Best Budget Wireless Router 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

Are you looking to increase wireless connections around your home? Are you unsure of where to start? It can be hard to find a gadget that suits your needs, given the possibilities that many different wifi routers can offer you. You can do your research on the benefits of each one, get all of the needed information regarding style and versatility, and even look at the terms and conditions of each manufacturer’s products to make sure there’s no catch in the marketing. But still, you might struggle to find a wireless router for your household.

That’s where we come in! In this article, you’ll have the opportunity to have all of your questions answered, and all of your demands met – as we’re going to take you through our best cheap wireless routers of this year. Each wireless router has an impressive level of functionality, and is compact enough to provide easy storage, if this is of importance to you. Whether you’re after the best cheap dual band router or the best inexpensive router that money can buy, we’ve got something for you to ensure that you get the best router for price ranges you’re looking at.

To look for a good cheap router, you’re going to need your questions answered. Before you can wonder, “what is the best cheap wifi router?”, you might want to know what a wireless router is, and how it works to find the best affordable routers for you!

What are Wireless Routers Exactly?

A wireless router, also known as a wi-fi hub, is a small electronic machine that allows you to connect to the internet. This is done through connecting to your home broadband line and sending data from the internet cable to connected devices.

Wireless routers tend to reign supreme over the outdated wired routers, which are only used by people who want to connect via an ethernet instead of a best budget router with wifi.

The best cheap router for wifi capabilities will be able to provide a stable, steady connection for all house hold devices. Read on to find the best deals on wifi routers, and to find the best budget wifi router of your dreams!

Typical Cost of Affordable WiFi Routers

The typical cost of routers for internet connections will depend on their capabilities, speeds, and what you’re using them for. If you want a powerful router for either rigorous online gaming or for large homes on your network, then your cheapest wi fi router might be a little more costly than the best budget AC router that’s less specialised and more run-of-the-mill.

What’s more, especially with neighborhood and family friendly routers, the best value wireless router will also come with parental controls, so that you can set a parental control setting on certain websites your children may try to access.

In addition, a high speed router with dual band wi fi, or a 5ghz band, might be a little more pricey than those with, say, a 2.4GHz band. It all depends on the functions and data rates you’re going for and what you expect out of your budget-friendly router offers.

A high performance router, that offers the best wi fi performance for you, will be whichever router comes with all of your desired settings for smart home functioning. Most wireless routers come with at least four ethernet ports, so you can connect PCs, the TV, and much more to the internet where and when needed.

Considerations for Choosing a Wireless Router

Single vs. Dual-Band Frequency

You may first be wondering what single versus dual band actually is and what it means for your router. Essentially, a single band frequency means your router broadcasts a wireless signal on one frequency alone.

A dual band, as you can imagine, means that the signal is broadcast on two frequencies. Any guesses as to what a tri-band frequency does?

Now, you’re going to see a lot of different jargon and symbols, such as GHz. This is giga-hertz. This is a measurement of frequency relating to bandwidth.

All this means is the upper and lower boundaries of frequency used for the transmission of wireless signals. If you’re browsing the internet, this is considered a low bandwidth activity, so you can get away with a router that has 2.4GHz – however, a cheap 5GHz router will offer a faster transmission of data at shorter distances.

Wireless Standard

Wireless standards are another thing you’ll need to wrap your head around. To to get the greatest internet connection possible from your Wi Fi router, you’ll need to consider wireless standards – which are a set of services that dictate how your WiFi network acts.

The most common you’ll encounter are the 802.11, usually wireless LAN.

802.11a and 802.11b

Both of these standards were released in 1999, so they’re a little aged now. The 802.11a:

  • Works with 5GHz band wi fi
  • Was created to reduce interference – as many mobile devices use the 2.4GHz band
  • Sometimes has poor range due to obstructing objects
  • Can get a maximum data rate of 54 Mbps (megabits per second)

In comparison, the 11b uses the standard 2.4GHz band and can achieve a maximum speed of 11 Mbps.

802.11/g

This standard was designed in 2003, and upped max data rates to 54 Mbps whilst still using the 2.4GHz band. This standard was then adopted widespread, making it a popular wi fi network for web browsing, video streaming, and more.

802.11n

This relatively newer standard was introduced in 2009, and operates on both 2.4 and 5GHz band widths. This also supports multi-channel usage, and the max data of the standard overall is a whopping 600 Mbps.

802.11ac

This standard is what most devices employ. Released in 2014, so just 6 short years ago, this drastically increased data throughput for devices to a max of nearly 1300 Mbps.

What’s more, the ac adds MU-MIMO support, extra broadcast channels for the 5GHz band, and gives you added support for more antennas on one router.

Wi-Fi Speeds

Wi Fi speed is how fast or slow you can upload and download data using your connection. Any quality service providers will provide you with a router system that gives you a quality, fast internet plan with a fairly manageable price tag.

Regarding device prioritization and what most users use wi fi signals for, most network traffic comes from downloading movies and such, so you’ll probably want a faster download speed in comparison to upload. This quality of service will provide you with a brilliant wireless connection that boasts an impressive signal strength.

Wi Fi speeds will need to be tailored to your needs. If you’re a keen gamer, why not check out more specific models with our list of the best cheap routers for gaming?

RAM and Processor

One of the key elements to note about any router is that it needs a decent processor type. The best budget wi fi router, even the absolute cheapest models, will include a decent RAM and processing speed.

We recommend a multi-core processor and at least 128 MB of RAM. These hardware specs are worth quite a bit; if you’re streaming videos, downloading files, playing games online, and more, then lots of info is going to be transferred from the internet to your chosen electronics- meaning you need a processing power to match your needs.

There are different types of processors people tend to opt for. These primarily include a single-core processor, dual-core processor, or quad-core processor. This affects the operating frequency.

If your home devices require a high network security and good volume of data stream, you need at least a dual core. This means that your internet service provider will be able to provide you with Wi Fi standard to this area.

Have a look further up to see what we say about bandwidth limits, dual band connection, and processing speed – sometimes, the truth Hertz!

MU-MIMO Technology

MU-MIMO stands for multi-user, multiple input, multiple output, and it’s a form of wireless network supported by routers and endpoint devices. This sort of technology was created to improve the number of antennas on a wireless network that are used for reception and transmission. This ultimately improves the capacity of wireless connection.

Any router that comes with MU-MIMO ensures that you’re going to be getting a better management of bandwidths and therefore a greater degree of choice and flexibility for all of your internet needs thoroughout your home throughput.

The network connection provided by this technology provides massive capacity for data transfer, so you’ll definitely want to find router models that offer MU-MIMO.

Beamforming Technology

Beamforming is a sort of radio wave technology that’s written into the best 802.11 ac standard of Wi-Fi. This allows the beamformer, i.e. your router, to transmit a radio signal towards the client or reception point.

This ultimately improves internet speeds and throughput performance by giving you internet access through strong, reliable, and fast network access. Any decent router, whether dual band routers or otherwise, will provide you a decent access for the price range – and chances are this is achieved through beamforming.

Best Cheap Wireless Routers Under $50

1.TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Wi Fi Router – 5GHz Gigabit Dual Band MU-MIMO Wireless Internet Router

TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Wi Fi Router - 5GHz Gigabit Dual Band MU-MIMO Wireless Internet Router

Wireless Standard: X | LAN Ports: X | Wireless Speeds: X | Range: X

Performance

The performance of this router is off the charts. It’s been awarded a JD Power Award for the highest customer satisfaction in both 2017 and 2019, and it’s easy to see why.

As a gigabit router with 4 Gigabit LAN ports, it’s ideal for any internet plan or number of antennas. Its MU-MIMO technology shows that it can be used for high speeds on multiple devices simultaneously.

Finally, the TP-Link tethered app allows you to easily set up and manage your network at home or on the go – parents, you can even enforce parental controls if you wish.

Other Features

  • AP mode for wireless internet sharing
  • Dual band wi fi router upgrades to 1200 Mbps for high speed internet
  • Four LAN ports supported by 4 high gain antennas (TP Link Archer 6)
Pros
  • Industry leading warranty
  • A smart home network provider that beats out wired connections
Cons
  • Incompatibility with certain devices
  • Durability

2.TP-Link AC1200 Dual Band Router

TP-Link AC1200 Dual Band Router

Performance

It’s no wonder we’ve gotten another router from TP-Link for you; as companies go, these are some of the best. These AC1200 routers are dual bands – arguably better than single band – and provide four ethernet ports (TP Link Archer C50 – a serious upgrade from Archer C7).

With all the pros of TP-Link tether, like the previous device, this wonderful router gives you anything you need for a solid internet speed and wi fi connection. No matter the web browser, if you want to load up social media services all you have to do is use the Alexa voice control to activate wake time – how innovative!

Other Features

  • Stream in 4K with no buffering
  • Fast four ethernet ports
  • Supports Amazon Alexa
  • 2 year warranties and 24/7 technical support
Pros
  • Customer service and tech support
  • A next generation router that will provide an experience of efficiency for everybody – no question asked, nothing to doubt, just positive results
Cons
  • Some amazon.com visitors state that their modem has failed, according to some posts
  • Flippant signal in some areas, i.e. compact apartments

3.TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

Performance

Another brilliant choice in the direction of routers under $50, the TP-Link N300 is wireless and portable. No matter your requirements, whether an easy user interface or fast speeds, there’s a chance that any priority you have will be met with this handy medium.

A budget option that doesn’t break the bank, you just need a handful of dollars to pay for this amazing router. With no hassle of installing, no delays of connection and the ability to take this anywhere for a positive result – from your basement to your friends’ house – it couldn’t be easier to use this travel router.

Other Features

  • 300 mbps speed
  • 2.4GHz band – decent bandwidth
  • Quick sharing with hotspot capabilities
  • Compatible with Chrome cast
  • Array of connectivity i.e. with USB ports
Pros
  • Supports router, AP, client repeater and WISP operation modes
  • Password protection and parental controls easy to enable
Cons
  • A couple of reviews say that connection on a smartphone can be quite flippant
  • Fails over time

4.Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Linksys Connect

Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Linksys Connect

Performance

With this Linksys N300 router, it’s so easy to enjoy the advantages of easy and effortless web browsing. With speedy and receptive antennas and four ethernet ports, you can get up to 300 Mbps at no issue.

What’s more, customization in security settings and WPA/WPA2 personal and SPI firewall protections shows that you can use this router with the utmost security in any location – so there’s no chance of people trying to join from anywhere other than an established guest network access point.

Cisco Connect’s Parental Controls are also available for the blockage of particular web searches. All in all, this MU-MIMO covered router gives you reliability, speed, and much more.

Other Features

  • Advanced security systems
  • Easy set-up
  • Reliable connection
  • Guest networks easy to set up, if you require a guest network
Pros
  • These routers are reliable and come with 4 ethernet ports and one USB port
  • Very fast transfer speed
Cons
  • Performance weakens after initial installation
  • User interface is hard to use

5.ASUS N300 Wireless Router

ASUS N300 Wireless Router

Performance

The ASUS 3-in-1 Wireless Router provides an access point, range extender, and router modes all in one compact device – saving you several square feet in storing it. Compare to other systems such as the TP-Link Archer, this router presents 4 powerful SSIDs to give practical bandwidth management and a throughput of up to 300 Mbps.

With two detachable 5dBi antennas for powerful, wide coverage, these routers offer many features for efficient functioning. They’ve got the whole package in one must-have purchase, and are the solution to weak connections in many environments. As purchases go, this load is one you definitely won’t regret.

Other Features

  • Perfect for any instance or housing set up
  • Offers fabulous functioning straight out of the box
  • Perfect for families with a spectrum of large usage
  • Trusted brand and customer support availability
Pros
  • This product has capability of supporting any thing you want, from smartphones to laptops – it’s got your back
  • Fast speed for all of your downloads – so you can get that perfect playlist ready for all your parties
Cons
  • Router updates provide a bit slower functioning
  • Sometimes, the router resets itself according to certain reviews

Best Budget Wireless Router Under $100

6.NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi Fi Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi Fi Router

Performance

This Smart cheap wireless router offers premium performance. With coverage up to 1500 square feet and a speed of up to 1750 Mbps, and equipped with Armor security, these routers are highly impressive.

With 4 Ethernet ports and 1 USB 3.0 port, the connectivity offered by these routers are really good for all of your Wi Fi needs. the Netgear Nighthawk offers capacity for up to 25 devices, as well as Beamforming plus and dynamic QoS.

Other Features

  • USB Port available: USB 3.0 port
  • Beamforming
  • Fast Wi Fi performance from the 1 GHz dual core processor
  • Reliability in streaming, playing games, listening to music, and more
Pros
  • This dual band wi fi device can support up to 25 devices and has brilliant throughput no matter the number of guest signals
  • These wi fi processors are compatible with a range of OSs such as Microsoft Windows 7
Cons
  • Wi Fi processor is a 1GHz as opposed to a 5GHz band
  • Customer service

7.MOTOROLA AC2600

MOTOROLA AC2600

Performance

The Motorola wi fi router offers smart technology with extended range. They provide high speeds and intelligent links, whilst giving you premium Wi Fi across all Ethernet-capable devices.

Wherever you are, you won’t have any Wi Fi noise from neighbors – these routers are targeted, focused, and efficient. The dual band Wi Fi offered, as well as Gigabit Ethernet ports, connects to any and all chosen devices via Ethernet ports or LAN ports to deliver speedy Wi Fi that you won’t get anywhere else.

There’s an option of 2.4 Wi fi or Wi fi 5 GHz bands, so the power is truly in your hands. The user can truly have their pick of settings, making this device worth the money and a clear advantage.

Other Features

  • Implicit and explicit beamforming
  • High communicating speeds
  • Easy connection and setup of this Wi Fi through Gigabit ethernet ports and more
  • All pros; cons limited
  • High throughput performance
Pros
  • Wi Fi: 5 Ghz or 2.4 Ghz, so you have options
  • This kind of system is a premium pick as far as tech goes – it has a special kind of speed to download all audio or video files
Cons
  • Settings and configurations limited
  • Dropping connection according to some reviewers – pay attention to this because it will make all the difference

8.TP-Link Archer AC1900 C9

TP-Link Archer AC1900 C9

Performance

This TP Link Archer C7 is another one of our brilliant Wi Fi routers, which offers connectivity via an ethernet port and a wide coverage area. As AC routers go, this is definitely one of our favorites.

The Wi Fi speed reaches up to 1300 Mbps, with Wi Fi 5 Ghz band size. There’s also an option for 450 Mbps and 2.4 GHz bands, if 5GHz bands don’t take your fancy.

At a low price, easy set up, and your choice of connectivity via USB ports, these ultimate range Wi Fi routers are a site to behold, especially compared to their contemporary Archer C50 models. Range extenders aplenty, this network provider will give you the high speeds and support needed for all of your devices in the home, from mobile phone devices to laptop devices.

Other Features

  • Fabulous coverage
  • Fast Wi Fi speed
  • As AC devices go, these offer some of the best support for access at a low price
Pros
  • Compatible with any Android or iOs device
  • Connectivity support via Ethernet ports and USB 3.0 ports
Cons
  • Some argue this isn’t a house favorite and isn’t worth the price you pay
  • Some users express disappointment with speeds of customer service

9.TRENDnet AC2600

TRENDnet AC2600

Performance

The next cool number in our list is preferred by many people, compared to products such as those from Linksys. These products are the TRENDnet routers, and they’re perfect for users who want the next best bandwidth for their homes with a security to match the great speeds and coverage.

Users particularly like specs such as the small size and 4 speedy gigabit ports; as people note that 4 ports is a brilliant number for choice within the design. What’s more, the concurrent dual-band quad-stream technology gives these products speeds of up to 733 Mbps, which is highly impressive.

Built for the busiest homes, the MU-MIMO technology offered with these bandwidth devices gives an amazing coverage and efficient speeds for all the family.

Other Features

  • MU-MIMO technology
  • Advanced beamforming technology for faster speeds and efficient design
  • Bandwidth provided by dual band processor
Pros
  • Fast streaming speeds makes this one of the better options on the list for streaming ability
  • Versatile use, perfect for watching movies, security cameras, or gaming
Cons
  • Frequent rebooting and flippant coverage/ speeds
  • Customer service and protection policies

Best Affordable Wireless Routers Under $300

10.Asus RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Router

Asus RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Router

Performance

Our best routers under $300 are the Asus Tri-Band Routers. With lag-free technology and a lifetime security policy, these offer effective coverage across a range of bands and are therefore perfect for gaming and other functions. They provide easy stream abilities and are one of the options with lower prices on this site.

With built-in USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, data transfers have never been more speedy. Smart Connect technology automatically selects the fastest band for each individual device, whilst the ASUSWRT graphical user interface provides easy, hassle-free set up.

ASUS AiCloud 2.0 allows you to share, sync, and access files anywhere, whilst the large coverage capacities make this ASUS model perfect for large homes.

Other Features

  • ASUS WRT user interface
  • Beamforming tech
  • Tri-band processors
  • Low latency online gaming provided by speeds of up to 3200 Mbps
Pros
  • ASUS offer extremely fast file sharing and usage of these routers across different bands
  • ASUS AiRadar beamforming tech provides unrivalled speeds
Cons
  • Customer support from ASUS is weak
  • Wi Fi plan is hard to edit and control

Wi Fi Routers FAQ

Of course, you’ll have a bunch of questions before you start your search to to know your antennas from your LANs. Here’s what you need to know.

How do I reduce WiFi interference?

WiFi is supposed to offer you advantages over wired connections. From MU-MIMO technology, to 5GHz bandwidths. It’s a pain when this doesn’t go to plan, and your high-end router all of a sudden gives you low-end wi fi signal.

However, there are some handy things you can do to reduce Wi Fi interference, so you can get back to online gaming, watching movies, or whatever you fancy on multiple devices, no less.

  1. Relocate the router away from nearby electrical appliances or dense building materials – as these obstacles are one of the most common sources of interference
  2. Unplug devices and appliances when they aren’t in use
  3. Avoid having too many wireless gadgets in the same confined spaces at one time
  4. Try using a different frequency bandwidth, i.e. upgrade from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz.
  5. Consider upgrading your router or its firmware; as newer technologies can safeguard you against the weaknesses of older technologies

What is the best WiFi router for large home?

Any large home has many people, and these people are realistically going to be doing different things. From using a game console or gaming console for an online game, to HD video streaming, to pretty much all else you can think of.

In order for all of these needs to be met with many pros, cons being minimal, you’ll need a Wi Fi router adapted to the internet speeds of a large home.

Personally, we recommend the budget routers of NETGEAR, particularly the NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi Fi Router, which uses AC1900 and has lots of connectivity options, such as an ethernet cable or range extender.

What are the best wireless routers?

The best wireless routers are going to give you a brilliant internet signal range, an easy setup process, an agreeable price point, and a range of frequency band widths. This will increase the speed and coverage of your network technology, providing you with the support you need to undertake a bunch of different activities, such as data streams.

Our favorite on the market, which come with easy setup and control, a decent bandwidth, sophisticated design and – most importantly – agreeable prices, is the Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router.

Why not progress a step further? If you’ve got 100 bucks to spare and really like HD streaming, it might be worth having a router makeover and enlisting a bunch of swanky features such as a VPN server, that even the most sophisticated gaming routers have, to get the best speeds and strength of connection with ease.

What to look for in the cheapest wifi router?

We pride ourselves on clear communication on all parts of customer service, providing a strong front and effective service. This makes all of your lives easier, meaning you can find a quality product to splash the cash on.

To find the best router in your chosen category, that allows desktop and laptop gameplay, little buffering, reliability to high effect, and compatibility with devices you’re using and their configuration, you’ll need to put in a bit of legwork.

Yes, it’s sometimes difficult to embark upon internet surfing, amongst the underside of ratings and comment reviews to find customers that are happy with the stories they’ve told you.

In most cases, examples of what to search for in your router can be found in our earlier considerations section, which was crafted with love and consideration for our customers – providing only the best recommendations on this page, for their lifestyle and rights as customers. Here we’ve been sure to take care and find you your target router, whether you’re internet browsing on tablets or checking Facebook on your phone.

Scroll back up to read our considerations in this topic, to make sure you get the best choices tailored to you and your ways of browsing.