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7 Best Routers Under $100

February 17, 2021 | By Alex Platt | Buying Guides

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It can be a challenge to find a decent Wi-Fi router under $100. Not only do you have to watch your budget, but you also want to find one that has decent speed, range, reliability, and frequency band.

Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best wireless router for under $100 for your home network.

5 Things to consider when choosing the best router under $100

A single band router uses a 2.4GHz frequency band while a dual-band router takes it up to 5GHz.

If you live in a pretty populated area, it’s a big advantage to have the best dual-band router since you get less interference. While most devices can still only use 2.4GHz, many new computers and phones support this faster connection, so having the best dual-band router has become a necessity.

Speed

In today’s world, every household needs a high-speed Internet connection, and most households have multiple devices in it.

When considering speed, you need to look at the router specs where you will see the Wi-Fi standard in the letters at the end. “ac” (also called Wi-Fi 5) is still more common than the newest standard Wi-Fi 6, however, the newer standards still work with earlier standards, so you don’t have to worry about your phone or other devices working on it.

New TVs are also “ac” compatible, so you are ready to stream 4K TV. But, if you don’t plan to stream 4K content now, you will have the right system in place for the future.

Range

Typically, you will get at least two high-performance antennas with most modern Wi-Fi routers that can broadcast a signal from your modem into the air.

The more antennae you have, the wider coverage you can produce. You can also aim them toward specific areas known as Beamforming that creates a directional signal that can be sent where you need it.

You can also get a router with a range extender that can pick up on a weak Wi-Fi signal and then amplify it.

Connections support

Always consider all your needs before deciding on a new router model.

Think about how many devices you will have connected to your network each day including gaming consoles, Smart TVs, PCs, laptops, tablets, and phones.

Also, think about how you want them all to access the router. This can mean purchasing a router that allows an integrated USB port connection. And, if you have wired devices, you will want a router that has at least four Ethernet LAN ports.

Beamforming & MIMO

Beamforming can either use a wireless signal to allow a router to communicate with a device directly called “explicit”, instead of using a signal that is sent out in different directions, which can lose strength. by focusing a wireless signal directly towards it.

Or, it can use “implicit” beamforming that lets the router take its best guess as to where a device is located, which is the best choice for older devices that do not have the same beamforming standard.

Allowing quick, simultaneous Wi-Fi connections to several devices, MU-MIMO support can handle multiple devices all at the same time, instead of just one after another. Keep in mind that you need to space out your devices to get the best use of the MU-MIMO, and it needs to be placed in a central location inside your house.

Security

Security is always a big concern with all the new smart devices on the market.

You will find extra software on many of today’s new routers that offer protection from viruses, malware, and ransomware.

Some require a paid subscription while others are free, but they do add another level of security to your home network.

Best Wireless Router under $100 Reviews

Network Components Basics

Most of you probably already have a wireless network setup in your home for a long time. Who doesn’t nowadays? You have a cable modem or a fiber-optic network modem, depending on your provider. You also have a router with one or more wired connections on the back of it. We call these ports a hub or a switch. And the wireless access point, which has one, two, or sometimes more antennas.

Internet and Firewall

Your router’s duty is to connect more than one device in your home to the Internet. While doing that, it is also responsible for not letting bad things from the internet coming to your home. This is where the firewall function of your router comes into action. A firewall is a very important part of your network

Router

You have one connection to the internet. This means, without the router, only one device can connect to the internet. Others will have to wait until that device completes its business. Routers multiply one external connection for many internal devices to use simultaneously. The best router also gives you the best signal quality and fastest internet speeds.

Network Hub

The hub or it is also called network switch today, is the wired connections on the back of your router. If you have more wired devices, you can buy an external router connect it to one of those ports. This way you end up with more than what your router provides. Wired connections are more robust and usually faster than wireless connections.

Wireless Access Points (WAP)

There already is a wireless connection on your router. But you may have a weak signal in some parts of your home. This is where adding one or more wireless access points may increase signal strength.

Network Card

The discrete network cards are a thing of the past. Nowadays, most computers come with an internal or built-in network interface. Some are wireless. Wireless cards are usually built in to laptops and small size computers. Desktop computers may have built-in wireless network adapters. Although desktops generally come with wired network adapters.

Cables

Cables are the most overlooked part of network equipment. Yet, choosing the wrong cable may cause a lot of problems. Intermittent connection drops and slow speed are some of them. Don’t buy cheap cables. Invest in name brand and high category network cables.

Switch

The terms switch and hub generally refer to the same thing nowadays. They refer to the ports on the backside of the router. Their purpose is to connect wired computers, video streaming devices, etc. to the internet.

Modem

The modem, also known as the cable modem, is the device between your TV cable outlet on the wall and the router. The TV signal comes to your property in a mixed way. The same signal contains, TV programming, telephone dial tone, and the internet connection together. It is the modem’s duty to take the internet signal part of the total package and present it to your network.

Network Devices: Printer, PC, Laptop, Mobiles

These devices are what you, the end-user, use every day. You use your computers and they connect to the internet. When you are home, your cell phone is connected to the internet using your home WiFi. This way you save money on mobile phone data plans. If you have any video streaming devices like Roku, FireTV, etc., they are also connected to your network. Wireless printers are shared among many computers and mobile devices in your home. They do not need internet access constantly, for sure. But for everyone in your home to use them, they still need to connect to your home network.

FAQ

Do I need to buy an internet router?

Although most internet service providers would love to rent you one, it is best if you buy your own router. Service providers generally charge a $5-$15 rental fee per month for this device. You can see all major service provider’s equipment fees on this page:
https://www.allconnect.com/blog/guide-to-internet-fees-provider
If you buy your own router for under $100, you are financially ahead in less than a year. Plus, the rental device you get from your service provider is not the best router, quality-wise.

Is budget router worth it?

For most users, budget routers under $100 are more than enough. People who may need to invest in a more expensive router, need the advanced features of this device. Most users will never see or use these features. Hence, a budget router is more than an average user needs.

Will a better router increase speed?

The short answer to this question is “Yes”. A new router is a better router. It uses newer technology hardware. Its firmware is also equipped to use the latest technologies. A better router doesn’t need to be expensive equipment. Even the simplest new router is much better than the best router from a few years ago. There are many articles about the importance of your router for your internet speed. Here is a well-rounded one:
https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/how-important-is-my-wireless-router-to-my-internet-speed

Final Thoughts

The winner of the best router under $100 is the:

A great way to upgrade your Wi-Fi bandwidth, this router comes with a dual-band allowing you to easily distribute coverage throughout your home with up to 867 Mbps. Since it uses four external antennas, you get better multi-device performance and Wi-Fi range.

The ASUS also includes an app that allows you to manage and monitor your network easily from your mobile device. The integrated 3.0 port also lets you share flash drives and external drives throughout your network, and users really like the easy setup and the smooth streaming of the router. The definite winner of the best router under $100 is the ASUS Dual-Band AC1300 Gigabit Router hands down.

ASUS RT-ACRH13 - BEST ROUTER under $100
ASUS RT-ACRH13 – BEST ROUTER under $100

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Alex Platt

Alex has a background in personal training and loves to write about anything sports related to the tiny detail, but also covers lots of other categories with a superman approach, especially when it comes to reviewing different types of services.

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