgear Orbi RBK752 review.
The Linksys Velop AX4200 mesh kit offers tri-band Wi-Fi 6 that can cover a large home in Wi-Fi signal without the higher prices of many Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems. With decent throughput and great range – the three-pack we reviewed can fill an 8,0000 square feet, and is easily expanded with additional units – this affordable mesh system offers simple configuration tools and a generous three-year warranty. It also has USB connectivity, a small touch, but one that some users will hugely appreciate. That was enough to get it named the best mesh router in our 2021 Tom's Guide Awards.
But it's not the fastest mesh kit on the block, lagging behind more expensive competitors and offering none of the extra security and customization options you'd get from other manufacturers. That said, the three-pack Linksys Velop AX4200 is one of the best bargains in mesh networking at the moment, offering a relatively cheap way to set up a wide-ranging Wi-Fi network in a big house.
Read our full Linksys Velop AX4200 review.
The Linksys Max Stream MR9600 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that is among the smallest and least obtrusive Wi-Fi 6 models you can buy. The small size makes it easy to fit onto a shelf or desk, but the streamlined design does leave little room for ports — with only a WAN port, four LAN ports and two USB 3.0 connectors, the rear panel of the Linksys Max Stream MR9600 is uncluttered, but we wish it offered the two-line aggregation seen on many competing Wi-Fi 6 models.
Able to work either as a standalone router or to create a mesh network by linking it with other Linksys networking gear, the MR9600 offers the choice of a single unit for smaller homes and apartments, or it can be incorporated into a mesh setup with other Linksys networking devices, giving you the unique ability to expand coverage for larger homes.
Read our full Linksys Max Stream MR9600 review.
For a standalone router with Wi-Fi 6 capability, the TP-Link Archer AX6000 is the best choice for optimal connectivity. The dual-band router promises great speeds and the eight high-gain antennas offer some of the best wireless coverage this side of a mesh Wi-Fi system. But for pure connectivity, it also has something most other routers do not — a wealth of ports and wired connections. A 2.5Gbps WAN port will work with even the fastest internet connections while a total of eight Ethernet ports give you connectivity for a huge number of wired devices. On the side of the router you'll also find both USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C connectors, giving you speedy connectivity for other peripherals, like NAS and home media servers.
The Archer AX6000 is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, making it more than capable enough for the dozens of devices you likely have in your home, and TP-Link protects them all with a free lifetime subscription to HomeCare, which includes parental controls and threat blocking for the entire network.
Read our full TP-Link Archer AX6000 review.
When it comes to Wi-Fi 6 routers that we've tested and reviewed, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 stands out as one of the best, delivering excellent performance and packaging that expanded capability alongside gaming-oriented features that will delight both the gamers and non-gamers in your house.
The GT-AX11000 has a larger design, bristling with eight swiveling antennas. But inside that larger footprint, the router offers plenty of connectivity, with four downstream Gigabit LAN ports, a single 2.5G Base T Ethernet connection, and two USB 3.0 ports. Wireless capability is even better, with performance that actually improved at longer distances, super low latency and massive 10.8Gbps of maximum throughput. Combine all of this with customization tools and gaming optimizations, and it's still one of the best gaming devices we've seen in the new breed of Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Read our full Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 review.
The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) puts Wi-Fi 6 mesh networking into an easy-to-use package that's excellent for all sorts of mid-range homes. With its tri-band design and Wi-Fi 6 performance, the Asus ZenWiFi AX comes through with the ability to fill a moderate-sized home with wireless data. It may not be the fastest mesh kit, but the ZenWiFi AX’s two-year warranty and built-in security can give a family network “administrator” the peace of mind that the data will get through.
The sleek-looking design isn't festooned with antennas, nor is it blinking with an array of lights. Instead the ZenWiFi keeps things sedate with a design that could be used as bookend on a shelf, and a size that makes competing mesh systems look downright bulky. Plus, if you already have an Asus router at home, chances are pretty good that you can add it to the ZenWiFi's mesh network for even more coverage area, making it a great way to expand the coverage without giving up current hardware that you love.
Read our full Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) review.
Our favorite cheap Wi-FI 6 router is the Linksys MR7350, which proves that the capabilities and features of Wi-Fi 6 aren't limited to high-priced units. The simple-looking router is a stripped down model, sporting two simple antennas instead of the spider-like antenna arrays of other routers, and it drops niceties like built-in security and port aggregation. But that streamlined router still delivers solid performance and Wi-Fi 6 speeds, all for an economical price.
Capable of covering 1,700 square feet, it's perfect for apartments and smaller homes, but the Linksys MR7350 also has a trick up its sleeve. The router can work with other recent Linksys products to create a mesh network from scratch. While it's a far cry from the speed-demon performance of more premium Wi-Fi 6 routers, it's a great basic model that provides Wi-Fi 6 capability for much, much less. If you've been waiting to upgrade from an older Wireless-N or AC router, this is a great low-cost option to get.
Read our full Linksys MR7350 review.
With Wi-Fi 6 speeds and even mesh capability built right in, the Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) was already a contender for the best Wi-Fi extender you can get. While not everyone will be excited about it's large desktop design – without a plug-in design, there's no hiding this extender behind the couch or in the corner – and a price that's more expensive than some routers, the proof is in the performance. And boy, does the Netgear EAX20 deliver, with category-leading speeds and an awesome 95-foot range.
The Netgear EAX20 does one thing and does well: it extends networks that are faster and have a longer range than the competition. Throw in a handful of customization options, and add a layer of online security to help protect your home network, and it's not hard to say that this admittedly pricey extender is worth every penny.
Read our full Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) review.
How to choose the best Wi-Fi 6 router for you
Choosing the best Wi-Fi 6 router isn't terribly different from shopping for any other networking product. While complicated jargon can be confusing, there are really only two significant questions that need to be answered. First, what speed do you need for your internet use and devices? Second, what sort of coverage do you need for your home?
Speed: Wi-Fi 6 is good for high-speed connections, since the newer standard offers much higher throughput than the previous 802.11ac standard. It's especially well-suited to gigabit-speed internet plans, which may be available in your area. However, even average broadband speeds will benefit from Wi-Fi 6, as the standard offers better efficiency for sharing your bandwidth among many devices.
Compatibility: Similarly, you'll get the most out of Wi-Fi 6 by using Wi-Fi 6-equipped devices, from laptops to smartphones. While the new standard is backwards compatible – it should work with every older Wi-Fi-connected device you already own – some of the features, like improved battery life for connected devices, will only work when both the router and the connected device have Wi-Fi 6 capability. The number of Wi-Fi 6 devices is growing steadily, making a Wi-Fi 6 router the best way to futureproof your home network.
Coverage: The other question is coverage area, or how far and wide your Wi-Fi signal will travel. A basic standalone router is usually sufficient for an apartment or smaller home, with ranges of 50 to 100 feet being common. Larger homes, usually those with 3,000 square feet of space or more, would benefit from a mesh system, which pairs a base unit with satellite extensions that can be placed throughout the house. These extension units stretch the reach of your Wi-Fi signal to cover even the largest of homes, and can be expanded as needed with additional units. (Learn more in our article What is a mesh Wi-Fi router, and do you need one?)
Gaming: One other consideration is gaming. The last thing you want is to be slowed down or interrupted by your network connection in the middle of a team raid or battle royale. Gaming routers offer all of the capabilities of a standard router, but are optimized specifically for gaming. They reduce interruptions, help eliminate lag time, and usually offer advanced controls for customizing how data is used in your home among different devices. (Check out the best gaming routers for more details and our favorite models.)
Price: Finally, the biggest factor in many people's shopping decisions isn't capability or specific features, but price. While Wi-Fi 6 products are still notably more expensive than older standards, there are a handful of budget-friendly options available. Though many Wi-Fi 6 products cost for $300 or more, there are options in both standalone and mesh devices with more affordable prices. While these do offer many of the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, they will often do so with more modest device handling and less impressive coverage. However, a solid Wi-Fi 6 standalone router can be had for under $150, and a mesh system can be found for under $300.
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