TP-Link has been making networking equipment for ages, and it’s quite good at it. Not only that, TP-Link routers, more often than not, offer competitive specifications at great prices. Most of us want to buy a router that will last a few years and provide more than enough speed. The Archer AX21 is the best overall balance of speed with Wi-Fi 6 and OneMesh support for a low price. Still, there are plenty of excellent choices on the market, and with our list, you’ll be able to find the best TP-Link router system to suit your needs.
Best overall: Archer AX21
The TP-Link Archer AX21 isn’t the fastest router you can get by any stretch, but it’s fast enough for most homes and comes in at a fantastic price. For the money, you get AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 speeds, four open Ethernet ports, and great software support. The speed breaks down to 1201Mbps at 5GHz and 574Mbps at 2.4GHz. In addition, four Ethernet ports make it easy to connect all of your wired devices at full gigabit speed.
OneMesh support is included with the Archer AX21, allowing users to utilize a OneMesh extender to improve coverage. If you plan to use this router as part of a mesh, keep in mind that the speed will split between connected devices and the connection to other mesh nodes. Being able to expand your home network as needed can be great if you’re not sure how much coverage you’ll need down the road.
- Solid AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 speeds
- Four open Ethernet ports
- OneMesh capable
- No multi-gig Ethernet
- HomeCare/HomeShield not included
Best value: Archer A7
Most people don’t need absolute top speeds or six antennas on their Wi-Fi system. For a smaller house or apartment, the TP-Link Archer A7 will provide a solid wireless experience. Four gigabit Ethernet ports let this router fit right in with your current wired setup.
You give up a few features for a lower price, such as MU-MIMO and tri-band connectivity, leading to some slowdown if you want to connect many devices at once. Still, with 450Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and 1,300Mbps at 5Ghz, the Archer A7 should be more than adequate.
Traditional styling with tall antennas makes this router harder to blend into a room, but the black color and subtle design mean it won’t stand out too much. As a result, this router is a great balance for a network that doesn’t need a ton of performance.
- Adequate AC1750 speed
- Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Supports Amazon Alexa skills
Affordable Wi-Fi 6: Archer AX10
The TP-Link Archer AX10 is a remarkable value, and it’s cheap compared to other entry-level Wi-Fi 6 systems. Thanks to four Ethernet ports and four antennas providing the AX1500 connection speeds, users won’t give up much for the price. Compared to many other routers on this list and even some Wi-Fi 5 routers, this is a bit low, but there are other reasons to consider the AX10 other than raw speed.
The Archer AX10 can deliver 1,201Mbps at 5GHz and 300Mbps at 2.4GHz. To put that in perspective, you need around 25Mbps for a 4K video stream most of the time. The key factor is consistency, and with Wi-Fi 6, more devices are supported. Interference will also be less of an issue than with the previous generation of Wi-Fi.
If you’re looking for something to keep your network current without the need for top speeds, this can be a great option.
- Wi-Fi 6 supports fully new devices
- Four Ethernet ports
- AX1500 speeds don’t make the most of Wi-Fi 6
- A bit bulky for its performance
Wi-Fi 6 upgrade: Archer AX90
The TP-Link Archer AX90 is one of the fastest routers you can get from TP-Link. Second, to only a high-end gaming router, the AX6600 tri-band speeds are more than enough for just about anyone. The speed breaks down to 4804Mbps and 1201Mbps at 5GHz and 574Mbps at 2.4GHz. Around the back, there are five Ethernet ports with one capable of 2.5G speeds. If you already have a fast-wired network or a high-speed fiber connection, you can use the 2.5G port for WAN, though many modern gaming PCs and motherboards are also beginning to ship with 2.5G Ethernet.
Unlike a mesh system, all AX90’s wireless speed can be allocated to connected devices, though this router does ship with OneMesh support. If you want to add mesh coverage down the line, you can use a OneMesh compatible extender from TP-Link to create a seamless mesh Wi-FI network.
This is one of TP-Link’s first routers with HomeShield Basic included. Like its older HomeCare software, HomeShield Basic adds security features, quality of service, and advanced parental controls. If you want to increase your control level, you can sign up for HomeShield Pro for $54.99 per year or $5.99 per month.
- Fast AX6600 speeds
- Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
- 2.5G WAN/LAN Ethernet port
- HomeShield Basic is included
- HomeShield extra features require a subscription
Best gaming: Archer GX90
The TP-Link Archer GX90 is a tri-band AX6600 WI-FI 6 router. Its speed breaks down to 4,804Mbps on one 5GHz band, 1,201Mbps on the other, and 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. The extra speed possible on the higher 5GHz band is thanks to 160MHz support. By default, the faster 5GHz band is labeled as a gaming connection so you can reduce potential interference on your gaming band.
On the back, there are four gigabit Ethernet ports, along with a single 2.5Gbps Ethernet port. The fast port can be configured as WAN or LAN, so whether you want the fastest possible connection to a wired device like a fast NAS or have an existing multi-gig wired network, you can get set up exactly how you want. Around the sides of the router are eight antennas standing straight up.
The Archer GX90 comes packed with TP-Link’s HomeCare security software, as well as gaming optimization software. HomeCare provides antivirus protection as well as advanced parental controls allowing you to stay in charge of how much time your family spends online and which sites they visit. The gaming software can be activated to prioritize the gaming connection to keep pings low and most importantly, consistent throughout your entire gaming session.
- Fast tri-band AX6600 speeds
- 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
- Optimized gaming software
- Dual USB ports
- Gamer aesthetic
- Non-adjustable antennas
Best entry-level mesh: Deco M5
Mesh networking is the biggest trend in Wi-Fi. These routers work together to provide great coverage by combining multiple small routers into a single network. The TP-Link Deco M5 isn’t the fastest mesh router around, but with a great price and an easy app-based setup, it is a great option for someone just getting into mesh networking.
This router has two ethernet ports on each one, so you don’t need to give up on your wired devices, but the focus here is on Wi-Fi. Speaking of Wi-Fi, this Deco M5 sports a dual-band connection at AC1200 speeds. That’s 867Mbps at 5Ghz and 400Mbps at 2.4Ghz. With a three-pack covering an estimated 5,500 square feet, this can be a great solution for a home that’s hard to cover with just one router.
Since you’ll be placing mesh routers in more rooms of your home, it’s nice that the Deco M5 is so small. You can always add more Deco routers if you want to strengthen your network as well.
- AC1200 speeds are enough for most people
- Compact size
- MU-MIMO for multi-device support
- 5,500 square feet of coverage
- Dual-band isn’t ideal for mesh
- Only two Ethernet ports per unit
Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh: Deco X90
The Deco X90 is the ultimate mesh router from TP-Link and even compared to other brands, it’s one of the fastest mesh systems around. This is all thanks to a more than adequate AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 wireless setup. This speed breaks down to 4804Mbps on one 5GHz channel with 160MHz support, 1201Mbps on the other 5GHz channel, and 574Mbps at 2.4GHz. So if you’re looking for a mesh system that can keep pace with a gigabit fiber connection, this is it.
This pack contains two identical nodes, each with two Ethernet ports. One port is gigabit, and the other is 2.5Gbps with auto-sensing WAN/LAN meaning you can connect a fast PC to the 2.5G port or use it for your internet connection, depending on which makes the most sense for your home network. This also means that this is one of the first consumer mesh systems to enable a 2.5G wired backhaul. That’s cool.
This, like the Archer X90 above, is one of the first devices to support TP-Link HomeShield. HomeShield is a software package that runs on the router and adds additional security, quality of service, and parental control options. You can also add more features if you’re willing to pay for a subscription. The free software will be adequate for most people, but it’s nice to have an upgrade option if you want it.
- Fast AX6600 speeds
- Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
- 2.5G Ethernet on each node
- WPA3 support
- Coverage for substantial homes
- HomeShield extra features require a subscription
TP-Link makes some of the best wireless routers and likely has a solution for anyone’s networking needs. Even with intense competition in the mesh space from newer companies like Google and Eero, the Deco mesh routers are a great value whether you need the cheap coverage of the M5 or want to step up to Wi-Fi 6 with the X60. Gaming is also an option with quality of service software to keep gaming latency low even when many users are online.
One of the reasons there are so many different routers to choose from is because they all fill a different set of requirements. If, however, you want a great balance of the most important features in a router, the Archer AX21 is a great choice. Of course, there are plenty of faster routers to choose from, whether you want something from TP-Link or one of the other best Wi-Fi 6 routers, but at AX1800, most people will be happy with the AX21.
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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