The right router can significantly improve your gaming performance, and we’ve chosen the best contenders for casual to hardcore players.

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Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

If you spend a lot of time playing the hottest games online, you’re bound to run into some network connectivity issues now and then. You could experience the frustrating lag that comes with a slow or weak wireless connection, or you could be booted from your favorite game just as you’re winning, causing a stain on your otherwise impeccable win record and leaving you red in the face. 

If you already have high-speed internet, chances are you’ve experienced one or both of these situations in the past, frustrating as they may be. The truth is, unless you’re typically playing with a wired LAN connection, they’re almost inevitable. Online game sessions will drop. You will experience lag. It can be maddening, that’s for sure.

But you don’t have to. Today’s gaming-centric routers offer power, convenience, and quality in relatively inexpensive packages. You can have the best of the best for only a couple hundred dollars, which is far cheaper than the hardware needed to run said games. A router can make all the difference when it comes to an impressive Call of Duty kill/death ratio, and it could keep you in the running far longer in your favorite online tournament. It can be difficult to navigate the numerous routers out there, especially if you’re used to whatever your ISP saddles you with during your first install. 

No worries – we’ve selected seven of the best gaming routers out on the market to make things simple. No matter your budget, whether you don’t want to miss a second of the action in Fortnite or simply want stronger wireless signal all around the house, these gaming routers will boost your gaming experience significantly. Soon, the only thing that’ll be holding you back are your own personal shortcomings. 


Infinitely customizable via Netduma OS • Unwaveringly fast wireless speeds • Low-profile design

Pricey when purchased at retail • Fewer LAN ports for direct connectivity

For a boost in performance, the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is our top pick.

When it comes to lavish, feature-rich routers, most gamers will be looking for a blend of up-and-coming tech, an attractive aesthetic, and ease of use in addition to great network performance. That killer combination makes the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 an easy recommendation, especially as it ticks off all the boxes necessary to give any network connection some much-needed oomph. The sleek, understated router has an economic form factor with an abundance of power packed neatly into its smaller body, including its Netduma OS software that allows for pitch-perfect setup. 
It also includes Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) to help lessen network congestion and noise, so when you fire a bullet in games like Fortnite or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, it’ll end up exactly where it’s supposed to, with as little lag as possible. It does cut down on the LAN ports available on the unit in comparison to the other fancier routers on the market, but what it lacks in direct connectivity options, it more than makes up for in speed and software customization. If you need an edge in your favorite Battle Royale title or just a boost in performance, the understated Nighthawk is a fantastic overall choice – you certainly get what you pay for here. 
Amazon customer writes:

“Prior to buying the XR500 I’d owned a budget Asus Router. That little router served me well for many years but it always ran really hot and we finally had to retire it. We recently moved to a much larger house than we had been in about 2700 Sq. Ft. from 1400 Sq. Ft. and in addition purchased several 4K TV’s which we didn’t have before. We noticed a lot of buffering issues and sometimes simple stuff just wouldn’t load at all. We also had low signal strength upstairs which I believe was part of the issue. Although even over Ethernet on a 300Mbps connections we’d have issues. I read some things online stating that some older routers may have trouble with the added bandwidth 4K brings as well.As a gamer I always enjoy getting the best hardware I can for my budget. Seeing as how my router is the backbone of just about everything I do I wanted to invest in it. So far absolutely no regrets. Haven’t had one hiccup yet. I have full signal strength throughout my entire home and beyond and have not noticed any drop outs which were happening frequently prior. I haven’t come anywhere close to playing with all the settings haha but I’ll have some fun with that one of these days. I just hope it lasts a very long time because I’m very happy with this Router. Way to go Netgear!”


Powerful quad-core processor • Lag-free gaming • Extravagant speeds

Extremely large • Exorbitantly expensive

If you don’t mind the splurge, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 lets you enjoy the best connection possible.

2. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

It offers one of the fastest, lag-free speeds out there, but with a hefty price tag.

  • Speed:
    AC5300
  • Processor:
    Quad-core 1.8GHz
  • Features:
    WTFast features, gaming-centric software, ping tracking
This extravagant router is one of the priciest options out on the market, but it’s also one of the best. You can tell it means business by its sturdy build quality and eye-catching design as well as its massive size. But it’s not all for show. This extraordinary router sports a somewhat ridiculous look, but it’s right on the money when it comes to ensuring you have the best possible connection while gaming only. 
With a whopping eight antennas and a quad-core processor backing things up, it offers a highly customizable backend, network ping tracking, and some of the fastest, lag-free speeds you’ll ever get from a wireless connection short of opting for industrial-grade equipment. It’s the priciest router on this list, but if you don’t mind its massive size and dropping a massive amount of money on your consumer electronics, this is one splurge that’s absolutely worth picking up. 
Amazon customer writes:

“This is the one to get. It’s definitely priced like a flagship router, but it comes with a ton of features for pro users and anyone who wants very granular control over their home network. It is one of the few routers that comes with 8 LAN ports, so if you have a lot of wired devices, then it is a huge plus. Because this is a high-end router, it also has a very large footprint, but you can’t get away from that, regardless of brand or model. It’s one of the more “normal” looking routers, considering how the trend nowadays seems to be to make a router look as much as a UFO as possible.”


5GHz speed • Attractive design • Killer Prioritization Engine for use with Killer networking cards

Simple interface with little customization • Customers report problems with customer service

With the Linksys WRT32X, you get exceptional performance without breaking the bank.

3. Linksys WRT32X

Great wireless performance for less.

  • Speed:
    AC3200
  • Processor:
    Dual-core 1.8GHz
  • Features:
    Detachable antennas, four gigabit LAN ports, beam forming, MU-MIMO
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for great wireless performance, and the Linksys WRT32X proves it. You get familiar Linksys performance at a low price with a wide variety of features and enhancements with this particular model, which is extremely impressive. 
While you may be stuck in the mindset that Linksys is responsible only for some of the most dull, lifeless pieces of tech out there, you’ll shed that way of thinking after experiencing this router’s beam forming abilities, prioritization of network traffic, and formidable 1.8GHz processor. It may look like a “typical” router, but it’s really anything but. 
Amazon customer writes:

“So bottom line, is this a good router for the money or not? If you are a gamer, unequivocally I can say yes that it is. It most certainly is a excellent router overall and specific to gaming probably one of the best, if not the best. I would not hesitate to strongly recommend it to any gamer out there that is looking for the best that you can put on your network. It is worth it to me for two primary reasons: first, the wifi range is extraordinary, secondly, it very low latency. The elegant and awesome interface is also a nice bonus as well. Now, this router’s marketing is aimed toward gamers and I know many of you out there are, if you are like me, highly skeptical when you see this type of marketing. You may think that it is just marketing talk to sell an expensive, overpriced router but I can assure you that it is not. This router will lower your ping times and do everything your router needs to do whether you are gaming or just surfing. It’s especially appealing for those of us who have larger homes and need wide wi-fi coverage. I have even noted that the 5ghz network extends far wider as well so that is something to take into consideration. If you are a gamer that is looking for high quality router that will be easy to setup, has a fantastic interface, give you no problems with your gaming devices, run smoothly in games and will give you really great wi-fi coverage then this is the router you are looking for. I’m not sure I can recommend this as easily to folks if you’re not a gamer because there may be other options that would work for you at a lower price but I can safely say that if you do buy this even if you are not a gamer you will not regret it once you have it up and running. The ease at which you can admin your network will be an ongoing thing of beauty that you will not regret. And also note that even if you’re not a gamer having very fast ping times can make a difference in your everyday internet life.”


Affordable • Eye-catching design

Web app can be finicky • No USB ports

If you’re looking for speed without all the bells and whistles, this is an excellent choice.

4. D-Link DIR-879 EXO

  • Speed:
    AC1900
  • Processor:
    Dual-core 1GHz
  • Features:
    Interesting orange gloss design, four antennas
The D-Link DIR-879 looks like something out of No Man’s Sky, and is one of the more attractive routers on our list. This is a great router for those looking for Wireless AC and decent performance on a budget. The DIR-879 might be the best at anything, but it has features that usually command a premium in other routers.
If I was looking to upgrade or install wi-fi capabilities for a family member the DIR-879 would definitely be among my first choices. It’s simple, has decent coverage, and is small enough to hide away out of sight for those who aren’t fond of another box sitting around (this one’s for you, grandma). 
Amazon customer writes:

“The install was the easiest, almost completely self-configuring router install I’ve ever done. I unplugged the old one, hooked the ethernet cables and power line into the back and turned it on. No software to install.. I was able to stream video in HD on my notoriously slow Nook HD+ tablet while downloading email on my phone, and still images faster than I’ve seen at home before. Overall it is incredibly fast over WiFi and even faster through the ethernet cables. I also like that there is a power switch to shut it down when not in use. There are nice screw-holes on the bottom for wall mounting, another big plus and they even include the screws! It’s got a bold, game-boy styling, but this old-school guy can learn to love it since it performs so well!”


High performance • Great web interface

Not supported by custom firmware

Its specs and interface will impress power users looking for an affordable package.

5. ASUS RT-AC68U

  • Speed:
    2167Mbps/1000Mbps
  • Processor:
    Dual-core 1.4GHz
  • Features:
    Four antennas, NitroQAM capabilities, adaptable firmware, understated design
The ASUS RT-AC68U is a highly capable router that give high performance in a relatively low-cost form. When this router first came out it was on the expensive side, but as time has passed it’s come down in price while its specs have remained impressive.
One of the best aspects of the RT-AC68U is the web app which is actually quite useful and feature-packed. Unlike many router manufacturers, ASUS has aimed this interface towards power-users. It’s a good thing too, because one of the drawbacks of this device is that it’s not supported by LEDE, Tomato, or other custom firmwares.
Amazon customer writes:

“On powering up and connecting to this Asus the setup was so easy it was amazing with the wizard. I was online in seconds. The interface was amazing… Wow. The feature set was so in depth and so well done that this was like router Eden. Graphics, Data, Stats galore. Instant salivation for anyone with an appreciation and knowledge on 802.11. They should have code named this router the ASUS PAVLOV… All that is great but if it doesn’t work, or drops it’s just a piece of pretty junk. Guess what. It’s got it where it counts too… Signal strength around the house is stronger than ever. Speeds on all clients are crazy fast. Stability on 2.4 *AND* 5ghz is what it should be. I mean wow. where has this router been all my life?? The router has a cpu graph for the dual core cpus in the interface and its barely breathing handling the traffic- even with all the bells and whistles turned on collecting traffic, stats and web history from clients!”


Fast Wi-Fi • Feature-packed

Not the most beautiful device • A tad expensive

If you’re looking for great range and Alexa capabilities, this is the router for you.

6. TP-Link Archer AC5400

  • Speed:
    2167Mbps/1000Mbps
  • Processor:
    Dual-core 1.4GHz
  • Features:
    Alexa support, mesh wi-fi support, old-school aesthetic, four gigabit LAN ports
If you’re looking for high-performance, the TP-Link Archer AC5400 has you covered. This router has all the bells and whistles, including Alexa and IFTTT compatibility, and has some of the fastest Wi-Fi speeds on the market. 
The only downside to this router is that it’s a bit ugly. It looks like you slapped a robot spider on its back and its eight little legs are just sticking in the air – that’s a fair assessment. However, that’s a small price to pay for great range as well as awesome Wi-Fi download and upload speeds. 
Amazon customer writes:

“Very easy setup. Plug it in, get the app going on your phone, sync up, and voila, you’ve got a signal…. [The] speed is FAST. I’ve had several routers that couldn’t get past the 50mbps to save your life. This baby shoots past that and doesn’t look back. I’ve gotten to my max of 100mbps throughout my house, and usually average around 80mbps, which I blame more on my provider than the router (because I get the same with direct connection)… Visually pleasing. Doesn’t LOOK like a router, and actually stands out as a decoration. Routers always have that ‘techy’ look, whereas this one stands out as more of an interesting piece in the room.”


Affordable for what you get • Fast speeds and plenty of features

Web app tends to hide some important settings

This router offers premium performance for an attractive price.

7. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600

  • Speed:
    2167Mbps/800Mbps
  • Processor:
    Dual-core 1.7GHz
  • Features:
    MU-MIMO support, traffic analysis software
If you’re looking to future-proof for MU-MIMO support, the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC 2600 is a high-performance device without the cost of some of the other entries in our list. This premium router is feature-packed, but doesn’t cost quite as much as the TP-Link Archer AC5400. You still get most of the bells and whistles that you do with that model, with a much sleeker design.
MU-MIMO still isn’t quite where we hoped it would be by now, though, and the Z2 suffers from a web app that tends to hide more advanced settings. However, this is a great premium router if you’re looking for something with great speeds and futuristic aesthetic.
Amazon customer writes:

“For the price of a more popular brand entry-level router, this router offers the kind of premium performance you’d expect from a premium router from one of the big brands. Field strength and throughput are outstanding, and it’s even fun to watch the field strength rise as you connect on either band and watch the beamforming algorithms focus on wherever your laptop is sitting… Initial firmware update was easy, and the admin interface is both intuitive (especially the easy mode and setup wizard) and very comprehensive (advanced mode). Just the way this thing is built is confidence inspiring; slightly large-ish, but plenty of clearance providing adequate cooling for generously sized heat sinks inside. The four antenna array provides plenty of radiation pattern adjustment (again, i like to measure field strengths quantitatively) and in practice, everyone is happy with the actual throughput they’re achieving, especially with multiple people streaming content in a challenging to cover 3 story townhome… There are nice touches like being able to switch off the status lights (this router sits in a home office that serves as a guest room about 1% of the time). Everything on this router just works as expected. If you don’t mind owning a brand that’s better known in Europe, this router is a gr8 deal, imho.”

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