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Best Routers for Gaming
As a hardcore gamer, there’s one thing that can negatively impact your gaming experience like no other, lag. Smooth and streamlined gameplay is essential for enjoyable gaming. Games glitching out just before you land an attack can lead to continuous losses, and continuous frustration. Maybe your gaming skills are lacking, but it’s more likely that your slow network is the culprit.
Generally, you wouldn’t consider that the router you use would have much of an effect on your gaming. Ensuring that your network is set up to its maximum potential will lay the foundation for your whole experience. You can spend all the money in the world on your gaming computer and components, but with a bad network connection, it’s all a bit of a waste.
Many gamers use a direct wired connection into their PC or console to ensure the signal isn’t interrupted. Unfortunately, that’s not possible for those who have nowhere to link into (ie. Live in an apartment) and also means you are limited in terms of setup location. On top of that, you will likely need WIFI anyway to connect other devices too, so why not get one that works for everything?
The good news is that companies have identified the unique needs of gamers and answered their call with specially designed routers just for them. What makes them so special? Gaming routers will put your consoles and gaming PCs first, with their Quality of Service feature, ensuring they get the most traffic. This feature will still work even if other devices in your house are downloading at the same time and won’t interrupt your traffic.
How to Pick the Best Gaming Router
When you decide it’s time to take your gaming to the next level and invest in a gaming specific router, there are some key factors consider in picking the right one for you.
Which Wi-Fi version does it support? While you are looking through router options make sure you choose a router that supports Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6. If you’ve got the budget, we’d recommend finding one with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility as it’s the newest generation. Although Wi-Fi 6 devices have not yet come out it definitely doesn’t hurt to stay ahead of the game and get yourself set up in advance. What you definitely want to stay away from is Wi-Fi 4 as although it will be super cheap, it’s out of date and much slower than the other two options.
Dual or Tri-Band? Most gaming routers will offer at least two bands. If they don’t then don’t even bother in as it means it will only support a single band, 2.4GHz, which will only give you basic network capabilities. Typically, a dual band will provide 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The 2.4GHz will have the farthest range, but only be efficient for downloading files or general web browsing. It doesn’t tend to perform high enough for hardcore gaming. The 5GHz is much faster but covers a smaller area. If you can get yourself a tri-band than that will mean an additional 5GHz band that you can dedicate solely to gaming, meaning it won’t get congested with other usages.
What is the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz?
These numbers refer to two different bands (or frequencies) that you are able to link on to. 5GHz is faster than 2.4 but doesn’t have as wide of a reach, therefore you need to be closer to the router to jump onto the faster connection. So that is why people put their routers in a room where they use the most Wi-Fi.
What is the difference between a gaming router and a regular router? Why should you pay more for one?
The additional features you will get in a gaming router are dual or tri band networks, a higher level of security, the ability to control bandwidth traffic by directing it to preferred devices, more ports on the router and user-friendly interfaces.
What’s the purpose of the extra ports?
On standard gaming routers, you will have USB ports, a WAN port and also several LAN ports. The LAN ports are great if you need to direct wire connect multiple players into your network, such as if you have LAN parties.
What can you plug into the USB ports?
There are some handy features to use by plugging into the network via USB. You can connect a printer directly into the router. This will allow anyone connected to the network to print directly from their device. You can also plug in the hard drive or USB storage sticks and access their contents via a device that is connected to the network, like your phone, laptop or even a Smart TV. In a pinch, you can also charge your devices in the router.
With wireless internet speeds increasing, it gives many gamers a chance to play who maybe couldn’t before due to bad connection. With the influx of online gamers, there has also been an influx of gaming routers available on the market. How do you know which one to choose?
With all the above features and factors in mind, we’ve tested and reviewed 10 of the best gaming routers available, with one to suit everyone’s gaming needs, so you don’t need to waste precious gaming time shopping around.
Best Gaming Routers – Reviews
1. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 8 | Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz | Speed: AX11000
Here we’ve got the very big, brother of the other ASUS models on our list. Where are last pick was for newbies, this router is a hardcore option for hardcore gamers. From its inception, the design was meant to be the best on the market, and we have to agree. They take this router to the next level with the addition of the Wi-Fi 6 technology, as we mentioned previously, the technology is on the rise.
This router tested extremely high on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz which is amazing, as many PCs struggle on 2.4GHz. On 5GHz it is hands down the fastest of all the routers and that’s without utilizing an 802.11ax USB Wi-Fi adapter.
It’s got more capacity for direct wire connection bandwidth plus 4 LAN ports as well. They do have more LAN ports on other models, but its other perks keep it at the top of our picks.
Where the wireless side is concerned, its QoS is user friendly and allows you to direct bandwidth to your gaming devices above other connections. There are some other cool gamer features as well, like a Games Radar that prevent you from being late by checking different game servers for ping times.
It also features the attractive Aura RGB which lights up with all the colors of the rainbow.
Though the Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices aren’t out yet, we all know it’s coming. This router will have you fully prepared without sacrificing any features in the meantime.
- Crazy fast, especially on 5GHz
- Highest QoS out there
- WTFast and AiMesh integration
- Big. It is quite bulky
- Only 4 LAN ports
This router tops the list for a variety of reasons. Not only does it have the fastest performance and cool esthetic, but it will also have you prepped for Wi-Fi 6 before it comes!
2. TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900
LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 3 | Processor: Dual core 1GHz | Speed: AC1900
The thin and vertical design of this router from TP-Link is a space-saver. With a metal kickstand, it can stand up on any flat surface so it’s a versatile choice. It’s got a standard dual band with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. It supports Beamforming and has 2 USB ports and 4 Gigabit LAN ports for direct wire connections. Though it may not look like much, it has great speed performance considering its low-cost price point.
Even if you forget about the price the speeds are still pretty outstanding. The only issue is that it can tend to struggle to maintain its speed when it’s overloaded with multiple connections on the network.
- Compact design
- Great speeds across the board
- Could use some improvements with QoS
- Has a hard time handling network congestion
All around, this un-suspecting router delivers a great performance considering its basic outward appearance. It comes as a surprise that the cost is as low as it is for what you get out of it.
3. Netgear Nighthawk XR700
LAN Ports: 7 | Antennas: 4 | Processor: Quad-core 1.7GHz | Speed: AD7200
Part of the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming range this latest addition is the fastest one yet. It’s got a visually interesting design with sleek red features to round it off. With the focus on progression to Wi-Fi 6 wireless, unfortunately, this won’t work as it operates on Wi-Fi 5 wireless but uses the most up to date technology. In terms of functionality, it features a WAN port and also 6 LANs. Likely, this was at gamers’ request as their last model only had 4 LAN ports. This means you will have all the opportunities for wired connections that you need. It had 4 live antennas that support Beamforming and has insane Ethernet bandwidth from is 10 Gigabit SFP+ port.
It also comes with Duma OS which has some cool features for gamers. One example is its Geo-Filter which, when gaming, will allow you to link to the nearest server. It’s also got intricate bandwidth control, allowing you to choose specifications for where to allocate the traffic. This includes individual preferences for each device and even splits between uploads and downloads.
- Device traffic preferences
- 10 Gigabit LAN SFP+ port
- All the ports are together
- Uses Wi-Fi 5, Not Wi-Fi 6
The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 offers incredible performance boosts for your gaming and is an all-around good investment to enhance your gameplay experience.
4. Asus RT-AX88U
LAN Ports: 8| Antennas: 4 | Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz | Speed: AX6000
If you’ve got the cash to spend and are looking for the top of the line option than the Asus RT-AX88U may be a good option. It has Wi-Fi 6 technology so you will be prepped and ready for the next generation of high-speed computing and be ahead of the game when the devices come out. It’s amazing for multiple direct wire connections with a whopping 8 Gigabit LAN port. Now we’re talking!
The AsusWRT interface allows maximum control of pretty much every setting you can think of allowing bandwidth traffic to be properly directed in order of preference. I come with anti-virus from Trend Micro for the added safety and security of your network.
Out of all the routers on the market, this one handles congestion the best, making it the best option when connecting multiple devices whilst still keeping a high frame rate.
- Next generation, Wi-Fi 6 technology
- Incredibly customizable AsusWRT interface
- On the expensive side
The router is ahead of its time, and you should be too, so you don’t need to grab another one once the technology all switches to Wi-Fi 6. If you’re planning on running a lot of connections through your network simultaneously, then you’ve got to have this router.
5. Razor Sila
LAN Ports: 3 | Antennas: 0 External, 9 Internal | Processor: Quad-core | Speed: AC3000
Though the brand is a newbie on the scene they’ve launched with an incredibly fast product, that could actual be a contender for fastest one out there. When used as a mesh network in your home the network can spread over 9000 square feet. It’s got its own app in which you can customize and tweak the signal, so the traffic is being directed exactly where you need it and at super quick speeds. It can even jump onto restricted channels, which enables your network to spread even more.
It only has 3 LAN ports, as its focus is on the wireless connections, so you’re not able to plug many direct lines into the router.
You can change how you use your signal, all from the app. This includes giving preference to streaming or gaming or whatever else you want to prioritize. It may not look super flashy, but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in function.
- Can be used as a mesh network
- Quality performance
- Variety of settings which are geared towards gamers
- Only 3 LAN ports
- If you go the mesh network route, it can get pricey
- Not much in terms of parental controls
Though the Razer Sila is a newer product, it is an amazingly fast wireless router. It may only have 3 LAN ports, but you won’t need them with the speed of its Wi-Fi.
6. TP-Link Archer C5400X
LAN Ports: 8 | Antennas: 8 | Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz | Speed: AC5400
For arguably the most user-friendly gaming router available, the TP-Link Archer C5400X takes the top spot. Not only is the setup easy, but once it’s set up it’s incredibly easy to manage. It’s QoS system can be switched in and out of gaming mode as needed to ensure your network connection is speedy during gameplay. It also has the added bonus of Trend Micro security and anti-virus to keep your network safe and even allows you to blacklist (and whitelist) devices from it.
In speed tests, it does very well at 5GHz, averaging at about 347Mbps far and 344Mbps near. At 2.4Ghz the results run more in the mid-range. Its RangeBoost allows it to keep even far away devices connected and performing seamlessly. With these results, it’s a clear contender.
- User-friendly interface and setup
- Strength increasing RangeBoost ensures farther reach while still keeping a fast connection
- Reasonable price
- Not fantastic at 2.4GHz speeds
You can’t beat the price for the TP-Link Archer C5400X and the fact you are guaranteed the network is secure and protected. It’s the easiest to use out of all the gaming routers we’ve found.
7. ASUS RT-AC68U
LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 3 | Processor: Dual core 1GHz | Speed: AC1900
This capable router tests about what you would expect in terms of speed for this range of routers. Where others seem to have a hard time on 2.4GHz speed, this one runs seamlessly, and same on the 5GHz. The only area it seems to fall short on is video streaming at 5 GHz. That being said, this unit supports just about all types of firmware, including Tomato, Merlin, DD-WRT and many more. Because of this function, your router can be easily upgraded by simply popping in a firmware. This feature also means it keeps to router itself pretty inexpensive since it’s a basic and upgradable body.
Esthetically, its 3 antennas are moveable to how you want them and it does not have any extra bells or whistles, just basic black. It also features 4 LAN ports for direct connection.
- Variety of firmware supported
- Speed tests equal those of higher priced models
- Speeds at 5.0GHz don’t measure up
If you’re planning on running at 2.4GHz than the ASUS RT-AC68U is an easy choice and beats its competitors in that category. With its almost universal compatibility with firmware, it can be customized that way to suit any additional needs.
8. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 4 | Processor: Dual-core 1.7GHz | Speed: AC2600
This futuristically designed router is our pick for best looking out of the pack. Its cool design is inspired by gamers, as are its functions. For those who require many connections simultaneously, it maintains incredible speeds on all of them. It’s dual band, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz speed connections. On top of that, you can still choose to rank your bandwidth output and control where the traffic is going. It has 4 LAN ports for when you need to connect multiple devices straight into the router.
- Cool and sleek looking
- Analyzes and allocate bandwidth traffic
- Performs great with multiple users
- Only average speeds out of the USB ports
- Not many newer products use quad-stream 802.11ac
For its ability to maintain speed, even with multiple connections, this router is great if you know you will consistently need many connections running. Plus, it looks wicked.
9. Netgear Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router
LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 2 | Processor: Dual core | Speed: AX3000
This is the second router from Netgear to hit our list and for good reason. With the imminent switch to Wi-Fi 6 on the horizon, it’s not a bad idea to pre-empt it by investing in a compatible router. It promises higher performance and speed to an increased number of devices.
Considering its future technology compatibility, it’s at a budget price-point. They reduce the production costs by not wasting money on the esthetic, so it’s pretty basic. It’s got two antennas, sits horizontally and features 4 LAN ports.
The budget theme continues with a basic dual core processor and dual bands. It also does not include control in regard to directing and balancing bandwidth traffic to specific devices, therefore it doesn’t help much with optimization when it comes to gaming.
That all being said, it is extremely fast compared to other models as it has the Wi-Fi 6 spec.
- Wi-Fi 6 spec
- Auto updates on firmware
- Fast output and input
- – No bandwidth traffic control for optimization
- – Not many ethernet ports
With technology moving forward and Wi-Fi 6 coming in hot and fast, this router will have you prepped. It may be a basic model but it’s a good start at an even better price.
10. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900
LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 4 | Processor: Quad-core | Speed: AC2900
For entry-level gamers who are just getting their feet wet, the Asus ROG Rapture GT is a great gateway option. It looks sleek and doesn’t take up much space thanks to its vertical design. It also looks pretty cool with fun RGB lighting with multiple different color effects. If that’s not your vibe, you can always turn it off. As far as bandwidth speeds go, at 2.4GHz it’s a bit on the slower side, testing at 57.1Mbps close and 56.7Mbps far. On the other hand, it performed extremely well in at 5GHz.
It is a game-centric model and even features a LAN port specifically for connecting to your gaming device. It has Game Boost as well that adds quality of service technology to make your gaming experience the priority. On top of that, your network will stay safe and secure with its included antivirus and Trend Micro protection, which will continuously update with any new upgrades.
- Vertical design saves space.
- LAN port specifically for gaming
- Funky light features
- Great speed at 5 GHz
- Doesn’t perform so well on 2.4 GHz speeds
- Doesn’t have 802.11 Ax
This cool, flashy looking router provides a space saving option for new gamers who don’t need a huge number of features right from the get-go.
Don’t settle for pesky lag any longer, upgrade your router to one that’s gamer-oriented so you can enjoy streamlined gameplay and fast network connection. Our 10 picks for best gaming router cover the spectrum of gaming requirements. Whether you host LAN parties and need the plug-in capacity or want some good QoS control to stop others in your home hogging the bandwidth, there’s one on this list for you. If you’ve put money into your build, or are just serios about gaming than a good gaming router is an essential investment.