If you’ve ever experienced slow Internet speeds, lag while playing video games, or dead spots in your home, the issue could be your router. It might be time to invest in a Wi-Fi 6 router that will boost Internet coverage, make it speedier and more reliable, and supercharge your smart home.
Table of Contents:
- What to Look for in a Wi-Fi 6 Router
- Best Overall: NETGEAR Nighthawk 6 Stream AX5400
- Best Budget: TP-Link Archer AX50
- Best Premium: NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
- More Affordable Tri-Band Mesh System: TP-Link Deco X68
- Best Budget Mesh System: Linksys Velop Mesh Router WHW0303
- Best for Large Families: NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12
- Best for Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
If this is your first time purchasing a Wi-Fi router, it can seem like an intimidating purchase. Usually, people use whatever router comes with Internet installation. But if you notice that one is a bit lacking and you want to upgrade to a speedy Wi-Fi 6 router, here’s what you need to pay attention to.
- Size of Your Home: Make sure you consider how much square footage your Wi-Fi 6 router needs to cover. How far and wide do you need signal to travel? Do you live in a small 600 square foot apartment or a larger 2,000 square foot house? Ensure you get a router that can carry signal to all areas of your home so you don’t run into any dead spots in your home.
- Internet Usage: You also need to consider how you or the others in your household use the Internet. Do you or anyone else in your household game a lot? Or do multiple people stream TV shows or movies at the same time? The Wi-Fi 6 router you choose needs to be able to accommodate the number of total devices you have connected to your home network, as well as the number of simultaneous streams at any given time.
- Dual-Band vs. Tri-Band: Dual-band routers broadcast a 5GHz signal as well as a 2.4GHz signal. Any device that is able to support the faster 5GHz signal will connect to that one, while any devices that are not compatible will default to the 2.4GHz signal. A tri-band router adds another 5GHz signal to the mix. This comes in handy when you have a lot of devices trying to connect to the 5GHz signal. So, consider how many people are using your network with devices that support a speedy 5GHz signal. You can read further about dual-band vs. tri-band routers here if you want more info.
- Mesh Systems: A mesh Wi-Fi system comes in handy when your home has a lot of dead spots or doesn’t seem to reach reliably across your whole house. When you use a mesh networking system, you’re using two or more routers placed in specific areas in your home to make sure every square foot is covered.
- Internals: The better your hardware is, the faster and more reliable your Wi-Fi will be. You’ll want to look at the CPU and hopefully snag a router with a quad-core CPU, though if it’s lower it’s not the end of the world. Also pay attention to the amount of flash memory and RAM you have, as well as your data transfer rate.
If you’re looking for a single router that’ll simply improve speeds and deliver more reliable coverage, go for NETGEAR’s Nighthawk 6 Stream AX5400 Router. For a reasonable price, you get six simultaneous Wi-Fi streams and can connect over 60 devices to the network. You’ll get coverage for up to 2000 square feet, though, depending on how your floor plan is laid out, this number could be slightly less.
This Wi-Fi 6 router supports Internet plans up to 1Gbps, and you’ll see a 5.4Gbps Wi-Fi speed. This is a dual-band router that comes with a 1.8GHz triple-core processor and OFDMA tech to help support simultaneous streams. It also boasts a download and transfer speed for files at 10.8Gbps. And it comes with four 1G and one 2.5G Ethernet ports.
It’s also pretty easy to set this router up with your existing cable modem. And you can download the Nighthawk app (Android/iOS) to get even more control and info out of your router. You can manage your Wi-Fi settings, test your Internet speed, and even monitor your home data usage.
NETGEAR Nighthawk 6Stream AX5400
If you're looking for a single router that'll simply improve speeds and deliver more reliable coverage, go for NETGEAR's Nighthawk 6 Stream AX5400 Router.
If you want a great Wi-Fi 6 router, but don’t want to spend a whole lot of money, check out this one from TP-Link. Inside, there’s a dual-core CPU that’ll help support up to four simultaneous streams through Ethernet ports for some pretty fast gaming and streaming speeds.
With the TP-Link AX3000 Archer AX50, you can connect over 40 different devices with OFDMA technology. Also, this Wi-Fi 6 router is dual band, so you’ll have a 5GHz band and a 2.4GHz band to help you get the speeds you need. Plus, it’s super easy to set up and works with the TP-Link tether app (Android/iOS) to help you manage your router.
And if you need an even cheaper option, TP-Link also offers the Archer AX10, which won’t be as powerful as the AX50 but still a great option for the price.
TP-Link Archer AX50
If you want a great Wi-Fi 6 router, but don't want to spend a whole lot of money, check out this one from TP-Link.
If you’re able to spend a premium to future-proof your home with this tri-band mesh system from NETGEAR, do it. You won’t regret it. Two mesh units will provide reliable coverage for up to 5000 square feet. And, if you have an even larger home, you can purchase additional units for extra coverage. Plus, each unit comes with four Ethernet ports for direct connectivity for computers, gaming consoles, and more.
This whole-home system from NETGEAR can support over 100 connected devices and stream to eight devices simultaneously, with speeds of up to 6Gbps. So if you know that you and others in your household stream a lot of content, game frequently, or otherwise put a large demand on your Wi-Fi, this mesh system has you covered.
And like the other Wi-Fi 6 router from NETGEAR, you can use an app to help manage it. The Orbi app (Android/iOS) will help you manage your Wi-Fi settings, test your Internet speed, and track how much data you’re using.
NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
If you're able to spend a premium to future proof your home with this tri-band mesh system from NETGEAR, do it.
If you don’t want to splurge $700 on the Orbi Whole Home Mesh System, the Deco X68 tri-band mesh system from TP-Link is a great alternative. It’s only $280 for two mesh units and can cover up to 5500 square feet with speeds up to 3600 Mbps. You can connect over 150 devices and still see super-fast Wi-Fi speeds on your devices.
Although the data transfer speeds may not be as fast as other tri-band mesh systems, it’s still pretty fast for the price. And this tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router is certainly faster than any Wi-Fi 5 router out there. With a tri-band system, you’ll get an extra 5GHz network that’ll help your network stay speedy even when more devices are active on it.
TP-Link Deco X68
If you want a Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 system, but don't want to spend $700 or more, the Deco X68 offers a more affordable starting price.
The Linksys Velop Mesh Router system will give you reliable Wi-Fi coverage for your whole home without breaking the bank. Because these are dual-band routers, they’re more affordable while still providing great connectivity for up to 6000 square feet, depending on how your home is laid out.
Inside, there is a 716MHz quad-core CPU and 512MB of RAM. The data transfer rate is a speedy 2200Mbps. If you want an even faster data transfer rate of 4400Mbps, Linksys has a tri-band option that comes in a set of two.
But if your main goal is to provide a lot of strong coverage throughout your home for your family and eliminate any dead spots, this set of three dual-band mesh routers will work perfectly for you. And like the other routers on this list, there’s an app you can use to easily manage your device. The Linksys app (Android/iOS) lets you see the network setup, manage guest access, and more.
Linksys (WHW0303) Velop Mesh Router
The Linksys Velop Mesh Router system will give you reliable Wi-Fi coverage for your whole home without breaking the bank.
The Nighthawk AX12 (RAX120) router from NETGEAR is one of the best for larger families because it offers 12 simultaneous Wi-Fi streams at up to 6Gbps. It is a dual-band router with four 1G Ethernet ports and one Ethernet port that can support 1G, 2.5G, or 5G.
Inside, you’ll find a 2.2GHz quad-core CPU and OFDMA technology to help boost speeds and encourage smoother streams. This router will deliver reliable coverage up to 3500 square feet.
And as with the other NETGEAR products in this list, there’s an app you can use with this router to make your life easier. The Nighthawk app (Android/iOS) will let you manage your Wi-Fi router, check data usage, and more.
Netgear Nighthawk AX12
The Nighthawk AX12 (RAX120) router from NETGEAR is one of the best for larger families because it offers 12 simultaneous Wi-Fi streams at up to 6Gbps.
If you play demanding video games a lot, this is the Wi-Fi 6 gaming router you need. The ASUS ROG Rapture router is a tri-band, 10 Gigabit router with a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU, 256MB of flash memory, 1GB of RAM, and a data transfer rate of 11000Mbps. All of this translates into a super-fast stream speed that will help your games feel buttery smooth.
What’s awesome about this ASUS router is that it specifically caters to gamers. With a tri-band network, you’re able to dedicate one 5GHz band solely to gaming so you don’t compete for bandwidth from other devices on the network. With all the special features ASUS has packed into this Wi-Fi 6 router, you’ll see lower ping rates and reduced lag in your games.
There are four 1GB Ethernet ports and one 2.5GB Ethernet port. And you’ll be happy to know that this router works with the latest gen consoles, Xbox Series X and the PS5, as well as the latest gaming PC parts.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
If you play demanding video games a lot, this is the Wi-Fi 6 router you need.