The Best Routers for Gaming 2021 – Guide & Reviews
Finding the best gaming router for your needs isn’t always an easy job. From understanding the different bands and LAN ports to ensuring a sufficient wireless coverage area, things can get quite complicated if you aren’t particularly knowledgeable on the topic.
To help you find the right gaming router for your needs, we have taken on the challenge of going out on the market and doing all of the research for you.
Our selection process was pretty straightforward. First, we conducted some community research to understand the needs and current experiences of gamers using a gaming router. Using our findings, we created criteria, which we then used to pick the products that you will see in this guide and review.
We found that the average gaming router offered solid connection both wired and wirelessly, hosted a dual or tri-band technology, covered an area of around 3500 square feet, and could provide for internet speeds higher than 1 Gbps.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at our findings so that hopefully, by the end of this guide and review, you will have found the best gaming router for your needs.
Upon finalizing our market research, we found that the ASUS ROG Rapture is the best overall gaming router in terms of performance, which is all you really need to care about.
The price at the time of writing was $422.99.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, the ASUS ROG Rapture is one of the nicest-looking routers from our list of recommendations. It is rather bulky in design with 8 antennas in black and bronze evenly spread around the entire router, which all contribute to a total weight of 4.1 lbs.
As for performance, this gaming router is even more magnificent. The integrated cutting-edge hardware, 1.8 GigaHertz, Quad-Core CPU, and 2.5 G gaming port all add up to provide you with an amazing experience.
One of the most notable features of this router, as compared to any of its competitors, is that the ASUS ROG Rapture has a data transfer rate of 11000 Mb per second, which is nearly double as compared to the majority of gaming routers that you will find.
Using this router and its ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system, you can seamlessly connect multiple routers to the same network to provide your entire home with coverage should you need more than one router.
As far as security goes, this router makes use of the ASUS AiProtection security, which is responsible for neutralizing internet attacks before they reach your network.
Best Budget-Friendly Pick
If you aren’t able to shell out on a few hundred dollars for something as simple as a router, then the TP-Link AC1750 is a great and affordable gaming-optimized alternative.
The price at the time of writing was $57.99.
Visually speaking, this gaming router doesn’t really boast anything impressive. It is a simple router in black with a three-antenna design in black.
Thanks to those three antennas, the Wi-Fi coverage of this router spans a maximum of 2,500 square feet. So, if you have a medium to a large house, this router is perfect for you. It is of course better if you have it right next to you.
Thanks to the dual-band technology, this router can provide internet speed of up to 1750Mbps at 2.4Ghz and up to 1300Mbps at 5G, which effectively reduces the buffering time, making this router also ideal for streaming, even in 4K resolution.
On the backside of the router, you will find a 1x USB port, 1x Gigabit WAN Port, and 4x Gigabit LAN ports, which is great should you want to wire multiple devices to the internet.
The USB port itself acts as a media server, meaning you can simply plug in a flash drive with contents and access it via any device connected to the router.
If you are looking to purchase a gaming router for your child, this router features quite impressive parental control features that allow you to set time limits, see insights, and create user profiles.
If you have a console or a gaming PC under 1000 dollars, then this budget-friendly router is a great choice.
Gaming Router Shopping Tips
If you aren’t particularly tech-savvy when it comes to gaming routers, we’ve got you covered. Below, you can find a couple of very important aspects that you need to pay attention to when shopping for your next router.
The More Bands, The Better
Don’t go for single-band routers. Those were good many years ago. Today, with advancements in technology, you should ideally go for either a dual-band or a tri-band gaming router.
A dual-band router essentially means that it supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, whereas a tri-band often means one 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz bands. You also have a “true” tri-band routers, which feature a third 60 GHz band.
If you want stable, reliable, and super fast internet speed, dual and tri-band gaming routers are the way to go.
Be Careful With the Ethernet Ports
If you play using an ethernet cable, you really want to get a router that hosts a number of LAN ports that support internet transfer speed higher than your ISP provider. Otherwise, your LAN ports will bottle-neck the true potential of your wired connection.
Generally speaking, ethernet ports that can support at least 1Gbps of internet speed are considered a very good option.
Playing Wireless? Consider the Wireless Coverage
If you are gaming using an ethernet cable, which is always recommended, you don’t really need to worry about this one that much. However, if you live in a large house and the closest internet port is quite far from your gaming room, you really want to go for a gaming router that has a high wireless coverage area.
Generally speaking, anything over 3000 square feet will do the job, but always pick accordingly depending on your individual circumstances.
How We Picked
There are many decent contenders on the market for gaming routers. As you could imagine, picking a handful of the actual best routers was amongst a pool of great candidates is quite the challenge.
To help our selection process and ensure that our actual picks are really the best on the market, our requirements considered a number of aspects, which you can read more about below. They include the value for money, wireless coverage, number of bands, wi-fi technology, quality of service, and the router management interface of the router.
Value For Money
No matter who you are or what you buy, there is a pretty big chance that you don’t want to feel like you spent too much money and haven’t gotten that much value in return.
To combat this obstacle, we went over each router that we considered and voted whether we believe it is worth its price point. This way, you can shop with utmost confidence and be sure that you really are getting a good deal.
Upon finalizing our research, we concluded that a pretty big number of gamers play wirelessly. Thus, to ensure that we can accommodate for wireless gamers, we picked gaming routers that offered quite a large wireless coverage, some covering as much as 5000 square feet.
Number of Bands
Single-band routers are no longer relevant. Sure, they used to be great years ago, but today, we have dual and even tri-band routers, which are faster, and more powerful than ever.
Thus, to keep with the advancement of technologies surrounding the internet service industry, we’ve only included dual-band and tri-brand routers so that you can get the fastest possible speed.
Quality of Service (QoS)
As a gamer, it is vital for your router to understand how and when to prioritize certain applications or devices over others. This way, you can automatically get the best performance no matter who is using your network.
While most routers already have this feature, we’ve ensured that all of our picks feature some sort of smart or customizable QoS.
Router Management Interface
Just because you are a gamer, that doesn’t automatically mean that you are super tech-savvy and can find your way around everything. Because of that, we believe that everything, including the management settings of your router should be a simple and straightforward process.
Thus, we have ensured to pick gaming routers that have a user-friendly backend or even application that you can use to manage your router.
Why You Can Trust This Review
The main objective of this guide and review is to provide you with the best gaming routers on the market today. Every recommendation, comparison, and review, is completely transparent, unbiased, and heavily researched.
This way, we can be 100% confident with all of our recommendations, which will allow you to shop with utmost confidence.
Besides our main objective, our other goals aim at informing you about each product as well as helping you with picking the right product for your needs.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming is another truly incredible gaming router. It hosts all the features that you need to establish a solid LAN or Wireless connection with any device.
The price at the time of writing was $296.98.
In terms of design, the Nighthawk pro by NETGEAR is nothing short of spectacular. Near the front, the router is slimmer and exponentially increases in size as you reach the backside, where the four antennas are positioned.
As far as performance, the XR1000 is powered by DumaOS 3.0, meaning that it is capable of reducing your ping rates by up to 93% so that you can enjoy a faster and lag-free gaming experience.
If you play on a number of different devices or consoles, you will have no problem with establishing a wireless or a wired connection thanks to the vast device compatibility of this router.
In case you are using the PS5, the XR1000 would be especially beneficial as it brings unbelievable speed, low latency, and butter-smooth streaming by leveraging all benefits of the Wi-Fi 6 technology.
This router also supports WPA2 and WPA3 wireless security protocols, which further strengthen the security of your network. Furthermore, with this router, you will get guest Wi-Fi access, a VPN, and a NETGEAR Armor anti virus system powered by BitDefender.
Other Great Gaming Routers
Didn’t quite find what you were looking for from our recommendations above? Below, you can explore 5 other fantastic gaming routers that we came across and decided to include after closely reviewing them.
If you are looking for a gaming router that offers amazing performance without having to spend multiple hundred dollars, then the TP-Link AC4000 is a great choice.
The price at the time of writing was $139.99.
We fell in love with the TP-Link AC4000. From the moment we saw it, we just knew that it was awesome, not just in aesthetics.
This Tri-band wireless internet router is perfect for 4K streaming and gaming thanks to the two 1625 Mbps 5 GHz bands and single 750 Mbps 2.4 GHz band.
To further enhance your gaming experience, this router makes use of the MU-MIMO technology that eliminates any kind of lag spikes, buffering, or annoying stutters. On top of that, for a better and stronger connection, you can make use of the Gigabit WAN port or any of the 4 Gigabit LAN ports.
If you play wirelessly, then you’d be pleased to hear that this router makes use of a range boosting technology, which provides a strong connection coverage of around 3,800 square feet (this would heavily depend on your environment).
Should you decide to make use of this pretty awesome gaming router, you can also enjoy advanced network security. You will receive a lifetime membership to the TP-Link HomeCare, which features an antivirus system, robust parental control, and QoS (Quality of Service).
The Linksys AX6000 is one of our top picks, What caught our attention with this router is its impeccable design and incredible specifications.
The price at the time of writing was $299.99.
Visually, the AX6000 is very sleek in design and modern in design. One core feature that caught our attention in particular was the intelligent mesh technology that you can see on the surface of the router.
Besides looking very cool, there is much more to it. Thanks to this mesh, your wireless speeds will be maximized as there will be significantly fewer dead zones. This mesh is also future-ready, meaning that you can easily expand your network – just add another Linksys Mesh product and seamlessly expand the coverage throughout your home.
This particular router can cover an area of up to 3000 square feet and handle a total of up to forty devices at any given moment, up from 25 devices, which the previous model, the Linksys AC3000 could handle.
One of the most notable features of this gaming router is the Wi-Fi 6 technology, which can speed up the connection up to 6.0 Gbps, making it great for 4K/8K streams, video calls, gaming, and much more.
If you aren’t tech-savvy, you’d be pleased to hear that this router is very easy to set up. You can simply use the Linksys app, and be connected to the internet in no time.
The TP-Link AC5400 is another top-of-the-line gaming router that we would highly recommend if you want to stream or game in 4K resolution without any interruptions, lag, or delays.
The price at the time of writing was $249.99.
Straight out of the box, the AC5400 looks quite extravagant in design. The router itself is surrounded by 8 antennas while the middle of the router is armed with a mesh-like grid.
As far as performance goes, this gaming router features a cutting-edge 1.8 GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU, three co-processors, and 1 GB RAM.
This Tri-band Wi-Fi router also features two 5 GHz bands (up to 2167 Mbps), and one 2.4 GHz band (up to 1000 Mbps).
This gaming router is also the perfect choice for LAN parties as it can accommodate up to 8 LAN connections via any of the eight Gigabit Ethernet ports.
In case you play wirelessly, the RangeBoost technology will strengthen the reception of connection to deliver a strong level of connection at further distances.
If you like this router and want to make it part of your gaming setup, then you’d be please to hear that you will also receive a lifetime subscription to the HomeCare security plan by TP-Link.
Within the plan, you will find a comprehensive antivirus system, advanced parental control settings, and quality of services (QoS).
If you are a streamer, the NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is an awesome choice. It supports over 2.6 Gbps wirelessly, making it a great choice, even if you stream in 4K.
The price at the time of writing was $219.99.
Visually, the XR500 by NETGEAR is one of my favorites. It is simple, sleek, and can easily be made part of any gaming setup, should you decide to have the router on your gaming desk or somewhere visible.
As for performance, with this router, you can minimize your ping and maximize your performance by simply making use of one of the 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Overall, this dual-band router can deliver internet speeds of up to 2.6 Gbps.
Thanks to the geo filtering technology, you can make every millisecond count by establishing a strong connection with the closest servers and players, regardless of the game that you are playing.
One of the coolest features of this router is the fact that you can monitor your entire network and see who is stealing all of the data causing you to lag. So, if you have to share the internet with multiple people, you can definitely take advantage of that perk.
The XR500 is directly optimized to provide the best performance and lowest ping possible for games like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Overwatch, PubG, CS: GO, and more.
As far as security goes, you can protect your networks’ identity by connecting to a secure gaming VPN server, and remain fully anonymous.
And last but not least, we have the ASUS AC3100, a dual-band gaming router that is great for both LAN and wireless connectivity.
The price at the time of writing was $138.41.
Visually speaking, this gaming router by ASUS is nothing short of impressive. On the backside of the sleek router box (in black), you will find the 4 transmit, 4 receive (4T4R) antenna in black and red.
As far as performance is concerned, this very same antenna design can provide wireless connection as far as 5000 square feet. So, if you live in a fairly large house or have your gaming station somewhere outside and want to play wirelessly, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
This is only possible thanks to the dual-band engineering, which can output both 2.4GHz, as well as 5G wireless connection.
Of course, a LAN connection is significantly better as the connection will travel directly from the router to your PC. This particular gaming router features 8x Gigabit LAN ports, so, if you want to connect multiple devices for an ultra-fast connection to the internet, you can do that.
One of the most notable features of this gaming router is its 1024 Qam technology, which makes the router 80 percent faster at 5G at up to 2100 Mbps, and 66 percent faster at 2.4G at up to 1000 Mbps.
Furthermore, as security is not more important than ever, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands. This router is hosts the most comprehensive level of ASUS protection powered by Trend Micro – a fantastic cybersecurity software.
Gaming Routers vs. Standard Home Routers
These days, most homes already depend on a router for their wireless networking names. A standard router may be the most affordable option. However, it is restricted to providing uncapped bandwidth to every user on the network. This potentially causes drop-offs and other critical issues with games if there are high bandwidth demands from non-gaming devices.
A quality, high-end gaming router will provide all of the standard services of a plain vanilla router while offering up a bevy of extra features to ensure an unmatched gaming experience. Most gaming routers allow for bandwidth allocation to be customized.
This gives games priority over competing uses like streaming video and downloading large files. If you are buying a new router for gaming, this is important.
Gaming routers often have more ethernet ports to allow for multiple computers to enjoy a cabled connection. This is great for multiplayer home gaming parties.
Some gaming routers also have USB ports ideal for peripherals like printers, scanners, and flash drives. This allows those items to connect without harming the wireless bandwidth being delivered to the gaming computer(s).
Many gaming routers include built-in VPN software to reduce the load on gaming PCs and allow for the creation of high security local virtual private networks (VPNs). These are sometimes referred to as Gamers Private Networks (GPNs).
As an added benefit for gamers making split-second decisions while playing, many game routers offer two or even three-band frequency coverage along with dynamic switching. As a rule of thumb, the higher the frequency, the faster the response between the router and the computer, the shorter the distance a signal can be transmitted.
So today’s advanced game routers use algorithms to switch between frequencies based on load, signal strength, and speed. This ensures a smooth, interruption-free gameplay experience.
Picking the Best Gaming Router for Your Needs
If you’ve come this far in our guide and review, there is a pretty big chance that you haven’t yet decided on a router that you want to make part of your gaming setup.
So, to help you with picking the best device for your needs, below, you will find three highly-relevant scenarios alongside the best recommendations for each.
Scenario 1: You are looking to take streaming seriously and have some serious plans to start broadcasting your gaming sessions regularly in 4K resolution. You’d like both you and your audience to enjoy the exact same, lag-free high-quality gaming experience.
For this scenario, we would recommend you our top pick for streamers, the NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500.
Scenario 2: Money is no objection to you and you really are after the best gaming router that the market can offer. You want to play video games absolutely uninterrupted, and quite literally forget about worrying about your internet connection for years into the future.
For this scenario, we would recommend you our best performance pick, the ASUS ROG Rapture.
Scenario 3: You are looking for a gaming router, but don’t really want to shell out on a couple of hundred dollars. Thus, you are after something more affordable that is still decent enough to do the job.
In this case, we would recommend you our budget-friendly pick, the TP-Link AC1750.
Making use of a gaming router is a no-brainer. While you may not necessarily need one, you will find that once you get a gaming router, problematic connections will become a super rare occasion.
There are various reasons we didn’t include any of the above, despite them being great routers. Some of the reasons include the lack of Wi-Fi speed capacity, value for money, the strength of wireless connection, and area cover range.