The 11 Best Gaming Routers of 2020

These routers will give you the speed and competitive edge needed to win

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk AX8 at Amazon

"A powerful Wi-Fi 6 router that provides amazing performance even for older Wi-Fi 5 devices."

Best Value: NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming Wi-Fi Router AC2600 at Amazon

"The router scouts for local connections that are set by you, so you can personalize the best type of connectivity."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: ASUS AC5300 Wireless Tri-Band at Best Buy

"Has built-in game acceleration that optimizes routes to game servers with low ping times."

Best Speed: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 at Amazon

"Allocates fast bandwidth speeds via wireless connections or through one of its six-gigabit ethernet LAN ports."

Best Budget: Card-King Wireless Router at Amazon

"Setting up the Card-King Wireless Router is fairly easy and straight-forward."

Best for High-Wired Speeds: NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 at Amazon

"Uses direct wired connectivity with a whopping 10 ethernet ports."

Best for Families: Google Wi-Fi Router - OnHub AC1900 at Amazon

"It connects up to 100+ devices and includes 13 powerful internal antennas to eliminate dead zones."

Best Design: Norton Core Secure Wi-Fi Router at Amazon

"Your connected devices are always safeguarded against potential harmful viruses."

Best Tri-Band: Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 at Amazon

"This router offers one of the fastest combined Wi-Fi speeds in uninterrupted tests."

Best Dual-Band: TP-Link AC1750 at Amazon

"Also features convenient control options as you can operate the device with the intuitive TP-Link Tether app."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk AX8

What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • Wi-Fi 6 support

  • Excellent performance

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Ethernet ports are a little too close

  • Reports of firmware problems

Not only is Netgear’s Nighthawk AX8 an outstanding gaming router, but it looks the part too thanks to the hawk-like wings that encase its four high-powered antennas. This gets you up to 2,500 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage at speeds of up to 4.8 Gbps on the 5 GHz band and 1.2 Gbps on the 2.4 GHz side. 

It’s also Wi-Fi 6 capable, meaning you’ll get the fastest and most reliable performance on the latest smartphones, and while most game consoles and PCs aren’t there yet, this router means you’ll be ready when they are. There’s also support for other leading-edge technologies too like MU-MIMO and 160 MHz channels, meaning you can get gigabit speeds to all of your devices that can handle it.

With eight simultaneous streams and a 64-bit 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, more devices can use full-speed Wi-Fi at the same time, so you don’t need to worry about your family members or roommates slowing down your connection just as you’re about to make that critical kill in Call of Duty. If you’re still not confident in the Wi-Fi performance, though, or if your gaming console or PC isn’t up to the task, there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports that let you hardwire in.

Best Value: NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming Wi-Fi Router AC2600

When it comes to a solid overall gaming router, the NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro AC2600 delivers. The investment is more than what you can bargain for, thanks to its allocated bandwidth that prioritizes gaming, a personalized dashboard for connection management, VPN options, a dual-core 1.7GHz processor capable of 4K streaming and so much more.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming Wi-Fi Router AC2600 gives gamers a whopping 2.6Gbps of wireless speeds that can be all allocated and divided per device, so you can minimize any lag spike. The included Geo-Filter means the router scouts for local connections that are set by you, so you can personalize the best type of connectivity without worry of any stalls. One of the best parts is that you can see it all: a customizable dashboard shows you how much bandwidth each connected device is taking up, where you’re connected to, as well as the ability to manage security connections via VPN and WPA/WPA2 clients. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall: ASUS AC5300 Wireless Tri-Band

ASUS AC5300 Wireless Tri-Band
Courtesy of Amazon

With a solid combined data rate of 5.3Gbps, cool design, security features and 1.4 GHz dual-core processor with 512 MB of memory, the ASUS AC5300 Wireless Triband makes for a close runner-up.

The ASUS AC5300 Tri-Band utilizes a dual 5 GHz and single 2.4 GHz connection type with the latest 802.11ac 4x4 technology. It has four-gigabit Ethernet ports with a 2 Gbps link aggregation and coverage spans up to 5,000 square feet. The router also has built-in game acceleration that optimizes routes to game servers with low ping times, so you don’t lag when you're competing in an online multiplayer match. The ASUS AC5300 comes included with MU-MIMO, giving each connected device its own dedicated full-speed Wi-Fi connections along with AiProtection for security measures to protect against a wide variety of malicious infected devices and websites.

Best Speed: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200

With speeds up to 4.6Gbps (combined speeds are 7.2Gbps), the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 is a beast that offers one of the fastest routers out on the market, so it's no question it's great or gaming. The Nighthawk X10 uses both 802.11ac and 802.11ad for fast Wi-Fi connectivity that delivers incredibly smooth 4K streaming and quick downloads.

NETGEAR’s Nighthawk X10 AD7200 is built with a 1.7GHz quad-core processor that allocates fast bandwidth speeds via wireless connections or through one of its six-gigabit ethernet LAN ports for wired connections. Its MU-MIMO allows for stable links with multiple streaming scenarios, and its included 160 MHz gives your mobile Wi-Fi speed double of what it’s normally used to. Assuming your ISP provides the speeds, the Nighthawk X10 is capable of giving you a 10-gigabit fiber connection directly. It comes with PLEX software, so you can organize all your media through the router and view your content from any allowed device. 

Best Budget: Card-King Wireless Router

When you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a gaming router, the Card-King is your best bet. Affordability doesn’t necessarily mean lack of quality either, as the Card-King Wireless Router is capable of delivering you 1,200 Mbps speeds, comes with 24/7 technical support and even a two-year warranty.

If you’re a budget gamer, the Card-King delivers the bare minimum you’d expect for good connectivity with your online multiplayer matches. The compact 6.6 x 6.6 x 6.8-inch gaming router uses a 802.11ac/n/b/a dual-band connection by using both a 2.4GHz (up to 300Mbps) and 5.0Ghz (up to 867Mpbs) along with a WPA/WPA2-PSK, firewall, plus parental security to get the most control and access to up to 30 connected Wi-Fi devices.

Setting up the Card-King Wireless Router is fairly easy and straight-forward, and while its wireless range has mixed results, its four LAN ports make for an ideal connection via your PC or video game console if you’re seeking more reliable stability without lag.

Best for High-Wired Speeds: NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming L2

OK, we know this one doesn’t have Wi-Fi, but don’t fret! If you’re solely dedicated to extreme gaming with wired connections and want a faster connection speed that blows all wireless connectivity transfer rates out of the water, the NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 is the best choice here. How good is it? Well, how does 20Gbps sound?

The NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 won’t allow any potential Wi-Fi leeches on it, and instead, uses direct wired connectivity with a whopping 10 ethernet ports that make for superb LAN parties, or optimized data transfer for devices (think PlayStation 4, Xbox One S, laptops or PC desktop). The gaming router gives real-time control with a dashboard interface, so you can pinpoint bottleneck traffic at its source. The easy-to-configure Nighthawk S8000 even has fully customizable RGB LED controls, so you can personalize each port with a specific color.

Best for Families: Google Wi-Fi Router - OnHub AC1900

The Google Wi-Fi Router OnHub AC1900 is affordably priced and delivers Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1900 Mbps with a wide coverage of 2,500 square feet. It connects up to 100+ devices and includes 13 powerful internal antennas to eliminate dead zones, so it's really the best gaming router on the list for families with kids who play games via their tablets and phones or on their consoles.

The Google Wi-Fi Router OnHub AC1900 works on a family budget and offers reliable 2.5 Ghz and 5 Ghz dual-band connections through its Wi-Fi antennas, plus a dedicated 2.4 Ghz Bluetooth and Zigbee antenna that delivers reliable coverage on virtually any device. Parents can operate connections and Wi-Fi speeds via the simple to use Google On app on their mobile devices, allowing ultimate control. The OnHub AC1900 also protects against malicious websites and devices with automatic security updates. For extra peace of mind, it comes with a two-year warranty and 24/7 premium technical support.

Best Design: Norton Core Secure Wi-Fi Router

The Norton Core Secure Wi-Fi Router has by far the coolest design. The geometrical looking ball isn’t just all show and safety either but provides a data transfer rate of 2,600Mbps for powerful Wi-Fi connections capable of 4K streaming.

The Norton Core Secure Wi-Fi Router is built with a multi-layer protection utilizing deep packet connections. It also comes equipped with complimentary Norton Core Security Plus software, so your connected devices are always safeguarded against potential harmful viruses.

The gaming router uses a 1.7GHz dual processor and comes installed with 1GB of RAM, 4GB flash, two USB 3.0 ports and four-gigabit ethernet ports for direct connectivity. Its wireless connection uses IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wave 2 with a 4x4 AC2600 MU-MIMO, and a simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, so you can allocate your connectivity.

Best Tri-Band: Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200

As you’ve no doubt noticed whilst reading the rest of this list, the Netgear Nighthawk series of routers offers a ton of bandwidth options for the wireless gamer. The X6 gives you plenty of speed with a three-band system, as specified, and even features Smart Connect tech which ensures each device is connected to the appropriate band for maximum speeds.

At a max speed of 3.2 GB/s, this router offers one of the fastest combined Wi-Fi speeds in uninterrupted tests. There are six high-performance antennas on the outside, making sure there’s plenty of signal coverage for your home. There's also a 1GHz internal processor to help prevent lag during gaming, and beam-forming technology which bolsters the processor and works in tandem with the physical antennas. There are four LAN ports for wired browsing and a USB-C port for additional connectivity. You can visit the Netgear website to access the open source software of the device to help customize it for your use. Overall, it’s a full-featured router perfect for those seeking multiple bands. 

Best Dual-Band: TP-Link AC1750

Without the imposing look of some of the other gaming-centric router lines like the Netgear Nighthawk, you might overlook this offering from TP-Link. But with plenty of speed and a ton of interesting smart features, that would be a mistake. The AC1750 gives you two bands of reliable Wi-Fi, combining for a max transfer speed of 1750 Mbps (450 for 2.4 GHz and 1300 for the 5 GHz), making it perfect for high-demand media streaming. Three large external antennas give you reliable signal and a wide range, and four LAN inputs and a USB-C port offer additional connectivity. The router also features convenient control options as you can operate the device with the intuitive TP-Link Tether app. That said, arguably the coolest feature offered by this router is its compatibility with smart home devices via Amazon's Alexa. In fact, it's one of the only routers to offer the built-in capability. Round that all out with an inclusive two-year warranty and a few consumer reliability awards, and you’ve got a router you can rest easy purchasing. 

Best for Power Users: Netgear Nighthawk Mesh Gaming Router System

We’ve already featured a few Nighthawk routers on this list, and that’s for good reason — they're great devices that, by themselves, offer amazing speeds. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are all the rage right now in whole-home Internet coverage, though, and with this Netgear mesh system, you can have a full-featured gaming router and the value of a multi-hub mesh system all in one. It adds up to the perfect option for those looking to game a ton, and in a ton of places within the home.

The main receiver offers QoS tech to optimize the connectivity of specific devices, alongside other gaming-centric features including a geo-tagging, a server-choosing function to minimize lag, and even a dashboard control to tailor your Wi-Fi connection to your gaming. The secondary mesh portion serves as a separate entry-point for that main connection and gives you transfer speeds up to 3 Gbps. Add that to the FASTLAN3 technology — which establishes its own connection to the main Wi-Fi hub and eliminates the need to cut into the overall bandwidth — and you have an insanely fast system with super-wide coverage. 

What to Look for in a Gaming Router

Quality of Service - Not all network traffic is created equal, and QoS is how a router decides what type of data to prioritize. The best gaming routers are designed specifically to prioritize games without a lot of messing around in the settings. This ensures that when you pull the trigger on that headshot, sending that information to the game server takes precedence over any other traffic on your network.

Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi - Despite advances made in Wi-Fi over the years, there’s no argument here: Gaming over a wired connection is better than gaming over Wi-Fi. If at all possible, get a router with enough high-speed Ethernet ports to hook up your gaming PC and all of your consoles. If that isn’t possible, then 802.11ac is the Wi-Fi of choice for gamers.

Dual- and tri-band - Dual-band is the absolute bare minimum for any serious gaming router, and having two bands is usually good enough. If your gaming PC and consoles support 5GHz Wi-Fi, step up to a tri-band router to add a second 5GHz band. This lets you dedicate a whole band just to to gaming, so you don’t experience lag whenever someone tries to stream 4K video on your network.