The Best Routers Under $100 in 2021

If you’re in the market for a new router you should know that the market is teeming with affordable routers offering lots for the money. No matter if you want to replace your ten-years-old router, want to improve your modem router combo, or are just looking for your first router, there are lots of quality choices. But how to find the best router under $100?

Stay with us and find out. First of all, we’ve lined up several excellent sub $100 routers that should fulfill all your needs. In case you don’t find your favorite on our list check out our sub $100 router buying guide to know what to look for in an affordable router. Let’s begin.

tp-link archer ax10
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Wi-Fi Support: 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz; 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 1-6)
  • Number Of Lan Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Max Bandwidth: 300Mbps on 2.4GHz; 1200Mbps on 5GHz
CHECK PRICES

The Archer AX10 from TP-Link is a versatile and affordable router with Wi-Fi 6 support. That, along with MU-MIMO support means faster speed for Wi-Fi 6 supporting devices along with reduced lag when lots of wireless devices are connected simultaneously.

There’s also beamforming technology that identifies wireless devices connected to the network and focuses the signal directly towards them, decreasing latency and increasing connection speed. The router offers Amazon Alexa integration, which is always a plus. Dual-band support offers up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1200Mbps on the 5GHz band.

Real-life tests show excellent speed. Up to 730Mbps when near the router and up to 260Mbps from the distance of eight meters and blocked by two walls. The router features parental control as well as a built-in VPN feature.

The router comes with a triple-core CPU and 256MB of RAM. This is great and should provide excellent performance and no discernible lag when multiple devices are connected at the same time. Four antennas are there for excellent signal strength with the only major downside being lack of a USB port. This is a major downside that we didn’t expect on a router as good as this one.

Pros:
  • Excellent Connection Speed
  • Excellent Signal Strength
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6
  • Works With Alexa
  • Includes Parental Controls and VPN
Cons:
  • No USB Port

NETGEAR R6230

Affordable Router Suffering From Poor Range

netgear r6230
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Wi-Fi Support: 802.11/ac/n/a 5 GHz; 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 1-5)
  • Number Of Lan Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Max Bandwidth: 300Mbps on 2.4GHz; 900Mbps on 5GHz
CHECK PRICES

The NETGEAR R6230 is an affordable router that can be used in small households. We don’t recommend getting this router if you have a larger house or an apartment because the router has an extremely limited range. Connection speed is decent and can reach about 230Mbps across short distances and up to 30Mbps across long distances. Solid but far below the Archer AX10.

This router does come with dual-band support, parental controls, USB port, a beefy CPU, and a total of 128MB of RAM, and VPN but it doesn’t support MU-MIMO, a must if you have more than a couple of wireless devices hooked to your home network. Overall, this is an inexpensive router with solid performance but there are better models out there.

Pros:
  • Solid Speed Over Short Distances
  • Built-In Parental Controls and VPN
Cons:
  • Poor Range
  • Doesn’t Support MU-MIMO
  • Doesn’t Include Alexa Integration

TP-Link Archer A8

Excellent Archer AX10 Alternative

tp-link archer a8
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Wi-Fi Support: 802.11/ac/n/a 5 GHz; 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 1-5)
  • Number Of Lan Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Max Bandwidth: 600Mbps on 2.4GHz; 1300Mbps on 5GHz
CHECK PRICES

The TP-Link Archer A8 is a capable router that offers a lot for the money and is an excellent alternative to the pricey AX10. When it comes to base specs you have a dual-band design. 2.4Ghz band supports speeds up to 600Mbps and the 5Ghz band has a max bandwidth of 1300Mbps. Excellent speeds for the price with real-life tests confirming these claims.

The router can chug up to 500Mbps when a wall is between it and the receiving device and up to 285Mbps when there are two walls to the router. Excellent results making this router perfect for most regular-sized apartments. Other specs include MU-MIMO as well as Beamforming and Parental Controls and QoL options.

On the flipside, there’s no built-in VPN as well as official Alexa integration. However, it seems that the router works well with multiple Echo devices, so there’s that. When it comes to ports, you get 4 gigabit LAN ports but zero USB ports, which is a shame to see, even on a budget router. Overall, the Archer A8 is a capable router that has excellent range and signal strength and that comes with lots of features.

Pros:
  • Excellent Range
  • Relatively Affordable Price
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Parental Controls
  • MU-MIMO And Beamforming
Cons:
  • No USB Ports
  • No Built-In VPN Support

ASUS RT-ACRH13

The Best Gaming Router Under $100

asus rt-acrh13
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Wi-Fi Support: 802.11/ac/n/a 5 GHz; 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 1-5)
  • Number Of Lan Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Max Bandwidth: 400Mbps on 2.4GHz; 867Mbps on 5GHz
CHECK PRICES

Asus RT-ACRH13 is another affordable router with great performance. The 2.4GHz band achieves about 95Mbps at 5 feet and 20Mbps at 100 feet while the 5GHz band can reach 446Mbps at 5 feet and 134Mbps at 100 feet. That’s pretty good for a sub $100 router. In case you have lots of wireless devices MU-MIMO technology will service all of them at the same time with less lag.

Gamers should be interested in the beamforming feature of this router. It allows its antennas to focus directly on the wireless devices connected to the router, increasing signal strength and decreasing lag. This leads to decreased latency while playing online games. The router is powered by quad-core CPU running at 717MHz and 128MB of RAM so performance shouldn’t be an issue.

Additional features found in the RT-ACRH13 include multiple forms of password encryption, a mobile app, smart QoS feature, USB port on the front, and parental controls. Noticeable downsides include a lack of built-in VPN and no Alexa integration.

Pros:
  • Excellent Performance
  • Solid Range
Cons:
  • No Alexa Integration

D-Link WiFi Router DIR-1950-US

Capable Router Under $100 With A Couple Of Small Downsides

d-link wifi router dir-1950-us
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Wi-Fi Support: 802.11/ac/n/a 5 GHz; 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 1-5)
  • Number Of Lan Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Max Bandwidth: 600Mbps on 2.4GHz; 1300Mbps on 5GHz
CHECK PRICES

The DIR-1950-US from D-Link is a feature-rich router priced just under $100. For the money, you get up to 600Mbps over the 2.4Ghz band and up to 1300Mbps over the 5Ghz band along with MU-MIMO support, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration, four gigabit LAN ports, and support for Wi-Fi mesh systems.

That said, the router doesn’t have any USB ports, it doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, and there’s no Beamforming technology. These three strikes led the DIR-1950-US to finish a step below the best routers in the sub $100 market. When it comes to the design, it looks rather futuristic, reminiscent of a robot head. In other words, not a great match for every household.

Extra features include parental controls with multiple profiles, built-in VPN support, and a plethora of security features. Overall, the DIR-1950-US is a fast router that includes lots of cool features and its Wi-Fi mesh support makes it a great choice for larger homes. On the other hand, we have a lack of Wi-Fi 6, no USB ports whatsoever, and a price that’s too high for what’s been offered here.

Pros:
  • Excellent Performance
  • Support For Wi-Fi Mesh Systems
  • Alexa And Google Assistant Integration
  • MU-MIMO Support
Cons:
  • No Wi-Fi 6 Support
  • Doesn’t Offer Beamforming
  • Doesn’t Have Any USB Port

Tenda AC6

Dirt Cheap Router That Does The Basics Right

tenda ac6
  • Dual-Band Support
  • Wi-Fi Support: 802.11/ac/n/a 5 GHz; 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 1-5)
  • Number Of Lan Ports: 3 100Mbps LAN Ports
  • Max Bandwidth: 300Mbps on 2.4GHz; 867Mbps on 5GHz
CHECK PRICES

The AC6 from Tenda looks like an edgy gaming router but in fact, this is a bargain bin router that comes with a basic set of features. There’s no MU-MIMO protocol and the setup process can be quite complex for users who aren’t tech-savvy. There’s beamforming and built-in VPN but you don’t get USB port.

The router comes with a mobile app and is rated for up to 2,000 square feet, which is pretty solid for a router as cheap as the AC6. The rated speed is 300Mbps for the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps for the 5GHz band. We couldn’t find any reviews that tested these claims so remember that real-life performance will be lower than advertised.

We don’t like the fact that the router comes with just 3 LAN ports and that they don’t support gigabit speeds. Their maximum output is 100Mbps. If you have fast internet, this router isn’t for you. Overall, this is a dirt-cheap router that is good at the basics. It has decent range, solid speed, and that’s about it. If you’re looking for advanced features look elsewhere.

Pros:
  • Decent Performance
  • Solid Range
  • Router Has A Mobile App
Cons:
  • Only 3 LAN Ports That Don’t Support Gigabit LAN Protocol
  • No MU-MIMO
  • Lack Of Alexa Integration
  • No USB Port

How To Choose A Router Under $100

Routers can be complicated, especially if you’re after the best wireless router under $100. As we said, the market is teeming with affordable routers but many are far from being the right choice.

We’ll try to make the hunt for the best affordable router a bit easier by listing some important points every buyer should focus on while looking for their new router.

Go For A Router With Wi-Fi 5 Or Wi-Fi 6 Support

One of the reasons why wireless routers are so complicated is the Wi-Fi standardization. Since Wi-Fi is a global standard the governing body decided to label each version with the base 802.11 standard followed by a letter.

That was complicated since different letters next to the 802.11 weren’t very good at informing users which Wi-Fi versions are newer and thus faster. But recently the Wi-Fi Alliance, the governing body behind the wireless standard, decided to label each Wi-Fi version with a number. A bigger number means newer version with support for faster speeds:

  • 802.11b is now called Wi-Fi 1 and it supports bandwidth up to 54Mbps
  • 802.11a is now called Wi-Fi 2 and it supports bandwidth up to 11Mbps
  • 802.11g is now called Wi-Fi 3 and it supports bandwidth up to 54Mbps
  • 802.11n is now called Wi-Fi 4 and it supports bandwidth up to 600Mbps
  • 802.11ac is now called Wi-Fi 5 and it supports bandwidth up to 1.3Gbps
  • 802.11ax is now called Wi-Fi 6 and it supports bandwidth up to 10-12Gbps

Now, when buying a new router look for models supporting 802.11ac and 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, respectively. While Wi-Fi 6 routers were reserved for the high-end market during 2019, we received a number of affordable, sub $100, models that come with Wi-Fi 6 support.

The two latest Wi-Fi standards offer the widest bandwidth as well as other benefits such as a larger number of devices that can be connected to a router at the same time. Just remember that the best Wi-Fi 6 router isn’t affordable. You just need Wi-Fi 6 support, not the best Wi-Fi 6 specs possible.

In order to benefit from Wi-Fi 6 standard, you have to own devices that are Wi-Fi 6 certified. This includes newer smartphone models and laptops as well as other devices that use Wi-Fi.

Dual Band Router Is A Must Have No Matter The Price

Another thing to look for even in affordable routers is dual-band support. Wireless networks use two radio bands, 2.4GHz, and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band is here since the first Wi-Fi standard saw the light of day. It has a better range but its bandwidth is limited. Also, the 2.4GHz band can suffer from signal interference since many devices found in an average household such as microwaves, cellphones, and Bluetooth modules use the same radio band.

The 5GHz band sports higher speeds and offers lower latency, which is excellent for online gaming. While it’s much faster than the 2.4GHz band, its range is limited. By using a dual-band router, you will get the best of both worlds. Your router will be able to service more devices at once, each device will have access to more bandwidth and you won’t suffer from signal interference.

Check For Range

Limited router range can be a major deal-breaker. To check for the real-life range of the router it’s best to look for official reviews, user reviews, and posts on tech forums and Reddit. Routers for long-range are usually on the more expensive side but you can get a sub $100 router that has a great range.

Another important thing related to the router range is to buy a router from a place that accepts returns. If you’re not satisfied with the wireless signal strength you can always return the router and get a new one. And there’s simply no better way to test for the range of your new router than to test it inside your household.

Decide How Many LAN (Ethernet) Ports You Need

Even affordable routers come with more than four LAN ports. Most users are fine with four ports but some need more while others need less and are fine with just two or three ethernet ports. Before buying a new router decide just how many ports you need because you can’t just install additional LAN ports on a router.

Do You Need MU-MIMO?

If you own lots of wireless devices that are hooked to your local wireless network at the same time you probably need MU-MIMO. This is a wireless technology standard that allows wireless routers to communicate with multiple devices at the same time. Even some extremely cheap routers offer MU-MIMO so look for those when searching for the best sub $100 router.

Check For Rated Connection Speed

This shouldn’t bother most users since even the most affordable routers support speeds way above max internet speeds most of us have. Unless you have an ultra-fast optic cable connection you don’t have to worry about it. But do check rated speeds on the router you’re interested in just in case.

Additional Features That Can Be Found On Affordable Routers

There are a number of features that aren’t critical but are good to have that can be found in affordable routers. Let’s check out each one.

Beamforming

Beamforming technology allows a router to identify wireless devices hooked to the local network and to focus signal directly towards them, increasing connection speed and decreasing latency. This can matter to users who love playing online games or streaming high def videos.

Smart Home Integration

Something that’s not critical but it’s very handy to have. Integrating a router with a smart assistant allows you to turn on and off the wireless network with your voice, or connect and disconnect various devices, etc.

Most routers support Amazon Alexa but some models do work with other smart assistants. When it comes to sub $100 routers, you’ll probably only find models that work with Alexa.

Smartphone App

Another noncritical feature that’s quite handy to have. With a smartphone app, you can easily set up your router and control its functions.

Parental Controls

If you have small children that aren’t allowed to visit every site on the web getting a router with built-in parental control can be really helpful. Most sub $100 routers offer parental controls.

Security Features

Security features such as a built-in firewall, multiple encryption levels, or built-in VPN can be found in the sub $100 routers. If you’re after an affordable router and are in need of a specific security feature search the market. Chances are there’s an affordable router offering just what you need.

USB Port

The presence of at least one USB port on a router can be really helpful for many users. You can hook up an external memory or a printer, or any other USB device that can benefit from being connected to your home network. Many sub $100 routers come with a single or multiple USB ports.

About The Author

Goran Damnjanovic

Goran studied psychology but video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. On top of that he likes writing so he decided to become a writer. And it was the right choice. Other than games and hardware, Goran is interested in basketball, Sci-Fi literature, and music.

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