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Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2020

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Netgear RAX120 is an impressive looking Wi-Fi 6 router with a 5Gbps network port.

Folks have been asking me which are the best Wi-Fi 6 routers to get, and I’m still on the fence about whether anyone needs one right now. I’ve used about a dozen myself and found that most of the time, they make no difference compared to Wi-Fi 5 counterparts.

I wrote a long post more than a year ago why you should wait, and most of those reasons still stand today. Among them, the high cost is obvious. There are now some clients on the market, and you can even upgrade your computer to Wi-Fi 6. However, in all cases, they are of mid-tier specs, and, therefore, can be slower than high-end Wi-Fi 5 devices.

So there’s no rush. But it doesn’t hurt to get one, either. If you’re ready to leap, below are the best Wi-Fi 6 routers among those I’ve tested. Bookmark this post — I’ll update it as I review more.

Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2020: The list

This list includes both routers and mesh systems, in reviewed order, latest on top. If you want to see how their performance numbers stack up, scroll to the bottom of the page for the charts.


10. Netgear RAX40: An excellent Wi-Fi 6 router for the budget-minded

If you live in a small home, the Netgear RAX40 is an excellent choice. It’s a muted version of the more expensive RAX120 that’s capable of delivering 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 (2.4Gbps) in full. That said, for now, it’s as fast any Wi-Fi 6 router can be, considering there are only 2×2 clients.

Among budget Wi-Fi 6 routers, the Netgear RAX40 is slightly faster (and more expensive) than the TP-Link AX300 below.

Netgear Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router (RAX40)

8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Affordable pricing, reliable performance
  • 160 MHz channel width support
  • Good set of network features and settings
  • Responsive web user interface, useful mobile app
  • Wall-mountable

Cons

  • 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
READ MORE:  Netgear Nighthawk RAX40 Review: Wi-Fi 6 for the Budget Minded

9. Asus ZenWiFi AX: The best AiMeseh system to date

The ZenWiFi AX XT8 is Asus’s first Wi-Fi 6 system built around the company’s popular AiMesh feature. Though not the fastest on the market, nor is it the one that gives you everything an Asus router has to offer, the XT8 has an excellent combo of performance, features, and cost.

If you’re looking for a system that can deliver your Gigabit-class internet connection in full and has a ton of useful features, including a free-for-life built-in online protection, without having a hole in your wallet afterward, the ZenWiFi AX is the one to get.

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (XT8)

8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost
  • Improved and flexible AiMesh
  • Lots network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life
  • Full 4x4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support
  • Multi-gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation

Cons

  • No 160MHz 4x4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients, for now
  • Guest networking not available at the node in a mesh setup
  • No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
  • Only four network ports on each hardware units
  • Not enough instructions on network settings
READ MORE:  Asus ZenWiFi AX Review: The Best AiMesh System to Date

8. Netgear Orbi RBK852: The expensive Wi-Fi 6 mesh that delivers

The Orbi Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 (model RBK852) is not for everyone since it’s so expensive. But if you’re looking for a sure, and easy way, to blanket a large property with fast Wi-Fi that can deliver Gigabit-class Internet, it won’t disappoint.

Orbi WiFi 6 System AX6000 (RBK852)

8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with large coverage
  • Full web interface with all common settings and features
  • Useful, well designed mobile app
  • 2.5Gbps multi-gig WAN ports
  • Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Cons

  • High cost
  • No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization
  • Online protection and parental control not yet available
  • No multi-gig LAN port
  • Bulky design
READ MORE:  Netgear Orbi AX6000 Review: Great Wi-Fi for a Hefty Price

7. Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien: The one-of-a-kind Wi-Fi 6 router

The AmpliFi Alien is a bit weird. It’s the first tri-band router with two different 5GHz bands. As a result, its mesh capability is somewhat handicapped due to signal loss. Also, it has no multi-gig port. But this router has some cool features, useful mobile app, and excellent performance. It’s worth its current price tag.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien

8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage
  • Sleek design, useful mobile app
  • Convenient Teleport VPN for mobile devices
  • Effective ad-blocking feature
  • Mesh-ready

Cons

  • Limited in conventional settings and features
  • Unconventional tri-band setup with no dedicated backhaul when used in a mesh setup
  • VPN doesn't support regular computers
  • No 160MHz channel support, multi-gig port, not wall-mountable
READ MORE:  Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Review: A Peculiarly Good Router

6. TP-Link Archer AX3000: The just-right Wi-Fi 6 router

The Archer AX3000 is a dual-stream (2×2) Wi-Fi 6 router, which makes it inferior to the rest on this list. However, since there are only 2×2 clients on the market, it’s not that much worse in real-world usage. And the affordable pricing, plus a few other things, make it a great deal.

TP-Link AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

8.1

Performance

7.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Reliable Wi-Fi, good coverage
  • Tons of network settings and customization
  • Responsive web user interface, useful mobile app
  • Light weight, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Middling Wi-Fi specs
  • Fluctuating Wi-Fi connection speeds
  • No multi-gig port, USB 2.0
READ MORE:  TP-Link Archer AX3000 Review: Wi-Fi 6 Made Affordable

5. ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro: Fast but barebone Wi-Fi 6 mesh system

The SURFboard mAX Pro is ARRIS’s very first Wi-Fi 6 offering, and it’s a mesh system, a quite souped-up one in fact in terms of specs. The performance was great in my testing, and I also like the design. It’s a bit thin on the settings and features, however, so, make sure you don’t care for those.

ARRIS Surfboard Max Pro Mesh Wi-Fi 6 AX11000 System

7.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

5.0/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Gigabit-class Wi-Fi speeds
  • Dedicated backhaul; exceptional Wi-Fi coverage
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Well-thought-out, compact, fan-less design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No web interface, mobile app feels unfinished and severely lacks features and Wi-Fi settings
  • Each router has only four network ports and no multi-gig port
  • Not wall-mountable
READ MORE:  ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro Review: Excellent Wi-Fi Stunted by Zero Multi-Gig Port and Scant Customization

4. Asus RT-AX88U: The Wi-Fi 6 router that’s a Wi-Fi 5 clone

In many ways, the RT-AX88U is the Wi-Fi 6 version of the RT-AC88U. The two look almost identical and share a lot of similar features, including the lack of a multi-gig port. Since the former is a Wi-Fi 6 router, I was expecting more from it than just good performance and useful features.

Asus RT-AX88U AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast Wi-Fi performance
  • Tons of useful features
  • Eight network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation
  • Universal setting backup and restoration
  • Fast network attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive.

Cons

  • No multi-gig network port
  • Buggy firmware, especially as an AiMesh node
READ MORE:  Asus RT-AX88U Review: A Router for True Gigabit Internet

3. Netgear RAX200: The fastest (and most expensive) Wi-Fi 6 router to date

The awesome-looking RAX200 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router and proved to be the fastest in my testing. Its 2.5Gbps multi-gig port is also a bonus for those wanting to break the Gigabit barriers. It’s a great router if you can afford it.

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 12-Stream AX11000 Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router (RAX200)

8

Performance

9.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable and fast performance
  • Eye-catching design
  • Helpful mobile app, robust web UI
  • Multi-Gig support (2.5Gbps)

Cons

  • Comparatively super-expensive with nothing extra
  • Shallow Wi-Fi customization, spartan feature set
  • Comparatively low CPU clock speed
  • No 5Gbps or 10Gbps LAN port, not wall-mountable
READ MORE:  Netgear RAX200 Review: Nice, Super-Fast but Overpriced

2. Netgear RAX120: The Wi-Fi 6 router with best multi-gig port performance

Slightly cheaper than the RAX200, the RAX120 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that has the fastest 5Gbps multi-gig port. So, apart from fast Wi-Fi speeds, it also delivers by far the fastest network-attached storage performance when hosting an external drive. And like its cousin, it, too, has a cool futuristic design.

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 12-Stream AX6000 WiFi 6 Router RAX120

8.1

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Powerful hardware, fast performance
  • Beautiful design
  • Multi-Gig network port (5Gbps)
  • Well organized web user interface
  • Ultra-fast network storage performance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No online protection, gaming, or mesh features
  • A bit bulky
READ MORE:  Netgear RAX120 Router Review: The Multi-Gig Age Is Here

1. Asus GT-AX11000: The gamers’ edition of a Wi-Fi 6 router

The GT-AX11000 is the first Wi-Fi 6 router for gamers, and it delivers. This tri-band router has so many features and settings, and you can spend hours to figure out, and probably having fun doing it. Though sharing the similar hardware specs as the Netgear RAX200, it has much friendlier pricing, which is always a bonus.

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Gaming Router

8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance with excellent range
  • Lots of useful features for home users
  • Unique and effective settings for online gaming
  • Multi-Gig network port, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation
  • Mesh ready

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bulky design, loose antennas, non-wall-mountable
  • Fewer LAN ports than previous model
  • Long boot-up time, buggy firmware, fluctuating Wi-Fi throughputs
READ MORE:  Asus GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router Review: Gamers' Delight

Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2020: The performance

When it comes to wireless performance, it’s always the 5GHz band that matters. That’s true for both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 routers. Due to the ubiquitous usage, the 2.4GHz frequency band’s throughput tends to be slow and fluctuate a great deal. For that reason, nowadays, this band is mostly for backup and backward compatibility purposes. 

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

But I test Wi-Fi 6 routers on both bands anyway, when possible — some mesh systems don’t allow for separating the two bands. As a result, it’s not possible to figure out their 2.4GHz speeds for sure.

Note that I tested them using 2×2 clients, meaning when faster 4×4 clients are available, chances are you’ll see their numbers doubled. By the way, if you’re curious regarding how I came up with these numbers, check out my speed test methodology.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

Any of routers listed here will likely give you a better experience than your current Wi-Fi 5 router, at least in terms of speeds. Whether or not that’s enough to justify their costs is a different story entirely.

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About the Author: Dong Ngo

Before Dong Knows Tech, I spent some 18 years testing and reviewing gadgets at CNET.com. Technology is my passion and I do know it. | Follow me on Twitter, or Facebook!

36 Comments

  1. Dong your site is great but it is crazy to me that you haven’t performance tested the Linksys Velop MX. I thought 2 of them would be needed but a single MX5300 unit covers my entire 2 story house and backyard. It’s very fast and powerful, good looking wife approved, and so far stable (haven’t tested mesh). I’m very curious how it stacks up with your NAS testing. Grab one for $299 at Costco. It’s almost perfect and I like it a lot but a few software cons such as lack of real parent controls, real-time speed of devices, and can’t access cable modem 192.168.100.1 port 80, has me wondering what else is there to consider. Hence.. I’d love to see some performance comparisons. Thanks!

  2. Hey Dong, I’m looking for a WiFi 6 router and I quite like your reviews. I’m deciding between the ASUS ax88u and the TP-Link ax6000. I’ve seen you tried the tp-link ax3000 but not the 6000. Do you have plans to review it I the future?

  3. Are there any 8×8 or 4×4 clients for iMacs or MacBook Air laptops? My understanding is nothing usb yet but any devices that you can plug in via thunderbolt 3 or gigabit ethernet and use as a bridge to achieve near gigabit wifi speeds. I have a gigabit fiber connection and the fastest I am getting via mesh is about 600-700. Thinking of switching to a faster 12 stream router but looking for a good client adapter. Wondering if there is a way to achieve close to gigabit wifi speeds using a usb adapter or plugging in an ethernet cord into a bridge.

    1. What you get is close to a Gigiabit already. Don’t expect true 1Gbps since the connection tends to fluctuate. As for faster Wi-Fi, you’ll need to wait. Using Mac limits your opinion in terms of clients.

  4. Another honest and trusted review Dong. I want to replace my Synology Mesh Network (2600 main router + 2 x 2200) slow, limited range and regular dropouts. I don’t have any Wifi6 enabled devices yet but will in the next couple of years. Live in a two floor house. At present, one of the 2200 mesh units is connected by CAT 6 cable and the other uses wifi backhaul. Would like option for link aggregation and parental controls, but also one that just works and saves my wife and family moaning when we have weekly wifi problems.

  5. Hi.
    I am wondering if there is anything I would mis out, getting the ZenWifi XT8 configuration with one working as a router, and the node in mesh setup, either with backhaul(160 Mhz possibilities?) or without.

    I need to cover 3 floors at aproximately 300+ squaremeter, whereas I the router is located in a corner (not ideal..) My biggest fear is to buy something that lacks something which I will regret later.

    For me its either the Alien, ZenWifi or Orbi, because of mesh and looks. Recommendations and why? (Learning towards ZenWifi)

    Great review/list btw!

    1. All of them have a backhaul, Oystein, wireless or you can use a network cable. Hardware placement is one of the most important things in setting up a mesh system. Any of the systems you mention will work as long as you place the hardware strategically.

  6. I have one as well did not realize what a deal it was at $299 from costco two months ago. Went back to write a review and product was no longer available there and then I found out its selling for 100 bucks more as a regular price. I am on firmware version 1.7 via web interface but the app only gave me firmware upgrade during initial setup and kept indicating I’ve got the latest firmware more than a month later but that wasn’t true. I do like the overall speed and coverage increase over my previous Amplifi HD router. I was interested in Amplifi Alien router since I can still return the Linksys MX5 but I’d be loosing USB 3.0 port it’ll cost more.

  7. Thanks for this write up – great info! Are some of these routers more suited to serving a high number of devices? We have many clients in our household and am not sure what specs to look for in a router to ensure it can handle so many connections.

  8. Hi Dong,

    I’m now using 2 pack of Asus RT-AX92U (AX6100) and is going to set up the 3rd unit to cover a dead spot in my house that cause the slowness in that area. My connection is wireless backhaul.

    Actually, I did upgraded from RT-AC86U (2 pack) previously and I don’t find much different, except that AX92U support Wifi 6 (my Samsung Note 10+). But since I’ve already sold my AC86U, I need to keep using 3 pack of AX92U. It’s a lot of investment.

    1. Yes, Wichai. If you have wired backhaul, you won’t see much of a difference betweeen the two sets. But the Wi-Fi 6 will be better in the future when you have more clients. 🙂

  9. Sorry to bother you.
    I was wondering if you can help me.
    Im trying to upgrade my old asus to wifi 6 router.
    I want a main router and also gonna have another one as mesh but it going to be hard wire
    I wanna see what you recommend.
    looking for
    speed
    reliable
    range
    and good interface

    1. If you want a single router, Barbosa, just get any of this list. If you want a mesh, I’d recommend not using Asus yet. Get the Orbi Wi-Fi 6. But you don’t need Wi-Fi 6 right away. In that case, just get the Asus Blue Cave or RT-AC86U and use it with your old router. If your old Asus router supports AiMesh, then you’re good to go.

    1. I actually have all on this list (and more), Dale. :). But I use mostly a set of one Asus GT-AX11000, one Blue Cave and one Lyra Trio (single unit) in an AiMesh setup with wired backhaul.

  10. Hi Dong, loving your site and reviews. I’m trying to decide if now is the right time to upgrade my router and desktop network card to wifi 6.

    I do have a quick question: I have a 4×4 Wifi 5 card now with an Asus AC88 router. My computer’s connection speed to my router ranges from 1.3 to 1.5 Gbps (gigibit fiber) but I don’t usually get above 500 mbps on speed tests. Do you think upgrading would help my connection speeds?

    Ethernet would be ideal but not doable without a sizeable project.

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Stephen.

      A couple of things:

      1. The speeds you mentioned are “negotiated” speeds. The real-world sustained speeds tend to be much lower, generally, you’ll get above half of those at most.
      2. You don’t want to use the Internet (speedtest.net) to test the Wi-Fi speeds. More on this here.

      That said, moving to Wi-Fi 6 will not improve a lot, considering 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 is actually faster than 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 when 80MHz channels are used and many Wi-Fi 6 routers don’t support 160MHz channel, nor do many Wi-Fi adapters. So for now, I’d say stay with that RT-AC88U, it’s a great router. Getting Wi-Fi 6 router might improve things just a tiny bit, not worth the effort and cost.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

  11. Can’t believe the new Linksys Velop MX5300 did not make the list. I have It and it is awesome! I upgraded from my 3 year old Linksys EA9500 V1. You should do a review on the new Linksys!

  12. Thank you for the information. I think I will wait for the prices to come down or a possible sale, along with more devices that support it. Currently, my iPhone 11 Pro is the only device I have that can take full advantage of it.

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