This affordable Wi-Fi 6 router is what I think most people should go for. The slick black finish is attractive, and there are four antennas to direct Wi-Fi to every corner (it is worth tweaking and testing different positions). Performance was solid throughout my two-floor 1,600-square-foot home but dropped off slightly in the back garden. Stability was excellent over a couple of weeks of testing, hitting the upper mid-end in my speed and range tests. This router also ticks off all the feature boxes you want (MU-MIMO, beamforming, WPA3—we explain many of these terms in our How to Buy a Router guide). It has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, a single Gigabit WAN port, and a USB 3.0 port on the back, which is enough for most people.
I’m a fan of TP-Link’s Tether app, where you can review traffic, split bands, create a guest network, schedule reboots, set automatic updates, and even tell the LED to turn off at night. TP-Link’s basic free HomeShield tier offers network scanning, QoS (Quality of Service) for device prioritization, and basic parental controls so you can filter and blacklist websites. If you want more perks, like time limits for apps, downtime, and real-time security protection, you’ll need to upgrade to HomeShield Pro ($6 per month or $55 for the year).
★ Another alternative: The TP-Link Archer AX50 ($120) is very similar to the AX55 but may be prone to overheating. The AX50 also lacks OneMesh support, which allows you to add extenders to create a mesh network with the AX55. On the other hand, the AX50 has HomeCare, a service that launched before HomeShield that includes superior parental controls without a subscription.