The 8 Best Gaming Routers to Buy in 2018

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

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You can be the best gamer in the world, but if your virtual world is not up to speed, it can cost you the game. In fact, a slow, outdated router, which many Americans have, can be the difference between winning and losing. With Internet service providers (ISP) getting better and better each day, it’s important to have a strong and stable connection that cannot only give you streamlined multiplayer gaming matches without interruptions or high ping but superior data transfer, so you can get the most megabytes and gigabytes available.

It’s time to upgrade your router. A simple way to test this is a free online speed test that determines how many megabytes per second you can download and upload. If you have an ISP that delivers 100Mbps, you might want to double check if your router is indeed pulling its weight. Even if you’re not a gamer, the best routers for gaming below can guarantee you that you’re getting the most precious bandwidth that your ISP is delivering to you.

These gaming routers are equivalent to opening up the floodgates to potentially thousands of more megabytes equalling a better stream for services such as Netflix or more demanding tasks such as competitive online multiplayer match-making. The routers below cover proper data transfer along with wireless ranges and other features, so you can pick the best model for your gaming requirements. 

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

When it comes to an overall solid 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

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 With Wi-Fi for LAN: ASUS AC3100

The perfect gaming router on the list for both LAN parties or parties, in general, is the ASUS AC3100 that offers eight-gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, so you and a large group of friends can connect their computers via wire with 2 Gbps transfer speeds or just go wirelessly with its 1.8 Gbps transfer rate. The ASUS AC3100 gives wide wireless range coverage of up to 5,000 square feet, making for secured and reliable connections anywhere in your apartment or house.

The ASUS AC3100 is an expansive gaming router that utilizes 1024-QAM technology to offer a 5GHz transfer rate of up to 2100Mbps and a 2.4GHz connection of up to 1000Mbps. Built with a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor with 512 MB of memory, the ASUS AC3100 comes packed with a WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN) that gives you (and all gamers connected via wire) lower stable ping times to reduce any hiccup in latency. One of the best features is its ASUS AiMesh, which connects multiple ASUS routers and devices in your home to strengthen connections and improve speeds.

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.

Still can't decide which one you want?

Our ultimate router buying guide can help you find what you're looking for.