An average US household has over 10 Internet connected devices – smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, e-Book readers, and a lot more. In fact, in a recently released survey by Insight Express, one in three young professionals and students consider the Internet as a fundamental resource alongside air, water, and food. I mean, yes, we won’t exactly die without it; however, life won’t be the same without it either. The Internet just makes life a whole lot easier, and it can be frustrating to have needs or questions and be stuck in a place that does not offer such connectivity.
A router has easily become a crucial household item. The Internet is here to stay, so you might as well get a router that allows all of your gadgets to go online at any time. Gone are the days when you had to fight tooth and nail for that one seat in front of the computer so you can check your email, or those days when you had to disconnect from the net because someone had to place a phone call.
Because of this demand for Internet connectivity, and with people in the household fighting for bandwidth, it is important to select the best routers. Wireless routers allow you to connect multiple devices to the Internet without the need for cables.
But do you really have to shell out $200 or $300 for a quality wireless router that works seamlessly? The answer is no. We found some of the best routers under $100.
Manufacturers may want you to think that you need to have an expensive router. However, the average digital consumer does not really need the super advanced features, functionalities, and all the frills that very expensive routers have to offer. What most people actually require is a router that can give them a stable Internet connection, and one that is able to support their Internet surfing, video streaming, and social media habits.
Best Routers Under $100: The Criteria
When you search for wireless routers online, hundreds of results will come up which could be confusing. Most of the time, people settle for heavily advertised routers that cost an arm and a leg.
For this reason, we searched for the best routers under $100 to help you decide. Price is not our only criterion though. We also looked at the following features:
- Speed: The router should be able to support the way you use the Internet. If you are into online gaming and high-definition video streaming, you should go for the latest WiFi standard which is currently 802.11ac routers. Some manufacturers tend to blow up the figures and claim speeds of more than a thousand gigabits, but those are merely marketing ploys. AC routers under $100 can already meet the speed requirement of a typical household.
- Range: A good router should be able to provide the same signal strength for an entire 2,000 sq. ft. house. Of course, there are other factors aside from the size of the house that can affect a router’s range. Concrete walls, for instance, can create interference and can affect the range of the router. WiFi extenders can also be used if you want to increase the range of your router.
- Dual-band or tri-band settings: You also have to look for the dual-band feature which means that the router supports both the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band. Without this feature, only the 2.4GHz band will be available and we all know that this gets easily affected from a lot of interferences. The 5GHz band, on the other hand, is generally less crowded, and is not affected by other electronic devices. There are also routers that support one 2.4GHz band, and two 5GHz bands, which are perfect for households that do heavy online multiplayer gaming and 4k video streaming.
- Supported Connections: When choosing a router, it’s important to take into account the number of devices that require wireless connection on a daily basis. You also need to consider the number of devices that need a wired connection, and get a router that have the right number of Ethernet LAN ports.
- Security: Cybercrimes are increasing, so it’s important to invest in a router that has a secure and reliable firewall. A router with WPA.WPA2 wireless encryption is also best to keep hackers away.
High Performing Routers for Under $100
|TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router|
|MOTOROLA Smart AC1900 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router with Power Boost|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router|
|ASUS RT Dual-Band WiFi Router|
|Linksys Dual-Band WiFi Router for Home|
- Price: $$79.99
- Coverage/Range: 2,500 square feet
- Dual band router with a maximum of 1750Mbps speed
- Number of devices: Up to 50
- Four gigabit LAN ports
- Three long-range external antennas
- Two USB ports
- Two-year warranty and free technical support
This router is hands down better than most routers twice its price, hence it is on top of our list. You will have a buffer-free streaming experience for 4K UHD videos with its 1750 Mbps speed, 450mbps for 2.4GHz and 1300mbps for 5GHz. This dual-band feature ensures a stable and reliable wireless connection, while the AC1750’s four LAN ports make it perfect for online gamers and video streamers that need the optimum speed over wired connection.
TP-Link AC1750 is also very easy to setup and comes with three external antennas that will give you a long-range coverage over 2,500 sq. ft. You can even manage your home network remotely through the TP-Link tether app, making it all the more convenient especially since the router can handle up to 50 connected devices. The AC1750 is compatible with any WiFi device, may it be 802.11AC or older standards.
There are also two integrated USB ports that act as media servers, so connected devices can easily share files, printers, and other media. However, since the router still uses USB 2.0 technology, file transfers are quite slow. The TP-Link AC1750 comes with technical support that’s free for two years.
Overall, The AC1750 is a budget-friendly router that delivers impressive speed over its dual-band connectivity with four LAN ports and USB 2.0 ports.
Motorola Smart AC1900 WiFi Giga Router
- Price: $79.99
- Coverage/Range: Extended through WiFi Power Boost technology
- AC1900 dual band WiFi
- Number of devices: Up to 253 device
- Four gigabit Ethernet ports
- Six WiFi channels with separate antennas each
- Built-in firewall, guest network compatibility and parental controls
It may look delicate and small, but the Motorola Smart AC1900 router outperforms all the other routers in terms of speed. The MR1900 supports dual-band frequencies, up to 600Mbps for the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300Mbps for the 5GHz band, and the Motorola AC1900’s dual core CPU processor is built with an automatic traffic shaping that can let you enjoy speed of up to 1.9Gbps.
The router has four LAN ports that are compatible with DSL or fiber optic modems, while its six WiFi channels with separate antennas can support up to 253 devices. Whether you’re browsing the web, watching YouTube or Netflix, or playing online multiplayer games, the Motorola AC1900 can give you a high-quality experience since it uses beamforming technology that targets the wireless signal to each of the connected devices.
The MR1900 is also topnotch in terms of security as it has a strong firewall, guest network compatibility, and LED stealth mode. The router has USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports for easy sharing and access to the devices within the network.
Do you want to control web surfing hours or restrict access certain websites? This is the perfect router for you, as it also has parental controls. You may also monitor and control the router through its smartphone app or its web-based management interface.
The router also features WiFi Power Boost which enables it to deliver high speeds at an extended range. Even when you are far from the router and with a lot of wireless noise within and outside your home, the MR1900 can still give you high-speed connectivity.
When you purchase the MR1900, you will enjoy a two-year warranty, including a free phone and web support from Motorola’s knowledgeable technical support team.
NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750
- Price: $88.97
- Speed: Up to 1750Mbps high-speed Internet
- Coverage/Range: Large homes
- Number of devices: 12 devices or more
- 1GHz dual core processor
- Smart parental controls
- USB 3.0 port
For gamers and other heavy Internet users, the Netgear R6700 Nighthawk is the perfect choice, as it can accommodate speeds of up to 1750Mbps. It also prioritizes the bandwidth for gaming and video or music streaming, making it an ideal choice. You won’t have to worry about multiple devices streaming or playing online games all at the same time as this router can handle that much traffic. It’s also very easy to setup, plus the 1GHz dual core processor enables you to enjoy the best network connection, either over WiFi or the router’s four LAN ports.
The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk also comes with three external antennas and high-power amplifiers that increase the range of WiFi coverage. You can still enjoy good WiFi Internet connection even when you’re outside of your house.
The router also uses the fast USB 3.0 technology, so you can easily and quickly share files and media with other devices on the network. You will also be able to manage the router remotely through the downloadable Nighthawk app.
Network access can also be restricted for some family members using the Parental Control feature. The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk is recommended for home and family use and can handle more than 12 connected devices.
This router may cost more than $100 most days, but this usually goes on sale on some days, so make a mad dash to the store when they do.
Asus AC1750 Dual Band Mesh Router
- Price: $96.98
- Speed: Up to 1750Mbps high-speed Internet
- Coverage/Range: Up to 5400 square feet
- 1GHz CPU power with dual-band connectivity
- AirProtection lifetime security by TrendMicro
- ASUSWRT web-based interface for easy setup
- WEP, WPA, WPA2 encryption
The Asus AC1750 mesh router is a powerful device that allows high speed Internet connection of up to 1750Mbps over 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. What makes it even more powerful is that it can mesh with other Asus routers in your home or office for a wider coverage of up to 5400 square feet.
It has two integrated USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports which make file transfers, network and printer sharing super fast. The router also has four LAN ports, optimized for online gaming and ultra high definition video streaming.
We shouldn’t be paying for features we don’t need, but if you are running a business, the added security provided by this device is well worth paying those extra few more dollars for.
This Asus mesh router further features a built-in firewall that has SPI intrusion detection and DoS protection. Aside from this security measure, the router also supports different types of encryption (64-bit and 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise). You also get to have access control as the router allows you to manage parental control, network service filter, URL filtering, and port filtering.
The router also supports different VPN clients such as PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN, and it also uses traffic analyzer, and adaptive and smart QoS technologies.
- Price: $66.99
- Speed: Up to 1.2Gbps high-speed Internet
- Coverage/Range: Up to 1,000 square feet
- Simultaneous dual-band connectivity
- Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Simple setup through Linksys app
The Linksys EA6350 looks elegant, slim, and modern, but beyond mere aesthetics, what impressed us the most is its features that are a match for any household with regular Internet usage. For less than a hundred dollars, families get to enjoy speed of up to 1.2Gbps over its dual-band connection (300Mbps for the 2.4GHz band, and 867Mbps for the 5GHz network).
Slow speeds and intermittent connection due to interferences can be a headache. While positioning your routers in an optimal spot can make a difference, sometimes this just isn’t enough if your router does not have the technology to reduce interference.
The good thing about the Linksys router is it also uses beamforming technology that optimizes speed and performance while reducing interference from concrete barriers and other electronic devices.
Parents can further setup controls such as scheduling and managing the time their children spend online since the router supports Smart WiFi technology.
The Linksys EA3650 features four gigabit ethernet ports, and a USB 3.0 port. It can tell the difference between online games, video streaming, and regular web browsing and allocates bandwidth accordingly. If you’re looking for a fast router for your home that is not too expensive, Linksys EA3650 is a good choice.
Five Best Routers Under $100 Wrapped Up
You don’t have to spend hundreds of your hard-earned money to be able to enjoy fast, reliable, and smart routers. These five routers we found and reviewed for you are actually at par with the expensive ones you find in stores.
Before selecting a router, you have to assess what you need so you won’t waste your money. How many devices will connect to the wireless network on a daily basis? Do I need more LAN ports than the usual? Are there concrete barriers in my home that can create interference and decrease the range of the router? Answering these questions will help you decide which router under $100 is the best one for you.