Check out our round up of the best gaming routers that you can buy right now.
Imagine this scenario: you get home after a hard day’s work, and you want to play some Rainbow Six: Siege. You boot up the computer, find a match, select a loadout and get to shooting some highly-trained ops. Suddenly, you feel like the game is starting to stutter. No problem, you say to yourself, maybe they’re making some adjustments to the servers. About 10 minutes later, you experience the same thing.
You decide to ignore it. After the fifth time or so, the game starts lagging proper and you are promptly disconnected from the server. Turns out, your roommate has been on a binge-streak on Netflix all along.
But don’t blame it all on your roommate, because in this day and age, chances are you have God knows how many devices all connected to the same network. A gaming router effectively solves this conundrum by allowing you to manage and supervise bandwidth usage and, depending on the case, grant or restrict access according to certain parameters. It may sound fancy and technical, but it’s not.
By the way, we are fully aware that purchasing a gaming router after spending God knows how much money on a gaming keyboard or a gaming mouse may sound like a hard proposition. But trust us, a device like this is worth the investment, at least for the headaches and bandwidth issues it will save you from. Without further ado, here’s our list of the best gaming routers that you can purchase right now.
8 Linksys WRT32X (AC3200)
Dual-Band WiFi Gaming Router with Killer Prioritization Engine
- 1.8ghz dual-core processor
- 256 MB RAM
- 512 MB storage
- Marvell’s 88W8964 Wi-Fi control – supports four lanes of data traffic
The Linksys brand is synonymous with the router market, and for a good reason. One of the best examples of their mastery is the Linksys WRT32X. Combining the classic good looks typical of their brand and functionality, the best way to describe the WRT32X is ‘’well-rounded’’.
Measuring 9.7 x 7.6 x 2.0 inches, the WRT32X is larger than your average router. On the bright side, it can be stacked with a matching 8-port switch or, alternatively, mounted on a wall or shelf, compensating for this small quirk. The box even contains a printable template for where to place it and drill the holes, which is a nice touch. I wish more router manufacturers would do this.
It’s designed, from the ground up, to reduce latency and increase throughput. This is possible thanks to the Killer Prioritization Engine, which takes full advantage of the router’s software infrastructure. Which is perfect if you live in a house with a lot of walls.
7 NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 [R700]
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900
Dual Band WiFi Router, Smart Parental Controls
- USB 3.0
- 256 MB RAM
- Top speed of 1300MBps
- 4 gigabit Ethernet ports
The aptly named Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 looks like something out of a Sci-FI film. With sleek, angular lines, and a matte black finish, you could swear it’s a device ripped straight out of the control board of an alien spaceship. But thankfully (and also a little disappointingly), the AC1900 is totally non-extraterrestrial. But that doesn’t mean it’s doesn’t outclass most of the routers in its price range.
The beam forming in particular is worth mentioning because it improves the range of the signal, ensuring high level performance even 3-rooms-removed from the actual router. It also sports DD-WRT firmware, which conveys it with stability and consistency. All in all, it’s a great mid-range router that is perfect for people who are on a tighter budget.
6 TP-Link Archer C5400X
Good Parental Controls
Tri Band Gaming Router – MU-MIMO
- 1.8GHz quad-core processor
- 128 MB storage
- 1 GB RAM
- Broadcom BCM4366 Wi-Fi chip
The TP-Link Archer C5400X is the more exquisite choice on our list – we had to include one of these too, right? Retailing at around $300 (prices may vary), it can be a hard ask, especially if you’ve already invested in a gaming rig. But, if you want high performance, exceptional speed, tight parental controls and good range in one package, this Archer model might be up your alley.
Featuring a square, flat back and seven (7!) antennas, this device looks more like an ancient alien contraption from the Cthulhu Mythos than a gaming router. Measuring roughly 11.2 x 11.2 x 7.6 inches with its antennas, the Archer is three times bigger than Netgear’s Nighthawk XR500 and, more generally, one of the biggest gaming routers on the market.
Inside, the C5400X features a Broadcom BCM4366 Wi-Fi chip with MU-MIMO, which offers the possibility of connecting with multiple devices simultaneously, and beamforming, a signal processing technique that adjusts signal transmission. Effectively, it ensures that the signal reaches your device no matter how many walls are between you and the router.
5 Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
MU-MIMO Wireless Router with StreamBoost
- 1.7 GHz dual-core processor
- 512 MB RAM
- MU-MIMO support
- 800Mbps over 2.4 GHz 802.11n, and roughly 2167 Mbps over 802.11ac
- Four 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet RJ-45 ports with auto MDI/MDIX support.
Although Zyxel is not quite (yet) one of the household names of the gaming market, they delivered in spades with this particular gaming router. Affordable and reliable, the Zyxel Z2 AC2600 is a sound choice for budget-tight gamers.
If you can get over the sparse interface, the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 offers exactly what you would expect from a gaming router, but at a cheaper price. The design, with its sleek angles, black plastic casing, tinges of yellow and various crevices, is clearly aimed at gamers.
The router comes with a great traffic monitoring tool. Through it, you get a live view of the bandwidth distribution, which is pretty useful to identify the apps hogging on the bandwidth. In other words, you can find out from a glance if your kid is, say, playing Fornite way past their bedtime. The tool also offers the option to see the bandwidth usage over a period of 30 days.
All in all, the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 is a sound choice for users who are looking for a competitive option on a budget. It’s undoubtedly one of the best gaming routers out there.
4 ASUS RT-AC68U
Dual-Band AiMesh Router
- 256MB RAM
- 128 MB Flash Memory
- 2.4 GHz/5 GHz Frequency Band
- MPPE, 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise Encryption Algorithm
The Asus RT-AC68U is essentially an upgraded version of the already top notch AC66U, which came out a year prior. And oh boy, did they go overboard with the improvements – it’s objectively better than its younger brother in every possible way. It’s one of the fastest Wi-Fi routers on the market, suitable both for domestic use and small businesses.
The manufacturers took a business approach to the design. The body is built out of matte black plastic case which sports a sleek vertical design, and three antennas that can be positioned quite flexibility. The standing design approach means that you don’t need to free up too much space, with the mention that the RT-AC68U is on the heavier side compared to its older brothers.
Another thing that is worth praising is the interface, which apart from being mostly similar to that of previous models, is intuitive and easy to use. The interface is split into three parts – the Setup wizard, which you can find in the top, middle part is reserved for General items, and the bottom is where you can find the Advanced settings. All in all, one of the best gaming routers out there, for sure.
3 ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
Diverse Customization Options
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
TriBand 4x4 AC5300 Gaming WiFi Router
- 1.8 GHz, 64-bit quad core processor
- 1 GB RAM
- Eight port Ethernet Switch
- Two high speed USB 3.0 ports
- Dual Wan Support
- Tri Band WiFi
Being part of Asus’ already notorious Republic of Gamers line of products, you can expect nothing less but top-tier quality from the GT-AC5300. It’s an expensive, yet powerful choice with great parental control options and various other neat features.
The first thing that will undoubtedly catch your attention is the design. It’s deliciously and unapologetically over the top, with 8 antennas that look like they’re ripped straight out of a B-level Sci Fi movie, sleek angles, and grating patterns that look like the floor of an alien teleporting machine. Saying that the design is aimed at gamers would be an understatement.
Out of all the routers that you can find on the market now, the AC5300 is one of the most secure. This is possible thanks to the Game Intrusion Protection System (IPS), a system that does routine checkups of your system and takes the necessary measures to protect it from threats such as malware, ransomware attacks, hacking attempts and virus-infected client devices.
2 Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
WiFi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports
- 4 removable antennas
- Qualcomm dual-core 1.7 GHz processor
- Qualcomm QCA 9984 Wi-Fi Chip
- 115 feet/35m range
- Software platform developed in partnership with DumaOs
Unlike other gaming-specific routers, which have a cable-centric design, the XR500 is designed specifically with gaming on wireless networks in mind. While the specs themselves are nothing to write home about, the customization options, the software and, overall, the gamer-centric features make it a worthwhile purchase.
For this particular model, Netgear has partnered with DumaOS to design and program the software platform. It’s quite well thought-out, providing a clear and streamlined way to plan and manage bandwidth usage across household devices, like smartphones, tablets and other smart devices.
It offers two neat features, Quality of service and geo-filtering. QoS ensures that traffic si correctly prioritized, reducing waiting times. Geo-filtering helps you set the router to connect to certain areas during matchmaking to reduce ping and the likelihood of experiencing lag.
All in all, the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is a great choice if you are looking for the best gaming router and you have some extra cash to spend. If the specs are not enough to impress you, the intuitive interface and gaming-centric features certainly will.
1 ASUS RT-AC88U
Best price-quality ratio
Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router
- 1.4 GHz processor
- Top speed of 2167 Mbps/100Mbps
- 8 Gigabit LAN ports
- Support for NitroQAM, MU-MIMO and Gamers Private Network Access
At this point, you might ask yourself: what’s the best gaming router that money can buy that is decently priced and full of useful features?Does such a thing actually exist? Yes, as a matter of fact, it does exist. It’s called the ASUS RT-AC88U.
So, what makes this model the best overall? If I had to point out one defining characteristic of this router, that would be how well-rounded it is. It doesn’t make sacrifices in one department to amp up the other, and neither does it offer exclusive, albeit marginally-useful features just as an excuse to jack up the price.
The RT-AC88U comes with eight GIgabit LAN ports, unlike other routers which feature only four. Speaking of which, this was the first home router with this number of ports. The additional ports means that you can connect multiple devices to the router, like servers, printers and the like, without going through the hassle of using a switch.
I was especially drawn by the network map that shows all the connected devices in real time, as well as the extra bits of quality info on display, such as the name of the device and the vendor. This makes managing any number of devices connected to the router simple and intuitive.
All in all, this is one of the best gaming routers that I ever had the chance to play around with. It’s sleek, boasts a simple and intuitive interface, and can go head-to-head with most of the top dogs of the market.
This wraps up our list of the best gaming routers that you can purchase right now. Although they’re still niche products that haven’t reached the ubiquitousness of other gaming devices, gaming routers are quite useful to have around, especially if you live in a busy household with tons of devices. A top gaming router will make managing the bandwidth and securing your network feel like a breeze. Not to mention the fact that you’ll rarely if ever, have your gaming sessions interrupted by your roommate streaming God knows what obscure film on Netflix.
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