There are a lot of popular games that require internet connection nowadays. Back then, you only play competitive multiplayer matches via LAN events but now, the stage is bigger because anyone with the same game and an internet connection can compete. With the proliferation of online games, your internet connection is now an integral part of your gaming arsenal. The only two ways for you to have a stable internet connection when playing games is via a reliable ISP and an equally reliable router. Now, a lot of companies have created these so-called “Gaming routers” that can help players ease their pain.
Now, a lot of companies have created these so-called “Gaming routers” that can help players ease their pain. You see, one of the most prevalent issues when playing online games is the unstable internet connection. Some symptoms of this include lag, delay, slow loading times, just to name a few. So, how exactly do you remedy this? Well, the gaming routers can help you with that.
Gaming routers are specifically made for games and that is thanks to their better QoS or “Quality of Service” functionality. In a nutshell, QoS, in the context of gaming routers, prioritizes gaming packets over anything else. So for instance, your little brother watches Youtube videos and your parent’s stream content via Netflix while you’re playing your games. Your gaming packets will be the top priority, meaning, even if they stream while you play at the same time, you are assured that lag will be non-existent, or at least, kept at the very minimum.
In this article, I will talk about some of the best routers for gaming you can buy. These routers not only have amazing features, but they also have the aesthetics to match their greatness.
|Image||Name||Band Technology||Processor Speed|
|ASUS RT-AC5300||Tri-Band||1.4 GHz Dual-Core|
|D-Link-ac3200||Tri-Band||1.0 GHz Dual-Core|
|TP-Link AC1900 (Archer 9)||Dual-Band||1.0 GHz Dual-Core|
|Netgear Nighthawk-X4S||Dual-band||1.7 GHz Dual-Core|
|Netgear Nighthawk-X4S||Dual-Band||1.4 GHz Dual-Core|
|Netgear Nighthawk-X4S||Tri-Band||1.4 GHz Dual-Core|
|Netgear Nighthawk-X4S||Dual-Band||1.4 GHz Dual-Core|
Disclaimer: Clicking the specific device names, any images, or images with check price tag on, will redirect you to the appropriate Amazon.com (.co.uk, .de, etc.), where you can check more details about the specific products.
But before I deep into the specifics some of the best gaming routers on the market, here are some terminologies you need to be aware of first.
Gaming Router Terminologies
IP Address– Think of this as the address of your computer on the network.
ISP– Internet Service Provider
NAT– Network Address Translation, multiple devices=one IP addresses.
DNS– Domain Name System, the numerical address of the web page you’re trying to access on the internet.
Ethernet– Wired technology
Firewall– Hardware or Software, it blocks unwanted internet packets.
QoS– Quality of Service, in the context of gaming routers, prioritizes gaming packets over anything else.
Packet– Also known as “Data Packets”, is a unit of data that is bundled in a singular package that travels through a network.
Frequency Bands– Refers to the frequencies to which your computer or other devices connect to. There are two frequency bands commonly used today: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The most common are the 2.4GHz which has a wider range but slower speeds while the 5GHz provides faster speeds although its range is much shorter.
Main Differences Between a “Gaming” and Ordinary Router
Now, you’re probably using a router to access the internet and you might think that you do not need one of those “gaming” routers in order to enjoy your games. While that is true in most cases, getting a true gaming router will help you get rid of those unwanted lags, delays, and disconnections.
In this section, I will talk about the main differences between a “gaming” router and your average router.
Gaming Routers have better QoS – As previously mentioned, gaming routers make your gaming packets its top priority. Gaming routers will ensure that you will experience minimal lag while other people who are connected to your network do other stuff like streaming, video calling, etc.
Better Aesthetics – Gaming routers are always going to be more expensive than your regular routers. But, the good thing is that almost all of the gaming routers have an amazing design which makes it worth it not only from a performance standpoint but also the aesthetics as well.
USB Ports – Gaming routers have a slew of USB ports wherein you can plug in either your storage devices or printers. Once connected, these USB devices can be utilized by the people who use your network.
Extra Features – Gaming routers will come with additional features and even a companion software. For example, you can set a plethora of options and you can also control the router via a companion app so you can set everything remotely via a smartphone. Although some ordinary routers now have that, gaming routers take it a notch higher by adding more features.
Best Gaming Routers
As you’re probably already aware, Asus is a well-known brand that delivers high-quality gaming components and peripherals. The Asus RT-AC5300 is one of the best gaming routers out there. It not only has the performance that warrants the asking price but it also has the aesthetics as well. When you first look at the router, you can instantly see that it is going to be a big one because it comes with a very large box.
Inside the box, you will see the actual router. It has a sort of squarish design with some abstract aesthetic appeal at the center. This gaming router comes with an impressive set of 8 antennas. That is to ensure that the router can emit signals even in long distances. Do note that it can be cumbersome to install all eight, but once you’ve already put them up, you can just forget about it because it will do its job automatically.
There are four gigabit Ethernet ports, one WAN port, and only one USB 3.0 port on this router. A lot of people are actually complaining about the lone USB 3.0 port since this router is one of the most expensive on the market. But, even though this is the case, the router pretty much makes up for it with its features. What are the RT-AC3500’s best features? Well, one of its highlight features is the 1024-QAM or the “NitroQAM” as the company calls it. This is essentially just an upgrade over the 256-QAM standard and it increases the data rates by up to 25%. This means faster speed and reliability when opening applications that require access to the internet.
The RT-AC3500 also has a 4×4 MU-MIMO technology built-in as well. For those of you who are not familiar, MU-MIMO actually stands for “Multi-user, Multiple-Input, and Multiple-Output”. This technology just ensures that no single device can bottleneck your entire internet connection. So, if two concurrent users are downloading files, the other people who do other things will not be hampered. This gaming router is a tri-band router in that it has two 5 GHz frequency bands and one 2.4GHz frequency bands. What’s interesting is that it automatically chooses the right frequency band for you. By default, it will connect you to the fastest one.
As for the setup process, it is a bit straightforward but it does require some time to fully make use of the router’s capabilities. You are first prompted what the router is going to do: are you going to use it as a router, an access point, or just a bridge? On the left side panel, you’re going to see a plethora of options you can tweak. You can enable/disable the firewall, configure the parental controls, enable the Adaptive QoS, and much more. Despite the lengthy setup process, the Asus RT-AC3500 has a lot of features that you can enable/disable to your liking.
So, what about its gaming performance? Well, according to a lot of people and some tests from prominent reviewers, the dual 5GHz frequency band offers impressive speeds, thus resulting to minimal to no lag at all. Furthermore, its 2.4GHz frequency is also one of the fastest, though, not as fast as other gaming routers on the market.
Although this product is a bit pricey, the Asus RT-AC3500 is one of the best, if not the best, high-end gaming router on the market.
D-Link is another brand you can trust when it comes to routers. In fact, people are choosing this brand over any other brand (well, aside from Linksys) when it comes to quality routers.
The D-Link AC3200 is another high-end gaming router and it has a lot of amazing capabilities. Much like the Asus gaming router above, the AC3200 also comes with a pretty impressive design. It sports a predominantly glossy red design and when you look at it from afar, you would be thinking that this is an alien spaceship. It also comes with six high-frequency antennas to further improve the signal reception wherever you put this router in. There are plenty of features for this product. For one, it’s got a bevy of LED lights to display different activity parameters of the router. There is a LED for the USB, the internet, and the different frequency bands.
If you are looking to share printers and or USB sticks or HDD storage devices, you will be pleased to know that the AC3200 comes with two USB ports: (1) USB 2.0 and (1) USB 3.0. For better processing of commands, the router also comes with a dual-core processor that is clocked at 1GHz and it supports the 802.11 as/n/g/b wireless standards. Since this is a gaming router, it not only has an efficient QoS technology but it also comes with two technologies that can further improve your online gaming experience.
One of these technologies is called the “SmartConnect” which puts all wireless devices into a connection of their own, optimizing their internet experience. The second technology is what is known as the “Beamforming” technology that basically concentrates the WiFi signals to a location where you need the strongest signal reception. If you’re playing in your room, for example, and the router is situated in the middle portion of your house, the technology can be used to intensify the wireless signals directly to your room, directly eliminating lag through a wireless connection.
The D-Link AC3200 is a tri-band router and it has two 5GHz frequency bands as well as one 2.4GHz band. It has four gigabit Ethernet ports at the back and they pretty much offer you a stable connection, albeit with a cable that can be cumbersome for many to use. For the performance, the AC3200’s 5GHz bands are actually one of the top performing ones when pitted against other high-end gaming routers. In certain tests, the speeds the router was able to reach was a maximum of 3157 Mbps for the 5GHz frequency band and 1100-1250 Mbps on the 2.4GHz which is pretty darn impressive.
Setting up the AC3200 is much easier compared to the Asus gaming router above. When you first enter its GUI, it is going to detect your current internet connection and all you have to do is just click on a few corresponding icons, and you’re good to go!
If you want a finer control, you can pretty much do so with the router’s extensive array of options you can tweak. From setting up the SSID and password to configuring the router’s usage (access point, bridge, or regular router mode), you can do so when going to the router’s GUI. Do note that although this router has one of the best speeds out there, its performance will deteriorate the farther you are from the actual router (well, if you’re using the wireless functionality, that is).
The D-Link AC3200 is hands down, one of the best gaming routers on the market out there. If you want a gaming router with a high throughput speed and a brand that is well-known in the industry, then definitely grab one of these.
TP-Link Archer C9
If you do not have a lot of money to spend on a gaming router, then this next option will be a great one for you.
The TP-Link Archer C9 is a major upgrade from the previous frontrunner, the Archer C7. Now, unlike the previously mentioned gaming routers, the Archer C9 doesn’t have a “game” design. Instead, the company opted for a more modest aesthetic. The router sports an all-white color scheme with a glossy finish. The product also comes with a stand because it is meant to be oriented vertically. If you want to mount this router, you’re going to be out of luck I am afraid. The router comes with three “aerials” or high-frequency antennas that do an amazing job of delivering WiFi signals. They can look ugly, though, but you can remove them if you do not want them.
The TP-Link Archer C9 comes with two USB ports: one located at the back (USB 2.0) and one located on the side (USB 3.0). The former is best used for plugging in your printer and the latter is best used for sharing files from a USB stick or an external HDD. This router is a dual-band router in that it has a maximum theoretical throughput of 1,300 Mb/s on the 5GHz band and around 600 Mb/s for the 2.4GHz band. To ensure that you will have a stable connection over WiFi, you can use the router’s beamforming technology to amplify the WiFi connection at a specific location. Also, the router is able to support the previous WiFi technologies and it also supports the new 802.11 as standard.
When you enter the product’s GUI, you will be greeted with a nice interface and it will default to the “Basic” mode where you can just click on the different parameters of the router. Of course, you can do some advanced tweaking by just clicking on the appropriate menus on the left side of the router. Do note that even though the performance isn’t really up to par with the midrange and high-end gaming routers, the TP-Link Archer C9 is still a good choice because of its price. It’s got QoS, a nice and easy to use interface, and a simple yet elegant aesthetic as well.
Netgear Nighthawk X4S
Netgear is another top contender in the router niche. If you want a solid midrange gaming router, then the Netgear Nighthawk X4S is worth looking into.
The Netgear Nighthawk X4S is a dual-band gigabit gaming router with impressive features that can truly make your gaming experience smooth and lag-free. Thanks to the company’s own “Dynamic QoS” functionality, it can allocate internet speed to the applications that require it the most, in this case, the games you play. The design of the Nighthawk X4S was designed by an aircraft. It has an all-black finish with some white LEDs (kind of has that bluish tint).
This router comes with 4 gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports for your storage devices or printers, and it even comes with an eSata plug wherein you can plug another device like a laptop, for example. If you want to increase the range of this router, you can use its four included antennas. Do remember that this router is not compact and it can take up a lot of space on your desk. Aside from the aforementioned specs, the Nighthawk X4S also supports MU-MIMO and it also has a beefy 1.7GHz dual-core processor coupled with a hefty 512MB of RAM. This means that the router can handle a lot of information at a much quicker rate than your average router.
I’ve talked about MU-MIMO earlier in the article but it is worth noting again. When you connect your devices to this router, the wireless signals will be concentrated on the connected devices only. This means you have a far better signal performance than having the signal broadcasted at a much broader space. This is perfect for gamers because they can be assured that they have the right speeds to play their favorite online games without any delay or hassle.
One of the reasons why Netgear routers have been praised for quite some time now is because of its ease of using GUI. When first firing up the router, you will be greeted with its user-friendly interface. Setup is pretty straightforward and even a non-tech-savvy person can do this; it’s that easy! From here, you can set up your media devices (if you have a USB stick or external HDD plugged into the router), setup the SSID, determine the WiFi connection, and a slew of other parameters.
Another great thing about this router is that it comes with a handy companion app that allows you to tweak the settings of the router right from your smartphone. The app is supported by both Android and iOS platforms.
For its performance, the Nighthawk X4S was able to attain a maximum of 491Mb/s on the 5GHz frequency and around 105Mb/s using the 2.4GHz. These are pretty respectable numbers because it even rivals some of the higher-end gaming routers. For the price of only $250, the Netgear Nighthawk X4S has some of the features that can be found on high-end gaming routers at a midrange price point.
Linksys used to be the flag bearer when it comes to routers but they have since relinquished the throne. If you want another budget gaming router, then you may want to look at the Linksys EA7500. This is a minimalist router when it comes to the design but wait until you get to its features.
This is an 802.11ac, dual-band router that has a powerful dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz. This router can also act as a bridge or an access point if you so desire. This product actually comes with the features that will make you love this gaming router even more. It comes with MU-MIMO functionality, Smart WiFi, and an impressive QoS feature. For those of you who do not know, the Smart WiFi feature allows you to control and tweak the router from a mobile phone. All you have to have is a compatible smartphone, the app, and your router login credentials and you can simply change the settings of it wherever you are. The router’s MU-MIMO functionality can be set using its “Media Prioritization” tab. From here, you can prioritize different devices. Make sure to give your gaming laptop or PC the highest priority so that you won’t experience any lag when you’re playing with your games.
For its other features, this router comes with 3 antennas at the back, one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, and 4 gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. Its performance is also quite good for the price. At a considerable range, the router was able to hit the 63MB/s mark using the 5GHz frequency band and a respectable 13.1 MB/s throughput using the 2.4GHz band. Honestly, the performance is pretty good considering this is one of those budget gaming routers.
Even though its design is simple, the Linksys EA7500 makes up for it with its features.
D-Link DIR-895L/R (AC5300)
There is no shortage of great D-Link routers on the market. From the budget to the high-end ones, they are always worth the money.
Earlier, I talked about one of the best midrange gaming routers in the form of the D-Link AC3200 but consider the next one as its older, more powerful brother. The D-Link AC5300 (official product name is DIR-895L/R) sports nearly the same design as its younger sibling but with more antennas and more powerful features and speed.
The AC5300 is a tri-band gaming router which supports the 802.11ac standard. It has a maximum theoretical throughput of 5334 Mbps when all of the bands are combined. Of course, companies will round the number off to make it even simpler. One of its best features is the Traffic Prioritization module. This is just their “proprietary” QoS technology that is intelligent in that it knows what to prioritize. It instantly gives online games the highest priority, given that this router is intended for gaming.
Since this is a tri-band router, it comes with the MU-MIMO functionality and the Band Steering technology. The latter assigns your devices (gaming laptop or gaming PC) to a less crowded 5GHz frequency band to ensure that you will get the most out of your connection at any time. This router has the usual 4 gigabit LAN ports, two USB ports (2.0 and 3.0), a WPS button, and the reset button. Its gaming performance is off the charts. This D-Link DIR-895L/R is able to deliver speeds of up to 180Mbps when you use the 5GHz frequency band. Do note that the wireless performance of this router is impeccable and if you feel that you’re somehow limited in terms of speed, you must check your hardware first.
Since this is a high-end router, the D-Link AC5300 also comes with the beamforming technology and it also has the Airtime Fairness feature as well. The latter feature will make sure that the network doesn’t suffer if a slower device is connected to the same network. Lastly, this gaming router has support for the DD-WRT custom firmware which adds another layer of functionality and has a much more robust security feature.
Overall, the software, the performance, and the design are superior and that is why I included the D-Link DIR-895L/R gaming router in this list.
Last but definitely not the least is the Asus RT-AC88U. Now, when you’re buying a router, you will usually make use of its wireless capabilities. But, according to a lot of people, they still want to use the Ethernet cable for unparalleled speed and performance.
The Asus RT-AC88U comes with not 4, not 5, but a whopping 8 Gigabit LAN ports that you can use to plug your gaming computer in. This is great because you can use this as a router for a mini LAN event or something. This router also has that gamer look in that it has a predominantly matte black finish with four removable antennas with red accents. Aside from the vast array of gigabit Ethernet ports, the AC88U also comes with two USB ports (2.0 and 3.0), MU-MIMO technology, a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, and a 512MB RAM.
Now, what’s interesting about the Asus’ implementation of the QoS is it prioritizes not only the devices you want but it also prioritizes the individual program as well. Suppose, you’re playing CS:GO and you want to prioritize your gaming packets, you can input the game in the advanced QoS of the router and it will instantly manage the connection to make the game its top priority. The GUI of the AC88U is simple yet it gives you granular control if you want. On the basic GUI, you will be given a network map showing you all of the devices connected to the network.
Now, the router also has some advanced security features thanks to the Asus “AIprotection”. The company worked in tandem with Trend Micro to further improve the security of the router. You can use this feature to scan and monitor your online activity and it will alert you if there are malicious threats that can harm your computer.
In terms of speed, the Asus RT-AC88U is one of the fastest in the midrange category. It has a 537 Mbps throughput using the 5GHz frequency and just under 98 Mbps on the 2.4GHz frequency band. Do note that this router is only a dual-band router so its performance can be affected if there are a lot of devices vying for its speed and connection. Other than that, the Asus RT-AC88U is one of the best midrange gaming routers on the market.
What to look for in a gaming router?
In order to get the best gaming routers for you, you need to be aware of a few things. Here are the things that you need to look for in a gaming router:
QoS- The router’s QoS functionality is probably the biggest feature when it comes to gaming. The quality of Service is not actually a service, per se, but it is a feature that prioritizes internet packets to applications that need it the most. By default, most gaming routers prioritize gaming applications and VoIP. Make sure to look at its QoS feature and if it is enough for your use.
Dual or Triple band. As mentioned all throughout the article, dual or triple band routers are highly preferred, especially if you want to improve your gaming latency. You see, it is not only you who is going to be connected to the network; so is your family and friends. Having at least a dual band router will ensure that you can connect to the channel that has the best possible speed for you automatically.
The interface and flexibility of the router’s software are also very important. You want to have control of your router. Check some reviews to see if the router’s GUI is user-friendly or gives you advanced controls.
Gamer-centric Features. There are some gaming routers that have gamer-centric features. For example, some Asus gaming routers are equipped with the WTFast module, a popular pipeline that reduces your in-game latency. Although this is not really that important, it is still a nice thing to have.
How much are you willing to spend on a gaming router? Once you’ve established your budget, you can then easily get the best gaming router for you.
So, are gaming routers worth it? I’d say, absolutely! Gaming routers are called as such because they have a much better QoS functionality. QoS or “Quality of Service” ensures that your most important applications get the most speed and connection to reduce the latency. In this case, the QoS will prioritize your games than other applications.
Most gaming routers also sport that gamer aesthetic. Even though they are a bit pricey, at least you’re getting a quality product that will ensure low latency across the board. All of the gaming routers in the article are worth your money. Yes, they are priced much higher than your regular router, but trust me that they are the most bang for the buck.