If you play the best PC games online as much as we do, you likely want one of the best gaming routers to make sure your online gaming is never interrupted.
In a nutshell, the best gaming routers are designed to prioritize network traffic from games, a feature known as QoS (Quality of Service), so your gaming won’t be interrupted by your roommate trying to watch Netflix in the other room.
Many gamers will talk at length about the benefits of using a wired connection for online gaming and streaming through services like Steam In-Home streaming and Playstation Now, and we’re right there with them. The best gaming routers, then, will feature plenty of Gigabit Ethernet ports for hardwiring your gaming devices to the internet – or even for throwing a LAN party.
However, not everyone in your house can have a wired connection without wires spanning the entire building, so the best gaming routers will feature the latest and fastest WiFi technology (currently 802.11ac). Having external antennae which can be moved to direct the Wi-Fi signal to certain areas of your house 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The Asus RT-AC88U justifies its high asking price with insane next-generation 802.11ac 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 invest in a NitroQAM wireless adapter, such as the Asus PCE AC88, to see these faster speeds. It’s worth it, though – with speeds like this, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best gaming routers on the market in 2018.
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
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
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.
- We’ve also picked out the best best wifi extenders of 2018
- Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article