Asus RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U: Which Wi-Fi 6 Router Gives Excellent Gaming Experience

With the rise of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, Asus’ wireless routers have become better and faster than ever. So, here is our comparison of the Asus RT-AX88U vs. RT-AX86U.  

We’ve compared a lot of routers, and we’ve found the perfect formula to decide which one is better. We’ll look at each of the router’s specifications, Wi-Fi speeds, coverage, features, design, and cost. 

Both the Asus RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U are high-end routers. But the RT-AX88U has faster speeds and more advanced features. Meanwhile, the RT-AX86U is more suitable for mid-sized homes. 

Let’s get started with the comparison review.

Asus RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U: In a nutshell

Comparison Table

Specifications ListAsus RT-AX88UAsus RT-AX86U
WiFi StandardWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi Speed2.4 GHz:  1148 Mbps
5 GHz: 4804 Mbps
2.4 GHz: 861 Mbps
5 GHz: 4804 Mbps
Wi-Fi Coverage5,000 sq. ft.5,000 sq. ft.
Ethernet Port1 GbE WAN
Processor1.8 GHz quad-core processor1.8 GHz quad-core processor
Antenna4 External Antennas3 External Antennas

Right of the bat, the RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U have very few differences. But, our overall top pick is the RT-AX88U. With some striking features, the RT-AX88U stands out. 

The Asus RT-AX88U supports up to 6Gbps of  lightning-fast speeds. It’s relatively faster than the Asus RTAX86U, which can go as fast as 5.7Gbps. 

With 4 high-power external antennas, you can get broader wireless coverage and stronger internet signals. It’s also AiMesh ready, so eliminating dead spots and expanding your Wi-Fi network is easy and efficient. 

On top of that, the RT-AX88U is an excellent choice if you’re a gamer who wants to maximize wired connections.

Other than that, both the RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U have a lot of similarities. Starting from its processor, memory, and wireless coverage range. 

Winner: Asus RT-AX88U

Asus RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U: Performance

To better understand both of the router’s capabilities, we tested their speeds and performance from different places. 

We went through the configuration process and installed the router in our home. Then after the setup, we connected devices to test the internet connection speeds.  

But because there aren’t many Wi-Fi 6 devices today, we used a Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac) compatible device for testing.

SpecsAsus RT-AX88UAsus RT-AX86U
WiFi StandardWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi Speeds2.4 GHz:  1148 Mbps
5 GHz: 4804 Mbps
2.4 GHz: 861 Mbps
5 GHz: 4804 Mbps
Bandwidth1024-QAM high data rate
20/40/80/160 MHz bandwidth
1024-QAM high data rate
20/40/80/160 MHz bandwidth
Antennas4 External Antennas3 External Antennas

Asus RT-AX88U

The Asus RT-AX88U is a dual-band router that supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. Theoretically, its 2.4 GHz band goes up to 1148 Mbps while the 5GHz band supports up to 4804 Mbps. So we’ve put that to the test. 

We tested RT-AX88U’s 160MHz throughput on the 5GHz band. It delivers pretty impressive speeds without question. 

At 15 feet, the RT-AX88U delivers speeds of up to 978 Mbps. It’s relatively faster than the RT-AX86U and the Asus Rapture GT-AC5300. 

We went a bit further, and at the 30-foot mark, the speeds dropped. But what’s cool about is even then, it didn’t go lower than 400 Mbps. It beats the RT-AX86U and Rapture GT-AC5300 with more than 120 Mbps. 

If you ask us, that’s really incredible. Remember that we only used an 802.11ac device on the 160 MHz throughput. So these speeds aren’t at their full potential yet! 

On top of that, the RT-AX88U comes with OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology. With OFDMA and 4 external antennas, this router provides an increased Wi-Fi signal range and better coverage. 

In addition, the latest MU-MIMO technology allows the router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. So even if you’re 30 feet away from the router, you won’t have to worry about any buffer. 

Asus RT-AX86U 

We tested the Asus RT-AX86U the same way. The RT-AX86U is also a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router. Ideally, the 2.4 GHz band can go as fast as 861 Mbps. As for the 5GHz band, it goes up to 4804 Mbps.

At 15 feet, the RT-AX86U delivers up to 920 Mbps. It’s slightly behind the RT-AX88U on speed, but it’s relatively faster than the TP-Link AX6000. 

At the 30-foot mark, the wireless speeds dropped to 380 Mbps and didn’t go lower than 350 Mbps. It’s really not as bad as looks. 

We think that the difference in the external antennas made a big difference in speed and coverage. Even with OFDMA and beamforming, the RT-AX86U only has 3 external antennas. So signal strength isn’t as strong compared to the RT-AX86U. 

Winner: ASUS RT-AX88U

Asus RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U: Specs

Looking at the specs, there isn’t much difference between the two. Aside from the number of ports, everything is almost the same. 

Let’s get into more details.

Specs ListAsus RT-AX88UAsus RT-AX86U
Memory256 MB Flash 
256 MB Flash 
Processor1.8 GHz quad-core processor1.8 GHz quad-core processor
Ethernet Port1 GbE WAN
USB Port1 x USB 3.1 Port2 x USB 3.2 Ports
LED Light Panel
WPS Button
Reset Button

Both the Asus RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U have impressive memory with 256MB flash and 1 GB RAM. To top it off, they’re also powered with a 1.8GHz quad-core processor. 

With this, you can store incredible amounts of data. You won’t worry about your router slowing down as there is enough space for all custom settings and firmware updates. 

Both routers also have the basic buttons you need

  • LED Light panel
  • WPS button 
  • Reset button

Asus RT-AX88U

What sets the RT-AX88U apart is its number of ports! It has 8 LAN ports and 1 x 2.5 Gbps ethernet port. 

This gives you tons of flexibility when connecting multiple devices. You can even have a dedicated gaming port for yourself! 

The USB 3.1 port is also a great feature. This port transmits data faster and smoother, making it ideal for gaming or other high-bandwidth activities.

If you’re a dedicated gamer, surely you want to get the most out of your gaming console and other mobile device. 

Asus RT-AX86U

The Asus RT-AX86U glass a bit short on the ports. It has a standard 4 LAN port and 1 x 2.5Gbps ethernet port. 

If you want to expand your wired connections, you can use an ethernet switch. Although it’s a bit of a hassle, it’s still a decent solution. 

What’s awesome about the RT-AX86U though is it has 2 USB 3.2 ports. USB 3.2 transmits data up to a whopping 20 Gbps.  

This makes it an excellent choice for those who need the fastest possible data transfer speeds. Whether it’s for transferring large files or streaming high-definition video.

Winner: Asus RT-AX88U

Asus RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U: Features and Design

Features and Design Asus RT-AX88U Asus RT-AX86U
Security Features AiProtection ProAiProtection Pro
AiMesh Compatibility
Adaptive QoS
Alexa Compatibility

The Asus RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U come with a lot of similarities. Both of them have a lifetime subscription to AiProtection Pro, AiMesh-ready, and are compatible with Amazon Alexa. 

AiProtection Pro

The Asus RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U come with an incredible set of features. Both routers come with a lifetime subscription to AiProtection Pro

AiProtection Pro is powered by Trend Micro. It offers a robust set of protection for your home network. It comes with Wi-Fi network security and parental controls. 

  • Internet Activity Dashboard
  • Kid-Safe Preset
  • Schedule Block Time
  • Content Filter
  • Infected Device Detection and Blocking
  • Block Malicious Websites

It’s a great set of features, especially if you’re a parent who wants to monitor your children’s activities online. Lastly, you have access to all these in the mobile app. 

AiMesh Compatibility 

Additionally, both routers are also AiMesh ready. AiMesh allows compatible ASUS routers to be used together to create a single, seamless network. 

This is ideal for large homes or offices with multiple devices that need a strong, reliable connection. Additionally, AiMesh is able to automatically select the best route for data transmission. 

It ensures that your devices are always connected to the strongest possible signal.

Physical Design

The Asus RT-AX88U has a very edgy design that really elevates every gaming setup. Its antennas are lined with stunning gold color. 

On top of that, it also has a nice ventilation design. There are vents at the side and top of the router, which prevent it from overheating. 

The Asus RT-AX86U also has a pretty interesting design. It has a red lining at the bottom, which gives the router a “Transformer” look. 

We like that it’s space-saving and it can be placed in tight places. In addition, the ventilation is at the back, disguised with a fantastic design. 

Winner: Asus RT-AX88U

Asus RT-AX88U : Alternatives

We really like the Asus RT-AX88U. It’s a great router with great features. But we understand that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. 

If you’re looking for alternatives, here are some Wi-Fi 6 routers that we recommend. 

TP-Link Archer AX6000

The TP-Link AX6000 is a powerful router that can be the closest dupe to RT-AX88U. It offers dual band WiFi speeds of up to 5952 Mbps – 4804 Mbps (5GHz) and 1148 Mbps (2.4GHz). 

Plus, it also has a 1.8 quad-core processor, 2.5 Gbps WAN port, and 8 LAN ports. You can get almost similar features as the RT-AX88U for a slightly cheaper price. 

Linksys Mesh Wifi 6 Router

The Linksys Mesh Wifi 6 Router is powered by Intelligent Mesh Technology. It provides up to 3000 sq. ft. of coverage and supports lots of devices. 

It also has a maximum speed of 6.0 Gbps. You can enjoy streaming videos, online games, and video calls without any lag or buffer. 

Additionally, this router eliminates dead zones in your home for a consistently strong signal.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 

The Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 is an excellent alternative if you want a router with broader wireless coverage. Or if you’re looking for a heavy-duty router with a powerful processor. 

It has 4 LAN ports and 1x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port. On top of that, it’s powered with a powerful 2.2 GHz quad-core processor. 

It’s loaded with advanced built-in technologies like MU-MIMO, OFDMA, DoS, Dynamic QoS, and more.

Our Verdict: Asus RT-AX88U

Overall, between the Asus RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U, we liked the Asus RT-AX88U more. Although it’s more expensive than the RT-AX86U, the difference in specs and other features make it worth every penny. 

From the speed to design, it’s a gaming router anyone could hope for. But we understand that you have different home or office preferences and needs. So feel free to check out our list of alternatives for more options!

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