All this wireless speed is great news for people who might have wanted to game online in the past but gave up due to a flaky connection. We’ve tested and picked out all the top models currently available. We also took a look at their gaming features (if they have any, as not all of them do), and arrived at a conclusion both objectively and subjectively. Based on our testing and expertise, there were several excellent options, but only one had a clear claim to the title of the best gaming router. Read on to find out which gaming routers made our best-of list.
Netgear Nighthawk X6S
As far as features go it offers DLNA support, port aggregation if you want to deploy it in a SOHO setup, and if you’ve got any MU-MIMO devices/adapters it supports that too. It’s designed for a big house with a lot of devices, however, so this is only for folks who can saturate a dual-band connection.
TP-Link AC4000 Smart Wi-Fi Router
The TP-Link AC4000 Smart Wi-Fi Router isn’t specifically designed for gaming, but it has plenty of specs and features that make it the fastest tri-band gaming router. According to TP Link, users can achieve wireless speeds up to 4.0Gbps if you have a fast enough connection going.
What’s more, the TP-Link AC4000 also packs plenty of smarts with a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and 1024-QAM to manage all the high-speed data flowing through your internet setup. You’ll find plenty of other little helpful features on this router including a built-in range booster, MU-MIMO support, it’ll even work with Alexa.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
Wi-Fi 6-ready devices aren’t quite here yet, but it never hurts to be prepared. While the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 was built for the next-gen wireless protocol, it’s fully equipped to tackle anything and everything online gaming can throw at it today.
It offers maximum data transfer speeds of 11Gbps over a tri-band frequency. For gaming specifically, users can dedicate one band to gaming to avoid interference from other connected devices in their home.
Linksys WRT AC3200
The Linksys WRT3200ACM is a dual-band gaming router that really wants you to use an open-source firmware on it, hence the WRT in its name. Of course, you can run open-source firmware on a lot of gaming routers these days, so the WRT 3200ACM isn’t that unique, but it’s still a cool feature for power users.
It was almost our top pick but lost out by a razor-thin margin to the Netgear gaming router because it wasn’t quite as fast in our tests, and also because to achieve its rated speed of AC3200 you’ll need special hardware. It’s still a very strong package though with fast 5G performance and superb software on both desktop and mobile.
What to Look for in a Gaming Router
While you’re shopping for a gaming router, you should be on the look out for which version of Wi-Fi it supports. The main two you’ll want to look our for are Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) as they deliver the fastest wireless speeds currently available. During your search for a gaming router, you’ll undoubtedly come across units designed for Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) that look very attractive thanks to their low prices, but you should avoid this siren’s call. Wi-Fi 4 is an outdated standard that provides fairly slow speeds compared its two more modern renditions.
You’ll also want to find a gaming router that is at least dual-band. Single-band routers only support the 2.4GHz band, which is fine enough for web browsing and downloading most files, but dual-band routers add a second 5.0GHz channel that provides much faster wireless speeds. You’ll also find Tri-Band routers—and we’ve featured a number of them above as well—that feature an additional 5GHz band you can completely dedicate to gaming.