A WiFi router is one of the most important parts of your network. It takes the information for your internet modem, and it distributes it in the form of a wireless signal. This allows you to connect several devices to the same network, and you won’t have to worry about your house being lined with ethernet cables.
There are a lot of different models of WiFi routers on the market. All of the major brands tend to have at least a dozen different router options to choose from, and they’re all marketed with technical jargon that isn’t usually understandable for the average person. This could lead to you spending a lot of money on something that is little more than a paperweight.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of reviews. The routers that we chose for our list are the best routers under $100. They won’t break your bank, and most of them are even good enough to be used as budget gaming routers. However, if you’re serious about gaming, you may want to take a look at our ultimate gaming routers guide.
At the end of our list, you’ll find a buyer’s guide that will give you all of the information you need to purchase the right router for you and your family. It’ll tell you what features to look for, and it’ll make a lot of the technical terms used by router manufacturers a lot easier to understand.
- 10 Best Routers Under 100 Bucks
- 1. NETGEAR AC1200 R6230 WiFi Router
- 2. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750
- 3. TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Router
- 4. ASUS AC1300 RT-ACRH13 Dual-band Router
- 5. TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
- 6. MOTOROLA AC1700 WiFi Gigabit Router
- 7. TP-Link AC1900 C9 Smart Wireless Router
- 8. Linksys EA7300 AC1750 Wireless Router
- 9. Medialink AC1200 Gigabit Router
- 10. D-Link DIR-867-US Wireless Wifi Router
- Best Routers Under $100 Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Routers Under 100 Bucks
1. NETGEAR AC1200 R6230 WiFi Router
NETGEAR has been a big name in the router industry for a while. That's why there are several of their products on this list. The AC1200 isn't their most high-end model, but it does have several advanced features, and it nails the necessities well. More importantly, it only costs $60. So, you won't have to go broke to experience some of the features that are present in the highest quality routers.
Besides being a relatively fast router, the AC1200 has a QoS program built-in. The QoS in the AC1200 is similar to the one used in the high-end Nighthawk Pro routers. It allows you to pick what data packets are prioritized. This is great if you like streaming movies or gaming, but you don't want to deal with latency. You just have to set the QoS to prioritize the data you're using.
The AC1200 is also compatible with the Nighthawk app. That allows you to control your network settings with your mobile device, and it makes it easier than ever before to control your network traffic.
In terms of technical specs, the AC1200 is fairly impressive for a budget router. It can form 1.2Gbps WiFi connections, and it uses Beamforming+ to increase WiFi speeds even more. The Beamforming+ feature sends signals directly to your devices. That allows your devices to have the strongest connection with your network possible.
2. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750
This is another offering from NETGEAR. It's a little more expensive than the AC1200, but that's because it's essentially a cheaper version of their high-end Nighthawk Pro gaming routers.
The Nighthawk AC1750 comes with a few features that the more expensive models have, and it's more powerful than the AC1200. It has the same QoS that the Nighthawk Pro product line has, and that makes it exceptionally good at prioritizing your bandwidth for gaming. It also has a powerful 1GHz dual-core processor that allows it to handle gaming well. That's not as powerful as the processors found in the Nighthawk Pro routers, but it's more than enough power to satisfy most people, and it can handle 12 or more WiFi devices at once. When you combine the two bands, the AC1750 can reach speeds of 1750Mbps over a wireless connection. Another feature that sets it apart from most budget routers is the inclusion of a USB 3.0 port. That's a common feature on high-end routers, but it's not commonly found in the budget price range.
3. TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Router
This is one of the cheapest routers on our list. It doesn't offer a lot of advanced features, but it does have all of the necessities.
The TP-Link AC1200 is fairly powerful, and it can easily handle streaming without having to buffer. The AC1200 is a dual band router. The main band runs at 900Mbps, and the secondary band runs at 400Mbps. The two bands are able to be combined to allow WiFi speeds of 1300Mbps. That's not enough to satisfy a hardcore gamer, but it's more than enough for the average family to enjoy all of their favorite online activities at the same time.
The TP-Link AC1200 is compatible with the TP-Link Tether app. Tether allows you to access your network remotely, and it has a ton of features for controlling your network at home. It's not as advanced as DumaOS or Nighthawk, but it's more than enough for the average user.
There's not really a whole lot to talk about with the AC1200. It's a reliable router, and it's fast enough to handle the demands of most users. Since it's cheap, you won't get all of the fancy features that a $500 router has, but it's perfect for a small family on a budget.
4. ASUS AC1300 RT-ACRH13 Dual-band Router
Asus manages to consistently make great products. They have a successful line of laptops, headsets, and other gaming peripherals, but they're also one of the best companies to buy a router from.
The AC1300 is the perfect router for anyone that demands a lot out of their network. It's not a gaming router with extremely advanced processors, but it is extremely powerful for its price range.
The AC1300 is a dual band router that can transfer data at 1267Mbps. It also features MU-MIMO technology to help enhance its dual band capabilities. To increase its coverage range, the AC1300 uses four 5dBi antennas. The antennas allow the AC1300 to cover more of your home. So, you won't have to worry about losing signal if you wander another room.
While speed and coverage are great, the AC1300 really shines when it comes to its bonus features. It has USB 3.0 ports for transferring data. It's also compatible with the Asus Router app. Like a few of our other options, the app allows you to mess with your network with your mobile phone. If you're at work or somewhere else, you can still access your network settings.
It also has one of the most impressive security systems on this list. The AC1300 can be encrypted 6 different ways, and that ensures that unwanted guests can't access your network.
5. TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
What the AC1750 lacks in power, it makes up for in functionality and user-friendliness. That makes this one of the best routers for general home use.
The AC1750 isn't weak. It's just not as powerful as some of our other options. It still boasts an impressive 1750Mbps WiFi speed. However, that speed is divided between two separate bands. It's still plenty of speed to stream in 4K resolution without buffering.
It also features four 1GB LAN ports for gaming. It's not quite as powerful as a gaming router should be, but it is fast enough to work fairly well. In addition, there are 3 antennas on the unit to provide a relatively large amount of coverage.
The next few features are what really set the AC1750 apart from other standard routers. It's compatible with Alexa devices, and it's backed by TP-Link's award winning customer service.
Alexa devices are becoming more popular with each passing day. So, it's nice to have a cheaper router that is compatible with them. The customer service system was regarded as the best customer service by J.D. Power. You also don't have to worry about the router malfunctioning. TP-Link is one of the few router companies that truly stand by their product. This particular model has a 2-year warranty. If something goes wrong, TP-Link will replace it for free.
6. MOTOROLA AC1700 WiFi Gigabit Router
The Motorola AC1700 is designed to be a great option for anyone. It doesn't specialize in any specific area, but it handles everything well.
This is due to the inclusion of a dual-core processor, and a dual band option that runs at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The ethernet ports are 1GB ports for speedy data transfers, and the inclusion of USB 3.0 allows media files to be shared across your network with the same speed. To round off its list of hardware features, the AC1700 has four antennas to cover as much of your home as possible.
In terms of software, the AC1700 features a firewall, encryption program, parental controls, and a guest network system.
Finally, the router is backed by a 2-year warranty, and all of Motorola's customer service departments are based in the United States. So, you can expect to receive quality service if you need it.
7. TP-Link AC1900 C9 Smart Wireless Router
The TP-Link AC1900 is also known as the Archer C9, and it provides the capability of a gaming router with the price of a standard home router. It's one of the best options on our list, and it just barely stays within our price range.
The TP-Link AC1900 can provide smooth gaming experiences with its 1GHz dual-core processor, and it has beamforming technology to ensure that those fast data transfers connected to the right device at the right time. When those two features are combined, the Archer C9 can easily reach performance speeds of 1900Mbps.
The AC1900 can also be manipulated via a mobile app. The app allows you to manage your bandwidth, parental settings, and devices with ease. More importantly, you can use it anywhere that you can use your phone. You don't have to be home to adjust your network.
The inclusion of USB ports is an added bonus. The ports allow you to share program files and media files across your network. So, you can easily add your favorite files to all of your favorite devices.
8. Linksys EA7300 AC1750 Wireless Router
Despite being one of the biggest names in router technology, this is the only Linksys product on our list. A lot of their products are in a much higher price range, but this one is just a single penny shy of our $100 limit. That high price brings a lot of features to the table, though.
This is one of the few routers on our list that uses MU-MIMO technology to optimize it for multiple users. The MU-MIMO technology works to ensure that everyone gets a fair amount of bandwidth, and it boosts the speed of each connection made on the network.
The EA7300 is also extremely fast for a standard router. It can transfer data at speeds of 1.7Gbps. To make it even better, it uses beamforming technology to make sure that each connected device fully benefits from those high speeds.
The Smart WiFi app is compatible with this router. The app does the same thing as every other mobile app we've mentioned. To reiterate, it allows you to control your network from home. However, this one also allows you to set up guest passwords. That lets you devote a limited amount of bandwidth to guests, and they won't have access to your main network.
9. Medialink AC1200 Gigabit Router
Medialink isn't as well-known as NETGEAR and Asus, but they can still make a pretty decent router. This model costs just under $70, and it provides the speed and processing power necessary for 4K streaming.
The 1-gigabit ports on the MediaLink allow data to transfer at rates of 1000Mbps. That's pretty standard when you look our list, but it's still faster than the majority of routers under $100. MediaLink has also included beamforming technology with this unit, and that's something that some of our more expensive suggestions didn't have. It uses a Broadcom processor, but specific GHz ratings aren't available. However, it's known for handling multiple devices well. So, whatever they have in there must be fairly powerful.
The Medialink really shines when it comes to its security features. The firewall is better than the firewalls provided with other routers, and the parental controls are robust. You can even set the router to turn off specific connections after a certain time period. So, you won't have to worry about your kids using the internet all night. If you don't trust guests to use your network responsibly, you can set up multiple guest networks that are separate from your main network. That prevents any of their activities from affecting devices on your network.
10. D-Link DIR-867-US Wireless Wifi Router
You probably haven't heard of D-Link. They're not a very well-known brand. However, their latest offering is possibly the best router on this list. It has a lot of advanced features, and its hardware is fairly impressive.
Beamforming is becoming a standard feature. It hasn't been implemented by every router manufacturer, but it's becoming a lot more common. Rather than offer a standard beamforming feature, D-Link included their Advanced SmartBeam system. It provides more reliable coverage, and it helps boost the speed of your network's connections.
The dual-core processor is a nice touch, but it stands out because of how it works alongside MU-MIMO technology. The addition of MU-MIMO allows it to process the data of several devices, and the dual-core processor prioritizes data to reduce lag as much as possible.
This list hasn't had a lot of routers with a QoS feature installed. Luckily, the D-Link has one. The QoS is the best way to choose where your bandwidth goes, and what devices are allowed to use it.
Best Routers Under $100 Buyer’s Guide
This is where you’ll find all of the information that you’ll need to find the perfect router for your home. We’ll go over the different features that make a router worthwhile, and we’ll talk about some ways that you can save a little money.
Just like everything else in the tech world, WiFi routers are constantly being upgraded. As time goes on, manufacturers find more efficient ways for their routers to communicate with your favorite devices.
This has been the case with the frequencies that routers use to connect to your devices. In the past, devices used 802.11n. Now, the majority of router companies are moving on to 802.11.ac, and device manufacturers are following suit.
As time goes on, fewer devices will be compatible with 802.11n routers, but 802.11.ac can handle all modern devices, and it’s compatible with older devices. For that reason, you need to make sure that your router is using the latest WiFi compatibility technology. All you have to do is find 802.11.ac stamped on the box.
Depending on the size of your home, some basic routers might not be able to provide coverage to every corner of your living space. You also have to worry about having a lot of doors and insulated walls between your router and your favorite devices.
You can avoid that by simply looking at your house. Identify the places that you use your devices the most, and choose where you’ll put your router. If your router is going to be several rooms away from where you’ll use your devices, you’ll need to invest in a router that has a lot of coverage area.
If you’re the type of person that wants to use your network anywhere in your home, you’ll want to find a router that has beamforming technology, and you’ll want to make sure that its signal rating is high.
Your Internet Service Provider
Router speed is one of the main specs that manufacturers use to market their routers. However, most people aren’t likely to need the fastest routers. If your internet service provider only gives you a 100Mbps connection, that’s all your router will ever do.
You can save a lot of money by figuring out what your ISP’s internet speeds are, and then buying a router that doesn’t exceed those max speeds by too much.
If you have a lot of people using your network, you’ll want to invest in a router that is made to prioritize bandwidth. Dual band routers with MU-MIMO can do the trick. You’ll also want a router that gives you the option to limit the amount of bandwidth that certain devices get access to. That’ll keep your kids from hogging all of your precious bandwidth.
For most homes, a standard encryption setting is enough security. However, it’s worth getting a router that has a built-in firewall, and you won’t regret paying a little extra for features such as guest networks and parental controls.
The guest network feature is only useful if you get a lot of company. It allows you to grant visitors access to their own private network, but they won’t be able to interfere with anything on your main network. Again, this is only really useful for people who actually have a lot of company coming over.
After you’ve read our buyer’s guide, you should have no problem find the right router for you with our list of the best routers under $100. If you’re just looking for a cheap router to get started with, you’ll want to take a glance at the TP-Link AC1200. If you want a great router that is just barely within the $100 price limit, the D-Link should be the first one you look at.