If you spend plenty of time playing the best PC games online, you’ve probably encountered a huge lag spike sooner or later, but what if we told you that the best gaming routers could guarantee that your online gaming is never interrupted?
Well, it’s true: the best gaming routers will prioritize network traffic for your games, courtesy of a neat little feature called Quality of Service (or QoS), which will help ensure your gaming session isn’t disrupted 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 getting in each other’s way.
- Stretch that router even further with a top Wi-Fi extender
Now, wired connections are typically considered the best way to connect your online games, and we wholeheartedly agree. But, you want to make sure your gaming router is a good router, too. So, not only will the best gaming routers be packed to the brim with Gigabit Ethernet ports, but they’ll also come with the latest Wi-Fi standards – currently Wi-Fi 5. Having multiple antennae which you can manipulate to boost signal strength doesn’t hurt, either.
Keeping the needs of gamers in mind, 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
If you’re searching for the latest router technology but you still love that old school look, the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 is right up your alley. This is one of the best gaming routers that combines enthusiast grade features and accessible setup into a package that’s appealing to just about anyone. And, when you add in the Alexa support, you have a router that can adjust 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
The Asus RT-AC5300 is one of the best gaming routers – it’s packed with a variety 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 aesthetic is an acquired taste, but the eight antennae are there for a reason, as they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router excellent range.
Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U
3. TP-Link Archer C5400X
Watch the edge
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 talked about 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 a lot more expensive, but this might be one of the highest-end and best gaming routers out there. 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 mean that wireless connections are also top of the line. You’ll be able to top the leaderboards regardless of where 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
If you’re a hardcore gamer, it can be frustrating when your roommates are constantly watching Netflix or downloading games of their own, so you’ll want to consider something like the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. Not only will this elite gaming router supply an embarrassingly fast 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 be aware of the high sticker price and make sure you can deal with such a gamer aesthetic.
Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
5. 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 a fantastic high-end gaming router that is brimming with a bunch of advanced features. This includes an effortless, yet powerful interface, on top of comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design isn’t for everyone, but the eight antennae serve a purpose, as they can be used to direct your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, giving this router 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
You might expect it 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 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. Since it can handle a lot of devices, while prioritizing bandwidth depending on the needs of each device, it’s one of the best gaming routers you can purchase today.
Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
7. 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 is a pricey gaming router, but it justifies the price with crazy 802.11 wireless performance. Sporting 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 grab a NitroQAM wireless adapter, like the Asus PCE AC88, to approach these mighty speeds. But, with speeds like this, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best gaming routers available.
8. 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 it came straight out of Battlestar Galactica – the old Battlestar Galactica – but, the D-Link DIR 885L/R is a reliable mid-range gaming router with great range and speed. If you’re searching for the best gaming router, you may want to give this one a try – it comes with a good variety of ports, and has 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
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