Best WiFi 6 Routers – 2021 Guide

Austin
| Last Updated: June 6, 2021

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One thing we learned over the past year is how much we rely on home Wi-Fi networks. It highlighted the importance of fast, reliable internet connections, and for many, that meant an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6.

Should you upgrade? Read on to learn everything you need to know about Wi-Fi 6 and how to choose the best router for your home network. 

Comparison of the Best WiFi 6 Routers

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Router supports WiFi 6 connection speeds
  • Up tp 8 Stream smart WiFi antennas for better coverage
  • Very fast data transfer rates 1 Gbps
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  • Wide coverage of up to 2500 square feet
  • Connection speeds of up 5700 Mbps
  • Supports WPA 3 WiFi protocols for improved security
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  • Best WiFi 6 Mesh Router
  • Connects up to 150 devices on WiFi router
  • Wide coverage of up to 5800 square feet
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  • Best ASUS WiFi 6 Router
  • Dual-frequency bands of 2.4 and 5 Ghz
  • Up to 4 fast antennas for better coverage
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  • Best Netgear WiFi 6 Router
  • Very easy to set it up and manage
  • You get 2 USB 3.0 ports included
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How to Choose a Wi-Fi 6 Router

As with any technology, it helps to compare apples to apples when selecting a device. With the Wi-Fi 6 routers, there are a few things to look for if you want to get the most out of the upgrade.

Speed and Consistency

To be clear, you should see a noticeable uptick in speed with any Wi-Fi 6 router. That said, some routers allow you to use your devices more efficiently, which translates to faster speeds. Try to look for a router that gives you control over how your devices connect to your router.

Gamers and streamers may want to pay extra attention to reviews that mention reliability. The last thing you want is a connection that’s speedy but drops off in the middle of a game! 

It’s also important to consider other devices you intend to upgrade over the next few years, like televisions and gaming systems. Over the next several years, more electronic devices will be optimized for Wi-Fi 6, which means it’s an excellent idea to choose a router that can handle those devices going forward.

Range

Another aspect that may help you choose between two similar devices is the router’s range. Consider the square footage of your home and how far you need the signal to travel. Some routers can manage a far larger space than others.

Depending on where you set your router, you may want to consider how well the signal travels through walls.

Price

Many people can’t afford to overlook the price when shopping for a router. At this point in the process, Wi-Fi 6 routers can still cost upwards of $300. However, you can easily find some decent devices in the $150 to $250 range. Again, upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router is an investment in your home internet for the foreseeable future.

Device Compatibility

In most cases, device compatibility shouldn’t be an issue. However, we found that some routers struggle with certain devices while others cover a broad range, even older versions. You may want to check reviews and troubleshooting forums to see if your devices have known issues with a router before purchasing one.

Review of the Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers

We did the homework for you and narrowed the immense field of Wi-Fi 6 routers down to our top six contenders. From breaking down the top features to teasing out the downsides for each device, we put all of these devices to the test.

Best Overall:
TP-Link Archer AX6000

TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router(Archer AX6000) -Wireless Router, 8-Stream WiFi Router, 2.5G WAN Port, 8 Gigabit LAN Ports, MU-MIMO, 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU

PROS

  • Fast, reliable performance
  • Web user interface is incredible
  • Two USB ports - Type A and Type C
  • Eight external antennas boost your range
  • Impressive Advanced Security and Parental Control features

CONS

  • Larger than similar products
  • Requires a subscription to take full advantage of some features

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users applaud the Archer AX6000 speeds and ease of use. It’s extra easy to install and quickly replace old routers. 

Unfortunately, several users expressed frustration that you need to buy an additional yearly subscription to TP-Link Tether. Without the subscription, you can’t take full advantage of all features, including antivirus protection, Parental Controls, and QoS.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Archer AX6000 is a sturdy, powerful piece of equipment. It’s tough to find much fault with it, especially for households that operate multiple devices. We appreciate some of the bonus features, like the WiFi Target Wake Time that schedules data transmission to conserve power.

The parental controls allow you to monitor website access and set time limits in unique ways. It includes real-time antivirus protection and allows you to filter content into categories. As a bonus, you don’t have to reboot the router every time you alter settings.

Bottom Line

TP-Link promotes this device as a two-time J.D. Power award winner, and it seems capable of handling anything you throw at it. If you can afford the subscription and accommodate a larger device like the Archer AX6000, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Runner-up:
ASUS RT-AX86U

ASUS AX5700 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX86U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, 2.5G Port, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security

PROS

  • Mobile game mode limits lag
  • User-friendly interface and mobile app
  • Affordable compared to similar products
  • Reliable router with exceptional range and performance
  • Features helpful settings, including some for online gaming

CONS

  • Multi-gig port can only handle up to 2.5 Gbps
  • Using gaming features means turning off Adaptive QoS

What Recent Buyers Report

Users rave about the speed, performance, and durability of this device. Several users note that it can’t be wall-mounted, but the low-profile design means it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Another frequent comment involved the insane amount of network traffic this router can handle. 

That said, some users took issue with the need to turn off Adaptive QoS to use gaming features. There are some other complaints about configurations and having to turn off one feature to get the full use of another one.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Honestly, the ASUS RT-AX86U is barely a second-place finisher in this category. You get a massive power upgrade with up to 5700 Mbps, which means minimal lag when you’re gaming or streaming. However, we wish you didn’t have to turn off the Adaptive QoS to use all gaming features.

We also love the user-friendly features, including the commercial-grade home network security. The traffic analyzer and network diagnostics are a nice touch, and you don’t have to buy a subscription to use any of the features.

Bottom Line

The ASUS RT-AX86U is a viable back-up option if you don’t want to buy a subscription. It’s a solid choice for gamers seeking a power upgrade from older routers because there is a definitive performance bump.

Best WiFi 6 Mesh Router:
TP-Link Deco X20

TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh System(Deco X20) - Covers up to 5800 Sq.Ft. , Replaces Wireless Routers and Extenders(3-Pack, 6 Ethernet Ports in total, supports Wired Ethernet Backhaul)

PROS

  • Chic, low-profile devices 
  • Covers up to 5800 square feet
  • Compatible with most internet plans up to 1Gbps
  • Features both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless connections
  • Includes parental controls with unique profiles for each member of your household

CONS

  • Doesn’t support 160 Mhz channels
  • The app is a little outdated and minimalistic

What Recent Buyers Report

Users commend this system for seamless roaming throughout your home. Some reviewers report that it handles dozens of devices at once with no service disruption.

Though most users love this system for their homes, some reported less than satisfactory experiences. A handful of comments note issues with dropping certain devices for no apparent reason.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We didn’t test the maximum capabilities of this system because we don’t have 150 electronics sitting around. However, we appreciated the incredible range that extended well into the backyard and maintained coverage for multiple devices, including smart appliances, plugs, and switches.

The app could use an upgrade. Even though it’s easy to use, it’s rather basic, and it’s cloud-based. Also, it doesn’t support some devices, so you need to make sure all of your electronics are compatible.

Bottom Line

Overall, this mesh router system seems to handle a large household well with decent speeds and seamless roaming. However, you need to have safe places throughout your home for three devices to maximize the system.

Best ASUS WiFi 6 Router:
ASUS RT-AX3000

ASUS WiFi 6 Router (RT-AX3000) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Parental Control, MU-MIMO, OFDMA

PROS

  • Supports 160 MHz channel
  • Decently fast and reliable performance
  • Well designed web interface and mobile app 
  • Compact and wall-mountable to free up desk space
  • Enjoy a host of useful features including AiMesh support

CONS

  • Needs updates to Parental Controls
  • WiFi connection frequently drops for some devices, like iPhones

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, users with limited network needs rave about this router, while heavy WiFi users complain that it doesn’t measure up. Some users noted issues maintaining connections on iPhones. There are also several comments about the limited features, primarily under Parental Controls.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We appreciate this router because it delivers decent coverage (up to 3000 square feet) in a compact package. It may not manage as many devices as some of the other routers, but households with fewer devices will appreciate the affordability and performance.

Like other users, we noticed problems with iPhones maintaining connection. It seems to be an issue with some other devices. 

Bottom Line

Smaller households with fewer than fifteen or twenty devices could benefit from the reasonable speeds and coverage of the RT-AX3000. However, it may not meet the needs of heavy users and larger smart households.

Best Netgear WiFi 6 Router:
NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX50

NETGEAR Nighthawk 6-Stream AX5400 WiFi 6 Router (RAX50) - AX5400 Dual Band Wireless Speed (Up to 5.4 Gbps) | 2,500 sq. ft. Coverage

PROS

  • User-friendly with easy setup
  • Web-based user interface is stellar
  • One of the more affordable options
  • Decent features and network settings 
  • Slightly faster than comparable models

CONS

  • Somewhat erratic WiFi speeds and limited range
  • You need to create an account with the vendor to login to the mobile app

What Recent Buyers Report

Reviewers seem to love or hate this router. The majority of users appreciate the speed and range. Several comments say that setup takes less than five minutes with no hiccups and compatibility with all internet providers. However, there are quite a few complaints about fluctuating speeds with no explanation or solution available.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love the speed and overall performance of this device. With no drops and several devices connected at one time, it’s tough to complain. Setup was fast and easy like other Netgear products, and it looks good. 

The range was good, and we were able to use a VPN without difficulty. You can set a guest WiFi for visitors, and it’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. However, there are some notable shortcomings, like no parental controls or antivirus add-ons. 

Bottom Line

The quick and easy setup, robust speeds, and impressive device capacity make this Netgear router tough to beat. It is a little on the pricey side for a router with limited features (like parental controls).

Best for the Money:
Eero Pro 6

PROS

  • Three WiFi radios (Tri-band)
  • Affordable, easy to set up device
  • Convenient, attractive, low-profile design
  • Built-in home hub is compatible with Alexa
  • Covers up to 2,000 square feet and up to 75 devices

CONS

  • The app could use an upgrade with some customization options
  • Not a lot of control for optimizing the usage by different devices

What Recent Buyers Report

Several users note the ease of setup and an overall speed boost over older routers. That said, many users also report issues with optimizing devices. There are several reports of devices dropping to a lower usage when they can handle far more. The lack of control seems to have quite a few users underwhelmed and annoyed.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love the quick, easy setup and range of this Amazon router. It uses TrueMesh technology and easily supports multiple devices with decent speeds. It’s compatible with many other devices, including Alexa.

For the price, the Eero Pro 6 gives you decent speeds and handles a lot of devices. However, there’s no way to optimize how each device uses the network. It’s an automated feature that doesn’t necessarily work as well as it could. 

Bottom Line

Not to be outdone, or excluded, from this segment of the tech market, Amazon created an affordable, functional Wi-Fi 6 router with a built-in smart home hub. It’s tough to beat this one in terms of price, even if it’s not as powerful as other options.

What is Wi-Fi 6 and How Does a Wi-Fi 6 Router Work? 

Wi-Fi 6 is the newest wireless technology, often referred to as high-efficiency wireless, because it improves speed and capacity for most users. A year ago, there were so few devices that supported Wi-Fi 6 that it wasn’t worth the investment in a new router. However, new devices, including the latest Samsung and Apple phones, support Wi-Fi 6.

Also known as AX Wi-Fi or 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 is the next step in wireless technology. It’s more efficient with a broader range to accommodate heavy-use households. Some of the routers even feature commercial-grade features.

What is a Wi-Fi 6 Router?

Wi-Fi 6 routers give homeowners access to the plethora of features available through the newest wireless networking standard. As noted above, many new electronics feature Wi-Fi 6 chipsets, including the newest mobile devices. Though Wi-Fi 6 routers can support devices set for the older iterations, you should notice a bit of a performance boost.

Should You Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6?

If your current router is more than three years old or causing you problems, it may be time to upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router. Though it’s not necessary for most devices at this time, it’s the future of the internet, and that means most new devices come Wi-Fi 6 ready. 

Additionally, for households that use more devices and need the extra bandwidth, it’s a no-brainer. Even with older devices, you should notice a leap in speed and have fewer issues with dropped connections. 

For kids attending online school and adults working from home, these are massive selling points. That said, only you can decide when it’s time to leap to a new Wi-Fi 6 router.

Pros and Cons of Wi-Fi 6 Routers

Wi-Fi 6 routers may be the future of the internet, but are they everything they’re cracked up to be? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these devices.

The Upside of Wi-Fi 6

First and foremost, Wi-Fi 6 improves the efficiency of your internet usage, which ultimately increases speed and reliability. You can essentially do a lot more with far less power.

Speaking of efficiency, many of these routers include tech that sets them to sleep when you’re not using the internet. Not only do you conserve power during sleep cycles, but the devices also use the information to optimize your usage patterns to further improve your network’s efficiency.

A big perk that doesn’t get enough press is the outdoor range you get with most Wi-Fi 6 routers. For people who enjoy spending time on the patio or out in the yard, it could be a huge benefit to be able to use your internet connection for streaming music, video, and more.

The Downside of WiFi 6 

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with WiFi 6 technology. This is still relatively new tech, so it should not come as a surprise that there are a few drawbacks.

First, you need a Gigabit-class broadband connection to get the full effects of this technology. Users with slower internet speeds may not notice much of a speed bump.

Another consideration is that the smaller range of WiFi 6 routers means any obstructions between your device and the router you could experience interruptions. In short, too many walls between a device and the router could mean trouble. As you can see from some of the above products, some manufacturers found ways around this issue. 

Aspects to Consider Before Buying 

Before you commit to a new WiFi 6 router, you may want to assess your situation and answer a few questions to determine if it’s the right move. These considerations can also help you choose the right one.  

  • Do you need a new router immediately? If your existing router is older or failing to support your household, then you probably need a new one. On the other hand, if you can wait, you may see prices drop and some improvement on existing products.

  • Can your existing internet support WiFi 6? Remember that this technology works best on Gigabit-class broadband connections, so if your internet isn’t there, it may not be worth the investment at this time.

  • How much range do you need? Think about your daily usage and make sure that the router can cover the full area to meet your needs.

  • Can you afford it? At this time, WiFi 6 routers cost more than older versions. If you plan to set yourself up for the foreseeable future, a budget model may not be enough, but the power you need may exceed your limits. 

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX50

How Does Wi-Fi 6 Compare?

We just got Wi-Fi 5. Is Wi-Fi 6 that different? What about a mesh network? How does that measure up? We’re glad you asked! Let’s take a look at some quick comparisons between some popular options.

Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6

In short, Wi-Fi 6 buries Wi-Fi 5 in terms of speed. Wi-Fi 6 can handle up to 9.6 Gbps, while Wi-Fi 5 can only manage 3.5 Gbps. That said, you only get those speeds if your internet can handle it.

Wi-Fi 6 Router vs Mesh Network

First, a mesh network involves multiple routers working together as a system to eliminate dead spots in your home. Instead of one router managing your whole house, a mesh network means placing multiple devices around your home that work together. As you can guess, mesh networks cost more than solo routers.

The other downside to mesh networks is the potential for slower speeds than with a single WiFi 6 router. However, the speed you gain is so impressive that you probably won’t notice a cut-in speed.

Wi-Fi 6 vs 6E

Wi-Fi 6E is your answer to high traffic systems. Essentially, Wi-Fi 6E is Wi-Fi 6 on steroids because it gives you faster speeds, less interference, wider channels, and limited latency. 

Conclusion 

WiFi 6 is, without a doubt, the future of the internet with incredible speeds. Many of the routers on our list include an array of impressive features that give you optimal control over your home network. If you need an upgrade and your internet can handle it, a WiFi 6 router may be worth the investment to improve your user experience. 

People Also Ask

Do you still have questions? We thought you might, so we created this list of common questions we found during our research.

Does Wi-Fi 6 Make a Difference?

Yes, even older devices should notice a speed boost and a more seamless internet experience.

Does the PS5 Have Wi-Fi 6?

Yes, the PS5 is Wi-Fi 6 compatible.

Does Wi-Fi 6 Penetrate Walls Better?

No, it doesn’t do a better job with obstructions, but you shouldn’t notice a significant delay or increase in dropped signals.

Is WiFi 6 Worth it?

It depends on your household. If you need a new router, can afford it and want to prep your home network for the next few years, then a WiFi 6 router may be worth it. 

Do I Need Wi-Fi 6?

Again, it depends on your situation. If you have updated tech that handles Wi-Fi 6, it helps you make the most of those devices.

Do I Have to Get a New Router to Get Wi-Fi 6?

Yes, you need to purchase a device with the Wi-Fi 6 chipset.

How Much is a Wi-Fi 6 Router? 

An excellent Wi-Fi 6 router could cost upwards of $300 to $400, but you can get a decent one between $150 and $250.



Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.