Ever been faced with the problem of choice for best Wi-Fi routers under 100 dollars? No doubt, trying to get the best Wi-Fi router for internet needs and on a budget below 100 dollars could be quite a task. In today’s technology-driven world where almost every gadget depends on the internet; having the most reliable wireless router can make all the difference.
Sometimes, it might not be a function of the cost but the choice of wireless router one settles for. What should ordinarily determine the choice of the best router? Should it be single or dual-band of 2.4GHZ or 5GHZ band, speed, brand or cost? This guide, therefore, presents not just the 7 best Wi-Fi Routers under 100 dollars but also what to look out for in a purchase decision.
A Quick Look at The Best WiFi Routers Under $100 Dollars
Things to Look for When Buying a Router
For a beginner or less techie person, even the ease with router configuration could be an issue. Such marketing jargons as QoS, Beam-forming, Smart Connect, Mu-MIMO, bandwidth and AC all create much confusion for the buyer. Understanding how it all adds up can put you on the right footing from the word ‘go’. So, here’s what to focus on when making a purchase decision for a new Wi-Fi router below $100 in 2020.
1. Go for Dual Band - It’s better to go for at least a dual-band router. There are some tri-band routers available in the market too but they are not very affordable and you probably don't need one. A dual band router beams signals using two frequencies. It gives you at least two wireless networks to work with unlike single band routers with one frequency and limitations.
The main drawback with single band router is that of network congestion. It operates under the 802.11n wireless standard with the 2.4GHz frequency which already falls with the older technology. Though it has a wider coverage network and can work with older devices. The dual-band offers you both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency which gives you more options to work with. The 5GHz frequency offers faster speed at the cost of shorter range.
2. Fast Ethernet or Gigabit - A good number of below 100 dollar routers come with Ethernet Gigabit capabilities. Such Gigabit should be able to deliver at least 1,300Mbps on a 5GHZ wireless network. Fiber technology has gradually gained popularity with Gigabit speeds of 1,000Mbps and higher. So, you will do better acquiring a Gigabit router for better speed capabilities.
3. Number of Ports - Wireless devices or router can do without ports on a wireless home network. However, your home might some have devices with both wireless and wired connections needs. Therefore, the least number of ports for your router should be four (4) Ethernet or RJ45 ports.
Also having one or two USB port is a great plus. They will allow you to connect external hard disks, printer, flash drives, etc to your network easily.
4. Router Placement - Make sure to place your Wi-Fi router in a more central and accessible place, possibly the shelf. Keep it away from obstructions and other communication gadgets that can interfere with the network. Though have it in mind you still might experience dead spots within your home or office. So you might need to extend your router sometimes to reach the stronger network.
5. The speed of your internet connection - Besides having a good router you need a fast and reliable internet connection such as Verizon Fios. You can't ask for faster internet from your router when the main connection itself is slow. Having a 10 or 20 mbps connection will be okay for only browsing the internet or watching Netflix. Carrying out multiple functions such as streaming videos, playing online games and more can require a lot of data transmission thus requiring an even faster connection.
6. Go for AC1200 or Higher Router - Routers with less than AC1200 usually fall under the older Wi-Fi routers. Below AC1200 routers might offer you less stability, security, and speed when you need to connect multiple devices. All the routers in our list got AC1200 so you don't have to worry about that.
If you want to dig a little deeper and learn more about routers, how they work and what to look for when buying one, check out this guide from DigitalTrends.
Review of The 7 Best Routers Under 100 Dollars
Now that you know about the things you need to look for when buying a router, it's time for the actual reviews. I hope it will be much easier for you to choose one afterwards.
1. NETGEAR (R6230) AC1200 Dual Band WiFi Router
The NETGEAR (R6230) AC1200 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router offers an innovative technology for enjoying wireless internet services. It is a smart Wi-Fi router carrying dual-band Gigabit with speed of 300+900Mbps with 802.11ac. To help increase Wi-Fi connectivity the external antennas makes it a lot easier to overcome network breakage or interference when in a large home.
It offers relatively fast and stable wireless access aided by the inclusion of 880MHz processor to guarantee easy accessibility and ensure uninterrupted connection from anywhere inside the home. The Netgear R6230 creates an excitement for users of Windows 2000 or higher to get the cinema experience live to stream even at home anytime with your PC, iPad or iPhones. Other key features for accessibility includes 4 LAN ports and a WAN or internet access port as well as the USB 2.0 port
The Netgear Ac1200’s control settings help to secure the network as well as create parchment without interruptions to internet speed. Its security features make it possible to create a guest network for other users with password and more. You can easily set up the Netgear AC1200 router using the Nighthawk mobile app, regulate internet use and access including pausing or allowing internet use. The Gigabit Ethernet feature makes it possible for direct or wired connection of the router. The Wi-Fi on/off controls helps to limit wireless access when not in use of required.
Since the Netgear R6230 is not bulky with a weight of 1.6 pounds and dimensions of 8.11 x 10. 24 x 4.13 inches it can sit on any small surface. The portability of the device makes it easy to move it around the home to ensure ample signal strength and accessibility. Depending on how lean your budget is the Netgear is an inexpensive buy when compared to the features you get under 100 dollars.
2. TP-Link (Archer C9) AC1900 Smart Wireless Router
TP-Link has gained a reputation over the years for delivering mid-range, affordable routers with excellent service delivery. It is a global brand, household name and game changer where Wi-Fi router service comes in. And that’s one reason in 2017 it earned the J.D Power Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Wireless Routers Award.
This is an exceptional product incorporating the 802.11ac with ratings of AC1900 and for a price under 100 dollars. Its ability to deliver 1.9Gbps of 600Mbsp and 1300Mbps for 2.4GHz and 5GHz simultaneously makes it an excellent deal. That in addition to the beam-forming technology means strong and well-targeted signal strength which again should be good news for movie lovers on a 4k live streaming sessions and game lovers too. The 1GHz dual-core processor means you can get a delectable shared experience without losing speed and suffer network congestion on your laptops, phones, tablet, etc.
The use of the iOS and Android apps, therefore, brings comfort to the whole affair. The TP-Link Tether App makes it possible to run an automated router set up. With the App navigating the router settings becomes very simple. With the 1 x 3.0 and 1 x 2.0 USB port you can afford to share files via printers and other media devices. Also, having 4 LAN and 1 WAN or internet port provides excellent alternatives for a wired connection as against wireless if the need arises.
The TP-Link is an easy-to-carry device of 3lbs and 13.2 x 3.9 x 9.5 inches dimension. So, you can stay on top of your game anywhere you need to be in your apartment. Though it has suspender holes for wall mount, the choice of an adjustable and removable antenna make it a lot easier to achieve sturdiness on the furniture or any other location if one intends change location. The TP-Link not only offer reliable and fast internet access but adds stability and aesthetic value to the whole deal.
3. Motorola MR1700 AC1700 Dual-Band WiFi Router
Motorola is a household brand by the Lenovo Company. Through the MR1700, Motorola delivers efficient and stable online experience for today’s internet users. The Motorola MR1700 dual-band breaks all barriers to ensure high-speed internet data even in congested areas using the 2.4GHz and the choice of 6 antennas.
The Motorola AC1700 dual-band gives you an all-new experience streaming 4k live videos and more on Netflix, YouTube, websites, etc. With the MR1700 you get 2.4GHz and 5GHz to facilitate long-range file sharing while enjoying high-speed internet across multiple devices. So, you can enjoy the best of local wireless network experience for Ethernet devices as well as on your gaming console, smart devices, HDTV, etc. The choice of dual-core processor for the router helps to ensure high-speed router operations even with multiple devices running with automated tracking and organization.
Other interesting features that make the Motorola MR1700 an interesting buy include parental control features to set limits for kids and others. You also have the guest network capability with at least two frequencies to control access. The device allows you to create a network access for guest which you can possibly override anytime.
The 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN and 1 WAN set up provide an ample opportunity for wired connections resulting in a strong signal. The 2/0 USB helps connect other devices such as printers and more. The introduction of firewalls in the router helps for restrictions and protection of the user from malicious activities and malware attacks.
The 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN and 1 WAN set up provide an ample opportunity for wired connections resulting in a strong signal. The 2/0 USB helps connect other devices such as printers and more. The introduction of firewalls in the router helps for restrictions and protection of the user from malicious activities and malware attacks. The Motorola MR1700 is an example of portability and a lightweight device with a weight of just 0.91s and dimensions of 5.38 x 8.38 x 1.38 inches.
4. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 WiFi Router
The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 Wi-Fi router makes it possible to connect at least 12 devices for an exciting online experience. So, when it’s time to connect your PC, smartphone, iPad and more for an excellent Wi-Fi home coverage you can enjoy 450+1300Mbps of high-speed internet access across all devices without congestion.
The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk through Beam-forming technology helps for a lag-free network speed. Network speed capabilities come as a result using dual-band 2.4GHZ and 5GHz on your network and covering multiple devices. At this rate you can afford to view a 4k streaming video on YouTube, Netflix, enjoy your gaming experience and still have other devices connected to enjoy high-speed connection always. Part of the reason you experience strong signal range even for longer distances and multiple devices is due to the Wi-Fi access route of 802.11ac, the dual-core processor, and dual-band Gigabit.
Within seconds you can get connected and remain connected as long as you want across a large home area. You can connect your printers and other devices via USB. The 2.0, 3.0 USB port and five 10/100/1000 Mbps running Gigabit Ethernet ports will make all that possible on 1 WAN, 4 LAN ports but still at high-speed connections. Other key accessibility features for improved signal strength and stability includes the use of QoS downstream and VPN enabled network all in one router.
The design incorporates an impressive control panel or setting with the on-unit LED lights for easy control and management of the device. The locks-on, priority and guest networks settings help regulate who gets access to the network and for what period of time. It has a lightweight of 1.96lbs and 11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 inches dimensions for ease and mobility. The solid base also allows for sturdiness when placed on a flat surface.
5. Medialink MLWR-AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router
Medialink AC1200 wireless Gigabit router by Mediabridge offers you 10 times more speed for your internet experience. Medialink AC1200 Gigabit router gives you a lag-free online gaming and 4k streaming experience. It’s built on Gigabit ports that steadily grant you access to 1,000Mbps of high-speed data. Several features make the Medialink AC1200 router a must have.
Its beam-forming technology coupled with the two exceptional Omni-directional antennas with strong signal strength help guarantee high-speed internet. They also help direct signals where you need more attention too due to adjustable nature. So, anywhere within a three-story, you can enjoy using multiple devices without congestion or restrictions on two or more frequencies. And for high internet speed at 867 Mbps for 5GHz and 300 Mbps at 2.4GHZ.
The Medialink AC1200 presents more exciting features for your internet security through the use of firewalls for wireless security technology. It keeps all those on your network safe and on separate high-speed locations for guest or regular network use. The management and control feature helps determine not only who has access to the network but the timeframe. On that basis, you can regulate the usage time and distance the frequency can cover from shorter to farther distances for your devices.
The LED light provides an opportunity to regulate the brightness and usage or completely turned off. It houses 4 interchangeable 10/100/1000 Mbps ports of 1Gbps Wan and 4 Gbps LAN, as well as 1 2.0 USB connectors, improved wired and wireless performance. The on/off, VPN and reset features can help ensure clear up and manage the network. The 0.93lb weights, as well as 8.9 x 7.07 x 3.02 inches dimensions, offer the perfect specifications for pleasurable, reliable and speedy internet connectivity anywhere and anytime.
6. NETGEAR (R6080) AC1000 Smart WiFi Router
From the stable of Netgear Incorporated comes the Netgear R6080 AC1000 dual-band Wi-Fi router. Two key factors make the R6080 unique and that’s for your streaming and online gaming pleasure at high-speed. With a backward integration at the 801.11ac dual-band, you can now enjoy reliable and efficient 300 + 700 Mbps speed for a large home. All features allow for the opportunity to enjoy multiple devices with full HDTV and more for a lag-free speedy internet experience.
So, you get two networks at a reasonable price below 100 dollars for an AC1000 dual-band Gigabit Wi-Fi router to enjoy high-speed internet connectivity. If you have the N150, N300, N600 and other AC devices then it should be compatible with the Netgear R6080. The presence of the 2 adjustable antennas it ensures stronger signal strength. You can synchronize the router with the most popular OS and browsers to include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, and Linux; for browsers; Google Chrome 11.0, Firefox 2.0, Internet Explorer 5.0, etc.
Using the Nighthawk app can further give you a better experience using and managing your internet usage. The LED light in front helps for ease of operations with its pause and resume features. With the 4 LAN and 1 LAN capabilities you can extend your reach when in need for wired connections for your printers and other wire connection needs. Also, the additional network security interface allows patching and securing a network area for your guest within the network.
Using the Nighthawk app can further give you a better experience using and managing your internet usage. The LED light in front helps for ease of operations with its pause and resume features. With the 4 LAN and 1 LAN capabilities you can extend your reach when in need for wired connections for your printers and other wire connection needs. Also, the additional network security interface allows patching and securing a network area for your guest within the network. With a 1.35 pounds weight and product dimensions of 7.05 x 8.62 x 4.29 inches the Netgear R6080 router can sit on any flat surface without much difficulty.
7. OptiCover [UPGRADED 2018] AC1200 Mbps Wifi Router
Opticover’s Upgraded AC1200 wireless dual-band router presents another innovative technology for your online experience. Its dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Gigabit connectivity make it possible to entertain multiple device usage-experiences without losing speed. Hi-lights of the unique and advanced technology structure of the Upgraded AC1200 include IP/MAC QoS, 802.11ac dual-band delivered at 1200 Mbps to ensure high-speed connectivity across multiple devices.
The speed capacity of 867 Mbps for 5 GHz and 300 Mbps for 2.4GHz helps Upgraded wireless router coupled with the 4 extended antennas to make possible extra-long range internet Comcast to Xfinity. All the above means great viewing and online experience, gaming, 4k streaming videos for YouTube, Netflix and more even across a two-story building. So, work and play from anywhere within your home using the Opticover Upgraded 2018 AC1200 dual band wireless router without network congestion or sluggishness.
Take advantage of the Gigabit Ethernet port to view HDTV, PlayStation, Xbox or PC at high speed. The available 4 LAN and 1 WAN port at the rear make it possible to create a network for your Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and others on a wired network. It’s quite easy to locate or move around the device if the need arises due to the light weight of 1.15 pounds. For 1.4 x 9.8 x 1.9 inches dimension and firm base you might not require so much space to keep the router sturdy.
Talking about the 7 best Wi-Fi routers under 100 dollars, the impression that a cheaper wireless router means lower quality is not entirely accurate. But the reality is that more expensive wireless routers offer higher internet features. Some router and internet features should be more suitable for organizations in need of higher number of staffs, say 50 upwards. Such organizations make use of a larger number of devices and higher internet engagements.
For other internet-savvy persons, Wi-Fi routers below 100 dollars might just be perfect for your home, small office or small online experience and needs. Spending more could mean acquiring speed and other features that adds no real value to your internet needs. With as low as $50 to less than $100, you can enjoy reasonable internet speed for a full HD Netflix experience, online gaming and more without much ado.