Is it possible to get a great router for under $50? Absolutely! The best cheap wireless routers are the perfect answer to your wireless woes, providing fast, reliable WiFi without spending a fortune. You may need to replace the cable company’s old router, or maybe you’re looking to upgrade on a budget. Either way, we’ve got you covered with the top 7 best cheap wireless router options for economical buyers. These routers are proof that the most expensive models aren’t always the best option.
Can You Really Count on Cheap Wireless Routers?
You may think these cheap wireless routers have been stripped to bare bones, but each router on this list is rich with performance enhancing features. Here’s what to expect from the best cheap wireless router:
- Dual Band Wireless. WiFi signals travel to your electronic devices over one of two frequencies: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. The best cheap wireless router should offer dual band support, meaning they work over both frequencies. Older or simple devices, like wireless printers, usually work over the slower but longer ranged 2.4GHz frequency. Newer and more complicated devices, like gaming consoles, typically support the faster but short ranged 5GHz frequency. Dual band routers mean you can have a dedicated network for both frequencies.
- Wireless Standard N or AC. Any devices purchased in the last 5 years likely support either the 802.11N or AC wireless standard. AC is the newest commercially available standard, so it also has the highest potential bandwidth speeds as well as the best range. Wireless N is still quite good, especially when used with a dual band router. Small families with limited devices can use an N router, while larger families or those with more than 8 devices should invest in an AC router.
- Extra Features. What’s the point of buying a budget router if it can’t compete with the big boys? All the best cheap wireless routers still have extra features like Beamforming, QoS, smartphone apps, external antennas, and more. Features like antennas and Beamforming improve range, while QoS helps prioritize your applications for high speeds when you need them most. Also look out for gigabit Ethernet (LAN) and Internet (WAN) ports, as well as USB 3.0 ports for the fastest wired speeds.
Best Cheap Wireless Router Top 7 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Cheap Wireless Routers
TENDA may not be the biggest name on our list, but don’t underestimate this best cheap wireless router. If you look past the brand, this excellent router can compete with high end models for half the price. The TENDA AC9 is a dual band router with 900mbps at 5GHz and 300mbps at 2.4GHz. These specs, coupled with the gigabit Internet and Ethernet ports, mean you can finally enjoy the full 50mbps+ internet speeds you pay for.
This budget friendly router is certainly speedy, but what about range? The TENDA AC9 comes with 2 external antennas that let you direct coverage where you need it most. This router also utilizes Beamforming technology to pinpoint your devices. WiFi is sent in a direct route to your devices, unlike other devices which simply radiate WiFi in circles around the router. The result is more dependable and quicker internet speeds, even at the edges of range.
Setup is easy and all the information you need is on the router itself for fool proof operation. Just plug the TENDA AC9 into your modem and the wall, then follow the instructions outlined in the included manual. Once you log into the router’s software, you may change your network password, set parental controls, and configure the device to your liking. Whether you’re an advanced user or are just looking for the best deal, the TENDA AC9 is a great budget router.
Small families and homes with 7 or fewer connected devices don’t usually need a big, expensive router. In fact, an inexpensive model like the Linksys N900 promises to deliver reliable internet to every corner of your home. This best cheap wireless router reaches speeds of 450mbps at both 5GHz and 2.4GHz, allowing you to stream HD video, share files, and surf the web without interruption.
Although the Linksys N900 uses 802.11N, users with smaller homes or few devices won’t likely notice a difference from AC routers. With that in mind, this router has some other great features that everyone can appreciate. First, the Linksys app makes setup and maintenance a breeze. Plug the router in, download the app, and you’re on the road to managing your network like a pro.
The Linksys N900 also features gigabit Internet and Ethernet ports. This future proofing feature means this router isn’t limited to 100Mbps or slower internet speeds. Sadly, there’s only one USB 2.0 port, but we’ll accept this flaw in lieu of this router’s incredible price. This router is built to last inside and out, and makes a smart investment for those on a budget.
Arguably one of the best-looking routers on our list, the D-LINK Wireless AC1200 router performs as well as it’s designed. Like the others on our list, this budget router’s cylindrical shape provides users with next generation gigabit Ethernet and Internet ports for the fastest potential wired speeds. Wireless speeds reach a max of 900Mbps at 5GHz and 300Mbps at 2.4GHz. These speeds will support high demand gaming, video streaming, and file sharing across up to 15 devices.
Despite being one of the least expensive routers on our list, this best cheap wireless router doesn’t lack features. To aid with prioritizing your devices, QoS directs bandwidth to your most intensive and important applications. There’s also a free app with a user-friendly interface that exceeded our expectations. Manage your network from anywhere, including access for individual devices, parental controls, guest networks, and configuration settings.
We recommend this router for small to mid-sized homes where devices are always fighting for their share of bandwidth. The D-Link Wireless AC1200 will help you get the most out of the internet speed you pay for for all of your devices.
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