Best Wireless Routers Under 100 Dollars

Looking for advice to buy the best wireless routers under $100? This guide won’t just help you choose the perfect model, but would also educate you about them!

With numerous WiFi devices such as smartphones, smart televisions, home security systems, etc. in every home, it is essential that you invest in a really solid and reliable wifi router. A high-quality router with 802.11 AC protocol provides lag-free HD video streaming, smooth gaming experience, and high security.

A poor ISP connection is not always the cause behind your smart TV permanently showing “Loading”. It is often because of the router you have is too old and unable to handle several devices at the same time. Most of the older routers were not dual-band and do not provide dependable transmission except in the immediate vicinity.

The Best Wireless Routers under $100

#IMAGEPRODUCT NAMEFEATURESCheck Price
1Netgear R6700
  • Speed: Up to 400 + 1350 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 3
  • Processor Speed: 1GHz
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2TP Link Archer C9
  • Speed: Up to 600 + 1300 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 5000 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0 + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 3
  • Processor Speed: 1GHz
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3Netgear R6230
  • Speed: Up to 300 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1200 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 2
  • Processor Speed: 880 Mhz
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4TP Link Archer C7
  • Speed: Up to 450 + 1300 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 3
  • Processor Speed: 720 Mhz
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5Linksys EA6350
  • Speed: Up to 300 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1000 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 2
  • Processor Speed: 800 Mhz
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6Netgear WNDR4500
  • Speed: Up to 450 + 450 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 700 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Dual USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: No external antenna
  • Processor Speed: 600 Mhz
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7Medialink MLWR
  • Speed: Up to 300 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 2
  • Processor Speed: NA
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8ASUS RT-ACRH17
  • Speed: Up to 400 + 1300 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 2500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 4
  • Processor Speed: 717 Mhz
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9Motorola MR1700
  • Speed: Up to 800 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Number of Antennas: 6
  • Processor Speed: NA
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10ASUS RT-ACRH13
  • Speed: Up to 400 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 4
  • Processor Speed: 717 Mhz
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Earlier to this, we made a list of the Best Wireless Routers and a few of our readers ended up staring at routers with scary price tags. It’s not that they aren’t worth it, but they had a few things which normal users don’t need. The good thing is, Router technology has changed quite fast and it is best if one is able to buy one without breaking the bank because a new one would be required in 2-3 years when 8k streaming and 5G becomes commonplace.

For now, $100 is a decent budget for a reliable entry-level router. We are at the cusp of a huge technological change and advanced features like MU-MIMO and Beamforming, in affordable router segment, was just a dream only a year or two ago. Not anymore, as you can get highly beneficial product features in routers priced below $100.

That is why we have done a comprehensive review of the best routers under $100 with the cheapest available at about $50 and the most expensive one at $95.

Why to NOT buy a Wireless Router below the 802.11 AC1200 Standards?

Before we begin with the list, We want you to read this, it won’t just save you money but also protect you from investing it on a worthless router. Okay, time to take a not very deep dive into geek arena and discuss AC1200. I will try to keep it simple and brief.

WiFi standards change every few years to deliver higher and higher data rates. They are also known as 802.11 standards and has been around since 1999. It has gone through several versions – A, B, G, N and now AC. Each generation provides faster speed at a greater range.

So when we say router above AC1200 means, you shall go for the ones which are AC1750, AC1900 or even AC5400. However, you won’t be able to get a router above AC1900 in the $100 price range.

1200 means the total data rate for the 2.4Ghz and 5 GHz bands is 1200 Mbps (megabits per second not to be confused with megabytes per second). Understand that the suffix 1200 means the theoretical rate is 1200. In actuality, it is far less and around 10% of that amount. The reason it is less is first of all because your ISP may be slow.

FYI, Statista in a report mentioned that Kansas City, Missouri had the highest average speed in the US, it was only 159.19 Mbps (March 2019). However, even the basic 1200AC router would support speeds up to 1200 Mbps. It’s not wrong to buy a router which is below the 1200AC standards, but going below it would mean you are buying an outdated device which is no more secure.

While there are plenty of reasons for interference in the signals, However one of the common reason includes interference due to walls and signals from other Wireless networks or routers.

Michael Smith, Freedom 251

If you were able to take your AC1200 router to an uninhabited area, use a laptop with SSD drive as server and connected it to another laptop with the wifi router in between, you would probably get a really high transfer speed of 900 Mbps at a distance of 4 feet.

As you begin to move away from the router, the speed would drop. If you moved out of the line of sight it would drop dramatically to between 60-100 Mbps which is what most routers actually deliver. Since you are able to use no more than 10-15% of the routers rated throughput anything less than 1200 would not be able to work with your 4K tv which needs 25-30 Mbps to work.

For all practical purposes, AC is the minimum router config you need. Majority of the routers covered in this guide are minimum AC1200. You will also find very affordable routers with AC1750 and 1900 standards which are priced at around $60-90. So shall we finally begin with the reviews?

1. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750

NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750
NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750
  • Speed: Up to 400 + 1350 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 3
  • Processor Speed: 1GHz

The Netgear R6700 is a device that allows you to access the internet from every corner of your home effortlessly. A sturdy sibling to its bigger brother R7000 Nighthawk which costs around $170, the Nighthawk R6700 looks similar to its predecessor and shares the same housing that looks like an alien ship from the movie Predator. The only difference is the large antennas suitable for Beamforming+ that boost range and signal strength throughout your home.

There are a large number of LED lights in the front panel, 12 to be exact, that conveys the status of the device to the user. The 1Ghz Dual Core processor and 256 MB RAM are powerful enough to connect to 25 devices at a time.

The parental controls are particularly useful. You can set daily data limits for the younger members of the family and monitor which websites and apps they access.

The router is easy to configure with an easy UI. Unboxing and setup take less than an hour. It can be flashed with upgraded firmware without any risk of turning it into an expensive silicon brick. Being compatible with Alexa is an added bonus.

Like most routers, it is difficult to predict the range. Range depends on so many factors such as interference and intervening walls. However, in our experience, it will cover 600 sq ft with no hint of dead spots. The company also claims it covers 1500 sq ft but that may be under ideal lab conditions.

The Beamforming+ feature allows it to focus on the device and not just randomly emit signals in every direction. This is able to provide a fast and uninterrupted way to watch the new season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix without the tablet buffering every few minutes.

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Pros
  • Netgear’s Genie App allows easy management of the router without turning on the desktop.
  • Supports VPN
  • Good signal strength due to Beamforming+
  • Uses latest AC1750 technology
  • Good budget router for home at only $84
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Cons
  • The Large footprint and quite hideous looking
  • 2.4 Ghz Band manages only 450 Mbps speed
TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900
TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900
  • Speed: Up to 600 + 1300 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 5000 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0 + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 3
  • Processor Speed: 1GHz

At $94 it is about $55 cheaper than the Netgear R7000 while providing similar performance and specs and is around $10 costlier than the Netgear R6700. Unlike the pointy look that the Netgear routers boast of, the Archer C9 has a soft design with smooth edges and remains unobtrusively in the background. The unit reclines on an elegant stand but that in fact creates an obstacle since it can’t be mounted on a wall or be laid flat.

The blue LED panel lights borrows its refined looks and the router can be a part of your living room and not look out of place. The more than capable 1 GHz processor can handle several devices at the same time flawlessly and in our tests, we were able to connect more than ten devices with no lag in speed. It has a large coverage area of around 5,000 sqft which is far larger than that of Netgear R6700 which is just 1,500 sqft.

The interface is clean and easy to navigate and a breeze to set up. The TP-Link Tether app can be installed on both iOS and Android platforms and allows quick access to device management. A USB 3.0 port lets it quickly access large media files from a hard drive and share wirelessly across your home on any device.

The 2.4 GHz network works well up to a distance of about 130 feet allowing uploads at 65 Mbps and downloads at 96 Mbps. The 5 GHz band was able to show blistering upload and download speeds of 290 Mbps and 480 Mbps at 10 feet, which was actually faster than what the LAN could deliver.

While it is certainly not top of the line in its performance, for less than $100 it certainly shows great performance. If you want to buy a router that works well for your home at a reasonably cheap price, this is definitely what you are looking for.

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Pros
  • Cheap for an AC 1900 device
  • Dependable Beamforming technology and removable antennas
  • 2-year warranty and 24×7 tech support
  • Elegant design
  • Ease of setup
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Cons
  • Cannot be wall mounted
  • Storage sharing possible through FTP only

3. NETGEAR R6230 AC1200

NETGEAR R6230 AC1200
NETGEAR R6230 AC1200
  • Speed: Up to 300 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1200 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 2
  • Processor Speed: 880 Mhz

At a price that is just under $60, the R6230 provides a very satisfying experience. With 2 antennas and Beamforming tech, it is a budget-friendly option for those looking to connect no more than 10 devices (though the manufacturer claims it can support 20 devices the CPU does not seem to be capable of that many).  It is backward compatible with 802.11 B/G/N protocols and would be able to effortlessly operate with your older devices as well.

With a compact design and using the latest 802.11AC protocol R6230 supports both IPv6 and the older IPv4. Priced far less than the R6700 and Archer C9 it delivers solid performance but without the capability to cover a one-acre farm! The multiple LEDs notify you about the power, wifi, WPS, USB, and LAN usage.

If you live in an apartment with 3-4 rooms and need a router for 4k video streaming and playing games, it is more than sufficient. The USB 2.0 port can be connected to a storage device to stream media to any device. The 128 MB DDR 3 RAM is more than sufficient. If you want even faster downloads you can use the Gigabit LAN ports for blazing-fast 1000 Mbps speed.

There is a WPS button that allows the connection of a guest device without having to type in the password. Being dual-band it is capable of simultaneously supporting both 2.4 and 5 GHz, providing steady data flow up to a distance of about 120 ft.

The Nighthawk app makes it easy to set up due to the intuitive interface. The app also allows you to change the firmware and customize the network. The initial setup is easy and the router automatically connects to your ISP. Manual configuration needs you to input information through a computer.

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Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use Nighthawk app
  • Gigabit LAN for fast downloads
  • Dual-band for wide coverage
  • Facility for WPS
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Cons
  • Lack of USB 3.0 port
  • Phone customer support restricted to the United States
TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750
TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750
  • Speed: Up to 450 + 1300 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 3
  • Processor Speed: 720 Mhz

The C7 from TP-LINK is meant to compete with the Netgear R6230 model and compares quite well. They are both priced about the same at just under $60 and have largely the same set of features.

If you are leaving home there is a physical switch to turn off the wifi. That is quite an unusual but very useful feature. The device is black and has the generic look that most routers have. The three antennas can work at 5dbi which is a change from the 3dbi signal that many cheap routers provide.

There are 10 LEDs on the front panel that indicate the usual information – power, WPS, LAN, USB. Unfortunately, the lights cannot be turned off and can be slightly irritating in a dimly lit room providing a ghostly (and ghastly) green glow.

The 5 dbi antennas work well up to 150 feet away if there are no intervening walls or partitions. With the WPS switch, you can easily add a guest device and the button doubles up to reset the router to factory settings if depressed for 8 seconds.

The Qualcomm processor at 720 Mhz is slightly slow considering that the Netgear R6730 that the TP-LINK Archer C7 compares itself with has a 1 GHz CPU. It also lacks MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple inputs, multiple outputs) for efficient resource management when several smart devices are connected simultaneously.

Our tests showed the 2.4 GHz band capable of delivering downloads at about 180 Mbps about 50 feet away and the 5 GHz providing 304 Mbps at a distance of 10 feet.

Jacob, Freedom 251

Use of open-source firmware allows the optimization of the router. Although an ordinary user would not find much use in that. However, if you are a developer who is a fan of open-source code, you’ll love this for that reason alone. There are parental controls but it needs time to set up since the system is based on inputting individual MAC addresses of the devices.

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Pros
  • Inexpensive and reliable
  • Runs on open source firmware
  • Wifi on/off switch
  • Parental controls possible
  • USB 2.0 port for storage devices
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Cons
  • Lack of USB 3.0 port
  • MU-MIMO optimization is not available

5. Linksys EA6350 AC1200

Linksys EA6350
Linksys EA6350
  • Speed: Up to 300 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1000 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 2
  • Processor Speed: 800 Mhz

A slightly dated model when AC1200 was considered the latest tech, it fades quite a bit compared to newer models like TP-Link Archer C9 and the Netgear R6700 that are priced about the same. The fact that the Linksys product page brags that it is three times faster than 802.11N shows its vintage! In fact, the page does not even tell if it is compatible with Windows 10 (of course it is since Win 8.1 is listed but no mention of Win 10 is surprising).

Strangely enough online stores have these priced everywhere from  $50 to 90 and there are a lot of vendors out there looking to liquidate their old stocks and you might grab one for as little as half the sticker price.

The great thing is it requires no CD to set up and you can have it up and running in less than 10 minutes. With Beamforming technology, it is possible to connect several devices at the same time and watch streaming video from the web and download music at speeds above 200 Mbps.

Our tests revealed that it is able to handle 7-8 devices smoothly. It does seem that the setup has a problem with some devices running on the 2.4 GHz band and it would not allow my laptop to use VPN over wireless. I was able to access the VPN using the LAN port but that is hardly desirable.

There is parental control available through the Linksys Smart WiFi App and device prioritization can be set as well. This means your streaming videos can take precedence over your brother’s gaming (or vice versa).

Overall a good device but it has certainly grown slightly long in the tooth.

Rene, an EA6350 user since 4 months and a regular Freedom 251 reader
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Pros
  • Inexpensive if you get a discount on the sticker price
  • Has a USB 3.0 port
  • Easy to manage using Linksys app
  • Can handle several devices smoothly
  • More than capable hardware firewall
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Cons
  • A quite old model
  • Has a problem connecting to some 2.4 GHz devices

6. Netgear WNDR4500 N900

Netgear WNDR4500 N900
Netgear WNDR4500 N900
  • Speed: Up to 450 + 450 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 700 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Dual USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: No external antenna
  • Processor Speed: 600 Mhz

The Netgear WNDR4500 is a successor to the Netgear WNDR4000. The wireless router supports 450 Mbps download on both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands. It looks quite fascinating with its clean lines and mounted on a clear plastic stand.

However, you have to remember this is an N protocol device that is about 8 years old and can’t match its modern counterparts in performance and security. In fact, it does not even support the AC standard which is a standard feature on every modern wifi router.

The device was quite expensive when it was launched (at about $180) it is now available for about 30% of that price online, though we suspect most are refurbished. It can be used with the Genie software but it was the old version which came on a CD with the router and not the app from Android store. Otherwise, you can always go the old fashioned way, that is type in, 192.168.1.1 into your browser and enter the firmware’s built-in interface.

The WNDR4500 is a very capable device able to transmit simultaneously on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Using the WPS you could also allow guest devices to log in easily. Further, by using Netgear Live Parental Controls you can monitor the online activity of your kids from anywhere through the web.

The twin USB 2.0 ports allow networking of your home devices with peripherals such as external hard drives and printers and they work amazingly well. The Genie install CD, however, may not be compatible with Windows 10.

At 2.4 GHz the router was able to deliver 70 Mbps at 150 feet and about 120 Mbps from about 10 feet away using the 5 GHz band. It is easily able to transfer a 10 GB file in few minutes inside the house.

Since a new unit has probably not been manufactured in a while available it is doubtful if Netgear provides tech support for this model anymore.

Tech Team, Freedom 251
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Pros
  • Cheap to buy
  • Dual USB 2.0 ports
  • Sleek looking
  • Intuitive setup
  • Reasonably fast at the price
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Cons
  • A really old model without AC protocol
  • Not able to use the Netgear Genie mobile app
Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router
Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router
  • Speed: Up to 300 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 2.0
  • Number of Antennas: 2
  • Processor Speed: NA

At a price of around $50, it is squarely aimed at the low budget segment. At this price, you cannot expect the pedigree of Netgear and TP-Link.

A plain black device that has a row of green LEDs in the front for LAN, power, USB, and WPS, it offers satisfactory streaming over dual bands. In our tests, the 2.4GHz band was able to provide 40 to 60 Mbps consistently 100 ft away and the 5GHz band delivered 100 Mbps across the room. The latency is dramatically low and the groundbreaking design of Beamforming antennas must be given credit for this.

The lack of USB 3.0 means that very fast file transfers are not possible but Beamforming technology allows greater optimization of networking.

The antennas are really capable of performing well even though you are on a different floor. The setup is surprisingly straightforward and there is no need for you to be a geek and fumble with hard to understand phrases such as “64-bit WEP Yes/No”. Just plug it in and the router does most of the setup by itself.

There is also the choice of a VPN that is built-in and it is a welcome feature. So if you love privacy, this is something you’ll love! #HelloPrivacy

The design of the router is robust and the build quality leaves nothing to desire. The black corrugated plastic front is high quality and the LED lights, believe it or not, can be dimmed at night!

If you are facing any problem with media streaming inside your home this is the perfect answer. And why just video, use 10 devices at the same time and the Medialink AC1200 would support them very capably.

We tested ShieldsUp and it showed all the ports were blacked out which means the firewall works just great. One problem is that it is not compatible with open-source firmware.

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Pros
  • Very cheap and reliable
  • Clean and sturdy build
  • 4 Gigabit LAN ports
  • Easy setup with no hassle
  • Strong overall performance
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Cons
  • No USB 3.0 port
  • Not very well known manufacturer

8. Asus RT-ACRH17 AC1700

Asus RT-ACRH17 AC1700
Asus RT-ACRH17 AC1700
  • Speed: Up to 400 + 1300 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 2500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 4
  • Processor Speed: 717 Mhz

The Asus RT-ACRH17 (quite a mouthful) uses the proprietary Asus AiRadar technology. The company claims this radical new Beamforming tech provides a network more stable than those of other routers. At 15 feet it delivered 654 Mbps in our lab tests and that is really blazing fast. At 30 feet the speed dropped but remained an impressive 261 Mbps.

For a router that costs about $80 that is a really great performance and maybe the AiRadar is actually the next step in wifi router tech that Asus would want us to believe.

David Casey, Network Specialist at Freedom 251

You can use either the browser or the Asus app to configure the router and both work equally well. The app not only allows you to configure the router but shows which device has been active for how long and consuming how much data.

The device itself looks very sleek and has 4 antennas. The housing is rectangular with a diamond pattern on the plastic top. There is a blue stripe to break the monotony of the black surface. The antennas can’t be removed and replaced with more powerful ones. Thankfully, Asus has kept the number of LED lights to only a handful, unlike other manufacturers.

It is capable of MU-MIMO and that means being able to use a variety of devices for both uploads and downloads at the same time with no lag or pause. We connected a smart TV, three laptops, a couple of cell phones, and a Chromecast and still received excellent coverage in all the devices. At only 450 grams it is also surprisingly light but not flimsy.

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Pros
  • One of the cheapest devices with MU-MIMO
  • Really high upload and download speeds using AiRadar
  • Presence of the USB 3.0 port is great for accessing storage devices
  • Easy-to-use app
  • Impressive range
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Cons
  • The Qualcomm Atheros IPQ4019 SoC hardware allows it to be tri-band but throttled down to dual-band
  • Lack of open source firmware

9. Motorola MR1700 AC1700

Motorola MR1700 802.11 AC1700
Motorola MR1700
  • Speed: Up to 800 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Number of Antennas: 6
  • Processor Speed: NA

At a low price of $70, it is probably the cheapest wireless router from a well-known brand. With no less than six adjustable antennas (four for 2.4 GHz and 2 for 5 GHz) it promises to deliver lightning-fast internet into the farthest corners of your home.

The router looks simple with a curved top and has a nondescript black design. It can work well with either cable or ADSL modem and showed quite decent results in our lab tests. We received download speeds of 60 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 95 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. Considering the price that is value for money performance

The test we did included eight devices connected at the same time and device prioritization controls worked perfectly. It is going to be really easy to tie all of your smartphones, television and gaming consoles together into one network.

Whether you like Netflix or Hulu, the MR1700 does the job smoothly and with very little fuss. The setup is straightforward and you could just use the parental controls if you don’t want your child to be reaching out to darker corners of the web. The NAT firewall keeps your system safe from hackers and malware. The only let down is it has no USB interface and that means being unable to connect it to a storage device and watch movies or stream music from it.

It is also backward compatible meaning you don’t have to stop using your older gaming consoles. There is a 2-year warranty on the product and at all times you could reach out to really efficient tech help who are just a phone call away.

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Pros
  • A reasonably priced product with dual-band capability
  • Made by a trusted name in telecom
  • Parental control possible
  • Traffic prioritization available
  • Six high powered antennas
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Cons
  • No USB port
  • Lack of tech support over the phone outside the USA

10. ASUS RT-ACRH13

ASUS RT-ACRH13 AC1300
ASUS RT-ACRH13
  • Speed: Up to 400 + 900 Mbps
  • Dual-Band: Yes
  • Range: 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 4 Gigabit LAN Ports + Single USB 3.0
  • Number of Antennas: 4
  • Processor Speed: 717 Mhz

ASUS RT-ACHRH13, A solidly built wireless router from the Taiwanese manufacturer it is priced at only $70 and competes well with Motorola MR1700.

It scores over the MR1700 is several ways – from its 5dBi antennas to use of MU-MIMO technology. While reviewing it, we used it simultaneously with 4 laptops, a Chromecast, 3 phones, and gaming console and never faced any problem.

The 5GHz band delivers 280 Mbps consistently across a room and the 2.4GHz was able to deliver 90 Mbps about a hundred feet away.

The matte finish top hosts the patented diamond pattern Asus finish. The design is sophisticated yet assertive and would be a welcome addition near your home entertainment unit.

Not everyone is an IT specialist or network engineer. Thus it is important to buy a router that can be configured quickly. Asus has come to the rescue with its intuitive app that detects the ISP and makes the setup optimal.

Thankfully it has only a few LED lights at the font and not the multitude that many models feel the need to put in. Plenty of encryption means easy and safe connection to all devices without malware seeping from one device to another.

The technology of Asus routers is always impressive and allows the most stable downloads possible. Add to it really easy to use parental controls and advanced options such as a firewall and you have a winner on your hands.

The USB 3.0 port at the front is really handy in that you could store all media files on one hard drive and stream it across your home wherever you are.

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Pros
  • 5dBi antennas for strong signal strength
  • Best in class performance
  • Better speeds on both bands
  • Effortless setup
  • Cheapest router with MU-MIMO
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Cons
  • Does not use AiRadar proprietary tech
  • USB 3.0 port should be located in the rear

Wireless Routers Below 100 USD – Buyer’s Guide

Although $100 is a medium-budget when it comes to WiFi Routers it’s not less. There are a few things you might want to look into before buying one. The good thing is, the models we’ve reviewed and compared above takes care of all these factors.

1. Speed

As stated above the rated speed is not the same as actual throughput. Only a fraction of the rated speed is achievable in real life. If you are going to connect only a couple of devices at a time to the router then maybe a router with a rating of 900 would be fine. For anything more, you need AC1500 and more. If you use the router to watch 1080p video from YouTube on your tablet then 300 Mbps is enough. But connect a gaming console, a smart tv, and a few laptops and you will find you need upwards of 1200 Mbps rated speed.

If you are among the ones who have access to really high-speed gigabit internet speed connection then you might want to consider a router which is AC5400.

2. Band

Wifi routers have two bands 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The first delivers lower speeds across long distances and the latter higher speed across a room. Both are needed for better usability. Ideally, the 2.4GHz can support 450 Mbps and the 5GHz 1300 Mbps. In reality, it is one-tenth of that amount. Dual-band gives you the flexibility of being able to move around with your laptop or tablet from room to room without serious packet loss or lag. You are able to enjoy very speed inside the room where the router is and moderately high speed at a distance of 120 feet.

3. Type of LAN port

Ethernet ports support 100 Mbps while Gigabit ports support 1000 Mbps over wired connections. With more homes being connected by optical fiber to 1 Gbps networks it makes sense to have Gigabit ports. 4k videos are gradually becoming the norm and the files are vast in size at about 100 GB (that is bytes made of 8 bits). With a Gigabit port, it would take 15 minutes to download a 100 GB movie while an Ethernet port would take 10 times longer or 2.5 hours.

4. Wifi Standards and Security

If you are satisfied with rated 900 Mbps and actual 40 Mbps downloads then the 802.11N standard is fine. But as discussed above more than one data-hungry device would mean going for AC1200 standard routers.

For your home network, the WPA2 security that is provided on every router is good enough.  Each password is at least 8 characters (alpha-numeric). Unless you own a business with professional hackers trying to get access inside your system you will not need much more. All routers by default have a NAT firewall that is reliable enough for home security.

5. MU-MIMO & Beamforming

MU-MIMO or multi-user, multiple inputs, multiple outputs (also known as AC Wave 2) allows several smart devices to have a conversation with the router at the same time. The more complex the connection, the greater will be the time taken by an older router.

Such as if you and your wife were downloading data and your son and daughter were uploading, the old wifi routers would place everybody in a queue and handle requests accordingly. Simultaneous up and down traffic from multiple devices was not possible. MU-MIMO is able to optimize these complex traffic patterns better.

Beamforming is a way of focusing the antenna signal to a device instead of spreading it all around. Naturally, it increases the signal strength and is a desirable feature.

6. Number of ports

Most routers have 4 LAN ports and that is usually more than enough. Ideally, they should have 2 USB 3.0 ports but at sub-$100 the best one gets is 1 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0. The USB 3.0 can be used to stream media files from a hard drive while the USB 2.0 can be attached to a printer. Many routers at this range lack a USB 3.0 port. Try and avoid such models if budget allows.

7. Range

Routers with 5 dBi antennas can cover a large area. Most routers can send a signal till around 100 feet away but thereafter the strength dies down. It is best to buy routers with a detachable antenna. This allows you to buy a better one rated at 10dBi from the market and extend the range. A range of 120 feet is usually desirable to cover a property.

Verdict

All of the devices we checked were competent. They are among the best ones available in the US. Besides, none of them really made us unhappy. But what if you asked us which was the first among equals?

The best router we reviewed was Netgear R6700. At a price of $85, it had a great range and Beamforming+ technology. It worked well with several devices and provides a rated speed of 1750 Mbps.

If we had to choose another it would definitely be the ASUS RT-ACRH17. With MU-MIMO, proprietary AiRadar Beamforming and USB 3.0 port it struck as an excellent value for money option at $79. Close on its heels would be TP-Link Archer C9 because it has an incredible look for just a few dollars more in price.

1 thought on “Best Wireless Routers Under 100 Dollars”

  1. This list includes great products. I’m glad that I came across this. I have a follow-up question and need your advice in regards to it. I’d really appreciate it if you guys responded!

    I play games for around 4-5 hours/day. However, I’ve experienced one thing that the performance of the router is better after I reboot it. The speed gradually increases from 20 Mbps to 45 Mbps.

    Do you think it is a problem with my router or with my ISP? If it’s with my router, should I consider Netgear R6230 or the TP-Link Archer C9? Because my budget is not above $100 and good gaming routers actually cost a lot!

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