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Best cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers 2022

TP-Link Archer AX21
(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Wi-Fi 6 has become the current standard for WI-Fi devices and routers, thanks to most new devices supporting the protocol. Wi-Fi 6 has made its way to the cheaper routers that most people are interested in buying without giving up its best features. Wi-Fi 6 routers have also ushered in an era of smarter router software with built-in security and parental controls. One of the best cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers is the ASUS RT-AX1800S thanks to its solid WI-Fi 6 speeds and great software package for the price.

These are the best cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers for your home

Asus RT-AX1800S in space

(Image credit: Source: Asus)

ASUS RT-AX1800S

The best overall cheap Wi-Fi 6 router

Reasons to buy

+
Fast AX1800 speeds
+
Four Ethernet ports
+
Asus AiProtection Classic is included for free
+
AiMesh support included

Reasons to avoid

-
No AiMesh in this model
-
Manual blacklist site blocking

The ASUS RT-AX1800S not only offers great performance, but comes with a few extra software features to sweeten the deal. This router has an AX1800 connection with 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1,201Mbps at 5GHz. The design is practical, with four Ethernet ports on the back for your wired devices. One thing missing is a USB port, but most people won't use it anyway.

What helps this router stand out is its software. AiProtection Classic software is included for free with security provided by TrendMicro. While most ASUS routers have this feature, it's nice to see it reach even its cheapest Wi-Fi 6 options. AiProtection includes basic but welcome parental controls that allow for time limits, manual site blocking, and a Kid-Safe preset. AiMesh is lacking from this model, so if you want the option to expand your coverage down the line, you'll need to pick a higher-end model like the ASUS RT-AX55.

TP-Link Archer AX21

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)
Perfect for most people

Reasons to buy

+
Fast AX1800 speeds
+
Four Ethernet ports
+
Easy app setup
+
OneMesh expansion capable

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited parental controls

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 an excellent choice for most people looking to get a wireless router that offers high speeds for mobile devices that support Wi-Fi 6 without paying for features they can't fully utilize. With an AX1800 connection, this router provides 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1,201Mbps 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 1,201Mbps.

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 the right balance of features with plenty of speed for home use for most people.

Netgear Nighthawk LAX20 review

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Netgear Nighthawk RAX40

The best cheap Wi-Fi 6 upgrade

Reasons to buy

+
Fast AX3000 dual-band speeds
+
Easy setup with the Nighthawk app
+
Four Ethernet ports
+
Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls are available

Reasons to avoid

-
Subscriptions required for advanced parental controls

The Netgear Nighthawk RAX40 is a quick AX3000 dual-band router that doubles the 5GHz capacity over AX1800 routers. The speeds break down to 600Mbps at 2.4GHz and 2,400Mbps at 5GHz. With 160MHz support, faster Wi-Fi 6 devices will be able to connect at the full 2,400Mbps speed with plenty of overhead to deliver gigabit speeds even in a congested area. There are four Ethernet ports on the back for wired devices as well as a USB 3.0 port.

While there are cheaper Netgear routers available, getting a Nighthawk router comes with a few advantages starting with using the Nighthawk app. With this app, setup is fast and easy and updates can be applied automatically. In the app, you can sign up for a subscription to Netgear Armor for web security on your router to protect all of your connected devices.

Netgear's Smart Parental Controls are also included with the option to subscribe for more features. Netgear's Smart Parental Controls are quite robust and work well with profiles for each family member. If you were looking for a quick and easy way to get in control of your family's web usage, this is a solid option, if not a bit expensive at $7.99 per month.

Linksys MR7350

(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)
Cheap Wi-Fi 6 with mesh expansion

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to other AX1800 routers

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 1,201Mbps 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 square feet, this router alone is a good option for many homes and apartments. However, if 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, and as local traffic and congestion increase, having the ability to patch in more coverage will be worth it.

ASUS-RT-AX82U review

Source: Asus (Image credit: Samuel Contreras)
Faster performance for lag-free gaming

Reasons to buy

+
Fast AX5400 speeds
+
Gaming QoS software included
+
AiMesh support for easy coverage expansion
+
AiProtection Pro included for free

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only dual-band

The Asus RT-AX82U is a dual-band AX5400 router with enough power to keep any gamer happy. With six streams, this router can deliver full Wi-Fi 6 speeds to devices, including 160MHz support. Four gigabit Ethernet LAN ports are on the back, with one port singled out as a gaming port. There's also a USB 3.1 port to quickly share a portable drive with your connected devices.

The actual gaming magic comes from the software. Asus has optimized the RT-AX82U for gaming without giving up any other software features. For example, managed with the Asus Router app, users can choose whether to enable Game Boost for console or PCs to prioritize that traffic. There's also a Mobile Game Mode that can minimize lag when gaming on a great Android gaming phone.

AiMesh is supported, allowing you to improve your coverage by creating a mesh with additional Asus routers. AiProtection is also included for free to enhance network security from the router without needing to install extra software on connected devices. Finally, robust parental controls are included so you can set profiles and block content for specific family members.

The look of this router won't be for everyone, with oversized air intakes on the front glowing with RGB lighting. Still, as we found in our review the angular black housing looks nice, and with complete control of the RGB lighting, you'll be able to find a color you like.

Eero 6+

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Eero 6 Router

Build a mesh with Wi-Fi 6

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two Ethernet ports per unit

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 1,201Mbps at 5GHz. Eero recommends this router for gigabit connection on its own or up to 500Mbps connections as a mesh.

Eero's software is quick and easy to get the hang of 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 you have plenty of options if you need to expand your coverage.

Cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers: The bottom line

If you have a fast Wi-Fi 5 router, there's 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 ASUS RT-AX1800S is not the cheapest AX1800 router around but with ASUS' great software packages and solid build quality, the extras will be worth it for many people. Not only that, but ASUS keeps setup simple and easy and hasn't stripped away the advanced settings for those that want them.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, 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.