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Is the TP-Link Archer AX3000’s extra speed really worth it?


A Worthwhile Upgrade

TP-Link Archer AX3000 / AX50

Entry-level Wi-Fi 6

TP-Link Archer AX1800 / AX20

The obvious main difference between these two great Wi-Fi 6 routers is the raw wireless speed on offer, but there are some other benefits available with the faster router when it comes to software. The Archer AX50 comes with TP-Link's HomeCare software for free, which comes with more advanced quality of service (QoS) features, antivirus security, and nice parental controls. The AX1800 is still a solid value for a simple router but may not offer the power and speed improvements people expect from Wi-Fi 6.

Make sure you pick the right router first

TP-Link makes a special version of its routers for some retailers. In the case of its Wi-Fi 6 Archer routers, Walmart has its own versions of both routers with the model number AX3000 and AX1800 compared to AX50 and AX20, respectfully. The AX1800 and AX20 are identical so there's nothing to worry about if you're considering the slower device. The AX3000, however, is missing one major AX50 feature. HomeCare isn't available on the Walmart version, which means less useful parental controls, no included antivirus, and a less sophisticated QoS.

The AX3000 and AX1800 from Walmart are often cheaper so if you don't care about HomeCare, you can save some money with these versions.

TP-Link AX3000 vs. AX1800 How much speed do you need?

TP-Link Archer AX50

TP-Link Archer AX50Source: TP-Link

To be completely fair, it's possible to get by on AX1800 speeds even if you stream in 4K or game. Speed Test reports an average speed of just over 150Mbps in the U.S. for July 2020. Delivering this to your devices should be no problem for either of these routers. Still, if you have a gigabit connection, have a NAS on your network, or are planning on connecting multiple devices, the extra speed could keep things running more smoothly.

TP-Link Archer AX3000 / AX50 TP-Link Archer AX1800 / AX20
Wi-Fi standard Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi speed AX3000
(574Mbps + 2402Mbps)
(574Mbps + 1202Mbps)
WAN speed Gigabit Gigabit
Ethernet ports 4 4
Antennas 4 4
USB ports 1 USB-A 3.0 1 USB-A 2.0
Parental controls HomeCare
URL filtering
Time controls
URL filtering
Time controls
Dimensions 10.2" x 5.3" x 1.2" 10.2 x 5.3 x 1.2"

Visually, these two routers are almost identical with most of the differences going on with the hardware and software inside. The one small difference is the USB port. On the higher-end router, you get a USB 3.0 port while the slower AX1800 router only gets USB 2.0. To be fair, not many people will make good use of the extra speed anywa.

TP-Link AX3000 vs. AX1800 Speed and coverage

AX1800 means 574Mbps speeds at 2.4GHz plus 1,201Mbps at 5GHz, though many of your devices won't even be as fast as this. Even this cheaper Wi-Fi 6 router offers faster speeds than solid routers like eero or Google Wifi. The Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 / AX20 will likely still outperform these routers thanks to some of the features included with Wi-Fi 6 routers, like OFDMA to manage connections to multiple devices more efficiently, along with beamforming, which can improve signal strength further away from the router.

AX3000 speeds break down to 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 2,402Mbps at 5GHz. Both of these routers can deliver plenty of speed for most people but the extra headroom that comes with AX3000 will be good for those that want to do more local networking.

TP-Link recommends both of these routers for three-bedroom homes. With the same antenna setup, wireless streams, and coverage features, either router should work in a small home or apartment. If you need to cover a large home or property, consider a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. Neither of these routers supports mesh expansion.

TP-Link AX3000 vs. AX1800 Do you need HomeCare?

TP-Link Archer AX1500

TP-Link Archer AX1500Source: TP-Link

HomeCare is a cool feature that comes included with the AX50 for no extra cost. This feature is absent from either AX1800 router model as well as the AX3000 from Walmart.

HomeCare includes a more advanced QoS with optimization by application as well as the standard devices QoS. This can help make sure the games or services you care about the most are first in line for connections no matter the devices you use them on. If you have an online gamer in the house, this feature can keep their pings consistent.


HomeCare also comes with parental control software that allows you to create a profile for each member of your home. You can pause internet connections to these profiles or even specific devices. This can be a great way to keep someone working at home focused or even just reduce screen time. With more people than ever working and studying from home, having quick and easy access to parental controls can be a lifesaver.

Finally, HomeCare comes with internet security from Trend Micro. While not a replacement for device-based security, it's nice to have an extra layer of security on your router.

If you go for one of the cheaper options you will still get a few parental control options though not nearly as in-depth as those included with HomeCare. You will get a URL filter that allows you to create and maintain a blacklist of sites to block and time controls that will allow you to disable the internet connection based on a schedule. This can be great for taking things like game consoles offline during school hours.

TP-Link AX3000 vs. AX1800 Which is best for your home?

TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 app

TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 appSource: TP-Link

When it comes to routers this fast, the most important choice is really whether or not you will use HomeCare. If you have children trying to go to school from home, being able to disable a video game without shutting down the entire device is great. You can also set restrictions on your devices if you're trying to work from home. In the end, the HomeCare features make the TP-Link Archer AX50 a better value for most people.


A Worthwhile Upgrade

TP-Link Archer AX3000 / AX50

The right amount of speed for most families

The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a fast router with great software for families with parental controls and antivirus included for free.

Entry-level Wi-Fi 6

TP-Link Archer AX1800 / AX20

The newest tech for less

The TP-Link Archer AX1800 is a solid choice for a small family or even one person that wants the newest Wi-Fi tech with no frills.

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