If you spend a lot of time playing the best PC games online, you’ve probably run into a huge lag spike at some point, but what if we told you that the best gaming routers could ensure your online gaming is never interrupted?
Well, it’s true: the best gaming routers will prioritize network traffic for your games, thanks to a neat little trick called Quality of Service (or QoS), which will help make sure your gaming session isn’t interrupted 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 interrupting each other.
Now, usually wired connections are regarded as the best way to play your online games, and we wholeheartedly agree. But, you have to make sure your gaming router is a good router, too. So, not only will the best gaming routers be filled to the brim with Gigabit Ethernet ports, but they’ll also feature the latest Wifi standards – currently Wi-Fi 5. Having multiple antennae which you can manipulate to boost signal strength can’t hurt, either.
Taking into consideration the needs of gamers, we here at TechRadar have gathered up all the best gaming routers 2019 has to offer.
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 love that old school aesthetic, the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 is right up your alley. This is a gaming router that blends enthusiast grade features and accessible setup into a package that’s appealing to pretty much anyone. And, when you add in the Alexa support, you have a router that can adapt to any situation, whether you’re focusing on winning the latest match in Apex Legends, 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. 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 already covered the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 earlier, but the manufacturer slapped an ‘X’ at the end of this one, to signify the extreme boost in performance. It’s significantly more expensive, but this may be one of the highest-end gaming routers out there. With eight ethernet ports around the back, it’s perfect for hardwiring a wealth of gaming equipment. And, the MU-MIMO and Tri-band support mean that wireless connections are also top-notch. You’ll be able to top the leaderboards wherever 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 always watching Netflix or downloading games of their own, so you’ll want to pick up something like the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. Not only will this elite gaming router provide an insane 2.2Gbps speed, but with MU-MIMO support and unique gaming features, like location based connection filtering and QoS, you can game all night without hitting a crippling lag spike. Just prepare for the high sticker price and make sure you can handle 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 packed with a ton of advanced features. This includes an easy-to-use, but powerful interface, on top of 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.
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
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
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 an expensive gaming router, but it justifies the price with insane 802.11 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 pick up a NitroQAM wireless adapter, like the Asus PCE AC88, to see these fast speeds. But, with speeds like this, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best gaming routers out there.
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 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