What if we told you that the best gaming routers will ensure that your online gaming is never interrupted? If you spend plenty of time playing the best PC games online, you’ve probably encountered a huge lag spike sooner or later. And, investing in the best gaming router is help avoid those spikes.
The best gaming routers will prioritize network traffic for your games, courtesy of a neat little feature called Quality of Service (or QoS) that helps ensure your gaming session isn’t disrupted by your roommate downloading games or watching Netflix. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for MU-MIMO, so that everyone in your home can get some gaming done without getting in each other’s way.
Now, wired connections are usually considered the best way to connect your online games, and we wholeheartedly agree. However, you want to make sure your gaming router is a good router, as well. So, not only will the best gaming routers be packed to the brim with Gigabit Ethernet ports, but they’ll also come with the latest Wi-Fi standards – currently Wi-Fi 5. Having multiple antennae that you can manipulate to boost signal strength won’t hurt, either.
Keeping the needs of gamers in mind, we here at TechRadar have found all the best gaming routers money can buy.
1. TP-Link Archer C5400 v2
Spinning a web of wi-fi performance
Speed: 802.11ac: 2,167Mbps, 802.11n: 1,000Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO support, Alexa integration, IFTTT
Fast and powerful
Alexa and IFTTT support
If you’re looking for the latest router technology but you still enjoy that old school design, the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 might just be an ideal fit. This is one of the best gaming routers that combines enthusiast grade features and an easy setup, packing them into a package that’s appealing to just about anyone. Factor in the Alexa support, and you have a router that can adjust to any situation, whether you’re trying to win the latest match in Apex Legends, or you have guests that are connecting to your network.
Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400 V2
2. Asus RT-AC86U
The value-packed saving grace for gaming routers
Speed: 802.11ac: 1,734Mbps; 802.11n: 450Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO, AiDisk, Adaptive QoS, WTFast Gamers Private Network
Super fast transfers
Feature overkill for most
The Asus RT-AC5300 is one of the best gaming routers – it has an assortment of advanced features, making online and network gaming as lag and frustration free as possible. This includes a straightforward yet powerful interface, as well as comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like look is a bit of an acquired taste, but the eight antennae are there for a reason since they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router impressive range.
Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U
3. TP-Link Archer C5400X
Speed: 802.11ac; 2.4GHz: 1,000Mbps; 5GHz: 2,167Mbps | Connectivity: 1x Gigabit Ethernet WAN, 8x Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 2x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO, Advanced Wireless AC beamforming, Tri-band netwroking, VPN acceleration
We know we’ve already covered the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 earlier, but the manufacturer added an ‘X’ at the end of this model, signifying the extreme boost in performance. It’s considerably pricier, but that price tag is justifiable as it might be one of the highest-end and best gaming routers out there. With eight ethernet ports around the back, it’s ideal for hardwiring a fleet of gaming equipment. And, the MU-MIMO and Tri-band support means that wireless connections are also top of the line. You’ll top the leaderboards regardless of where you are in the house.
Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400X
4. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
Speed, with no compromises
Speed: 802.11ac: 2.6Gbps | Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x WAN, 2 x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO support, QoS, Geo Filter
No broadband modem
If you’re a hardcore gamer, it can be annoying when your roommates are watching Netflix or downloading games of their own at the same time. You’ll want to look at something like the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. Not only will this elite gaming router deliver an embarrassingly fast 2.2Gbps speed, but with MU-MIMO support – not to mention, unique gaming features like location-based connection filtering and QoS, you can do some gaming all night without hitting a crippling lag spike. Just be prepared for the high sticker price and make sure you can deal with such a gamer aesthetic.
Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
5. Asus RT-AC5300
Speed: 802.11ac: 2,167Mbps, 802.11n: 600Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO support, Link Aggregation, traffic analyzer, WPS, 512MB RAM, 8 external antenna
Great Wi-Fi coverage
Powerful gaming features
Single USB 3.0 port
The Asus RT-AC5300 is an excellent high-end gaming router that is brimming with a bunch of impressive features. This includes an effortless yet powerful interface, on top of comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like look isn’t for everyone, but the eight antennae serve a purpose, as they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router excellent range.
Read the full review: Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router
6. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
An extraterrestrial gaming router that covers all bases
Speed: 802.11ac: 2,167Mbps, 802.11n: 800Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO support, StreamBoost, dual-core 1.7GHz processor, 512GB RAM, Zyxel One Touch app-based setup
Good MU-MIMO wireless speeds
Excellent traffic analysis software
Few current devices use quad-stream 802.11ac
Average USB port speeds
This might look like it’s going to abduct a close friend or family member, but we promise the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 isn’t as alien in function as it is in appearance. Packing the latest MU-MIMO support, which boosts speed when multiple devices are connected to the same network, this gaming router prides itself on its performance capabilities. Because it can handle several devices, while prioritizing bandwidth depending on the needs of each device, it’s one of the best gaming routers you can purchase today.
Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
7. Asus RT-AC88U
4×4 and 1024-QAM deliver the best possible wireless performance
Speed: 802.11ac: 2167Mbps 802.11n: 1000 Mbps | Connectivity: 9x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 2.0 1x USB 3.0 | Features: 1024-QAM, MU-MIMO, WTFast Gamers Private Network, Asus AiProtection, AsusWRT Software
Fastest wireless speeds
Comprehensive software UI
Requires special hardware for fastest speeds
The Asus RT-AC88U is a pricey gaming router. However, it justifies the price with crazy 802.11 wireless performance. Sporting four antennas and NitroQAM tech, which pushes speeds even further, this gaming router enables wireless performance that can break the 1GB/sec limit. There’s a catch – you’ll have to grab a NitroQAM wireless adapter, like the Asus PCE AC88, to approach these mighty speeds; but with speeds like this, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the best gaming routers available.
8. D-link DIR-885L/R
Speed: 802.11ac | Connectivity: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO, Advanced Wireless AC beamforming, SmartConnect
Good selection of features
It might look like it came straight out of Battlestar Galactica – the old Battlestar Galactica – but, the D-Link DIR 885L/R is a reliable mid-range gaming router with great range and speed. If you’re searching for the best gaming router, you may want to give this one a try. It comes with a good variety of ports, as well as a nicely designed UI. It also boasts DD-WRT open-source firmware, making this router as flexible as it is powerful.
Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article