Black Friday is November 29, but the deals on gaming hardware and accessories typically begin earlier than that, continuing through Thanksgiving weekend and into Cyber Monday. If you’re looking for a new gaming router this Black Friday—that is, a step up from the most basic wireless devices—we’ll be collecting early deals here, as well as the best router deals on Black Friday itself and beyond.
For those who don’t have the luxury of wired connections—say, you live in an apartment and your landlord wouldn’t appreciate any new holes in the walls—pay the most attention to new routers that offer Wi-Fi 6, the artist formerly known as 802.11ax. The new standard just launched, and promises improvements to just about every aspect of wireless internet.
Good routers for gaming will also feature Quality of Service (QoS) options, allowing you to prioritize your gaming traffic over traffic that’s less affected by lag. They also tend to be designed like alien artifacts, which may or may not suit your tastes. Whether you proudly display your inverted spider temple or tuck it away is up to you (though stuffing it in a cabinet is likely to reduce your signal range).
While a new gaming router isn’t as exciting a purchase as a new graphics card or monitor, replacing a dated router can improve your multiplayer experience significantly. As always, we’ll only recommend discounted routers if we think they’re worth the full price, too.
How to save money on routers during Black Friday
1. Use a price comparison tool like CamelCamelCamel. This is something we do frequently as we search for deals, because retail sites will try to convince you that you’re getting the deal of a lifetime, whether or not you really are. The most common trick is to display massive discounts off the manufacturer’s recommended price even if the product in question hasn’t been sold at that price for ages.
As an example, say a product launched in 2017 for $200 and steadily became cheaper over the years, down to $120 even when it’s not on sale. A retailer might discount that product to $100, and then claim we’re getting 50 percent off because the original price in 2017 was $200. The truth is that you’re only getting around 17 percent off, and there might be a newer, better product that’s actually discounted more steeply.
2. If you rely on Wi-Fi for gaming, look for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) support. That’s the latest and greatest standard, and buying a brand new router without it doesn’t make much sense. Since it’s so new, we haven’t done a lot of testing yet, but it’ll certainly give you a faster connection than previous Wi-Fi Alliance standards. Note that while Wi-Fi 6 will work with older adapters, you’ll need to upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 adapter if you want to take advantage of its improvements. In the right situations, Wi-Fi 6 can even outperform gigabit Ethernet.
3. If you see an Asus RT-AX88U on sale and it’s within your budget, your research is done. It’s our favorite high-end router of the year, and offers everything we want from one in 2019. It’s pricey, though, so the discount may have to be big for it to fit into your plans. A cheaper option that still includes Wi-Fi 6 is the Netgear Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream.
Best gaming router deals right now
ASUS RT-AX88U | $300
This is currently our top gaming router, and the price recently dropped to from $350 to $300. If you’re not in a rush, it might be best to look for a deeper discount come Black Friday, or near it.View Deal
Linksys WRT Gaming Wifi Router | $128
This is one of our favorite mid-range routers at the lowest price we’ve seen it. It supports the Wi-Fi 5 standard (formerly 802.11ac) and speed of up to 2.6Gbps. It hasn’t gone for the full $300 list price since 2017, though, so the claim that you’re getting 57% off is dubious.View Deal