Best Budget Routers: Affordable Wireless Routing Guide


The best price budget-friendly wireless routers in 2020 will be thoroughly reviewed in our affordable routing guide. In this detailed guide we review some of the better budget router options on the market, and specifications of a good wireless router you need to look out for before you decide to buy.

If you found us from searching online then you’ll be happy to know that we keep this guide constantly updated unlike other articles you might find. We think that having the right router is so crucial that we’re committed to continuing to test new options.

Or maybe you clicked over from our wireless routers guide?

And you got the idea of how amazing the budget router options can be?

Well, in this article, we’re going to be covering the most powerful AND reliable wireless routers for those of us on a budget… 2020 style.

 

Budget Routers Reviewed

 

Quick links: Our value pick | Our compatibility pick | Our for the money pick | Other picks | FAQs

RouterMax speedSpecPrice
Asus RT-AC1200+1167 Mbps802.11ac$$
NETGEAR AC1200867 Mbps802.11ac$$
HooToo AC1200866 Mbps802.11ac$

Whether you are on a tight budget or you’re just looking for a wireless router at an affordable price, you will find something in this list for people of all budgets.

The budget routers on this list offer great performance and firmware, as well as additional features such as parental control. You will find a router that is equally usable for home web use or gaming.

Starting our price range at under $100 we also offer good router options for $50 or less.

The overall best router for those on a budget…


asus wireless router rt ac1200 review

Asus Wireless RT-AC1200+

  • Parental Control Features
  • Great signal strength due to four external 5dBi antennas.
  • Concurrent dual-band 802.11ac.
  • Offers wi-fi speeds up to 1167 Mbps.
  • Not the cheapest on this list

Check prices >

As far as a wireless router goes it offers powerful features and the speed going up to 1167 Mbps is more than most of our ISPs offer us regardless.

HANDLES UP TO 1167 Mbps…

This means that you’re going to get the very best possible speed that you can get on your internet package thanks to this router. This router is one of the fastest you’re going to get for the price, and it’s not common to get much higher speeds even on more expensive 802.11ac models. So this router is offering amazing value and it’s why it tops our list.

Unlike a lot of other router options on this list, it comes with a total of four external antennas for better signal strength. So what you’re getting with the RT-AC1200+ is a quality router based on tried and tested technology. That has been honed to perfection.

This is easily our favorite overall wireless router we’ve used regardless of the “budget” label.

Read our full review here.

 

The top budget pick for backwards compatibility…


netgear wireless router r6100-100pas review

NETGEAR AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router

  • Provides 11AC
  • Backwards compatibility with 802.11ac a/b/g/n
  • Perfect for concurrent connections
  • Dual-band
  • Feels cheap

Check prices >


Netgear is one of the biggest players in the router industry and for good reason. They offer a wide range of models, and this one is one of the most commonly recommended router picks for those who don’t want to spend a fortune.

If you’re looking for a speedy router that optimizes your connection speed, and offers backwards compatibility this is without a doubt the best option for you. This router provides you with MU-MIMO, it’s an 802.11ac which means it’s dual-band and it’s also completely backwards compatible. So if you have some really old devices then this might be a good choice.

So with all of these features, we can say that without a doubt the AC1200 Router is an excellent budget option.

THE NETGEAR AC1200 PROVIDES EXCELLENT BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY…

With plenty of great features and an amazing price tag for a router by a manufacturer that consistently produces excellence, you can’t go wrong!

Read our full review here.

 

The cheap option for those who still need performance…


hootoo ac1200 wireless router review

HooToo Wireless Router AC1200

  • Parental Control
  • USB 3.0 for direct connections
  • Antennas included for better signal & performance
  • Dual-band to reduce wi-fi interference
  • Not the best range for bigger homes

Check prices >


This AC1200 wireless router is actually by a brand called HooToo. It is our recommendations for the best inexpensive Wi-Fi router.

It may not be a brand you’re familiar with but this router is an excellent option coming in at 3rd on our list.

Like all good wireless routers it’s offering two different bands to prevent interference with other wi-fi devices.

A CHEAP OPTION THAT WORKS FOR GAMING & STREAMING…

On the 2.4GHz band you’ll get speeds of up to 300Mbps… While with the 5.0GHz band you can clock speeds of 866Mbps maximum on this router.

Sure it’s not the best option on this list, but it comes at an amazing price. The value for money on this router is phenomenal.

For performance on a budget this router gets our approval.

Best of the rest:

Best for gaming ⥅ TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router

We think this router is the best budget pick for gaming, with 3 aerials and high speeds of up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band it’s an amazing router for low latency gaming, and the price is affordable at under $100.

Full review

Best for small businesses ⥅ Linksys Mesh WiFi Router

If you’re looking for something that can provide great speeds for multiple computers in an office, or a home, you’ll love this pick. This router has over 2000 square feet of range, and has 4Gb LAN ports for networking with servers, or other local networks.

Best for streaming ⥅ NETGEAR AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Access Point

If you mainly do a bit of browsing and a lot of streaming then you can get away with this budget pick which comes in at under $50. This router offers great speeds, and has its own dedicated processor to help extend range. It might not be ideal for gaming, but for the general user this Netgear is a top choice.

What to look for in a budget router? Buyers guide.

We all want a good internet connection, but too many people forget about the power of the humble router. Too many of us spend our time endlessly looking for a better internet service provider or a better package deal. Most of the time all you need to do to improve internet speeds is get a better router.

Most people learn that you’re limited by your throughput, so a better internet connection isn’t going to make any difference if you don’t have a reliable and fast router which can take advantage of your advertised speeds.

Thankfully wireless technology has come a long way in a very short time. Even the most experienced among us will not know just how good routers are in 2020 if they’ve not been paying close attention.

Due to the speed that technology moves, the any high-end router on the market from a couple of years ago are today’s budget options, so sometimes it actually pays to look at slightly cheaper models.

That said there are still some key things you need to know about, so don’t skip this guide!

Wi-Fi 4 vs Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6.

Nowadays, you’ll notice that most budget routers use Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) technology, but there are still a few Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) routers around, these are better off avoided as they only operate on a single-band.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi 5 routers are dual-band devices which allow you to connect using both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.

They also offer another benefit, what is known as MU-MIMO technology. MU-MIMO allows you to transmit data simultaneously, meaning faster downloads!

If you’re wondering about which band your router should be using, then you can use this rule of thumb… The 2.4GHz radio band is best suited for larger homes, but is subject to interference from other devices. The 5GHz band offers considerably more bandwidth than the 2.4GHz band, which is great for gaming and streaming. However the caveat is that you will struggle to get strong signals in larger homes. When this happens it might be best to switch onto a 2.4GHz band. That or buy a signal booster.

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) offers much-improved throughput speeds, up to 4.8 gigabits per second (Gbps). It utilizes upstream and downstream MU-MIMO, inbuilt 256-bit encryption to keep your network safe, and has made the 2.4GHz band much faster. It also utilizes newer technologies such as Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and a sleep mode of sorts called Target Wake Time (TWT). On top of all this it is backwards compatible, so if a budget option comes up it’s a great way to future-proof your network.

Key Features

No matter what your purchase power is, we all need to pay attention to a routers features. Since all 802.11ac routers offer MU-MIMO and dual-band channels, it’s more a case that you’re looking for other features.

You should look out for the following features on your router if they are important to you;

  • Parental controls
  • App control from your smartphone
  • Backwards compatibility
  • Number of antennas for signal strength boosting
  • USB 3.0 Connections

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

> How do I choose a good router?

Choosing a good wireless router involves knowing a few basic things…

The first is that you want to look for a dual-band router, the second is that you want MU-MIMO. This will allow you to use several devices on the network at once.

Then you want to look at the compatibility options, whether it operates on 802.11ac, etc. This is important because older devices may need backwards compatibility.

After this it’s about checking the throughput statistics, or put simply, how much speed the router is going to be able to provide you on each band.

> Is AX better than AC?

802.11ax is the latest generation of router architecture for Wi-Fi. The previous was known as 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5. AX is faster than AC as it has more powerful hardware and software.

It will be difficult to get an 802.11ax on a budget that also offers backwards compatibility. However that will change in the coming years, so you could purchase a cheap router today and replace it in a couple of years with a 802.11ax router.

> Does having two routers increase internet speed?

Having 2 routers does not increase speed in a physical way. However it can improve the perceived speed you receive by reducing the number of devices connected to each.

Having more than one router in your house connected via a modem can mean that distributing connected devices via multiple routers will reduce the ‘strain’ on the router.

This then allows more throughput for a single device at a time, however this was more common before MU-MIMO was a thing.

Conclusion

The bottom-line is that wireless routers have improved immeasurably over the last few years… Low-cost routers are easy to come across, and so you need to know what the best options are.

From the options available to you, it’s easy enough for you to get affordable budget routers that deliver insane speeds, our advice is go with the ASUS Wireless RT-AC1200+ Router.