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.
Truth be told, most users don’t need the latest design that comes with mind-blowing specifications. In support of this, we decided to find the best router under $100 that would support a busy household (from an Internet traffic point of view).
So, if you’re interested in learning more about the type of wireless router you need, make sure to read the reviews below.
Last update on 2021-10-19 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
How to Choose the Best Router Under $100
Before we delve into the reviews of the best routers under $100, let’s have a look at the features that matter the most.
Most modern routers support high speed, but it’s important to pay attention to the specs.
For instance, if you need an Internet connection that supports online multi-player gaming without lags and 4K video streaming simultaneously, you will need an AC router (the modern WiFi standard). Now, while the AC router under $100 may be a bit low in advanced features, it does a fantastic job for the regular home user.
Dual Band and Higher
Another thing to watch for is the dual-band feature. This means that the router supports both the 2.4GHz and the 5 GHz bands and provides better performance overall. Also, the 5GHz band doesn’t suffer from interferences from other electronic devices and is usually less crowded.
Dual-band routers usually have two or more adjustable antennas and can maintain both bands simultaneously without any drops in signal or speed. Also, there are routers that support tri-band settings – one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. These are fantastic for households with heavy traffic via online gaming and video and audio streaming.
Ideally, the wireless router should provide the same strength of WiFi signal in the entire home. However, the range varies depending on the size of your house, the wall composition (for signal interference), and other factors.
Still, unless you want to use a WiFi extender, you should look for a device that can cover a 2,000 sq. ft. house.
Nowadays cyber-security is a big deal, so make sure the router comes with a solid firewall, WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption, and Guest Access possibilities. This way, anyone interested in hacking into your home network will have a tough time.
Before deciding on a model, it’s best to consider your needs.
First, try to assess the number of devices that will be connecting daily – this means phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and more. Next, think about what you want to be able to access using the router. For instance, some routers allow connecting a Network Attached Storage (NAS) using an Integrated USB port.
Finally, if you have wired devices, make sure you get a router with enough Ethernet LAN ports (most models have four).
8 Best Routers Under $100
An Affordable, but High-Performing Home Router
NETGEAR R6700AX is Wi-Fi 6 compatible dual-band router, with a ton of features and pretty appealing looks. These features make this device one of the better deals on the market.
With this device you are getting ease of use and excellent performance that, translated into numbers, means you will be able to get 1.8 Gbps (600Mbps in 2.4GHz band and 1200Mbps in 5GHz band) data transfer speeds, which should be more than enough for the majority of home or small office users. This device supports four simultaneous streams and has enough bandwidth to handle multiple 4K streams.
Moreover, it is fitted with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and comes with some great features such as more common ones like Beamforming, OFDMA, 1024-QAM, and VPN support, as well as more advanced ones that include Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support.
Furthermore, NETGEAR R6700AX provides multiple security features that involve WPA2/WPA3 support, ability to create the special guest Wi-Fi, as well as Firewall, but above all, the NETGEAR ArmorTM feature, run by Bitdefender, that comes with a one-month free trial and ability to control every device connected to it and protect them from viruses and other malware.
In other words, NETGEAR R6700AX presents the full package and if you are after the best cheap router with exceptional performance. It certainly presents more than a solid option and the device that will help you with your work in the long run.
- Fast performance
- Nice security features
- Support for simultaneous streams
A Great Cost Effective Wi-Fi Router
One of the best dual band routers under $100, the TP-Link AC1750 comes with high speed (up to 450Mbps for the 2.4GHz network and 1300Mbps for the 5GHz network), is compatible with Amazon Alexa, and supports 4K streaming with significantly reduced buffering.
The 3 external antennas boost the WiFi range, so you can get a connection even in a home that’s 2,500 square feet. In terms of ports, the router has 4 Gigabit LAN ports that offer support for wired devices, one USB 3.0 port for fast access to a storage device, one WPS button that allows for an easier way to connect guests to the network, and one Reset button. Furthermore, this router can support over 50 wireless devices!
All this is due to a highly performant management system that is supported by a powerful CPU, advanced technology, and stellar bandwidth prioritization. Users consider the TP-Link AC1750 to be a great router for online gaming (no lag), but it’s also a fantastic choice for video and audio streaming.
Finally, the TP-Link AC1750 provides a secure online environment for the entire family with WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption, guest access, and parental control features. Also, the router can be controlled using the TP Tether app, which is cloud-based so you can control the settings regardless of your location.
- High Internet Speed
- Supports over 50 devices
- Great range
- Secure guest access
- Easy to setup and configure for your needs
- Compatible with Alexa
- Cloud-based tether app
- It requires some tech knowledge during setup
- Parental Controls interface is a bit complicated
- The VPN connecting process is complicated
ASUS Dual-Band 2×2 AC1300
Easy Setup Process & Best User-friendly Interface
Equipped with 2×2 MU-MIMO technology, this ASUS router is fantastic for managing multiple connections at high speeds (up to 1267Mbps – up to 867Mbps for 5GHz and 400Mbps for 2.4GHz). The device boosts the WiFi range in your home due to the 4 external antennas and it’s easy to install due to the user-friendly web-based interface (there’s also an app you can use to control the settings).
The ASUS Dual-Band AC1300 router uses Smart Connect to automatically switch between bands whenever it is needed. This delivers consistent bandwidth, regardless of your online activities. Furthermore, the router is equipped with one USB 3.0 port for fast medial files sharing with the entire network.
- Great for heavy traffic management
- Advanced control features in both the app and the web-based interface
- Offers guest access
- Consistent performance
- Good coverage and speed
- Setup is a bit complicated
- No DD-WRT support
- Known problems with IPv6 support
- ASUS Tech support is not that great
NETGEAR AC1200 (R6230)
Budget Router With a Good Range
If you’re looking to boost the range of your WiFi to reach the whole house, skip the WiFi extender and get the NETGEAR AC1200 instead. Some people consider this to be the best AC router under $100, and considering its features and price, they wouldn’t be too wrong.
The router delivers fast speeds (300 for the 2.4GHz and 900Mbps for the 5GHz networks) which makes it great for online gaming, video and audio streaming and other demanding online activities. NETGEAR AC1200 can prioritize services that need a lot more bandwidth over the regular ones for a perfect streaming and gaming experience.
In terms of connectivity (besides wireless connections), the NETGEAR AC1200 has 4 Gigabit LAN ports, guest network possibilities (WPS button) and USB 2.0 port (for external devices). The control interface is intuitive, and users have an access with a mobile device via the Nighthawk app.
- Easy to setup and configure
- Good range
- Supports a wide range of connections
- Prioritizes bandwidth according to usage
- Up to 1200Mbps
- Friendly user interface
- Some firmware updates come with flaws
- Many users don’t find it very reliable
Elegant Dual Band Router
For people who don’t like big devices, the Linksys EA6350 is the best wireless router possible! With a slim and elegant design and an impressive look, this device can be installed in any type of interior setting.
But it’s not just the pretty body that makes people buy it! It’s also the plethora of features it has to offer and the power it hides under its tiny shell. For instance, it supports dual wireless bands and can reach speeds up to 300Mbps for the 2.4GHz network and 867Mbps for the 5GHz network.
Furthermore, the router features 4 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet ports, one USB 3.0, and understands the difference between playing online games, streaming a movie on Netflix, or just browsing your favorite online store.
While the router does have long range, the antennas can be adjusted and repositioned as needed. Also, it supports beamforming for stronger and faster connections and keeps your network secure with WPA/WPA2 encryption and an SPI firewall. Of course, you have the option to allow for guest access.
- Elegant design and easy setup
- Comes with an app that allows remote control
- Fast Internet speed on dual band
- Smart bandwidth usage according to users’ needs
- Secure connection
- Doesn’t support advanced network customization (can’t block specific ports)
- The user must have a Linksys account
- Firmware is not the best
MOTOROLA Model MR2600
A Masterpiece in a Budget-Friendly Area
If you are after the super-fast, but affordable Wi-Fi router that will bring your network to another, much higher level and provide a top-class experience, MOTOROLA MR2600 is made for you.
This is the device that supports 2600Mbps speeds (800Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and 1733Mbps in the 5GHz band) and allows for four simultaneous streams. Moreover, it is fitted with a ton of features that include Beamforming, MU-MIMO, as well as Port Forwarding, Parental Control and support for up to 253 client devices.
When talking about these router security features, you should know that they include usual WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK encryption, SmartQoS, Guest Network capability, and easy to use firewall.
Moreover, this device also comes with four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, and a practical USB3.0 connection. MOTOROLA Model MR2600 comes with a two-year warranty; it provides a great signal range and for its price presents the terrific value for the money.
For that reason, if you are after the best Wi-Fi router in the budget-friendly area, this one is pretty much the hit in the dead center.
- Easy to setup and use
- Excellent range
- Great data transfer speed
- Supports up to 253 client devices
- Limited customization options
Speedefy AC2100 Smart WiFi Router
A Simple, yet Efficient Budget-friendly Wi-Fi Router
Speedefy AC2100 Smart Wi-Fi Router is easy to use home device that offers a pretty good combination of performance, practicality and above all fair price.
As mentioned, this dual-band router is very easy to setup and use and altogether provides everything that the mainstream home user might need. There is a solid 2100Mbps data transfer speed (1733Mbps in 5GHz band and 300Mbps in 2.4GHz band), compatibility with every major operating system such as Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as the ability to accept up to 25 simultaneous connections.
Furthermore, this router supports WPA/WPA2-PSK Encryption; it is equipped with Parental controls and offers decent wired connectivity that includes one Gigabit port and four Gigabit LAN ports.
Speedefy AC2100 Smart Wi-Fi Router is also MU-MIMO compatible device that supports up to four simultaneous streams, and altogether provides a very good user experience, but above everything else, a solid performance that, when combined with some of the best Wi-Fi adapters available on the market, should make a difference and raise your productivity to the higher level.
In other words, if you are after a solid, but affordable Wi-Fi router, Speedefy AC2100 is the device you should seriously consider for.
- Easy to use
- Decent performance
- Good compatibility
- Not the best quality control
- A bit robust
Solid Router for The Money
The Medialink AC1200 comes equipped with four Gigabit Ethernet ports that will put your online multi-player gaming and 4K streaming in the fast lane. Second, the range is extremely satisfying as it is, but you have the option to activate the Range Extender Mode if you need to cover a larger area.
The Medialink AC1200 also supports beamforming and dual-band access (300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 867Mbps on 5GHz). To keep everyone protected from prying eyes, the router comes with a solid firewall and guest network access. Not to mention, you have full control over its functionalities.
Finally, the setup process is easy to understand, and you can always contact tech support (if the need arises).
- Supports up to 20 simultaneous connections
- Good range for 2,000 sq. ft. houses
- USB 2.0 port for Network Attached Storage
- Slick design
- Solid speed and good bandwidth prioritization
- Restricts advanced configurations
- Some reliability and consistency issues
As you can see, there are many high-quality routers under $100, and it’s almost impossible to choose the best one. However, each user’s needs are different, so have a look at our reviews and choose the one that works best for you.