Reliable Wi-Fi is a must to play online games seamlessly. But a good router isn’t just powerful—it should also include features like prioritization, security, and even the ability to set up your own gaming network. Some regular Wi-Fi routers may work just fine, but these options are specifically designed for gamers to enhance their playing experience and avoid annoying lags.
Check out quick reviews below of the top five gaming routers, then scroll deeper for buying info and full reviews of these models and other high-ranking options.
Features to Consider
When shopping for a new Wi-Fi router, you should first compare the size of your space with the square footage that a router is designed to cover. If you’re powering only a small apartment, you won’t need a particularly powerful one. But a stronger router is necessary for either a larger house or to use with technology that will put significant strain on your Wi-Fi. With gaming routers, you’ll want to be particularly aware of how much bandwidth you need for your console or computer, and then how much else you will need for the rest of the house, depending if you have a smart system or a number of other people living with you.
What to Know About Radio Bands
Radio bands essentially determine how powerful your Wi-Fi will be, and how well it will be able to travel through walls and other barriers. In any decent router, you will find two bands. One will be a 2.4GHz band, which is what powers through the walls of your house, and a 5GHz band for high-speed internet.
Since 2.4GHz is used by all Bluetooth devices, it can get bogged down. But most routers will allow you to choose which band you wish to connect your devices to, which makes it easier to work around high-traffic situations.
If you need even more bandwidth, you can opt for a tri-band router, which contains two 2.4HGz and one 5Ghz. You’ll still be able to allocate devices to individual bands, so this is a great option if your router typically sees a lot of traffic and you still want to be able to stream your games.
How We Selected and Rated Them
We researched expert sources such as Tech Radar, PC Mag, and PC Gamer, and as well as 2,900 consumer reviews to select the top five gaming routers. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of customers who rated the product at least four out of five stars on retail and review sites like Amazon, Walmart, and the manufacturers’ webpages.
TP-Link Archer C5400
Consumer Score: 80% of customers gave it 4 stars or more
Bold design that’s great for smart homes and graphics-heavy games
If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing router, this ain’t it. But those able to look past its ugly exterior will find an incredibly fast and powerful model that will meet all of their gaming needs. It boasts speeds of up to 2Gbps and has built-in anti-virus and malware tools. And despite the Archer C5400 being rather pricey, PC Mag gave it an “excellent” rating. This TP-Link is also a great option if you’re a frequent Alexa user or have other smart home devices to connect. You can even use Alexa commands to open up a guest network or connect a new device without having to type in a password, which is a nice feature, especially if you often have internet-using guests over.
Asus RT-AC86U AC2900
Consumer Score: 74% gave it 4 stars or more
Won’t stand out too much, but provides great speeds and custom control
This mid-range Asus router is a great option for when you need a bit more bandwidth but don’t want to break the bank. Physically, it’s a much subtler option than the typical gaming aesthetic, but don’t think that it can’t handle some serious gameplay. In addition to impressive speeds, it really shines when it comes to security and prioritization tools. The router has a built-in network protection to prevent malware and suspicious content, and the web-based management console is easy to use to prioritize networks and set up parental controls. The Asus AC2900 must stand upright with no option for wall mounting, but this allows for easy setup and installation, making it a great option for families and single gamers alike.
TP-Link Archer C4000
Consumer Score: 96% gave it 4 stars or more
Top-of-the-line security and parental controls
While many routers come with some level of security, the TP-Link’s Archer C4000 goes above and beyond. A three-year complimentary subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare platform comes with the router, so you’ll get powerful Trend Micro network security, Quality of Service (QoS), and age-filtered parental controls. The system goes so far as to quarantine affected devices, ultimately preventing a virus from finding its way into all of your gadgets. Besides its security factors, it has fast throughput speeds and is great at making large file transfers. Whether you have a house full of gamers or TikTokers, this tri-band router will be able to support it all.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
Consumer Score: 75% gave it 4 stars or more
Plenty of bandwidth, ports, and network controls that prioritize gaming
This monster might look like it will bite your hand if you get too close, but when supporting serious internet usage, the ROG Rapture will not disappoint. It has a speedy throughput performance and 8 LAN ports, but what really sets it apart are its gaming features. The router has two specific LAN ports that automatically get network priority, which means that your gaming setup (if plugged into one of these ports) will always be at the front of the line when it comes to bandwidth. It also features Gamer’s Private Network (GPN), which provides a private and secure connection to gaming servers and Gameboost to provide network priority to gaming consoles. While this is truly a top-of-the-line router, you’ll pay for it—and it will take up a good portion of counter space.
TP-Link Archer A9 AC1900
Consumer Score: 85% gave it 4 stars or more
A perfectly capable and affordable simple, dual-band router
With an inexpensive price, simple design, and thousands of glowing reviews, this router is a fan favorite. For under $100, it supports high-speed internet and even can connect to Alexa. The dual-band network also makes it less likely that you’ll run out of bandwidth. It features parental control, guest Wi-Fi, access control, WPA3, and a VPN Server. Its Smart Connect technology also directs clients to less-congested bands and Airtime Fairness to optimize usage for online gaming and streaming. If you still aren’t convinced, take a peek at the reviews, at least one of which praises it as “the best router I’ve ever owned.”
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