The Best Wifi 6 Routers For Every Scenario
I did a video not too long ago explaining what Wifi 6 is and why your next router should be Wifi 6 capable. But, now, I want to try and answer the next obvious question: which Wifi 6 router do you get?
So I bought a bunch of them, tested them all and now I believe I have a good list of the ones I think are the best Wifi 6 systems you can buy right now and which scenarios each one might be best suited for.
TP-Link Archer AX3000 (AX6000 & AX11000)
Firstly, let’s start with TP-Link Archer AX3000.
Now, I’ve been a fan of TP-Link’s products lately as they seem to be really good at getting the tech you’d find in higher-end devices for a lot less money and this router is no exception.
Full disclosure, unlike the others on this list that I had to go buy, the Archer AX3000 routers were sent to be by TP-Link for this video.
So the Archer AX3000 is easily the least flashy looking router on this list (you’ll see what I mean in a sec), and at just $129 is also probably the least expensive way to get the benefits of Wifi 6 in your house. Period.
Now, since you’re watching this video, I assume you already are familiar with the benefits of Wifi 6 (bump in speed, ability to handle a lot more devices on the network and future-proofing, battery savings for Wifi 6 devices on the network, etc. etc.). If not though, or if you just want a deeper dive into them all, you can check out my video what Wifi 6 is here.
The AX3000 uses TP-Link’s own app (as most of the systems on this list) which makes it easy to set everything up. You plug the router in, turn it on, open the app and it’ll walk you through the setup process. All in all, it takes maybe 5 mins, tops.
We also have some extra features in the app that are clever like parental controls that allow you to limit usage, pause access, block certain sites, and other features that you will like but your kids will hate.
On the back, there are four gigabit ethernet ports for you to plug in other networking devices as well as a USB 2.0 port.
The top speed of this router is 3gbps (or 3000mbps) as denoted by the AX3000 in its name, but it’s worth noting, that TP-Link also makes an AX6000 and AX11000 model that, as the names would suggest based on that, increase the throughput to 6 and 11 Gbps (like some others on this list we’ll get to in a sec and we’ll also talk a bit more about these speeds on the various routers and what they really translate to in real life).
These higher-end units also add more ethernet ports if you need to plug more networking devices in, faster USB ports for storage, etc. but, of course, with the added features, they also have higher price tags (albeit, again, TP-Link still comes in at less than the other AX6000/AX11000 devices on this list).
The bottom line on this router is if you want the benefits of WiFi 6 without having to pay a ton, the TP-Link AX3000 (and AX6000 and AX11000) are going to be your best bet.
Netgear Nighthawk AX8
Now, if you don’t mind spending a bit more money and are looking for some higher specs (and/or maybe you just want your router to look like a Star Wars Imperial Shuttle) then the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 is a solid option.
Its unique shape is probably also the image you’ve seen if you’ve ever looked up Wifi 6, and the reason for that is it was one of the first ones on the market.
Now, thankfully, it’s been out long enough that the price has come down a tiny bit (from $399 to $349) making it still not cheap but definitely a bit better of an option than when it first was launched.
That unique look, by the way, is due to the arrangement of the antennas inside these fins instead of the usual tentpoles we’re used to seeing. These things each have 2 antennas in them give the Nighthawk AX8 four antennas that it can use to produce 8 streams of data at once (hence the 8 in AX8) making it able to handle more devices being used on the network at once.
It also features five gigabit ethernet ports, two USB ports for a NAS or printer and an up to 2gbps WAN port (by aggregating the WAN and an extra ethernet port) that allows you to connect to the internet at up to 2gpbs if you have the infrastructure in your house that supports it (chances are that unless you have some crazy business account of some sort, you won’t have over 1gbps if you even have that so this might not be a benefit to you regardless).
You can check it out here.
Arris Surfboard MAX Plus AX7800
The next one on this list is not only Wifi 6 but it’s also a mesh system (check out this video for more details on what that means exactly).
Basically though, this is really for the people who have larger homes (or offices, etc.) and a lot of devices. That is because you can use the two mesh units it comes with to get about 6000 sq ft of coverage and you can also add more units to the system to increase the range even further.
The mesh WiFi6 system I’m using here is called the Arris Surfboard MAX Plus (MAX with AX in it, get it).
This comes with two nodes that are identical. So either can be plugged into the incoming internet cable, both have the same four gigabit ethernet ports located on the bottom of each (one has to be used for that incoming internet on the one unit giving that one three remaining), and both have the same distinct look.
That look is actually kinda nice in my opinion but they are not compact by any means so you’ll need a decent amount of headroom for wherever you place them.
The system is a tri-band system so it can broadcast WiFi 6 in 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz from each node but also has a third WiFi 6 backhaul band that is used to just transmit data between the nodes which translates to faster speeds across the system essentially.
They have their own Arris Surfboard Max manager app that, like the others on this list makes it pretty easy to setup. Once, it’s set up, it has basic network control features and includes parental controls and the ability to create guest networks, but that’s about it.
A unique feature of this mesh router system is that each node is also Alexa enabled so in the app you can connect your Amazon Alexa account and then tell your Alexa speaker to restart the router, turn on the guest network, etc.
For this setup and features, you are looking at about $399 for the pack of two units and can find more info on it here.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
If you’re a gamer, and money is no object, may I present the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000.
If you weren’t sure if it was a gamer router, well, it has an LED enabled ROG logo on the top, so now there’s no mistaking it.
In addition to the gamer aesthetic though, there are some unique gaming features.
Firstly, it apparently can prioritize gaming traffic. It identifies what data you’re sending is for a game and also identifies the gaming server you are connected to and tries to decrease the lag between the two (claiming up to 90% lower ping).
Being a ROG device, it also has a way to prioritize other ROG devices (whether it’s their phone, laptops, etc.) if you have one of those, as well.
The device is also triband so it has a 2.4ghz band as well as two 5ghz bands, with the second one meant to be used, you guessed it, specifically for gaming.
The idea behind that is that you can have your normal devices on the faster 5ghz instead of the 2.4 one but have things you want to have their own data streams for, like maybe a wifi-enabled controller to decrease the lag, you can do that, as well.
For ports, we have a 2.5gbps ethernet port for faster NAS connections than the standard 1gpbs ports (of which we have 4 of those, as well), 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and a 1gbps WAN port to connect to the internet.
It also supports link aggregation so you can connect your NAS (if it supports it) to the 2.5gbps port plus the other free gigabit ethernet ports to have the combined speed available for transferring to and from the NAS.
The massive gaming router, will set you back about $400 and you can check it out here.
Now, part of the reason though that this model is more expensive (along with the other units that aren’t the TP-Link) is because of that AX number I mentioned before. It basically denotes that they use a faster protocol for the Wifi. In the case of the ROG it uses AX11000 where as the mesh and imperial shuttle use AX6000 instead of the AX3000 of the TP-Link on this list.
Now, that faster protocol supports up to a theoretical 11000mbps for AX11000 over wifi (and the AX6000 devices can hit 6000mbps) while the TP-Link can hit about 3000mbps or so, but connecting to the internet will most likely, for all of these unless you have some sort of crazy dedicated business internet line, be the bottleneck.
For example, my Gigabit FiOS connection is one of the fastest speeds available to residents in NYC and since a gigabit is 1000mbps to the router, that means the under the even 3000 over wifi is way higher than I’d ever need (with my speeds close to all of these routers on Ookla Speedtest hovering around 300mbps).
The extra speed is valuable though if there are things you want to connect with within your home, though. For example, network-attached storage (Plex servers, anyone?), or peer to peer systems that support those types of speeds can communicate with each other through the network faster since they don’t need to access the outside internet.
And there you go guys! The best wifi 6 routers I could find. Let me know what you think of this video in the comments below and make sure to check out my new series called Decodr on YouTube where I explain a new piece of tech each week.
As always, regardless, thanks for watching!