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Best Gaming Routers of 2021: That FTW List

Suppose you need a router that’s great for general needs and then has customization for specific games. Well, you find more than one in this list of the best gaming routers I’ve reviewed.

All meet at least more than one of my criteria that qualify them to be gaming routers. With that in mind, knock yourself out. Don’t see your fav? Well, check back. I might add it as I review more.

See also  Gaming Routers Explained: How Latency Kills (Your DPS)

Dong’s note: This is a frequently updated post.

Best Gaming Routers: Asus's Trio
Best Gaming routers: Asus’s tri-band trio, the GT-AX11000, RT-AX92U, and GT-AXE11000, each has a lot to offer gamers.

Best gaming routers of 2021: The list

All routers on this list are excellent for general use. On top of that, they collectively check all the boxes to be qualified as gaming gear.

They are listed here on reviewed orders with the latest on top — the number in front of their name is not for ranking, but just numerical.

8. Asus GT-AXE11000: Wi-Fi 6E is a still blur, but gamering is a sure thing

Asus GT AXE11000 Aura RGB Lighting
Best Gaming Routers: Among other things, the Asus GT-XE11000 sure look the part.

The GT-AXE11000, despite the similar hardware, is not an upgrade to the GT-AX11000 below. It’s the first Wi-Fi 6E router on the market.

One thing is for sure, though. This is one of the routers that Asus has put a crazy amount of what I called “gamering” on. It has everything you’d need to get the best out of your games, with the rights to brag like there’s no tomorrow.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 Wi-Fi 6E Gaming Router

$549.99
8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Tri-band with Wi-Fi 6E support
  • Excellent 5GHz and 2.4GHz performance
  • Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full support for AiMesh 2.0
  • 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Wi-Fi 6E is not fully available
  • Only one 2.5Gbps port, no 10Gbps port
  • Bulky design, not wall-mountable, buggy firmware (at launch)
See also  Asus GT-AXE11000 Router Review: A Wi-Fi Luxury, for Now

7. Asus RT-AX92U: The little router that could

Asus RT AX92U AiMesh
The Asus RT-AX92U is also available as a 2-pack AiMesh set.

The Asus RT-AX92U is an interesting case. At launched it was a bit of a controversy due to the odd hardware specs and shoddy firmware. Later on, though, Asus managed to improve it a great deal via updates.

As of now, this is one of the best tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router you can buy and in many ways, it’s like the mini version of the ultimate gaming router that is the GT-AX11000 below.

ASUS RT-AX92U AX6100 Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router

$219.98
8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Compact design, tri-band specs
  • Good performance, large coverage
  • Excellent set of features, including online protection, WTFast VPN for gamers, and system-wide Guest network when working as a mesh
  • Link Aggregation and Dual-WAN support, wall-mountable
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • Wi-Fi 6 available only on one of the 5GHz bands
  • No Multi-Gig port
See also  Asus RT-AX92U Review: A Cute and Effective Little Odd One Out of AiMesh

6. Netgear XR1000: A sophisticated gaming router

Netgear XR1000 12
Best gaming routers: The Netgear XR1000 looks quite nice.

The XR1000 is somewhat of an upgrade to the XR500 below. It’s the second gaming router base on the DumaOS and the first that uses Wi-Fi 6.

The new router runs version 3.0 of the game-centric firmware and has some cool features, including an improved Geo-Filter with polygon mode and Ping heatmap.

The new firmware version is a bit heavy for the router’s hardware specs and the XR1000 is a bit pricey, but overall, it’s a great router for those playing a set of specific games.

Netgear XR1000 Nighthawk Pro Gaming 6-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

$349.99
8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Ease of Use

7.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Sophisticated game-centric firmware
  • Fast Wi-Fi speeds and reliable perfornace
  • Robust web UI, beautiful hardware design
  • Useful mobile app, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Expensive but under powered - items of web interface can take a long time to fully load
  • Limited Wi-Fi settings
  • Mobile app can't manage any gaming features
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Online protection and VPN require subscriptions
  • Buggy -- firmware needs some serious updates, no mesh option
See also  Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Review: A Unique (Gaming) Experience

5. Asus RT-AX82U: Possibly the coolest-looking gaming router

Asus RT AX82U 20
Best gaming routers: The Asus RT-AX82U and its unique programmable front-facing Aura RGB lighting.

The Asus RT-AX82U is basically the RT-AX86U below with slightly lesser hardware. In return, it unique has a fantastic looking programmable front lighting that sure will turn any gamer on! If you’re into gaming routers with bling, this is the router for you.

Asus RT-AX82U AX5400 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router

9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Beautiful design with tons of helpful networking, game-related features and settings
  • Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • No support for WTFast Gamer VPN
  • No multi-gig network port
  • Network storage performance (when hosting a portable drive) could use some improvement
  • Not wall-mountable
See also  Asus RT-AX82U Gaming Router Review: A Fancy Little Wi-Fi 6 Performer

4. Asus RT-AX86U: The best dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router to date

The Asus RT-AX86U is an Excellent Gaming Router
Best gaming routers: The Asus RT-AX86U is in fact the best dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router, and gaming is just one of many things it has.

I called the Asus RT-AX86U the best dual-band router to date for a reason. It’s great.

As for gaming, it has lots of features, including a set of robust pre-programmed settings, a game LAN port, and more. The 2.5 Gbps multi-gig port also means it’s ready if you need an ultra-fast wired connection.

ASUS RT-AX86U AX5700 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router

9

Performance

9.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance, excellent range, reliable
  • Tons of helpful networking features and settings
  • Useful settings for online gaming
  • Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
  • Multi-gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support
  • Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • No support for WTFast Gamer VPN
  • Not wall-mountable
  • Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off
  • The single Multi-gig port caps at 2.5 Gbps
See also  Asus RT-AX86U Review: Arguably the Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date

TP Link Archer AX11000 Router 3
Best gaming routers: Not really a gaming router, but the TP-Link AX11000 sure look the part.

Yes, this is the one I called “fake”. But the TP-Link Archer AX11000 does look the part as a gaming router and it has a robust QoS where you can easily turn on prioritization for gaming.

TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router

8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance
  • 2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN ports
  • 160 MHz channel bandwidth support
  • Excellent, Antivirus, QoS and Parental Control features
  • Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app
  • Eye-catching and convenient hardware design
  • USB-C ready, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Misleading gaming veneer, no actual gaming-specific features
  • No multi-gig LAN port, bulky design
  • Not mesh-ready
  • Artificial "Game" items make the interface unnecessarily confusing
  • Mobile app require a login account
See also  TP-Link Archer AX11000 Review: Cool Looking yet Ridiculously Misleading

2. Asus GT-AX11000: The ultimate gamers’ edition of a Wi-Fi 6 router

Asus GT AX11000 Router
Best gaming routers: The Asus GT-AX11000 is a massive Wi-Fi 6 router.

The GT-AX11000 is the first Wi-Fi 6 router for gamers, and it delivers. Among other things, it has built-in support for WTFast gamer VPN, which allows it to be part of a unique VPN where you can enjoy certain games with extremely low-lags.

Alternatively, you can also opt for the RT-AX92U, which is basically the mini version of this router.

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Gaming Router

8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance with excellent range
  • Lots of useful features for home users
  • Unique and effective settings for online gaming
  • Multi-Gig network port, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation
  • Mesh ready

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bulky design, loose antennas, non-wall-mountable
  • Fewer LAN ports than previous model
  • Long boot-up time, buggy (at launch), fluctuating Wi-Fi throughputs
See also  Asus GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router Review: A Pro Gamer's Delight

1. Netgear XR500: A gaming router at heart

Netgear-XR500-1
Best gaming routers: The XR500 has a cool design that looks like a spaceship.

You can’t deny the Netgear XR500 is a gaming router. That’s because it was the first, in the U.S., that runs DumaOS, a special firmware made by the U.K. firm Netduma which develops special gaming routers.

As a result, the XR500 has lots of unique game-related features, including Geo-Filter, which allows you to create a low-lag zone for gaming. Alternatively, you can also find the XR300 and XR700.

The former is the lesser version of the XR500, while the latter is a souped-up version that, unfortunately, uses 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard that adds no extra value since it’s not widely adopted.

Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

7.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • DumaOS delivers comprehensive and effective QoS and online gaming features with a robust web interface
  • Excellent overall performance
  • Easy to setup and fun to use

Cons

  • No built-in security to protect the entire network from online threats
  • Content filtering can't block secure website sites such as Facebook or Youtube
  • Limited Wi-Fi settings
See also  Netgear XR500 Review: A Cool Wi-Fi Router for Gamers

Best gaming routers of 2021: Hardware specifications and Wi-Fi performance

I tested all of these routers the way I do all Wi-Fi broadcaster. I also tried their gaming features via wired and wireless connections, without a retail or mesh extender.

It’s best to use game a console (or PC) via a wired connection as a rule. If you have to use Wi-Fi, make sure the device connects directly to the very first broadcaster of your home if you have more than one Wi-Fi hub.

Best gaming routers: Wi-Fi performance

I got the 5GHz numbers below via a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 160MHz client and a 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 client.

Best gaming routers performance 5GHz

On the 2.4GHz, I use the same 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 160MHz client and a 3×3 Wi-Fi 4 client.

Best gaming routers performance 2 4GHz

Best gaming routers: Hardware specifications

Looking to compare these routers side by side, the table of hardware specifications below will help.

Asus ROG Rapture
GT-AXE11000
Wi-Fi 6E
Gaming Router
Asus RT-AX92U 
AX6100 Tri-band 
Wi-Fi 6 Router
Netgear XR1000 
Nighthawk 
Wi-Fi 6 Pro 
Gaming Router
 Asus RT-AX82U
AX5400 Dual-Band
Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
Asus RT-AX86U
AX5700 Dual-Band
Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
TP-Link Archer
AX11000 Tri-Band
Wi-Fi 6
Gaming Router
Asus ROG Rapture
GT-AX11000
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
Gaming Router
Netgear XR500
Nighthawk
Pro Gaming
Wi-Fi 5 Router
ModelGT-AXE11000RT-AX92U XR1000RT-AX82URT-AX86UArcher AX11000GT-AX11000XR500
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-Band Wi-Fi 6E 
AX11000
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
AX6100
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX5400
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX5400
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX5700
Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX11000
Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 
AX11000
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 5
AC2600
First Band2.4GHz 4×4 AX 
Up to 1148Mbps
2.4Ghz 2×2 Wi-Fi 4
Up to 400Mbps
2.4GHz 2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
2.4GHz 2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
2.4Ghz 3×3 AX 
Up to 861Mbps
2.4GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 1148Mbps
2.4GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 1148Mbps
2.4GHz 4×4 AC
Up to 800Mbps
Second Band5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 2×2 AC
Up to 867Mbps (low band)
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX 6
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX 6
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AC
Up to 1733Mbps
Third Band6GHz 4×4 Wi-Fi 6E
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
NoneNoneNone5GHz 4×4 AX 6
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
None
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n
Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz) SupportYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
AP ModeYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Mesh-readyYes (AiMesh 2.0)Yes (AiMesh 2.0)NoYes (AiMesh 2.0)Yes (AiMesh 2.0)Yes (OneMesh)Yes (AiMesh 2.0)No
160MHz Channel SupportYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Number of 
160MHz Channels
7x on one 6GHz band
2x on one 5GHz band
1x one 5GHz band2x on one 5GHz band2x on one 5GHz band2x on one 5GHz band2x on two 5GHz bands2x on two 5GHz bandsNone
Gigabit Port4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN8× LAN4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WANNoneNoneNone1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN1× 2.5Gbps WAN1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WANNone
LAN Link AggregationYes (LAN ports 1 and 2)Yes (LAN1 + LAN2)NoneYes (LAN 1 and LAN 2)Yes (LAN ports 1 and 2)Yes (LAN 2 + LAN 3)Yes (LAN ports 1 and 2)None
WAN Link AggregationYes (WAN + LAN4)Yes (WAN + LAN4)NoneYes (WAN + LAN4)Yes (WAN + LAN4)NoYes (WAN + LAN4)None
Dual-WANYes (WAN + USB 
or LAN4 or 2.5Gbps)
Yes (WAN + LAN 1, or WAN + USB)NoneYes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)Yes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)NoYes (WAN + USB 
or LAN4 or 2.5Gbps)
None
USB2x USB 3.01x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.01x USB 3.01x USB 3.02x USB 3.01× USB-C 3.0,
1× USB-A 3.0
2x USB 3.02x USB 3.0
Mobile AppAsus RouterAsus RouterNetgear NighthawkAsus RouterAsus RouterTP-Link TetherAsus RouterNone
Gaming FeaturesDedicated Game Port
OutFox
Game Boost
Open NAT
Mobile Game Mode
QoS
Aura Lighting
WTFast VPN
Game Boost
Open NAT
Mobile Game Mode
QoS
DumaOS 2.0
Geo-Filter
Ping Heatmap
QoS
Dedicated Game Port
Game Boost
Open NAT
Mobile Game Mode
QoS
Aura Lighting
Dedicated Game Port
Game Boost
Open NAT
Mobile Game Mode
QoS
Fancy Web interface
QoS
WTFast VPN
Game Boost
Open NAT
Mobile Game Mode
QoS
Aura Lighting
DumaOS
Geo-Filter
QoS
Processing Power1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 
256MB Flash, 1GB RAM
1.8Ghz dual-core CPU, 
512 MB RAM, 256 MB Flash
1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
1.8 GHz quad-core CPU,
256 MB Flash, 1 GB RAM
1.8 GHz 64 bit quad-core CPU,  
512 MB Flash, 1 GB RAM
1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 
256MB Flash, 1GB RAM
1.7GHz dual-core CPU,
256MB Flash, 512MB RAM
Dimensions 
(no antennas)
10.4 x 10.4 x 2.9 in 
(26.4 x 26.4x 7.4 cm)
6.1 x 6.1 x 2.07 in
(15.5 x 15.5 x 5.26 cm)
11.61 x 7.87 x 2.51 in 
(29.5 x 20 x 6.4 cm)
10.83 x 7.26 x 6.5 in
(27.5 x 18.4 x 16.5 cm) 
9.52 x 3.93 x 12.79 inc. 
(24.2 x 10 x 32.5 cm) 
9.5 x 9.5 x 2.2 in 
(24.1 x 24.1 x 5.5 cm)
9.5 x 9.5 x 2.4 in 
(24.1 x 24.1 x 6.1 cm)

12.7 x 9.6 x 2.2 in
(32.2 x 24.4x 5.5 cm)
Weight3.94 lbs (1.79 kg)1.43 lbs (651 g)1.32 lb (.6 kg)1.63 lbs (740 g)1.8 lbs (814.5 g)3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)3.8 lbs (1.73 kg)1.77lbs (801g)
Price
(as of post’s date)
$550$210$300$230$250$350$450$250
Best gaming routers of 2021: Hardware specifications (scroll horizontally)
See also  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Pick One for Your Home Today!

25 thoughts on “Best Gaming Routers of 2021: That FTW List”

  1. Hi Dong,

    I have an ASUS ac2400 which I run wired to a ps4. Would the Netgear xr500 be an upgrade? Also my house is 1350 sq ft, would the xr500 be powerful enough for coverage. 300mbps connection btw. Thank you.

    Reply
    • I would say yes, George. However, 2 things:

      1. You’ll see no difference in wired clients.
      2. The Asus has a much better web interface. You might get frustrated with how different that of the Netgear is. It’ll take some getting used to.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply, Dong. After much research, I think I’m going with the RT-AX86U. Do you think I’ll notice much difference over the AC2400 I currently run as far as better coverage/speed etc?

        Reply
        • The coverage might be slightly better, George. As for speed, it depends on your clients, too. Specifically, if you only have Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, then yes, if you have a lot of legacy clients, then maybe no. More here. But that’s a good choice.

          Reply
  2. I currently have the TPLink Archer AX6000. While it’s not gaming centric, it does have slighter faster speeds than the RT-AX86U. Which router do you like better between the TPLink and Asus?

    Reply
  3. Hey Dong,

    Now I have a tp-link ax6000, what do you think if I buy an ax86u? Do you think there will be a difference on the gaming side?

    Reply
  4. Hi Dong,

    I have an R7000 that seems to have issues with ping spikes that I cannot fix and do not have when wired directly into the modem.

    Looking to upgrade to a newer gaming router. Price is not an issue at all and I only game hardwired. I am only semi-network savvy so ease of use is a priority for me.

    I am leaning towards the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Gaming Router. What do you think?

    Reply
  5. Dong,

    Great list of routers. As a PC Gamer, I’m hard wired into my current router. It’s an older Nighthawk (R6700) and performance is poor, even at wired speeds. Wireless is 2nd priority at this point. I recently subscribed to Gig Internet and my router can’t keep up. Is there a top 2-3 routers from this list that would shine as far as hardware and ethernet performance?

    Reply
  6. I’ve been tossing and turning deciding between the Asus AX86u and the Asus AX88u. Which would offer a gamer a better experience? Currently using the Asus AC3100. Most a console gamer hardwired.

    Reply
  7. Hi Mr. Dong,
    first sorry so much for my poor english and my low level in this area…
    I need to buy a new single router and my question is, can you tell me between ax92, ax86 and ax82 (215€, 250€ and 113€) which one is better for a family use (3 person with wifi use, 1 xbox and 1 PC gamers). My home 100m2. Its enough the ax82u or is better go for other… take care a lot, thanks and Greetings from Spain.

    Reply
  8. Hey Dong,

    I am curious of your opinion of the RT-AX89X as a gaming router. I realize it is not marketed as such, but given the hardware, I would expect it to perform very well with regards to low latency and high bandwidth. I need to upgrade my current router, just not sure if I want to go with the 89X or wait on the GT-AXE11000 to be available and stable. Of if the RT-AX86U might work just as well for less money? I have 3 gamers in my household, and occasionally 2 more that stop by. My current overclocked R7000 on FreshTomato just can’t keep up when everyone starts gaming and streaming.

    Reply

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