So, you are looking for a new router! I’m guessing you are on a budget if you are reading this. While spending less than $100 on a router may feel like a gamble, I’ve found some top notch choices for you so you don’t have to worry about the thing not even turning on. You can still enjoy a fast and reliable connection without forking over 500 plus dollars.
Top 5 List
I’ve poured through customer reviews, techy reports, and done my own research to figure out the top 5 choices for routers under $100. I think these are quality choices for this price range and really, the best you are going to do. So, let’s get down to it and see which router is the best fit for you and your needs.
- 1. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router
- 2. TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router – Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router (Archer A7)
- 3. NETGEAR AC1200 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet (R6230)
- 4. TP-Link AC1900 Smart Wireless Router (Archer C9)
- 5. ASUS Dual-Band 2×2 AC1300 Gigabit Router (RT-ACRH13)
The NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk is my #1 pick for the best router and for good reason. It’s fast, reliable, and has great range. I like this for a family home especially but would also find it a great addition for a dorm or apartment for an avid gamer. Let’s see what makes the Nighthawk so thrilling besides the bold name.
- Dual-Core 1GHz Processor
- Boosts both your wireless and connected activity.
- USB 3.0 Port
- Up to 10x faster access to stored media.
- Parental Controls
- Better regulation for underage children living under your roof.
- AC1750 WiFi
- Extreme speeds going up to 1750 Mbps.
- Amplifiers and Antennas
- Increases range- great for larger homes and multiple users.
- Airtime Fairness
- Doesn’t slow down when other wireless users join.
The Nighthawk has some great features. Let’s take a closer look at what those features mean for you and your devices.
- Up to 1750 Mbps which makes it fast enough to do all of the things you love without waiting to buffer. No more groaning in frustration when a really intense part of your action movie freezes. No more yelling out a stream of profanity when your game locks up and you have a setback. The Nighthawk has your back.
- The amplifiers and antennas help with range. When you have a larger home, you will definitely want this so you can stream an HD movie in your living room while your teen is gaming upstairs.
- If you have kids, I really like this feature. It’s going to allow you to control more of what goes on at your home. Whether it be gaming or what they live stream, you can use the mobile app to control access. This is great for when you are not in the same room or late at night especially.
- The security on the Nighthawk is excellent. It’s going to stop phishing, spyware, and allow you to control that content for your kids.
- There are a LOT of different uses for this wireless router, but it’s the extras behind it that makes a difference.
- The Nighthawk App is a great added bonus. It allows you to start and stop your internet from your phone and run speed tests as well. I like this feature for if you want to turn off your wireless at night to reduce exposure. I also really like this feature if you have kids. It would be so easy to just grab your phone from bed and turn the internet off if they won’t quit gaming at 3 in the morning.
- Free Backup Software allows you to back up files in case something goes haywire. We all know those people, or have been that person, that loses all of their information and pays countless amounts of money to get it back. Don’t put yourself in that vulnerable position ever again.
- Beamforming Boosts improve your wireless speed and range on your mobile devices. While it sounds like something Scotty would do, it really does improve your mobile efficiency.
- Airtime Fairness is something that everyone needs if you have multiple devices. I like that I can have an iPad, iPhone, and laptop going at the same time without worrying that my WiFi is going to just die on me.
- Lag-Free is the way to be. The Nighthawk is not going to send you the dreaded spinning circle signal or leave you hanging in the middle of a project. It is going to be there for you through and through.
- Advanced QoS for extreme WiFi usage. What is QoS? It’s an acronym for quality of service. Basically, when you have multiple users on the same WiFi, they are constantly fighting each other to get the best service. However, with advanced QoS the router prioritizes these devices making sure there is no buffering for anyone. This is perfect for a family home.
While I’ve been raving about how incredible the Nighthawk is, it obviously isn’t perfect. We are still looking at budget routers and that has some drawbacks and less than stellar repercussions. On a positive note, I think that the Nighthawk is the best option you have for a router with a budget even if it has a couple of drawbacks.
- Poor Customer Service
- Multiple reports of customer service being poor at best. The story here is that if you need help once you get this product, it’s probably going to be a blood pressure raiser.
- Ethernet Ports Subpar
- Several consumers reported that the devices using ethernet cables worked great at first and then slowly lost juice after time. What does that mean for you and your users? It means that if you are planning on using the ethernet ports, you can bet that after some time they are going to be slower. A serious misfortune as several people still really need or want to use them.
- Gets “Overworked”
- I know, I know, I mentioned above how great this device is for a multi-device home. It still is! However, I have noticed that buyers are saying if you have around 10+ devices running at the same time, the Nighthawk can get overworked and just give up. Now, it’s not broken at that point, but you do need to reset and probably back down on the devices. I guess it depends on what you are planning on using with this router on if it is still a good purchase for you.
The NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk is the best router when money is tight. It has the speed, the reliability, and the range you need to get the job, game, or relaxing scroll through Pinterest done. It has a few drawbacks but I think that is pretty standard for this price range. I still think you are getting a heck of a deal.
- Quick and efficient
- USB Access
- Great for sharing online
- Manage your router from your phone
- 2 Year Warranty
- Quality assurance
- Dual Band Supporting
- Both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz
- Gigabit Ethernet Ports
- For fast wired connections
- 1750 Mbps makes it quick as can be. You can assign devices to either 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz so that you get ultimate speeds for everyone.
- Multiple Uses
- From gaming and video streaming to playing Scrabble on your phone, the Archer C7 will be able to keep you covered at maximum speed.
- Superior Customer Service
- The Archer C7 is the World’s #1 Consumer WiFi Brand
- Cost Effective
- Coming in right under $80 makes this device a huge bang for your buck.
- Six different antennas (3 external and 3 internal) extend WiFi coverage throughout your whole home.
- Needs Reboots Often
- Unfortunately, a lot of consumers have reported that they need to reboot the Archer C7 often to keep it running at optimum conditions.
- 5Ghz Drops Randomly
- For some reason, the devices seem to not register the 5G after a while. I think this may be related to the reboot issue as that seems to resolve it. However, it can be quite annoying if you are in the middle of a game or movie.
- Setup Somewhat Unclear
- The instructions themselves aren’t made for a router novice. You can always call their award-winning customer service though!
The Archer C7 made #2 on my list for its price point, speed, and range. The drawbacks on rebooting seem like a major inconvenience but with the app, I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as people have made it out to be. I would still consider this an excellent purchase.
Similar to the R6700, the R6230 is a favorite among consumers. However, it’s less expensive and with a little less juice. You’re getting a little less glitz but I really think it’s a hell of a deal for the price.
- 1.2 Gbps
- Way more effective than generic 50 Gbps routers
- Better speed and directly connect to devices without the wires
- Nighthawk App
- Parental controls, switch Wifi on and off, and more
- Dynamic QoS
- Allows for better device management and less lag time
- 1.2 Gbps is quick and speedy to have you watching your movies or playing your games with no buffering
- I really like the app and easy installation
- No buffering or lag times here
- Poor Customer Service
- I wish NETGEAR would really up their customer service because it’s a huge point of contention with their consumers.
- Wears Out Easily
- Many consumers have complained about the router malfunctioning to the point of it not working anymore or at least not working well at about the 1-year mark. Definitely not awesome, but again we have to consider the price point.
- WiFi not Excellent
- While direct connections are great, the WiFi seems to be slightly spotty. It can drop every once in a while which is incredibly annoying. It’s not unbearable but it’s something that really irks about anyone I know.
The NETGEAR R6230 is a smart choice for a router. I like that it’s efficient and easy to use. There are some handy gadgets that you can really benefit from like the Nighthawk app and more. I don’t think you can go wrong with this router at that price.
The TP-Link Archer C9 is my #4 choice but by no means is it subpar to the other routers. It was a really close call on coming in at #3. I like the speed, customer service, and suitability that the Archer C9 offers. Let’s take a look at what else it can do.
- 1 GHz Dual Processor
- Multiple users and multiple devices
- 1.9 GBPS
- Pretty stinking fast and perfect for gaming
- Both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
- Can assign devices to either for a combination of the 1.9 GBPS
- USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Ports
- Easy to share information wirelessly
- Beamforming Technology
- Allows all of your devices to connect wirelessly
- Award Winning Customer Service
- 2017 award winner for customer satisfaction
- 2 Year Warranty
- Shows the company stands behind their product
- 4K Streaming
- Perfect for gaming and HD movies or TV shows
- Handy App
- The TP-Link Tether App allows you to use parental controls, check out your STATS, and switch your router on and off from your phone
- Easy Installation
- Really easy set up that is user-friendly
- The TP-Link Archer C9 has a nice price tag that runs right under $100
- Problems with 5 GHz
- A lot of complaints have come in that the 5 GHz seems to fail after some time. Not ideal when buying a router but I think when you look at the price and what you are getting it’s not all that surprising.
- Overloads Easily
- Buyers have said that it seems like when you get a few devices going at the same time the router seems to get frazzled and give out. Now, this is really inconclusive because it ranges from 3-5 devices to 10 with this issue. I’m not sure what the threshold is going to be and if it is a random issue or more generic.
- Shorter Lifespan
- Quite a few people have said that it doesn’t last longer than a year or two. Again, I’ll point out the price tag and all that they packed into this thing and really think you are still getting a good deal.
The TP-Link Archer C9 is a quality wireless router. You will love the easy setup and wicked fast speeds for all of your video, internet, and gaming needs. There are a few issues with it, but I think they are easy to overlook when money is tight.
My #5 and final choice for the best router with a budget is the ASUS RT-ACRH13. It is a customer favorite and I think you will see why. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the techy jargon you are searching for.
- 1267 GBPS
- Great speed that will not leave you buffering
- ASUS Router App
- Super convenient to monitor everything as well as turn on and off
- Dual-Band 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz
- Allows for better usage of GBPS and better streaming
- USB 3.0 Port
- Can share files effortlessly
- Four External Antennas
- Will be able to reach everywhere in your home
- The extra antennas really ensure all of your devices will be reached and perform at optimum levels
- Perfect for everything from scrolling Facebook to online gaming
- Seems to work well all of the time. Users are very happy.
- Not Very Good Support
- In fact, some buyers are saying it is practically non-existent. A real shame since ASUS routers seem to be excellent.
- Low Life Expectancy
- Again, this is a get what you pay for scenario. When you are paying only a little over $50 for a wireless router that is this fast and with this much range, it isn’t going to last forever.
- Issues with 2.4 GHz
- There seem to be some connectivity issues to the 2.4 GHz. It’s pretty sporadic so I wouldn’t say this is an issue that everyone experiences.
The ASUS RT-ACRH13 really is a marvel considering the low price you are going to pay. It is fairly dependable, has great range, and is fast enough for all of your internet and gaming needs. I like this one a lot and would highly recommend it if your budget is tight.
After walking through all these routers, I’m sure you have a pretty good idea which one is right for you. A lot of it comes down to personal preference. I still like the Nighthawk R6700 as my #1 choice. You can’t really go wrong with the other four either. The main thing that you want is to be able to enjoy your devices without a hassle. With the Nighthawk R6700, you can just press play.