October 2021

Routers: Aggregated Ranking Report

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

At a glance - October 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Router
Tom's Guide
CNET
How To Geek
Digital Trends
Laptop Mag
Wirecutter
Observer
Business Insider
TechRadar
ZD Net
1
- $158
Google Nest WiFi
3
3
5
3
2
-
3
3
1
-
2
+1 $423
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
4
-
3
-
4
-
13
-
-
2
3
+1 $125
TP-Link Archer AX50
-
-
2
-
3
1
-
2
-
-
4
-2 $268
TP-Link Archer AX6000
6
1
-
-
-
-
9
-
-
5
5
- $56
TP-Link Archer A7
9
-
8
-
5
4
-
-
-
-
6
- $268
Asus RT-AX88U
-
-
1
-
9
3
-
-
-
-
7
- $329
Asus RT-AX86U
1
7
-
-
-
-
-
-
4
-
8
- $390
Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8
-
6
4
-
-
-
-
-
2
-
9
- $688
Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000
-
5
-
6
6
-
-
-
-
-
10
- $93
TP-Link AC2300
5
-
-
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
11
- $378
Netgear Nighthawk AX8
2
-
-
-
-
-
12
-
-
-
12
- $199
Synology RT2600ac
-
-
-
-
-
-
6
-
-
3
13
- $160
Netgear Nighthawk RS400
8
-
-
-
7
-
-
-
-
-
14
- $550
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000
-
-
10
-
-
-
-
5
-
-

We ranked Google Nest WiFi #1 in October 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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CNET

Best mesh router

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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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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

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Observer

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Business Insider

The best budget mesh router

Pros
Easy to set up and manage
router
points are small and attractive
access points double as smart speakers
reliable performance at range
attractive pricing

Cons
Wi-Fi 6 upgrade is sorely needed

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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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We ranked Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 #2 in October 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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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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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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Observer

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ZD Net

The power-hungry worker

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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 October 2021 ranking

We ranked Asus RT-AX88U #6 in October 2021 because:

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

Upgrade pick

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We ranked Asus RT-AX86U #7 in October 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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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 Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 #8 in October 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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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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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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We ranked Netgear Orbi 6 AX6000 #9 in October 2021 because:

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

Best mesh performance

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Digital Trends

The best mesh router

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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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk AX8 #11 in October 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

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We ranked Synology RT2600ac #12 in October 2021 because:

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

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best for: Those who need a VPN connection

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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk RS400 #13 in October 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 Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 #14 in October 2021 because:

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

Best Wi-Fi 6E Router

Pros
Bleeding-edge Wi-Fi 6E
Our top gaming router, upgraded

Cons
Few devices have Wi-Fi 6E
It's pricey

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Business Insider

The best gaming router

Pros
Wi-Fi 6E support
excellent maximum performance
plenty of wired connectivity
QoS can reduce lag

Cons
Huge
expensive

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