It’s game night at your place, and the whole squad is over. After some trouble connecting to WiFi, your team is finally ready to go. Eager to begin, you hop into a game of Fortnite and start taking out the competition left and right. Your screens flash a multitude of colors as you battle it out for dominance. The adrenaline is rushing, and you’re about the clutch the win. Then, the WiFi shuts off and boots your whole team from the game. All because you failed to pick up the best router under $100.
Don’t be that guy! The best router under $100 is an affordable way to get a reliable connection that can handle a household of users. No more sacrificing on performance – the best $100 router is plenty fast enough to obliterate the competition. This article takes you through the top options on the market and offers a look at how to maximize your setup. Ready for high speed & performance that doesn’t break the bank? Let’s get started.
Zoom Out: Comparison Table of the Best Routers Under $100
We’ve curated this comparison table to help you find the best router under $100 for your setup. The options are listed in price-ascending order and categorized by features. Need more info? Click the product name to Zoom In for a closer look.
|1. Linksys Router AC1000||2||1000 Mbps||Check Price|
|2. TP-Link AC1750||3||1750 Mbps||Check Price|
|3. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750||3||1750 Mbps||Check Price|
|4. Motorola AC2600||4||2600 Mbps||Check Price|
|5. ARRIS SURFboard AC1900||1||1900 Mbps||Check Price|
Zoom In: A Closer Look at the Best Routers Under $100 in 2021
Next, let’s take a closer look to find the best router under $100 on the market.
1. Linksys Router AC1000
Our pick for the best router under $50
If you’re on a tight budget, the Linksys AC1000 is the way to go. Offering speeds up to 1 Gbps via 2.4 and 5 GHz dual-bands, you can expect fast and reliable performance at a fraction of the cost. Moreover, this best wireless router under $50 offers a simple plug-and-play setup. Quit worrying about the technical mumbo jumbo and get back to gaming today.
- Plug-and-play setup and installation
- Simultaneous 2.4 + 5 GHz bands for enhanced speed
- WPA2 encryption w/ SPI firewall for advanced security
- Speeds cap at 1000 Mbps
- No USB ports for media connectivity
2. TP-Link AC1750
Our pick for the best home router under $100
The TP-Link AC1750 is the best AC router under $100, bar none. It provides exceptional wireless connectivity on the 802.11AC band while guaranteeing speeds of roughly 1750 Mbps. Moreover, the AC1750 is an excellent unit for standard and gaming households alike, as it covers up to 2,500 square feet and is a cinch to integrate with Smart Assistants like Amazon Alexa. A fantastic router at a great price.
- 4 lightning-fast LAN ports
- TP-Link Tether Smart App w/ Amazon Alexa
- 3 external antennas provide 2,500 square feet of range and reliability
- Uses older USB 2.0 technology
- Setup can be challenging for non-techies
3. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750
Our pick for the best gaming router under $100
The NETGEAR Nighthawk line of routers is designed with gamers in mind. No more lagging out during matches. This bad boy offers fast dual-band WiFi that can handle up to 25 devices with ease. Plug in using the 4 wired ethernet ports, or connect on the AC network for fast and reliable service. As for security? The AC1750 ensures safety and peace of mind with powerful Armor Cyber-Threat Protection Software.
- Easy setup via the Nighthawk App
- 1500 feet of coverage at speeds up to 1750 Mbps
- NETGEAR Armor Software provides multi-layered security
- 25 device recommended limit
- Advanced security protection costs extra
4. Motorola AC2600
Our pick for the best WiFi router under $100
Motorola has been in the game for awhile, and their latest offering shows us why. The AC2600 is an unbeatable deal that undercuts competitors by over $50. Nowhere else will you find dual-band speeds at 2600 Mbps with Beamforming and Smart QoS for such a low price. And though this router is relatively bare-bones in terms of extras, it’s definitely the best router for $100 that your money can buy.
- Clocks in at 2600 Mbps via 2.4 & 5 GHz bands
- 4 independent antennas w/ Beamforming offer enhanced reliability
- Features a powerful dual-core processor backed by Smart QoS Support
- No firmware monitoring
- At $100 on the dot, it eats up your entire budget
5. ARRIS SURFboard AC1900
Our pick for the best modem & router under $100
Seeking the best modem & router combo under $100? The ARRIS SURFboard lets you ride the (cyber)waves in style. Offering quick speeds up to 1900 Mbps, this modem/router is compatible with all major providers and ensures a stable connection for all your online activities. From simple web surfing to gaming with the pals, this affordable unit is everything you need and more.
- Modem & router 2-in-1 combo unit
- Delivers blazing-fast speeds up to 1900 Mbps
- Compatible with all major cable providers
- Costs a little bit over $100
- Slightly lower-than-average WiFi range
Router Guide Part I: What to Look for in a Router Under $100
Routers don’t need to be complicated. But there are a few things to consider when choosing the best wireless router under $100 for your setup.
First off, you’ll need one that’s reliable and secure. Fortunately, all the options on our list feature stable connections backed by today’s cutting-edge encryption standards and software. That leaves us with optional features that can be customized to suit your individual needs. Let’s take a look at the main 3 you should focus on.
As you might expect, speed is a top priority when deciding on the best router under $100. The models on our list feature speeds that range from 1000 Mbps up to 2600 Mbps. Our recommendation? If you’ve got a small household with just a couple dedicated users (like you and your partner), a basic model like the Linksys AC1000 will do just fine.
But if there are lots of people on your network, speeds will slow considerably. In these instances, we’d highly recommend shelling out the extra money for a 1750+ unit.
Coverage is another critical factor, as each router is built to extend a certain distance and accommodate a specific number of devices. That’s why it’s important to choose a reliable model that shares the network among numerous users, e.g., the NETGEAR Nighthawk.
In terms of coverage area, we recommend choosing a model with 3 or more external antennas. 3+ antennas typically provides ample coverage for houses up to 2,500 square feet.
Last on our list of considerations is ports. Each router featured in this article is configured with a certain number of LAN, WAN, and USB ports. In order, these are used to connect devices to the local network, access the modem, and share files across WiFi.
LAN and WAN ports are essential, while USB is an enticing extra. If you opt for a USB-equipped model, we recommend USB 3.0 for cutting-edge speed.
If you enjoyed our roundup of the best routers under $100, you’re sure to dig our other product curations as well: