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The best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2021

best Wi-Fi 6 routers
(Image credit: TP-Link)

The best Wi-Fi 6 routers offer faster, smarter networking for every device in your home. These new models combine slick design with the current Wi-Fi standard, replacing the older 802.11ac (or, retroactively, Wi-Fi 5) with a speedier connection, more advanced technology and a simpler name.

While the first Wi-Fi 6 routers started coming to market a couple of years ago under the wireless-AX draft standard, now is the time that Wi-Fi 6 is really coming into its own, as dozens of devices arrive in homes to work with the new standard and make the most of its improvements. If you've been putting off buying a new router, it's time to stop waiting.

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.

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 Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80), which offers category-leading performance and a number of features for security and easy setup.

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.

The best budget Wi-Fi 6 router is the TP-Link Archer AX50, which gives you all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, but at a lower price – a welcome departure from prices that regularly exceed $400 or more.

The best Wi-Fi 6 routers right now

Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) review

(Image credit: Netgear)

1. Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80)

The best Wi-Fi 6 router overall

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/Yes | Ports: 1 WAN/5 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3.0 | Throughput: 1.389 Gbps | Size: 12.0 x 8.0 x 6.3 inches

High performance
Includes malware apps
Good configuration options
Throughput falls off quickly with distance

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 the 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

TP-Link Archer AX6000

(Image credit: TP-Link)

Best connectivity

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No | Ports: 1 × 2.5Gbps WAN port, 8 × Gigabit LAN ports, 1 USB-A 3.0 Port + 1 USB-C 3.0 Port | Throughput: 4804 Mbps (5 GHz)/1148 Mbps (2.4 GHz) | Size: 10.3 x 10.3 x 2.4 inches

8 LAN ports
Extra security
Limited app
Hard to remove LAN cables

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

(Image credit: Netgear)

3. Netgear Orbi with Wi-Fi 6 (RBK852)

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Tri-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No | Ports: 1x 2.5 Gbps WAN port (on base unit), 4x LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports (per unit) | Throughput: 1200 Mbps (2.4GHz)/2400Mbps (5GHz) + 2400Mbps (5Ghz) | Size: 10 x 2.8 x 7.5 inches

Speedy tri-band performance
Expandable up to 10,000 square feet
Big devices are hard to hide

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.

best Wi-Fi 6 routers: TP-Link Archer AX50 WiFi 6 AX3000 Smart WiFi Router

(Image credit: TP-Link)

Best budget Wi-Fi 6 router

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/ Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/Yes | Ports: 1 × Gigabit WAN Port, 4 × Gigabit LAN Ports, 1 × Type A USB 3.0 Port | Throughput: 574 Mbps (2.4GHz)/2402 Mbps (5 GHz) | Size: 10.2 × 5.3 × 1.5 inches

Great range for a standalone router
Modest port selection

When it comes to affordable Wi-Fi 6 products, the TP-Link Archer AX50 proves that the new standard can be had at an affordable price. Available for just $149, the TP link Archer AX50 can cover up to 2,000 square feet and can handle dozens of devices ranging from laptops and smartphones to connected thermostats and smart locks. And with the improved speeds of Wi-Fi 6, the dual band router is well suited to gaming, video chat, and streaming video, even at 4K resolution.

With only four antennas and a relatively modest quartet of gigabit ethernet jacks, the TP-Link Archer AX50 does require some compromises, but the quality of Wi-Fi 6 means that you'll enjoy improved speeds on all your devices, and may never feel like you gave anything up for the ultra affordable price.

(Image credit: Asus)

5. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Best Wi-Fi 6 gaming router

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ax/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/Yes | Ports: 1 WAN, 4 1-Gbps LAN, 1 2.5-Gbps LAN, 2 USB 3.0 | Throughput: 731.4 Mbps | Size: 9.4 x 9.4 x 2.8 inches

First Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) router
Performance improves with distance
Plenty of customization
Impressive 2.5Gbps wired connector

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 the best gaming device we've seen in the new breed of Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Read our full Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 review.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

Best value mesh Wi-Fi system

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No | Ports: 1 WAN Gigabit Ethernet, 1 LAN Gigabit Ethernet | Throughput: 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz)/1201 Mbps (5 GHz) | Size: 4.33 x 4.33 x 4.49 inches

Compact design
Affordable price
No dedicated data backchannel

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. 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.

(Image credit: Linksys)

7. Linksys MX10 Velop WiFi 6 Mesh kit

Best Wi-Fi 6 router for large houses

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Tri-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 0/ n/a | Ports: 1 Gigabit WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0 | Throughput: 1147Mbps (2.4GHz)/ 2402Mbps (5GHz) + 1733Mbps (5GHz) | Size: 4.5" x 4.5" x 9.6"

Sleek, attractive design
Expands up to 10 nodes

The Linksys MX10 Velop mesh kit offers wide-ranging Wi-Fi 6 coverage for even the largest homes. With tri-band wireless and 12-stream connectivity, the MX10 Velop can be used with up to a dozen nodes. Each Velop extension can cover up to 3,000 square feet, meaning a 2-pack will handle 6,000 square feet, and extensions can be added to cover even the largest homes. Wireless coverage is made even better with interference eliminating technology, and 128-bit encryption protects every stream on your home network.

Thanks to Wi-Fi 6's improved device handling, the MX10 Velop can handle as many as 50 devices, and can allow simultaneous downloads and uploads across eight devices, whether they be laptops, smart TVs or gaming consoles. With every extension unit boasting four gigabit ethernet ports, the MX10 supports wired connectivity as well, handling data 10 times faster than standard Ethernet.

Linksys Max Stream MR9600 review

(Image credit: Linksys)

8. Linksys Max Stream MR9600

A streamlined Wi-Fi 6 router

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No | Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3.0 | Throughput: 822.0 Mbps | Size: 11.0 x 6.8 x 5.6 inches

Can create mesh network with other Linksys equipment
Small and easy to hide
Mediocre performance
Lacks port aggregation

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.

(Image credit: Netgear)

9. Netgear 4-Stream Wifi 6 Router (RAX15)

Budget best-seller

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 2/no | Ports: 1 Gigabit WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, 1 USB 3.0 | Throughput: 600 Mbps (2.4GHz)/1200 Mbps (5 GHz) | Size: 9.96 x 6.06 x 1.69 inches

Better performance than 802.11ac
Limited performance compared to more expensive Wi-Fi 6 routers

The best selling cheap Wi-Fi 6 router is the Netgear 4-Stream RAX15, which has consistently topped the Amazon charts thanks to its low price. This basic-looking standalone router sells for less than $100 while still delivering better-than-Gigabit capability that's ideal for apartments and smaller homes. Thanks to Wi-Fi 6, the four-stream router offers moderate performance that's one and a half times better than wireless AC, and handling 20 or more connected devices with ease.

While that's a far cry from the performance of wunderkinds that make up most of this best Wi-Fi 6 routers list, it's also dramatically more affordable, offering Wi-Fi 6 capability for much, much less. If you're looking for an upgrade from your current 802.11ac router, and don't need to cover a massive home or handle dozens of devices at once, this is the low-cost option to get.

(Image credit: Netgear)

10. Netgear Nighthawk Mesh WiFi 6 System

Best basic Wi-Fi 6 mesh kit

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No | Ports: 1 WAN Gigabit Ethernet (base unit only), 1 LAN Gigabit Ethernet | Throughput: 600Mbps (2.4GHz)/1200Mbps (5GHz) | Size: 4.8 x 4.8 x 2.5 inches

Affordable Wi-Fi 6 mesh system
Distinctive design
Smaller coverage area
Limited Ethernet ports

For a basic mesh system that covers your home with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, the Netgear Nighthawk mesh Wi-Fi 6 system offers a simple solution. Sold in a two-pack, with one router and one satellite extension, the Netgear Nighthawk mesh Wi-Fi 6 system can cover up to 3,000 square feet, with dual-band capability and combined speeds of up to 1.8 Gigabits per second.

Made primarily for Wi-Fi use, the units don't have a ton of wired Ethernet connections, but with Wi-Fi 6 speeds and the ability to handle 25 devices or more, the compact Nighthawk mesh system is great for eliminating dead zones in your moderately sized home. It's also one of the most affordable Wi-Fi 6 products on the market, giving you mesh capability for a lower price than many of the standalone routers on this list.

Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20)

(Image credit: Netgear)

11. Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20)

A Wi-Fi 6 extender with mesh capability

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 4 internal/No | Ports: 4 gigabit Ethernet | Throughput: 375.4Mbps | Size: 9.5 x 6.7 x 2.5 inches

Wi-Fi 6 support with 802.11ax operations
Customization and built-in security
Offers mesh compatibility with other devices
No USB ports

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?

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.

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. Everything will connect, but the best performance will also require devices that are on the same standard, and that's still slowly proliferating out to various product categories. There are a handful of Wi-Fi 6-ready phones, Samsung is including Wi-Fi 6 in its new 8K TVs and some laptops are offered with the newer standard, but it's still relatively rare. That said, the number of Wi-Fi 6 devices is growing steadily, making a Wi-Fi 6 router the best way to futureproof your home network.

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.

One other consideration is gaming. The last thing you want when raiding an enemy base or playing with friends in a battle royale is to be slowed down or interrupted by your network connection. 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.

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.

  • KevinKProf
    I have seen reports from users that the TP-Link routers require a $5/month subscription to access their features. This is a big omission from your review. Can you confirm?
  • fxv300
    Has anyone purchased or reviewed the Archer AX10 AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 Router or the Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router ?
    How do they compare against the Netgear RAX20 ?
  • mwerneburg
    Hi. After reading this, I bought a Netgear RAX4 Wifi 6 router. It was a disaster. Like so many commenters on the manufacturer's product page, I experienced constant problems with the router: not all of my family members could connect in the first place, and then the router would drop all connections 1-3 times a day. I couldn't reliably use the suggested "Nighthawk" app to connect to the router to administer it. I eventually got through a firmware upgrade using my son's iPhone (one of two identical phones, it was the only one in the home that could connect) and that did nothing. Just a lousy product.
  • rlevs
    fxv300 said:
    Has anyone purchased or reviewed the Archer AX10 AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 Router or the Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router ?
    How do they compare against the Netgear RAX20 ?
    I just purchased the AX50 AX3000, but I’m sending it back, because as another reviewer stated there’s a $5 per MONTH fee to use an app that controls some key functions like QoS, among others. Absolutely ridiculous that a: they are pulling that crap and b; Toms Guide review didn’t mention it. Take it off your list
  • El Pato Grande
    I purchased the ASUS ZenWifi AX system, based in no small part to past good experience with other ASUS products and the great reviews of this product.

    Big Mistake! The System is entirely unreliable, with numerous problems, the most significant being the system crashing every 2 to 4 hours and rebooting. Unlike the past ASUS support has degraded to the point where they are no help at all.

    Being a past ROG customer for pretty much everything from ROG Motherboards and laptops to Monitors, their support is nothing like it used to be.

    Their suggested troubleshooting was nothing more than help a NOOB would require. It didn't solve any issues.

    Numerous "Reset to Factory Defaults" didn't solve the problem. I did manage to solve a few of the issues but swapping the nodes since they're symmetrical, making the former master node the remote and vice versa.

    Following the support folks advice was worthless, got me nowhere in spite of frequent sending diagnostic info. An analysis of the syslog didn't show any error messages prior to a crash.

    Eventually, I did another factory reset and went with totally default settings. That was stable but didn't meet my requirements. I let that run for a day or so before turning on IPv6 (in "Native" mode, again ASUS provided no help with this setting and their documentation on and in their "manual" was zero help). That also ran for over a day with no problems.

    I next turned on AiProtection, one of the major router features. running with the settings recommended by that feature except for UPnP (I left it on), which I need for my network. 4 hours later, the crashes resumed.

    So I contacted the ASUS office of the CEO and they promised to do a Manufacturer's Return and send me a check. I'm now waiting for their RMA instructions.

    With these flaws (and others) the system is of little use to me. I would warn anyone with a fast and complex network away from this product.

    I need a system that Allows for a large number of devices with high speed connections.

    I'm still looking at my options after I return this system. The lead candidate for me at this time is the AmpliFi™ Alien system. Reviews on this are sparse, but I've had much better luck with Ubiquiti products in the past as they're generally commercial grade instead of consumer grade. Runner ups are the Netgear Orbi and Linksys Velop systems.

    I'm quite disappointed that the Ubiquiti system wasn't included in this review.

    Background: I have 1 GB Internet (Comcast), 1 GB Ethernet connecting the nodes and 14 of my over 50 devices. The rest are on Wifi with many IoT devices.

    I also stream up to 2, 4K UHD streams simultaneously to 2 TVs, 3 Computers, 2 Amazon Echo Shows. I have 6 other Echo devices, Nest Thermostat, 3 Nest Protect Smoke/CO2 Alarms, plus a bunch of other IoT gadgets.

    While my home isn't large, it has robust walls and even a 2.4 Ghz signal has trouble in my home. The big chimney in the center of the home doesn't help. I have Ethernet spanning the length of the home but no Ethernet in the middle as my home office is at one end of the house and the Media room where the Comcast termination and equipment rack is at the other end.
    My plan is to put in a 3 node system with the base node in the Media Room and ethernet connected satellites in the Office and Living room (it's on the other side of the chimney and I can reach it with an new Ethernet cable without too much trouble.
  • mwerneburg
    El Pato Grande said:
    I purchased the ASUS ZenWifi AX system, based in no small part to past good experience with other ASUS products and the great reviews of this product.

    Big Mistake! The System is entirely unreliable, with numerous problems, the most significant being the system crashing every 2 to 4 hours and rebooting. Unlike the past ASUS support has degraded to the point where they are no help at all.

    I don't know what's happened at Asus but the company that built a reputation on motherboards appears to be long gone. The Asus Wifi router I bought about 3-4 years ago systematically degraded to the point where I could no longer connect as a Wifi client or get the admin interface to function properly. And the Asus laptop I bought for my wife started developing cracks in its lid hinges about 18 months after I bought it. Asus used to be a go-to name but now it's a hazard.
  • andreacanzi
    KevinKProf said:
    I have seen reports from users that the TP-Link routers require a $5/month subscription to access their features. This is a big omission from your review. Can you confirm?

    looking at www. tp-link. com / us / homecare / it seems that it is a free service for "Lifetime of Product" they say:
    *Free lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare™ is included with purchase on select TP-Link routers at no additional cost. “Lifetime Subscription” refers solely to the life of the purchased device and can not be transferred. TP-Link reserves the right to modify the service and feature at any time.

    deco and ax series are supported.