Accessories

6 Best Routers Under $100: Reviews For Gaming & Home Use

One of the main reasons you may not be getting your full speed over a wireless connection is the router many ISPs provide are not the highest quality.

For less than $100, you can upgrade to your own router and take full advantage of better signals and speeds.

Image

Product Name

Max Speed

Coverage Area

Data Transfer Rate

Check Price

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) -...

1300 Mbps

1500 sq. ft.

1750 Mbps

TP-Link AC1900 Smart WiFi Router - High Speed...

1300 Mbps

N/A

1900 Mbps

Amazon eero mesh WiFi router

550 Mbps

1,500 sq. ft

740 Mbps

MikroTik hEX S Gigabit Ethernet Router with...

1 Gbps

N/A

470 Mbps

NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual...

1200 Mbps

1200 sq. ft

900 Mbps

ASUS Dual-Band 2x2 AC1300 Super-Fast WiFi...

1267 Mbps

N/A

1267 Mbps


Why Invest in Your Own Budget Router?

Without breaking the budget, you can upgrade to your own router to get better speeds and enjoy a stronger signal farther from the router. 

One of the most significant benefits is no longer having to pay equipment rental fees for a router and save enough money within 12 months to cover the cost of a router from our list.


Choosing High-Quality Affordable Routers

Usage

Some routers have additional features that are beneficial for particular types of internet usage, like video calls, gaming, or streaming. If you are using your router for a specific purpose, look for a feature like connection prioritization or bandwidth limits per connection.

Routers can also support a different number of devices depending on the model, so be sure to understand the number of people who might be using your router at one time when purchasing a router.

Compatibility

ONT Configurations

Some areas are configured to support internet services via fiber-optic cables. If this is true for your area, be sure to talk to your ISP about the ONT configuration needed for service on your router, but most routers should be able to support such services.

Plan Speed vs. Router Speed Capability

A router can support a set amount of data transference at one time, so if your plan speed exceeds your router speed, you will not be able to take advantage and will face a bottlenecking issue.

Wireless Standard/Protocol

Wireless standards have changed drastically over the years. While there are a few variations, nearly all routers use 802.11 and some letter designation, which changes some aspects of the device like speed, range, and device support.

Antennas & Ports

Routers typically have at least one antenna to broadcast signals farther, though some go up to more than 8. To connect directly to the router for a stronger signal, there are typically up to four LAN ports, and to help set up a storage device to be connected to wirelessly, there are USB ports. There is also one ethernet port to connect to the modem.

Number of Wireless Bands/Frequency Channels – Single vs. Dual Band

Whether a router is a single/dual/tri-band device indicates how many different groups there are for connections, and some bands will support different frequencies to help with device support and signal strength and range.

Security Features & Controls

Many routers now come with companion apps or software to help give more control over the devices connected to a network, the network traffic going through the router, and blocking of content on the network.

MU-MIMO and Beamforming

Multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (or easier to say MU-MIMO) is a system that allows for a greater range of devices to have individual connections to the router and avoid conflicting connections. Beamforming is a feature that allows for a directed signal to be sent to an individual device and improve its connection to the network.

Coverage Area & Quality

Coverage area is typically measured in square feet. If the signal has to pass through multiple walls or thicker material like brick or stone, you may notice a weaker signal, so consider a larger coverage area than your home if this is the case. For some situations, satellites or Wi-Fi extenders can help alleviate connection issues, though they will need to be bought separately.

Ease of Setting Up

Similar to the security and control features, smartphone apps or software have become standard tools to help guide setup for routers. However, without a guide, the main setup is merely connecting to power and the modem via the appropriate cables. Always be sure to consult the instructions provided with the device to troubleshoot set up issues or concerns.

Price & Warranty

As with all electronics, warranties cover typical usage conditions and any issue related to normal wear and tear. With all the advances in electronics, there are many more affordable ways to produce the parts for routers. Hence, you no longer need to pay a premium price for quality materials, and many great routers can be found under $100.


6 Best Budget Routers Under $100 Reviewed

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700

On Sale Today
NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) -...
  • Fast wifi performance: Get up to 1500 square...
  • Recommended for up to 25 devices: Reliably...
  • Wired Ethernet ports: plug in computers, game...
  • Loaded with advanced technology: Designed...

Our Top Pick

Max Speed

1300 Mbps

Ports

4 ethernet, 1 USB

Coverage Area

1500 sq. ft.

Wi-Fi Bands

Dual (2.4GHz/5GHz)

Data Transfer Rate

1750 Mbps

Warranty

1 year

NETGEAR has long been known as a reliable name in networking accessories, and it should be no surprise to see the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 top our list as the best router under $100.

Despite being the most budget-friendly model in the Nighthawk line from NETGEAR, the R6700 can handle speeds offered by some of the best ISP plans and provide coverage for a small home or a majority of a larger home. Setup is quick and easy with the NETGEAR app taking the guesswork out once the router is plugged in and connected to the modem.

The R6700 is built to handle up to 25 devices connected at once and provide stable connections for each device. It does feature Beamforming + to allow for boosted speed, signal strength, and range for select devices, making it ideal for devices that require more bandwidth like those used for gaming or video calls.

You can prioritize traffic using Quality of Service by logging into the router and enabling either Downstream QoS or Upstream QoS. Downstream QoS is recommended for streaming or downloading while Upstream QoS is ideal for gaming and helps eliminate lag.  

Outside of all the network control, you can also adjust content settings and other controls using Disney Circle and NETGEAR Armor. Both have free trials included in the purchase of the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700.

Good
  • Great for gaming, streaming and video calls
  • App makes setup simple and quick
  • Backed by NETGEAR warranty
  • USB 3.0 slot for easy content sharing
  • Setup a VPN with NETGEAR premium features
Bad
  • Not ideal for homes larger than 1500 sq. ft

2. TP-Link AC1900

On Sale Today
TP-Link AC1900 Smart WiFi Router - High Speed...
  • JD Power Award ---Highest in customer...
  • Wave 2 Wireless Internet Router, 600Mbps on...
  • MU-MIMO Gigabit Router, Three simultaneous...
  • Boosted WiFi Coverage, Beamforming technology...

Runner Up

Max Speed

1300 Mbps

Ports

USB, 4 Gigabit LAN Ports

Coverage Area

N/A

Wi-Fi Bands

2

Data Transfer Rate

1900 Mbps

Warranty

2 years

A router is a device that directs network traffic and does not necessarily have to include a wireless access point to be considered a router.

Recognized in 2017 and 2019 with the JD Power Award for highest customer satisfaction for wireless routers, the TP-Link AC1900 is the best WIFI router under $100 on our list thanks to its excellent wireless capabilities and controls.

Smart Connect technology works to route devices to connections that are the most free while the Airtime Fairness technology adjusts usage based on the needs of the device, giving more bandwidth for activities like streaming, gaming, or uploading.

The AC1900 does include Beamforming technology for higher efficiency coverage on the wireless network and targeted connections for devices. However, there is no coverage range stated by the manufacturer for this device.

Some customer reviews have noted adequate coverage in 2,500 sq. ft homes, but if you need coverage over large areas (2,500+ sq. ft), you may need to look at an extender for your network.

TP-Link does offer a 2-year warranty on the device and 24/7 customer service, so if you have any issues with the device, you can expect assistance and be covered in case of hardware failure due to any defects in the device caused in the production process.

Good
  • Parental controls, guest access and VPN server
  • Works with Amazon Alexa
  • TP-Link Tether app allows for remote network management
  • 2-year warranty and 24/7 tech support
Bad
  • No manufacturer defined coverage range

3. Amazon Eero

Amazon eero mesh WiFi router
  • Fast standalone router - The eero mesh WiFi...
  • Works with Alexa - With eero and an Alexa...
  • Easily expand your system - With...
  • Works with your internet service provider -...

Best Home Router Under $100

Max Speed

550 Mbps

Ports

2 ethernet ports

Coverage Area

1,500 sq. ft

Wi-Fi Bands

2.4 and 5 GHz

Data Transfer Rate

740 Mbps

Warranty

1 year

For those looking for a home router under $100 without having to spend a lot of time setting up or looking for a solution that can be expanded on easily, the Amazon Eero is a top choice. Naturally being from Amazon, the Eero works with Echo devices and the Amazon Assistant Alexa.

Alexa voice commands can be used through the Echo device to control Wi-Fi access for devices or individuals in the home quickly. The device sets up in less than 10 minutes and automatically applies updates, so maintenance is simple.

The device's 1,500 sq. ft range should cover many homes. If you need more coverage, you can easily add another Eero to the network to create a mesh network that will include a much wider area and route network traffic automatically between Eero systems for the most optimal connection.

Mesh networks provide more stable and reliable connections than typical extenders and allow devices to switch between access points seamlessly, so you do not have to manage multiple connections on a phone, computer, or tablet.

With a sleek minimalistic design, the Amazon Eero fits into any home, and when you want to expand your network, simply tell your Alexa to order another Eero.

Good
  • Simple setup
  • Expandable network
  • Mesh network capability
Bad
  • Smaller range with one Eero than other routers

4. MikroTik hEX S RB760iGS

MikroTik hEX S Gigabit Ethernet Router with...
  • Mikrotik hEX S (RB760iGS) is a five port...
  • It comes with a very powerful dual core 880...
  • The device has a USB 2.0, PoE output for...
  • 5x Gigabit Ethernet, SFP, Dual Core 880MHz...

Best Rated Under $100 for Wired Connections

Max Speed

1 Gbps

Ports

5 Gigabit Ethernet

Coverage Area

N/A

Wi-Fi Bands

N/A

Data Transfer Rate

470 Mbps

Warranty

1 year

If you do not require a wireless connection, a wired router can provide the same ability to configure network traffic between devices while delivering high speed, stable wired connections.

The MikroTik hEX S RBY60iGS is the best rated router under $100 for wired connections thanks to its ability to bring the IT quality performance in a home router. This is a fantastic option for people who know a bit more about how to manually configure router OS systems to get the optimal experience for their network connected devices.

If you need to securely connect your device to the internet, this router supports firewall customization and creation in a more intuitive process than other similar wired routers.

Powered by a dual-core 880 MHz CPU and 256 MB RAM, the MikroTik hEX S can handle complex network traffic and needs. Thanks to the construction of the shell, heat dissipation is not a concern despite this router having a more powerful internal system than others.

For those that do not require wireless and are looking for a simple setup and solution to network routing needs, this can also be a quick setup and as close to plug-and-play as you can get with a router.

Also Recommended: Best Wired Routers

Good
  • Simple setup
  • Highly customizable
  • Quality construction
Bad
  • Requires wired connection via ethernet

5. NETGEAR R6230

NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6230) - AC1200 Dual...
  • FAST WiFi PERFORMANCE: Get up to 1200 square...
  • RECOMMENDED FOR UP TO 20 DEVICES: Reliably...
  • WIRED ETHERNET PORTS: Plug in computers, game...
  • LOADED WITH ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Designed...

Best Range Router Under $100

Max Speed

1200 Mbps

Ports

4 x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports

Coverage Area

1200 sq. ft

Wi-Fi Bands

2.4 and 5 GHz

Data Transfer Rate

900 Mbps

Warranty

Once registered on netgear.com

The best range does not always mean the biggest range and the NETGEAR R6230 is the best range router, and best NETGEAR router under $100, on our list thanks to its excellent strength and signal stability throughout its range.

Known for routers that can seriously stretch a budget, NETGEAR has put their Nighthawk technology into a budget-friendly router great for up to 20 devices simultaneously.

Since this router is based on Nighthawk technology, setup is as easy as connecting the router to power and the modem, loading up the Nighthawk app on your smartphone, and walking through the steps.

After setup, the Nighthawk app can be used to manage parental controls like internet access or website filtering as well as setting up guest networks or manage device settings.  You can quickly see what devices are connected to either the 2.4 or 5 GHz signals, which are assigned automatically by the device to whichever band will give the best signal.

You can also remove devices connected to the network from the app to make sure that your network stays secure and only for those you want on your network. Enjoy the quality of Nighthawk technology on the NETGEAR R6230 for under $100.

Also Recommended: Best WiFi Routers for Long Range

Good
  • Supports up to 20 connections
  • Easy setup via the Nighthawk app
  • Advanced parental controls
  • Strong connection and signal strength in range
Bad
  • Smaller range

6. ASUS RT-ACRH13

On Sale Today
ASUS Dual-Band 2x2 AC1300 Super-Fast WiFi...
  • Dual band AC1300 with the latest 2x2 MU MIMO...
  • 4 external 5dBi antennas for improved Wi Fi...
  • Monitor and manage your network with...
  • Effortless router setup with the ASUSWRT web...

Best Gaming Router Under $100

Max Speed

1267 Mbps

Ports

4 GB LAN ports, 1 Cable/DSL modem or fiber converter

Coverage Area

N/A

Wi-Fi Bands

2.4 and 5 GHz

Data Transfer Rate

1267 Mbps

Warranty

Yes - see manual

When it comes to gaming, speed matters, and the faster your connection, the less likely loss by lag occurs. The fastest wireless router under $100 on our list is the ASUS RT-ACRH13, and it was built with streaming and gaming in mind.

Four external antennas help extend the range and provide a strong signal across your home's various areas. For handheld devices, they are seamlessly switched between the 2.4 and 5 GHz networks to provide the strongest signal even when moving around the home.

Whether you’re playing Fortnite on your phone or going for victory royale on PC, the ASUS RT-ACHRH13 has the optimal connection.

Setup is quick and simple using the ASUSWRT web-based system, and after setup, you can manage the network with the ASUS Router app on your smartphone. If you notice a little lag, you can boot up the app and disconnect devices that do not need to be connected for a more direct connection.

The 4 ethernet ports on the router allow for devices that can connect via ethernet cable stronger, dedicated connections that are perfect for consoles or PCs. Even for casual gamers, the ASUS RT-ACRH13 is a great choice for great gaming experiences.

Also Recommended: Best Gaming Router for PS4

Good
  • Seamless switching for best signal strength
  • Simple setup and management
  • 4 antennas for enhanced range
Bad
  • Manufacturer does not specify coverage range

Steps For Setting Up Cheap WIFI Routers

Be sure to follow any instructions provided with your new router. Below are some basic steps to setting up any router.

  1. 1
    After removing the router from the box, connect the router to the modem with an ethernet cable. The ethernet cable will go into the ethernet port on the router and one of the modem's open ethernet ports.
  2. 2
    Plug the power supply into the router, and the other end into an outlet.
  3. 3
    If the router comes with a companion app, finish set up on your smartphone via the app or connect the router using another ethernet cable connected to a PC and open LAN port on the router.

For more information about the physical setup of the router, watch this video from Howcast.


Troubleshooting Guide: Fixing Router Issues

Common issues with a router can typically be resolved or improved with just a little effort. If you have problems with lower connection strength or speed, try turning off the modem and router and then restarting the modem and then the router.

This reboot process helps deal with issues caused by the internal processes of the device. If you still have issues with connection speed and strength, consider moving the router to a more open location in the home and making sure it is further away from other devices that may broadcast a signal like Bluetooth enabled devices.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Which Wi-Fi frequency has the best range?

2.4 GHz will provide a larger range but weaker signal.

Which router reviewed above is best for a two or three-story homes?

I would recommend using the Amazon Eero for larger homes, but connecting two or more of these devices in a mesh network.

Are there downsides to using cheap routers?

Less expensive routers will typically have fewer features in terms of parental controls, but they do fit the bill for most users and ISP plans.

Are wired or wireless routers better?

Wired routers require an ethernet connection between the router and device, while wireless routers have an access point for devices to connect via Wi-Fi. Wired routers are better for taking advantage of fast internet packages while wireless routers are better for those looking to connect phones or tablets.

What are the best brands of budget wireless routers?

NETGEAR, ASUS, and TP-Link are some of the best known brands for their quality when it comes to wireless routers.


Conclusion

The best router for under $100 is the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 thanks to its overall easy setup and management while still providing a strong connection for nearly any home wirelessly or wired.