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The Best Routers for Gaming

Best Gaming RouterWe rated, reviewed, & compared 7 of the best gaming routers for 2019. Our rankings take price and feature set into consideration to present you with the best router for your needs.

Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or just a casual gamer, you know that a big part of your in-game performance relies on your internet connection. And, if you are forced to use a wireless connection, your router is going to be a crucial part of your gaming experience.

In this post, we’ve highlighted seven of the best gaming routers for 2019 to help you find the right option for your needs. So, if you’re in the market for a high-end router, the options below are the best place to start.

A Quick Look at the Best Routers for Gaming

For those of you who are looking for a quick answer, the table below highlights some of the best gaming router options currently availble. We’ve picked the best router overall, a runner-up, the best tri-band gaming router, and the best budget router under $100.

NAME SPECS RATING
TOP PICK
Asus RT-AC86U

Asus RT-AC86U

  • AC2900
  • 4 LAN Ports
  • 1.8GHz CPU
  • VPN Support
9.2/10

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Read Review »

RUNNER-UP
Netgear Nighthawk XR500

Netgear Nighthawk XR500

  • AC2600
  • 4 LAN Ports
  • 1.7GHz CPU
  • VPN Support
9.1/10

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TRI-BAND
Asus RT-AC5300

Asus RT-AC5300

  • AC5300
  • 8 LAN Ports
  • 1.4GHz CPU
  • VPN Support
9.0/10

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BUDGET
TP-Link Archer C9

TP-Link Archer C9

  • AC1900
  • 4 LAN Ports
  • 1.0GHz CPU
  • VPN Support
8.5/10

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Read Review »

*To read our full overviews on our top picks for the best gaming routers, just click the “Read Review »” button. You can also keep scrolling down to find more options based on your specific budget.

Best Gaming Router:
Asus RT-AC86U

Asus RT-AC86U
  • AC2900 Dual-Band
  • 4x LAN Ports
  • 1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 9.2/10

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The dual-band Asus RT-AC86U isn’t the highest-end router currently on the market. However, at just under $200, the RT-AC86U comes with pretty much all of the latest desirable features a router can come with (MU-MIMO streaming, adaptive QoS, GameBoost, VPN support, AiProtection, etc.)

It also comes with a strong 1.8GHz dual-core processor, four LAN ports, a bunch of gaming-specific features, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports as well. The one thing that most users have found off-putting with the RT-AC86U, though, is that it cannot be wall mounted and the base cannot be removed to lay on its back. Of course, this is merely a cosmetic issue… and probably not a breaking point for most users.

Ultimately, though, the Asus RT-AC86U is perfect for gamers who don’t quite have the budget to drop nearly $300 on one of the more expensive gaming routers out there. It has more customization options and features than most users will ever use or need.

Runner-Up:
Netgear Nighthawk XR500

Netgear Nighthawk XR500
  • AC2600 Dual-Band
  • 4x LAN Ports
  • 1.7GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 9.1/10

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The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming X4500 is no slouch. It stacks up will with—and exceeds—the Asus RT-AC86U in many areas. However, it also comes in at about $100 more than the Asus RT-AC86U unit as well. So, while the X4500 might be a better option if you have an unlimited budget, the RT-AC86U is the better value option.

For specs, the Nighthawk X4500 comes with a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, four LAN ports, VPN support, a bunch of gaming-friendly features, and excellent software.

Overall, for most users, I would recommend going with the RT-AC86U over Negear’s Nighthawk RT-AC86U. It’s more affordable and will perform at a similar level. But, if you have the money to spend, the X4500 is a solid option, too.

Best Tri-Band Router:
Asus RT-AC5300

Asus RT-AC5300
  • AC5300 Dual-Band
  • 8x LAN Ports
  • 1.4GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 9.0/10

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The Asus RT-AC5300 is another high-end gaming router that is worth considering. It is the only tri-band router on this list. Like the Nighthawk X4500, the Asus RT-AC5300 comes in at just under $300, making it one of the more expensive options on the market.

It comes with a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 8 LAN ports (making it great for LAN parties), very fast performance at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and a bunch of gaming-specific features (like Game Boost). However, the RT-AC5300 is on the bulkier side as far as routers go and most users will never be able to fully utilize it.

The RT-AC5300 is a bit older now as well, and there are newer options out there that might be better fits for gamers. But, if you can utilize running multiple 5GHz networks, then the RT-AC5300 would be worth considering.

In the end, the RT-AC5300 is a great router overall, but is probably overkill for most users. And, its price tag will be a turn off considering the number of great options that come in at lower prices.

Best Router Under $100:
TP-Link Archer C9

TP-Link Archer C9
  • AC1900 Dual-Band
  • 4x LAN Ports
  • 1.0GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 8.5/10

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For those of you that are looking for a cheaper router than the units listed above, TP-Link’s Archer C9 is a solid budget-friendly option. Coming in at under $100, the Archer C9 offers a reliable connection, good speeds and range, and an easy-to-use interface.

The Archer C9 is a dual-band router that comes with a 1.0GHz dual-core CPU, four LAN ports, and just enough features to appease the average (or intermediate) user.

Obviously, the Archer C9 can’t compete with the higher-end options in terms of sheer performance. But, if you’re looking for the best router for gaming under $100, then TP-Link’s budget-friendly Archer C9 is an option you’ll want to consider.

Honorable Mention #1:
Asus RT-AC88U

Asus RT-AC88U
  • AC3100 Dual-Band
  • 8x LAN Ports
  • 1.4GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 8.9/10

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When the Asus RT-AC88U came out a few years ago it was considered one of the best gaming routers on the market. However, despite the confusing model name, the RT-AC86U is actually a couple of years newer than the AC88U, costs less, and outperforms it in many areas as well.

The RT-AC88U is still a solid all-around router, though. It comes with a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, eight LAN ports (versus just four for the AC86U), VPN support, and plenty of advanced management features.

In terms of Wi-Fi performance, though, the less expensive AC86U edges the AC88U out. And, again, because the AC88U is more expensive than the AC86U, there aren’t a ton of reasons to choose the AC88U over the AC86U unless you need more LAN ports.

Honorable Mention #2:
Linksys WRT3200ACM

Linksys WRT3200ACM
  • AC3200 Dual-Band
  • 4x LAN Ports
  • 1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 8.7/10

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The Linksys WRT3200ACM is another worthy option to consider and like the Asus RT-AC86U, it comes in at a fairly respectable price (just under $200.) The biggest thing going for the WRT3200ACM is that it delivers excellent performance at 5GHz throughput and exceptional file transfer speeds as well, according to most benchmarks.

The WRT3200ACM comes with a high-end 1.8GHz dual-core CPU, four LAN ports, MU-MIMO streaming, a USB 3.0 and 2.0/eSata port, and Tri-Stream technology. One of the WRT3200ACM’s biggest selling points is the fact that it supports OpenWrt and DD-WRT firmware, which will allow users to customize it to their liking.

Overall, the Linksys WRT3200ACM is a solid option at this price point. However, for the same price you’d probably be better off going with the more polished Asus RT-AC86U.

Honorable Mention #3:
Linksys WRT32X

Linksys WRT32X
  • AC3200 Dual-Band
  • 4x LAN Ports
  • 1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • VPN Support

Our Rating: 8.6/10

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The reviews on the Linksys WRT32X are somewhat mixed, with some users and reviewers loving it, while others have found it lacking for the price it comes in at. Linksys has specifically titled the WRT32X as a “gaming” router and packed it full of features specific to gamers.

One feature that stands out on the Linksys WRT32X in regards to gaming is its inclusion of Rivet Networks’ Killer Prioritzation Engine. The feature automatically notices PCs and laptops on the network that come equipped with hardware that supports the Killer Prioritization Engine, and gives them priority over all other devices on the network. Of course, this feature is only usable if your computer has hardware that supports Killer Networks features—which a lot of systems out there don’t.

So, while the Linksys WRT32X was built specifically for gamers and comes with a bunch of gaming-specific features, the reality is that only gamers with hardcore setups will be able to fully utilize this router.

Which Gaming Router is Best for You?

When it comes to most anything technology related, the more you spend, the more bells and whistles you get. If you’re a competitive gamer who doesn’t have the ability to use a hardwired connection, a strong router will be necessary to ensure that you maintain a stable Wi-Fi connection.

In this guide, we’ve looked at seven different gaming routers and rated them based off of what they offer. So, if you are in the market for a new router, one of the options listed above should suit your needs.

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building computers and writing about building computers for a long time. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.

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