It took me long enough to do an in-depth review of the TUF-AX5400 — the router was first announced in June 2021. But that turned out to be a good thing.
Like most, if not all Asus routers, this gaming Wi-Fi machine also suffered from bugs at launch. With the recent latest firmware, ver 188.8.131.52.386.46061, it proved to be a much better router than it used to be just a couple of months ago.
Most importantly, it’s now also available worldwide, and by that, I mean in the US. The router was first available in the EU and Asia.
In all, the TUF-AX5400 doesn’t have anything new compared to its older cousin, the GS-AX5400, but it proved to be a better deal at just $200. And when stacked up against the overpriced Netgear XR1000, it’s hands down a much better alternative.
If you’re on the market for a reliable Wi-Fi 6 (gaming) mesh-ready router, the TUF-AX5400 is an excellent choice. Get it!
Dong’s note: I first published this post on June 25, 2021, as a preview and upgraded to a full review on January 28, 2022, after thorough hands-on testing.
Table of Contents
TUF-AX5400: An excellent (gaming) Wi-Fi 6 router for the budget minded
If you follow my reviews on Asus routers, you’ll note that the TUF-AX5400 is not the networking vendor’s first Wi-Fi 6 gaming router. Far from it.
Before it was announced in June 2021, Asus had the GT-AX1100, RT-AX86U, and RT-AX82U. That’s not to mention other non-gaming-branded routers that also have legit gaming features, including the RT-AX92U and RT-AX88U.
And since last June, I’ve already reviewed the GS-AX5400 and GS-AX3000. The former shares the same hardware specs as the TUF-AX5400, making the $50 in saving so much more enticing. And to tell the truth, I prefer the design of the TUF to the GS.
In any case, if you wonder where the TUF-AX5400 fits within Asus’s various gaming routers, the table below will help.
Asus’s gaming routers
|Gaming Private Network||ROG First,|
|Gaming Port||GeForce Now||Aura Lights|
Follow the link of each model name for more — street prices are subject to change.
(*) Standard gaming features include Mobile Game Mode, Open NAT, Gear Accelerator, and VPN Fusion
Asus TUF-AX5400: A new gaming brand
Short for “The Ultimate Force,” Asus’s TUF brand is its budget alternative to its ROG (or Republic of Gamers) product line.
(It gets confusing because the GS-AX5400 itself belongs to the ROG STRIX family, which is a budget tier within the ROG brand itself. But the TUF line is even more budget-oriented.)
That doesn’t mean it’s cheap hardware, however. Instead, it’s just a coating on the outside and the omission of some gimmicks. The TUF-AX5400’s gaming light, for example, is smaller than that of the GS-AX5400, and you can’t sync it with other gaming gear.
One thing is for sure, TUF is not meant to be “tough,” as I initially thought. For the most part, you can think of it as ROG with subdued frills.
Asus TUF-AX5400: Detail photos
Hardware specifications: Asus TUF-AX5400 vs Asus GS-AX5400 vs Netgear XR1000
These three gaming routers share the same hardware on the inside. They all include a top-tier 4×4 5GHz band and a low-key 2×2 2.4GHz band.
Overall, the Asus options have more to offer in terms of features and settings. And the TUF-AX5400’s friendly pricing makes it the most valuable of the pack.
|Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400|
Dual-band Gaming Router
Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6
Pro Gaming Router
|Wi-Fi Technology||Dual-Band AX5400||Dual-Band AX5400||Dual-Band AX5400|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs|
|2×2 AX: Up to 574Mbps|
|2×2 AX: Up to 574Mbps|
|2×2 AX: Up to 574Mbps|
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs|
|4×4 AX: Up to 4.8Gbps|
|4×4 AX: Up to 4.8Gbps|
|4×4 AX: Up to 4.8Gbps|
|Gigabit Ports||4x LAN, |
|4x LAN, |
|4x LAN, |
|Link Aggregation||Yes |
(WAN and LAN)
(WAN and LAN)
|USB||1x USB 3.2 Gen 1||1x USB 3.0||1x USB 3.0|
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Asus Router||Netgear Nighthawk|
|Processing Power||1.5 GHz Tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|Dimensions||10.56 x 7.08 x 6.53 in|
(268 x 180 x 160 mm)
|10.5 x 6.2 x 2.7 in|
(26.6 x 15.7 x 6.8 cm)
|11.61 x 7.87 x 2.51 in |
(295 x 200 x 64 mm)
|Weight||1.55 lbs (701.3 g)||1.32 lbs (600 g)||1.32 lbs (600 g)|
|Gaming Features||Aura Gaming Light|
Mobile Game Mode
|Aura Gaming Light|
Mobile Game Mode
|Game-oriented DumaOS 3.0|
Ping Heat Map
|Suggested Price (US)||$249.99||$199.99||$349.99|
Like all Asus Wi-Fi 6 routers, the TUF-AX5400 shares a long list of helpful core features. On top of that, it also has all of the gaming-related goodies available in Asus’s top-tier gaming routers.
To avoid repeating myself, I wrote about these common gaming features in a separate post on Asus routers that you should check out if you’re new to this website.
The gist is the router comes with a comprehensive web interface and a robust mobile app. Neither requires a login account with Asus. You can set it up and manage it the way you do any standard Wi-Fi router.
For this review, I tested most of the TUF-AX5400 has to offer, and they all panned out as expected. In terms of features and settings, it was the same as the GS-AX5400, by the way.
Excellent AiMesh support
What’s worth noting is the router fully supported Asus’s flagship AiMesh 2.0 feature.
In my trial, it worked well as the primary router or as a satellite node. In another case, you can expect a system-wide Guest network out of it and much more.
As a dual-band broadcaster, though, it’s best that you use the TUF-AX5400 in a wired environment — so get your home wired! But that brings us to a somewhat disappointing notion: the router has no Multi-Gig port.
Flexible port features, no Multi-Gig
The TUF-AX5400 might be the last Asus Wi-Fi router without a Multi-Gig port I reviewed. It has the usual four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port.
The router’s ports do support a lot of valuable features, including Dual-WAN, Game port — a device connected to LAN 1 automatically becomes prioritized — and Link Aggregation (on both WAN and LAN sides), but there’s no way to get Gig+ or faster out of any of its ports.
The only option is to combine two ports into a 2Gbps connection, which is impractical.
With the world moving to Wi-Fi 6E and Gigabit-class Internet (and faster), the support for Multi-Gig wired networking will soon be commonplace. On this front, the TUF-AX5400 will be left behind.
However, Gigabit is still plenty fast and will last for a long time. Come to think about it, there are still Fast Ethernet (that’s 100Mbps) devices being made today.
Asus TUF-AX5400: Excellent performance
Most importantly, the TUF-AX5400 did well where it mattered the most: performance.
For one, the router passed my three-day stress test with no disconnection or any other issues.
And it has an excellent range, too, similar to that of other Asus Dual-band routers, such as RT-AX86U, RT-AX82U, or the GS-AX5400. Tentatively, if you have a home of some 2000 ft2 (186 m2), place it in the middle, and chances are you’ll find a good signal at every corner.
It’s important to note that a router’s range depends on the environment, and your mileage will vary.
In terms of throughputs, find the TUF-AX5400’s actual numbers on the charts. But generally, on the 5GHz band, the router saturated that of its Gigabit port, per the way I test Wi-Fi. Those were the cases of both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 clients.
ON the 2.4GHz, the router did comparatively well, too. IN all, the TUF-AX5400 delivers almost identical performance as the more expensive GS-AX5400.
So so NAS performance (when hosting a portable drive)
And the similar performance remained when the TUF-AX5400 worked as a mini NAS server.
When hosting a portable SSD — I used the My Passport — it registered the sustained copy speeds of 55 MB/s and 72MB/s for writing and reading, respectively, via a Gigabit connection.
These numbers weren’t the worst, nor were they impressive. That said, you can use the TUF-AX5400 for everyday network storage needs. For thing more, consider getting a real NAS server, instead.
Asus TUF-AX5400's Rating
Excellent overall performance, comparatively affordable
AiMesh 2.0 support, including system-wide Guest network
Excellent web interface, well-designed mobile app, no login account required
Lots of useful features, including those for gamers
No Multi-Gig port
Performance as a NAS server could be better
Not wall-mountable, small Aura RBG lighting
The TUF-AX5400 has nothing new or exciting, but it’s still an excellent router thanks to the combo of excellent performance, a helpful feature set, and, most importantly, the reasonable price tag.
If you need a robust router for a small/medium home, it’s one of the best Wi-Fi investments. At just $200, it sure is a better purchase than the GS-AX5400 and will kick the Netgear XR1000 out of the park.
As a matter of fact, if you have gotten your home wired, feel free to get a few to build a robust AiMesh system out of them.
Looking for other matchups in Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.
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63 thoughts on “Asus TUF-AX5400 Review (vs GS-AX5400): An Excellent Budget Gaming Router”
Previously I’m currently equipped with a set of Zenwifi XT 8 and its connected together via ethernet backhaul.
However one of them is faulty.
So Instead of getting another piece of the XT8, I’m looking at this TUF-AX5400.
Do they match well together?
And if I get it.. which should be use as the primary router?
They likely won’t, Seifer. More in this post.
Dear Dong, thanks for the awesome reviews, they are very helpful! I have bought the aforementioned Asus router and I would like to strengthen its WiFi signal. I need your advice as to the matter. I don’t know whether to use a range extender wirelessly (as RP-AX56, btw excellent review) or choose something like a tri-band mesh WiFi system (as a pair of XT8s) or a second Asus router as a wireless extender. The WiFi coverage of the TUF-AX5400 is almost perfect, I need to amplify it slightly more in order to receive 100% signal in the most difficult areas in my home. Thank you in advance!
The RT-AX56 will work out great for your case if you don’t need superfast speed at that far corner. It’s even better if you can run a cable to link it to the TUF-AX5400. There’s no reason to get a Tri-band in your case.
Thanks for your reply Dong, I’ll buy the RT-AX56!
👍 Merry Christmas!
Great review as always. This Router looks like a winner in the price range it’s in and I’m looking at picking one up to replacing an aging AC router. One question that I’m struggling to find a reliable answer to, is how large of a USB Hard Drive will be able to be mounted and used with the USB port for my Samba Shares?
Asus themselves have a very old list that hasn’t been updated in a long time which shows their Routers USB port maxing out at 4TB, but a little research online suggests some people using 8-14TB externally powered USB Hard Drives with success without the need to partition it.
Would it be possible for you to test this in the future with a larger capacity external Hard Drive to see how well larger capacity Hard Drives work with the routers you test. In this day and age of +20TB external Hard Drives I believe it’s an important test for router for those looking to share files and use it for a simple media center within the home in a simple manner.
Thanks again in advance,
It’s a router you’re using, Yianni. You shouldn’t use hard drives too large with it. Get a real NAS server! More in this post.
But to answer your question, all routers I’ve reviewed that have the USB storage feature can handle large drives, it’s a matter of how you format it using which type of partition table. But my advice is not to invest in a large drive with your router, the larger the drive the more data you’ll lose when something happens. If you really need that much storage, get a real NAS server. Consider yourself warned.
How well does LACP link aggregation work on the LAN ports using 2 of these units for aimesh eth backhaul? Does it work flawlessly or subject to issues? TIA.
That won’t work at all — more in this post. Also, even if it did, that likely wouldn’t change anything since LAG only increases the bandwidth not the speed, and the routers have no other faster-than-Gigabit connection. So it’s pointless.
Hi Dong, thanks for the review! Would you recommend TUF-AX5400 over the AX86S? Thank you!
I haven’t tested the RT-AX86S but I’d recommend the TUF-AX5400, Alvin.
Thanks for the feedback! Appreciate it, stay safe!
Cual tiene mas alcance y cobertura ax88u o ax86u?
Tienen los mismos, aproximadamente, Fer.
Just a curious question, i am little afraid of … i need to get a new router, but seeing you have reviewed the TUF-AX5400 and the ROG STRIX GS-AX5400 … the question is … which one is better?
I would like to get the maximun performance while having the best range in home … but if i am gonna invest for, i would like to see which one is better.
Thanks in advance 🙂
Other than the light on the ROG, the two basically are the same. This review explained that all, give it a serious read! 🙂
Hi Dong, thank for this. Probably the best reviews / articles I’ve found so really appreciate it. I have 3 questions to ask if you don’t mind.
1) I see that you have also reviewed the Asus RT-AX82U (on 28 Aug 2020). The spec between the 2 are almost identical. Is there a reason why (in the UK) the AX5400 is 35% cheaper (c£120) than the AX82U (c£180). Or is that just a random UK price variation.
2) With the fact that I currently don’t have any Wifi 6 devices and most of the important devices are connected via ethernet (i.e. PCs laptops), if the RT-AC86U and the AX5400 are almost the same price in the UK, which would be better?
3) If I find that the WIFI isn’t quite covering my house (which is fully ethernet connected so can use ethernet backhaul). Would it be better to just get the XD4 mesh system or picking up a cheap AX55 router to work in Aimesh where the total price difference between the 2 options is only £10-15. My main concern about the XD4 is that it only has 1 ethernet port so would need to connect node via a switch (which I’ve heard can cause problems).
As you can probably tell, I’m trying to work with a relatively ‘managed’ budget so getting the higher-end AX86U routers is a bit too much.
Thanks in advance.
I generally don’t comment on specific situations, Kap. And I live in a different country from yours, so it’d be hard even if I wanted to.
1. AX5400 is not a model number — there are many AX5400 routers. Assuming you’re talking about the TUF-AX5400, this one is marketed as affordable gear, as I mentioned in the review. (Per the rules, I’d recommend you read the review — or anything on this website for that matter — in its entirety before asking questions.)
2. That’s your call. “Better” is subjective.
3. Not sure what “the WIFI” is, but if you live in a large house, you might want to get a mesh system. Your place is wired, so you have lots of options. And what to get depends on what you’re looking for — that’s your decision to make. More on when to get a mesh in this post.
I have bought 2 tuf ax5400 .
I set them up with Ethernet backhaul with the satellite unit’s wan port connected to the router unit’s Lan port, and the router unit’s wan port Connected to the 5G home broadband modem’s lab port. The main unit saw the same 650Mbps as I got direct from the 5G modem’s wifi, however I could only muster 95Mbps from the satellite unit’s wifi, or even via an Ethernet cable connected laptop to another of the satellite unit’s lab port.
It was only when I gave up and connected the satellite unit’s wan port into another of the 5G modem’s lan ports that I could get 650Mbps also on the satellite unit’s wifi or lan port via Ethernet cable to laptop.
So what gives? By leaving it this way I have to have both units in “AP” mode and forfeit a lot of the ASUS capabilities I had hoped to use.
Oh one thing I didn’t mention was that the router unit was in gateway mode and the satellite unit in AP mode which saw the 95Mbps achieved on the satellite unit.
I wanted to see if the AiMesh approach achieved something else but so far the GUI doesn’t seem to like me trying to set it up and tells me it “only” recognises wireless units (and then refuses to actually do that)…
There’s no “gateway” mode, Rob.
Make sure you didn’t use QoS or any bandwdith limitting function on the router unit, Rob.
OK so the main unit is in router mode (not gateway mode as mentioned above). The other unit is in AP mode. After some testing on another 1G router and getting the same result my thinking is the problem is mine – my subfloor cat6 cabling must be running too close to mains electricity cables and I will have to get under there and check…
Thanks very much for this review and the comprehensive reviews and guides across your site.
I am based on Australia but was considering purchasing this or the GS-AX5400 router from the UK via Amazon. I have read that Asus routers purchased in the UK have weaker wifi signals than the rest of the world. Do you know if there is any truth in that?
And if so, do you know if this is due to hardware or firmware implementation? If the later, are you aware if there is region specific firmware that you are able to use to get around this issue?
That’s most definitely true, Pras. I’d rather not buy a router from one region and use it in another. Among other things, they’re supposed to have different broadcasting power specified by the local governments — I mentioned that briefly in this post. But in my personal experience, if you get one made for the US market, it’ll work out well almost everywhere else. But don’t quote me on that.
I just received 2 such AX5400 from Amazon UK for use in Australia and the individual coverage is great compared to the Deco M5 mesh units I had before.
That’s really good to know it is working out well.
It’s certainly very tempting to purchase from Amazon UK right now as there is basically a $100 saving over local Australian stock. Amazon US is priced similarly to AUS at current exchange rates.
Thanks Dong, that is very helpful and that article was great too.
Amazing review, thank you.
Do you have a recommendation between the Asus TUF AX5400 and TP Link Archer AX73? They are identically priced at the moment and I’m in the need of an upgrade.
Read their reviews, Andy.
I love the article! Very thorough, as always. My question is would you get the ASUS AX86U or ASUS TUF AX5400?
Or would you wait until the AX11000 Pro drops?
I am not saying I have to have a Tri-Band router but I like the idea of having it and putting certain devices on each band.
Thanks ahead of time,
I’d say no, but that’s mostly because of the Multi-Gig port, Rob. If you don’t care about that, this one is great, especially considering the price. I can’t say anything about the Pro, since it’s not out yet. I’m more excited about the GT-AXE16000, tho. 😳
I saw amazon has a good price for the ASUS TUF AX5400… BUT!!
ASUS does not seem to have anything other than a ‘basic startup guide’ (only 6 pages!) for this..
the AX86U/S has around 120 pages all in English!! suspect????
if you don’t have full ASUS experience, full support is needed…
These routers are very similar, you can use the manual of one for another, for the most part.
Hey Don’t, thanks for all your reviews.
I currently have an Asus RTAC68U which has been fine so far. With the increase of devices been noting more latency on my 200/20 internet connection.
Between the tuf gaming ax5400 and the AX92U that I can get at the same price which would be the better option for the same or increased range and lower latency?
Would it make sense to wait for WiFi 6E with prices at around 100eur at the moment?
Thank you for your time and effort.
Sorry for the typo. Dong, not don’t. Autocorrect….
I’d go with either. But the issue might not have anything to do with a router — don’t expect magic out of a new router. More here: https://dongknows.com/how-to-do-an-internet-or-wi-fi-speed-test/
Thank you for your reply Dong.
Wired i have 10ms latency and 12/14 wireless.
What i starting realizing is when i have several devices using Wifi it gets a little laggy.
I guess a new router won’t solve this because i wont get lower latency wirellesly than i can with ethernet. Just hoping a new wifi6 router would have higher capacity for multiple devices, but since all my devices are wifi5 it won’t make that much of a difference.
I’ll talk with my ISP and try to move up to FTTH from HFC. Then maybe it’s worth it to upgrade my main router and use the AC68U as a mesh.
Sure, pHox. Wi-Fi is ALWAYS inferior to wiring in terms of latency and liability. So get your home wired. 🙂
Hi Dong, Would you be doing a detailed review with Speed Test for this TUF Gaming AX5400 router ? In terms of CPU and Memory, it is similar to AX3000 but am wondering what are the specific areas that makes the router perform better than AX3000
It’s not available in the US, Anish.
Do we know what the difference is between the TUF-AX5400 and GS-AX5400? I’m confused.
Read my take and review on them, Cah. If you are still confused then, it’s on you.
Well all I can see is a couple of firmware gaming features on the GS, and two extra fixed antenna on the TUF. Otherwise the hardware isnindentical. It is bizarre that the TUF is selling for £120-£140 and GS for £160-220. Big price difference little real difference.
I’d go with the lower price, Cah. But it’s your call. Tuf is not available in the US, at least for now.
Which router would you recommend – the TUF-AX5400 or the RT-AX82U?
I haven’t tested the former, Doychin. But the RT-AX82U is great.
Hi Dong, having now tested the TUF AX5400, would you recommend going with the TUF AX5400 or still recommend the AX82U? Seems their internal hardware specs are very similar, but the TUF AX5400 seem to edge out the AX82U in your tests. I’m not interested in the aesthetics of the RGB, but am looking better range and more compact size (I intend to “mount” it on a wall with an accessory).
I’d go with the TUF, Michael. Don’t get too hung up on the performance numbers, though, since the two were tested at different times with two different firmware versions.
Hi… just curious, why would you choose TUF AX5400 over AX82U ?
I do have both and wondering which one should be the Main Router. Thanks and appreciate it
I’d say it’d make no difference which one you use as the main router, Louis. I didn’t choose one over the other, but this review is of the TUF.
Do you have any plans for a review ?
The router has already appeared in stores in Europe but I am not sure if it will be released in US.
I wonder if it is better than AX82U with those two extra antennas.
Yes, Nick, when/if it’s available in the U.S. I don’t think it’ll be much of a difference.
Another Asus router with fixed antennas. This seems to be a new trend unfortunately. However, I doubt anyone is going to complain about the price when it’s announced.
We’ll see! But I think you’re probably right, Ian.
Would you recommend getting this router over the ASUS RT-AX86U?
I was debating between the ASUS ROG Strix GS-AX5400 wifi 6 router, the RT-AX88U and the RT-AX86U. If it were you upgrading from an old ASUS RT-N66U which one of these 3 routers would you recommend assuming price is not an issue?
No, Jordan. Get the RT-AX86U.
I got two of these for £120 each and will use LAG for uplink. The XD6 is £340. In scenarios where I would need removeable antenna I would perhaps not be looking at a device like this. Will pair with an AX86u as main aimesh hub. These will be staggered satellites wired in.
That’s a great setup, Chris. Good call! And it seems this one is not for the US market. We have the GS-AX5400 instead.
The courier lost/stole my two units at £120 each. Managed to find replacements on amazon at £90 each which was a one day deal. I should have bought three so one could better cover outdoor area….anyway….AImesh wired works flawlessly with AX86U node….but only once I realised I should use the WAN port for wired uplink. All Asus devices are connected with a smart managed switch which causes no issues. Using wifi backhaul (for a laugh) the routers initially stated they were connected, but would disconnect after 30 seconds – so thankful i have no need for wireless backhaul. I don’t think I’ll need aggregation for the nodes yet as my use case and internet (500mbps) is maxxed out close-by and at maximum range. Fingers crossed for reliability and longevity.
Thanks for these reviews 🙂 Have been waiting for a bit before I upgrade my router. Its nice to have all this information. Waiting to see how good the ROG Strix GS-AX5400 is compared to all the other reasonably priced routers before I actually decide. Hoping you review it as well in the future 🙂
Sure, Chris. And noted. 🙂