You can always play online games using ordinary routers, but once you use a good gaming router, you really can’t go back. How exactly do these things work? What distinguishes a gaming router from one you use at the office?
Gaming routers work by prioritizing network traffic that goes toward games. This feature is commonly known among the tech-inclined as Quality of Service (QoS). In English, your connection should not be affected even as you play while your roommate or significant other is streaming Netflix or downloading heavy work files. Good gaming routers ensure that you are always connected and do not encounter any lag.
Sounds good? Take a look at the 8 best gaming routers to buy in 2018.
1. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Router
This router uses 2nd generation AC2600 chipset, which is capable of delivering speeds of up to 2600 mbps (802.11ac). It boasts 4×4 MU-MIMO technology. What this feature does is speed up transmission to wireless devices and improve the speed of your WiFi.
Its signature technology is called StreamBoost, and it is apparently what makes this router a gaming router because it significantly improves streaming speeds. It also comes with beamforming antennas.
The only issue is that some units apparently do not come with all the promised accessories, but this may depend on the territory concerned.
Overall, we think that this Zyxel router is pretty fair relative to its price. We just hope that it resolves any issue with delivery and accessories (if any).
• StreamBoost is fast
• supports MU-MIMO
• advanced chipset
• few complaints about incomplete accessories
2. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
We must say we are quite impressed with the appearance of this router from top manufacturer ASUS. Those sharp lines and corners make for an unconventional design that easily sets this apart from the office and home routers you are so used to seeing.
This model is also a lot more expensive than the other items on this list, but that is only because it promises a lot more than the others here do. This is a tri-band that adopts the latest 802.11ac 4×4 MU-MIMO technology.
Combine that with its 1.8 GHz 64-bit quad-core processor, VPN Fusion feature, and Game IPS powered by Trend Micro, and you have a high-performance gaming router.
All in all, we like everything about this ASUS router and highly encourage you to try it also. Sure, it is expensive, but quality does come at a price.
• high speed
• awesome look
• top-of-the-line quad-core processor
• isolated connection issues
3. Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band WiFi Gaming Router
With looks fit for a mini space battleship, this little router from Linksys sets high expectations. The company calls the key technology behind this model the Killer Prioritization Engine, which can reportedly “reduce peak ping by up to 77%.”
According to the manufacturer, the WRT32X allows for speeds of up to 3.2 gbps, which should be good for even intensive gaming sessions. Furthermore, each device connected to the network is assigned its own data stream, which means that there should be no bandwidth problems even if you play with friends using the same router.
It has a professional-grade gigabit ethernet switch that comes with four ports, Tri-Stream160, and a DFS certificate from the FCC.
• premium features
• devices can be prioritized
• poor settings interface
4. Linksys AC5400 Tri Band Wireless Router
The solution offered by this router from Linksys to resolve lag and buffering issues is a dedicated high-speed band. That is what the third in the tri-band system is for. With this technology, this router promises to be able to handle bandwidth-hogging tasks, such as video conferencing and streaming.
It has 8 gigabit ports that can speed up your connection by reportedly 10 times regular routers can. This router is compatible with Macs and PCs alike and works optimally when combined with Max-Stream range extenders.
In general, this router seems to be well worth its price. A lot of other users are satisfied with it. The small number of complaints aside, this product is a good bet for gaming and other bandwidth-intensive activities.
• has 8 gigabit ports
• has dedicated high-speed band
• hardware issues in some units
5. NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 Ultimate Gaming Router
This router from Netgear has been around for the longest time and become the tried-and-tested, go-to gaming router. A huge number of your hardcore gamer friends have surely heard of or used the Nighthawk.
Just to review, this router from Netgear has AC2350 WiFi technology with speeds of 600+1733 mbps. What mainly makes this a gaming router is its 4×4 WiFi architecture, which reportedly reduces lag and buffering.
Finally, it comes with a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and a dynamic QoS feature plus twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports.
The key features of the Nighthawk have long been surpassed by newer models, but that does not tarnish the Nighthawk’s reputation. If in doubt, you should begin with this! There is a good reason that nearly all veteran Internet users have used or are still using this.
• tried and tested
• tens of thousands of positive reviews
• fast connection
• it is not the newest model anymore
6. Linksys WRT AC3200 Open Source Dual-Band Smart Wireless Router
This router from Linksys boasts Tri-Stream160, which, according to Linksys, doubles bandwidth. It also supports MU-MIMO technology, which is good at speeding up the connection even for multiple devices connected at the same time.
This model is open-source-ready and comes with OpenWRT and DD-WRT. These technologies allow you to customize the settings flexibly to suit your needs. It also has a smart WiFi app that lets you monitor your home WiFi from any device anytime.
The only issue is that some users appear to be having trouble setting it up. However, these complaints are few, so we hesitate about pinning it against the product or its manufacturer. From experience, we do know that nearly all electronics require set up to varying degrees, but everything can be learned!
This router appears to be a fair one for its price. If you know your way around router setup and troubleshooting and are looking for something that strikes a balance between price and quality, this product appears to be a good choice.
• offers dedicated band
• allows for flexibility
• fast speed owing to Tri-Stream160
• usage is a little complicated
7. TP-Link AC3150 Wireless Wi-Fi MU-MIMO Router
TP-Link has been around for a very long time, and their products have become the go-to routers for most of us. This time around, they offer their take on gaming routers. This model allows for high-speed 4k HD video streaming and online gaming simultaneously. This applies to all connected devices at the same time.
This product uses NitroQAM and 4-Stream technologies. According to the company, the maximum speed is 3150 mbps. That translates to 1000 mbps over the 2.4 GHz band and 2167 mbps over the 5 GHz band.
We like this model especially for its additional security features, which come in the form of TP-Link HomeCare. You can also use OpenVPN to browse the net for free.
So far, there are no complaints that stand out about this router. There are minor reports about product failure and a few glitches here and there, but we do not see any of these comments come up too often, which leads us to think that these may simply be isolated cases.
In summary, we like this model. Hands down. It shows why TP-Link has become the preferred brand of many tech enthusiasts. There are negative comments, but these are isolated for the most part.
• highly secure
• very fast connection
• offers OpenVPN
• few reports of glitchy performance
8. NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Gaming Router
Just to skim over the basics of the Netgear Nighthawk X4S, it has AC2600 technology and promises speeds of up to 800+1733 mbps. According to the manufacturer, this router is run by a high-performance 1.7 GHz dual-core processor and a dynamic QoS.
It allows you to stream 4K videos smoothly using its 4×4 WiFi architecture and makes it easier for you to browse or play using mobile devices using 160 MHz radio, which doubles bandwidth.
Like other top-of-the-line routers today, this model supports MU-MIMO technology, which is known to increase throughput Considerably.
As with all other products, this affordable Nighthawk has not been spared from negative feedback. The good thing is that there seems to be no dominant issue. We are seeing bad reviews about performance problems in various parts, but the complaints are generally low in frequency.
Belonging to the cheaper end of the popular Nighthawk routers from Netgear, the X4S appears to be an ideal option if you want to give this product line a try but do not have highly intensive gaming needs.
• easy to set up and use
• fast for the price
• reliable brand
• very few performance complaints