NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk
AsRock G10 AC2600 Gigabit
Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 MU-MIMO
If you love online gaming then you need the most reliable, steady and fastest connection available. Without it, you will be left whimpering into your keyboard as other players victory dance around you, (or worse) mocking your poor aim and disastrous lag. If this is something that happens far too frequently to you, maybe its time for an upgrade, check out our choices of the best gaming routers and level up your fortunes like never before.
The Best Gaming Routers
NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk Smart Wifi Gaming Router
Our top choice for the best gaming router is NETGEAR’s smart router. This wireless AC router will keep you solidly connected throughout hours of gaming and not once lag while providing up to four times your usual internet speed that you will need to see to believe.
It is packed full of features that will make any gamer wish it had arrived much sooner and provides enough signal strength to keep everybody in the house connected. It is without a doubt a router for the home of the future. So lay back in your gaming chair and let the gaming begin!
Ideal for homes with 12 or more WiFi devices
Advanced features for lag-free gaming
Fast access to USB HDD with USB 3.0 port
Prioritized bandwidth for gaming, streaming videos or music
- Weight1.65 pounds
Excellent software and backup features
Excellent wireless AC range
Random reboots during heavy tasks
5G channel could be stronger
Forced downloads at setup can be cumbersome
Linksys AC5400 Tri Band Wireless Gaming Router
For those who spend a lot of time at home and need consistent internet, Linksys AC5400 Tri Band Wireless Router is the product for you. It is perhaps the fastest wireless router on this list, and is the cure to all your WiFi woes. It can connect with all devices around the home, and still provide unbelievable speeds.
Its high bandwidth makes it the perfect gaming partner and provides gaming sessions longer than you have ever experienced, so be sure to stock up on snacks and soda. For anyone tired of complaining that their coverage is bad, this is the upgrade you need to change everything. Be sure to also check out our list of the best gaming desks for more great items like this.
8 Gigabit ports for wired speeds 10x faster than standard Ethernet to use with printers, consoles and Smart TVs
Seamless roaming enabling possibility by pairing max-stream routers with max-stream range extenders
Advanced security features WPA/WPA2 encryption and SPI firewall
High bandwidth for uninterrupted gaming sessions
- Weight3.25 pounds
Powerful with good range
Easy and efficient setup
Super fast speed with no issues
Linksys account required for setup
Hardware has some issues
D-Link DIR-879 AC1900 EXO WiFi Gaming Router
A product that looks more like an alien spaceship than a gaming router, D-Link is an intergalactic treat. It can be connected to the console or PC through wireless or ethernet cable and deliver exceptional performance that means no more lagging.
With features abound including high-power amplifiers, smart connect and dual-band technology, it could certainly be under consideration for the most powerful router on this list, so come aboard the mothership and check it out. You will want to put this router in your gaming backpack and use it wherever you go.
High-power amplifiers (1000mW) to provide wider coverage throughout your home
SmartConnect band steering automatically balances wireless devices among two wireless bands
Game or stream at 5GHz with dual-band technology
Eliminate dead-zones in the home with full coverage throughout
- Weight1.19 pounds
Excellent budget router
Sleek and modern design
Can be used as a WiFi extender
No USB support
Large and obstructive on the desk
Lack of configuration options with no way to change certain settings
ASUS WiFi Tri-Band Gaming Router
ASUS WiFi Tri-Band Gaming Router is designed purely for gamers, that imagines everything you’ve ever needed from a router and makes it a reality. Another product that looks like something straight out of science fiction, this could very well be a gift from a far-flung future, it sure feels like it.
It provides a strong signal even when the rest of the family is bingeing Netflix with its tri-band MU-MIMO technology, and the specialized gamers dashboard makes you feel like this is a product that has been created purely for you. Maybe it has been, so take advantage and enhance your gaming experience and your life.
Tri-band MU-MIMO technology maximizes throughput and coverage
Optimize data and optimize net traffic with 8 ports and dual USB 3.0
VPN Fusion enables both private and ordinary internet operation simultaneously
ROG Game Dashboard gives access to features including Game Boost, Game IPS, and route optimized low-ping time gaming servers
- Weight7.25 pounds
Extremely fast WiFi speeds
Very good range
Massive amount of settings
Large desk footprint
Can get hot with lots of use
AsRock G10 AC2600 Gigabit Gaming Router
Our consideration for the best router for gaming, AsRock is our premium choice that comes at a high price, but is well worth the money as you transcend ordinary internet speeds and find yourself on another plain entirely. It has a strong signal provided with 8 antennas and beamforming technology to ensure you always get the best connection, leaving other gamers lagging behind.
The signal will stretch over long distances to reach any device in the house for gaming-on-the-go. As a bonus, we’ve also found it could be considered the best router for streaming, so on your downtime from the week’s brand new games, you can feel comfortable kicking back and catching up on your favorite shows. Make sure you wear your gaming glasses because you will for sure spend hours and hours gaming.
Ultimately fast with 8 antennas at 5GHz for 360 degree wireless delivery
World’s Fastest 4T4R with Beamforming technology MU-MIMO Gaming Boost
Provides consoles the bandwidth they need for endless online gaming
Infrared transmitter and receiver
- Weight3.7 pounds
Excellent boost experience
Strong signal over long distance
Replaces need for extender
Some signal drops after a month
Unclear setup directions
Lack of updates could lead to software falling behind
NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router
This stealth bomber of a router is a dual-band device designed to eliminate any gaming connectivity issues you suffer from. It is capable of transferring 2.6Gb of data per second, making it one of the faster routers on our list.
It has the ability to handle multiple consoles, not just devices, at once, so you can relive the glory years of early 21st Century LAN parties (give that a Google, kids) and maintain excellent performance across platforms. The Nighthawk is a great router for both experienced networkers and novices, and (mostly) reduces any gaming stress from your life. Our handy guide to the best gaming monitors features more great products like this.
Prioritizes gaming devices over other connections and allocates necessary bandwidth to prevent lag
Gaming Dashboard can be personalized to view bandwidth, ping delays and more in real-time
Four Gigabit ethernet ports to maximize connection reliability
Nighthawk app provided to help with simple and straightforward router setup
- Weight3.71 pounds
Great signal strength across entire house
Attractive and simple user interface
Advanced network monitoring
Pricey when compared to other devices
Wide and difficult to fit on some surfaces
LED lights do not always sync with correct ethernet
ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router
ASUS Dual-Band router comes with a host of helpful and almost hidden features that you could be forgiven for thinking it is just another router. SmartConnect is a great addition which will quickly find the best band available and ensure you get connected to it, while AiMesh will seek out other ASUS routers within the home to create a canopy of reliable connectivity throughout.
Its big feature, though, is the fact it is a long range router covering up to 5000 square feet, so make sure its password protected to keep your neighbors piggybacking off your unrivaled speeds and connection. Love gaming? Check out our review of the best gaming headsets for our top picks.
33% greater 2.4GHz coverage with 4 transmit, 4 receive antenna design
Smart Connect automatically chooses best band available
Expansive connectivity options with 8 Gigabit LAN ports
Reaches as far as 5000 square feet
- Weight2.6 pounds
Strong and fast WiFi signal
Ai Mesh technology
User friendly interface
More complicated setup than other routers
Occasional connection drop on mobile devices
Large hardware which could take up too much space
TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band Smart WiFi Gaming Router
With eight antennas, it is no surprise that you can enjoy the highest definition TV and gaming all at once through a fantastic TP-Link AC5400 MU-MIMO WiFi router that provides incredible range unseen in most products. No matter where you are in the home, you can be sure that you will be connected from basement to attic.
While it doesn’t have as feature-rich of a user interface as other models, you won’t care when you are able to get every device connected to the internet and browse, stream or game without the slightest hint of slowing down. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the top wireless gaming mouses.
Enjoy 4K video and smash online games simultaneously with battle-tested reliability through MU-MIMO WiFi
Unique antivirus and parental controls for your peace of mind and protection
Smart Router connects with Amazon Alexa and other third party applications
Faster WiFi for every device in the home so no one misses out on speedy internet
- ModelArcher C5400
- Weight3 pounds
Excellent phone app
Very, very fast speeds
Might randomly reset to factory defaults
Poor TP-Link tech support
Uses a lot of power, could overheat
Linksys WRT Gaming WiFi Router
Our second Linksys router seeks out your console and makes it its number one priority with beamforming technology that means you can always rely on your connection during the most intense gaming sessions. Also included is a custom built gaming interface that provides ultimate control for gamers never experienced in a router before.
Linksys WRT Router is primarily designed to solve Xbox gaming problems, so you might not need it if you own a PS4 or are a PC gamer, but for those with an Xbox, the optimized gaming network means that the rest of the family might miss out, but when you are battling to reach the top of the worldwide leaderboard, their concerns can wait until you emerge victorious. Good flight sticks might help you in your game so check them out as well.
Identifies and prioritizes consoles to accelerate gaming network above other devices
Blazing fast 1.8GHz dual-core processor that ensures simultaneous high-speed data processing
Custom built gaming interface and firmware for ultimate gamer control
Up to 65% reduction in peak ping on Xbox for more immediate response time
- Weight2.07 pounds
Perfect solution for solving Xbox online gaming speed and connectivity issues
Modern admin interface
Super fast boot time
Only optimized for Xbox consoles
Low-quality network cable included in-box
Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Router
This high-speed gaming router is our choice for the best wifi router for gaming in terms of value. In addition to its great price, there is beamforming and stream boosting for excellent performance all around and its simple setup is made even simpler with a QR code.
Unlike some routers, Zyxel Armor is compact and doesn’t take up too much space, but still provides a strong enough signal to keep everyone in the house happy. With a reasonable price and brilliant performance for gaming, streaming and browsing, this is a great router for those who love to game, but perhaps not all the time. Don’t forget to also check our guide to racing wheels for more great gaming equipment.
Beamforming antennas for better, more reliable wireless coverage and stability
4×4 MU-MIMO technology enables accelerated transmissions for even faster WiFi speeds
Stream boosts optimizes gaming connection above others
Easy setup with Easy 123 and user friendly monitoring
- Weight1.85 pounds
Fast setup when using configuration wizard
Stylish but doesn’t draw attention to itself
Option to configure access point modes
Confusing software and options in Expert mode
Lackluster or vague instructions
Antenna knob can come loose
Gaming Router Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection of Gaming Routers
There are four different things that we looked at when selecting the best gaming routers for you. We believe that these are the deciding factors for anyone looking to buy a new router and maximize their gaming potential.
Brand - Picking brands that are well known, respected and continuously deliver excellent results is a great place to start when selecting a gaming router. There are a few great router brands that all offer similar services. When it comes to the best routers for gaming, it might come down to a matter of requirement and preference. It is impossible to pick the absolute best brand, but choosing a decent range of different brands that all offer top quality products gives you the best idea of what is most suitable for you.
Latest WiFi Standards - Like all kinds of technology, WiFi and what is acceptable and expected in a router is always evolving. Before selecting what we believe are the best gaming routers we did a lot of research regarding the latest WiFi standards to ensure that we found only the state-of-the-art routers for you. Without these standards, your gaming WiFi router might fall behind and soon become obsolete when compared with newer, cooler, stronger models.
Reviews - Reviews are excellent for understanding how good a product was and we looked for products that were given at least 3 and half stars. You’ll notice that all of the products in our list are well above this and contain tens to hundreds of reviews. With products as popular as gaming routers, you know that reviewers are people that really know their stuff and many of them have tried and tested an array of different products looking for the perfect router.
Price - The matter of price also concerns what kind of situation you are in for needing a gaming router. If you live in a house where everyone is gaming during every free second, like in a gaming-mad household (mom, dad, kids, pets, ghosts, etc) then splurging on an expensive but entirely dependable router is justified.
If you live alone, or a home where you are the solitary gamer, then a less-expensive router that can still guarantee the results you need is the best choice. If you don’t need to spend a lot of money on the best router, then don’t.
Features To Look For In A Gaming Router
When you are trying to decide on good routers for gaming, there are several features that must be considered if you are to find one that will do everything you need it to (and sometimes more).
Max Speed - The max speed is crucial for informing you how much data is being transferred every second. This will let you know how fast the connection is, how quickly you can download new games, and how smoothly images and sounds appear across your screen. The higher the speed, the faster the connection, and the more comfortable the experience. Simple, right?
Yeah mostly, but be aware that WiFi is always marketed using theoretical speeds, so just because it says it will hit 600 Mbps, doesn’t mean it actually will. Be sure to do your comparison research and find the actual speed before spending big bucks on a supposedly lightning fast router.
Range - The range of the router determines how far the signal can reach. With wireless connections, the further away you are from the router, the worse the connection will be. Gaming routers boast as much as 5000 square feet of range, but there are things such as walls, doors, ceilings and other connected devices that can get in the way.
With a wired ethernet connection, the range is not something you need to worry about, as you will have a direct line to the router (and it is unlikely you’d be too far away when wired-up anyway)
Software - The kind of software that is present in the router must be considered when selecting the right router for you. This will make life much, much easier for its operation and hopefully give you fewer headaches when all you want to do is unwind and game at the end of a stressful day.
The best routers come with automatic update software that keeps them top of the range, as well as offering firewall protection to keep your files and data safe for malicious third parties. Some routers will offer different kinds of software, such as a GPN or the ability to connect to similar routers to maximize signal. It is all about what you need.
MU-MIMO - This stands for Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output (but you can just pronounce it moomeemo which, if nothing else, is just fun to say). This means that more than one device can be connected to the device without worrying about too much bandwidth being throttled. In places where there are a lot of devices, this is crucial for ensuring a reliable and stable connection, no matter how many people might be using it.
With gaming routers, this is useful for guaranteeing a connection that does not randomly drop in and out, potentially ruining hours upon hours of hard work, or stealing you from the map just as you were about to pull the trigger on the winning kill.
Beamforming - In the past, a network router would spread the signal out in all directions and whichever device latched onto it would get the signal. While this worked most of the time, and gave each device an even share of bandwidth, which is nice, but what if the signal identified a device and delivered a stronger signal above all others?
This is what beamforming is. It is a recent development in many new 802.11ac routers and is excellent for gaming routers. With beamforming, you can set your console or gaming PC as the priority device and reap that sweet, sweet signal before anyone else gets their hands on it.
Types of Gaming Routers
Tri-Band - As the name suggests, tri-band provides you with 3 bands to maximize speed and satisfaction. On top of the 2.4GHz and the 5GHZ found in dual-band, tri-band offers an additional 5GHz band to deliver the performance you could never have imagined.
Dual-Band - A dual router offers an adequate connection that is fine for the average home. It goes further than the single-band 2.4GHz frequency by including a 5GHz band that allows for more signal satisfaction.
Single-Band - You might notice that 2.4GHz single-band routers are absent from our list. They are now mere relics of computing and serve little purpose other than a reminder of how far we have come.
The advantages of using a Gaming Router
There are many advantages of using a gaming router in place of a standard everyday router provided by your ISP. The biggest and most obvious advantage is that they transform your gaming capabilities (in terms of connectivity, speed, and overall experience) from frustration to elation.
Some routers will also seek out your console or gaming device as a priority connection and consign other devices to dealing with lesser (but still really impressive) speeds, as you jump in your gaming chair, strap on your gaming headphones and game the night away. But we’re afraid they can’t do anything about your K/D ratio, that is up to you.
The sheer power of these routers also allows for multiple people to connect their many, many devices without worrying about suffering slow internet speeds. If you live in in a place full of people on at least one device throughout the day, a gaming router can save frustration, even if you are not using it for gaming.
Router Setting Tips
It’s no good having an excellent router if you do not optimize it for peak performance. If you are new to all this techy stuff and are not sure how to get the most from your router, here are some tips that will make a world of difference.
- Upgrade when possible
- Get rid of wireless interference around the router
- Separate applications that use lots of bandwidth
- Find the ideal location
- Set up auto-restart
- Improve your wireless security
- Optimize your router and the adapter settings
Gaming Router FAQ
Q: What is a Gaming Router?
A: A gaming router is a device that is designed primarily for the purpose of gaming on consoles, handheld devices or PC. As game developers have put a greater emphasis on online gaming in the past decade or so, the need for a class of more powerful, and more reliable internet wireless router, or one that can be connected via ethernet cable, has been required.
But why can’t I just use my regular old router that came with my internet package? You ask. It might seem like gaming routers are a mere marketing ploy to get desperate gamers to splash their cash on devices they don’t really need, but this is far from the truth. A gaming router can do so much more than a mere home internet router.
They provide speeds that the casual internet browser does not even know are possible. With the fast-paced environment of online gaming servers, the faster the router, the better the experience. It will be able to withstand high definition graphics without lagging (the gamers’ greatest nemesis) and provide endless hours of entertainment.
Some gaming routers will now recognize and prioritize games consoles over all other devices, ensuring that the gamer gets the best slice of bandwidth pie, and allow him to pwn (or are we saying rek(t) now?) n00bz (again, do the kids say something different?) freely, for hours on end.
Q: Who should buy a Gaming Router?
A: Primarily, the people who should buy a gaming router are gamers. But not just any type of gamers. If you are a traditionalist who loves their single player games full of great stories, gripping gameplay and beautiful graphics, then you don’t really have any need for a gaming router, as you won’t be doing any online gaming at all.
However, if you love the thrill of battle, if you love the trash talking hilarity of game lobbies, and if lag makes your skin crawl, blood boil and is responsible for the controller-shaped dents all along your bedroom wall, then a gaming router is the answer to all your problems.
While these routers are designed and marketed to hardcore gamers, it doesn't mean that you necessarily need to be playing games every free minute you have. They also work perfectly in houses and apartments where there are a lot of people using a lot of devices. A gaming router will be more powerful than a standard set, so even if you rarely game, they might just come in handy.
Q: Dual-Band or Tri-Band?
A: This will depend on how many people are going to be using the router. Dual-band will be enough for the average household, but if you really want to take your gaming to the unrivaled next level, then find a tri-band router and laugh at the dual-band peasants with their measly, single 5GHz frequency.
Q: Do I Need a Router with MU-MIMO Technology?
A: Not necessarily. Whether or not you need a router with MU-MIMO technology will depend on how many people are connected to your router. If you live alone, then the need for a router with MU-MIMO technology is not really necessary, as you may only need to connect one device (like your console) to the router to play games effectively.
That being said, if you want to have all of your devices hooked up to the internet without worrying about drops in connection, poor speeds and lag, then an MU-MIMO-enabled router is needed. Even if you are the only one using the router, being able to connect your computer, console, smartphone, tablet, home assistant and more, then multi-user technology is a must.
Even more necessary is when you live somewhere with lots of people. If you have a lot of devices, they likely will, too. To prevent downtime and poor speeds, investing in an MU-MIMO technology router is well worth it.
Q: How many computers or devices can be connected wirelessly to a router at the same time?
A: WiFi routers are designed to accommodate as many as 250 different devices wirelessly. But let’s be realistic here, having that many devices connected to one router would mean that the speeds and bandwidth would be dragged back to the stone age. Okay, maybe not that far, but you understand.
Anyone who lived through the early days of an internet connection will remember the sweet, psychotic sound of the dial-up tone. If 250 devices were connected to your router, these are the kind of speeds you would be getting, not ideal for the high-speeds required by online gamers.
So while there is the potential for a lot of devices to connect to the router, it is not advised, unless you are planning some kind of anger-repression training where you look to overcome slow internet speeds through tranquility and calm meditation. Stick to a low number of connections, and enjoy the speeds without feeling that vein about to pop in your temple.
- How to Teabag in Halo 3 - WikiHow
- Gaming Routers 101 - Gadgets Enthusiast
- How Many Devices Can One Router Handle? - Lifewire
- The Difference Between Single-Band, Dual-Band, and Tri-Band Routers - Flashrouters
- Top Ten Tips for Setting Up Your Router - Linksys