Best cheap routers
Top budget routers
When looking at cheap internet routers, you want to make sure you get the correct one — or you might be sorely disappointed upon setting your new hardware up. In particular, users will want to find affordable routers with speeds that are suitable for them, whether using them in the office, at home or somewhere else entirely.
No matter where you plan to use your internet router, it’s important to be sure you know what you’re looking for before you buy if you want to save yourself some headaches and a few bucks. Fortunately, most modern routers are compatible with a wide range of service providers and feature at least a basic level of connection speed within just about anyone’s budget.
Factors to consider when buying a router
Router vs. modem
While a modem is used to connect to the internet or to a larger network of some sort, an internet router is actually made for connecting the devices themselves to Wi-Fi. If you already have a device that’s accessing the internet provider or network by itself, you’ll just need a router to connect devices to that particular internet provider through your modem. In addition, if you don’t already have a modem going between your devices and your service provider’s internet or network, you can also find router-modem combos with a higher price tag than just the router itself, if you can afford to spend the extra money.
Connection speeds of a router
While most routers will get the job done, those looking to connect to the internet at specific speeds will want to double-check that their routers will support that speed. Some routers will also include separate speed ratings for the entire unit itself and for each individual LAN port. While most modern routers will offer at least up to 100Mbps for each LAN port, most will be able to connect to a modem entirely at between 300 and 450Mbps total — though this speed won’t apply to each individual device that’s connected.
Best cheap routers
Best of the best cheap router
WAVLINK 1,200Mbps Home Wi-Fi Router with 2.4 or 5GHz Options: available at Amazon
Our take: This powerful Wi-Fi router comes with a very affordable price tag and features a dual-band frequency class, up to 1,200Mbps total of data transfers and four device LAN ports.
What we like: Affordable. Very fast with up to 1,200Mbps of data transfer speed. Compatible with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz internet connections. Includes dual-band frequency support. Features four LAN ports and one WAN port. Works with most providers. Simple white design.
What we dislike: Some users did not prefer the software used by WAV and said it wasn’t user-friendly.
Best bang for your buck cheap router
TP-Link N450 Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Router with Four LAN Ports: available at Amazon
Our take: This affordable router is compatible with almost all internet providers and offers up to a total of 100Mbps of internet speed per LAN port, with a total of four LAN ports and one WAN port for connecting to the internet.
What we like: Up to 450Mbps total of speed, with each LAN port offering up to 100Mbps. Great for streaming, gaming and other intensive tasks. IP-based bandwidth allows users to control bandwidth flow to devices. Can be used with parental controls. Includes DDR3 SD RAM.
What we dislike: Some users complained that this model offers 450Mbps across the system, while only offering 100Mbps through each LAN port.
Best cheap router with speed-enhancing firmware
Intel PHICOMM K3C AC 1900 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router with Firmware: available at Amazon
Our take: While this model includes up to 1,000Mbps of data transfer speed right out of the box, you can also install updated firmware increasing speeds to a max of 1,900Mbps.
What we like: Inexpensive. Firmware offers speeds up to 1,900Mbps, or the router itself offers up to 1,000Mbps right out of the box. Three LAN ports and one WAN port, in addition to a USB port. Can connect up to 128 devices simultaneously. Connects at 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
What we dislike: Some complained that this router only has three LAN ports.
Best upgrade pick cheap router
TP-Link AC1750 Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless Smart Wi-Fi Router: available at Amazon
Our take: This higher-end router is a little more expensive, but it pays off in extra ports, faster speeds and the added offering of voice controls for those who use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
What we like: Dual-band Wi-Fi. Alexa voice control can turn guest connections on and off. Four LAN ports, one USB port and one WAN port. Works with 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections. Multiple parental control options and filtering levels. Wi-Fi has a range up to 2,500 square feet.
What we dislike: More expensive than other cheap router models.
Best cheap router with built-in modem
NETGEAR C6220 Cable Modem and Wi-Fi Router Combo: available at Amazon
Our take: If you’re looking for a router that’s also an internet modem, this model from NETGEAR offers basic connection speeds with a single-band frequency class and wide compatibility.
What we like: Up to 200Mbps max download speeds. Can be upgraded to faster speeds at higher price points. Two ethernet ports and one USB port. Up to 1,200 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage. Easy to install. Single frequency band. Works with most internet providers.
What we dislike: This model doesn’t offer very fast connection speeds, and upgraded combo models are much more expensive.
Zachary Visconti is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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