When it comes to online video gaming, I often think of the wise words of Ricky Bobby’s father, Reese: “If you’re not first, you’re last.” That is to say, having a reliable Internet connection is essential to make sure you don’t miss that final point because your speed dipped. Fortunately, there’s a solution that will make it, so you’re not the one on your squad to cause a loss.
Router companies have made dedicated gaming routers to provide the best connection. These routers typically provide a dual (or even tri!) band connection that allows you to sit your gaming connection on a dedicated channel. This means no other devices will interfere with your experience. Additionally, these routers will enable you to fully take advantage of the high speeds you have. All in all, gaming routers will make sure your connection is virtually flawless so that your victories can be as well.
You might not think of a router when investing in PC gaming accessories, but it might be the best gaming purchase you make in 2020. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up eight of the best gaming routers out on the market so you can go and conquer your online matches accordingly—our picks, below.
1. Asus AC2900 Gaming Router
Inherently build to provide as little latency as possible while also ensuring 4K UHD streaming, the Asus AC2900 is our pick for the best overall gaming router. Dual-band connections (2.4 and a blazing fast 5 GHz) allow you to ensure your devices are on the band that makes the most sense for what you need (i.e., putting your gaming system on the 5 GHz as to provide the best quality) while the 1.8GHz 32bit dual-core processor optimizes network traffic in real-time to give proper priority to your connection. This ensures you don’t miss a single shot when you’re playing Call of Duty: Warzone. Plus, the Asus app allows you to further customize your settings to how you want them. If you’re looking for the best performance at the best value, look no further.
2. D-Link AC1700 Mesh Gaming Router
Like a majority of gaming routers, the D-Link AC17000 has two, simultaneous dual-band connections to ensure your gaming connection can take top priority. At the same time, your connected devices can sit on their band. Four antennas help to provide strong coverage throughout the entire house so you’ll be set no matter where your gaming system is setup. However, if that’s not enough, the router itself can have its range extended thanks to add-on D-Link extenders. Oh, and you can use Alexa or Google Assitant voice commands to control it easily. But the real value is the price, which makes this a fantastic gaming router to start with if you’re a little hesitant to make a hefty investment.
3. Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro Gaming Router
Shelling out over $200 for a router is a big ask, so there has to be a pretty compelling reason. And while the Netgear Nighthawk XR500 looks like an alien spaceship you might encounter in a video game, looks aren’t everything if it can’t keep up when it comes to performance. Fortunately, that’s not an issue as the XR500 is optimized for games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and more thanks to its dual-band connection and staggering fast speeds. Control freaks will love the ability to monitor their performance and ping in real-time, making it a great choice for those with extra money to spend who want to ensure their premium setup doesn’t get cheapened by a faulty connection.
4. Razer Sila Mesh Gaming Router
The thing about this gaming router from Razer is that, at first glance, you might mistake it for an actual gaming console. The extremely stylish set-top-looking box does function as a mesh-style router, allowing you to incorporate additional nodes to boost your WiFi signal accordingly. But the best feature is Razer’s “Fastrack” tech that allows the router to automatically prioritize applications and devices to make sure your gaming connection is functioning at the fastest speed possible.
5. Linksys WRT Gaming Router
OPTIMIZED FOR XBOX
Xbox gamers who want to make sure they’re using the best possible router for their matches of Halo or Gears of War will want to check out this Linksys WRT gaming router. The WRT can auto-detect when an Xbox gaming unit has been connected and will auto-prioritize the system over other wireless connections to provide the best experience. Additionally, Linksys boasts a 65% drop in peak ping to give you a faster and smoother game, which can make all the difference when it comes to getting that critical final point.
6. Armor Z2 AC2600 Wireless Gaming Router
With its striking design, four-antenna construction, and 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, the Armor Z2 AC2600 gaming router is everything you need to game effectively. The 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies allow for that great level of device control, while the built-in usage montoir will allow you to take a look at what connections are wearing on your network to better optimize connectivity.
7. TP-Link Archer AC5400 Tri-Band Gaming Router
While TP-Link’s Archer AC5400 looks slightly monstrous, it’s all in service of providing a staggering three (!) bands of connection. With a 2.4 GHz connection and two 5 GHz connections, you can have 4K streaming on one 5 GHz band while your gaming takes place on the other 5 GHz band. That’s a valuable thing to have in households full of several people where someone wants to watch Netflix while you game. It’s a bit on the pricey side but certainly worth it to have the best connection all to yourself.
8. Asus AC3200 Tri-Band Gaming Router
If you like the idea of a tri-band router but don’t want to shell out the price of the TP-Link, the Asus AC3200 is not only an Amazon’s Choice (meaning Amazon verifies it as being both well-rated and well-priced). The two 5 GHz bands are great for high-usage activities like gaming. However, one drawback is that the router isn’t the most elegant-looking solution in the world. But what it lacks in looks it certainly makes up for in both price and power.