The 10 Best Budget Routers in 2020

You don't have to break the bank to get a strong Wi-Fi signal

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The Rundown

Best Overall: TP-Link AC1750 at Amazon

"The TP-Link AC1750 is built with three antennas for long-range coverage of up to 2,500 square feet."

Best Range: Medialink AC1200 at Amazon

"The Medialink AC1200 covers up to 2,000 square feet of space using its dual-band frequencies with beamforming."

Best for Expandability: Google Wi-Fi at Amazon

"Family-friendly controls allow you to schedule Wi-Fi availability times for kids, as well as block access to explicit websites."

Best Price: WISE TIGER Wireless Router at Amazon

"Features high-speed, dual-band frequencies of 2.4 and 5Ghz, delivering speeds of 300 and 867Mbps."

Best High End: Asus AC1750 at Amazon

"The Asus Dual-Band Wi-Fi Mesh Router features dual-band 3x3 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology that lets you multitask with ease."

Best for Basics: TP-Link N300 at Amazon

"TP-Link’s N300 is one of the most affordable routers available, but don’t let that low price tag fool you."

Best for App Dedication: Netgear AC1200 at Amazon

"Features a clean dashboard that can be hooked up with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands."

Best for Versatility: Asus RT-N12 at Amazon

"A versatile and inexpensive router that can also be used as a Wi-Fi range extender and VPN server"

Best Value: TP-Link AC1200 at Amazon

"Dual-band Wi-Fi and a simple set up makes this little router a good value for the price."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: TP-Link AC1750

TP-Link AC1750

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Fast performance

  • Great coverage

  • Two USB ports

What We Don't Like
  • USB 2.0 only

  • No MU-MIMO

  • Limited wireless settings

The TP-Link AC1750 is by far the best router you'll find under $100. This award-winning wireless router is easy to set up and ready to stream 4K UHD videos with up to 1.75Gps of bandwidth over its dual-band connectivity.

The TP-Link AC1750 is built with three antennas for long-range coverage of up to 2,500 square feet and provides stable Wi-Fi performance to more than 50 devices with 802.11ac connections or older. Its built-in CPU ensures stable wireless connectivity using its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and its four gigabit LAN ports for direct wired connections are ideal for gamers needing even higher speeds. Two USB 2.0 ports make it easy for your home network to share printers, files, and other media with multiple devices whether you’re at home or away. The AC1750 comes with a two-year warranty and free 24/7 technical support.

Best Range: Medialink AC1200

What We Like
  • Good coverage

  • Parental controls

  • Doubles as a range extender

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced settings are limited

  • Reports of some reliability issues

The small and tidy Medialink AC1200 is our runner-up pick for the best router under $100. It still delivers fast speeds and coverage but emphasizes user-friendliness, compatibility, and control management. It features a strong firewall and wireless security that keeps out W-iFi thieves and it doubles as a range extender if you have another router.

The Medialink AC1200 covers up to 2,000 square feet of space using its dual-band frequencies with beamforming, which focuses stronger signals to your devices that need it most. Full control access gives you the power to manage up to 20 W-iFi devices on your network, keep out untrusted connections, turn off router lights during the night if they’re too bright, and restrict access at certain time periods for kids or adults. It’s compatible with any modem and Internet service provider with an easy set up right out of the box that has you plugging it in, logging into it on your computer, and making connections immediately.

Best for Expandability: Google Wi-Fi

What We Like
  • Expandable mesh system

  • Super-easy to set up

  • Attractive design

What We Don't Like
  • Limited configurabilty

  • Single Ethernet port

Google Wi-Fi is the best expandable router under $100 that provides full coverage of connectivity whether you’re living in a studio or mansion. It’s designed to eliminate hiccups and buffering issues in your home by creating a wide mesh blanket over your abode, should you decide to expand and add another.

A single Google Wi-Fi point can cover up to 1,500 square feet while three together will expand and interlace with one another up to 4,500 square feet.

The family-friendly controls allow you to schedule Wi-Fi availability times for kids, as well as block access to explicit websites, see who's connected, prioritize devices, create guest networks, and so much more through its smartphone companion app. Its stylish little cup-shaped design features two gigabit ethernet ports on its back and is powerful enough to deliver Wi-Fi output speeds of 1,200 Mbps using its network assist technology to ensure each connection made is given the best and most reliable signal available. It comes with 24/7 phone support from Google and a one-year warranty.

Best Price: WISE TIGER Wireless Router

What We Like
  • Alexa support

  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi

  • Easy to set up

What We Don't Like
  • No Gigabit Ethernet ports

  • No USB ports

  • Wi-Fi extender only works over 2.4 GHz

If you're on a budget, the WISE Tiger Wireless Router is a simple option with a fast connection. The Wi-Fi router features high-speed, dual-band frequencies of 2.4 and 5Ghz, delivering speeds of 300 and 867Mbps, and working with Amazon Alexa. The device even doubles as a Wi-Fi extender through its "WISP" mode.

Though it lacks a USB and gigabit ports, the WISE TIGER Wireless Router is just as capable as the other routers on the list, letting you connect with 32 devices and providing enough bandwidth for everyone in your house. Its readable online interface is easy to navigate with a clean layout, letting you customize settings (including limiting download and upload speeds for each device connected). You can download the iPhone and Android app and control your Wi-Fi network wherever you are.

Best High End: Asus Dual-Band Wi-Fi Mesh Router (AC1750)

What We Like
  • Powerful performance

  • Dual-band Wi-Fi

  • Mesh Network Support

What We Don't Like
  • Poor 2.4 GHz performance

  • AiMesh can be complicated to set up

The high-end Asus Dual-Band Wi-Fi Mesh Router is a powerful networking device loaded with useful features that typically stays just below $100. It eliminates performance drops with a dual-core 1Ghz CPU processor and high-powered antennae, ensuring stability with speeds of up to 1750Mbps. And it can mesh with other Asus routers in your home for a wide range of coverage.

The Asus Dual-Band Wi-Fi Mesh Router features dual-band 3x3 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology that lets you multitask with ease, including Web browsing and downloading files on its 2.4Ghz band or HD streaming and online gaming with its smooth 5GHz band. Its updated reliable firmware features and intuitive app navigation give you complete control to set advanced parental controls, use VPN services, manage network traffic and security, and diagnose connection issues, all without turning your computer on. Its lightning-fast USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports make it easy to connect to wireless printers and access files using its AiCloud 2.0 support so you can watch movies, listen to music, or view photos.

Best for Basics: TP-Link N300

What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Dual-stream 2.4 GHz

  • Good for small spaces

What We Don't Like
  • No Gigabit Ethernet

  • 2.4 GHz only

  • Not ideal for crowded networks

TP-Link’s N300 is one of the most affordable routers available, but don’t let that low price tag fool you, as it’s a very capable router if all you need is basic coverage for a small apartment or condo. It only runs on the 2.4 GHz band, but it provides dual-stream 2x2 support for better throughput, and offers solid performance for 802.11n clients. It’s more than enough to stream even 4K UHD video.

There are four Ethernet ports on the back, but you’ll be limited to Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps speeds, but that’s really not surprising at this price, and this router isn’t really ideally suited for higher-speed Internet connections anyway, so the only real limit will be on data transfer between your own PCs, but you can easily add a network hub or switch if you really need faster speeds on your local network. 

The major downside is that with only a 2.4 GHz band, it’s not an ideal choice if you have a lot of Wi-Fi devices in your home, as that frequency range can get pretty congested, but it should be more than fine for a single user or small family with a computer of computers and smartphones, and even if you’re a smartphone user, this can be a handy way to offload some of your internet of things devices from your main router. 

Best for App Dedication: Netgear AC1200 Dual Band Smart Wi-Fi Router

What We Like
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi

  • Alexa and Google Assistant support

  • Smart parental controls

What We Don't Like
  • Limited range

  • WAN port is only 100 Mbps

The Netgear AC1200 Dual Band Smart Wi-Fi Router comes with access to the Nighthawk App for both Android and iOS devices. Here, you can manage connected devices and enable remote access so you can control your router virtually anywhere in the world that has Internet access.

The Netgear AC1200 Dual Band Smart Wi-Fi Router packs 802.11ac Wi-Fi dual-band technology and beamforming with both a 300 and 900Mbps bandwidth speed, which means you can optimize multiple HD streams without interference. Its dedicated app features a clean dashboard that can be hooked up with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands through cloud access. The app allows you to find more info about the devices connected, enable a guest network that keeps your password private, pause your Internet, test your ISP provider’s speeds, and even use smart parental controls that integrate with Disney’s Circle app to filter content and limit online times.

Best for Versatility: Asus RT-N12

What We Like
  • Works as a router or repeater

  • Multiple wireless accounts

  • PPTP VPN support

What We Don't Like
  • No 5 GHz support

  • Limited range

  • Not suitable for very fast internet plans

This little Asus router has very few frills, but it gets the job done if you simply need to share access to a basic internet connection or you want to set up a guest network in your home or cottage. It only supports the 2.4 GHz band, but when used as a secondary router this can also make it a handy way to create a dedicated network for your internet-of-things devices to keep them from cluttering up your main Wi-Fi network. 

That said, the range is fairly limited as well, so it’s best suited for an apartment, condo, or a single floor of your home. However it’s affordable enough that you could buy an additional one if you needed more coverage, and in fact the RT-N12 can not only work as a router but can also be configured to function as a range extender, letting you add another one to get more coverage without the need to run an Ethernet cable to it. 

You can also configure it to broadcast 4 different network SSIDs with different passwords to help control internet access, meaning you could use one SSID for yourself, one for your kids, and one for your guests, all with different levels of access, and you can even choose how much bandwidth each one is able to use. Plus it includes basic PPTP VPN support to let you securely connect to your home network when you’re away, which is a somewhat rare feature in a budget router.

Best Value: TP-Link AC1200

What We Like
  • Good value for the price

  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi

  • Easy to set up

What We Don't Like
  • No Gigabit Ethernet Ports

  • Only USB 2.0

  • Not suitable for ultrafast internet service

One of the most affordable dual-band routers you can buy, TP-Link’s AC1200 router offers 802.11ac support so that you can get your newer Wi-Fi devices online at speeds of up to 867 Mbps, while the 2.4 GHz channel provides solid 300 Mbps performance for older 802.11n devices. 

This should give you more than enough speed to stream 4K UHD video onto newer devices as long as they’re within a reasonable distance; like most budget routers this isn’t going to provide enough range for a large home, but it’s cheap enough that you can afford to add a Wi-Fi extender if you need to, or even just buy another one of these and connect it to your router over Ethernet.

The major downside to this version of the TP-Link AC1200 router is that it only comes with Fast Ethernet 100 Mbps ports, which ironically means that many of your Wi-Fi devices will perform faster wirelessly than they would if you plugged them in, but it’s not really a serious problem if you don’t normally hardwire any of your devices anyway.