We have here three mid-range semi-entry-level Wi-Fi 6 routers that won’t break anyone’s bank. It’s the Asus RT-AX3000 vs. Netgear RAX40 vs. TP-Link Archer AX50 mashup.
While these are similar, they are different enough. And if you’re wondering which one you should get, you’re at the right place.
These three routers are very similar in terms of specs. All are dual-band 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 router with the support for the venerable 160MHz channel width. They are the sweet-spot routers considering there are only 2×2 Wi-Fi clients on the market.
All of them also have a full web interface with a similar set of features and settings. Each also has a free app for mobile users. Hardware-wise, they have the usual 4 Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) port.
None has a multi-gig network port. But the RT-AX3000 has Dual-WAN while the Archer AX50 has LAN Link Aggregation. The Netgear RAX40 has neither.
In my testing, they all had similar Wi-Fi coverage, which is only suitable for a small home. So if you live in one, these routers will give you the best Wi-Fi 6 bang for your buck, costing less than $180 each.
|Full Name||Asus RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U Dual Band WiFi 6 Router||NETGEAR Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router||Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router|
|Dimensions||8.82 x 6.06 x 6.3 in (224 x 154 x 160 mm)||13.38 x 8.11 x 2.24 in (340 x 206 x 57 mm)||10.2 × 5.3 × 1.5 in (260.2 x 135.0 x 38.6 mm)|
|Weight||1.19 lbs (538 g)||1.32 lb (600 g)||1.24 lbs (.56 kg)|
|Hardware Specs||1.5 GHz Tri-core CPU, 256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM||Dual-core CPU||Intel AnyWAN GRX350, 256MB RAM|
|Wi-Fi Technology||Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX3000||Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX3000||Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX3000|
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||5GHz AX: 2×2 20/40/80/160 MHz, up to 2.4 Gbps||5GHz AX: 2×2 20/40/80/160 MHz, up to 2.4 Gbps||5GHz AX: 2×2 20/40/80/160 MHz, up to 2.4 Gbps|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2.4GHz AX: 2×2 20/40 MHz up to 600Mbps||2.4GHz AX: 2×2 20/40 MHz up to 600Mbps||2.4GHz AX: 2×2 20/40 MHz up to 600Mbps|
|Wireless Security||64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3||64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3||64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3|
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Netgear Nighthawk||TP-Link Tether|
|Web User Interface||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USB Port||1x USB 3.0||1x USB 3.0||1x USB 3.0|
|Gigabit Network Port||4x LAN, 1x WAN||4x LAN, 1x WAN||4x LAN, 1x WAN|
|Link Aggregation||No||No||Yes (LAN 2 + LAN 3)|
There are some differences between these routers.
Design-wise, the Netgear RAX40 is better looking, but it’s also the bulkiest. The TP-Link AX50 and the Asus RT-AX3000 are a lot more compact, with the latter being the smallest and lightest, but also a bit boring coming in the traditional router design.
The Asus delivered the best performance among the three in my testing and has the most features. That includes the support for the popular AiMesh solution — you can use it with another router to build a Wi-Fi system for a large home.
The Asus has an excellent QoS engine — especially for those working from home — but its Parental Control feature could use some improvement. The other two’s QoS features are a bit hard to configure. The Netgear has no Parent Control while that of the TP-Link is the most effective.
These three performed relatively the same in my testing, all having enough power to deliver a typical broadband connection in full. They can also work as a casual mini NAS server, with modest performance when hosting an external storage device, as shown here.
ASUS RT-AX3000 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Router$179.99
- 160 MHz channel support
- Fast and reliable performance
- Ton of useful features with excellent AiMesh support
- Full web interface and well-design mobile app
- Compact design, wall-mountable
- No multi-gig port or Link Aggregation
- Modest hardware specs
- Relatively short Wi-Fi range
- The Parental Control feature could use some improvement
Netgear Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router (RAX40)
- Affordable pricing, reliable performance
- 160 MHz channel width support
- Good set of network features and settings
- Responsive web user interface, useful mobile app
- Fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds
- Wi-Fi range could be better
- No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation
- Mobile app require a login account with vendor
- Reliable Wi-Fi, good coverage
- Tons of network settings and customization
- Responsive web user interface, useful mobile app
- Light weight, wall-mountable
- Middling Wi-Fi specs
- Fluctuating Wi-Fi connection speeds
- No multi-gig port, USB 2.0
Which is a better choice?
Again, these are very similar routers. Any of them can handle a small home with sub-Gigabit Internet.
That said, if you want the most features, including an effective QoS and the best performance, the Asus is the best choice. As the most expensive option among the three, it also has the most to offer – more than enough to justify the extra cost. I’d use it for myself.
Between the other two, the TP-Link Archer AX50 did better in my testing. But the chances are that you will not notice the difference between the two at all in real-world usage.
However, the TP-Link’s is more affordable and includes an excellent Parental Control feature. So if you’re a parent and want to watch over your kids, it will make a slightly better choice than the Netgear.
Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.