If you are looking for the best router for Mac or Apple, you cannot just buy the first one that you come across.
You need to be sure that you are getting a quality router that can support all of the activity that you have along your network.
With Apple stopping the use of AirPort in 2018 due to its inadequacy with modern tech, other options need to be explored.
But, what should you be looking for and what routers are really the best ones out there? We will break it down for you by router types and your network needs to help you make the best choice possible.
Choosing A Wireless Router For Mac & Apple Devices
Your Internet Package Speed
Your internet package from your ISP will affect your router’s ability. Even if you have the best router for Mac than can handle speeds up to 1 Gbps, if your internet package does not reach the same speeds, your router will always be limited.
It cannot go any faster than what your ISP allows. If you are worried that your speeds are sub-par, you can always test your connection speed, but you should still confirm what your ISP promised.
Size Of Your Home
Another big consideration that you need to make when it comes to the right router for Mac is what the size of your home network is.
If you are living in an apartment or smaller space, you will not need the same range as someone living in a multi-level home. Different routers have different ranges, so you should see what the range they offer is before deciding which router is right for you.
Number Of Connected Devices
The amount of activity that you have on your network, including the amount of devices that are being used, what the devices are up to, and whether you have multiple users on your network, all should go into what your need to look for in your router.
Some routers can handle a lot of devices while others are not made to handle more than a couple. The routers should list what they are capable of.
A router’s features should also affect what kind of router that you should buy. This means if you have multiple users streaming at once, you might want to look for a router that has MU-MIMO technology on board.
If you are worried about someone draining the bandwidth for a certain device, you should look for a router with QoS. Consider the type of activity that you will have on your network and find a router that supports it.
10 Best Routers For Mac & Apple Devices (2021)
1. TP-Link AX6000
2. Gryphon AC3000
3. Medialink AC1200
4. Google WiFi System
5. Netgear XR500
6. Netgear RAX120
WiFi 6 Standard
7. Synology RT2600ac
8. TP-Link Archer AX50
9. Ubiquiti AmpliFi
10. Asus RT-AX3000
1. TP-Link Archer AX6000 WiFi Router
Best Router For Mac (Editor's Choice)
After careful consideration and research, we have determined that the best router for Mac is the TP-Link Archer AX6000. This is a powerful router that will not only work well with Mac devise, but it is high performance as well.
The design of the Archer AX6000 is a little on the unorthodox side as far as routers go. It really does not look like any other router that you will see on the market. It is a square, rather than the more typical rectangle, with 8 powerful antennas that work together to extend the reach of the router to impressive levels.
Another design element that is unusual with the AX6000 is that it has eight 1 Gigabit LAN ports. Since most routers have only a couple to work with, this means that the AX6000 is better-prepared to handle more devices plugged into it at a time.
The 2.5 Gbps WAN port is also unusual, but further adds to the overall power of the router. It also has two USB 3.0 ports, so you can have shared storage throughout the network if you wanted to.
The performance that you will get from the AX6000 is nothing short of amazing. It can reach wireless speeds up to 6 Gbps. While most ISPs do not offer this level of speed, you will still be able to use every ounce of speed available. The range on this router is 1500 square feet, but that will also be affected by the layout of your home.
The performance of the router is further improved by the QoS, Beamforming, and other features that are in place to improve your overall experience with the router. The 1.8 GHz quad-core processor is unlikely to let you down as well, since it is made to handle heavy traffic at any time.
The router has a lot of excellent security features that will help with your experience, including parental controls. There is also the TP-Link HomeCare free subscription anti-virus security software that will help keep your network locked down. It is a lifetime subscription as well, so there are no hidden fees.
2. Gryphon Smart Mesh Wireless Router
High Performance - Airport Extreme Replacement
If you are looking for the highest performing router for Mac, we recommend the Gryphon router. This is an interesting router that you might not find anywhere else.
The Gryphon router has an interesting design. Instead of the traditional black, horizontal router, this one is tall and white. In fact, it looks a little bit like a piece of modern art, while still being able to help you with you connectivity.
It comes with six high-powered internal antennas that should be able to reach anywhere within your network.
Another feature that you will find with this router is that it has a decent amount of parental control. It has an easy smartphone app that can even let you filter control, screen allowed time, and even times of day that it will be available to get onto.
It does not allow you to block specific access, however, if you needed to block certain types of content.
The overall throughput for the Gryphon router is 3Gbps, which is amazing. It also has simultaneous tri-band radios. They are a 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands.
You will also find that it has 4x4 MU-MIMO and antenna Beamforming, which improves the overall coverage. That means it can handle more than one device streaming at the same time without slowing down or kicking anyone off.
Speaking of coverage, Gryphon has incredible coverage, reaching up to 3,000 square feet. It also works like a mesh system, so you can add extra points to further increase the size of your coverage if you needed to, though this should be more than adequate for the average network.
3. Medialink AC1200 Gigabit Router
If you are looking for a budget friendly, basic router for Mac, we suggest the Medialink AC1200.
This Medialink router has a standard design. It is black with two high gain antennas and lies horizontally. One of the best design features that it offers is that the router lights, which can often be annoying in a dark room, can be turned off when needed.
This router also has parental controls where you can limit the amount of time that your children can be online. You can also set it to only work on certain days or times to keep your children’s screen time down and controlled. It is easy to set up and there is a good amount of support offered by the company itself if you are having any trouble.
This is just a router, so it will need to be hooked up to a modem in order to work with a cable or DSL network. It also has good range. With Beamforming and 2 high powered antennas, the coverage should reach the entirety of the average-sized network. The antennas can also be moved to point in the direction of the devices that require the strongest signal.
Even though this is a budget friendly router, it does have a decent performance level. This Medialink router boasts Gigabit ports that can provide 1000Mbps with 4K video streaming. While it does not have QoS or MU-MIMO available, it could still work for online gaming if only one person is attempting to play at a time. It will not work as well if too many devices are trying to stream at the same time, however.
4. Google WiFi Mesh System Router
If you need a router that has amazing extended system for your Mac setup, we recommend the Google Mesh System. There really isn’t a better mesh system than this one.
The Google MeshSystem comes with three individual Wi-Fi points which will eliminate dead spots throughout your network. What’s great about this system is that you can purchase additional points if you need to extend your coverage even further, making this ideal for large spaces.
The design of this system has no external antennas, making it easier to conceal than other routers. This can be really beneficial if you need to add on points as you go, but that does not negatively affect the overall performance of the system.
The Google router system has network assist technology giving you a strong signal from point to point, which will extend when you add more points. The biggest advantage to a mesh system like this is that if you need more coverage, you can always get more points to extend it further, making it as large as you want.
Using the three points that come with this system, the Google Wi-Fi system can cover up to 1,500 square feet without dead spots, but if the points are all configured correctly, you can actually get coverage up to 4,500 square feet.
Each of the three points has its own LAN port as well as being a Wi-Fi point, so you gain two Gigabit Ethernet ports in each point, giving you endless options to directly wire in a device at any point, giving you limitless ports and access points, extending the range for your whole network.
5. Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Router
If you are looking for the best router for Apple devices for gamers, we recommend the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. This router was designed for gamers by gamers and offers all of the features that you would really want.
The XR500 is a sleek, modern black with four high performance antennas that can help you direct the Wi-Fi signal in the directions that need it the more. It also has four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, giving you lag-free, wired connectivity where you need it the most.
You will also find some advanced security features with it which means a secure gaming VPN server, keeping your network identity concealed. You can also monitor your network and game ping in real-time, allowing you to see what devices are draining the bandwidth or interfering with your streaming.
This router has excellent performance that makes it ideal for online gaming is that the XR500 is optimized to give you the lowest ping possible for any online game that you might be playing. Every millisecond counts with the use of geo-filtering to connect to the closest services and players, giving you an edge.
The XR500 delivers fast speeds up to 2.6 Gbps. The QoS feature will let you bypass network congestion and reduce any potential for lag spikes, jumps, and jitters.
This means that your gaming traffic can be put on an express lane, where you can play uninterrupted by other devices on your network. This is a dual-band router, so you will get to work with both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands.
6. Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 WiFi Router
WiFi 6 Standard
If you are looking more for a WiFi 6 standard that works well with Mac, we suggest the Netgear Nighthawk AX6000. This is a powerful, 12-stream router that is high performance.
The RAX120 is a large router, so it takes up a lot of space on your shelf. It will need to be kept well-ventilated to prevent it from overheating. Instead of external antennas, the RAX120 has two large fins. The high-powered antennas are hidden within the fins, which give it a different aesthetic, and as a result, it is larger than you might expect.
The RAX120 has two USB 3.0 ports to connect a printer or other device to. There is also a 2.5/5G Ethernet port that you can work with. Even more, you get four 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports to work with. All of the connectivity helps bring you reliable coverage.
The RAX120 has Beamforming+ to further extend the overall reach of your router, ensuring that all of the device in range can easily have good coverage. In fact, it covers up to 3500 square feet in coverage.
Remember this is a 12-stream router, so it can support more than one device at the same time. In fact, it can support several devices. This router can also reach up to 6 Gbps if your ISP allows it.
7. Synology RT2600ac WiFi Router
Perfect Macintosh router that is also high security is the Synology RT2600ac. This is an excellent router, even if you might not be as familiar with the brand’s name.
To begin with, the design of the Synology RT2600ac is standard. It rests horizontally with a black casing and has four high-gain antennas that can be moved to the direct that needs the strongest signal possible.
While horizontal routers usually run the risk of overheating, this router rests at an angle to ensure that there is adequate airflow and no overheating.
The Synology router has one USB 2.0 port as well as five Ethernet ports to give you connectivity for the devices that really need it. The Synology router’s operating system uses the Synology Router Manager to make the setup easy for you as well.
Taking a look at the router’s performance, the RT2600rc has a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, which will give you excellent performance. The reach of the router goes to 3000 square feet, which is impressive by itself.
The router is regularly updated with the latest security protocols, ensuring that malware stay out. There is intrusion protection, denial-of-service protection, and reliable firewall management.
You also get a VPN server to give you the level of encryption that you need. With content filtering and parental control, this router has all the security features that you need.
8. TP-Link Archer AX50 WiFi 6 Router
With so many new security concerns coming out all of the time, it is natural to be looking for a router that has extra security. Our choice for a secure router is the TP-Link Archer AX50.
Let’s start off by looking at the design of the Archer AX50. The router is slim, which means that it does not have a lot of weight to it.
Regardless, the casing is large so it does take up a lot of room. The vents of the router run along the top of it, so it is unlikely to overheat, which is a little more unusual for this shape of a router.
The AX50 comes with a USB 3.0 port to will allow you to have an external shared storage throughout the network. This is good for sharing large media files, like movies or music, to all of the devices in your network. It also has a simple setup as well, so you will be up and going in no time.
Since its security is likely your primary focus, you should know that the router does have advanced security features that are managed through a lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare.
This includes parental controls, QoS, and anti-virus protection. The QoS helps ensure that devices that need reliable bandwidth will get it, but you cannot shut the feature off.
There are a lot of wonderful performance features with this router. It uses next-gen 3 Gaps speeds, which breaks down to 2402 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
These speeds make it nice for streaming 4K videos, video conferencing, online gaming, or anything that might take up a lot of bandwidth.
The AX50 comes with a minimal lag for all of the devices and applications. The device also uses MU-MIMO to make sure that all of your devices are able to stream like you would want them too.
9. Ubiquiti AmpliFi Mesh Wireless System
The perfect router for Mac that is a mesh system is the AmpliFi Mesh System. This is a unique setup and while the brand might be unknown, you will not be disappointed with its abilities.
Let’s look at the design of the Amplifi. It has a white casing and it is a square design. This will make it easier to conceal around your home if that was what you were hoping for.
The device has an easy touchscreen as well for its display, which has an intuitive design and makes the traditional lights seem archaic. This will allow you to flip through the router’s settings without any issues. The system also uses signal strength LEDs to give you immediate feedback for optimal performance.
The system comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports as well, so you can plug in whatever devices need uninterrupted coverage.
It is super easy to setup as well, so do not worry that a mesh system is going to be more complicated than a regular router setup is. It also has a mobile app that can help you manage your network, whether you are at home or off traveling.
You can expect to get some wonderful performance from the AmpliFi system. It has a data transfer frequency of 5.25 Gigabits per second, which is incredibly fast.
This system will cover up to 6,000 square feet as it is, which is far more than the average house needs, but you can also use more points to extend the reach of the router even further if you needed to.
Additionally, the Amplifi system allows you to stream 4K video, which is especially nice if you are a gamer or if you simply enjoy streaming from multiple devices in the network at the same time.
The MeshPoints here also have adjustable antennas that can be placed in nearly in location in your home with complete discretion.
10. ASUS RT-AX3000 Wireless Router
Another great router for Macs is the ASUS RT-AX3000. This high performance router has a lot excellent features to work with and is the right choice if you are going to be doing any amount of heavy streaming in your network.
Looking at its design, the ASUS RT-AX3000 is enormous in size. You will have little hopes of hiding this router if you want to avoid the device overheating. It is best to just own the design and accept it. It has the standard black casing with triangular vents.
The router has an angle that will help to keep the router cool. The four antennas help to extend its reach, but also add to the overall size of the router, making it take up even more space.
The RT-AX3000 also has one high-speed USB 3.1 port, which will make it easy and fast to connect a storage device that you can share across the network. USB 3.1 is rare, so seeing it is a good sign that this is a router for the future.
You can use that kind of USB to share content in the network. The RT-AX3000 also comes with mobile app support.
Moving onto the performance of the RT-AX3000, you will find out that the RT-AX3000 has 4K streaming, giving you excellent streaming quality for all of your devices.
This is great for online gamers or users who like to stream movies or shows regularly. Combined with the commercial-grade network security, including AiProtection Pro, and you will find that the router is able to protect your network well against any malware or uninvited guests.
It can reach speeds up to 3,000 Mbps as well, but that is only how fast it can go. The speeds will depend on your speed package with the ISP and most cannot accommodate these speeds. Regardless, it should still give you all available speeds for your network.
Why Did Apple Stop Making AirPort Routers
Mac users do not replace their machines too often, so if you are a Mac user, you might think that you can still use an AirPort router. Unfortunately, Apple stopped making the AirPort routers in 2018.
The AirPort Routers were introduced way back in 1999 as a way for Apple to provide Wi-Fi to Macs/ Wi-Fi was still new at the time, but as the technology evolved, so did the AirPorts.
That is until around 2016, when Apple declared that they simple could not keep up with the advancement of wireless technology.
Instead of continuing the uphill battle that is Wi-Fi tech, Apple withdrew from manufacturing AirPorts in order to focus on other endeavours that would be more likely to yield profits.
Routers are a piece of technology that is not often seen, and since Apple is all about keeping their logo out in the open, the routers are just not on-brand.
How To Set Up A Wireless Router On A Mac
1. Disable your modem if it is setup, so you don’t have any connectivity.
2. Connect the wireless router to the modem using an Ethernet cable.
3. Plug the modem back in and let it initialize. Have your computer on as well.
4. Plug the modem into the computer so you can set it up.
5. Open a browser and type in the address that was included with the router.
6. Input the network name of your choice and use a password. Apply the settings.
7. Right click on the network icon to allow your Mac to connect to the wireless router.
When it comes down to it, the best router for Mac is the TP-Link Archer AX6000. This is a versatile router that has decent range, great speeds, and is easy to operate, making it a great choice for the average network.
Gamers or users that will be downloading or uploading a lot might want a higher performing router, like the Gryphon router (great Airport Extreme replacement) or even the Nighthawk XR500 as they are the most capable for those needs. Google’s mesh system is still superior for larger networks that need more range.
Make sure that the router that you get meets the needs for your home network before you commit to one or another.
Hey, it’s James here. I’m the founder and editor here at RiverstoneNet.com. I’m a network engineer during the day and a blogger at night. Let me know if I can help you with choosing a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.