Whether wired or wireless, routers have made life easy and fun for most people with access to this technology. Their ability to connect to multiple computer networks has made syncing several devices in one’s home or even office super easy, but which is the best router under $100? we have the answers below.
Before most people became familiar with home networking, routers were only found in institutions such as schools or hospitals. Lately, however, routers have become very affordable, and most people have already set them up in their residences. They add spice to your home by allowing you to connect to the internet from your TV or computer and stream or download any desired content with ease.
Before we get to the best router under $100, there are two categories of routers you should know about;
• Business networks and Internet Routers
These routers are usually quite expensive and specialized technical training is required to manage and set them up. They are used in big organizations, and even the internet relies on a set of large and powerful routers which can process terabits of data. This data flows between and through ISP (Internet Service Provider) networks. Such routers play a significant role in ensuring most high-profile and large organizations can communicate effectively.
• Home Broadband Routers
Routers were never mainstream consumer devices until computers were affordable for most people. The rise in the number of computers, mobile appliances, and new technological inventions such as the internet TV paved the way for the introduction of homemade broadband routers. Most of these routers support both Ethernet and WiFi, but earlier models only relied on Ethernet cables for connectivity.
Home routers might have fewer functions, but at least they cater for important home networking functions such as the home network firewall while offering additional security support. Also, they help share home internet connections with tons of other devices. Not to mention, you can configure these routers with ease from your web browser.
Expensive routers are expected to have the best features and allow for quicker data flow due to advanced technology. While this statement might be a fact, some high-performing routers will serve you well without putting a strain on your budget which is why we have put together this list of the best routers under $100.
Best routers under $100
TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router
After its release, the Archer C7 was termed the best router for most people by the New York Times. Rightfully so, it’s hard to get a router with the same features as the Archer C7 at the same price.
This router not only supports 802.11ac but next generation WiFi as well as connection to multiple devices. It also has Dual USB ports that allow you to share media and files concurrently.
The Archer 7 also offers multiple options to help in connecting your printer; you can either do it remotely from the FTP server or locally with networked devices. Also, you do not have to worry about guests using up more bandwidth than you intended. You can use the router’s IP-Based Bandwidth Control to manage all devices connected to the router individually. This feature makes it easy to regulate internet usage and eventually the monthly or yearly charge that you accrue.
- Six Antennas:
The Archer 7 has three external and three internal antennas to enhance Wi-Fi signals in your home or office.
- Powerful CPU:
A powerful CPU makes processing easy ensuring that online gaming, media sharing or downloading files are extremely fast.
- More Bandwidth:
The Archer 7’s Dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands enable very fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1750 Mbps allowing you to stream movies in HD and share large files without buffering.
Netgear AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router
The Netgear AC1750 is one of the best routers for under $100 with excellent features and high performance. It features an advanced QoS which makes HD streaming and gaming a whole lot easier. With respect to connection, the Netgear AC1750 has five 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB 2.0 port. Whether via USB, LAN or WAN, this router has got all your connection options covered.
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You can also control the router remotely from your mobile device via the Netgear Up app, which can be used, among other functions, to power up the Netgear AC1750. This router is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Echo. The dual band feature comes in handy to ensure continuous hours of streaming, gaming, downloading or file sharing in your home or office.
The Netgear AC1750 has three high-powered antennas that help in increasing your Wi-Fi coverage making internet access easy from any part of your house.
- ReadyCLOUD USB:
This feature makes secure and personal cloud access to USB storage easy whenever and wherever it is required.
- Beamforming+ :
Another stand out feature for the Netgear AC1750, which helps in making connections faster and more reliable by directing and focusing wifi signal to the devices where they are needed. So even when you are in a location with slower internet speeds, you are still at a huge advantage with this router.
- Remote Access: You have remote access to the router through Netgear app.
- AC1750 WiFi-450+1300 Mbps speeds and Dual Core Processor- Ideal for homes with 12+ devices
- Advanced features for lag-free gaming. System Requirements:Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, or Linux.Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Firefox 2.0, Safari 1.4, or Google Chrome 11.0 browsers or higher
Securifi Almond Wi-Fi Wireless Router
The Securifi Almond is already in the history books as the world’s first touchscreen router. Its price is also extremely low for a router with its features and performance level making it an option for the ideal home network distribution device. The Securifi Almond has nor built in DSL modem but can be used as a wireless bridge, access point, range extender, and primarily as a Wi-Fi router. Its wireless compatibility is 802.11bgn and supports a broadband speed of 300Mbps. It is fitted with 2 antennas, 2 LAN + 1 WAN Ports
This router is very easy to set up and unlike most routers doesn’t require a CD or PC to set up and manage. It takes less than three minutes to set the Securifi Almond up, and additional support is offered on the company’s website ([email protected]) in case you run into some hurdles while setting it up.
While most routers only provide file sharing and internet connection, the Securifi Almond can also be used as a wireless bridge, range extender or as an access point.
- Blocking unwanted devices:
The Securifi Almond makes it easy to block devices that might no longer be in your house and prevent excessive use of bandwidth by users who you gave the password to after a visit to your home.
- Network Notifications:
This router also has a feature that sends notifications to your mobile device whenever someone joins, rejoins or leaves your network group.
- 95% of customers SET IT UP IN 3 MINUTES using Touchscreen Wizard; World's 1st TOUCHSCREEN Router
- NO PC/Mac/CD needed for Setup or Management
ASUS Dual-Band 3 x 3 AC1750 Gigabit Router
The ASUS AC1750 uses three by three 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology which can reach speeds of up to 1750 Mbps. Powered by a 1 GHz CPU, this router is ideal for a large home or a small business. It also comes with the ASUS Router App thereby making it easy to manage and monitor your network with ease from your mobile device.
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The ASUS AC1750’s also comes with a web-based interface (ASUSWRT), which makes setting up the router very easy. File sharing is also made faster and more secure thanks to the router’s AiCloud 2.0 support. Integrated 3.0 and 2.0 ports also make it easy to share devices such as the printer with any device in the house and your network. The ASUS AC1750 is easy to set up and simpler to use with no complicated instructions.
This feature, powered by Trend Micro protects your network and devices from vulnerabilities. Also, it helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
- File access on the go:
You can access your files on the go if your device is connected to this router thanks to ASUS AiCloud 2.0.
- Integrated USB Ports:
Integrated USB ports enable printer sharing and USB storage simultaneously as opposed to some other routers on the market that can only handle each of those tasks separately.
- 5th generation 802.11ac chipset gives you concurrent dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz for up to super-fast 1.75Gbps
- ASUS AiCloud service: Access, stream, share, sync - all on the go with unlimited storage expansion!
TP-Link AC1900 Wireless Wi-Fi Router
This high-performance wireless router supports 802.11ac as well as next generation WiFi. It has two bands that help ensure the connection doesn’t slow down or get interrupted as different devices conduct various tasks. You can use the 5 GHz band to stream 4K Ultra HD videos or play online games and reserve the 2.4 GHz for tasks that do not necessarily require a lot of bandwidth.
The 2.4 GHz band can reach speeds of up to 600 Mbps, but the 5 GHz band can hit 1300 Mbps. This router also has three detachable antennas that perform at a high level and enhance not only wireless coverage but reliability as well. Sharing printers, media, and files across your network is also made easy thanks to USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports on the router.
- AC1900 WiFi:
This feature helps in creating Wi-Fi signals powerful enough to meet the demands of 4K Ultra HD videos and online games with advanced graphics. The TP-Link AC1900 can reach speeds of up to 1900 Mbps.
- Lifetime Support:
As the number one consumer Wi-Fi products provider, TP-Link provides free technical and set up support for its clients for a lifetime backed by a two-year warranty.
- 1 GHz dual-core processor:
The TP-Link AC 1900 has a powerful 1 GHz dual-core processor which allows you to stream high-quality videos and play games even with multiple devices connected to the network.
- Delivers blazing fast AC1900 speeds up to 1.9GBPS (600+1300 Mbps) for seamless 4K steaming and lag-free gaming
- Next-generation beamforming technology creates direct connections to all your devices for reliable, fast WiFi
Linksys WRT54GL Wi-Fi Wireless-G Broadband Router
The Linksys WRT54GL is a Linux-based Internet-sharing router with an Ethernet port interface. It has a wireless-G Access Point and a built-in 4-port switch for connectivity and file sharing. This router shares a single 10/100 WAN internet connection with 4 10/100 Ethernet wired switched LAN.
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It also has a maximum link rate of 54 Mbps with connectivity enhanced by two external antennas. The Linksys WRT54GL is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista 32 and 64 packages but has no modem. Its standout feature is a built-in SPI firewall which helps in the prevention of attacks from the internet.
Open source firmware:
This router comes with open source Linux-based firmware that can be modified to customize your network further for better management and control.
The Linksys WRT54GL has security features such as the SPI firewall and a WPA2 encryption which guarantee safety whenever devices are connected to the network.
Multiple connection options:
You can use the Linksys WRT54GL for both wired and wireless connections, a feature lacking in most routers in the same price range.
- Linux-based Internet-sharing Router with built-in 4-port Switch and Wireless-G Access Point
- Shares a single Internet connection (10/100 WAN) with 4 Ethernet wired (10/100 switched LAN ;Compliant with the IEEE 802.11b/g protocol;LEDs: Power, DMZ, WLAN, Ethernet (1, 2, 3, 4), Internet
Ubiquiti EdgeMax EdgeRouter
The design on this router might not be as appealing as some of the others on the list, but the Ubiquiti EdgeMax makes up for that with super flexible, reliable, and fast speeds. Powered by EdgeOS, this dual-core MIPS64 3 GigE port router features a next-generation graphical user interface and is very easy to set up.
- Wall mounting:
As if its size was not small enough to not take up a lot of space, this router can also be mounted on the wall to save more space.
- Fanless form factor:
This feature enables the dual-core MIPS64 3 GigE port router to operate quietly while offering active management, routing, and security features.
- EdgeMax membership:
As a member of the EdgeMax family, the Ubiquiti is one of the fastest and cheapest one million packet-per-second routers currently on the market.
- 1 million packets per second for 64-byte packets.
- (3) Gigabit routing ports
Important features to consider before getting a router
• Dual-band Wi-Fi
Performance and interference problems have been on the rise lately because most routers use the 2.4 GHz band. Unless you live on an isolated island, chances are your router uses the same frequencies as other wireless networks closest to you. Having a router with both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands guarantees more wireless channels resulting in faster and reliable connectivity with less interference.
• WPA Enterprise
While WPA/WPA2 help in securing your wireless network, they don’t come close to the level of security guaranteed by WPA Enterprise. Buying a router that supports this feature ensures your network is safe from internet attacks. It connects every user individually and provides each PC with a unique encryption key to curb any compromise to the network.
• USB Port
The availability of a USB port in a router ensures that files are shared across the network with ease and quickly. Also, it can be used when streaming media to PCs or any other networked appliances through DLNA/UPnP. The port can also be used to copy WiFi network settings which help configure new PCs much faster.
• IPv6 Support
A router that supports IPv6 addresses is a better option lately, seeing that the supply of IPv4 addresses by the Internet has been exhausted. The migration might take months if not years, but it is better to purchase a router that has the latest features than purchase one only to dispose of it later for the new and required model.
As opposed to a few years ago when routers were only affordable by big institutions, you can get any of these high-performance routers for less than $100 and enjoy fast internet connectivity, file sharing, and storage for everybody at your home.
- Eric Geier, Quality of Service explained: How routers with strong QoS make better home networks, PCWorld, October 9, 2014
- Dong Ngo, 5G Wi-Fi (802.11ac) explained: It’s cool, CNET, May 18, 2012
- Does moving from 20MHz to 40 MHz increase my wireless speed?, Superuser, January 26, 2013
- AirTight Networks, 802.11ac: Essential Considerations
- Chris Hoffman, Wi-FI Protected Setup (WPS) is Insecure: Here’s Why You Should Disable It, How-To Geek, November 24, 2013
- Jim Salter, 802.Eleventy What? A Deep Dive Into Why Wi-Fi Kinda Sucks, Ars Technica, March 4, 2017