With the pandemic keeping many people at home, home routers are more critical than ever. If you can’t remember when you purchased your router, it may be time for a router upgrade to meet additional bandwidth demands. When looking for a router that meets all of your household’s internet needs, you’ll be happy to know that you can find excellent router under $100.
Considering the increasing number of devices that require WiFi connection these days, it’s only natural to want a router that will bring them all together. However, choosing one that fits your needs can be confusing with all the technical specifications and ads that try to sell you the most expensive model.
You don’t need to spend a lot to get a good router, and this is especially true if you’re living in a smaller home with only a few devices competing for your internet connection. Our collection of the best routers under $100 is ideal for anybody who wants to get online on a budget, including students, single users, small families, or even just those looking for an affordable second router for the cottage.
Keys for the router under $100
Before you start your hunt for an affordable router, you should ask yourself what your minimum needs are and what type of router will best suit your home or office.
- Wireless or wired: Will you need a router that provides a WiFi signal? WiFi allows you to wirelessly connect devices such as laptops, smartphones, game consoles, and media streaming devices to the internet.
- Single-band, dual-band, or tri-band: The number of “bands” a router has is the number of WiFi signals it sends out and thus, the number of networks it supports. The more networks you have, the less likely you are to encounter signal interference — which may be an issue if you have several devices attempting to connect to the router at once.
- Max speed: The transfer speed, measured in megabytes per second (Mbps), determines the best possible connection offered by your router.
- Ethernet ports: Routers typically offer four Ethernet ports with WiFi, or eight Ethernet ports with no WiFi. Both varieties can be found for under $100, Ethernet ports typically offer maximum speeds of either 100MBps or 1GBps.
5 Best Router Under $100 of 2021:
The best affordable router out on the market right now is the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500. This is because it’s one of the few budget-friendly routers that uses Wi-Fi 6, which is the newest Wi-Fi standard in the industry and provides a slew of impressive benefits.
Compared to last generation Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 provides top-notch speed, network stability, network capacity, and the cutting-edge security standard of WPA3.
In addition to access to Wi-Fi 6, the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500 also has four far-reaching antennas as well, giving it enough range to provide internet to even large homes. It’s compatible with multi-user multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO), which is essentially a fancy way of saying that multiple users can send and receive signals from the router simultaneously with a lower chance of speed reduction.
- Best speed and stability
- Best security
- Four antennas for the best range
- MU-MIMO compatibility
- Most expensive option
If you don’t need to worry about supporting 5GHz 802.11ac devices, you can save some money by going with a single-band router, and TP-Link’s TL-WR940N is a really affordable solution that offers some of the best performance you can get for older 802.11n clients.
You’ll get 450Mbps throughput on the 2.4GHz band—that’s more than enough for 4K streaming and video calling—with three antennas that offer good coverage for a small home, condo, or cottage. The TL-WR940N also has a few other tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to control how much bandwidth each device is allowed to use, letting you reserve maximum throughput for those devices that need it like smart TVs or game consoles. Plus, it can be used as a Wi-Fi range extender too.
The biggest downside here is that while you get four Ethernet ports on the back, they’re only Fast Ethernet, so you’ll be limited to 100Mbps on your wired connections, creating the rare scenario where you could actually get better performance using your devices over Wi-Fi than you would by plugging them in directly do the router.
- Good 802.11n Wi-Fi performance
- Can work as a range extender
- Very affordable
- Lacks Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Single-band only
Netgear R6700 supports speed up to 1750Mbps. 450Mbps using 2.4GHz band and 1300 Mbps using 5GHz band. It performs very well even in multiple simultaneous connections without any lag. It has a 1GHz, dual-core processor that is powerful enough for boosting wireless and wired performance.
The Netgear R6700 is smart enough to differentiate between the usage in streaming, browsing and online gaming and provides speed according to that. It can cover up to 1500 square feet area. It is recommended for up to 25 devices but we can connect even more than that. The three antennas provide you with the best coverage area and strong signals.
The router is equipped with a USB 3.0 port that allows you to connect your storage device to the router so that everyone can quickly share the files with all the members of the family.
Free backup software is also there to safeguard all the settings and parental control by which you can block the access to any specific site. The router can be controlled by using the Nighthawk app ( free to download ). You can pause the internet access, view site history and much more.
- Attractive design
- Very affordable
- Solid range
- Poor speeds
- Flimsy build quality
The Linksys E1200 is another straight-to-the-point wireless router, only this one services a slightly more demanding network arrangement. With Wireless-N (802.11n) specs and transfer rates of up to 300Mbps, it also features MIMO internal antenna technology, which helps boost Wi-Fi signal strength over an extended coverage area.
It also has four Ethernet ports for wired connections, guest networks, and compatibility with Cisco Connect. However, it doesn’t have USB, Gigabit Ethernet ports, or traffic prioritization, and like most other routers in its price range, it’s single-band.
That said, it’s a router that gets to the point—a modern option for folks who like to stream HD video and transfer large files over Wi-Fi, but who aren’t likely to host a LAN party or live stream to Twitch.
- MIMO support
- Solid 2.4GHz performance
- Four Ethernet ports
- No 5GHz
- No USB ports
Do you desire for a powerful, optimum performing router at an affordable price? My friend, you have come to the right spot! Netgear is known for making the amazing routers, and the R6230 is the best wifi router under 100.
First of all, the product comes with excellent security features. One of them includes convenient parental controls. So, if you have a teenager and want to monitor his online activities, this is the best.
It limits the content accessibility and lets you regulate the time for which your young one can stay online. Also, you can pause and filter out the contents or pop-ups with this console.
Moreover, its state-of-the-art provides safety to viruses, malware, and other online threats. In addition to that, it contains secured guest WIFI access, DoS, and Firewall. Thus, the product ensures great safety to your electronic devices and assures safety from internet threats.
Next, it comes with 4 ethernet ports. So, it is capable of providing remarkable speeds and allows you to enjoy buffer-less streaming. And its dual-band feature increases the net speed to up to 1200 Mbps at 880 MHz.
- Fast performance and superior coverage
- Can be connected with any console which has 4×1 Gigabit Ethernet port
- Has an innovative security system and comes with exceptional parental control
- Is made of weak and fragile materials
Buying Guide for Router under $100
So far, it sounds as if you can find pretty much anything you want in a sub-$100 router. Unfortunately, that’s likely not the case. In order to meet a lower price point, a lot of routers eschew many of the features that you’ll find on more expensive models. On the hardware end, you won’t find any sub-$100 routers that are equipped with more than four LAN ports, nor will you find features like speedy multi-gig (2.5Gb) LAN ports. The ability to perform link aggregation won’t be there; nor will USB ports. Those are useful for connecting directly to peripherals like external hard drives (a quick way to build your own network attached storage or NAS device). Budget routers also typically use non-removable external antennas, which means they can’t be replaced with more powerful high-gain antennas to help boost performance and extend the router’s signal range.
Budget routers are managed using a web console or a mobile app, much like the more expensive versions, but they’ll likely lack some of the advanced settings. That’ll likely include support for bandwidth allocation or QoS (Quality of Service), dedicated online gaming presets, VPN connectivity, and sometimes support for DD-WRT, a Linux-based firmware upgrade that replaces the manufacturer’s firmware and provides enhanced settings which allow you to customize the router for maximum performance.
When should you upgrade your router?
Technology evolves quickly. As soon as you buy a device, there’s a newer, better model on the market. First, figure out what your current router can and cannot do by visiting the vendor’s website and reading through its specifications.
A good rule of thumb is that if a router has served you for more than three years, it may be time to replace it, regardless of how well it seems to perform. There’s nothing wrong with buying a new router, especially at these prices. As long as your reason for upgrading will give you better results than you had with the last device, go for it.
An excellent router is critical to having great internet, and if you don’t have one, you need to invest in one as soon as you can. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to break the bank to get a router that will serve you well. Many fantastic routers are very affordable, and you can obtain them for an excellent price.