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Playing videogames is fun, but if you’re playing online, you’ll need not just a great internet connection, but also a great router to handle that connection in the most efficient way possible. Gaming routers have been specifically designed to address this issue. These routers are specifically designed to offer gamer-focused features and excellent speeds for the best gaming experience possible.
Best Gaming Routers Reviewed
Gaming routers are expensive, but they come with a set of advanced features and incredible speeds to ensure your gaming experience remains lag free and you get the most optimized use of your network connection for online gaming.
We take a look at some of the best gaming routers currently available in the market from companies like ASUS, TP-Link, and more.
The ASUS RT-AX88U is a highly advanced router with next-gen features. It costs a pretty penny, but it offers technology that makes it futureproof, and the speeds of this router are simply phenomenal.
- Speed: 11ax; AX6000
- LAN Ports: 8
- Antennas: 4
- Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz
No, that’s not a typo. This router actually does have 802.11ax technology, which isn’t commonly found. This router from ASUS is one of the highest performing out there, and the latest “next-gen” wireless 802.11 technology is the backbone of it all.
Thanks to this new band, the Asus RT-AX88U offers the “6th” generation of Wi-Fi technology with greater bandwidth and OFDMA. OFDMA stands for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access and is designed to greatly increase the number of subchannels for each wireless channel. This not only reduces latency but also allows the router to handle more clients at the same time. Additionally, the MU-MIMO is also better as it allows more data transmission at a single time.
The problem, of course, is there aren’t currently any 802.11ax adapters out there. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize this device at all. It’s just generally that the router’s true potential hasn’t been unlocked yet, but we’re fans of futureproofing and so are many tech geeks, so we’ll welcome this advanced technology with open arms.
You should expect any interface designed by ASUS to be good, given their extensive knowledge and design experience of BIOS interfaces for their motherboards. The same holds true for this router – it has a robust and feature-rich interface that gives users control over every major setting you could think of. If you’re not a fan of using your web browser to navigate the router settings, there’s always the option to use a smartphone app associated with this device.
One of the other great, relatively advanced features of this gaming router is that it has USB 3.1 ports. Yes, it would truly be a standout achievement to have a USB Type-C port as well there, but USB Type-C is still not as common as it should be.
We also love that this router provides a whopping 8 Gigabit LAN ports. You can connect all your gaming platforms like PC, PS4, Xbox One, and any other you may own through Ethernet, which is still the network connection of choice for most gamers due to its speed and reliability. For even better throughput, two of the Ethernet ports can be configured for link aggregation.
But as a wireless gaming router, the true standout point of this beast is its wireless performance. The 2.4 GHz frequency range reaches a staggering 1150 Mbps, whereas the 5 GHz offers a jawdropping 4804 Mbps. This is one of the fastest consumer routers ever made, folks.
ASUS doesn’t ignore the gaming aspects either. Under its Game Boost Management tab, you can choose specific network settings for an expanding list of games. Another great aspect is the Adaptive QoS, which prioritizes gaming traffic on a congested network. The router also has Trend Micro’s AiProtection Pro to protect the network from viruses and malware.
There’s very little negative to say about this next-gen router other than its steep price. Still, the price is expected given the plethora of advanced and next-gen features you get with this powerful and fast device. ASUS is once again proving everyone why they’re such a well-regarded computer hardware manufacturer with this gaming router.
If you have the desk space and the money to spend on a gaming router, the TP-Link Archer C5400X is definitely a great option and viable alternative to the ASUS offering.
- Speed: 11ac; 2.4GHz: 1,000Mbps; 5GHz: 2,167Mbps
- LAN Ports: 8
- Antennas: 8
- Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz
Don’t let the scary looks of this gaming router from TP-Link intimidate you. This is in fact one of the easiest gaming routers to set up and use. TP-Link has really upped its game in the gaming router department, and the Archer C5400X is one of their best offerings to date.
This powerful router is all about the ultra-fast 5GHz speeds, which can a staggering 2,167Mbps and more. Furthermore, this router is feature-packed.
Firstly, you’ll need a large space to place this router, because it is massive. The imposing size is both a highlight and a downside to this piece of network gear. It’s a downside because of obvious reasons, but it’s certainly eye-catching enough to make head turns.
Now, back to the easy setup. We love the fact that TP-Link has given users an option to either set this router up either conventionally from a web browser interface or through the TP-Link Tether smartphone app. This makes it incredibly intuitive for users who aren’t fans of the web browser navigation, although it must be said that TP-Link’s interface is excellent even on the web.
The TP-Link Archer C5400X comes integrated with great security functions designed by Trend Micro. Trend Micro’s security system includes three functions: Malicious Content Filter, Intrusion Prevention System, and Infected Device Quarantine. Each one is easy to understand and can be toggled on or off with ease whenever required.
The feature set of this gaming router doesn’t end there – there’s also an integrated Speedtest to check the performance of your internet connection. But the key feature of this router is its QoS or Quality of Service. The QoS TP-Link uses in this router is the “dynamic optimization engine” – this divides traffic into five categories: gaming, streaming, surfing, chatting, and downloading. You can use presets or adjust the setting according to your need with an intuitive “equalizer” styled interface to prioritize whichever one you want the most.
We do wish the TP-Link had some technology in it to reduce latency though, which is essential for gaming. NETGEAR’s popular gaming router does this, and it remains a great alternative to the TP-Link Archer for this very reason. Still, it’s hard not to recommend this fantastic piece of tech to anyone who wants a high-end gaming router.
With even better speeds than the favorite Netgear Nighthawk XR500, the XR700 has a slightly different design, better connectivity and more features.
- Speed: 11ac: 7.2 Gbps
- LAN Ports: 7
- Antennas: 4
- Processor: Dual-core 1.7GHz
If the previous iteration was closer to a spaceship in design, you can feel that the newer version having a big more refined design, with red accents on the black body.
Netgear removed all the shortcomings of the previous router, which regardless of those issues was still a favorite, added more LAN and WAN ports in this upgraded version. The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 has 6 LAN ports in total and inclusion of a WAN port. It truly is a blessing when a company listens to the consumers and fixes the problems in the next generation of their devices.
The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 also has a 10 Gigabit LAN SFP+ for some crazy Ethernet bandwidth speed. This included with support for link aggression in the router truly makes it for a truly terrifying competitor in the market.
With the 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 technology in the market, this router uses the 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 along with the 802.11ad technology in combination to provide you the best connectivity experience. With 4 active antennas, you also get support for Beamforming with this router.
The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 router comes with the DumaOS which is designed to enhance a gamer’s experience. It has some features revolving around the gamer theme which include Geo-Filter that connects you to the closest server to you in gaming. This allows for lower latency and pings during your online gaming sessions.
Don’t you just hate it when someone in your house hogs all your bandwidth? With the Netgear Nighthawk XR700 you do not have to worry about that, as this router balances out the load and prevents one device from taking too much bandwidth. No more fights in the house over who is using up all the internet speed while you game from now on.
The speeds on this router reach 280+ Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency in the ideal setting while on the 5 GHz frequency you can expect speeds of 325+ Mbps in the same ideal setting. Truly a great choice for a gaming router.
The Zyxel Armor Z2 doesn’t cost as insanely much as some of the other gaming routers out there, yet offers reliable speeds at 2.4GHz and 5GHz when used in close-range and comes with some great set of features.
- Speed: 11ac: 2.6Gbps
- LAN Ports: 4
- Antennas: 4
- Processor: Dual-core 1.7GHz
For anyone looking for a great 2.4GHz gaming router for less than $200, the long and tedious search doesn’t have to be as long or as tedious anymore. Thanks to the Zyxel Armor Z2, you can get a great AC2600 router at a relatively affordable price.
The speed and range of the 2.4Ghz band WiFI on this router are simply superb, rivaling the performance of some models that cost twice as much. The 5GHz speed and range, however, aren’t the best, and there are a few compromises you’ll have to make for paying less for this router.
The mothership like the design of the Zyxel Armor Z2 is certainly appealing – it has the looks of a gaming router without being gaudy or taking up too much of desk space. Zyxel Armor Z2 router features the latest MU-MIMO support, which improves the speed and performance when multiple devices are connected to the same network.
The router has one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 ports conveniently located on the side for easy access. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a single WAN port are located at the back, along with buttons for power, Wi-Fi, reset, and WPS.
One of the best aspects of this router is its incredibly easy setup. Like the TP-Link Archer reviewed above, the Z2 can be configured either through the web interface or from an app. The app design is modern and intuitive, and we recommend using it over the web browser interface for your initial setup.
The Expert mode of the router interface gives you access to advanced features such as QoS for traffic management. In addition to these services, you also get beamforming. There is also StreamBoost technology for four spatial streams on both networks. StreamBoost is also used by other popular router manufacturers like D-Link and Netgear and offers smart network prioritization to reserve bandwidth for various applications.
The Armor Z2 offers fantastic speeds on 2.4GHz, but the 5GHz performance is inconsistent and greatly affected by distance, falling well below average with just 100Mbps of transfer from 50 feet away. That said, the Armor Z2 definitely offers fantastic value for money and looks cool. We highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable gaming router for under $200.