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The best gaming routers 2021

The best gaming routers 2021
(Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best gaming routers are a must if you’re anything more than a casual gamer. If online games or co-op games have taught us anything, it’s that you won’t get the full gaming experience with a regular router. Unless you like having your connection interrupted at the worst possible moment in your game or experiencing lags, that is.

Getting that robust, continuous internet signal is just as important when playing games as that gaming PC under your desk and the components powering it. Just like the best gaming mouse, and the best gaming keyboard, the best gaming routers help squeeze the most performance out of your game. These routers will help even if you’re just grabbing the best PC games from your Steam or Epic Games account.

Not only do the best gaming routers provide an uninterrupted connection, but they do a number of things that gamers will appreciate such as prioritizing network bandwidth and minimizing intermittent network issues and lags. They often come with helpful features such as Quality of Service (or QoS) and MU-MIMO technology that might just give you that extra boost when battling friends from around the world.

If you do any kind of online gaming, then you need one of the best gaming routers as part of your setup. Having one will be a big upgrade to your network over traditional routers. So, take a look at our top picks, where you’ll find everything from ones packed with gamer-centric features to ones with cutting edge tech like Wi-Fi 6.

Best gaming routers at a glance

  1. TP-Link Archer GX90
  2. Asus RT-AC86U
  3. TP-Link Archer C5400X
  4. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
  5. Asus RT-AC5300
  6. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
  7. Asus RT-AC88U
  8. D-link DIR-885L/R

TP-Link Archer GX90

The TP-Link Archer GX90 is a high-speed, reliable Wi-Fi 6 router that boasts a handful of features for hard-core gamers. (Image credit: TP-Link)

Spinning a web of wi-fi performance

Specifications
Speed: IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz, IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
Connectivity: 1× 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN, 1× Gigabit WAN/LAN, 3× Gigabit LAN, 1× USB 3.0, 1× USB 2.0
Features: 4.8 Gbps Game Band, Game Accelerator, MU-MIMO
Reasons to buy
+Wi-Fi 6 running at 6.6Gbps+Dedicated 4.8Gbps ‘gaming band
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly fiddly set-up

There may be a few things you might not like about the TP-Link Archer GX90. It’s big, it’s bulky, and it’s expensive. However, those are easy to forgive when you realize that you’re getting a big bang for your buck. This is a high-speed, reliable Wi-Fi 6 router that boasts a handful of features for hard-core gamers. That includes a dedicated 5GHz ‘gaming band’ that lets you hog most of your household bandwidth when you need it. Have younger gamers at home? It also provides good parental controls like content filters to block unsuitable material, with pre-set profiles for children of different ages. 

Read the full review: TP-Link Archer GX90

Asus RT-AC86U

Asus RT-AC86U makes online and network gaming as lag and frustration free as possible.

2. Asus RT-AC86U

The value-packed saving grace for gaming routers

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Super fast transfers+Long range
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Feature overkill for most

The Asus RT-AC5300 is one of the best gaming routers – it has a collection of advanced features, making online and network gaming as lag and frustration free as possible. This includes a straightforward yet powerful interface, as well as comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design is somewhat of an acquired taste, but the eight antennae serve a purpose since they can be used to direct the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, providing this router with remarkable range.

Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U

TP-Link Archer C5400X

TP-Link Archer C5400X is perfect for hardwiring a fleet of gaming equipment.

Watch the edge

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Fast+Incredible range
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive

We know we’ve already mentioned the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 earlier, but the company added an ‘X’ to the end of this model, signifying the extreme boost in performance. It’s considerably more expensive, but that price tag is justifiable as it may be one of the highest-end and best gaming routers available. With eight ethernet ports around the back, it’s perfect for hardwiring a fleet of gaming equipment. And, the MU-MIMO and Tri-band support means that wireless connections are also top of the line. You’ll top the leaderboards irrespective of where you are in the house.

Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400X

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 lets you do gaming all night without hitting a paralyzing lag spike.

4. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

Speed, with no compromises

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+High performance+Amazing software
Reasons to avoid
-No broadband modem

If you’re a hardcore gamer, it can be maddening when your roommates are watching Netflix or downloading their own games at the same time. You should take a look at something like the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. Not only will this elite gaming router deliver a ridiculously fast 2.2Gbps speed, but with MU-MIMO support – not to mention, unique gaming features like location-based connection filtering and QoS, you can do some gaming all night without hitting a paralyzing lag spike. Just be ready for the high sticker price and make sure you’re ok with such a gamer aesthetic.

Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

Asus RT-AC5300

Asus RT-AC5300 is filled with a bunch of striking features.

5. Asus RT-AC5300

A high-end beast

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Great Wi-Fi coverage+Powerful gaming features
Reasons to avoid
-Large-Single USB 3.0 port

The Asus RT-AC5300 is a fantastic high-end gaming router that is filled with a bunch of striking features. This includes an incredibly simple yet powerful interface, on top of comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design isn’t for everyone, but the eight antennae are there for a reason, to help direct your Wi-Fi signal reach throughout your home, giving this router excellent range.

 Read the full review: Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router

Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600

Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 prides itself on its performance capabilities.

6. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600

An extraterrestrial gaming router that covers all bases

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Good MU-MIMO wireless speeds+Excellent traffic analysis software
Reasons to avoid
-Few current devices use quad-stream 802.11ac-Average USB port speeds

This router might look like it’s going to abduct a close friend or family member, but we promise the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 isn’t as alien in function as it is in aesthetics. Brimming with the latest MU-MIMO support, which boosts speed when multiple devices are connected to the same network, this gaming router prides itself on its performance capabilities. Since it can handle several devices, while prioritizing bandwidth depending on the needs of each connection, it’s one of the best gaming routers you can purchase today.

Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600

Asus RT-AC88U

Asus RT-AC88U enables wireless performance that can break the 1GB/sec limit.

7. Asus RT-AC88U

4x4 and 1024-QAM deliver the best possible wireless performance

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Fastest wireless speeds+Comprehensive software UI
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Requires special hardware for fastest speeds

The Asus RT-AC88U is an expensive gaming router. However, it justifies its price with crazy 802.11 wireless performance. Armed with four antennae and NitroQAM tech, which pushes speeds even further, this gaming router enables wireless performance that can break the 1GB/sec limit. There’s a catch – you’ll need to grab a NitroQAM wireless adapter, like the Asus PCE AC88, to approach these mighty speeds; but with speeds like this, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the best gaming routers available.

D-link DIR-885L/R

D-Link DIR 885L/R offers great range and speed.

A great all-rounder

Specifications
Speed: 802.11ac
Connectivity: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0
Features: MU-MIMO, Advanced Wireless AC beamforming, SmartConnect
Reasons to buy
+Good selection of features+Good performance
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

It may look like it came straight 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 try. It comes with a good range of ports, as well as a nicely designed UI. It also touts DD-WRT open-source firmware, making this router as versatile as it is powerful.

HP EliteBook x360 1040

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

Powerful performance if not the most comfortable

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 – 7 / 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: AMD Radeon / Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 15.6" diagonal 4K UHD, UWVA, BrightView, AMOLED – 15.6" diagonal FHD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit
Storage: up to 256 GB Intel SSD + 16 GB Intel Optane memory
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class performance+Exceptional battery life+Fantastic price
Reasons to avoid
-Tablet mode a bit unwieldy-No docked stylus

Among the best HP laptops for consumers, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is nearly in a class in its own right, a 2-in-1 laptop that combines impressive CPU and GPU power with an elegant yet robust design, a stunning display, and outstanding battery life – all for an incredible price. In fact, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a 2-in-1. Its huge collection of ports make it an even better value, especially if you have a few peripherals in your arsenal. It’s not the most comfortable to use as a tablet, but even the most premium contenders aren’ perfect, so it’s easy to forgive this laptop for that.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

HP EliteBook x360 1040

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

Powerful performance if not the most comfortable

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 – 7 / 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: AMD Radeon / Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 15.6" diagonal 4K UHD, UWVA, BrightView, AMOLED – 15.6" diagonal FHD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit
Storage: up to 256 GB Intel SSD + 16 GB Intel Optane memory
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class performance+Exceptional battery life+Fantastic price
Reasons to avoid
-Tablet mode a bit unwieldy-No docked stylus

Among the best HP laptops for consumers, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is nearly in a class in its own right, a 2-in-1 laptop that combines impressive CPU and GPU power with an elegant yet robust design, a stunning display, and outstanding battery life – all for an incredible price. In fact, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a 2-in-1. Its huge collection of ports make it an even better value, especially if you have a few peripherals in your arsenal. It’s not the most comfortable to use as a tablet, but even the most premium contenders aren’ perfect, so it’s easy to forgive this laptop for that.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

HP EliteBook x360 1040

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

Powerful performance if not the most comfortable

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 – 7 / 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: AMD Radeon / Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 15.6" diagonal 4K UHD, UWVA, BrightView, AMOLED – 15.6" diagonal FHD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit
Storage: up to 256 GB Intel SSD + 16 GB Intel Optane memory
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class performance+Exceptional battery life+Fantastic price
Reasons to avoid
-Tablet mode a bit unwieldy-No docked stylus

Among the best HP laptops for consumers, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is nearly in a class in its own right, a 2-in-1 laptop that combines impressive CPU and GPU power with an elegant yet robust design, a stunning display, and outstanding battery life – all for an incredible price. In fact, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a 2-in-1. Its huge collection of ports make it an even better value, especially if you have a few peripherals in your arsenal. It’s not the most comfortable to use as a tablet, but even the most premium contenders aren’ perfect, so it’s easy to forgive this laptop for that.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

HP EliteBook x360 1040

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

Powerful performance if not the most comfortable

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 – 7 / 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: AMD Radeon / Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 15.6" diagonal 4K UHD, UWVA, BrightView, AMOLED – 15.6" diagonal FHD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit
Storage: up to 256 GB Intel SSD + 16 GB Intel Optane memory
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class performance+Exceptional battery life+Fantastic price
Reasons to avoid
-Tablet mode a bit unwieldy-No docked stylus

Among the best HP laptops for consumers, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is nearly in a class in its own right, a 2-in-1 laptop that combines impressive CPU and GPU power with an elegant yet robust design, a stunning display, and outstanding battery life – all for an incredible price. In fact, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a 2-in-1. Its huge collection of ports make it an even better value, especially if you have a few peripherals in your arsenal. It’s not the most comfortable to use as a tablet, but even the most premium contenders aren’ perfect, so it’s easy to forgive this laptop for that.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

HP EliteBook x360 1040

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Envy x360 15 (2021)

Powerful performance if not the most comfortable

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 – 7 / 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: AMD Radeon / Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 15.6" diagonal 4K UHD, UWVA, BrightView, AMOLED – 15.6" diagonal FHD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit
Storage: up to 256 GB Intel SSD + 16 GB Intel Optane memory
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class performance+Exceptional battery life+Fantastic price
Reasons to avoid
-Tablet mode a bit unwieldy-No docked stylus

Among the best HP laptops for consumers, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is nearly in a class in its own right, a 2-in-1 laptop that combines impressive CPU and GPU power with an elegant yet robust design, a stunning display, and outstanding battery life – all for an incredible price. In fact, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a 2-in-1. Its huge collection of ports make it an even better value, especially if you have a few peripherals in your arsenal. It’s not the most comfortable to use as a tablet, but even the most premium contenders aren’ perfect, so it’s easy to forgive this laptop for that.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 15 (2021)