April 2021

Router Rankings Report

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

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

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

Editors' choice

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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

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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

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Digital Trends

The easiest wireless router to use

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

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

  • 5 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

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ZD Net

Best for: The power-hungry worker

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Observer

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Business Insider

The best gaming router

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

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

Best mesh performance

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Business Insider

The best mesh router for performance

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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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Digital Trends

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

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We ranked Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 #7 in April 2021 because:

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

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

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

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
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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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk AX8 #9 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Routers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Netgear Nighthawk AX8 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The performance leader and best router overall

Pros
High performance
Includes malware apps
Good configuration options.

Cons
Expensive
Throughput falls off quickly with distance.

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Observer

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We ranked Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 #11 in April 2021 because:

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

Best gaming router

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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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We ranked Synology RT2600ac #12 in April 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

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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk RS400 AC2300 #13 in April 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 #15 in April 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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