The Best Gaming Routers in 2022

We tested over a dozen routers to see which provides the best gaming experience.

  • Best overall
    TP Link Archer AX1100
    TP-Link Archer AX11000
    • $256.87*
    • Multigig internet support
    • Lots of wired networking
    • No real gaming tools
  • Best for speed
    NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200
    NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200
    • $399.99*
    • Multigig internet support
    • Awesome long range
    • Heavy price tag
  • Best for budgets
    NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500
    NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500
    • $233.01*
    • Decent Wi-Fi 5 speeds
    • VPN support
    • No multigig connections
  • Best features
    ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
    ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
    • $349.99*
    • Multigig internet support
    • Loaded with gaming tools
    • Loose antennas
  • Best for Wi-Fi 5
    ASUS RT-AC88U
    ASUS RT-AC88U
    • $399.00*
    • Lots of wired networking
    • Free Trend Micro security
    • Heavy price tag

Our pick: Which gaming router is best?

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is our top pick for the best gaming router. It’s affordable, supports multigig internet connections, and packs in eight Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect all your consoles and gaming rigs. Plus, it’s cheaper than the similarly performing ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 from ASUS, which packs a better feature set but costs $90 more.

How we test routers

We vigorously test routers to see how well they stack up against the competition in speed and range. We also evaluate the setup process and dig into the web and mobile apps to see if they’re easy or difficult to use. Check out our methodology section for more information.

The 5 best gaming routers

Compare gaming router speeds and prices

ModelImageMax throughputPriceOrder online
Best overallTP-Link Archer AX1100011,000 Mbps$256.87*View on Amazon
Best for speedNETGEAR Nighthawk RAX20011,000 Mbps$399.99*View on Amazon
Best for budgetsNETGEAR Nighthawk XR5002,600 Mbps$233.01*View on Amazon
Best for featuresASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX1100011,000 Mbps$349.99*View on Amazon
Best for Wi-Fi 5ASUS RT-AC88U3,100 Mbps$399.00*View on Amazon

What should you look for in a gaming router?

Gamers love bling (at least this one does), but appearance shouldn’t be the deciding factor when purchasing a new gaming router. We suggest shopping for a Wi-Fi 6 model because you get faster wireless speeds, less traffic congestion, and reduced latency.

Also, look at the number of antennas and streams. The more you have, the less your devices must share bandwidth with others. Nearly every wireless device you use supports two upload streams and two downloads streams (2×2), so you want a router that provides at least four download streams on a single band.

Do you have the best internet plan to go with your gaming router?

We suggest going with Verizon’s fiber internet for the best gaming online, as our tests show it has the lowest latency. Enter your zip code below to see what’s available to you.

Best overall—TP-Link Archer AX11000

Best overall

TP-Link Archer AX11000 hands-on

The best game-ready centerpiece for your network

Score:

4

out of 5

The Archer AX11000 gives you a lot of bang for your buck: free Trend Micro security, loads of wired connectivity, and Wi-Fi 6 speeds. It’s also ideal if you have a multigig internet connection.
   Pros    Cons
  • Loads of wired connectivity
  • Multigig internet compatibility
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Repetitive web interface settings
  • Lack of real gaming tools

Price: $256.87*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Falls behind the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 and XR1000 routers in our speed tests but runs neck-and-neck with the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000.
Features 4 Includes security features from Trend Micro and easy parental controls at no extra cost.
Design 4 Provides a 2.5 Gbps internet port for fast fiber plans, plus eight Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections.
Setup 4 Takes very little time to get up and running, whether you use the web interface or the Tether app.
Ease of use 4 Employs the most user-friendly interface of all the gaming and non-gaming TP-Link routers we’ve tested.

*out of 5 points

What we like about it: The Archer AX11000 has decent Wi-Fi speeds equal to the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 but falls behind NETGEAR’s Nighthawk RAX200 powerhouse—which isn’t surprising at this price. The free Trend Micro security and parental controls are a huge plus if you manage a house full of gaming young ones, as are the eight Ethernet ports. Multigig internet? Yes, please!

What we wish it did better: The setup process needs to be shorter—why can’t we just name the networks, set the passwords, and move on with life? Plus, for a gaming router, there are no real gaming tools here—just redressed settings you typically find on non-gaming routers like port forwarding, parental controls, and data prioritization.

Why do we recommend it? The Archer AX11000 is one of the least expensive gaming routers we’ve tested to date, but there’s nothing cheap about it. It packs several great features into one affordable price. If you prefer wired gaming over wireless, this is the router for you.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000 Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 8
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for speed—NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

Best for speed

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

The fastest Wi-Fi 6 speeds we’ve tested

Score:

4

out of 5

The RAX200 is slightly cheaper now that its Wi-Fi 6E sibling is here, but you still pay extra for some features you can get for free on other routers.
   Pros    Cons
  • Multigig internet support
  • Blazing Wi-Fi 6 speeds
  • Hefty price
  • Subscription-based security and parental controls

Price: $399.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 5 Outpaces all gaming and non-gaming routers we’ve tested to date.
Features 2 Lacks real gaming tools and demands four different accounts to use fully.
Design 5 Supports multigig local and internet connections for fast online gameplay.
Setup 2 Pushes paid subscriptions before you can even use the router.
Ease of use 3 Employs an ugly and clunky web interface, but the app is a better experience.

*out of 5 points

What we like about it: The RAX200 is fast, no doubt about it—it’s the fastest we’ve tested to date. Plus, it has great long-range speed, with an average of 12 Mbps at 160 feet (across the street at the mailbox). You can stream music and video in your yard without switching to cellular data.

What we wish it did better: You shouldn’t need four different accounts to get the most out of this router: MyNETGEAR (login), Circle (parental controls), NETGEAR Armor (security), and NETGEAR ReadyCloud. Plus, we wish it were quieter somehow—it sounds like a desktop when it boots up and updates.

Why do we recommend it? This router has the fastest Wi-Fi 6 speeds we’ve tested to date, and it’s primed for multigig internet if you’re eyeing a 2 Gbps fiber internet plan from AT&T or Google Fiber.

Alternative: If you have a device that supports Wi-Fi 6E, you may want to consider the RAXE500. It’s nearly identical except for the five extra 160 MHz channels and the new 6 GHz band. We’re still waiting to test the 6 GHz speeds, but the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands have the same tested speeds as the RAX200. The RAXE500 is $200 more, though.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000 Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • WAN/LAN ports (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for budgets—NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500

Best for budgets

NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500

Great gaming features at a decent price

Score:

3.9

out of 5

The XR500 isn’t the fastest Wi-Fi 5 router on the planet, but it’s packed with extra features that make it worth the investment if you’re strapped for cash.
   Pros    Cons
  • Clean and attractive web interface
  • Unique gaming tools
  • Laggy Rapp load times
  • Frustrating setup

Price: $233.01*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Outpaces the RT-AC88U on the 2.4 GHz band but falls short on the 5 GHz band.
Features 4 Includes unique gaming tools you won’t find on other gaming routers.
Design 3 Lacks exciting design features that would otherwise make it stand out from non-gaming routers.
Setup 3 Requires you to run a speed test midway that lengthens your setup time.
Ease of use 4 Uses the DumaOS platform to provide a clean and attractive app-based interface.*out of 5 points

What we like about it: The XR500 has decent Wi-Fi 5 speeds for the money, but it falls behind our other costlier Wi-Fi 5 router nomination on the list, the ASUS RT-AC88U. The router’s Geo-Filter and Ping Heatmap gaming tools are rather neat, and the DumaOS interface is one of the best we’ve used so far.

What we wish it did better: The setup process needs to be shorter. As it stands now, you must wait during a long speed test and optimization process that may or may not be accurate. The Router App (Rapp) aspect of DumaOS is unique but adds more wait time as each pinned window loads data.

Why do we recommend it? It’s a good Wi-Fi 5 gaming router for the money, and you don’t need extra accounts to use it, unlike the NETGEAR RAX200 model.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Max throughput: 2,600 Mbps
  • Antennas: 4
  • Streams: 8
  • Bands: 2
  • WAN ports: 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for features—ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Best for features

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

A good alternative to the Archer AX11000

Score:

4.1

out of 5

This router competes with TP-Link’s Archer AX11000, but its higher cost comes with more features. It’s ready for multigig internet and any Aura RGB device you may have.
   Pros    Cons
  • Lots of gaming tools
  • Compatible with other ASUS products
  • Wobbly antennas
  • Higher price than TP-Link

Price: $349.99*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Competes in wireless speed with the Archer AX11000 but falls behind the Nighthawk RAX200.
Features 4 Packs a ton of gaming features, free Trend Micro security, and built-in VPN server and client components.
Design 4 Includes three bands, a 2.5 Gbps port, and cool lighting that syncs with other Aura RGB devices.
Setup 4 Gets up and running quickly if you select the basic setup options.
Ease of use 4 Offers a clean and attractive web interface, but the mobile app feels cumbersome.

*out of 5 points

What we like about it: The ASUS GT-AX11000 is the answer to TP-Link’s own AX11000 (or the other way around) with similar wireless performance, both of which fall behind the RAX200 in our tests. But ASUS trumps TP-Link in gaming features, like Aura RGB lighting, built-in WTFast client, and game profiles for platforms like Steam and Xbox Live.

What we wish it did better: The wireless speed is consistent with the price, but we wish it were faster and more competitive with the RAX200. We also found the antennas problematic—at least on the model we purchased. No matter how hard we screwed the antennas into place, some of them fell over time.

Why do we recommend it? Due to the price, we didn’t choose this router as our best overall. But if you’re willing to spend $90 more on a router, the GT-AX11000 is the better choice over TP-Link’s AX11000 router for the cool game-centric features—even more so if you own other ASUS gaming equipment.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000 Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports (1 Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports (1 Gbps): 4
  • WAN/LAN port (1–2.5 Gbps): 1
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2

Best for Wi-Fi 5—ASUS RT-AC88U

Best for Wi-Fi 5

ASUS RT-AC88U

An expensive Wi-Fi 5 alternative for wired gamers

Score:

4

out of 5

The RT-AC88U is an expensive Wi-Fi 5 router packing lots of ports for wired connections and free Trend Micro security. It has decent speeds too, even at a long range.
   Pros    Cons
  • Trend Micro security
  • Pre-built game profiles
  • Hefty price tag
  • Slower Wi-Fi 5 speeds

Price: $399.00*

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Outpaces the XR500 on the 5 GHz band but falls short on the 2.4 GHz band.
Features 4 Includes a VPN server and client, free Trend Micro security, and pre-built port forwarding rules for popular games.
Design 4 Packs eight Ethernet ports to handle all of your wired gaming devices and two USB ports.
Setup 4 Gets up and running quickly if you choose the basic option.
Ease of use 4 Displays a nice and clean web interface, but we prefer the streamlined mobile app.

*out of 5 points

What we like about it: The AC88U provides consistent speeds, even when we tested it standing outside the front door. But it’s really ideal if you prefer wired gaming over wireless—it even supports link aggregation for a fast connection to your local gaming server running on a 2 Gbps-capable network attached storage (NAS) or PC.

What we wish it did better: This router needs a multigig internet port to complement the 2 Gbps LAN support. As it stands now, link aggregation is best used with a NAS. Plus, you can find faster Wi-Fi speeds at a lower price on other routers.

Why do we recommend it? The eight wired ports, free Trend Micro security, and built-in port forwarding rules make this router a good buy if you’re still stuck with Wi-Fi 5 devices.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Max throughput: 3,100 Mbps
  • Antennas: 4
  • Streams: 8
  • Bands: 2
  • WAN ports: 1
  • LAN ports: 8
  • USB 3.2 ports: 1
  • USB 2.0 ports: 1

Gaming router specs and features

Technically, you can use any router to play games locally or online. However, you should consider certain specs and features to get the most out of your gaming experience.

Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

You should choose a router with Wi-Fi 6 if you want wireless gigabit speeds at close range. Most devices that support this standard and 160 MHz channels will see real-world speeds up to 1,500 Mbps near the router. Wi-Fi 6 smartphones and tablets supporting 80 MHz channels have speeds up to 900 Mbps at close range, which is faster than anything you can get from a Wi-Fi 5 router.

Wi-Fi 6E is an extended version of the Wi-Fi 6 specification that adds a 6 GHz frequency band and a few extra 160 MHz channels. This previously unused band promises faster wireless speeds, but very few devices currently support it. Routers based on Wi-Fi 6E are generally more expensive too. The RAXE500, for example, is $200 more than the RAX200.

Streams

Routers split a single line of data received from the modem into separate streams and broadcast them over the air. These streams bounce around until they reach your wireless devices, which piece them back into a single line of data your device can understand.

Most modern wireless devices support two upload and two download streams (2×2). For example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max supports two download streams totaling up to 1,200 Mbps, or 600 Mbps per stream. But if a router supports only two streams on a single band and another device connects, the iPhone’s maximum rate drops to 600 Mbps (one stream per device).

That said, you want a router with more than four streams per band if you have many devices accessing the same band simultaneously. Routers with three bands and four streams each are ideal, especially if you play games online over Wi-Fi.

Ports

To get the best connection possible for gaming, you should consider a router with lots of Ethernet ports.

Wi-Fi speeds fluctuate each second and slow down as you move away from the router. In contrast, Gigabit Ethernet ports can sustain a speed of around 980 Mbps up to 328 feet when you have one of the best Ethernet cables connected.

Some routers now include 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports for multigig internet and network connections. Link aggregation allows you to pair two ports together for a multigig connection too.

Gaming tools

While any manufacturer can dress up a router’s interface and call it a gaming product, few routers actually include custom tools for gaming.

NETGEAR’s Geo-Filter tool on the XR500 is a great example of a tool specifically for gamers—it allows you to limit your connections to gaming servers within a circular radius. The newer Geo Fencing tool on the XR1000 enables you to draw custom shapes versus using a single circle. The Ping Heatmap tool allows you to ping specific game servers to find the one with the lowest latency.

Bling

Bling isn’t a requirement, but it sure makes a statement. Alienware, ASUS, HP, MSI—they all push some type of bling, so everyone knows you’re a gamer. Even the ASUS ROG phone shines the RGB logo on the back like an eye. Why shouldn’t your gaming router sparkle and dazzle onlookers too?

Our verdict

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is our favorite gigabit router and now it’s our favorite gaming router too. The Wi-Fi 6 speeds are good for the price, but the multigig internet support, long row of ports for wired connections, and free Trend Micro security make this router a gaming steal. It would be even better with dedicated gaming tools and RGB lighting, but as it stands now, there’s a lot to love for the money.

Methodology

We test router speed by setting up each router in an office and connecting it to a local test server. Then, we transmit test data between our wireless devices and the server, taking numerous measurements to account for fluctuations in Wi-Fi speeds.

The first tests occur close to the router, without obstructions—so the Wi-Fi is as strong and fast as it’s gonna get. We repeat the process straight out at 10, 20, and 30 feet, with only a glass door obstructing our view of the router. The same glass door and an exterior door blocks our path when we test outside at 40 and 50 feet.

We also run tests in a hallway to the left of the TV room and office—where there’s a glass door, three walls, and an air handler unit blocking our view of the router. The dining room, another testing point, sits to the right of the kitchen, TV room, and office—two walls and a glass door block the path in this test.

To test video streaming, we connect a fast storage device to the router and stream a 4K video to six wireless devices simultaneously—two phones, three tablets, and a laptop—connected to the same wireless band.

Client devices used in testing

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
Wi-Fi specificationWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration2 x 22 x 2
Max 5 GHz speed (AX)1,200 Mbps
Max 5 GHz speed (AC)866 Mbps866 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AX)195 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AC)195 Mbps144 Mbps

Router benchmarks

Here are the average 5 GHz speeds recorded for each router. Wi-Fi speeds fluctuate significantly, so these numbers reflect at least three tests taken at each 10-foot interval.

TP-Link Archer AX11000

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max820769700648
Google Pixel 3599543477382

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max880864833750
Google Pixel 3703671538511

NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max663643607604
Google Pixel 3627549498507

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max818787725689
Google Pixel 3602580489422

ASUS RT-AC88U

2 feet10 feet20 feet30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max691650615596
Google Pixel 3681643587561

Other routers we tested

We tested more than a dozen routers and mesh kits to determine which ones are best for gaming. Here are other tested models we do and don’t recommend.

Other routers we recommend for gaming

NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 ($285.00*): Compared to the XR500, this version trades a few features for better Wi-Fi 6 speeds.

View on Amazon

TP-Link Archer AX90 ($299.99*): It’s not built for gaming, but the AX90 packs three Wi-Fi bands and lots of speed to handle a busy home better.

View on Amazon

Other routers we don’t recommend for gaming

TP-Link Archer A10 ($78.99*): There are enough data streams to handle four Wi-Fi devices without interruption, but otherwise, the A10 is as basic as you can get.

View on Amazon

TP-Link Archer AX21 ($79.99*): It’s a step up in speed from the A10, but you’ll see more congestion, which isn’t ideal for gaming.

View on Amazon

FAQ about gaming routers

What’s the difference between the RAX200 and the RAXE500?

The RAX200 is based on the Wi-Fi 6 standard, while the RAXE500 uses the newer Wi-Fi 6E standard. Here’s a table to show the difference between the two:

  RAXE500 RAX200
Wi-Fi version AXE11000 AX11000
Bands

2.4 GHz 4×4 (1.2 Gbps)

5 GHz 4×4 (4.8 Gbps)

6 GHz 4×4 (4.8 Gbps)

2.4 GHz 4×4 (1.2 Gbps)

5 GHz 4×4 (4.8 Gbps)

5 GHz 4×4 (4.8 Gbps)

# of 160 MHz channels

7 on 6 GHz

2 on 5 GHz

2 on 5 GHz

2 on 5 GHz

Price $599.99 $399.99

What are Aura RGB and Aura Sync?

Aura RGB is a proprietary platform created by ASUS that provides customizable and controllable RGB lighting. It’s available on most products manufactured by ASUS, including motherboards, laptops, keyboards, and mice. Aura Sync synchronizes all compatible devices with the same colors and effects.

What is WTFast?

WTFast is the developer behind the AI-driven Gamers Private Network, which selects an optimized path between the router and the remote server. Unlike a VPN, the GPN subscription service specifically optimizes game data but keeps your IP address intact. Routers with the built-in WTFast client allow you to use the service without installing the client on a Windows 10 PC.

What is DumasOS?

DumaOS is an operating system developed by Netduma for NETGEAR gaming routers. It features an app-based design that allows you to pin setting views to your dashboard. The latest version (v3.0) upgraded the Geo-Filter tool to Geo-Fencing, added application-specific QoS, and introduced the Ping Heatmap tool. DumaOS first appeared in the XR500 in 2018.

What type of free security does Trend Micro provide?

Trend Micro provides free services through AIProtection on ASUS routers and in the HomeCare suite on TP-Link routers. Both include malicious website blocking, a two-way intrusion prevention system, and infected device detection and blocking. TP-Link uses the term antivirus, but HomeCare doesn’t appear to scan and clean infected devices—it just blocks their network access.

Disclaimer

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on internet security.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.