TP-Link AX6000 vs. AX3000: Which Wi-Fi 6 router should you buy?

TP-Link Archer AX50
TP-Link Archer AX50 (Image credit: TP-Link)

TP-Link Archer AX50

The TP-Link Archer AX50 (known as the AX3000 at Walmart) is a great balance for many people, with its fast AX3000 speeds being more than enough for most. Four Ethernet ports make it easy to connect your wired devices, while a USB 3.0 port lets you hook up an external storage device. TP-Link includes HomeCare with the AX50 model, which provides great parental control software and antivirus protection.

Perfect Fit

AX3000 speeds are fast enough for most
Four Ethernet ports
Smaller size
HomeCare software included
Only dual-band Wi-Fi
Coverage is not as strong

TP-Link AX6000

The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is a great option for many people who need to get many devices online. Even if you haven't made the jump to Wi-Fi 6 for your devices yet, the Archer AX6000 features eight Ethernet ports so you can get all of your wired devices online. On the side, there is a USB-A and USB-C port, both running at 3.0 speeds so you can quickly connect a network drive.

Support more devices

Fast AX6000 speeds
Eight Ethernet ports
Dual USB ports with USB-C
HomeCare included
Large size makes it hard to place
Only dual-band Wi-Fi

Both of these routers offer a great value, with wireless speeds fast enough for most people when it comes down to it. The addition of HomeCare to both routers makes it easier to keep your family safe online and keep students working at home on track. For most people, the AX3000 speeds of the Archer AX50 will be more than enough for most, and at half the price of its bigger brother, it makes a lot more sense.

Like many router manufacturers, TP-Link makes similar models for different retailers. In the Wi-Fi 6, AX3000 range, there is the TP-Link Archer AX50 and the TP-Link Archer AX3000. Both models deliver the same speed and features, with the exception of HomeCare, which comes with the AX50.

The other big difference is the price. The AX3000, which is available at Walmart, is often cheaper than the AX50.

There's no doubt about it. TP-Link has brought the price of Wi-Fi 6 routers down to a level where it's hard to recommend buying even a fast Wi-Fi 5 router. For most people, the 2,402Mbps speeds the AX50 can deliver on the 5GHz band will be more than enough, especially since most Wi-Fi 6 devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 or the iPhone 11 Pro only support a max download and upload rates of 1.2Gbps (1,200Mbps). There are still a few good reasons to go for the faster and larger Archer AX6000, but speed isn't one of them for most people.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 TP-Link Archer AX3000 (AX50)TP-Link Archer AX6000
Wi-Fi standardWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi speedAX3000
(574Mbps + 2402Mbps)
(1148Mbps + 4804Mbps)
5GHz band160MHz160MHz
WAN speedGigabit2.5G
Ethernet ports48
USB ports1 USB-A 3.01 USB-C 3.0
1 USB-A 3.0
Mesh suportNoneOneMesh
Parental ControlsHomeCareHomeCare

The Archer AX50 looks a lot like any router you may have seen before, with a wide rectangular base and four antennas mounted on the back. On the back, you also get four open Ethernet ports for wired devices and one WAN port to connect to your modem. There's no link aggregation here, so any of your wired connections will max out at 1 Gbps. This is still plenty for 4K or even 8K streaming and is more than likely faster than your internet connection.

If you need more wired speed and ports, the Archer AX6000 is a sensible step up. This router has square housing with two antennas on each edge for a total of eight. On the back, there are eight Ethernet ports with link aggregation on two of the ports. The WAN port supports a 2.5G connection for very fast fiber connections or, more likely, a connection to a fast wired network with a NAS.

How much speed is enough?

At this point, Wi-Fi 6 makes sense for most people, but the truth of the matter is that most of us don't have access to gigabit speeds, or it just doesn't make sense to pay for all that speed. With a 2.4GHz speed of 574Mbps and a 5GHz speed of 2402Mbps, even the slower Archer AX50 is more than capable of delivering this very comfortable download speed. Even if you have a fiber connection with gigabit speeds, both routers should deliver very usable speeds.

Both of these routers will last you for quite a while, but once you start getting more and more fast Wi-Fi 6 devices in the coming years, the AX6000 might end up being worth the extra cost. However, for most of us, the AX3000 speeds of the AX50 are more than enough.

TP-Link Archer AX6000

Source: TP-Link (Image credit: Source: TP-Link)

TP-Link recommends the AX50 for homes with three rooms and the AX6000 for homes with four rooms. Both of these routers will cover a standard home with ease, but if you have a more challenging layout or have a lot of interference, the Archer AX6000 will do better.

If you have a home with concrete or plaster walls, you're going to see a huge dropoff in signal strength very quickly. The AX6000 has more to work with, and with features like beamforming, it should deliver superior performance. The AX6000 also has another trick up its sleeve with OneMesh. Serving as a testament to TP-Link's continued software support, the AX6000 is now a OneMesh router meaning it can be combined with other OneMesh supported routers to form a mesh network in your home. This is a great option for someone who needs the full router features, like eight Ethernet ports but needs the coverage flexibility similar to that of one of the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems.

What extras come along?

Both routers work with TP-Link's HomeCare software, which allows you to share your network and provides you parental controls that can help you keep track of and limit your family's online activity. You can even set a schedule for devices to ensure that someone studying or working from home isn't getting distracted. It also comes with antivirus protection from Trend Micro.

HomeCare also has a more advanced QoS, which can prioritize connections by application and devices. This allows specific important traffic, such as gaming traffic, to get through even on a device that doesn't normally need a boost.

You can control your TP-Link Archer with Alexa too.

TP-Link Archer AX6000

Source: TP-Link (Image credit: Source: TP-Link)

The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is a great router and one of the best wireless routers you can get if you need the speed. It has more than enough speed for streaming, gaming, and even remote computing. Still, for the vast majority of people, it's overkill. The AX3000 speeds of the TP-Link Archer AX50 will be plenty for even people with full gigabit connections. With an identical software set including parental controls, the AX50 is the best value, especially given its price. Plus, you can save a little money if you buy it from Walmart.

Samuel Contreras

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.