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Wi-Fi 7 routers are officially here, but Wi-Fi 6 is still a go-to source of wireless internet functionality for your devices and gadgets. Enjoying a swift and secure internet connection at home or in your office begins with choosing the right provider. Next on the agenda is finding the best Wi-Fi 6 router that fits your budget and needs. To help you set up your home — or office — with the quickest and most stable internet connection achievable, we’ve compiled a list of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers you can buy right now.
Nearly all new devices support Wi-Fi 6 these days. Have you got an Apple TV 4K or Amazon Fire TV 4K Max media streamer for your TV? Both support Wi-Fi 6. Did you know a PlayStation 5 console is a Wi-Fi 6 gadget too? Well, now you do.
Wi-Fi 6 devices like those are backward compatible with older routers, but if you want to unlock their full potential for faster, better Wi-Fi performance, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router running your home network. That was an expensive proposition back when Wi-Fi 6 first arrived, but not anymore. Now, shopping around, you’ll find a good number of Wi-Fi 6 options available for less than $100, as well as mesh systems, gaming routers, range extenders and more. Some do the job better than others — but that’s where we come in, with comprehensive, hands-on tests to help identify the best upgrade picks for the money.
Expect regular updates to this post as we continue to put Wi-Fi 6 to the test in 2023. Whenever we find a new router that merits consideration, we’ll add it to the list.
Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2023
How we test Wi-Fi 6 routers
Whenever I take a router into consideration, I put it through the same set of comprehensive, controlled speed tests to get a good sense of how it performs compared to other models. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been running those tests out of my 1,300 square-foot home in Louisville, Kentucky, but last year, we’ve were able to move those tests back into the CNET Home test lab, where we’ve set up a 1,350 sq. ft. test environment with a gigabit fiber connection.
There are five rooms in that test space, so after setting the router up in the first of them, I run a battery of speed tests in all of them to get a sense of the average speeds at various ranges. For each set of tests, I start in the same room as the router with my test device, a Lenovo ThinkPad Wi-Fi 6 laptop. I connect to the router’s network, then I run three speed tests and record the results for upload speed, download speed and latency. Then I move to the next room and repeat.
Once I’ve finished in the fifth room, which is farthest from the router, I restart my connection and repeat all of those tests in reverse room order. This approach gives me a good sense at how the router’s performance differs when the connection starts up close as opposed to when it starts at a distance, as this can often impact your speeds. I repeat this entire process three times, during morning, afternoon, and evening hours. I’ll typically also run dedicated test runs to check the speeds on individual bands, or if the router offers any unique performance settings. All told, it adds up to hundreds of speed tests and multiple days of work for each router I review.
Which Wi-Fi 6 router is right for me?
There are three main things to consider first as you’re dialing in on a new router: the speed of your home’s internet plan, the size of your home, and the number of Wi-Fi devices under your roof that need a reliable connection. If you’re living in a small- to medium-sized home with internet speeds of 500Mbps or less, and you just need a reliable signal for your phone, laptop and streaming device, then a simple pick like the TP-Link Archer AX21 or the Netgear R6700AX should offer plenty of bandwidth and range to suit your needs. The two are largely indistinguishable unless your home has a high-speed connection, and the AX21 typically costs a little less, so I’d recommend starting there.
If you’ve got a house filled with smart home devices, or multiple family members who each make regular use of your Wi-Fi with a variety of gadgets, or if you’ve just upgraded your internet plan to add in gigabit speeds, you should probably consider a router with greater bandwidth potential. The tried-and-true Asus RT-AX86U is the one I’d probably recommend first because it’s been a regular standout through multiple rounds of CNET tests, including full rounds of tests on three separate networks at three separate locations.
However, if you’re living in a larger home, especially a multistory home, then it’s worth considering stepping up to a mesh router like the Eero 6 Plus, the Asus ZenWifi XD6, or the TP-Link Deco W7200, because those multiple mesh devices will help ensure a better, more reliable signal throughout the entirety of your home. You could also consider splurging on a mesh powerhouse like the Netgear Orbi AX6000, but at a cost of several hundred dollars, it’s probably overkill for most homes.
Wi-Fi 6 router FAQs
If you’ve got questions about the ins and outs of Wi-Fi 6, be sure to check out my full explainer on the standard and what makes it better than the Wi-Fi of yore. You can also reach me by looking me up on Twitter (@rycrist) or by clicking the little envelope icon on my CNET profile page to send a message straight to my inbox. In the meantime, I’ll post answers to any commonly asked questions below.