The 9 Best Asus Routers of 2021

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The Rundown
Best Overall:
Asus RT-AX88U at Amazon
"Offers the best balance of price, performance, versatility, and range that you'll find in a modern router."
"An affordable way to dip your feet into the world of Wi-Fi 6 technology."
Best Splurge:
Asus RT-AX89X at Amazon
"Excellent Wi-Fi 6 support and 10Gbps WAN ports make this a top performer. "
"Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 in an extremely versatile and holistic mesh system. "
Best for Gaming:
Asus GT-AX11000 at Amazon
"The most powerful gaming router on the market right now, with a wealth of optimization features to ensure your games run fast."
"A great pick for anybody looking for a high-performance router for sharing media and streaming Netflix in 4K. "
Best for Smart Homes:
Asus RT-AC88U at Walmart
"Support for Alexa and IFTTT integration makes this router a perfect fit in any smart home."
Best Under $50:
Asus RT-N12 at Amazon
"Allows you to set up to four SSIDs to easily manage security and bandwidth requirements."
"Has such a unique design that you'll forget it's a router."

Asus is known for making highly versatile routers that punch well above their weight class when it comes to everything from range and performance to sophisticated features and versatility. The best Asus routers to offer up to 5,000 square feet of coverage and top-notch speeds, and the company has eagerly embraced technologies like tri-band Wi-Fi 6 and mesh wireless across its entire modern lineup. 

Thanks to the inception of its Republic of Gamers (ROG) product line back in 2006, Asus also makes some of the best gaming routers on the market, packing in powerful multi-core CPUs that all but eliminate network latency, plus a wealth of other game optimization features. This expertise spills over into all of its routers, however, since any company that can build a router to meet the demands of high-octane gamers can easily tackle things like streaming, video calling, and security. 

The best Asus routers also include AiProtection by Trend Micro built right in with no subscription fees required. This gives you everything you need right out of the box to protect your network from malware and keep your kids safe online. AiMesh technology across almost all of its routers also you mix and match any combination of Asus router models to ensure your whole home is bathed in strong wireless coverage. With their versatility and open access to tweak every network feature imaginable, Asus’ routers make especially great picks for anybody who wants to make sure that they’ll be able to configure their router to work how they want it to.

Best Overall: Asus RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus Dual Band AX6000 Smart Wi-Fi Router
What We Like
  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 support

  • Excellent performance

  • Eight LAN ports

What We Don't Like
  • Only Dual-Band Wi-Fi

  • Pricey

It can be challenging to find a router that strikes the perfect balance of price, performance, versatility, and range, but we think that Asus’ RT-AX88U nails it on all four counts, making it easily our top pick for the brand. While some of Asus’ other routers may excel in specific areas like gaming or range, typical users will be thrilled with what the RT-AX88U offers.

Packing in the latest 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 technology, the AX88U offers up to 6Gbps of bandwidth across all channels, plus a staggering 5,000 square feet of coverage, making it a great choice for even the largest homes. Thanks to its four powerful beamforming antennas and 4x4 MU-MIMO support, it can easily handle the needs of a busy family with multiple users streaming in 4K and gaming without slowing each other down. 

Around back, the RT-AX88U packs in a whopping eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, so you’ll have plenty of room to hardwire in those devices that either lack wireless or simply need maximum performance. It also includes AiProtection by Trend Micro to help protect you from online threats—with no ongoing subscription required. 

"I was able to stream high definition Netflix to two televisions on my network while someone else was gaming, and various other phones and tablets were in use without any stuttering or slowdown." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Best Value: Asus RT-AX55 AX1800 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus RT-AX55U
What We Like
  • Affordable Wi-Fi 6 technology

  • AiMesh support

  • Smaller footprint

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks USB ports

  • Middling 2.4GHz performance

Asus’ RT-AX55 is a great way to dip your foot into the world of Wi-Fi 6 technology without breaking the bank. It’s an especially great choice for users in medium-sized homes who don’t have many devices making demands on internet bandwidth and aren’t looking for advanced features. 

That doesn’t mean it can’t handle a busy household, of course, since OFDMA and MU-MIMO support still makes sure that every one of your devices gets its fair share of bandwidth without slowing each other down. However, its AX1800 rating means that you’re only going to have about 1.8Gbps to share around your home—574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1.2Gbps on the 5GHz side. That’s still more than enough for a couple of devices to enjoy 4K streaming and online gaming.

While the RT-AX55 supports all of Asus’ standard AiProtection and AiMesh features, it’s a fairly spartan router by Asus’ usual standards. Instead, Asus has gotten down to the core basics here to provide an affordable Wi-Fi 6 router for users who don’t need advanced features like USB ports, wider 160MHz channel support, or game traffic optimization. On the upside, however, it does support Asus’ AiMesh technology, making it a great companion to a more powerful Asus router for those looking to expand their network coverage. 

Best Splurge: Asus RT-AX89X 12-stream AX6000 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus RT-AX89X
What We Like
  • Dual 10Gbps Network Ports

  • Unique Design

  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky design

  • Internal fan

If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi router that pulls out all the stops, then Asus’ RT-AX89X is the one to get. While it doesn’t come cheap, the higher price tag is easily justified if you need a router that will be able to handle the busiest homes and fastest internet plans without skipping a beat.

Make no mistake, the RT-AX89X is a beast of a router, even by Asus’ usual standards, and the design may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to argue that it will make its presence known. The RT-AX89X is one of the most capable Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market today, with an array of eight powerful antennas delivering ultra-fast wireless speeds that can easily reach gigabit levels at close range. 

The RT-AX89X also packs in an absolutely staggering collection of ports around the edges. There’s a pair of 10Gbps Ethernet and SFP+ ports—a rare inclusion on home routers that will have you more than ready for the fastest internet plans. These are joined by a whopping eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, and no less than two 5Gbps USB 3.2 ports. That said, the RT-AX89U is a dual-band router, not tri-band, so even though it supports Asus’ AiMesh technology, we wouldn’t recommend it for a wireless mesh system. You can, however, use the 10Gbps ports to link two or more of them around your home in a wired configuration to create an insanely high-performance Wi-Fi network. 

Best Mesh: Asus ZenWiFi XT8 AX6600 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System

Asus ZenWiFi XT8
What We Like
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi 6

  • Excellent coverage

  • Very versatile

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced settings can be confusing

Even though almost all of Asus’ routers support its AiMesh technology, the ZenWifi XT8 represents the router maker’s more holistic approach to mesh networking. It’s a system that’s expressly designed with units that work together to become greater than the sum of its parts. 

While many mesh Wi-Fi systems focus on dumbing down the user experience, the ZenWifi XT8 is one of the most advanced and highly configurable solutions we’ve yet seen. It’s a move that’s not surprising for Asus, with its reputation for versatility, but it’s still not common among mesh systems. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that the XT8 is hard to set up, but power users will love the ability to dig down beneath the configuration wizards and tweak this system to their heart’s content. 

The system supports tri-band Wi-Fi 6, with each unit delivering 2,750 square feet of coverage. This means that you could cover an 8,000 square foot home with three units. Plus, the system still supports Asus’ AiMesh technology, so you can also add just about any other Asus router into the mix. Best of all, Asus’ penchant for configurability means you get to decide how to use your Wi-Fi bands, rather than forcing the router to do it for you. 

"After going through a few routers before the ASUS ZenWifi, setting up the ZenWifi was a refreshing, simple experience." Rebecca Isaacs, Product Tester

Best for Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
What We Like
  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 support

  • Extremely fast performance

  • Cutting-edge gaming features

What We Don't Like
  • Large footprint

  • Expensive

  • User interface can be a bit daunting

Asus’ GT-AX11000 is the most powerful gaming router on the market right now, packing in the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies with combined wireless throughput of up to 10Gbps thanks to its tri-band wireless.

Each of the two 5GHz bands offers 4.8Gbps of bandwidth, with advanced band steering features that will let you keep your gaming PC on a separate channel to avoid being dragged down by other 5GHz devices on your network. The eight beamforming antennas can also push out a strong enough signal to cover a 5,000 square foot home. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports around the back are joined by a special 2.5Gbps gaming port, so you can also hardwire your rig in for maximum performance. 

Where the GT-AX11000 really shines, however, is in the high-performance quad-core CPU that powers its gaming optimization features. There’s full VPN support, including Asus’ VPN Fusion feature to keep your VPN up while gaming without slowing things down, along with dynamic game-focused QoS to prioritize your gaming traffic, and the WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN) to make sure it always goes to the fastest game servers. The ROG Game Dashboard adds other gamer-centric features like Game Boost, Game IPS security, and route-optimized low latency servers on the GPN so you'll enjoy lag-free gaming.

"On the few occasions, I was able to claw back some free time for gaming, I was impressed by the built-in gamer-centric quality of service (QoS) features." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Best for Streaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Gaming Router

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Gaming Router
What We Like
  • Eight Gigabit Ethernet ports

  • Two USB 3.0 ports

  • Gamers Private Network

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Large footprint

Although Asus’ GT-AC5300 is billed as a gaming router—and it’s definitely great for that too—the high-performance tri-band Wi-Fi makes it a top pick for anybody looking for a high-performance router for their household internet activities. 

Dual 5GHz bands and a single 2.4GHz band offer combined throughput of 5,334Mbps, while MU-MIMO and beamforming antennas make sure that all of your devices get maximum bandwidth. As our testing determined, the result is speedy and solid network performance for smooth Netflix 4K streaming throughout your home, even when someone else is gaming at the same time. 

EightGigabit Ethernet ports around the back offer plenty of wired connectivity options, and two USB 3.0 ports will let you wire up external hard drives to share your media using the built-in DLNA server. As with most other Asus routers, you also get AiProtection powered by Trend Micro to protect you against malware and other internet threats, built-in VPN support, and a whole slew of advanced configuration options so power users can tweak wireless performance and other settings. 

"You essentially have a dedicated gaming Wi-Fi router combined with the bandwidth you want to support other activities like streaming 4K content." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best for Smart Homes: Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Gaming Router

Asus RT-AC88U Wi-Fi Router
What We Like
  • Great Wi-Fi 5 performance

  • Alexa and IFTTT support

  • Very configurable

What We Don't Like
  • Below average range

While it’s not up to the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, Asus’ RT-AC88U is still a solid and well-rounded router that packs in some pretty cool features at an affordable price, and enough performance and range for even a larger home. Dual-band Wi-Fi supporting the 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 standard delivered speeds of up to 2.1Gbps on the single 5GHz band, plus 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz side. 

The four powerful beamforming antennas and MU-MIMO technology not only help it to deliver impressive range, but it’s also able to easily handle the streaming, gaming, and video calling needs of a dozen or more devices without breaking a sweat. You’ll also find an impressive eight Gigabit Ethernet ports around back, so there’s plenty of room to hardwire in.

The RT-AC88U makes a great choice for smart homes with its integration with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, which lets you control router settings with your voice and even tie it into your home automation routines. There’s even built-in support for Apple’s Time Machine backup feature, so Mac users can connect an external hard drive to the USB 3.0 port and keep every MacBook in your home backed up wirelessly. 

"A perfect fit in any smart home, allowing you to set up automated programs with a variety of smart devices." — Bill Thomas, Product Tester

Best Under $50: Asus RT-N12 N300 Wi-Fi Router

ASUS
What We Like
  • Supports up to four separate SSIDs

  • Can be used as a Wi-Fi extender

  • Very affordable

What We Don't Like
  • No 5GHz support

  • Limited range

  • No Gigabit Ethernet ports

One of the great things about Asus is that the company still continues to manufacture and support many of its older, lower-cost routers, so if you’re looking for something really affordable for a small office, condo, or even just the cottage, the RT-N12 makes an especially great pick.

While you’re not going to get the latest dual-band Wi-Fi technologies at this price, the N12 does offer fast 300Mbps throughput on the 2.4GHz band, which should be more than ample for the surfing, streaming, and video calling needs of a single user or a small family. More importantly, however, it can also be used as a Wi-Fi extender in either wired or wireless mode, so it’s a really affordable way to augment your main router and bring wireless access into more areas of your home. 

The RT-N12 also has another interesting trick up its sleeve. You can configure up to four separate SSIDs with dynamic bandwidth management on each one—something that’s almost unheard of in a router in this price range. This lets you set up multiple networks for visitors, guests, or even just to provide more controlled access for your kids, while also making sure you reserve enough bandwidth to deliver 4K streaming to your smart TV.

Best Design: Asus Blue Cave Dual-Band Wireless Router

What We Like
  • Nice, unique aesthetic

  • Smart home features

  • Highly configurable

What We Don't Like
  • Slow storage speeds

  • Design isn't for everyone

If you’re looking for something eclectic in a Wi-Fi router, then Asus’ Blue Cave makes for a very intriguing pick. Unlike most Asus routers, which generally look like something out of a Syd Mead exhibit, the Blue Cave is designed to be a conversation piece that could fit right into your home decor. The big hole in the middle creates a unique look, and as an added bonus, it can be set to glow different shades of blue as the router does its thing.

Don’t let its aesthetics fool you, though, as this little box is a surprisingly capable router in its class. It offers up pretty impressive performance and range when you consider that it doesn’t have a single antenna protruding in any direction. It also delivers powerful AC2600 dual-band Wi-Fi, reaching speeds of up to 1,733Mbps on the 5GHz channel, plus the typical set of four Gigabit Ethernet ports around the back, plus a single USB 3.0 port for sharing a hard drive or printer.

It’s also a cinch to set up thanks to an Asus smartphone app, while also including integration with Amazon Alexa and Asus’ AiProtection security suite to keep your home network protected from malware and your kids away from darker corners of the internet. Not only that, but it also supports the same AiMesh technology as other Asus routers. This makes it a great way to extend your network from one of Asus’ bigger and bolder routers tucked away in your basement or home office. 

Final Verdict

The RT-AX88U hits the sweet spot for range, performance, features, and price, making it the best Asus router for most people. If you’re looking to get into Wi-Fi 6 on a budget, however, the RT-AX55 makes a great way to get your feet wet without breaking the bank. 

About Our Trusted Experts

Jesse Hollington is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing about technology and three decades of experience in information technology and networking. He's installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender in places ranging from single-family dwellings to office buildings. university campuses, and even coast-to-coast wide-area network (WAN) deployments.

Jeremy Laukkonen is an experienced tech journalist with a background in automotive repair that has taught him the importance of breaking down complex technical subjects in understandable ways. He specializes in VPNs, antivirus, and home electronics, and manages his own automotive blog on the side.

Yoona Wagener has a background in content and technical writing. She has written for BigTime Software, Idealist Careers, and other small tech companies. Yoona enjoys helping people simplify processes. She has experience providing technical support and help documentation to end users, building websites for small business owners, and offering career advice to social-impact job seekers.

Bill Thomas is a Denver-based freelance writer who covers technology, music, film, and gaming. They began writing for Lifewire in January 2018, but you can also find their work on TechRadar. Bill has also worked as an editor at Future.

Rebecca Isaacs has been writing for Lifewire since 2019, specializing in consumer tech, games, and networking.

FAQs

Should I buy a Wi-Fi 6 router?
For most people, there’s likely no need to rush out and replace your current router with a Wi-Fi 6 version just yet, as relatively few devices support this newest standard. However, if you’re in the market for a new router, we’d recommend taking the plunge into Wi-Fi 6, since it’s going to be the way ahead for new devices. It’s already supported in all of Apple’s newest iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, along with Samsung’s flagship smartphones and Sony’s PlayStation 5, and in these cases, you’ll get better performance—especially on busy networks—and even improved the battery life on your mobile devices. 

What are the advantages of a Gaming Router?
While almost any high-performance router will do just fine for streaming and video calling, gaming requires a different kind of network performance known as low latency. Even today’s fast-paced online games don’t need nearly the same bandwidth as 4K streaming, but they do require a router that can process all the back-and-forth traffic that passes between the gamer and game servers without delay. Gaming routers pack in powerful CPUs that make sure your games run lag-free, so you won’t find your games stalling just as you’re about to make those critical shots. 

How many Ethernet ports do I need?
Wi-Fi technology has come a long way in recent years, so you may find that there’s far less of a need to hardwire devices into your router. While devices that don’t include Wi-Fi, like desktop PCs, will naturally need to be plugged in, you’ll likely find that game consoles, smart TVs, and laptops will do just fine on Wi-Fi, as long as you have a router that offers the range and bandwidth that you need. Most routers include at least four Ethernet ports, but you’ll find some of the best Asus routers actually push that up to eight. Just make sure they’re Gigabit Ethernet ports, as all but the most budget class routers will offer better Wi-Fi performance than mere Fast Ethernet ports.

What to Look for in an Asus Router

Range - The worst discovery is purchasing a top-of-the-line router only to find out that it can’t adequately cover your property. Blazing-fast speeds are great, but if your router can’t provide Wi-Fi to your entire home, there might not be a point. Ensure that the router can cover the proper square footage needed.

Speed - Are you sending emails, playing video games, or streaming videos? Not everyone’s needs require routers with rocket-fast speeds so consider how you use your internet before purchasing. AC routers are currently the fastest available option, but those who aren’t doing much gaming or video streaming should still be happy with the last generation N routers.

Smart features - Routers are much more intelligent than they were years ago. Check for special abilities such as parental controls, built-in firewalls for security, mobile application access, and prioritization for significant traffic. Smart routers give you the ability to be entirely in control of your Wi-Fi.

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