Home / Internet News / The most efficient gaming routers of 2020 – CNET

The most efficient gaming routers of 2020 – CNET

For those who stay getting shot lifeless whilst you check out your hand at Fortnite or scored on whilst you play Rocket League, smartly… in all probability you simply don’t seem to be all that just right at aggressive on-line gaming. Alternatively, if you are plagued via persistent lag throughout the ones crucial split-second selections that make the variation between victory and defeat, then perhaps your web connection is guilty. And, if that is the case, you can be tempted to improve your wi-fi router.

Earlier than purchasing the rest, I might suggest studying over my beginner’s guide to gaming lag to look if there is not anything you’ll do to assist carry your ping down. In numerous instances, one thing as smooth as transferring your wi-fi router to another spot would possibly make the entire distinction on the earth. However when you’ve attempted all of that and you are ready for an improve, then you are in the best position.  

Learn extra: Give the gift of a better, faster router for the holidays | The best Wi-Fi routers in 2019 | Best internet providers in 2019 | Best gaming PCs for 2019 | The best gaming laptop performers of 2019 

You have got numerous choices that promise to spice up your gaming enjoy — however which one must you purchase? And is it price splurging large on one who helps the speedy new Wi-Fi 6 standard? That is what I sought after to grasp, so I began trying out the issues out. This is the entirety I have discovered up to now, beginning with the fashions I believe you must 0 in on first.  

Learn extra: Best graphics cards for gamers and creatives in 2019 | Best cheap gaming mouse |  Best gaming gifts

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

After months of exams, the Asus RT-AC86U is the most efficient router for gaming I might suggest first. Recently promoting for roughly $150, this dual-band wi-fi router with a 1.8GHz dual-core processor provides terrific efficiency and contours for the associated fee. Actually, it was once the end total finisher in our latency exams, and thank you partially to its dual-core CPU, it hit the quickest speeds at the 5GHz band of any wi-fi router out of doors of the tremendous fast Wi-Fi 6 fashions we examined.

It additionally boasts a very good app and internet keep an eye on interface, together with a useful high quality of carrier engine and a number of different ways to optimize your connection, and the design is gamer-friendly with out being too over-the-top. If you need a gaming-minded wi-fi router improve however you are apprehensive about purchasing greater than you wish to have, glance no additional — this router hits the candy spot.

One ultimate observe — Asus has a new version of this router coming later in 2020 that’ll give a boost to Wi-Fi 6. We do not know very a lot about it but, however we will stay a watch out for it this summer time and check it out first likelihood we get.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

OK, so it’s not technically a gaming router, in keeping with se — however the Wi-Fi 6-equipped TP-Hyperlink AX6000 is the quickest router now we have ever examined, length. It nailed our latency exams, too, acting simply in addition to gaming-minded TP-Hyperlink routers just like the Archer C5400X. You can additionally to find numerous helpful networking options to play with in TP-Hyperlink’s Tether app. 

It is nonetheless early for Wi-Fi 6, however if you are taking a look to future-proof your house community for a brand new era of hooked up gadgets (for the gaming enjoy or differently), that is the router I might level you towards. At $300, it for sure is not affordable, however it is a lot more straightforward to abdomen than Wi-Fi 6 gaming routers that value $400 or extra.

Chris Monroe/CNET

If you are on the lookout for a router with gaming-minded key options and design, however you are additionally desirous about multipoint mesh networking, then check out the Amplifi HD Gamer’s Version from Ubiquiti. It wasn’t a standout in our lab-based top-speed exams, however with plug-in fluctuate extenders which are about as smooth to make use of because it will get, it excels at spreading a solid, fast Wi-Fi sign from room to room. 

On height of that, the original, horny design does not absorb an obnoxious quantity of house — and with a touchscreen at the entrance and LED lighting across the base, you’ll be able to in truth need it to take a seat out within the open, the place it plays higher. You can additionally respect the app’s easy-to-use options, together with a devoted low-latency mode that will let you tweak your connection and steer clear of lag on a couple of gadgets.

At $380, it is a dear choice evidently, however that is nonetheless roughly consistent with different high-end mesh networks that come with two range-extenders (for comparability, the Nest Wifi mesh machine prices $349 for a three-piece setup).

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Continuously promoting for lower than $100, the D-Hyperlink DIR-867 was once essentially the most affordable router that I examined for this roundup — and it carried out strangely smartly, boasting the quickest moderate speeds at the 2.4GHz band in each our lab-based height pace exams and our home-based real-world pace exams. It held its personal at the speedier 5GHz band, too, beating out a number of wi-fi routers that value considerably extra. 

Die-hards will most likely need extra options concerned about their gaming enjoy and function, however the DIR-867 a minimum of features a high quality of carrier engine to mean you can prioritize gaming visitors above different sorts of community visitors. That is sufficient for many — particularly if you do not need to cost a fortune on one thing fancier. Read our D-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Router review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It does not be offering the similar height speeds that you’ll be able to get with Asus’ Wi-Fi 6-equipped GT-AX11000, however that did not prevent the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 dual-band router from outperforming it in my domestic all the way through a number of rounds of exams. Actually, the GT-AC2900 was once one of the crucial height finishers when it comes to moderate obtain speeds, latency and fluctuate. It provides the similar very good suite of gaming options as different gaming routers from Asus, together with a customizable High quality of Carrier engine and game-and-platform-specific open NAT port-forwarding regulations.

At $200, you will not pay too painful of a top rate for it — and it even contains RGB lighting fixtures results, if that is your factor.

What we examined

In conjunction with seeing how these days’s gaming routers stacked up in opposition to one some other, I sought after to get a way of ways they in comparison with this kind of same old routers that you simply may well be tempted to improve from. For the reason that a couple of of those gaming routers use next-gen Wi-Fi 6 era, I made positive to check a couple of different Wi-Fi 6 routers, too.

All instructed, that left us with 14 routers. This is the total listing, from least to most costly (costs as of Jan. 17, 2020):

  • TP-Hyperlink Archer A9 AC1900: $72
  • D-Hyperlink DIR-867 AC1750: $100
  • D-Hyperlink EXO AC2600: $129
  • Linksys EA8300 AC2200: $140
  • Asus RT-AC86U: $160
  • TP-Hyperlink Archer C3150: $168
  • Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600: $170
  • Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900: $200
  • TP-Hyperlink Archer C5400X: $240
  • Netgear Nighthawk Professional Gaming XR500: $249
  • TP-Hyperlink Archer AX6000: $300
  • Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000: $343
  • Amplifi HD Gamer’s Version: $380
  • Netgear Nighthawk AX12: $400

We are nonetheless trying out a couple of extra fashions, together with some further Wi-Fi 6 routers just like the TP-Link AX11000 and the Asus RT-AX92U mesh machine. We are additionally anticipating quite a few new gaming routers to hit the marketplace later in 2020. When we’ve knowledge on the ones fashions, I’m going to replace this publish.

How we examined them

Trying out routers is a tough industry. Wi-Fi connections are finicky, with so much and a number of variables and key options that may impact your speeds. We do our highest to account for the ones variables in our exams, however some elements are past our keep an eye on — and past your router’s keep an eye on, too.

For example, your house’s particular web carrier supplier connection is sort of a pace prohibit on your router. If you are paying for speeds of as much as, say, 50 megabits in keeping with moment, then your router would possibly not transmit knowledge from the cloud any quicker than that. The common ISP obtain pace in the United States is someplace round 100Mbps, whilst the ones residing in spaces with get right of entry to to fiber connections would possibly revel in speeds of 200, 500 or — if they are actually fortunate — even 1,000Mbps.

That raises an glaring query: How do you check the end pace of a router like that TP-Hyperlink AX6000, which guarantees Wi-Fi 6 knowledge switch charges as excessive as five,652Mbps?


Wi-Fi 6 routers just like the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX6000, the Asus ROG Rapture AX11000, and the Netgear Nighthawk AX6000 type observed right here had been all in a position to hit height speeds smartly above 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps).

Ry Crist/CNET

Best pace exams

Our way bypasses the ISP fully. As a substitute of the use of a modem to drag knowledge from the cloud, we pull knowledge from a neighborhood server the use of a stressed connection. Our native server of selection is a MacBook Professional. We attach it to the router the use of a CAT 7 Ethernet cable to stay interference as little as imaginable, and we use an adapter to hook up with the MacBook’s Thunderbolt three port, because it helps knowledge switch speeds which are lots rapid for our functions.

From there, we take a moment pc and hook up with the router’s wi-fi community, then we clock the speeds as we obtain the knowledge that the router is fetching from the MacBook by way of that stressed connection. We run this check a number of occasions on each and every router’s 2.four and 5GHz bands, and at quite a lot of distances, too. Finally, we get an excellent have a look at how temporarily each and every router is in a position to transmit knowledge to a shopper tool like your telephone, pc or gaming console of selection.

And sure, you’ll be able to see a lot quicker speeds when you attach that gaming console at once to the router by way of Ethernet cable. We examined the ones stressed speeds, too, and did not see any noticeable distinction between any of the routers we measured. Every got here in inside a megabit or two of 940Mbps, which is what you would be expecting from a gigabit Ethernet connection.

Ry Crist/CNET

As for wi-fi speeds, the graph above displays the end speeds for each and every router on each the two.4GHz band (blue) and the quicker 5GHz band (purple) at distances of five, 37.five and 75 toes. 

Here is what jumps out to me from those effects. First, it is smooth to identify the 3 Wi-Fi 6 routers we examined up on the height — they each and every clocked height speeds at the 5GHz band that had been a lot, a lot quicker than some other router we examined. And needless to say we are working those pace exams on a pc that helps Wi-Fi 6 — if we were not, the ones bars would most likely be so much shorter.

Quickest amongst them, the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX6000, which we measured a mean pace of one,523Mbps at the 5GHz band at a distance of five toes. Once we larger the space to 75 toes, the typical pace fell to 868 Mbps, which continues to be a quicker pace than any of the Wi-Fi five routers we examined had been in a position to achieve in any respect, even up shut.

However observe that the ones Wi-Fi 6 routers did not blow the contest away at the 2.4GHz band (once more, blue). Actually, the router with the quickest moderate speeds throughout all distances at the 2.4GHz band was once in truth the Netgear Nighthawk Professional Gaming XR500, which does not give a boost to Wi-Fi 6 in any respect. Proper in the back of it, the D-Hyperlink DIR-867, which additionally holds the glory of being the most cost effective router we examined for this roundup. That, coupled with the truth that it features a High quality of Carrier engine that may prioritize gaming visitors, is what made it a very simple worth pick out amongst this box.

That Netgear type was once additionally the quickest Wi-Fi five router at the 5GHz band, which tells us that it is a beautiful succesful piece of . In the meantime, our height total pick out, the Asus RT-AC86U, was once proper in the back of it with the second one quickest Wi-Fi five pace at the 5GHz band, despite the fact that its pace dipped a little bit at medium fluctuate. The aforementioned DIR-867 and the Zyxel Armor Z2 each and every scored smartly on this pace check, too.

Actual-world speeds

Measuring height speeds in a managed check surroundings provides us a transparent have a look at what those routers are technically able to, however you will not see speeds that rapid in your house. Take note, your router can best pull knowledge from the cloud as rapid as your ISP pace permits, and sign power will range from domestic to domestic in keeping with the structure and the quantity of obstructions in the way in which.

To account for this, we ran a moment batch of exams. This time, I examined each and every router in my own residence, a smallish shotgun-style area of about 1,200 sq. toes the place I’ve AT&T fiber web speeds of as much as 300Mbps. I ran my pace exams on a Dell XPS 13 pc that is a couple of years previous, and which doesn’t give a boost to Wi-Fi 6. The purpose was once to get a just right have a look at the sorts of speeds the general public would enjoy in the event that they introduced this type of routers into their domestic.

Amplifi’s app allows you to choose from Latency and Throughput modes relying to your wishes, and it contains useful options like sign power signs for the plug-in extenders.

Screenshots via Ry Crist/CNET

To collect my knowledge, I ran an abundance of pace exams from 5 other places in my domestic, starting from the lounge the place the router lives to a again rest room at the reverse finish of the home. Right through all of my exams, I at all times saved a TV streaming are living video from PlayStation Vue (RIP) to simulate customary family community visitors in a managed model (and in addition so my very affected person roommate may a minimum of watch TV whilst in a well mannered way staying off the Wi-Fi throughout my exams). 

After working a couple of pace exams from each and every of the ones places, I averaged the entirety in combination. ISP speeds can differ all the way through the day, so as to assist account for this as highest as I may, I might run this complete procedure once more with each and every router at a later time. Then, I might moderate that knowledge with the primary batch of exams.

Fourteen routers, 5 places in my domestic, 3 exams in keeping with location, two rounds of exams (at minimal). Whilst you upload within the further exams I ran to double-check a outcome or measure the affect of particular options, it quantities to kind of 1,000 pace exams. And counting.

Ry Crist/CNET

The ones averages proved telling. The highest finisher at the 5GHz band became out to be the Netgear Nighthawk Professional Gaming XR500, which averaged greater than 250Mbps throughout all of my pace exams, together with ones at the back of my area the place the sign power is generally deficient. The Amplifi HD Gamer’s Version, which makes use of plug-in mesh extenders to assist relay the sign round the home, was once the runner up — it was once one of the crucial worst performers once we measured height speeds, however except you could have a blazing rapid web connection of 500Mbps or quicker, you will not realize that in any respect.

In the meantime, it was once the bargain-priced D-Hyperlink DIR-867 that, as soon as once more, led the way in which at the 2.4GHz band. With a mean pace of 85.9Mbps all the way through my position, it was once the end finisher, however I might observe that speeds dropped significantly at fluctuate. In that again rest room I discussed, it averaged a obtain pace of 32.3Mbps, which is ready 62% slower than the total moderate, and a larger drop-off than I noticed from as regards to each different router I examined. That tells me that the DIR-867 would paintings highest in small properties like mine — the rest larger, and you’ll be able to need one thing with higher fluctuate.

The Asus RT-AC86U includes a fashionable design and a number of useful options for gaming, together with a High quality of Carrier engine. You wish to have to log into the internet interface with a purpose to tweak that QoS engine, despite the fact that.

Screenshots via Ry Crist/CNET

On that entrance, our height pick out, the Asus RT-AC86U noticed the smallest drop-off from the total 5GHz moderate to that again rest room moderate. At the entire, it clocked in with a mean pace all the way through the home of 187.3Mbps, which best fell to a mean of 144.1Mbps within the a long way finish of the home, with about 4 rooms price of partitions and furnishings isolating my pc from the router (for comparability, the top-finishing Nighthawk XR500 noticed its moderate pace drop from 310 Mbps up with regards to the router all the way down to 72Mbps in that again room). The RT-AC86U was once in a similar fashion sturdy at the 2.4GHz band, too.

In spite of all the loss of Wi-Fi 6 shopper gadgets in my domestic, the Wi-Fi 6-equipped TP-Hyperlink Archer AX6000 was once some other standout from my exams, with sturdy moderate speeds on each the 5GHz and a couple of.4GHz bands, and very good fluctuate from room to room. It noticed the smallest dip in speeds in that again rest room at the 2.4GHz band, and was once a top-five finisher via that metric at the 5GHz band, too. 

I will’t say the similar for the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 or the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, despite the fact that. In spite of excessive height speeds in our first spherical of exams on the lab, neither of the ones Wi-Fi 6 routers examined smartly in my domestic. Actually, they had been the 2 backside finishers when it comes to moderate total obtain speeds at the 5GHz band. Each recently value round $400 — for my cash, the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX6000, which you can currently get for $269, is a significantly better improve pick out for someone who is in a position to leap in with Wi-Fi 6. And when you simply need the gaming-centric options from the Asus ROG lineup, you have got different choices that value much less, just like the GT-AC2900. 

Ry Crist/CNET


One ultimate level — my glut of at-home pace exams allowed me to check out latency, too. As mentioned earlier than, there is best such a lot your router can do to carry lag down, particularly if you are connecting to a hectic server that is 1000’s of miles away. Nonetheless, a just right gaming router must assist decrease the ones occasional latency spikes that may be an actual killer after they hit your community at a crucial second throughout an internet fit.


Asus ROG Rapture routers just like the GT-AC2900 mean you can simply identify Open NAT port forwarding settings for the precise sport you are taking part in. That makes it more straightforward to celebration up with your mates.

Screenshots via Ry Crist/CNET

With that during thoughts, I made positive to run each and every of my dozens and dozens of pace exams for each and every router to the similar server situated a couple of hundred miles away, and I logged the ping to that server every time. Generally, that ping would are available at round 15ms or so, however I additionally noticed numerous spikes that had been so much upper than that.

The worst perpetrator was once the Linksys EA8300, which returned moderate latencies of 37.5ms at the 2.4GHz band and 35.4ms at the 5GHz — lifeless ultimate on each fronts. The TP-Hyperlink Archer A9 AC1900 struggled at the 2.4GHz band, too, with a mean latency of 34.eight, despite the fact that it did arrange to perform a little higher at the 5GHz band, with a mean ping slightly under 20ms.

The most efficient of the bunch? That’d be our height pick out, the Asus RT-AC86U, which returned a mean of 13.1ms at the 2.4GHz band and 12.9ms at the 5GHz band. That was once just right sufficient for first position in each instances. The one different routers to complete within the height 5 on each bands had been the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900, and in addition our price range pick out, the D-Hyperlink DIR-867.

One ultimate level on latency. These types of gaming routers and others like them will do such things as direction your gaming visitors to the closest imaginable server, or stay you from becoming a member of public rooms with particularly laggy competition. Options like the ones can assist save you commonplace latency pitfalls, however they would possibly not do a lot of the rest on their very own to reinforce your latency around the board.

The Asus RT-AX92U is a two-piece mesh machine that makes use of Wi-Fi 6 for a quicker connection between the nodes. That might imply higher, quicker Wi-Fi protection all the way through your house.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

What to look ahead to

The TP-Hyperlink AX11000 options the similar design because the older-gen C5400X, however guarantees height speeds which are a lot, a lot quicker.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

As I discussed previous, we are nonetheless trying out a couple of fashions, together with the TP-Hyperlink AX11000 and the Asus RT-AX92U. The latter of the 2 is a two-piece Wi-Fi 6 mesh machine that makes use of the ones next-gen options for quicker knowledge switch between the 2 new nodes. That might imply higher speeds all the way through your house, although you don’t seem to be the use of Wi-Fi 6 gadgets but.

As for the AX11000, it options the similar, spidery design because the TP-Hyperlink C5400X, however guarantees height speeds which are a lot, a lot quicker. The C5400X did smartly in our latency exams, so an upgraded type that provides within the bells, whistles and height speeds that include Wi-Fi 6 must be beautiful attention-grabbing.

We’re going to proceed trying out it all, at the side of budget-priced routers, mesh routers, and different high-end, next-gen routers of observe. Be expecting common updates to this publish on every occasion we check new that may well be a just right have compatibility for avid gamers, and tell us within the feedback if there are any particular fashions or options you would like us to take a better have a look at.

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