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What Is the Best Gaming Router in 2021?

Believe it or not, but your router can greatly influence your position on the leaderboards when playing online video games.
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The best gaming routers provide optimal coverage throughout your home and enough bandwidth to ensure single-digit latency even with multiple people connected to the internet at the same time.


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Top 8 Best Gaming Routers

To help you select the best gaming router for your house or apartment, we’ve rounded up multiple popular routers to see which of them offer the best performance and value.

Regardless of which router you choose, don’t forget that it will be able to deliver the advertised speeds only if you place it in an optimal location and choose the right Wi-Fi settings.

  1. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
  2. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
  3. Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 Router
  4. Linksys WRT32X WiFi Gaming Router
  5. TP-Link Archer C5400X AC5400 MU-MIMO Tri-Band WiFi Gaming Router
  6. D-LINK DIR-879 EXO
  7. AmpliFi HD Gamer’s Edition
  8. NETGEAR WiFi 6 Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000


choice #1
  • Not Enough Ratings

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the world’s first 10 Gigabit WiFi router, but that’s just one of many selling-points that make it the best gaming router out there. Thanks to its support for the latest-generation WiFi standard, 802.11ax (WiFi 6), this router can deliver ultrafast speeds of up to 11,000 Mbps to handle even the most bandwidth-intensive tasks with ease.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Inside its black casing hides a 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU clocked at 2.5 GHz. The powerful processor enables advanced gaming optimization features and delivers rock-solid stability and state-of-the-art security. The router can be controlled using the ROG-themed Gaming Center, which exposes all important information at a glance and makes it easy to change any setting thanks to its point-and-click nature.

As you probably expect, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is far from affordable. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive routers for gaming currently available, but you really do get your money’s worth when you purchase it.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent performance
  • Mouse-friendly user interface
  • Quad-core CPU
  • Game acceleration features
  • Advanced security features
  • WiFi 6 support
  • Very expensive
  • Polarizing design

choice #2
  • Not Enough Ratings

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 has a lot in common with the best gaming router currently available, the above-described Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. The router not only looks the same but is controlled using a similar interface, the ROG-themed Gaming Center, which provides easy point-and-click control over all features. The router even supports the same triple-level game acceleration technology, so you can rest assured, knowing lag won’t ruin your best gaming moments.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is equipped with a state-of-the-art intrusion prevention system called AiProtection Pro, which protects your gaming network from external attacks and threats. Best of all, this powerful security feature has you covered for life—no need to pay a monthly subscription fee. You can also take advantage of a feature called VPN Fusion and use it to run a VPN and an ordinary internet connection at the same time.

Pros and Cons

  • Fantastic performance
  • Easy point-and-click control
  • AiProtection Pro
  • VPN Fusion
  • 8 gigabit LAN ports
  • Expensive
  • Large footprint

choice #3
  • Not Enough Ratings

The Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 Router is a mid-range gaming router that’s ideal for gamers living in apartments and small houses. Because the router supports WiFi 6, it can deliver true 2 Gbps wired and wireless speeds (aggregated 2 Gbps WAN connections + wired 2.5 Gbps port) and minimize latency during online gaming. Just like all other WiFi 6 routers, the Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 is fully backward compatible with older devices that don’t support the cutting-edge standard.

Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 Router

In total, the router is equipped with four LAN ports, and one of them is intended specifically for gaming. When connected to the internet via this port, the router automatically prioritizes all traffic coming to and from the connected device (such as a PC or console) to prevent other connected devices from slowing it down. You can also prioritize traffic from the RT-AX86U’s online control panel to take care of wireless-only devices, such as your smartphone.

Pros and Cons

  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Straightforward setup
  • Great parental controls
  • Reliable performance
  • Three adjustable external antennas
  • Can’t be installed horizontally

choice #4

Linksys isn’t the first company that comes to mind when it comes to gaming, but that didn’t stop it from producing one of the best wireless routers for gaming, the Linksys WRT32X. What makes this router stand out is the Killer Networks Prioritization engine, the first router purpose-built to prioritize gaming.

When connected to a compatible gaming PC, the router is able to automatically identify, prioritize, and accelerate your gaming traffic above all other devices, reducing peak ping times by up to 77% to deliver smooth, lag-free gaming.

Linksys WRT32X WiFi Gaming Router

The Linksys WRT32X is equipped with four gaming antennas that help it cover even large areas with a strong signal, and it features a custom-built user interface. Unfortunately, the user interface is one of the router’s weaker parts because it leaves something to be desired when it comes to usability and intuitiveness.

Pros and Cons

  • Killer Networks Prioritization engine
  • Easy configuration
  • Reliably delivers low in-game ping
  • Underwhelming 5 GHz output
  • Not the most user-friendly interface

While we don’t think the TP-Link Archer C5400X is a particularly good-looking router, that doesn’t prevent it from delivering exceptional value. Its secret? Tri-band Wi-Fi with speeds up to 5,400 Mbps over one 2.4 GHz (1,000 Mbps) and two 5 GHz (2,167 Mbps) bands.

But that’s not everything. The router also supports MU-MIMO and Airtime Fairness technologies to efficiently transmit data packets to multiple devices at the same time, and its RangeBoost feature strengthens reception quality to reinforce connections in your home.

TP-Link Archer C5400X AC5400 MU-MIMO Tri-Band WiFi Gaming Router

The TP-Link Archer C5400X is equipped with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, so there’s no shortage of connectivity options when it comes to connecting PCS, smart TVs, and other stationary devices to the internet. Just keep in mind that the router itself is rather large and bulking, which means that finding a suitable place for it might be an issue.

Pros and Cons

  • Great performance
  • Support for Alexa voice commands
  • Integrated malware protection
  • Tri-band support
  • Large and bulky
  • Not many gaming-oriented features

choice #6
  • Not Enough Ratings

The D-LINK DIR-879 EXO is certainly one of the most interesting-looking gaming routers out there. Its angular black and orange casing hides a fast dual-core CPU and an advanced Wi-Fi chip that intelligently locates the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for optimal performance.

As far as connectivity goes, the router is equipped with four fast gigabit Ethernet ports, but it completely lacks USB ports. The lack of USB ports is the router’s biggest downside, one that can understandably convince many potential buyers to choose a different model.

D-LINK DIR-879 EXO

Another downside that you should know about is the underwhelming user interface, which, while visually appealing, lacks certain customization options that we expect a router of this caliber to have. That said, all essential features, such as parental controls, quality of service, and internet activity monitoring, can be accessed with ease and configured with a few simple clicks.

Pros and Cons

  • Fantastic performance
  • Interesting design
  • High throughput
  • No USB connectivity
  • Underwhelming user interface

choice #7
  • Not Enough Ratings

Manufactured by Ubiquiti and endorsed by Nvidia, the AmpliFi HD Gamer’s Edition is the best gaming mesh WiFi system because it combines excellent ease of use with powerful performance and a wealth of extra features. The router is equipped with the GeForce NOW QoS mode, which Ubiquiti developed in cooperation with Nvidia to quickly adjust networks for optimal game streaming performance.

AmpliFi HD Gamer’s Edition

Unlike most routers, the AmpliFi HD Gamer’s Edition is meant to be seen. The main unit features a touchscreen display that shows your current internet upload and download speed. You can double-tap it to bring up the router and WAN IP addresses, triple-tap it to display the current throughput speeds, and tap it four times to view the status of connected devices. Sure, it’s easy to say that the display is just a gimmick, but even.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent coverage
  • Four gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Great performance
  • Touchscreen display
  • Average parental controls
  • No WiFi 6

choice #8

The NETGEAR WiFi 6 Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 is an excellent gaming router for gamers who are ready to embrace the WiFi 6 standard and enjoy up to 4x capacity and a 40% increase in data throughput. The router comes with NETGEAR Armor, which is a subscription-based cybersecurity solution that provides multi-layered cybersecurity on all your devices, including smartphones, computers, smart TVs, security cameras.

NETGEAR WiFi 6 Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000

Thanks to the excellent Nighthawk app, you can set up the NETGEAR WiFi 6 Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 using your smartphone, and the entire process takes just a few minutes from start to finish. Changing all common settings seldom requires more than three or four taps, and you can even use the app to manage your NETGEAR subscription services, including NETGEAR Armor.

Pros and Cons

  • 1.8GHz triple-core processor
  • WiFi 6 support
  • NETGEAR Armor cybersecurity
  • Pricey
  • Doesn’t have a multi-gig LAN port

What Are the Criteria for Choosing One?

Modern routers are complicated devices whose performance exceeds that of many personal computers from the last decade. The best wireless routers for gaming offer a whole host of gaming-oriented features intended to improve your experience, and they are certainly worth spending extra money on if you consider yourself to be an avid gamer.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important criteria for choosing the best router for gaming:

  • Band support: Modern routers can simultaneously broadcast on multiple frequencies (bands). Dual-band routers broadcast on the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands at the same time, while tri-band routers broadcast three separate bands, typically a 2.4 GHz band and two separate 5 GHz bands. The more bands you have at your disposal, the easier it is to avoid issues with Wi-Fi signal interference, so paying extra for a dual- or tri-band router is always a good choice.
  • Connectivity: There’s a good reason why most gamers prefer Ethernet over Wi-Fi: a wired connection is almost completely immune to issues caused by interference. That’s why the best gaming routers are equipped with multiple gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing you to connect your desktop computer, video game console, and other devices to the internet without any compromises.
  • WiFi 6: The latest generation Wi-Fi standard offers higher data rates, increased capacity, improved power efficiency, and many other benefits that make it worth paying extra for a gaming router that supports it. The good news is that such routers are becoming increasingly common, and the same can be said about the devices that connect to them, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
  • MU-MIMO: Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology makes it possible for routers to communicate with several devices simultaneously. This technology can be incredibly useful in environments where several people are regularly playing online games at the same time because it ensures that each person connected to the router enjoys a low latency.
  • Beamforming: This signal processing technique allows wireless routers to focus a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device. As such, beamforming lets you enjoy a stronger Wi-Fi signal, resulting in a faster and more reliable connection to the internet.
  • Wider Wi-Fi channels: Some routers can take advantage of wider Wi-Fi channels, including 40 MHz and 80 MHz, to enable higher data transmission rates. The downside of wider Wi-Fi channels is that they are more likely to suffer from signal interference, so avoid them if you are located in a heavily congested area.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): The purpose of this technology is to ensure that high-priority traffic (such as online gaming) doesn’t have to wait for low-priority traffic (such as torrenting). Of course, the best routers for gaming leave it up to you to decide which traffic you consider to be of high priority so that you can always enjoy the best performance possible.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN allows you to create a virtual tunnel between you and a remote server across a shared public network (the internet). All data going through this tunnel is encrypted to prevent prevents unauthorized people from eavesdropping on you. With a VPN, you can also easily obtain a new IP address, and it doesn’t even need to reflect your actual physical location.
  • Security: It doesn’t matter if you want to use your router almost exclusively for gaming — you still need to pay attention to secure and ensure that your personal information (such as your credit card number or your logins) can’t be stolen from you. The most secure gaming routers today support WPA3, a Wi-Fi security standard intended to replace WPA2 to better secure personal, enterprise, and IoT wireless networks.
  • Performance: It takes quite a bit of processing power to manage multiple high-speed connections, which is why the best wireless routers for gaming boast hardware specifications that can put many budget laptops to shame, often featuring quad-core CPUs and more then enough RAM to fit a desktop operating system.
  • User interface: The best gaming routers offer a dizzying number of features, and a well-designed user interface can go a long way in helping you take full advantage of them. Some routers can even be controlled and configured using a mobile app.

Conclusion

The best gaming router that you can buy in 2021 is the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, but there are many other routers that come close. Ideally, you should select a router that can reliably keep lag from ruining your gaming moments and do so without breaking your bank. Just make sure to pick a suitable location for it and configure its settings to minimize signal interference and the performance issues that can potentially be caused by it.

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FAQ

What is the best router for gaming?

The best router for gaming is the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. This router offers impressive WiFi speeds, excellent connectivity options, and a whole host of gaming-oriented features that place it in a class of its own.

What routers do pro gamers use?

Most pro gamers use gaming-oriented routers. That’s partially because they’re often sponsored by their manufacturers and partially because such routers allow them to achieve the lowest latency possible.

Do routers make a difference for gaming?

Absolutely! A high-performance router can provide optimal coverage throughout your home and keep annoying lag from ruining the best gaming moments. What’s more, the best routers for gaming offer all kinds of useful features that you would otherwise have to spend extra money on, such as a secure VPN.

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