The best gaming routers ensure you can dominate even the most demanding online games. While having the best gaming PC is important to deliver top graphics performance and raw CPU horsepower, it’s also critical to ensure your gaming traffic flows quickly and smoothly to the game servers.
With powerful multi-core CPUs and advanced gaming optimization features, the best gaming routers ensure lag-free performance so you won’t freeze up as you lead your troops into battle or make that critical kill shot. Advanced QoS features keep your games running fast and smooth while others stream Netflix or FaceTime. Any serious online gamer will benefit from one of the best gaming routers, but they’re also great for streaming and video calling.
Asus’ RT-AX82U looks the part with its trapezoidal spaceship-like design and throbbing Aura RGB lighting on the front. This router has advanced dual-band Wi-Fi 6 technology and almost all of Asus’s gaming optimization features. Only the WTFast Gamer’s VPN is missing from the RT-AX82U compared to the more expensive Asus ROG routers, but that’s understandable given its lower price.
It has a dedicated gaming port that prioritises whatever you plug into it, powerful adaptive QoS focused on gaming, and Gear Accelerator so your PC or console gets dedicated bandwidth for lag-free gaming.
The RT-Asus AX82U’s Aura RGB lighting is really eye-catching. By default, it pulses through a variety of colours, but you can customise it using the Asus mobile app to match your gaming PC or as mood lighting. It includes Asus’ standard AiProtection anti-malware and parental controls at no extra cost, plus the latest AiMesh 2.0 technology so you can form a mesh network with other Asus routers. A USB 3.2 port lets you share a hard drive, host printers, or connect a USB cellular modem.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection, WPA3 | Standard/Speed: AX5400 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4
While Netgear has many multipurpose routers, the XR500 is designed for gaming. The XR500’s game-centric DumaOS firmware set a new standard for gaming routers when it was released. The XR500 delivers low-latency performance of up to 1,733Mbps on the 5GHz band and 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz side. It won’t win any speed tests against Wi-Fi 6 routers, but it’s an affordable unit with great value.
DumaOS provides best-in-class QoS to prioritise game traffic and a powerful web interface with game optimization features. Logging into the dashboard lets you see what’s happening in your home and on global gaming networks, allowing you to build geographic profiles that connect you to the fastest servers.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC2600 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a powerful gaming router built for serious gamers and busy homes. It’s not cheap, but it offers unmatched range, performance, and gaming optimization features. 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 offers 10Gbps of total bandwidth and is backward compatible with 802.11ac devices. The eight-antenna beamforming array can provide reliable Wi-Fi in 5,000-square-foot homes.
If Wi-Fi isn’t fast enough, there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 2.5Gbps gaming port for wired throughput. Its 1.8GHz quad-core CPU powers WTFast game acceleration, VPN Fusion to isolate gaming traffic from VPN, and Dynamic QoS to prioritise gaming traffic. Asus offers the most flexibility of any router we’ve seen when it comes to optimising Wi-Fi, letting you set up a separate SSID for each 5GHz band to separate your traffic or configuring advanced rules to prioritise and steer higher-bandwidth traffic to the fastest and least congested frequencies.
You also get Asus’ other great security and networking features, including a built-in VPN server and client, adaptive firewall, and more, plus AIMesh technology that lets you connect multiple Asus routers to create a mesh network to expand coverage (and keep the non-gamers off the important Wi-Fi). You won’t need it with the GT-range AX11000’s and coverage.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection, WPA3 | Standard/Speed: AX11000 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5
Netgear’s XR gaming routers are built from the ground up with gaming in mind, thanks to DumaOS firmware. The flagship XR1000 features 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 technology and DumaOS 3.0, a full-featured “router operating system” designed for gamers.
DumaOS supports modular apps called “Rapps” that can manage and customise the experience. This gives hardcore gamers everything they need to optimise performance, with Rapps designed to analyse gaming traffic. The Geo-Filter Rapp lets players optimise their connections to game servers around the world by building virtual “neighbourhoods” of the fastest servers on a virtual world map. You can also use ping heat maps to find lag-free servers, and that’s just the beginning of what this powerful router OS can do.
Despite its powerful gaming features, the XR1000 is as limited as most Netgear routers when it comes to fine-tuning Wi-Fi performance, although most users shouldn’t need to because it provides superb coverage out of the box. Most serious gamers would rather play than fuss over Wi-Fi channels.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: WPA3 | Standard/Speed: AX5400 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4
The ZenWifi XT8 is the best mesh system for gamers, given Asus’ expertise in gaming routers. The ZenWifi is a purpose-built system designed to work as a mesh right out of the box, providing great coverage throughout your home with low latency for today’s fast-paced online games.
ZenWifi units support Asus’ AiMesh 2.0, so you can extend a more powerful Asus gaming router like the GT-AX11000. This gives you fast wireless coverage and game-optimization features. The ZenWifi system still provides top-notch gaming performance on its own and includes advanced configuration options for power users.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection, WPA3 | Standard/Speed: AX6600 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4
The Asus GT-AC5300 is a gaming-specific tri-band Wi-Fi 5 router. Offering maximum throughput of 5,334Mbps across the two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band, our testing revealed there’s ample performance to keep your gaming fast, especially with MU-MIMO and beamforming to ensure your PCs and game consoles get a strong and concentrated signal. Asus offers some of the most comprehensive Wi-Fi configuration options, so you can set up a separate SSID for each of your 5GHz bands to keep your gaming console traffic separate from the rest of your family or configure advanced rules to prioritise and steer your higher-bandwidth traffic to the appropriate band automatically.
There are also eight Gigabit Ethernet ports around rear, which is perfect for LAN parties. The ROG Game Dashboard lets you choose the fastest and lowest latency servers via the WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN), VPN Fusion lets you keep your surfing private without slowing down your games, and Trend Micro’s Game IPS protects your gaming network from hackers and malware. Some users may find the sophisticated interface daunting, but it’s worth it to customise performance.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: AiProtection, WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC5300 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 8
Archer C5400X combines low latency and range. It’s a tri-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 router that can manage busy homes, with plenty of wired connectors. The C5400X lacks the gaming optimization capabilities of many other routers, but it offers ultrafast, lag-free performance and powerful QoS features that prioritise gaming traffic. This makes it a good choice for gamers who don’t want to alter network traffic and server connections. It comes with a free lifetime membership to TP-HomeCare Link’s security and parental control features.
The C5400X’s RangeBoost function and beamforming antenna array bring excellent Wi-Fi to far areas of your home. Its open-air range is equivalent to other tri-band routers in its class, but it penetrates walls and other solid objects better, so you’ll have adequate bandwidth for fast-paced gaming and Netflix in 4K across your home. Eight Gigabit Ethernet connections allow you hardwire devices, while two USB 3.0 ports let you share media and files.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: HomeCare, WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC5400 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 8
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