If you play the best PC games online as much as we do, you likely want one of the best gaming routers to make sure your online gaming is never interrupted.
To put it simply, the top gaming routers are designed to prioritize network traffic from games, a feature known as QoS (Quality of Service), so your gaming won’t be interrupted by your roommate trying to watch Netflix up in their room.
Just ask any gamer, and they’ll probably tell you (for hours) that using a wired connection for online gaming is the best way to do it, and we’d have to agree. So, the best gaming routers will feature plenty of Gigabit Ethernet ports.
However, it’s just not feasible to have everyone in your home use a wired connection, sot the top gaming routers will feature the latest and fastest WiFi standards – currently Wi-Fi 5. Having external antennae which can be moved to direct the Wi-Fi signal to certain areas of your home can’t hurt, either.
With the particular needs of gamers in mind, then, here are the very best gaming routers you 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 one of the best gaming routers with old-school aesthetics and new-school tech, the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 is exactly what the doctor ordered. This gaming router blends enthusiast-grade features and accessible setup into a package that’s appealing to pretty much everyone. And, when you add in the Alexa support, you have a router that can adapt to any situation, whether you’re focusing hard on topping the leaderboards in Overwatch, or you have guests all 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 comes with a variety of advanced features, making online and network gaming as lag and frustration free as possible. This includes an easy-to-use yet powerful interface, as well as comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the eight antennae serve a purpose, as they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router an excellent range.
Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U
3. 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 PC gamer, and you’re always competing for bandwidth with your roommates, you might want to consider getting a beefy gaming router like the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500. Not only is this thing rated for an insane 2.6Gbps of speed, but with MU-MIMO support and unique gaming-focused features like location-based connection filters and QoS, you’ll be able to get your game on lag-free. Just prepare yourself for the high price, and maybe wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to pick it up.
Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
4. 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 comes with a number of advanced features for making online and network gaming as lag and frustration free as possible.
This includes an easy-to-use yet powerful interface, as well as comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but the eight antennae serve a purpose, as they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router an excellent range.
5. 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
It might look like it’s getting ready to abduct a close friend or family member, but we promise the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 isn’t as alien in function as in appearance. Rocking the latest MU-MIMO support, which improves speed when multiple devices are connected to the same network, this gaming router prides itself on its performance capabilities. Because it can handle a ton of devices, while prioritizing bandwidth depending on the needs of each device, it’s one of the best gaming routers you can buy today.
Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
6. 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 justifies its high asking price with insane next-generation 802.11ac wireless performance. Rocking four antennas and NitroQAM tech, which pushes speeds even further, this gaming router enables wireless performance that can break the 1GB/sec limit. But, there’s a catch – you’ll need to invest in a NitroQAM wireless adapter, such as the Asus PCE AC88, to see these faster speeds. It’s worth it, though – with speeds like this, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best gaming routers on the market in 2018.
7. 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 something from Battlestar Galactica – the old Battlestar Galactica – but, the D-Link DIR 885L/R is a dependable mid-range gaming router with great range and speed. If you’re looking for the best gaming router, you may want to give this one a chance – it has a good variety of port, and a nicely designed UI. It also features DD-WRT open-source firmware, which makes this router as flexible as it is powerful.
- Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article