When it comes to online gaming, a second network lag can have a devastating effect. It can mean starting a level all over again. Also, there is a huge chance that you want a router that you can use with a few other gadgets at home. But we all know that some routers have a limited range as well as the number of devices that can be connected at a time. So, what features should you consider paramount in a gaming router?
From having a dedicated gaming channel to a broad coverage range, there are quite a number of factors that you should be on the lookout for when choosing a gaming router.
However, with the large amount of products on the market, making a choice can be traumatizing—particularly for a newbie. We want to make that process less hectic for you. We sieved through hundreds of products to bring to you the best gaming routers for 2021.
Review of the Best Gaming Router for 2021
Subscribing to the highest data plan will not help if your router don’t have the ability to handle it. One of the many roles of gaming routers is to minimize network spikes in favor of network traffic. This ensures stable connection especially when it matters the most. Whether you are gunning for the best modem router combo for gaming or standalone router, we have put a number of factors into consideration to put together the best in the various categories. Have a look!
Asus RT-AX56U – Best Overall
Wi-Fi 6 is the latest standard for wireless network technology. Asus RT-AX56U comes with this technology and dual band Wi-Fi system. In addition to that, it supports 80MHz bandwidth and 1024-QAM for an incredibly faster wireless connection. The dual band system (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) allows you to dedicate your game to one band so that it doesn’t have to compete with other devices for the network.
The Asus RT-AX56U is a game changer on different fronts. It supports MU-MIMO and the OFDMA technologies for efficient and simultaneous allocation of communication channels with multiple devices. When you purchase this router, you will get a free lifetime access to AiProtection powered by Trend Micro. This effectively keeps you safe while you surf the Internet. Another impressive feature of Asus RT-AX56U is the ability to form AiMesh system by combining multiple Asus routers.
Asus RT-AX56U can cover up to 3,000 Sq. Ft. providing effective coverage around your home. This means that your gaming don’t have to be restricted to a particular room. This router works with Alexa and is easy to setup and manage with the ASUS Router App. On the downside, this router is not entirely cheap and there has been reports of unstable network connection. If you can overlook these flaws, you have one of the best Wi-Fi router for gaming to enjoy.
- Supports MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies
- Lifetime free access to AiProtection
- Compatible with other Asus router to form AiMesh system
- Works with Alexa and ASUS Router App
- Comes with 4 LAN ports and 2 USB ports
- Slightly expensive
- Numerous complains about unstable connection
Jetstream AC3000 Tri-Band Router – Best budget
Sometimes, what you can afford becomes your treasure. When it comes to the best gaming router, those on a strict budget can rely on Jetstream AC3000 to balance video streaming and gaming. It comes with 8 external antennas for an improved range of up to 4,000 square feet. This gives you the flexibility of gaming from any room without losing your network.
Rather than dual band like you will see with most routers, it offers tri-band. You can selectively distribute these bands to your connected device. This means you can dedicate a band to your game so that it wouldn’t have to struggle with other connected devices for network. Jetstream AC3000 uses Beamforming technology which allows you to direct the Wi-Fi signal to a particular connected device. This ensures steady connection.
Other interesting features that comes with this router include USB 3.0 port, dual core processor, and 4x LAN port. It also supports the MU-MIMO technology and has a Turbo button which optimizes your network on a single press. However, Jetstream AC3000 is not without its problems. The most disturbing is the absence of special firewall. Also, a few users have complained about durability. Nevertheless, it is still one of the best gaming router for those on a slim budget.
- Highly affordable
- Comes with 8 external antennas for wider coverage
- Beamforming and MU-MIMO technology
- Turbo button for network optimization
- Durability is questionable
- Some users have reported frequent reset
- Lacks special firewall to protect the user
Asus ROG GT-AC2900 – Best gaming router for PS4
Those using PS4 or other similar game consoles have a lot to benefit from the powerful Asus ROG GT-AC2900. This Asus gaming router has been optimized for GeForce Now with triple-level game acceleration. This means that it optimizes your game from the console or PC up until the game server. You will enjoy triple A games with zero latency. On purchase, you will also get free lifetime access to AiProtection Pro which is powered by Trend Micro.
Like many other premium routers from Asus, this router works with other Asus AiMesh compatible routers to create a mesh network that covers a wider area. Another impressive feature of this router is the Asus Aura lighting. This stylish lighting can either be set to bring a stylish vibe to your gaming experience or to reflect the status of the network.
Other impressive features of Asus ROG GT-AC2900 include USB 3.1 Gen 1 port and USB 2.0 port as well as 4 LAN ports. However, unlike other routers, the LAN port that comes with this one supports link aggregation. This means you can combine two ports for faster network speed when using wired connection. On the down side, this router is not budget-friendly and there are lots of reviews about drop in connection and poor customer support. Nevertheless, it has shown great reliability.
- Triple-level game acceleration optimized for GeForce Now
- Lifetime access to AiProtection Pro
- Works with other Asus AiMesh compatible routers
- USB ports and 4x LAN ports with link aggregation
- Slightly expensive
- Multiple complains about drop in network
TP-Link AX6000 – fastest wireless router for gaming
Heavy gamers who need high-speed internet connection can finally smile with TP-Link AX6000. These routers boast of a Wi-Fi speed of up to 6000 Mbps—but that is only a fraction of what you stand to gain. It has 8 external antennae for improved signal range too. Note that when using the wired option, the maximum speed you will get is 1000 Mbps.
When it comes to security, you will get all the latest wireless security encryption types including WPA2-PSK. At the top of this robust security infrastructure is parental control. It also has DoS attack prevention which protects your network from intruders. Unlike most of the routers on this list, TP-Link AX6000 has a whopping 8 LAN ports. You will also get a USB and RJ-45 port for linking other devices.
TP-Link AX6000 has a LED indicator that makes it easy to monitor the status of your network. Interestingly, it is easy to install, thanks to the auto detecting and auto sensing technology. Unfortunately, this wireless gaming router is expensive. One problem that is frequently reported among users of this router is unstable connection if you have multiple devices. Overlook those flaws and you have a gaming companion.
- Up to 8x LAN ports
- Wireless speed can reach 6 Gbps
- Robust security infrastructure
- LED indicator for easy network monitoring
- Unstable when connecting multiple devices
If you have a very large home and love to have a network in every part of the home, consider getting a Wi-Fi mesh. One of the best in this regard is the Netgear Orbi tri-band mesh system. The higher number of bands makes it easier for you to dedicate channels towards gaming. This high speed gaming router can cover up to 5,000 square feet—no more dead zones. Also, you can connect up to 40 devices.
You can extend the coverage by a further 2,500 sq. ft. using additional satellites which you can purchase separately. Thanks to the Mesh AX4200 Wi-Fi 6, you can enjoy a speed of up to 4.2 Gbps. This router is easy to set up. You can further customize your settings including Wi-Fi settings, testing network speed or monitor data usage using the Orbi app.
The main router has 3x LAN ports while the booster satellite has 2x LAN ports. In total, you have 5x LAN ports for your wired connection. Other impressive features of this router include Smart Connect, MU-MIMO technology, and beamforming technology. It also supports WPA2 wireless security protocols in addition to DoS, guest Wi-Fi access, VPN, and more. Netgear Orbi is extremely expensive and the update is causing a great difficulty for users. Perhaps, all that will be sorted soon and return it to its glowing days.
- Cover up to 5,000 square feet
- Router speed is up to 4.2 Gbps
- Compatible with the Orbi app
- Comes with Smart Connect, MU-MIMO technology, and beamforming technology
- Extremely expensive
- Lacks a USB port
- Trouble with firmware update
Linksys WR32X is advertised as the first router built to prioritize gaming. It has a Killer Prioritization Engine that identifies, accelerates, and gives priority to your gaming network traffic. This has been estimated to lower peak pings by up to 77 percent. This is one of the top routers for gaming that gives you up to 3.2 Gbps enabling you to be at the top of your game.
Like most of the routers on our list, Linksys WR32X comes with 4x Gigabit LAN ports and 2x USB ports allowing you to set up a gaming rig or stringing consoles. With the four large external antennas, you are almost certain that you will stay connected irrespective of where you are in a medium to large home. Another impressive feature of Linksys WR32X that is worth a mention is the custom-built user interface. At a glance you will see your Internet traffic as well as run speed test and more.
One of the edge Linksys WR32X has over other high-end routers is its powerful dual-core CPU. It ensures sustained efficiency when multitasking. Unfortunately, this router is slightly expensive. If you succeed in scaling this hurdle, you will soon discover that this router is lacking a few features including a convincing security infrastructure and parental control. However, if game network prioritization is your top goal, this router is hard to beat.
- Comes with Killer Prioritization Engine
- Offers 4x Gigabit LAN ports and 2x USB ports
- Powerful dual-core CPU
- Custom-built user-friendly interface
- Strong and dependable signal
- Lacks most basic security features like parental control
- Not compatible with Linksys App
D-Link DIR-X5460-US – Best D-link gaming router
D-Link DIR-X5460-US is designed for smart homes which makes it an invaluable asset for gamers. It is the most advanced router from D-Link just yet. It comes with 6 external antennas for improved range. Since it was made for smart homes, its performance has been upgraded for a device-dense environment. Consequently, it can accommodate up to 6 simultaneous streams to deliver data to more devices with minimal latency.
An innovative feature of D-Link DIR-X5460-US that is hard to miss is the Target Wake Time. This helps to lower battery consumption for smart home devices. This router is compatible with D-Link Wi-Fi Mesh-enabled extenders. If you live in a very large home, this will come in handy in ensuring a seamless mesh network that covers every part of your home.
With this D-link gaming router, you will get 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 and 4x LAN ports. Also, there is a special WPS button that allows you to customize your security with a single click. Other interesting features include MU-MIMO technology, Alexa and Google Assistant compatible, enhanced parental control, and compatibility with D-Link Wi-Fi App. However, it doesn’t come cheap and appears to work better with some network than others.
- Optimized for device-dense environment
- Multiple USB and LAN ports
- Robust security infrastructure including parental control
- Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
- Range is questionable
Investing in a modem router combo is often a great way to save the cost of buying standalone devices. One of the best modem router combo for gaming is Netgear C6250. It is compatible with all the major cable providers and can support plans of up to 300 Mbps. The Wi-Fi can reach a speed of up to 1600 Mbps. With this, you are certain of having stable and hitch-free gaming as well as save cost on modem rental.
The AC1600 wireless router has the capability of covering up to 1500 sq. ft. and can connect up to 25 devices. If you prefer wired connection, you have 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1x USB port to work with. This can seem limiting when compared to other routers on this list—but it will suffice. Setting up this device is extremely easy and will not take you more than 5 minutes.
In terms of security, Netgear C6250 is relatively safe. It supports WPA and WPA2 wireless security protocols. You will also get parental control and WEP support. On the down side, this product is slightly expensive. Also, if you ever run into trouble setting it up, getting customer support from Netgear can be a nightmare. There have been reports of occasional signal drops. Besides these, this is one product you are bound to enjoy.
- Combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem and routers
- Good security infrastructure including parental control
- Impressive coverage and connected device capability
- Easy to set up
- Slightly expensive
- Some reviewers complain about signal drop
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien – Best design
Adding a little aesthetics to your gaming life wouldn’t hurt, would it? Well, if you are thinking in that direction, one of the best products you can rely on is the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien. It has an inbuilt 8×8 super antenna system for larger coverage. It makes use of the revolutionary Wi-Fi 6 which has the capacity of boosting your network by 4x and coverage by 2x. This dual band router delivers a combined speed of up to 7.6 Gbps.
Unlike your regular routers, Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien has a touchscreen for instant controls as well as easy monitoring of network status. On the reverse side of the router you will find 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired connection. Thanks to the 2.2 GHz 64-bit Quad-Core processor, you can multitask without hampering the performance. With MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies, Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien effectively avoids competing for bandwidth when multiple devices are connected to your home network.
Another cool feature with this router is the AmpliFi App. The user-friendly app has rich controls and statistics that enables you to monitor who is on your network as well as track ISP and system performance. When the need arise, you can scale up your device into a mesh. Unfortunately, this router is pretty expensive. Also, the absence of a USB port can be a huge limitation.
- Attractive design
- Touchscreen panel for instant control and monitoring
- Companion AmpliFi App for improved flexibility
- Comes with MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies
- Extremely expensive
- Lacks a USB port
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 – Best Wi-Fi router for gaming
When it comes to the best gaming router, Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a force to reckon with. It comes with myriads of features that will leave you in awe. One of them is the triple level game acceleration. This feature accelerates game traffic as well as prioritizes game server. Embedded in the hardware is 1.8 GHz Quad Core processor and 2.5 G gaming port for maximum performance.
High-end Asus router users usually have an edge over other product users because of the ease of setting up a mesh network. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system which has the capability of providing coverage to a large home. The ASUS AiProtection security is another reason why you will fall in love with routers from this manufacturer. It effectively neutralizes threats before they hit your network—and you will get a lifetime access.
Other impressive features that comes with Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 include 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, 4x gigabit Ethernet ports, Game Boost button, and a customizable button. The presence of Tri-band and Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) allows you to prioritize your game. Unfortunately, this routers is extremely expensive. Also, a few buyers complained of random connectivity reset. Setting it up can be a bit of a hassle unless you have a high networking experience.
- Tri-band with triple level game acceleration
- Compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system
- Comes with the ASUS AiProtection security
- Game Boost button and a customizable button
- Extremely expensive
- Setting it up can be difficult for an amateur
- Occasional connectivity reset has been reported
Buying Guide for the Best Gaming Router for 2021
There are a number of features that you should lookout for when shopping for the best gaming router. Thankfully, there are high-end routers that are still available for a reasonable price. It may appear as if Wi-Fi speed and range are the key features for gamers. However, there are several factors that you need to consider. We have highlighted some of the most important features below and how they will affect your gaming experience.
The minimum you should accept when looking for high speed gaming router is Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). However, where possible, go for the advanced Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). These wireless versions deliver the fastest speed which you will need for hitch-free gaming. However, you have to make sure that you are subscribed to a Gigabit plan. Your router can only send out a signal that it is receiving from your ISP
Most new routers come with dual network bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). Ideally, this should be your minimum. There are other routers that come with tri-band. Higher bands should come handy if you have multiple connected devices. With dual band routers, you can dedicate the 5.0 GHz band to gaming so that your console won’t have to compete for network with other devices connected to your home network.
MU-MIMO and Beamforming Technologies
Beamforming and Multiple-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology is a big deal for any gamer today. It is unlikely that you will be using your home network for your gaming console alone. However, with these technologies, you will be able to prioritize your network signal for your game. Check out this article for Understanding MU-MIMO technology.
Hackers are always looking for ways to break into wireless networks and steal sensitive data. You don’t want to give them that chance. Therefore, it is paramount that you choose a router with a robust security infrastructure. The least you should aim for is WPA/WPA2 encryption. Some routers come with special security networks—which you may be asked to pay for. When thinking about security, consider a router with parental control if you have children at home.
Number and Types of Ports
The number and types of ports that come with your router is a major source of concern, particularly if you prefer wired connections. The presence of a USB port means you can easily transfer files across your network as well as attach peripheral devices like printers for seamless file transfer. The more the number of ports, the more flexibility you will have.
If you desire all the good and advanced features of a router, you should be ready to pay more. If you are in an environment with multiple connected device, you need to shop for a really powerful router. However, there are really cool and affordable routers that still deliver. We made sure to include a couple of them on our list.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best router for gaming?
The best router for gaming will depend on a number of factors. However, Asus RT-AX56U really stood out for us. This router finds the balance between performance and price
- What is the best router for gaming and streaming?
When it comes to gaming and streaming at the same time, only a few router can match the power of Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. This tri-band router comes with triple level game acceleration and game boost button.
- Best gaming router with parental controls
The majority of gaming routers come with parental control but TP-Link AX6000 stands out because of the ease with which you can adjust the settings.
- What is the best budget gaming router?
Most gaming routers are expensive but Jetstream AC3000 begs to differ. Inasmuch as it comes with tri-band and all the other good stuff, it is still highly affordable.
One thing that you need to bear in mind is that having a gaming router doesn’t mean you will automatically begin to enjoy all the benefits that comes with it. You still need to follow basic rules like placing your router in the appropriate place in your home. The best place to place the router is in the living space at a good elevation. Also, you need to ensure there are no obstacles around it. Where possible, use a wired Ethernet connection as this is usually more stable than wireless connection—for most routers. Lastly, make sure you use a strong password to secure your wireless router to prevent undue interruption and dragging of your network by intruders. Have a lovely shopping experience.