With the latest mobile gaming platforms and 4K-capable systems — console and PC alike — you may find yourself needing a great gaming router to support your high-speed games with minimal lag — especially if you’re looking to stream games too. In our reviews of dozens of high-performance routers, we’ve come across a number that are well-suited for various gaming situations. Our favorite pick is the Nighthawk XR500 from Netgear, a powerful router built specifically for gamers — but it’s not alone. Take a look at the full list to find the best router for your gaming needs.
More concerned about Wi-Fi speeds? Check out our guide to the best wireless routers.
At a glance
- Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
- TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band Router
- Asus RT-AX88U
- Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
- TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900
The XR500 is made for gaming on a wireless network. In addition to AC2600 speeds, this dual-band router includes a 1.7 GHz processor and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. It prioritizes gaming connections, optimizes connections for low-ping gaming on more twitchy shooters, and helps you connect with a gaming VPN for additional security or regional options. And that’s just the beginning!
The XR500 also allows for more direction customization and connection monitoring. Basically, you can choose even more options like geo-filtering to pick your favorite servers (where the VPN comes in handy again), and app options to monitoring your ping and network status in real time, device by device. This is great if you like to do your own optimization, although not all gamers may get the most out of these in-depth features.
The best MU-MIMO gaming router
The powerful tri-band TP-Link AC5400 router is easily one of the best MU-MIMO routers that we’ve seen. MI-MIMO, for those unfamiliar, is a relatively new router technology that’s going to become compatible with new mobile devices in the next couple years. It enables several direct, constant connections to devices, something that traditional routers are incapable of. This great improves apparent speed and connection dependability, ideal for mobile gamers — especially if there’s more than one in the house.
The router also includes a 1.4GHz processor with 3 coprocessors that work together to provide all necessary services. That includes TP-Link HomeCare antivirus and parental controls, as well as the ability to set up a personal VPN. You also get compatibility with IFTTT and Alexa for even smarter setups, although not everyone will want to set up their router to work with smart home services (it’s mostly good for managing services like adding a guest, turning the router lights off, running speed tests, and so on).
The best gaming router for busy places
The dual-band RT-AX88U offers cutting-edge AX6000 speeds, compatibility with Aimesh for router extension, and support for the upcoming “ax” Wi-Fi standard, and that’s just the beginning. You also get a lifetime of AiProtection via Trend Micro for blocking any noted threats from your network, MU-MIMO technology, and adaptive software that prioritizes game data so your play is as smooth as possible.
Of course, all the latest features mean that this router is more expensive than many on our list. But it’s also an excellent long-term router for busy places and gaming parties–and you be at ease knowing that your router is ready for new technologies for years to come as well.
The top affordable router
This MU-MIMO enabled Zyxel model is designed for “power users” that need top reliability and speed for their Wi-Fi signal for smooth 4K gaming. It offers combined top speeds up to 2,600 Mbps and uses beamforming technology to concentrate your Wi-Fi signals. Plus — and this may be particularly important if you are on a budget — it’s not as expensive as many other high-end routers with plenty of gaming features.
The best dorm model
This Archer model offers a different sort of solution. It’s a more mobile dual-band router, and TP-Link suggests that you use the 5GHz band for clear, lag-free online gaming, while reserving the 2.4GHz band for your other wireless connections. Despite its size, the router still offers beamforming technology and a max throughput of 1,900 Mbps. It’s ideal for setting up wireless networks in dorms and small apartments, but note that there are also larger, sturdier versions of this model if your lifestyle is a little more permanent.