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The best gaming router for 2019

The best gaming routers for 2019

These days, most popular PC games are either played online, or need an online connection to function, even if you’re playing by yourself. Because of this always-online world we find ourselves in, having one of the best gaming routers is more important than ever before. 

So, when you’re looking for the best wireless router for gaming, there are a few features you need to keep an eye out for. First, you’re going to want Quality of Service, or QoS. This will automatically prioritize traffic from specific PC games or devices, so that you won’t be interrupted by your roommate while they’re in the middle of a Netflix binge. You’ll also want to keep a look out for MU-MIMO (Multi-User, multiple input, multiple output). This will make sure that your router can service multiple devices at the same time without jamming up. 

And, of course, you’re going to want plenty of Gigabit LAN ports—when you’re gaming online, having a hardwired connection is extremely important, so the more devices you can wire up, the better. Don’t forget about wireless, though—not everyone can be connected to the router at all times. Finding a router with a rated speed of AC1900 or above is just as important for some users as reliable wired connections.

This is a lot to take in, especially if you’re not familiar with the best gaming routers. Luckily, we here have your back, and we’ve found the best gaming routers you can buy today. And if you’re more concerned about cash, here are the cheap gaming router deals for this week.

Netgear Nighthawk XR500

Speed: AC2600 | LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 4 | Processor: Dual-core 1.7GHz | Dimensions: 12.7 x 9.6 x 2.2 in (321.9 x 243.7 x 55.0 mm) | Weight: 1.77 lb (801 g)

Gaming focused NetdumaOS

Spectacular throughput

Poor 5 GHz range

Only four LAN ports  

The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is the best gaming router for most users. It features AC2600 speeds (N800/AC1733), a dual core 1.7 GHz processor, dual USB 3.0 ports, Beamforming and MU-MIMO. It also uses Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which adds fifteen additional unlicensed channels on the 5 GHz frequency to minimize interference. The only real deficiency hardware-wise is the router has only four Gigabit LAN ports while some competing products have eight.

The Netduma OS in the XR500 offers a number of innovations which help make this router our top pick, including Geo-filtering—which allows a radius to be set (typically <3000 km), after which the router will preferentially connect to the closest gaming server—as well as Bandwidth Allocation that allows for granular control of prioritization of gaming devices. Finally, there is robust QoS for prioritization of gaming traffic. 

The performance increase of the Netduma OS really shines through in our 2.4 GHz tests which put the XR500 well above the competition. Although the 5 GHz speeds weren’t nearly as impressive, the XR500 is still our top pick because it performs so well right out of the box and is truly optimized for gaming.

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Luxury upgrade for the ultimate lag-free experience

Speed: AC5300 | LAN Ports: 8 | Antennas: 8 | Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz | Dimensions: 11.46 x 4.72 x 14.88 in (291 x 120 x 378 mm) | Weight: 4.14 lb (1878 g)

Fast 5GHz speeds

Low video packet loss while streaming  

It’s huge

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Gaming Router builds on the success of the company’s AC5300 model that won this category in our previous version of this guide. It features beefed-up hardware, including a move from a dual core to a quad core processor, and doubles the RAM to 1GB. Other shortcomings are also addressed, with both USB ports now the faster USB 3.0, and a total of eight Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devotees.

In addition, the GT-AC5300 features a gaming centric interface with features such as tracking Network Ping, and Ping Deviation over time. This model also integrates with WTFast for faster connections to gaming servers, and includes a one-device subscription to the service.

Specs, logos and flashy interfaces aside, we were eager to see how this model performed, and it did not disappoint. In testing the Asus ROG had excellent 5 GHz speeds on both distances tested. This model really showed its stuff on our network gaming congestion test, as it generated both the highest FPS of 33.617, while also streaming with the lowest video packet loss of 7.76 percent. For the price of $400, the Asus ROG router totally trounces the competition.

TP-Link Archer C5400X

The easiest gaming router to set up and manage

Speed: AC5400 | LAN Ports: 8 | Antennas: 8 | Processor: quad-core 1.8GHz | Dimensions: 11.34 x 11.34 x 7.24 in (241 x 241 x 55 mm) | Weight: 3 lb (1160 g)

Very easy to operate

Powerful, but not overpriced

Great 5GHz speeds

2.4GHz speeds are middling

TP-Link’s latest entry into the high-end gaming router space is a significant improvement over previous models, and now ranks among the best gaming routers of 2019 – especially when it comes to the 5GHz range, at which it excels. Our recent review of the TP-Link Archer C5400X awarded it near-top marks. What we love about it is how easy the C5400X is to set-up and use, while still offering the features you’d expect like the ability to easily manage QoS, the inclusion of network security (via Trend Micro), and option to not only blacklist but also whitelist certain devices.

In terms of the throughput speeds, our tests clocked the following for the Archer C5400X: at 2.4GHz it delivers 117Mbps near / 112Mbps far, which is kinda middling, while at 5GHz the TP-Link performs extremely well, clocking 344Mbps near and 347Mbps far. From this perspective, it’s market-leading. What disappoints, if anything, is the lack of specific tech to decrease latency, which you see in competing models of the same price, like the Netgear XR500. In terms of ports and antennae it’s near identical to the superb Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300, but doesn’t quite offer the same performance. It is, however, a cheaper alternative and a highly-recommended gaming router that’s pleasingly easy to set-up and manage.

Linksys WRT32X

A great mid-range gaming router

Speed: AC3200 | LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 4 | Processor: Dual-core 1.8GHz | Dimensions: 9.68 x 7.63 x 2.04 in. (245.87 x 193.80 x 51.82 mm) | Weight: 1.76 lbs (798.32 g)

Built in Killer Networking optimization

Great 5GHz range

Requires Killer NIC to really shine

Take the already capable Linksys WRT3200M router, let Killer Networking redo the software including the KPE (Killer Prioritization Engine), and we get the Linksys WRT32X. This router takes prioritization of gaming to the next level, but the catch is that it really shines when the client is a Killer NIC, which are only integrated into motherboards or notebooks. With a Killer client, we can stream four simultaneous 4K videos, and still game at over 26 FPS- an impressive feat. 

While the 2.4 GHz performance lagged behind some of our other mid-range choices, the WRT32X performed exceptionally well in our 5 GHz testing. At close range the 5 GHz speeds rivaled those of our top picks and even beat several in the far tests. Even without a Killer Networking adapter, the WRT32X performs very well. But if you’re rocking a gaming laptop or motherboard with a Killer NIC, purchasing this router should be a no brainer.

ASUS RT-AC68U

Custom firmware for power users on a budget

Speed: AC1900 | LAN Ports: 4 | Antennas: 3 | Processor: Dual-core 1GHz | Dimensions: 6.3 x 3.3 x 8.6 in (160 x 84 x 218 mm) | Weight: 1.4 lbs (635 g)

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