Modern game design technology has made it so video games have better graphics and animation than they’ve ever had. But all those cool special effects come at a cost. Both your computer and your internet have to work extra hard to support such elaborate games. It’s always frustrating when you’re at a high point in the game and the internet decides to crash. Buying a good video game router could make your games run smoother, which will help your rankings skyrocket, your scores improve, and your win streak never end.
The best gaming router will have a high bandwidth, dual or triple band connections, extra ethernet ports, support high internet speeds, and have a large signal range. A high-quality router will ensure a stable, strong connection and be able to handle simultaneous heavy usage.
That is, after all, the whole purpose of the gaming router. More efficient internet usage means better connection and support during a game. In the rest of this article, we’ll go into more detail about how to choose a gaming router, as well as give you a list of our favorites so you can get an idea of which gaming router will work best for you.
What Makes Gaming Routers Different?
You’ve probably heard of a standard router before. They’re necessary for channeling or “routing” the internet connection to your devices. That’s pretty much all they do. They can do this wirelessly or through ethernet cables, but that’s the cap on the variety with regular routers.
Gaming routers are very different. They not only direct the Wi-Fi to devices, but they prioritize what that connection is used for. Because their purpose is more specialized than the standard router, they have more features that set them apart, and therefore more features for you to consider when buying one.
Many people, even experienced gamers, have never heard of gaming routers. If you’re one of those who experience a lot of crashes or lagging in your games, you might be interested in what a gaming router can do for you. Here are some of the advantages of gaming routers over regular ones:
- As the name implies, they work better with video games than normal routers
- Internet speeds are better and more responsive
- Gaming routers have better hardware
- They support graphics and audio better than standard routers
- Very little data is lost
- More devices can be plugged in at once
- Superior security
- Gaming routers use QoS to be more efficient
- They have a better range of WiFi
- Some gaming routers come with parental control options
To summarize, gaming routers outdo standard routers in just about every way. With one of these bad boys, you can be confident your games will run more smoothly with fewer interruptions. But which one offers the benefits and features that you need the most?
Next, we’ll talk about what makes a good gaming router. There are many factors to consider, so you might want to pull out a notepad and jot a few things down. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what your needs are and which router will satisfy them best.
How To Choose a Gaming Router
Your games keep lagging, buffering, and crashing. That’s why you’re here. You want a faster, more efficient, more reliable network connection to support your gaming needs. Gaming routers have what you need!
As you’re considering the following factors, remember to keep in mind how many devices you have connected to your internet. It would also be good to know how fast your internet is, and how big of a space the router is supporting. All of these variables are unique to you and your situation, so they will be some of the biggest influencers of your decision.
The following are other factors to consider when purchasing a new gaming router:
Gaming Support Features
Some standard routers may come with some of these advanced features, but they’re not as efficient, nor are they specifically designed to optimize gaming. Gaming routers are superior in almost every way and will provide you with several features that will make gaming less frustrating.
- Bandwidth | You should consider both the amount of bandwidth you have with your current setup at any given time and how easily the router in question allows you to customize bandwidth efficiency. Most gaming routers do an excellent job of this, but there is some variety, so it is something to keep in mind.
- Quality of Service | QoS features vary from router to router. They are the features that help you, the user, determine how well the router’s hardware smoothes out those game interruptions. These are the features that allow for customization of where your internet focuses its attention.
- Hardware | If you’re looking for a wide range of Wi-Fi, hardware is really what you want to look at. The more advanced the hardware, the better connectivity and speed your internet will have. Better hardware also means a more responsive and higher-performing router, and therefore internet connection.
These are the features directly related to supporting your game quality. Bandwidth, QoS, and hardware do most of the work to make your gaming experience clear, smooth, and carefree. Other factors to consider are features available in any standard router, but they tend to be offered in higher quality or at a higher functioning capacity in gaming routers.
An important factor to consider is that not every router will work with the internet you have. You’ll need to do some simple research to find out whether a certain router is compatible with your internet service provider, and you don’t want to buy the router and not have it work with your modem.
Compatibility likely will depend on whether your ISP modem has pass-through connectivity. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to pair your new router to it. If your modem does have pass-through connectivity, there is a higher chance your new gaming router will be compatible.
The farther your WiFi spreads, the better. That way you can enjoy some high-quality game time while your spouse watches Netflix on the other side of the house. The router you buy needs to have the Wi-Fi range and quality you need–that’s where the size of your house comes in.
Many gaming routers have superior wireless standards and use tri-band wireless networking. That means your gaming router can emit wireless signals on three frequencies at once. More frequencies equal more coverage in more places. Gaming routers are top-notch as far as WiFi range goes.
Number of Devices Connected at Once
There’s a reason we told you to consider the number of devices you’ll have connected to the WiFi. On any router, there will be a few ports where you can plug in ethernet cables. These cables are the preferred method for getting a strong, constant internet connection.
On a gaming router, there are many more ports for ethernet cables. The number of devices you can connect via cable just went up! So really, how many devices do you want to connect at once? There’s probably a gaming router that can handle that many plus more!
Top 5 Gaming Routers
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing a good gaming router–we haven’t even listed them all here! What we have listed are some of the most important considerations, however, so you’ll be able to make an informed choice of a gaming router.
Are you ready to say goodbye to notifications about a slow or faulty wireless connection? So are we. Let’s get into the fun bit then. We’re going to introduce you to each of the top five routers for gamers. These are made by various companies, and come with different specs, so you’ll want to keep in mind what we’ve discussed above.
To compile this list, we’re using a combination of Tom’s Guide and PC Laptops webpages. Both lists have the same routers, but in a different order, which is a great reminder that a lot of what makes a router “great” depends largely on the personal opinion of the user. That said, this is a list of the top gaming routers and a compilation of their specs to help you decide which one is best for you:
- Asus RT-AX86U | This is what Tom’s Guide considers the best gaming router overall. It uses WiFi 6, dual-band WiFi, has three removable antennas, includes 8 ports for different purposes, and is about 9.0 x 6.7 x 3.1 inches in size. You can find these routers for $330 on Amazon.
- TP-Link Archer C5400X | If you’re looking for a completely wireless router, the TP-Link Archer C5400X is the router for you. It uses 802.11ac and tri-band WiFi, has 8 non-removable antennas, 11 multi-use ports, and is 11.2 x 11.2 x 7.6 inches in size. The performance quality of this router isn’t as good, so it’s cheaper at $200.
- Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 | This router also uses WiFi 6/dual-band WiFi like the RT-AX86U, but it only has 4 removable antennas. It includes just 4 ports, so for those of you wanting to use many devices, this one might not work. It sits at 11.6 x 7.9 x 2.5 inches in size and $330 in price.
- Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 | Also using 802.11ac/Tri-Band Wi-Fi, the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a great wireless router. It includes 8 removable antennas and 8 ports. These are smaller than the other wireless routers at 9.4 x 9.4 x 2.8 inches. They cost $438 on Amazon these days.
- Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) | These babies use WiFi 6 as well, which is also known as AX6000, but this uses Tr-Band Wi-Fi to reach farther in your home. It has 8 non-removable antennas and 9 ports. It’s in the middle ground where size is concerned at 10.0 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches. Find it on Amazon for $296.
And there you have it folks: the top 5 gaming routers on the market as of 2021. Certain specs may be more or less appealing to you. For instance, removable antennas might not matter if you have a nice open place to store the router that is near your computer, but it would be handy to adjust or remove those jagged antennas if you need to.
Another factor to consider is size. If you have the space, the bigger routers will work just fine, but you might live in a college dorm or apartment where space is limited. That’s when you’ll want a smaller router.
And of course, the Wi-Fi capabilities and number of ports are important factors too. They are what will determine how many people can use your Wi-Fi at once, and how well the Wi-Fi holds up under a lot of use, such as when you’re playing a particularly large game.
Which Gaming Router Is Right for You?
Hopefully, we’ve been able to give you enough information to make a good decision on which gaming router to buy. Stalled games are irritating, you don’t need to tell us. With a new gaming router, you’ll be able to route your Wi-Fi only to the systems that need it the most, which will help your games run much smoother.
Remember, the first things you need to consider when choosing a router are:
- How many devices will be using the internet
- How fast your internet is already
- How big your house/apartment is
If you keep those parameters in mind, finding the right router will be much easier. You’ll also want to pay special attention to the compatibility and Wi-Fi capabilities of each router you look at. Quality of service specs is also important to consider when buying a gaming router.
There are a lot of great games out there. Whether you are into Fortnite, Rocket League, or Call of Duty, a faulty Wi-Fi connection can make a bad round even worse. Save yourself the frustration of lags and buffering and replace your standard router with one designed specifically for gamers like you.