Best Routers Under $100 – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

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How many devices do you have in your home that use your Wi-Fi connection right now? If your home is like most other typical family homes, there is a good chance that you have at least five. From the TV to your laptops, iPads, and even some doorbells and gates use the internet today. This is one of the main reasons why you need a reliable router.

Today we will review some of the best routers under $100 currently available on the market. We'll look at what a reliable router is, how to pick one, and most importantly, check out some of the best recommendations based on real customer and user reviews.

Our Top Picks for Routers Under $100

  • Many devices
  • Fast data transfers
  • Secure connection
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  • Best AC Router
  • Dual band frequency
  • Better management
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  • Best Gaming Router
  • Fast data transfers
  • Many devices
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Comparison of the Best Router Under $100

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Will easily support up to 25 devices at a time
  • Up to 1300 Mbps data transfer rates
  • Supports Wap2 security protocols for WiFi
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  • Best AC Router Under $100
  • Dual band frequency of 2.4 and 5Ghz
  • Parental control is supported for better management
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  • Best Gaming Router $100
  • Up to 2100 Mbps data transfer rate
  • Will easily support up to 25 devices at a time
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  • Best DD-WRT Router Under $100
  • Can be used with a VPN server
  • Easy voice control with Alexa compatibility
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  • Best Dual Band Router Under $100
  • Supports Wap2 security protocols for WiFi
  • Dual band frequency of 2.4 and 5Ghz
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Can You Really Find a Quality Router Under $100?

There is a common misconception that cheaper products are generally substandard. While this is generally true for most products, the trick is to pick products from reliable brands that have a reputation for producing excellent devices and offering superb customer service.

When it comes to routers, yes, there are higher-end brands that go for up to $300, and these offer faster speeds and wider coverage. However, on average, the typical family home wouldn't need these types of speeds or coverage. Buying one would prove to be overkill.

Photo credit: budgetreport.com

How to Find a Good Router Under 100

Finding a reliable router for $100 calls for the right kind of discerning eye. There are a few things that you need to keep an eye out for when buying one. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:

Read Real-Life Reviews to Verify The Speeds

The transmission speed of a router is one of the most important factors when choosing one. It determines just how fast and reliable your internet connection will be via that router. That is why most manufacturers want these numbers to look pleasing and ideal. 

To achieve that, they test them in a lab-setting with ideal networking equipment. Unfortunately, that doesn't always translate in the real world. You should read online reviews of real users to see what kind of speeds the router achieves in the typical non-lab setting.

It Should Be Dual-Band, At Least

You want something that can emit wireless signals on the 2.4 GHz band (for connecting with older devices) as well as the 5GHz band for newer devices. Although the 2.4 GHz band gets congested, it has a wider range. The 5GHz is faster, has no congestion problems but has a limited range. Routers that have a dual or tri-band are best designed to serve both purposes.

It Should Have A Multi-Core Processor and an Excellent RAM

Depending on how many people as well as devices you have connected to the same Wi-Fi connection, your router will be receiving and transferring so much data at any given time. You need a router with a good processor and good enough RAM to cope with several network connections simultaneously.

When is it Time for a Newer Router?

Like every other electronic, no matter how steadfastly it has been serving you, your router will someday call it quits. That's just how machines work; they have an "end of life" factor to consider. So, how do you know when it's time for you to get a newer router?

Your Internet Access Becomes Patchy

You know your router is on its final stretch when you get patchy internet access. If you had internet yesterday and don't have it today yet, the provider says they are online; the problem could very well be your router.

Your Connections Drop Off Randomly

If your connection keeps dropping off and reconnecting randomly, your router could be the problem.

The Connection Lights Keep Blinking

If your router is connected but has no lights or the lights just keep blinking instead of a steady glow, it could very well be dying.

While it's true that there are other possible remedies for these problems, eventually, you will run out of Band-Aids to fix that broken router and have to get a newer one.

Quick Take - Budget Routers Under $100

Just looking for the three best budget routers under $100? Here they are:

  1. Netgear Nighthawk R6700
  2. TP-Link AC1200
  3. Speedefy AC2100

Review of the Best Budget Routers Under $100

If you are in the market for a new router or just feel like you can do better than what you already have but don't want to break the bank, any one of these options will do just fine.

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router, R6700 - AC1750 Wireless Speed Up to 1750 Mbps | Up to 1500 Sq Ft Coverage & 25 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 3.0 USB Ports | Armor Security

PROS

  • Dual-band
  • High-speed
  • Parental control
  • Antivirus security
  • Dual-core processor

CONS

  • Limited VPN support
  • Doesn't support MU-MIMO technology

What Recent Buyers Report

If you run a busy home with up to 25 potential devices connecting to the internet at any given time, this is the router you want. You can stream videos, surf the internet, play games, and even connect your smart home devices without severely compromising their level of service delivery. Thanks to its impressive specifications (3 amplified antennas, Dynamic QoS, 1 GHz dual-core processor, etc.), this router perfectly fits into the technologically savvy home.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With all these Wi-Fi connections hanging around and the obvious inability for some people to create hacker-proof passwords, you need a router that takes your internet security very seriously. The Netgear Nighthawk R6700 does!

It supports WPA2 wireless security protocols, which means a reliable Firewall for you, guest Wi-Fi access options, so you don't share your actual password with everyone, VPN, and so much more.

It also comes with a Netgear Armor option. This protects all your connected devices from potential malware plus gives you state-of-the-art anti-virus. It does, however, come at an extra cost.

Bottom Line

This is the kind of router that gives you the best of all worlds. It has 4x1 gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired connections (even faster and more reliable speeds), internet security options, and supports both Windows OS and iOS.

Best AC Router Under $100:
TP-Link AC1200

TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit WiFi Router (Archer A6) - 5GHz Gigabit Dual Band MU-MIMO Wireless Internet Router, Supports Beamforming, Guest WiFi and AP mode, Long Range Coverage by 4 Antennas Black

PROS

  • Dual-band
  • Easy to set up
  • Parental control
  • Supports guest Wi-Fi access
  • Supports MU-MIMO technology

CONS

  • Not Wi-Fi 6 compatible
  • Not suitable for Optical Fiber

What Recent Buyers Report

Are you tired of having a patchy network throughout your house because your router just doesn't have enough range? If so, then this TP-Link AC1200 is the answer to your problems. With four external antennas, a powerful chipset, and one internal antenna, you can now have Wi-Fi throughout your house, even in those pesky corners that never really seem to get coverage.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fact that it supports MU-MIMO technology means that this router can support several devices simultaneously. So if you have a home with teenagers who all want to stream their videos at the same time, you no longer have to worry about bandwidth congestion. While the 2.4 GHz connection ensures you have fast emails, the 5GHz connection supports fast streaming and gaming. It also features advanced WPA2 encryption, which keeps your connection safe.

Bottom Line

With a host of features such as guest Wi-Fi access, gigabit wired connection ports, and an easy setup process through the Tether App, this router is by far one of the best in its price range. Did I mention that it's one of the cheapest on the list?

Best Gaming Router $100:
Speedefy AC2100

Speedefy AC2100 Smart WiFi Router - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router for Home & Gaming, 4x4 MU-MIMO, 7x6dBi External Antennas for Strong Signal, Parental Control, Support IPv6 (Model K7)

PROS

  • Easy setup
  • Powerful signal
  • Parental controls
  • Outstanding speeds
  • Reliable internet security

CONS

  • Doesn't support OpenWrt installation
  • DC power adapter cable is quite short

What Recent Buyers Report

As the name suggests, this Speedefy AC2100 router is insanely fast. Delivering dual-band gigabit Wi-Fi at speeds of up to 2100Mbps, you aren't going to be experiencing any buffering or lag time with this router. Its coverage is also quite excellent, and it allows you to select the band you prefer to ensure that all your devices are always connected at the best possible speeds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Apart from speed, there are several other reasons why this router is outstanding. It has powerful antennas that give it excellent range and help it deliver a powerful signal throughout the home.

Secondly, it's very easy to set up and manage through the App or via the web. It might be the easiest and fastest router to set up on this list (about 5 minutes).

Finally, it has wonderful security features such as WPA2 protocols that go a long way in detecting and preventing any potential security risks to your Wi-Fi connection.

Bottom Line

It's affordable, it's reliable, it gives you excellent control via its parental control features, and you get outstanding speeds. What more could you want in a router?

Best DD-WRT Router Under $100:
TP-Link AC1750 Archer A7

TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A7) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router for Home, Works with Alexa, VPN Server, Parental Control and QoS

PROS

  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent range
  • Guest Wi-Fi access
  • Compatible with Alexa
  • Supports more than 50 devices

CONS

  • VPN connection process is complicated
  • Parental control interface isn't the easiest to use

What Recent Buyers Report

Remember when we asked if we could get a good router for under $100? This TP-Link AC1750 Archer A7 is a good example showing that we actually can. The winner of the JD Power Awards as the "2019 Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Wireless Routers" clearly shows that there are excellent routers within this range. It can take on more than 50 devices thanks to its high-speed processing capabilities and advanced bandwidth prioritization technology.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Granted, not every home will have up to 50 devices connected to its Wi-Fi, so that might not be a very solid selling point to you. What does stand out about this router is that it can reliably provide coverage for up to 2,500 sq. feet, thanks to its three high-gain antennas. Additionally, it works very well with Alexa, and it's rather easy to set up and manage through the intuitive Tether App.

Bottom Line

It's secured with advanced WPA and WPA2 wireless encryption, offers liberating parental control features, and supports guest Wi-Fi access. In addition to all that, it has extremely high speeds that support simultaneous gaming and streaming. It is the kind of router that every busy family needs.

Best Dual Band Router Under $100:
NETGEAR R6080

NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6080) - AC1000 Dual Band Wireless Speed (up to 1000 Mbps) | Up to 1000 sq ft Coverage & 15 devices | 4 x 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports

PROS

  • Smart parental controls
  • Secure Wi-Fi connection
  • Fast internet connection
  • Supports up to 15 devices
  • Up to 1000 Sq. of reliable coverage

CONS

  • Speeds aren't always reliable
  • Set up isn't very user friendly

What Recent Buyers Report

NETGEAR is a reliable manufacturer of wireless routers. This one, in particular, is rather excellent for people who don't live in very big houses. It can provide excellent coverage for up to 1,000 Sq. with its Dual-Band connectivity, which provides reliable and fast streaming.

The router is designed to intelligently select between the bands to limit congestion and maximize speed. It can connect up to 15 devices without any interference from these devices.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are several good reasons why this router stands out. It offers you the simplest and easiest setup protocols via the Nighthawk App, which walks you through the entire process.

Secondly, it has the most convenient parental controls features, which offer you effortless management of internet access, web filtering, and so on.

It even allows you to cut off specific devices in the home. Couple all this with secure Wi-Fi protection by WPA/WPA2 wireless security, guest Wi-Fi access, and Firewall protection, and you have a router that is designed to fit your needs.

Bottom Line

If you have been looking for something that can cover up to 1000 Sq. of space very well, offers fast and reliable internet speeds for up to 15 devices, and gives you total parental control at an extremely affordable price, this is the router that you need.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Router for Under $100?

Here are some of the most important factors to consider before buying a router for under $100:

Security

You have probably noticed this point mentioned in every single one of the reviews above; that's how important security is when it comes to Wi-Fi. Any router that doesn't go above and beyond to secure the network properly isn't worth your time and money. Make sure that the router you buy has at least WAP2 protection.

MU-MIMO

This means that the router has "multiple-input, multiple-output," which means that it can support excellent speeds even when serving multiple devices simultaneously.

Router Antennas

Although routers with internal antennas are more elegant and compact, they just don't offer as good a signal and can position them properly. Go for routers that have those protruding antennas. The more antennas, the better.

Netgear Nighthawk R6700

Types of Routers Under $100

Although this piece focused solely on wireless routers, there are many different types of routers that you can get for under $100. Here are some others worth considering:

Wired Routers

As the name suggests, this is the kind of router that offers wired connection options. Most wireless routers have ports for wired connections, which are considered more secure and more stable. With wired routers, you have jacks to connect Ethernet cables and mobile phones.

Core Routers

These don't typically fall within the $100 because their functions are integral to the internet's backbone or core. They are designed to support the routing protocols used at the core and distribute the necessary data packets within the specified networks. 

Virtual Routers

These act as a backup to the main routers and are often used in office settings. They depend on the virtual redundancy protocol and put many routers in a group, making them share a virtual IP address.

Budget Router Comparisons

There are quite a several big-name brands playing in the budget routers section of the market. Here are some ways in which they stack up against one another:

TP-Link vs Netgear Router Under $100

The main similarities here are that they are both affordable and quite reliable. However, the main difference is that NETGEAR routers are significantly more complicated to set up than TP-Link routers. So, if you aren't very tech-savvy, TP-Link would be the way to go.

Low Budget Router vs High Budget

Low budget routers tend to offer less speed, fewer user control features, and smaller ranges. On the other hand, high budget routers tend to offer higher speeds, connect to more devices simultaneously, and cover a much wider range. That, however, doesn't mean that they are easier to use. That depends on the manufacturer.

Conclusion

TP-Link AC1200

Whether you go for a low budget or a high budget router, the idea remains the same: you want something that can give you reliable speeds, excellent security, and the capability to simultaneously connect multiple gadgets. Something that all the above-reviewed routers can do. All you have to do now is choose one that suits your specific needs, buy it, and start enjoying your Wi-Fi throughout the house.

People Also Ask

Here are some common concerns from people looking to buy the best routers under $100 just like you:

Are Older Model Routers Cheaper?

Yes, they are cheaper but also fail with time and become a bottleneck for your connectivity and speeds.

Is an Older Router a Good Choice?

Not entirely. This is mostly because most older model routers can only use WAP or WEP security, which are quite old and no longer considered secure.

Is a Budget Router Good?

Yes, depending on the specs. As you have seen, these routers under $100 pack a real punch.

Can I Get a Wi-Fi 6 Router for Under $100?

Yes. Routers such as the TP-Link Archer AX10 support Wi-Fi 6 and go for under $100.