Known as a leading force in the PC hardware space with a vast assortment of motherboards and GPUs, Asus also boasts an impressive lineup of routers. These range from everyday family use routers to decked-out gaming powerhouses. Regardless of what model, Asus emphasizes affordability in its products while still delivering robust connectivity, strong feature sets, and lighting-fast speeds.
However, the broad selection of Asus outers covering virtually all needs and requirements poses a tricky challenge. Which are the best Asus routers, and how does one go about selecting the right one? Fret not, as we’ve investigated everything Asus’ lineup has to offer to highlight some of the best options. If you want to spruce up your home network and have your eye on an Asus router but shudder at the thought of trawling through Google for hours on end, you’ve come to the right place.
- Gaming-specific features
- Blisteringly fast throughput speeds
- 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- MU-MIMO and beamforming tech
- Impressive and reliable range
- No Wi-Fi 6
The Asus RT-AC88U is a slick-looking device that will hit all the right chords for those that favor the ‘gamer’ aesthetic with sharp angles and stylish red accents. Alongside, Asus has packed in state-of-the-art features, blistering fast throughput speeds, top-notch connectivity options with no less than 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and intuitive network management features.
On the performance side of things, the Asus RT-AC88U excels at offering a reliable Wi-Fi signal, with superb throughput speeds and 5000 square foot coverage. A 4×4 antenna design with AiRadar beamforming, the intuitive and versatile ASUS Router App/web interface, MU-MIMO technology, and AiProtection with Trend Micro network security – the Asus RT-AC88U has it all.
This is one for the gamers, and the feature set reflects this. First up is Adaptive Quality of Service, which essentially allows you to prioritize bandwidth for certain activities, namely gaming, with a One-Click Game First mode, which will dedicate everything the network’s got to ensure low latency gaming.
The router also ships with what Asus calls a ‘free game accelerator.’ In reality, this is a complimentary subscription to the Gamers Private Network, a network service that automatically seeks out the best route to a game server. Doing so reduces congestion, minimizes packet loss, and improves latency.
With no Wi-Fi 6 and no tri-band technology, justifying what is by all measures a hefty price tag may be a difficult task for some, especially if you’ll struggle to make use of all the sophisticated features. But, if you want everything a router could offer on the cutting-edge of networking tech (minus Wi-Fi6), then Asus RT-AC88U won’t disappoint, especially if you’re a gamer.
- Wi-Fi 6
- Reasonable price
- Reasonable price OFDMA, 1024-QAM and MU-MIMO technology
- No 160 MHz bandwidth
With Wi-Fi 6 support slowly creeping into more routers and devices, you’d expect manufacturers to slap on a chunky premium as people hunger for the latest standard. Asus attempts to buck the trend with the Asus RT-AX56U, an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router with on-point performance and decent features – not words we expected to join together this soon, but here we are. The router is an affordable way to level up your home network in preparation for the inevitable mass adoption of Wi-Fi 6.
The Asus RT-AX56U delivers theoretical throughput speeds of 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1.2 Gbps on the 5 GHz band. Real-world results naturally vary, but at this price point, the router performed admirably in our experience and impressed when paired with Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices thanks to the OFDMA technology and 80 MHz channel bandwidth (no 160 MHz, though). Combined with MU-MIMO and 1024-QAM tech, OFDMA cleverly breaks down channels into smaller sub-carriers to push the Wi-Fi signal simultaneously to multiple devices.
Moving on from performance, the Asus RT-AX56U sports a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two antennas. It retains the angled look of many premium Asus routers but with a more compact and subdued aesthetic that shouldn’t stick out too much in a living room or office setting. Finally, it’s worth noting that the Asus RT-AX56U comes packed with a lifetime subscription to Asus’ commercial-grade network security, Trend Micro-powered AiProtection.
- Tri-band Wi-Fi 6
- Great speeds
- OFDMA and MU-MIMO
While the RT-AX92U and RT-AC88U excel in their own way, what if we combined the two? Well, Asus has done just that with the Asus RT-AX92U, an unapologetically high-end 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 router oozing with features and with the performance to match.
OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 1024-QAM, Adaptive QoS, Gamers Private Network – the Asus RT-AX92U takes the very best features of both but throws in 160 MHz bandwidth to push theoretical speeds up to 4804 Mbps on two-band 5 GHz band, for speeds up to 2.7x faster than Wi-Fi 5. On the 2.4 GHz band, you can expect up to 300 Mbps, while the 5GHz band caps out at 866 Mbps.
You’ll find one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, and four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the box itself. We also particularly liked the four antennas, which fold down into the unit itself. The look is relatively standard fare for Asus with showy angles and a gold/black color scheme.
The Asus RT-AX92U can also be used to form a mesh with multiple devices. One acts as a traditional router, while the other(s) acts as an extender node. Combined, they effectively ensure better coverage through the home. The two devices communicate via the Asus AiMesh technology to maintain strong signal strength and speeds to devices throughout the home.
The only genuine issue we have with the Asus RT-AX92U is a significant markup compared to the routers above. Still, if you’ll make use of everything it has to offer, then it’s money well-spent for excellent speeds, reliable coverage, and plenty of future-proof features.
- Great price
- Four external 5 dBi antennas
- Strong wireless performance
- Easy to use Asus Router App
- USB 3.0 port
- No Wi-Fi 6
The Asus RT-ACRH13 is a dual-band AC 1300 dual-band router that won’t break the bank. Despite a less impressive feature set than the routers above, it’s an affordable option with everything most users will need for a stable Wi-Fi home network. The Asus RT-ACRH13 has sold like hot cakes in the five years since it first hit the market and has become a favorite among those seeking a simple but reliable router.
Despite the low cost, it has a generous 3000 square foot range, four 5dBi antennas, MU-MIMO technology, and can push speeds up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and 867 Mbps on the 5.0 GHz band. While there is no support for Wi-Fi 6, the Wi-Fi 5 standard performs admirably at this standard with both a strong signal and excellent speeds for the price. On the box, you get one USB 3.0 port and four Gigabit Ethernet ports – plenty for simple home networks.
Where the Asus RT-ACRH13 does fall short is in the absence of sophisticated features. There’s no beamforming nor gaming-specific extras like the Asus devices above. Nevertheless, most gamers will find plenty to like here, and unless you demand peak performance, there’s not much more we can ask from the RT-ACRH13 for roughly $60.
- Low price
- Strong performance
- Parental Control
- Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 2.4 GHz performance is lacking
The Asus RT-AC66U B1 is the perfect option for a network with an aging router that desperately needs an upgrade, all while keeping costs well within the budget range. It’s a dual-band Wi-Fi 5 3×3 device with easy installation, solid performance, and plenty of valuable features.
On the specification side of things, the Asus RT-AC66U B1 has a 1GHz CPU, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, beamforming, and can hit theoretical speeds up to 450 on the 2.4 GHz band and 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. 2.4 GHz performance is a little lackluster, but this is forgivable at this price point, and the strong 5 GHz performance makes up for this in droves.
Alongside, the router has a range of 3000 square feet, parental controls, Adaptive QoS for gaming, six guest Wi-Fi networks, support for up to 30 devices, an incredibly simple and easy to use setup interface, and includes a lifetime subscription to Asus’ excellent Trend Micro-powered AiProtection security that will keep any network free of malware and malicious intrusions from outside.
Such features usually involve quite a jump in price. However, Asus has done well to keep the costs incredibly low. For pure value, it’s hard to find a router in Asus’ lineup (or even further afield to other manufacturers) that rivals the Asus RT-AC66U B1 in price to performance.
The right speed for your home network depends greatly on whether you’ll use a router to stream video content, browse the web, or play competitive online games. While it can be tempting to go all out and opt for a router with the highest theoretical speeds out there, most casual use situations simply don’t need it. Opting for a slower router is a great way to save money and not overpay for a decked-out router you simply won’t use to the maximum of its capabilities.
Alongside speed, the range is arguably one the most important factors to consider when buying a router. If you live in a small apartment or a centuries-old manor house with thick stone walls, you’ll need a router adapted to your particular space and with appropriate range and signal strength. As such, ensure the Asus router you’re considering can correctly dish out Wi-Fi to your entire home.
Here we’re talking physical ports, specifically Ethernet and USB, mounted on the router itself. Different environments require different needs, so this all comes down to personal requirements.
Most Asus routers offer at least four Ethernet ports as standard, which should serve most homes well, with enough ports for a desktop PC, smart TV, console, printer, or other device that require a hardwired connection. We’d recommend routers with Gigabit Ethernet for the jump in speed over standard Ethernet, something the overwhelming majority of routers offer, especially Asus branded ones.
USB ports are less desirable. Budget routers tend to omit them or throw in one to cover all bases, save costs, and keep to a more attractive price point. Unless you plan to share media (music, movies, TV shows, documents, etc.) across your network via an external hard drive, they serve little use for basic home setups and will likely remain unused in most cases.
In 2021, the big question is whether Wi-Fi 6 is worth the extra cost. The simple answer is that for the overwhelming majority of people, there’s no imperative to opt for Wi-Fi 6, given that so few devices are compatible with the tech.
That said, as time churns on, more and more manufacturers will integrate support for the standard into their devices, notably smartphones and tablets. In that sense, opting for a router with the Wi-Fi 6 standard offers a degree of future-proofing. If you don’t plan to replace your router for a few years, then by all means jumping in early makes sense in preparation for widespread adoption.
For most, the Wi-Fi 5 standard will do. It offers excellent speed and a reliable connection even for casual gaming, where a wired connection is paramount. We’d urge you to get Wi-Fi 5 as a bare minimum; anything older, including the last-gen Wi-Fi 4, will show its age, and most if not all devices made in the last 5 to 8 years support Wi-Fi 5, so you’ll be getting the most out of them with this standard.
As you’ve probably surmised, there’s no shortage of router options from Asus. Our top recommendation for gamers wanting to ensure their competitiveness isn’t hampered by a sketchy connection and slow speeds, we’d be hard-pressed to recommend anything other than the Asus RT-AC88U. The gaming-focused features, in particular, ensure it performs when it matters, and the rest of the feature set makes it a viable option for other everyday uses.
With more and more devices integrating Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, you may want to consider a router that supports the latest standard. For those on a budget, the ASUS RT-AX56U ticks all the boxes without costing an arm and a leg. You’ll find great tech like OFDMA, 1024-QAM, and MU-MIMO technology, alongside stellar performance both on Wi-Fi 5 and 6.
Those with more cash to play with should take a look at the excellent Asus RT-AX92U. A premium device in design and functionality, it’s stacked with top features, including the same gamer-centric Adaptive QoS and GPN subscription as the Asus RT-AC88U, all while pushing superb 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 on 160 Mhz bandwidth.
Jumping down the price ladder, we were impressed with the entry-level Asus RT-ACRH13. Strong wireless performance pairs with ease of use, generous range, and an affordable price point. Similarly, the Asus RT-AC66U B1 shines for its overall value. A low price, strong performance, lots of security, and reliable tech make this router a solid option for those that want the best bang for their buck.
With that, we’ll bring our guide to the best Asus Routers to a conclusion. Don’t hesitate to drop into the comment section below with any questions, comments, or even recommendations you’ve spotted yourself.