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Demand for better Wi-Fi in your house will keep growing as long as internet-milking devices increase or upgrade, and are supported by a router that shortchanges you. Before you toss the current culprit into the bin or try shredding it out of anger, realize that a router makeover must a well informed decision. Yes, you need a faithful router; one that meets all of your internet cravings and then more, but the best wireless router does not have to cost more than 100 bucks.
When should you upgrade your router?
Technology changes faster than the month can count thirty. Just when you think your router is the Kahuna of the wireless world, CNN announces a new kid in the block; big, bad and brutal!
What to do?
First, observe the times. Know what your current router can and cannot do by visiting the vendor’s website and reading through its specifications.
If words such as Beamforming+, MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output), Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6, 1GHz dual-core processor or better, dual-band and Cybersecurity don’t pop up, consider it garbage material.
A router that has served you for three years may not speak the same language as those in the market, regardless of how well it seems to perform.
It may not also understand half the language the internet signal desires or the kind demanded by the programs you run.
Netflix and online games are leading examples.
A call to your Internet Service Provider may lead to them persuading you to buy a higher package; not always the solution.
But even if you buy in, that won’t help if your router doesn’t understand current technologies and standards.
Second, watch its habits. A router that keeps dropping the signal, denying you vivid pictures while streaming, crashing the Skype call or breaking webpages, should migrate to the dustbin.
Test the signal speed and strength around the house every time you experience such hardships and in a month of consistent bad services, you know for sure, it is time for a router makeover.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with buying a new router just because you can.
Think about it, if you have developed intimate love for gaming in the last few months, chances are, your current router wasn’t built for that lifestyle.
But Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router (WRT32X) was.
As long as your reason for upgrading will give you better results than you had with the last culprit, go for it.
Then there’s one more question to consider,
Will a better router increase Internet speed?
Yes and No. You be the judge.
No, if your new ‘better’ router is a single band; running on 2.4GHz band alone. Your Wi-Fi needs may still outweigh its capabilities.
No, if the router’s location is far from your device and you are receiving a degraded signal.
Consider adding a Wi-Fi range extender to keep all your devices well serviced by your router.
And no if your original internet signal is low right from the modem level or the Internet Service Provider.
But if the modem and ISP are feeding you with a good signal, you have the divine right to blame the router.
So, Yes to a new router for better internet speed if you get a router that has the technological muscle to meet all your Internet needs.
Re-read the technology and standard paragraph above.
Consider the needs of all the current users in your network, and then add possible needs your relatives’ and friends’ devices may introduce to the network this year before you settle for the best wireless router from the list below.
Here Are 10 Best Budget Routers Under $100
Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R6700)
An average home with a monthly Wi-Fi budget has a minimum of four devices craving for the internet at any one time.
With some members having more than one of such gadgets and the possibility of a guest who sits in a little longer than planned, the number shoots to over 10.
How do you satisfy this clan with good enough internet?
Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router can feed up to 25 devices with high-speed internet; all accessing different services at up to 1.75Gbps dual-band speed.
Powered by a 1GHz Dual-core Processor and 256MB RAM, the router uses three detachable antennas to feed devices within 1,500 square feet of your house.
The Wi-Fi signal is streamed to the specific devices on an individual basis instead of broadcasting and the devices playing catch, courtesy of Beamforming+ technology.
It comes with one USB 3.0 port to connect your printer or access a shared storage device, five gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN, 4 LAN) and embraces standards ranging from 802.11a to 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) shared between 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
By choosingNighthawk AC1750 router, you safeguard your network from possible cyber threats and Denial-of-Service attacks through NETGEAR Amor by Bitdefender.
You also have the opportunity to create a separate guest network for your friends, off your main network.
All devices’ security status is monitored and controlled from one point.
But that’s not all, Circle with Disney enables you to regulate how various devices in the network access the internet; Parental Control.
You never have to worry if your kids are accessing dangerous sites or accessing the internet deep in the night while they should be sleeping. Lock their devices during those hours!
Top that up with the availability of Google Assistance enabling you to control your home network using voice commands and you will see that fast internet management just got easier.
Linksys AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router for Home (EA6350)
Hosting a sleepover in your apartment can turn out hectic without good Wi-Fi. Trust Linksys AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router to remedy that and much more!
With the ability to feed up to 10 devices with fast, secure and dependable internet within the range of 1,000 square feet, this router enables all devices to focus on their activity of choice without discriminating.
Let your friends chat, Skype, email, surf, bring down enemies’ castles, listen to music and binge watch on Netflix, each getting a focused stream of data courtesy of Linksys AC1200 Dual-band Wi-Fi router’s Beamforming+ capabilities!
The router comes with five gigabit Ethernet ports, one for your modem and the rest to connect devices in need of wired connection such as your TV, game console and PC.
With the USB 3.0 port, share data from your network storage device.
Linksys AC1200 runs of a single-core processor has two non-detachable external antennas to eliminate the chances of dead zones in your apartment and can operate in two modes; wireless router and bridge.
It supports four networking standards 802.11a, b, n, and ac; note this if you ever need to extend your Wi-Fi signal to the poolside or backyard. Your extender must support such.
TP-Link AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
Best known as Archer C7, this router delivers high-speed internet of up to 1.75Gbps within 2,500 square feet range to feed about 50 internet-hungry mobile devices. It is best known for 4K streaming but won’t leave a gamer dry.
The dual-band capability allows Archer C7 to separate users’ demands according to their traffic intensity.
Emailing, chatting and surfing is left to the 2.4GHz band using Wi-Fi 4 standard while streaming and gaming is handled by 5GHz band on Wi-Fi 5.
The three external antennas and high power amplifiers ensure extraordinary speeds for all activities within a large coverage.
Devices needing wired connections have four LAN ports at their disposal while your printer or storage device connects through the USB 2.0.
Should you need a separate home or office life from your guests, with Archer C7, you can set a different network for them.
Put an end to the worry about who is accessing what from the Internet; the router has parental controls to help you choose what users can access and it supports Ipv6 for even better security.
Netgear N600 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router (WNDR3400)
This 802.11n dual-band router is suitable for a medium-sized home with everyday internet access needs.
It operates at up to 600Mbps while ensuring ultimate security for all devices in the network through double firewall protection, WPA/WPA2, and DoS attack prevention. Guests can use a separate and secure network from the family.
Despite its small size, it has five Ethernet ports; 1 WAN + 4 LAN, for the wired devices and one USB 2.0 port for your network storage device.
Netgear N600 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router is easy to configure and manage the router.
The free NETGEAR genie enables you to monitor the devices on the network, provide parental control on network usage and repair the network when things go haywire as they usually do.
It also helps you add new devices on to the network and throw out those unwanted.
Due to its ability to use both bands; 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the same time, interference is reduced giving you a Wi-Fi signal you can count on.
You are assured of a strong, secure and stable internet connection throughout your gaming, streaming and surfing sessions.
Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router
If you are looking for extreme speeds for gaming and 4K streaming, this router is all you need.
Through Beamforming+ technology and the reinforcement of two external omnidirectional high powered antennas, Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router ensures every device craving for high-speed internet receives focused attention to appeasing the user.
Wireless devices enjoy 1.2Gbps while the wired devices have 1Gbps. That also strikes off possibilities of dead zones in your home as the two features provide all aspects of Wi-Fi range extenders.
Besides availing a separate and secure guest network for non-family members, Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router comes with a full-bodied firewall and WPA/WPA2-PSK for ultimate security.
You can also set the parental controls to filter content being accessed, time of access and shut out sites that may victimize the rest of the network.
It comes with five gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB 2.0 port for NTFS support only; printers are not supported by it. Use the Gigabit Ethernet LAN port for your printer instead.
TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Smart Wi-Fi Router (Archer A6)
The Archer A6 router is built to serve data-hungry devices without a hint of lagging or buffering.
The dual-band router ensures simultaneous HD streaming and gaming on multiple devices served by the 5GHz band while the 2.4GHz serves devices with lesser cravings; those emailing, surfing and chatting.
It also employs Beamforming technology for device-focused wireless coverage.
While its price-mates fail at range coverage, TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Smart Wi-Fi Router has one internal and four external antennas to send the signal to the farthest corner of your house. Say goodbye to dead zones!
Once switched to access point mode, Archer A6 can share the wired network to the wireless devices; there are five Ethernet ports at your disposal.
Though it lacks USB port, your printer or Network storage can join the network via the Ethernet ports.
Managing the entire network should not worry you, with TP-Link Tether App running on your smartphone; you have the power in your hands.
The router operates on 802.11ac standard but is open to affairs with its predecessors.
TP-Link AX1500 Smart Wi-Fi Router (Archer AX10)
Besides the amazing looks, the Archer AX10 router is a total show. It runs on the latest wireless standard Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) hence embracing both MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies to wipe out all possible data holdup.
But it also supports all previous 802.11 standards for compatibility with other Wi-Fi devices.
None of this would work unless backed by a powerful processor; 1.5GHz tri-core processor, 256MB RAM and 16MB Flash keeping the communication buffering-free.
Using Wi-Fi 6 means an overall upgrade to your home network. Devices in the network communicate at thrilling speeds of up to 1.5Gbps.
The dual-band router ensures divine 4K streaming and gaming all day long while supporting lots of devices in the network yet without compromising any.
Its four high power external antennas are in charge of having your whole house under immense Wi-Fi rain.
Since not all devices desire to communicate all the time, Archer AX10 uses Target Wake Time to agree with them how often they want to hear from it. That reduces power wastage.
Like all recent routers from this vendor, TP-Link AX1500 Smart Wi-Fi Router’s network is set up and managed best via TP-Link Tether App.
Choose the family devices, set what guests can or cannot do and keep your kids safe with smart parental control while at it.
JupLink AX1500 Dual Band AX Wi-Fi Router
Have you been dreaming of upgrading from 4K to 8K streaming and using VR at home?
Then you are on time for the AX1500 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router. The router is built on one of the most powerful processors in the networking industry; 1.5GHz 64-bit Tri-core processor.
It also embraces MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies. That guarantees fast-blazing speeds of communication between the router and the devices in the network, synchronized data delivery to multiple devices while observing precision, efficiency, and low latency.
This kind of Wi-Fi power should serve large areas, a good reason why AX1500 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router’s signal serves up to 2,500 square feet and over 25 devices.
That’s adequate for your house, yard and the poolside. All devices, including those in the basement, are well served without hints of buffering. No chances of dead zones.
Despite the advancement of networking standard used, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), AX1500 router accommodates devices using previous standards. It comes with five-gigabit ports but no USB.
It also comes with smart parental control to help you filter the data accessed on the network and when.
Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router (WRT32X)
Don’t kill your love for gaming over a bad deal with your current router; Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router is built for this purpose as a matter of priority. Looks included.
Armed with a 1.8GHz dual-core processor to deliver up to 3.2 Gbps Next-Gen AC Wi-Fi speeds, this router gives you the mandate to make and keep you as the kingpin at your game.
It has high power amplifiers and four high-performance external antennas for wide coverage backed up by dual-band for strong connection and tri-stream 160 for expanded bandwidth.
To keep you ready for your daily hunts, Linksys updates the router’s custom-made firmware overnight without bothering you so you have the latest features and remain secure all through.
It comes with four gigabit Ethernet ports to connect your TV, PC, game consoles and two USB ports; 2.0 and 3.0 for your printer and network storage devices.
Since there are other devices in your network that must continue with their lives as you bring down the enemy’s camp, Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router uses Killer Prioritization Engine to ensure gaming traffic is given the boss-respect whether you are on a wired or wireless network.
Keep a tab on your network activity using the router’s interface and observe how traffic, network storage, and VPN are behaving as you and your fellow users milk the internet of the router.
Like all advanced Linksys routers, AC3200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router embraces MU-MIMO so your gaming traffic won’t delay those video streaming or surfing; each has dedicated data stream to prevent unnecessary delays. Expect smooth gameplay and lag-free experience.
Linksys Max-Stream AC4000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router (EA9300)
This list would be incomplete without this Tri-band router built on 1.8GHz quad-core processor and three offload processors delivering insane Wi-Fi speeds of up to 4Gbps!
Linksys Max-Stream AC4000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router comes with six adjustable high gain antennas to maintain strong and stable Wi-Fi throughout your house.
It also employs MU-MIMO to ensure all users in your household carry on their gaming, streaming and all other bandwidth-intensive activities at the same time without the slightest hint of lag.
That doesn’t mean the lighter tasks are ignored.
The Tri-band experience means three bands instead of the usual two commons in most routers; one 2.4GHz running at 750 Mbps and two 5GHz at 1625 Mbps each.
While the first band services older wireless devices and tasks that are less demanding on bandwidth, the other two serve the heavy feeders; huge downloads, gaming, 4K, and 8K streaming.
Add to these three simultaneous data streams on each band and Beamforming technology, each device on the network will have a thrill of its lifetime.
That’s what EA9300 router delivers to you.
Expect the usual culprits in most Linksys routers; five gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB ports – 3.0 and 2.0, and smooth management over Linksys App on your mobile phone.
That satisfies all the Wi-Fi needs of your network users.
Now that you have picked the most suitable wireless router for your home or office network, the next best thing is to set where it would serve you best.
Consider placing it in an open and central location in your house. Power it up and use your mobile phone to test how well the signal is distributed around the house.
The fewer the signal bars on your phone, the lesser its strength. This should guide you to move it as far as your modem can allow. Note that concrete walls, closed doors, and floors degrade the signal.
While these routers can work on their own, if your house is bigger than the router’s signal can reach, a Wi-Fi range extender is needed to push the signal to the remaining distance.
That doesn’t mean that the router has failed or that the vendor told a lie; you only have more space than it can cover, considering the presence of concrete walls too.
If you must use an extender, make sure the network standards and related technologies of the two relate. That will help you take advantage of such benefits.
But if your house has several floors to it, a router may not solve your problem. Consider going the Mesh-based system way.
That’s a different technology, costs more but worth the expenditure.
The hard to ignore the bit about the above list of best wireless routers under 100 bucks is availability of wired connections. Don’t waste the resource; it will benefit your network.
That’s why most of the routers include an Ethernet cable in the package.