The best gaming routers 2018

Best gaming router

If you are always playing the best PC games online, you probably want one of the best gaming routers to make sure your online gaming isn’t compromised.

The best gaming routers are specially designed to prioritise network traffic from games, a feature known as Quality of Service (QoS), so your gameplay won’t be affected when your roommate is trying to watch Altered Carbon in 4K on Netflix.

Most gamers will tell you that wired connections are necessary for online gaming and streaming through services like Steam In-Home streaming, and we’d have to agree. The best gaming routers, then, should feature an array of Gigabit Ethernet ports for hardwiring your favorite gaming devices to the internet – or even for throwing a LAN party.

However, it’s not always possible to have a wired connection, so having the best gaming router for the job, with the latest – and fastest – Wi-Fi technology (currently 802.11ac), is extremely important. Having external antennae which can be moved to direct the Wi-Fi signal to certain areas of the home is also useful.

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 
 Expensive 

 

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
Long range
Pricey
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. Asus RT-AC5300

A high-end beast

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
Large
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.

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

4. 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

While it looks like it’ll start abducting a close friend or family member, we assure you, the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 isn’t as alien in function as in appearance. Strapped with MU-MIMO support, which improves speed when multiple devices are connected to the same network, the Armor Z2 AC2600 prides itself on its performance capabilities. Coupled with StreamBoost, Zyxel has devised a router that not only can handle tons of traffic, but it can actually prioritize bandwidth based on the needs of each device connected to it.  

Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600

Asus RT-AC88U

5. Asus RT-AC88U

4x4 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
Expensive
Requires special hardware for fastest speeds

The Asus RT-AC88U justifies its above-average pricing with unrivalled record-breaking next-generation 802.11ac wireless performance. With four antennas and NitroQAM technology, which pushes speeds further still, this router enables wireless performance that can break the 1GB/sec limit. There's a minor catch - you'll need to invest in a NitroQAM wireless adapter, such as the Asus PCE-AC88, to see those faster speeds. It's worth it, though, because this router is a champion cheaper than its Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band gigabit rival.

Netgear Nighthawk X4S VDSL/ADSL Modem Router D7800

6. Netgear Nighthawk X4S VDSL/ADSL Modem Router D7800

Built-in VDSL modem and 4x4 wireless speeds make this a great all-rounder

Speed: 802.11ac: 1733Mbps, 802.11n: 800 Mbps | Connectivity: 5x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, 1x eSATA | Features: VDSL 2 modem

Great wireless performance
VDSL 2 modem
Lacks 1024-QAM
Requires special hardware for fastest speeds

If routers had a fashion contest, Netgear’s D7800 would be among the top contenders. Its solid black finish is complemented by a quartet of antennas. Plus it’s damn fast and bettered by its inclusion of a duo of USB ports paired with an eSATA connector. The real centerpiece, though, is the VDSL 2 modem built into the Nighthawk X4S D7800, negating the need to buy or lease one separately. The outfitted software isn’t too shoddy either; a simple Dynamic QOS system makes it a breeze to govern a multitude of devices on a single home network.

7. D-link DIR-885L/R

A great all-rounder

Speed: 802.11ac | Connectivity: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO, Advanced Wireless AC beamforming, SmartConnect

Good selection of features
Good performance
Pricey

While it may look like a prop from some ‘80s sci-fi movie, the D-Link DIR-885L/R is a dependable mid-range router with great speed and range. If you’re looking for the best gaming router, you’re going to want to consider this one – it has a good selection of ports, and a nicely designed and easy-to-use user interface. It also supports DD-WRT open-source firmware, which makes this router as flexible as it is powerful.