Whether you’re a casual or an avid online gamer, you’d need the best gaming router in the market. You don’t want to get interrupted connection or experience lags while gaming with a regular router. It would be best to have a gaming router capable of giving robust, speedy, and continuous internet signals for a complete gaming experience.
Most gaming routers have an edgy and aggressive look, matching the ruggedness of the latest online games such as PUBG, Call of Duty, or Apex Legends. But what matters most is they often come with the next-gen WIFI 6, Quality of Service (QoS), and MU-MIMO technologies for maximum performance.
That said, the best gaming router is useless if you have a sub-standard CPU, graphic card, or SSD. The routers’ great features make them expensive, but we have come up with three of the best gaming routers under $200. Then you can spend the money you save from buying a costly router to upgrade your PC for a better gaming experience.
TP-Link AC5400 (Archer C5400X)
J.D. Power awarded the TP-Link AC5400 (Archer C5400X) Tri-band MU-MIMO gaming router “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Wireless Routers” in 2019. With a total data transfer rate of 5,334Mbps coming from 2.4 GHz and two 5Ghz, it’s a blazing fast router with avid gamers in mind. Available in three frequency bands, you’d have no issue dedicating the quickest band for gaming and leaving the other bands for other online activities.
- Industry-leading quad-core processor with 1GB RAM
- It contains several valuable ports – eight Gigabit LAN ports, and one WAN port
- Offers three frequency bands – 2.4 GHz and double 5 GHz bands producing a whopping 5,334 Mbps in total speed.
- Its Beamforming technology ensures strong reception to connected devices at farther distances than regular routers.
- A free lifetime subscription to the in-house security system – TP-Link HomeCare.
A tech enthusiast considered the AC5400 expensive, but it’s a gaming router. While gaming, he prefers a wired connection, so this router’s AC WIFI bandwidth suits him well. Its three bandwidth offerings are enough to cover his entire house without using extenders.
Being techy, he’s always on the look for the latest gadgets. Downloading massive games data, 4k streaming, video conferencing, and many more online activities were effortless. But, after several months of uninterrupted and stable usage, he decided to keep the router and hold on to upgrading to some more technically advanced and pricier routers for some time.
A contented user also found the AC5400 pricey, but it worthed. He liked using only a single password for all three bandwidths, and most devices connected automatically. Being on Spectrum internet provider, the router gel nicely to produce a stronger signal at every corner of his single-story house.
Another aggressive online user thought the AC5400, with its three bandwidths, was overkill for the home network. He dedicated one of the 5 GHz bands solely to gaming, the other 5 GHz band for TV and video streaming, and left the inferior 2.4 GHz band to some light online activities. But he’s not disappointed, as long as he can meaningfully use the extra power coming out of this router. This way, he avoids devices fighting for bandwidth and results in fewer traffic congestions.
Several users living in a 5,000 square feet house couldn’t be more pleased with the router. The WIFI powerful and speedy signal reaches every corner of the two-story house. Investing in the AC5400 proves to be worth every penny since all the users are very aggressive. A professional gamer utilizes the internet for up to eight hours a day. There is also a VOIP user engaged eight hours daily. A commercial real estate and insurance agent also uses it daily, with three more people working from home. Surprisingly there are no issues after several months of use.
- Immersive gaming experience without dropping connection, even while simultaneously engaged in other online activities such as video streaming and conferencing.
- The simple and straightforward settings of graphical user configuration.
- More versatile wireless internet connection with three fast frequency bands options.
- Can use Alexa Echo to send touchless commands in changing the settings.
- It could have had more gaming-centered features.
- The firmware is a little bit outdated.
Despite the absence of the latest WIFI 6 technology, the TP-Link AC5400 router can fulfill your needs for a fast and stable connection throughout your house. With a powerful quad-core processor and tri-band offering, the router suits aggressive gaming. In addition, it does the job of serving other online activities significantly.
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
Gaming routers do not necessarily need the latest WIFI 6 technology. They usually have the technology to be precisely tuned to maximize the gaming experience. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is one of the best routers available at a medium price range.
But, don’t let the numbers trick you; the XR500 practically boasts similar power and speed. Although it has the same price as the TP-Link AC5400, it only has a dual-core processor compared to AC5400’s quad-core chipsets. The XR500 also offers fewer bandwidths – two against three, producing a total speed of only 2,600 Mbps against 5,334 Mbps for the AC5400. It achieves that feat by stabilizing the ping, reducing lags, and optimizing the network achievement.
- Utilizes Geo filtering by connecting to the nearest gaming consoles for maximum control.
- Can monitor network and game ping to identify problematic devices and users.
- Connect to a secure VPN server to protect your network.
- Can optimize to give you lower ping for several popular online games.
- 1.7 GHz dual-core processor giving an efficient network
The NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 allows you to prioritize your gaming traffic for specific devices on the network. You can control the speed on each device to stabilize the signals while gaming. Moreover, you can also manage your gaming dashboard to show device bandwidth, ping, and several others.
For a network engineer, buying a Netgear XR500 means a downgrade instead of an upgrade. Previously he had enterprise gear at home, and he wanted to do away with network troubleshooting. So, he chose an XR500 since it is simple to operate yet so robust and stable. He realized that it’s more of a gaming router, but it ticks all the boxes and suits his needs. Although he noticed some flaws in the remote admin and manual setup, he’s delighted with the overall performance and gave what he wanted under one box.
A casual gamer using DSL service used to get a high ping in the region of 190ms and above. The XR500 brought down the ping to as low as 20ms using the Geo filter and traffic prioritization. He could choose a gaming console of his choice as the top in the list, which locks his device with the fastest signal. He also found the DUMA OS very useful, which can easily monitor and select what device or sites to block.
Another gamer rated the XR500 as a top-notch device for gaming. Other than the fantastic geo-filtering feature, it handles lags and game competitiveness efficiently. The low ping makes it possible for a gamer to stay ahead of the game rivals. Overall it’s a great router and works excellent on popular game consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox.
Another person considers the Netgear XR500 to be the best router providing an excellent connection for multiplayer online gaming, such as Call of Duty and PUBG. It fixed the lag with the Geo filter function and subsequently brought down the ping at 50ms and below. At the same time, the QoS option allows for traffic prioritization with dedicated bandwidth. Despite the cluttered-looking antennas, they serve to provide stronger signals than those routers without antennas.
- Geo filtering allows for traffic preference and setting up low ping for an excellent gaming experience.
- Works well with DUMA OS for efficient controls.
- Works well with popular gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox.
- QoS option for selecting preferred bandwidth.
- It could auto-reboot depending on your environment.
- It doesn’t support specific games, such as those that require 100+ user connections.
ASUS AC2900 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC86U)
If $200 is still expensive, and you can only part with much less, then the ASUS AC2900 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC86U) might be what you’re looking for. It still has all the significant features of a great gaming router, such as great speed, dual-band, MU-MIMO Technology, and adaptive QoS. On top of that, the RT-AC86U has NitroQAM Technology delivering 5 GHz quad-stream (4×4) speeds.
- Dual-band frequency with MU-MIMO technology producing a total speed of 2,900 Mbps.
- Adaptive QoS and WTFast game Accelerator for the ultimate gaming and streaming experience.
- Trend Micro provides 24/7 built-in protection from viruses and malware.
- Can optimize to give you lower ping for several popular online games.
- 1.7 GHz dual-core processor giving an efficient network.
First and foremost, you need a router that produces a solid and fast signal for gaming purposes. The RT-AC86U has both characters, plus an intuitive and enhanced ASUSWRT user interface. In other words, you get easy web-based access to the installation process and a plentiful of advanced options not found in regular routers.
An owner of a small computer firm recommended the Asus RT-AC86U to everyone. With several great features similar to what a premium router has, it can also run as a mesh network. The performance has been rock solid, and it continues to receive automatic firmware updates from the Asus software. He experiences seamless internet connection with no signs of bugs or lags while gaming and other online activities with 35 connected devices.
- Insane amount of control through online access to the app at your fingertips.
- Adaptive QoS is tremendous and efficient – you can prioritize gaming or any other preferred connection at any time you want.
- Built-in Trend Micro provides convenient and practical features.
- Online games optimization is excellent for gamers.
- The faster 5 GHz connection can falter when used at a distant location or passing through a thick wall.
- You need to pay for a WTFast subscription.
That said, the Asus RT-AC86U is still worth buying, considering you can bring it home at a bargain price. You would have a minor issue while gaming, and you still have an optional bandwidth to dedicate to other online devices, such as TVs, PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
What is more important for a gamer is to get the most out of your router. You might be lucky to get your desired gaming router with dazzling features. But, it’s no good if you tuck it under a shelf in your closet. Knowing how to optimize your router could produce a tremendous difference, performance-wise. For instance, you can use some wired connections using available ethernet ports to ease up on several wireless devices. That said, you still have to make that choice in getting a router best geared towards your gaming interest.