May 2021

Routers: Aggregated Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Router rankings posted by key online experts, as of May 2021.

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Routers.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Routers, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for May 2021 ranking

At a glance - May 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Price Router
Tom's Guide
TechRadar
Wirecutter
ZD Net
Observer
Business Insider
Digital Trends
Laptop Mag
CNET
How To Geek
#1
$160 Google Nest WiFi
3
1
-
-
3
2
3
2
2
5
#2
$252 TP-Link Archer AX6000
6
-
-
5
9
4
2
3
1
-
#3
$450 Asus GT-AX11000
4
-
-
2
13
6
-
4
-
3
#4
$65 TP-Link Archer A7
9
-
4
-
-
3
-
5
-
8
#5
$632 Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000
-
-
-
-
-
7
6
6
4
-
#6
$250 Asus RT-AX86U
1
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
6
-
#7
$125 TP-Link Archer AX50
-
-
1
-
-
1
-
-
-
2
#8
$325 Asus RT-AX88U
-
-
3
-
-
5
-
9
-
1
#9
$450 Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8
-
2
-
-
-
8
-
-
5
4
#10
$80 TP-Link AC2300
5
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
#11
$329 Netgear Nighthawk AX8
2
-
-
-
12
-
-
-
-
-
#12
$200 Synology RT2600ac
-
-
-
3
6
-
-
-
-
-
#13
$160 Netgear Nighthawk AC2300
8
-
-
-
-
-
-
7
-
-
#14
$330 NetGear Orbi AC3000
-
-
-
4
10
-
-
-
-
-

We ranked Google Nest WiFi #1 in May 2021 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Google Nest WiFi as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A great mesh router with built-in smart speaker

Pros
Good performance
Google Assistant built in
Easy setup

Cons
Short range
Minimal configuration options

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TechRadar

Google Wifi and Home together at long last

Pros
Excellent design
Smart speaker(s) included
Even simpler controls

Cons
No major performance gains
Not worth replacing existing mesh

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Observer

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Business Insider

The best mesh router

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The easiest wireless router to use

Pros
It creates a powerful mesh network
perfect for larger homes.

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Laptop Mag

Best mesh Wi-Fi router system for most people

Pros
Excellent, reliable coverage
Easy to set up
Built-in Google Home speaker
Smart home functionality

Cons
Limited ports
Lacks advanced configuration options

Go to ranking

CNET

Editors' choice

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How To Geek

Best Budget Mesh Router

Pros
✓ Mesh Wi-Fi on a budget
✓ Simple configuration

Cons
✗ No Wi-Fi 6

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We ranked Asus GT-AX11000 #3 in May 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best Wi-Fi 6 gaming router

Pros
First Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) router
Performance improves with distance
Plenty of customization
Impressive 2.5Gbps wired connector

Cons
Big

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best for: The power-hungry worker

Go to ranking

Observer

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Business Insider

The best gaming router

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best Wi-Fi 6 router for gamers

Pros
Blazing fast speeds
Excellent performance at range
Extensive customization and optimization for gamers via software

Cons
Large footprint
Pricey

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How To Geek

Best Gaming Router

Pros
✓ 11000 Mbps speeds
✓ Tri-band Wi-Fi
✓ Packed with cutting-edge features

Cons
✗ It's pricey

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We ranked Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000 #5 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Business Insider

The best mesh router for performance

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Pros
Mesh routers offer expanded coverage and the latest speeds — this is one of the best available

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Laptop Mag

Best high-end mesh Wi-Fi router

Pros
Excellent range and expandable
Easy to set up
Smart speaker integration

Cons
Expensive
Overkill for most users
Large footprint

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CNET

Best mesh performance

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We ranked Asus RT-AX86U #6 in May 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Asus RT-AX86U as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

Great for a full house,and for gaming

Pros
Excellent throughput and performance
Security software with lifetime updates
Multi-Gig input and port aggregation

Cons
Lacks advanced gaming features like geofencing and ping heat map

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TechRadar

An impressive all-around upgrade

Pros
Fast Wi-Fi 6 performance
Gaming-focused
Security features

Cons
Not cheap

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CNET

Best gaming router

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We ranked Asus RT-AX88U #8 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Asus RT-AX88U as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

Upgrade pick

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Business Insider

The best premium router

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Laptop Mag

Best future-proof Wi-Fi 6 router

Pros
Fantastic Wi-Fi 6 performance
Solid built-in malware protection
Abundant ports
Easily configurable network options

Cons
Expensive
Limited Wi-Fi 6 devices still

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How To Geek

Best Wi-Fi Router

Pros
✓ Wi-Fi 6 and future-proof hardware
✓ Packed with features
✓ 6000 Mbps speeds

Cons
✗ No Tri-Band
✗ Not the fastest Wi-Fi 6 Router
✗ Not the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 router

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We ranked Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 #9 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

Wi-Fi 6 meets mesh routers

Pros
Great Wi-Fi performance
Good security features

Cons
Expensive
Limited to two routers

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Business Insider

The best value mesh router

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CNET

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

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How To Geek

Best Mesh Router

Pros
✓ Wi-Fi 6
✓ 5500 square feet of coverage
✓ QoS for traffic prioritization

Cons
✗ More expensive than mesh systems without Wi-Fi 6
✗ Not as simple to configure as Google Nest Wifi

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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk AX8 #11 in May 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A great router overall

Pros
High performance
Includes malware apps
Good configuration options.

Cons
Expensive
Throughput falls off quickly with distance.

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Observer

Go to ranking

We ranked Synology RT2600ac #12 in May 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
ZD Net

Best for: Those who need a VPN connection

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Observer

Go to ranking

We ranked Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 #13 in May 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best router to secure your whole house

Pros
Good performance
Three years of security software
Easy setup

Cons
Short range
Not much to configure

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Laptop Mag

Best Wi-Fi router for the security-conscious

Pros
Extensive security features
Includes 3-year Bitdefender subscription
Easy setup

Cons
Expensive for performance
Limited range

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We ranked NetGear Orbi AC3000 #14 in May 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
ZD Net

Best for: A home mesh Wi-Fi network

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Observer

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