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Black Friday 2021: The best router deals we've seen

Need a new router? Black Friday draws near, and we're already seeing plenty of decent deals on worthy upgrade picks.

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

With Thanksgiving upon us, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just days away -- and manufacturers and retailers are already doing their best to tempt shoppers with early-bird discounts. That includes some intriguing deals on a variety of different routers, including multipoint mesh routers that can extend your network's range, Wi-Fi 6 routers capable of faster, more efficient transmissions and even cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6E routers that can transmit in the newly unlocked 6GHz band.

We've been tracking deals like those all week, so bookmark this post if you're in need of some new networking hardware. When a new deal goes live, we'll update our list to include it and let you know if we think it's worth considering. And, when Black Friday gets here, you'll find the best deals of the season right here, too.

Got it? Good. Let's get to the deals.

Deals live now

Linksys

Let's start with a deal that saves you $250 -- the Linksys Hydra Pro AXE6600 Wi-Fi 6E router for half off at $250, down from a retail price of $500. It's one of the first deals we've ever seen on a router that supports Wi-Fi 6E, which means that it's capable of sending signals in the newly opened, ultrawide 6GHz band. With more than twice as much bandwidth as 5GHz and no previous-gen devices causing interference, that 6GHz band is like an exclusive highway for next-gen web traffic.

The Hydra Pro is a tri-band model, so you'll be able to connect older devices on the usual 2.4 and 5GHz bands while leaving the 6GHz band free for Wi-Fi 6E devices. There aren't a ton of those yet, so this is a bit of an early adopter special, but if you're looking to future-proof your home network and prepare it for the next generation of devices, this is a deal worth considering.

Linksys

The Linksys Atlas Max mesh router supports Wi-Fi 6E, too, and Linksys is currently offering it for $200 off. Mind you, that only brings the cost down to $1,000, so this is still a big, early adopter splurge -- but for the money, you're getting three separate Wi-Fi 6E networking devices capable of relaying traffic throughout your home on the 2.4, 5 and 6GHz bands.

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If you're looking for a bargain on a router that supports Wi-Fi 6, the TP-Link Archer AX21 is priced well to begin with, retailing for just $100. Right now, Amazon has it listed for $25 off, bringing the cost down to $75.

That's a steal for this router, which outperformed other entry-level Wi-Fi 6 routers from names like Asus and Netgear in my speed tests, including ones that cost well over $100. You'll probably want something a little bit more powerful if your home is blessed with gigabit speeds, but for the rest of us, this router is a fully capable Wi-Fi 6 upgrade that won't break the bank one bit.

One more note: The Archer AX21 is on sale at Walmart, too, but the price is a few dollars better on Amazon and at Newegg.

TP-Link

Want something a bit faster than that entry-level AX1800 model? The Archer AX50 is on sale, too -- it steps the speeds up to an AX3000 build capable of topping out at around 2,400Mbps (2.4Gbps) on the 5GHz band. It's usually $150, but right now, Amazon has it marked down to $115, which saves you $35.

Netgear

It was a little overpriced at its full retail cost of $300, but you can currently get the Netgear Nighthawk AX5200 Wi-Fi 6 router for half off at Best Buy, which brings it right down into the sweet spot. At $150, you aren't spending much more than you would for an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router, and with the dual-band, AX5200 build, this model has more oomph and support for faster speeds than routers like those. How fast? Try 3Gbps, good enough to transfer data at triple-gig speeds.

Ry Crist/CNET

Want to step up to a mesh router that supports Wi-Fi 6? The Eero Pro 6 is another of our top mesh router picks that gets you there, complete with a tri-band design that features two 5GHz bands along with the 2GHz band. That lets the system dedicate one of those 5GHz bands to system transmissions between the router and the extenders, and that leads to faster speeds when you're connecting at range.

Usually priced at $599, Amazon currently has the Eero Pro 6 three-pack marked down to $449, saving you $150. It's possible we could see the price fall even lower for Black Friday, so consider holding out for a better deal at the end of the month. Still, if you need a new router now, this is one of our top upgrade picks at a very good price, especially for large homes, where that additional extender will definitely come in handy.

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Nest Wifi is the latest mesh router from Google, and it remains a solid choice for your home network two years after its debut. It performed like a champ in our tests, with an extremely stable mesh that never dropped the connection or routed us to the wrong band, and that helps it optimize your speeds throughout your entire home. It doesn't include support for Wi-Fi 6, but that's not a deal-breaker by any stretch, especially if you can catch the system on sale.

Lo and behold, it's November, and you'll find a number of Nest Wifi deals available right now. The most tempting is probably a Nest Wifi three-pack with the main router and two range-extending Nest Wifi Points with built-in Google Assistant smart speakers for $249 -- $100 less than the usual asking price. If you live in a smaller home and don't think you need that second extender, you can also save $90 on a Nest Wifi two-pack with a single extender.

Josh Miller/CNET

If you're on a slower network and you don't need Nest Wifi's support for faster speeds (or the built-in smart speakers), then you might consider this deal, which scores you a Google Wifi three-pack for $150, saving you $50. 

Sneaky thing here -- Nest Wifi and Google Wifi are fully compatible with one another. If you've already got Nest Wifi, you could use this deal to score three range extenders for $50 each. I'd find that pretty tempting if I lived in a large, multistory home.

Expired deals

Asus

Shop around at Best Buy and you'll spot the eye-catching Asus RT-AX82U Wi-Fi 6 gaming router on sale right now for $30 off, bringing the cost down to $200. I haven't tested this specific model, but all of the other Asus gaming routers I've tested have performed well, most notably the Asus RT-AX86U, which is one of my top recommendations among Wi-Fi 6 routers, gaming and otherwise.

This model looks flashier, it boasts similar specs, and it offers the same strong mix of gamer-minded features, including solid device prioritization and quality of service controls. There's a good chance we see better gaming router offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but if you're buying one right now, this isn't a bad offer.