The Best Wireless Routers 2018 (For Most Homes)

Wireless Routers are the backbone of the smart, modern, connected home. If you suffer from poor WiFi range, have black spots around your home or are looking to upgrade to get a faster, more secure connection, our in-depth guide about best wifi router will step you through the process.

We understand how important an internet connection is, and when upgrading your network, making the wrong choice can leave a serious dent in your life…just ask my family after our recent escapades in testing no less than 9 different routers and setups!

What I have discovered is that only the very best wireless routers should be considered in your buying decision. As an integral part of your home, there are many things to consider before deciding which router to buy, and not just about the speeds.

Editors Pick

NetGear NightHawk R7000P

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The stand out Wi-Fi Router For Connected Homes in 2018

The NetGear R7000P (AC2300) is our editors choice for the best Wi-Fi router that will suit most homes. It is capable of managing high demands, together with the ability to connect multiple devices and the ease of setup makes this our ‘go to' router for 2018 and beyond.
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Routers are no longer limited to a single 2.4 GHz band that used to be so common. Top routers now boast dual or even tri-band capabilities with 5 GHz connections.

Connection security has also improved over time with the growth of cybercrime. You can now keep your browsing and data private, thanks to some routers like the Linksys WRT 1900ACS that sport their own Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to keep your identity private and anonymous.

However, finding the best Wi-Fi router isn’t an easy task. You need to know both what to look for, and what to consider. Let us be your tour guide.

The Best Wifi Router

What To Look For When Buying a New Router

The first and basic thing to consider when looking for a Wi-Fi router is its capacity to handle the increased demand for Wi-Fi connectivity. This is because your home likely has a horde of connected devices from computers and laptops, to tablets and smartphones.

These devices will most likely not be at the same place, and therefore your router needs to be able to broadcast to a wide area. Therefore, to avoid underperformance, it's good to have a rough idea of the number of devices and ‘type' of devices that will be connected and the coverage area required.

This is because routers will be priced according to their performance, and there's no need to pay for what you will never use.

However, if you have a number of family members using a lot of bandwidth for streaming or playing online video games, you may choose to go for a high-performance router in order to ‘future-proof' your setup.

A Single-Band or Dual-Band Router

Routers are created differently, right from the core. Some routers can only communicate over a single radio, and they are referred to as a single-band router.

These ones normally operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency, which means that they have to compete with other home appliances that operate on the same radio band like wireless phones, Bluetooth devices, and even microwave ovens.

These are however the least expensive ones, and they are sufficient if you only need to surf the web and use social media.

A dual-band router on the other hand usually has one band that operates at 2.4 GHz, and another one at 5 GHz. The 5 GHz band is usually less crowded than the 2.4 GHz one, and therefore offers more throughput with minimal signal interference.

This band is necessary if, at some point, one or more of your devices will stream online video such as Netflix, or take part in online gaming.

With a dual-band router, you can also be able to assign a band to certain clients and applications, and through this way, you will ease traffic to avoid overloading a particular one.

There are also tri-band routers. A tri-band router usually has one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz, bands. A tri-band router is not much of a necessity unless you have a large household with lots of traffic coming from huge file transfers, online gaming, streaming of videos and torrent downloads.

Understanding The Wireless Protocols

For your wireless network to send and receive data, it makes use of the 802.11 protocols. There are routers that still use the older 802.11 b and 802.11g standards, but these devices are limited to data transfer rates of just 11 Mbps and 54 Mbps respectively. On top of that, they only operate on the 2.4 GHz band.

The most popular protocol nowadays is the 802.11n, which allows for speeds of up to 600 Mbps, and operates on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands. It uses Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) innovation, which utilizes a few antennas to send and get up to four spatial streams, bringing about improved performance.

Nowadays, most devices like smartphones, laptops and other home devices make use of the 802.11n protocol, and so a router operating on the same will serve you well. However, if you use your network to share huge files and have a number of smart TVs and gaming consoles connected, you may need to buy a more powerful router that offers the latest Wi-Fi technology.

The latest Wi-Fi routers make use of the 802.11ac technology. This technology has a number of improvements done on the previous protocols, and this includes a wider channel bandwidth of up to 160 Hz, up from 40 Hz. It has also increased MIMO spatial streams up to 8 and incorporated beamforming technology, which sends signals directly to a client rather than broadcast in all directions.

This protocol also offers downstream Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology, which is a technology that provides simultaneous rather than sequential bandwidth to clients. What this means is that 4 connected devices can receive their own data streams, instead of waiting in turns to receive data from the router. For this technology to work, both the router and the device need to have the MI-MIMO circuitry.

This technology is however relatively new, and its routers and devices (smart TVs, Smartphones etc.) have only started hitting the market recently.

Best WiFi Routers 2018 Comparison Table

ProductRatingSpeedReviews

Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000)
Netgear (R7000-100PAS) Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Router, Gigabit Router, Open Source Support, Circle with Smart Parental Controls, Compatible with Amazon Alexa


4.7 /5Up to 1900 Mbps

Google Wi-Fi
Google (NLS-1304-25) Wifi system (set of 3) - Router replacement for whole home coverage


4.5 /5Over 500Mbps

Synology (RT2600) AC2600
Synology RT2600AC Wi-Fi AC 2600 Gigabit router


4.3 /5Up to 2530Mbps

Individual WiFi Routers Reviews

1. Netgear Nighthawk (R7000)

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900, commonly known as the R7000, is just as cool as the name suggests.

It has a trapezoidal design with flared sides and the shape just reminds you of the famed fighter jet that goes by the same name. This router is not only designed to impress with its design but is also very powerful with excellent speeds.

Its previous model is the Netgear R6300, and it offers everything found in that router, and more. It is a tri-band router and is in the class of 802.11ac routers.

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More important, the R7000 has the beamforming capability, a feature that enables it to identify where connected devices are located, and then boost the signal in their direction, rather than scatter the signals in all directions.

On the 5GHz band, it offers speeds of up to 1.3 Gap’s when working with 802.11ac clients, and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

This router is meant for those who wish to save a few bucks in the premium router category, and therefore you can expect its coverage not to match that of routers like Netgear Orbi. It’s priced at around $1900, roughly $100 cheaper than even Netgear’s own R8000.

Specifications

  • Size: 2.0 x 11.2 x 7.3-inches
  • Antennas: 3 (removable)
  • Wi-Fi Spec: AC 1.9 dual-band 802.11ac
  • Ports: 4 Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 (back), USB 3.0 (front)
  • Peak 802.11ac performance: 444.8Mbps
  • Range (2.4GHz mode: 140 feet

Networking

The R700 has a theoretical bandwidth total of 1.9 Gbps and uses a 3×3 dual-band approach, rather than the triband design. Netgear still has a 4×4 based R7500 which peaks at 2.3 Gbps, but then it costs $100 more.At the back, there are 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port.

There’s a USB 3.0 port at the front which can be used for hard drives, printers and memory keys. It doesn’t use the SATA port which can be found in a router like WRT 1900 ACs.

Installation

Setting up this router is a bit streamlined, and shouldn’t present a problem to anyone. It comes with an AC adapter, network cable, and a booklet. It, however, doesn’t have a manual or CD in the package, and therefore you will have to download them.

However, that shouldn’t be a problem as the router is already pre-configured with a Wi-Fi network that has a name and a password. These are printed at the bottom for the 2.4 GHz band. The 5GHz network has a “-5G” suffix and just shares the same password.

You can then decide to personalize the Network by accessing routerlogin.net using a connected device. Otherwise, you can still use the default IP address, 192.68.1.1 to set your own SSID and Password.

What We Liked
  • Excellent combined throughput
  • Genie software
  • Removable antennas
  • Affordable
  • Open-source firmware
What We Didn't Like
  • Large in-wall AC adapter

Netgear Nighthawk (R7000) Ratings

8/10

Functionality:

10/10

Security:

9/10

Speed:

9/10

Overall Score:

2. Google Wi-Fi

Google Wi-Fi is easily the simplest, and the most manageable router that offers you the most value. Actually, it’s not just a router, but a wireless mesh system.

This means that it doesn’t major on the fastest speeds but rather seeks to blanket an area with consistently high-quality signals, through broadcasting it from various locations.

It is the cheapest wireless mesh system, and also easiest to configure. All you need to do is scan the QR code on the cylindrical unit that is connected to your modem through Ethernet. You can then set the name and password, and you’ll be good to go.

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Specifications

  • Wireless Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, AC1200 (expandable mesh; dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, TX beamforming); Bluetooth Smart ready
  • Processor: Quad-core ARM CPU (each core up to 710MHz)
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 4GB eMMC flash
  • Beamforming: Implicit and Explicit for 2.4 & 5GHz bands
  • Ports: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each)
  • Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.7 inches (106.1 x 68.7mm; D x H) each
  • Weight: 12oz (340g) each

Installation

As mentioned earlier, setting up this router is quite a straightforward task. To set up Google Wi-Fi, you first need to download the Google Wi-Fi app to your smartphone/ tablet. This app will easily guide you step by step.

First, plug in the power supply. It doesn’t have an inbuilt DSL modem, and therefore you need to attach it to an existing router or modem, using a provided Ethernet cable. After that, your app will automatically detect and tell you that it has found a new router. It will then guide you to set up a username and password.

You can then add another unit from another location in the house (Google actually sells them in pairs). After powering it up, the app will let you easily connect this unit to the first one. Your wireless network will now be running with excellent coverage.

Speeds

Google Wi-Fi is not quite as impressive as some other mesh systems may be in terms of speeds, but it is quite sufficient. After all, it isn’t meant to be. It has a dual-band 2×2 streams, which can connect at up to 1200 Mbps across a single 5GHz band.

What We Liked
  • Easy setup
  • Phenomenal performance
  • Dedicated router-to-extension data channel
  • MU-MIMO technology
What We Didn't Like
  • Relatively large devices
  • Expensive
  • Limited functionality on mobile app for now

Google Wi-Fi Overall Rating

8.5/10

Functionality:

8/10

Security:

9.5/10

Speed:

8.5/10

Overall Score:

3. Synology (RT2600AC) AC 2600

The Synology RT2600ac is Synology’s upgrade of their RT1900AC. This router brings together the latest networking hardware and Synology’s fast maturing software, Synology Router Management.

The router offers you some excellent features like an integrated media server and what Synology calls VPN Plus, a clientless VPN solution built into the router.

It supports WAN failover, a feature which allows the router to support dual Internet connections, one via the WAN port and one via the first LAN port in either fail-over or load balancing mode.

When you connect an external hard drive, the router is capable of working as a network storage (NAS) server, which allows you to share data and stream contents either local or remote clients.

Networking

Just like the other AC2600 routers, this router is a quad-stream (4×4) router. The 5GHz band has speeds of up to 1,733 Mbps, with the 2.4GHz one operating at 800Mbps. Also, this is a wave2 solution allowing for either 160MHz operation in continuous mode or 80+80 MHz mode in discontinuous mode.

As there are two modes for the LAN WAN configuration, the standard gives you a single WAN and four LAN ports and the other two WAN ports and three LAN ports.

Installation

This device is fast and easy to install. When you power it on, connect to the modem and then to the PC, it will automatically launch the setup web portal. You can then set your preferences. Once you are through, you will be greeted with the nicest interface to ever grace a router. This is actually like an operating system and you’ll surely love using it.

Specifications

  • CPU: “Dual-core” @ 1.7GHz
  • RAM: 512MB DDR3
  • Antenna: 4×4 MIMO Omni-directional high-gain dipole (2.4GHz/5GHz)
  • LAN: 4 x Gigabit RJ-45; 3 x Gigabit RJ-45 (dual-WAN)
  • WAN: 1 x Gigabit RJ-45; 2 x Gigabit RJ-45 (dual-WAN)
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x SDXC/SDHC
  • Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac simultaneous dual-band; 2.4GHz – 800Mbps, 5GHz – 1.73Gbps
  • Measurements: 77 x 280 x 169mm (without antennae); 700 g
What We Liked
  • Decent speed, range, and stability
  • OS-like, easy-to-use web interface
  • Extended functionality with add-ons
  • Dual WAN ready
  • Great Value
What We Didn't Like
  • Lack wireless bridge.
  • Not the fastest 802.11ac Wi-Fi available

Synology (RT2600AC) AC 2600 Ratings

8/10

Functionality:

7/10

Security:

9/10

Speed:

8/10

Overall Score:

The Best Wireless Router For Most Homes – Wrapping It Up

We hope you found our guide useful. All of the routers above boast great performance, however, it was the NetGear NightHawk R7000P that really stood out for us, not only because of its great value for money, but also thanks to its excellent performance and a great assortment of advanced features. It definitely has its place in most homes who wish to operate multiple devices at once.

The Best Long Range WiFi Routers For Large Homes

If you live in a large home, or your online a long distance away from your router, you may experience slow connection speed as the WiFi signal quality is reduced by a number of household objects, such as walls, floors, and various other cross-interferences.

In some cases, as I found in my study, you may find that you can't get a Wi-Fi signal at all in certain parts of the house.

WiFi Signal Loss By Building Material

A long range router that is specifically designed for larger homes, will help you get the most out of your Internet connection by ensuring every corner of your home is connected. This is typically called a Mesh Network.

So, if you’ve got dead spots or significant signal loss in your home, it may be time to invest in a new, longer-range router that is optimized to cover longer distances and navigate around household objects.

To help you pick the best, we spend adequate time researching and testing a number of the leading names in the market.

What Type of Long Range Router Should You Buy?

Editors Pick

AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Wi-Fi System

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The stand out Wi-Fi Router For Large Homes in 2018

The AmpliFi HD System our editors choice for the best Wi-Fi router that will suit larger homes and long distances. The reliability and speed of the Wi-Fi connection are unchallenged, together with the awesome touch-screen display which provides details for the current connection speeds. In addition, the 2x ‘Plug and Play” High-Density Mesh Points serve to eliminate any dead spots.
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Runner-Up

NetGear Orbi Wi-Fi System

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The Runner Up in our best Wi-Fi Router For Large Homes

The NetGear Orbi Wi-Fi System comes in a close 2nd behind the AmpliFi HD. Our editors were torn between the two with both mesh systems able to eliminate most dead spots around the home, however, it was the touch-screen display that pipped the Orbi to the number one spot.
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Before buying a new router to solve your dead spots, there are two things to consider.

  1. How large is your home?
  2. What type of internet connection do you have?

The newer standard, 802.11ac routers are capable of faster speeds over Wi-Fi and are recommended if your internet speed is in excess of 100Mbps. It may be worth upgrading to a Gigabit router for future-proofing purposes.

Otherwise, keep in mind that when you do upgrade to a faster internet package or move into a larger house, you may also need a new router.

Again if you live in a densely populated neighborhood, you may have to opt with a dual-band router otherwise a single-band router may do the trick.

A dual-band router has both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band is used by a large number of devices around your house and is more susceptible to interference and congestion. The newer 5GHz band is typically less cluttered and provides a faster connection.

1. AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Wi-Fi System HD

The AmpliFi HD wireless router is our top pick. The router uses mesh networking to efficiently fill out a large home with Wi-Fi.

The AmpliFi HD Home Wi-Fi System includes a router and two Mesh Points for an impressive Wi‑Fi coverage throughout your home.

The router's design is just as impressive. It's attractively designed and can blend well with different home decors unlike most of the traditional routers.

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The router lacks both switches and external antennas and features a 1.6-inch color touchscreen which shows the day, date and time.

A single tap on the screen changes the view to show the download and upload speeds. A double tap, on the other hand, will display the number of connected devices and the WAN IP addresses.

The AmpliFi HD is a high-performance router that can move three concurrent streams of data and uses beamforming to tailor transmissions to a connecting device's needs.

Designed to meet the demands of a modern home, comes with a Dual-Band 802.11ac able to deliver up to 5.25 Gbps. This is enough throughput to meet your streaming and gaming demands with lag-free performance.

AmpliFi's great performance, excellent range, and a quick and simple setup process combine to make the router our top pick. Add to that it's advanced WPA2 encryption and it easily becomes the best wireless router for large homes.

The router is perfect for both midsize to large homes. It may not be the cheapest router around, but the Ubiquiti Networks AmpliFi HD Home WiFi System provides one of the easiest ways to reliably fill your home with high-speed Wi-Fi.

What We Liked
  • Great speed, range, and stability
  • Extended functionality with add-ons
  • Comes with plug-in mesh extenders
What We Didn't Like
  • Lack of User Interface for PC.

AmpliFi HD Overall Rating

8.5/10

Functionality:

9.5/10

Security:

9/10

Speed:

9/10

Overall Score:

2. NetGear Orbi

The NetGear Orbi Wi-Fi system is another impressive whole-home router. The system conveniently delivers large Wi-Fi coverage without compromising speed.

It is a tri-band router with six internal antennas making it one of best in the market and offers users amazingly fast internet speeds.

The Orbi system includes a satellite that sends and receives data to and from the Orbi router.

The router operates on the 2.4GHz band offering speeds of up to 400Mbps and on the 5GHz band providing speeds of 866 Mbps.

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The third band is what separates the router from the competition – A 5GHz band purely dedicated to communications between the router and the satellite that can reach maximum speeds of 1733 Mbps. This not only offers a great Wi-Fi coverage but it also improves the speeds throughout your home.

The dedicated Wi-Fi connection between the router and the Satellite helps maximize internet speeds enabling you to enjoy reliable 4K streaming and high-speed connections to multiple devices.

You can use the Ethernet ports on the router and satellite to connect your Smart TV, game console, streaming player and more. While it's not the sleekest in the market, the Orbi is still one of best interior-decorator-approved routers on the market.

Although it may not be the most affordable, the Orbi System is a sure and easy way to cover a relatively large home with high-speed Wi-Fi coverage.

What We Liked
  • Great speed and range
  • Extended functionality with add-ons
  • Comes with plug-in mesh extenders
What We Didn't Like
  • Lack of display screen

NetGear Orbi Overall Rating

8.5/10

Functionality:

8.5/10

Security:

9.5/10

Speed:

8.5/10

Overall Score:

Long Distance Routers – Wrapping It Up

Despite the title, a long distance router or a mash network is not just for big homes. Each home can have differing wall structures, furniture and doors that can all affect a wireless signal coming from the router. If this is you, then either the Google WiFi, AmpliFi HD or the NetGear Orbi will get you out of a jam. They are all relatively easy to set up and offer much more functionality that you standard router.

On a Budget? The 5 Best Cheap WiFi Routers on the Market

With plenty of cheap routers flooding the market today, it's important that we cover them in full so you don't buy a heap of junk. This section will focus on the best routers under $100 dollars, most are around the $50 range.

Editors Pick

NetGear Nighthawk AC1750

The Best and Cheapest Wireless Router in 2018

NetGear is the market leader when it comes to high-quality network products and the Nighthawk AC1750 is no different. With reliable connection speeds, multiple device support, and a fantastic price point, you won't go wrong with this budget option.
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Contrary to popular belief, a good router doesn’t always have to be expensive. There is a wide range of quality routers on the market that you can get without having to spend a fortune.

Whilst we advise that you don't simply go for the cheapest router possible, there are plenty of fantastic bargains found around $50 to $100 USD. For this price range, you can get a router that offers everything you’d need, including HD streaming and lag-free gaming.

Below, we reveal the top 5 most affordable routers, as tested by our experts.

ProductOur RatingSpeedOur Review

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750
D-Link AC1750 Gigabit Wi-Fi Router – High Power Amplifiers – Dual Band Speeds (DIR-859)

4.5 /51300 Mbps

NetGear N750
NETGEAR N750 Dual Band 4 Port Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (WNDR4300)

4.3 /5750 Mbps

Asus RT-ACRH13
ASUS RT-ACRH13 Dual-Band 2x2 AC1300 Wifi 4-port Gigabit Router with USB 3.0

4.3 /51267 Mbps

Asus RT N66U
ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router

4.3 /5900 Mbps

TP-Link AC1200
TP-Link AC1200 Reliable Dual Band WiFi Router (Archer C50)

4.1 /5867 Mbps

Best Routers Under $100 Dollars – Reviews

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750

While the TP-Link products listed above are nice, for those looking to get the most out of lag-free gaming, the NETGEAR Nighthawk  AC1750 is mindblowing in comparison.

In fact, the entire Nighthawk range is pretty impressive and fairly cost-effective, but this one will cost you the least by a mile.

The AC1750 provides dual-band connections at speeds of up to 430 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band, and 1300 Mbps on the 5Ghz band, providing high speeds on either connection that are suited and separable into bandwidth heavy tasks and then low ones such as gaming.

The Nighthawk AC1750 is compatible with IPv6 and also provides a range of security and network management features such as support for a VPN, QoS to eliminate lag during play and a browser-based interface.

Installation and management can also be done through the provided NETGEAR genie App, which makes setup and customization from a connected mobile device simple.

The AC1750 features a dual-core 1GHz processor, which makes is brilliant for anyone who wants to obtain maximum throughput on bandwidth-heavy tasks.

If you’re a gamer and not much of a streamer, you may have no needs for such throughput which mean that the processor is simply an expense you don’t need.

However, the inclusion of QoS services on this router means that your decision to buy the AC1750 will not have a negative impact on your latency.

What We Liked
  • Excellent range
What We Didn't Like
  • It’s a bit bigger than your typical router

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Overall Rating

9.0/10

Functionality:

8.0/10

Security:

8.0/10

Speed:

8.0/10

Overall Score:

2. NetGear N750

The NetGear WNDR4300 N750 router is one its kind and the best thing is that it can be bought for less than $100. The router excels with a wide range of innovative features and revolutionary hardware.

The NetGear N750 delivers an amazing speed of up to 750Mbps with the 2GHz band supporting 300Mbps and the 5GHz band supporting 450Mbps. And thanks to IPv6, you can future-proof your network.

Additionally, the router is designed with Gigabit wired making it ideal for HD gaming and video.  It further features Advanced QoS making it well optimized for smooth HD streaming & gaming.

The range is also quite impressive and is ideal for medium to large. Additionally, NetGear N750 supports DNLA allowing users to find and play media on DLNA TVs & game consoles.

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The device also features Readyshare USB access which enables you to wirelessly access & share USB hard drives via two USB 2.0 ports. You can also share resources such as a printer across the entire network.

What’s more, the router even supports Time Machine which lets you create backups on Mac devices.

On top of that, the router comes with advanced security settings. You can filter web access to all the connected devices, set separate and secure for guests and secure the entire network with WPA/WPA2 encryption. Additionally, the N750 also offers VPN support.

Besides, Genie App provides the users with the flexibility of managing their network from their smartphones enabling users to conduct speed tests, create guest networks and change the SSID and Password of the network remotely.

What We Liked
  • Supports the new 450Mbps standard on the 5GHz band.
What We Didn't Like
  • 2.4GHz wireless throughput degrades a great deal as range increases.

NetGear N750 Overall Rating

8.0/10

Functionality:

9.0/10

Security:

8.5/10

Speed:

8.5/10

Overall Score:

3. Asus RT-ACRH13

The ASUS RT-ACRH13 is one of the finest routers in the markets thanks to its thorough-paced quad core processor initiating highly responsive network performance and smooth data handling.

The router is designed with Dual-band AC1300 with the latest 2×2 MU-MIMO technology combining speeds of up to 1267 Mbps while still contributing concurrent speeds of up to 867Mbps (5GHz) and 400Mbps (2.4GHz).

MU-MIMO technology adequately pledges every compatible device its own full-speed WiFi connection allowing multiple devices to connect at the same time without slowing down the network.

Full points to Asus for the Rt-ACRH13’s high-gain antennas which ensure high-speed connectivity throughout a large home.

It’s 802.11ac high-speed performance is perfect for streaming up to 4K Ultra HD videos, online gaming with support for latest gen consoles such as Xbox One® and PlayStation® 4. Thanks to USB 3.0 ports, the router provides fast network storage speed when hosting an external storage device.

Additionally, the ASUS RT-ACRH13 is easy to set up and you can conveniently manage your home network the ASUS Router App.

What We Liked
  • Connects multiple devices with ease and provides speeds up to 1267 Mbps.
What We Didn't Like
  • The default settings that come with the router can eat up on your speed until you tweak the settings to get the full speed potential.

Asus RT-ACRH13 Overall Rating

9.0/10

Functionality:

9.0/10

Security:

8.0/10

Speed:

8.5/10

Overall Score:

4. Asus RT N66U

The Asus RT N66U packs a surprising punch. The router features 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Concurrent Dual-Band Transmissions for ultra-fast connections with speeds of up to 900Mbps.

It’s further equipped with Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast and reliable internet performance.

With three detachable high powered antennas, the Asus RT N66U offers users expanded coverage making it ideal for medium to large homes.

This router comes with two multi-functional USB ports which can be used to attach a wired printer or share media devices like hard drives and pen drives over the network.

Additionally, the features Asus AiCloud which allows you to access, stream, sync, and share all your files on the go using your smartphone. Gamers will be pleased to hear that the router is Nvidia GameStream ready.

You can stream all your favorite PC games to the NVIDIA® SHIELD™ portable to play anywhere in the house using fast, ultra-reliable NVIDIA GameStream™ technology.

Asus offers a quick internet setup through its installation wizard and you can ensure your network security through WPA wireless security encryption with a touch of the WPS button. Users are also able to set guest network access providing secure WiFi access for guests sharing your home or office network.

What We Liked
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports for printers and storage.
What We Didn't Like
  • The router's USB ports don't support the USB 3.0 standard.

Asus RT N66U Overall Rating

8.5/10

Functionality:

8.5/10

Security:

8.0/10

Speed:

8.5/10

Overall Score:

5. TP-Link AC1200

The AC1200 supports 802.11ac standard, next-generation wifi and simultaneous dual-band connections of 300mbps on 2.4Ghz and 867mbps on the 5Ghz band.

This means that you can prioritize devices that stream or download onto one band while enabling those meant for online play on the other.

The networking facilities aboard the AC1200 are what make it shine. For starters, it has two USB 2.0 ports which enable in-home file and device sharing. It also has up to four WAN ports for wired connections

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Installation is a fairly easy affair with the AC1200 since it comes with a resource CD with the TP-Link Utility which allows you to easily setup, customize and secure your home network.

This is especially useful for customized bandwidth allocation which may be necessary for online gaming. Or, since we live in the twenty-first century and no one knows what a CD is anymore, you could just download the app to your smartphone.

Overall, you get a lot for the price with the AC1200, even if it does seem a little bulky and, well… hollow. Despite its relative fragility though, it outperforms a lot of routers in the price range and comes with everything you need for secure connections and low-lag play.

The problem though lies in its strength. It's almost as if the AC1200 tried to do as much as it could with as little as possible, making it filled with features you would never use, and lacking in ones you wish you had.

Still, if you’re on a budget and want something that will do what you need it to, and won’t have to replace after a week or two. This is possibly the most affordable router on the market that is worth your while. But certainly not the best option for the price range. The best option will depend entirely on your budget and needs.

What We Liked
  • Wireless speed up to 300 Mbps + 867 Mbps
What We Didn't Like
  • Limited Range over distance

TP-Link AC1200 Overall Rating

8.0/10

Functionality:

8.5/10

Security:

8.5/10

Speed:

8.0/10

Overall Score:

The Best Cheap Routers on the Market – Buyers Guide

First and Foremost: The Price

Since you are on a budget, the price will be the most important factor determining which router would be best for you. So, with that in mind, only routers that will cost you less will be featured here. While more often than not you get what you pay for with routers, there are some exceptions to the rule that is more than worth the money.

The price of a router may not solely rely on its functionality and quality, sometimes an older router may be priced better than a newer one with similar or worse specs, which means that you still have a pretty decent choice considering you’re on a budget.

Wired and Wireless Capabilities

Depending on how you intend on using the router, you will likely find that having high-quality wireless capabilities and functions such as Beamforming and dual-band technology are necessary for your setup. To this end, look for routers that operate on both the 2.4Ghz and the 5Ghz bands and has an ample wireless range for your needs.

Throughput Capacity

Not all routers come with processors, but for the sake of gaming, you would benefit greatly from a router that has some kind of ability to provide high throughput.

This allows for minimal lag during online play, and provides smooth, glitch-free streaming. While processors generally bump the cost of routers up by quite a bit, there are cheaper options that would suit your needs.

For Gaming and Media

When it comes to online gaming (and gaming over the LAN network), it is essential to have a device that can provide enough throughput to reduce lag and allow for streaming, but the device’s capacity for multiple devices should also be taken into account.

For situations where multiple devices are connecting to the router at once, you’ll want to ensure that it can support a high number of wired and wireless connections. To this end, a router with QoS and bandwidth allocation functions are equally important; especially for gamers who have to share their bandwidth.

Lastly, for media and device sharing across the local network, a router with either USB2.0 or USB3.0 support might be necessary.

Where might you lose out because of the price?

If cheaper routers were as good as their expensive counterparts, then why would anyone bother buying the latter. So with these cheaper routers, it is only fair that you expect to lose out on something.

The most likely sacrifice you will have to make is that of lifespan. It will perform admirably for a while but is likely to become unreliable more quickly than a newer, more expensive router.

The second risk you run is that of redundancy. Many older routers that come at a lower price, perform on infrastructures which are waning in popularity; however, the best cheap routers are generally well equipped with relatively up to date technology, that’s still pretty impressive.

Cheap Wireless Routers – Wrapping It Up

Purchasing the perfect wireless router whilst on a strict sub $100 or even sub $50 budget can be quite a challenging. With so many different models on the market, it's easy to just opt for the cheapest one and be done with it.

However, I urge you to use our list and advice above and if you truly want the best for your money, go for the NetGear Nighthawk AC1750, which offers the biggest bang for your buck in this price range.

Sources and References:

  1. Mesh Networking – Wikipedia
  2. 12 Ways to Secure Your Wi-Fi Network – PCMag
  3. WiFi Band Differences – Linksys

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