TP-Link Archer AX1500Source: TP-Link

Best cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers Android Central 2021

The next generation of Wi-Fi, known as Wi-Fi 6, is making its way to many new phones and wireless devices. This new tech brings the fastest speeds, more consistent coverage, and support for more devices. Wi-Fi 6 has finally made its way to the cheaper routers that most people are interested in without losing the best features that come with it. One of the best cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers is the TP-Link Archer AX21, thanks to its solid dual-band speeds and good software offering with app-based setup and OneMesh support.

TP-Link Archer AX21 Wi-Fi 6 routerSource: TP-Link

Many people don't have gigabit internet connections in their homes, and even if they do, they don't need all that speed on their wireless devices. The TP-Link Archer AX21 is a great choice for most people looking to get a wireless router that offers great speed for mobile devices that support Wi-Fi 6 without paying for features they can't fully utilize. With an AX1800 connection, this router offers 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1201Mbps at 5GHz. Four Ethernet ports allow you to connect your wired devices as well.

It can be tempting to go for a faster router, but it's worth keeping in mind that with Wi-Fi 6, this router can do more with less when it comes to spectrum and speed. A Wi-Fi 5 Android phone, for example, will connect at 867Mbps at best, while a similar WI-Fi 6 device will connect at 1201Mbps.

TP-Link's software has come a long way in the past few years, and this router features basic parental controls and QoS options and support for OneMesh. OneMesh allows you to use a compatible TP-Link Wi-FI extender to expand your network coverage with the same Wi-Fi name. This router has a great balance of features with plenty of speed for home use for most people.


  • Fast AX1800 speeds
  • Fast 2.4GHz band
  • Easy app setup
  • OneMesh expansion capable


  • Limited parental controls

Best overall

TP-Link Archer AX21 Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX21

Perfect for most people

The TP-Link Archer AX21 makes sense for most people with enough speed for just about any online task with OneMesh for expansion.

TP-Link Archer AX1500Source: TP-Link

If you want to add Wi-Fi 6 capability to your network for as little as possible, you're not going to beat the TP-Link Archer AX10. This router comes in at AX1500 speeds with 300Mbps available at 2.4GHz and 1201Mbps at 5GHz. One thing to keep in mind is that a 2.4GHz signal will travel further, so devices on the very edge of your connection might not be able to access the full speed of your router. Still, this won't be an issue for a smaller home, and with a 5GHz connection, you should have more than enough speed.

Before getting too caught up in the raw speed capabilities, it's good to remember that most people don't have internet connections even close to fast enough to utilize the full speed of this router. You also only need around 25Mbps to stream 4K video over the internet.

You also get all of the other great features that come with Wi-Fi 6, including more reliable coverage and the ability to connect to a lot more devices than Wi-Fi 5. Around the back of the Archer AX10, you get four Ethernet ports so you can keep your wired devices connected with no additional equipment. If you're looking to add Wi-Fi 6 but don't need a ton of speed, this is one of your best bets.


  • Inexpensive
  • Four Ethernet ports
  • Fast 5GHz Wi-Fi


  • No WPA3 support
  • No USB ports

Best value

TP-Link Archer AX10

TP-Link Archer AX10

Affordable Wi-Fi 6 compatibility

The TP-Link Archer AX10 is the best value in Wi-Fi 6, with AX1500 speeds available for most people.

Best mesh expansion: Linksys MAX-STREAM MR7350

Linksys MR7350Source: Linksys

Linksys is leaning more into Wi-Fi 6 with a well-balanced and inexpensive router. In a subtle housing that should age gracefully, the MR7350 offers speeds consistent with other AX1800 offerings, that is to say, plenty for most users. Linksys reports potential 1201Mbps on the 5GHz channel and 574Mbps at 2.4GHz. There are also four Ethernet ports on the back for wired devices and a USB 3.0 port.

With coverage up to 1,700 sq ft, this router alone is a good option for many homes and apartments. If you find you need more coverage or have a home that's tricky to cover thoroughly, you can expand your coverage with another Velop capable mesh router from Linksys. This also includes the entire Velop mesh line giving you quite a few options for speed and coverage.

Having a mesh-capable router can be a huge bonus since our Wi-Fi needs are growing all the time, and as local traffic and congestion increase, having the ability to patch in more coverage will be worth it.


  • AX1800 speeds
  • Velop mesh compatible
  • USB 3.0 port
  • Four Ethernet ports
  • WPA3 support


  • Expensive

Best mesh expansion

Linksys MR7350

Linksys MAX-STREAM MR7350 Wireless Dual-Band Mesh Router

Plenty for now with room to grow later

Linksys packs in great features into a simple package with Velop expansion, solid speeds, and WPA3 security support.

Best for gaming: Asus RT-AX86

Asus Rt AX86USource: Asus

If you're a serious competitive gamer, you should be using a wired connection if at all possible, and the Asus RT-AX86 has great support with a fast 2.5Gbps Ethernet port. However, if you need to use wireless, this router still makes the most of it with a fast 2.4GHz connection up to 861Mbps and up to 4804Mbps at 5GHz. This extra speed at 2.4GHz can keep your connection fast even as your move further from your router. This router also has four more gigabit Ethernet ports for lower-priority wired devices.

Asus has a great software package with gaming-specific features. A mobile gaming optimizer helps you gain an edge in Android gaming. An Nvidia GeForce NOW recommendation means this router will keep the pings low whether you game locally or with streaming. Classic prioritization is available for PCs or consoles connected to the game port. With no further setup needed.

Finally, Asus also includes AiMesh support for easy future coverage expansion. AiProtection Pro is also included for free, including parental controls and antivirus protection for all your connected devices.


  • AX5700 speeds
  • Gaming QoS software included
  • AiMesh support for easy coverage expansion
  • AiProtection Pro included for free
  • 2.5G Ethernet for WAN or LAN


  • Expensive
  • Only dual-band

Best for gaming

Asus RT-AX86U

Asus RT-AX86

Faster performance for great gaming

The Asus RT-AX86 has fast wired and wireless for gamers with plenty of capacity and software to keep your connection strong.

Best mesh: Eero 6

Eero 6 on a PCSource: Eero

Thanks to its impressively intuitive software and solid performance, the older Eero was one of our favorite mesh routers. Eero 6 takes it one step further with faster AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 speeds while not growing much larger than the older Eero. The speeds break down to 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1201Mbps at 5GHz. Eero recommends this router for gigabit connection on its own or up to 500Mbps connections as a mesh.

Eero's software is great, with everything being controlled from an app. While you don't have as much control as other routers, everything you need to do is included, from setup to device management. You can also set features like IPv6, WPA 3, and even port forwarding from the app. Eero 6 doesn't have as much coverage as other routers at this price, but its compact size and easy mesh expansion make up for it. Speaking of mesh, Eero 6 is compatible with all other Eeros, including Wi-Fi 5 models, so if you need to expand your coverage, you have plenty of options.


  • Fast AX1800 speeds
  • Easy coverage expansion
  • Compact size
  • Works with all other Eeros


  • Only two Ethernet ports per unit

Best mesh

Eero 6

Eero 6 Router

Build a mesh with Wi-Fi 6

Eero 6 gets just about everything right with enough speed for most people and the easiest software experience in home networking.

Best for security: Asus RT-AX55

Asus RT-AC55 Wi Fi 6 RouterSource: Asus

The Asus RT-AX55 offers a similar performance level to the top pick, with a few extra software features thrown in to sweeten the deal. This router has an AX1800 connection with 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1201Mbps at 5GHz. This router has a sensible design with four Ethernet ports on the back for your wired devices. One thing missing is a USB port, which most people won't use anyways.

What helps this router stand out is its software. AiProtection software is included for free with antivirus provided by TrendMicro. While most Asus routers have this feature, it's nice to see it reach even its cheapest Wi-Fi 6 options. Ai Protection also includes parental controls. AiMesh is still here, allowing you to expand your coverage with additional Asus routers easily. This router also has a nice look to it with textured black housing and with red accents.


  • AX1800 speeds
  • Four Ethernet ports
  • Asus AiProtection support
  • AiMesh support included


  • More expensive than others at this speed

Best for security

Asus RT-X55 Wi-Fi 6

Asus RT-AX55

AiProtection is included for free

Asus has a great software package with parental controls and security included for free to keep your family's browsing safer.

Bottom line

If you have a fast Wi-Fi 5 router, there's really not much reason to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 unless you are in an area with a lot of wireless traffic. If your router is starting to feel slow or you haven't made the jump to a fast Wi-Fi 5 router yet, upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 should help your speeds quite a bit and could even help if your connection drops out. The price has even come down enough that most of the best wireless routers you can get are Wi-Fi 6.

If you have a high-speed gigabit internet connection, you might want to invest in a faster router, but AX1800 will be more than fast enough for most people. The TP-Link Archer AX21 is a great value for most people with solid speeds and even comes with the ability to expand your coverage with TP-Link's OneMesh software that can link up with compatible TP-Link extenders. The AX21 is also easy to set up with TP-Link's smartphone app.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide


Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

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