The best Wi-Fi 6 routers provide excellent data-transfer speeds, a strong signal and best-in-class device management regardless of whether they are standalone units or part of a mesh networking system.
The latest Wi-Fi standard absolutely trumps the older Wi-Fi 5/802.11ac standard as Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax) provides a significant connectivity upgrade for all of the devices in your home. As a result of more efficient connection management, you’ll also see better battery life for both your mobile and connected home devices.
If you want to take things even further though, Wi-Fi 6e is the latest enhancement to the new protocol and adds the 6-GHz spectrum as a third band. This means that you can spread out your devices across the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and the 6 GHz spectrum to avoid network congestion while achieving dramatically faster speeds along with unbeatable performance gains.
Looking to improve your home network by getting a new device to replace an old wireless AC router? Now that Wi-Fi 6 has gone from an experimental new technology to the new standard on all of the latest laptops and smartphones, there’s never been a better time to upgrade. Even if you don’t have any devices with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity yet, upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router can ensure you’re well prepared for the future.
We’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed dozens of Wi-Fi 6 routers along with several Wi-Fi 6e ones. To help you keep up with all of the latest products, we’ve rounded up the best Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6e routers and mesh systems you can buy right now. Our picks on the list below were carefully selected from among the top-selling, top-performing and most innovative devices on the market today.
Keep reading as we’ve highlighted routers designed for both small and large homes as well as for gaming and media streaming which are available as either standalone units or mesh systems that you can expand down the road as your connectivity needs change.
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 2.5 Gbps. You’ll pay a lot for that performance, but if you want the undisputed performance champ, this is it.
The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E (RBK963) is the best mesh system to get the newest 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 seriously shocked by its high price. For a less expensive option that uses regular Wi-Fi 6, there’s also the cheaper Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) further down the list.
The best Wi-Fi 6 routers right now
The Asus RT-AX86U is a Wi-Fi 6 powerhouse that delivers great speeds and killer gaming features, as well as awesome customization options, all for under $300. 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 1-Gbps 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. 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 was the first Wi-Fi 6e router to hit the market, and the results are mind-blowing. By adding a 6-GHz 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 2.5 Gbps 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, and possibly the fastest.
By adding access to a slew of new data-delivering channels in the 6-GHz spectrum, the tri-band Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 takes the lead as the first high-performance Wi-Fi 6e router. While it’s best at close quarters and is quite expensive, the RAXE500 is worth every penny if you have the need for speed.
Read our full Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 review.
The Linksys Atlas Max 6E was the first mesh Wi-Fi router we tested that beat the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E (RBKE963) in terms of overall throughput. At 15 feet, the Atlas 6E had a throughput of 1.189 Gbps of data, which stayed strong at 25 feet (1.008 Gbps), before dropping to 382.2 Mbps at 50 feet.
Each Atlas Max 6E device has 12 amplified antennas, one 5Gbps WAN input port, four downstream gigabit LAN ports and a USB 3.0 port for attaching a storage device. Just as significantly, each can be configured as the host router or satellite during setup. We also like the fact that it comes with a three-year warranty and lifetime support, which blows away the competition.
Read our full Linksys Atlas Max 6E review.
Easily the fastest mesh-router system on the planet, Netgear’s Orbi RBKE963 is also the most expensive. But if you have money to burn, a gigabit broadband connection and an enormous house, this is the mesh system for you.
The RBKE963 can cover up to 9,000 square feet; add a third satellite and you can go to 12,000 square feet. At a distance of 15 feet, the router’s 6-Ghz channel delivered throughput of more than a gigabit, the first mesh router to do so in our tests.
Each unit has 12 antennas and four Ethernet ports (one rated at 2.5 Gbps), and the system creates channels on the 2.5, 5 and 6-Ghz bands, plus a fourth 5-Ghz one for backhaul between units.
Netgear offers trial subscriptions to its Armor security software, which includes Bitdefender antivirus, and parental controls. You’ll also have to pay for tech support after 90 days.
But if you can afford to pay for this mesh system, you won’t mind. If not, the Wi-Fi 6-based Orbi RBK852 further down this page makes for a worthy alternative.
Read our full Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E (RBKE963) 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 XR1000’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.
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. 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 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 one of the best mesh systems 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. 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. (And don’t forget the somewhat cheaper Netgear Orbi RBK752.)
Read our full Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) 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 8,000 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.
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 being 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, the Archer AX6000 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 such as 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. 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 a bookend on a shelf and a size that makes competing mesh systems look downright bulky.
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. Also, if you’re interested in upgrading to Wi-Fi 6e, the Asus ZenWiFi ET8 is worth checking out as well.
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 a very affordable 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.
How to choose the best Wi-Fi 6 router for you
Choosing the best Wi-Fi 6 router isn’t that different from shopping for any other networking product. Although the 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 as the newer standard offers higher throughput than the previous 802.11ac standard. It’s also 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 bandwidth among many devices.
Compatibility: Similarly, you’ll get the most out of Wi-Fi 6 by using newer Wi-Fi 6-equipped devices. While the standard is backwards compatible and should work with every older Wi-Fi-connected device you own, some of the features, like improved battery life for connected devices, will only work when both your router and your connected devices have Wi-Fi 6 capability.
Most new laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets now include Wi-Fi 6 while a few even support Wi-Fi 6e which makes 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 will usually be sufficient for an apartment or smaller home with ranges of 50 to 100 feet being common.
Larger homes though, with 3,000 square feet of space or more, will benefit from a mesh system that pairs a base unit with satellite extensions that can be placed throughout the house.
These extensions stretch the reach of your Wi-Fi signal to cover even a large home though they can also 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 have your gaming session slowed down or even interrupted by your network connection.
Gaming routers provide all of the same capabilities of a standard router but are optimized specifically for gaming. They reduce interruptions, help eliminate lage and usually offer advanced controls for customizing how data is used among the different devices in your home. (Check out the best gaming routers for more details and our favorite models.)
Price: Finally, the biggest factor in many people’s purchasing decisions isn’t specific features or capabilities, but price. While Wi-Fi 6 products are still notably more expensive than older standards, there are a handful of budget-friendly options out there and even a few with Wi-Fi 6e.
Though many Wi-Fi 6 products cost $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. Still though, a solid Wi-Fi 6 standalone router can be had for under $150 and a mesh system can be found for under $300.
How we test Wi-Fi routers
We test every router we review to measure their performance and range, in addition to hands-on use to evaluate their setup process and the quality of their settings and features.
Throughput describes how much data a router can move back and forth over its wireless connection. Higher throughput will serve you better in data-heavy use cases like streaming video, gaming or connecting multiple devices at once.
We measure throughput using IXChariot, first at a 5-foot distance without obstructions in order to gauge the maximum amount of data a router can move. We then measure how much data a router can move at 50, 75 and 100 feet, so that you can choose the best model for smaller homes and apartments where short-range performance is more of a priority.
We also test performance through walls and ceilings to determine how well a router can provide a signal when dealing with Wi-Fi dampening conditions which are common to many buildings and homes.
For mesh routers, we perform additional testing to determine how well the mesh system does when it comes to sending a signal through both the main router and its satellite units.
Following our throughput tests, we also put the router through real-world tests by connecting a number of devices – laptops, TVs, smartphones and tablets — and stream several games, TV shows and movies simultaneously to see how well a router performs under strain.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom’s Guide.
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