Best Gaming Routers: That 100% FTW List

This post is a collection of the best five gaming routers and their worthy alternatives picked among those I’ve reviewed.

There’s no concrete definition of a “gaming router,” but all listed below meet at least two of my qualifying criteria.

While you can generally play online games with any router, one of these mentioned here will give you an edge in getting connected, plus the much-needed placebo effect — you know that you’re already well-equipped, possibly better-geared than the other guy.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on January 29, 2021, and updated it on December 21, 2022, with up-to-date options.

Asus GT AX11000 Pro Aura RGB Lights
The Aura RGB gaming lights on an Asus gaming router.

Best gaming routers of 2022: The list

All routers on this list are excellent for general use. On top of that, they collectively check all the gaming boxes.

They are listed here on reviewed orders with the latest on top — the number in front of their name is not for ranking but just numerical.

5. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000: The ultimate gaming router

In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the latest member of this list. The number is not the ranking.

Asus GT AXE16000 Gaming Lights 3
Best gaming routers: The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E router has the most Multi-Gig ports to date and a cool ROG Aura light.

The Asus GT-AXE16000 is the pinnacle of home networking, and gaming is just the icing on the cake. This is the ultimate router you can safely get if you can afford it.

Asus has the largest selection of gaming routers — not all are listed here, but you can read about them in this post on Asus Wi-Fi broadcasters.

The GT-AXE16000 is currently the best in Asus’s ROG Rapture family. But the following are also worthy alternatives:

Pros

Powerful hardware, Quad-band with Wi-Fi 6E support, three Multi-Gig ports (one 2.5Gbps and two 10Gbps)

Stellar performance throughout

Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full AiMesh 2.0 support

Unmatched port flexibility, including interchangeable WAN, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Beautiful ROG Aura lighting

Cons

Expensive, 10Gbps ports’ sustained rates and NAS performance (when hosting a storage device) could be better

Awkward backhaul band design in a wireless AiMesh setup, no UNII4 (5.9GHz) support, no SFP+

Bulky design, not wall-mountable


4. TP-Link Archer GX90: The latest among gaming routers that “look the part”

TP-Link Archer GX90 AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Gaming Router
Best gaming routers: The TP-Link Archer GX90 AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band gaming router sure looks cool.

The GX90 is TP-Link’s latest Wi-Fi 6 approach to gaming routers. It is also somewhat of a pseudo-gaming machine since it doesn’t have any specific game-related novelty — it has a nice look plus a comprehensive QoS feature.

The GX90’s similar alternative: Archer AX11000

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

Excellent feature set and network settings

Robust full web user interface

Nice design and comparatively affordable

Cons

Single Multi-Gig port; no Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

USB-based storage performance could be better


3. Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400: Representing a new gaming product line

Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400 Gaming Router
Best gaming routers: The Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400 is a low-cost gaming machine.

The GS-AX5400 is an excellent new (gaming) router. It represents the new ROG STRIX product line.

Similar alternatives:

Pros

Excellent overall performance

Complete AiMesh 2.0 support, including system-wide Guest network

Robust web interface, well-designed mobile app, no login account required

Lots of useful features, including those for gamers

Cool-looking front-facing AURA Game light

Cons

No Multi-Gig port or Gamer VPN (WTFast)

Performance as a NAS server could be better

The ROG logo doesn’t light up, a bit boring


2. Netgear XR1000: A sophisticated gaming router

Netgear XR1000 12
Best gaming routers: The Netgear XR1000 looks quite nice.

The XR1000 is a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade to the Wi-Fi 5 version XR500. It’s the second gaming router based on game-centric DumaOS firmware and has fantastic gaming features, including an improved Geo-Filter with polygon mode and Ping heatmap.

Pros

Sophisticated game-centric firmware

Fast Wi-Fi speeds and reliable performance

Robust web UI, beautiful hardware design

Useful mobile app, wall-mountable

Cons

Expensive but underpowered – items of the web interface can take a long time to fully load

Limited Wi-Fi settings, sluggish user interface

Mobile app can’t manage any gaming features

No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

Online protection and VPN require subscriptions

Buggy — firmware needs some serious updates; no mesh option


1. Asus RT-AX82U: Possibly the coolest-looking gaming router

In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the first member of this list. The number is not the ranking.

Asus RT AX82U 20
Best gaming routers: The Asus RT-AX82U and its unique programmable front-facing Aura RGB lighting

The Asus RT-AX82U uniquely has fantastic-looking programmable front lighting that will turn heads! If you’re into bling, this is the gaming router for you.

The RT-AX82U represents a few general routers — not part of the ROG Rapture or ROG Strix families mentioned above — that have built-in gaming features.

Similar alternatives include:

Pros

Beautiful design with tons of helpful networking, game-related features, and settings

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Cons

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN

No multi-gig network port

Network storage performance (when hosting a portable drive) could use some improvement


Best gaming routers of 2022: Hardware specifications and Wi-Fi performance

I tested all of these routers the way I do all Wi-Fi broadcasters. I also tried their gaming features via wired and wireless connections without a retail or mesh extender.

It’s best to use a game console (or PC) via a wired connection. If you have to use Wi-Fi, make sure the device connects directly to the very first broadcaster of your home if you have more than one Wi-Fi hub.

Extra note on gaming and Wi-Fi

For the best online experience — including online gaming or whenever you want to make sure the connection is the most reliable and with the lowest latency — it’s always best to get your home wired.

Get your home wired (almost) like a pro, today!

After that, connect your gaming rig to your network via a network cable. No matter how fast, Wi-Fi is always less ideal and will put a few extra milliseconds, or even a lot, on your broadband’s latency.

In gaming or any real-time communication applications, reliability and low latency are actually more critical than fast speeds. So it’s more a question of wired vs Wi-Fi than Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6.

But we can’t use wires all the time. That said, the rule in Wi-Fi for gaming is to avoid multiple hops.

Specifically, here is the order of best practices when connecting your gaming device to the network via Wi-Fi:

  1. Use a single broadcaster — just one Wi-Fi router or access point.
  2. If you must use multiple broadcasters (like a mesh system) then:
    • Use a network cable to link them together (wired backhaul).
    • If you must use a wireless mesh then:
      • Connect the game console directly to the very first broadcaster — the primary router — of your home. Or
      • Connect the gaming device to the first mesh satellite node using a network cable. Also, in this case, it’s best to use tri-band mesh hardware.
      • Avoid the daisy-chain mesh setup.
  3. Avoid using extenders. If you must use one, make sure it’s a tri-band.

Again, the idea is that the Wi-Fi signal should not have to hop wirelessly through one extra hub before it gets to your device — you’ll get significantly worse latency after each additional hop.

Wi-Fi performance charts

The charts below include the performance of all gaming routers mentioned above — the top five and their alternatives — sorted alphabetically.

Best Gaming Routers Long Range PerformanceBest Gaming Routers Short Range Performance
The Wi-Fi performances of the best gaming routers and their alternatives.

Hardware specifications

Looking to compare these routers side by side? The table of hardware specifications below will help.

Note: This is a wide table. Make sure you scroll horizontally.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 Gaming Router TP-Link Archer AX6600
Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6
Gaming Router
Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400
Dual-band Gaming Router
Netgear XR1000 Nighthawk 
Wi-Fi 6 Pro 
Gaming Router
 Asus RT-AX82U
AX5400 Dual-Band
Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
Model GT-AXE16000 Archer GX90 GS-AX5400 XR1000 RT-AX82U
Wi-Fi Technology Quad-band AXE16000 Tri-band AX6600 Dual-band AX5400 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX5400
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX5400
1st Band
(2.4GHz)
4×4 Wi-Fi 6 
Up to 1148Mbps
2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
2nd Band
(5GHz)
4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 2×2 AX: Up to 1201Mbps 5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
3rd Band
(6GHz)
4×4 AXE
Up to 4804Mbps
None None None None
4rth Band
(5GHz)
4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
None None None
Backward Compatibility 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mesh-ready Yes (AiMesh 2.0) Yes (OneMesh) Yes (AiMesh 2.0) No Yes (AiMesh 2.0)
Gigabit Port 4x LAN 1x LAN/WAN
3x LAN 
4x LAN, 1x WAN 4x LAN, 1x WAN 4x LAN, 1x WAN
Multi-Gig Port 1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN,
2x 10Gbps LAN/WAN
1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN None None None
LAN Link Aggregation Yes No Yes None Yes (LAN 1 and LAN 2)
WAN Link Aggregation Yes No Yes None Yes (WAN + LAN4)
Dual-WAN Yes No Yes None Yes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)
USB 1× USB 3.0 Port
1× USB 2.0 Port
1× USB 3.0 Port
1× USB 2.0 Port
1x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0
Mobile App Asus Router TP-Link Tether Asus Router Netgear Nighthawk Asus Router
Gaming Features Aura Gaming Light
Gaming Port
Game Boost
Gear Accelerator
Mobile Game Mode
OpenNAT
ROG First
VPN Fusion
WTF Gamer VPN
Fancy-looking hardware and web interface
QoS
Aura Gaming Light
Gaming Port
Game Boost
Gear Accelerator
Mobile Game Mode
OpenNAT
ROG First
VPN Fusion
DumaOS 2.0
Geo-Filter
Ping Heatmap
QoS
Dedicated Game Port
Game Boost
Open NAT
Mobile Game Mode
QoS
Aura Lighting
Processing Power 2.0 GHz quad-core CPU, 
256MB Flash, 
2GB RAM
1.5 GHz Quad-Core CPU 1.5 GHz Tri-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 
512 MB RAM
1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 
512 MB RAM
1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 
512 MB RAM
Dimensions 
(no antennas)
10.4 x 10.4 x 2.9 in 
(26.4 x 26.4x 7.4 cm)
8.3 × 8.3 × 2.0 in
(21.2 × 21.2 × 5.18 cm)
10.56 x 7.08 x 6.53 in
(26.8 x 18 x 16 cm)
11.61 x 7.87 x 2.51 in 
(29.5 x 20 x 6.4 cm)
10.83 x 7.26 x 6.5 in
(27.5 x 18.4 x 16.5 cm) 
Weight 5.3 lbs (2.4kg) 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) 1.55 lbs (701.3 g) 1.32 lb (.6 kg) 1.63 lbs (740 g)
Price
(at launch)
$699 $249.99 $250 $300 $230
Best gaming routers: Hardware specifications