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The digital revolution has made the router the unofficial heart of any home or office. With so many devices reliant on the internet to function, it is crucial to have a functioning router to support them all.
Because they are so essential, manufacturers have been known to price routers prohibitively high – after all, when something is such a necessity, one can charge whatever one pleases. Many internet service providers will also charge extra unless one of their routers is attached, or possibly just refuse to provide service altogether.
All of this can leave users in more than a little of a bind – after all, there is simply no getting around the importance of the internet in the modern world. The average user, though, will not want to fork over hundreds of dollars on top of their subscription fees, no matter how powerful a router they will be receiving in return.
Naturally, this widespread demand for affordable routers has created its own field of budget devices suitable for everyone. While these may not be the thing for high-speed gaming and UHD video streams, they will nevertheless help you stay connected and in the black.
Since there are so many of these devices, it can be easy to get a little confused which is the right one. Here are the five best options to help you narrow it down.
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Best Router Under 100 – Comparison Table
|EDITOR’S CHOICE||1. Medialink MLWR-AC1200R
|RUNNER UP||2. D-Link DIR-867-US
|3. MOTOROLA MR1700
|4. Linksys EA6350-EJ
|5. NETGEAR R6230
OuBest Router Under 100 Reviews and Comparisons
1. Medialink MLWR-AC1200R
This router emphasizes speed and versatility by coupling easily with leading networks and serving as a wifi extender as well.
- 1000MB/s Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 2.4 and 5 GH/z channels
- Covers 2000 square feet
What We Like About Medialink MLWR-AC1200R
This router can be a wifi extender or create its own network, making it a good buy for multiple purposes.
What We Don’t Like About Medialink MLWR-AC1200R
This router does not support some of the more popular firewall formats, necessitating protection for individual devices.
- Beamforming, even with only two aerials
- Guest access control
- Ethernet speeds are well beyond the standard
- Proprietary firewall to make up for software incompatibilities
- Strong parental controls
- Limited third-party firmware support
- Not compatible with external firewalls
2. D-Link DIR-867-US
This router includes a number of features ordinarily associated with a much more expensive model.
- 450MB/s transfer speed
- 2.4 and 5 GHz channels
- 60 GHz processor
What We Like About D-Link DIR-867-US
This router includes four high-sensitivity aerials, intelligent service adjustment, and management software not often seen for this price
What We Don’t Like About D-Link DIR-867-US
Due to design flaws, filters need to be implemented on each port individually.
- Fast processing
- Four aerials for improved reception and signal strength
- White and black list support
- Intelligent service provider switches devices to higher or lower bandwidth channels at need
- Intuitive administration page
- Factory reset glitch has been reported
- Ports need to be filtered individually instead of assigned all at once
3. MOTOROLA MR1700
Tap into Motorola’s long history of communications devices with this powerful budget router.
- 2.4 and 5 GHz channels
- Dual-core processing
- Four Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 3.0 outlet
What We Like About MOTOROLA MR1700
Even without beamforming, this router’s many aerials give an unusually precise and powerful signal through large spaces or thick wall
What We Don’t Like About MOTOROLA MR1700
This router’s transfer speed is far slower than that of similar products, only rarely breaking 100Mb/s
- Easy setup
- Large number of aerials
- Two year warranty
- Proprietary antenna for each band
- Many user-friendly settings included
- Antennae are relatively stiff and fragile
- Slow transfer speed
4. Linksys EA6350-EJ
Get this router for a fast and easy network solution perfect for the modest home and wallet.
- 1.2 GB/s transfer speed
- Dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz reception
- Range up to 1000 square feet
What We Like About Linksys EA6350-EJ
This router’s minimal size and fast setup make it a convenient addition to any home.
What We Don’t Like About Linksys EA6350-EJ
This router’s range and power are not comparable to similar devices.
- Minimal space requirements
- Relatively cheap
- Quick and simple setup
- Gigabit Ethernet ports boosted for 10x speed of normal ports
- Empty channels devoted to open connections to reduce buffering
- Shorter range than other routers
- Relatively low signal strength
5. NETGEAR R6230
Netgear has long been the default name for exceptional routers in the high-tech community, and it brings the same quality to those shopping on a lower budget as well.
- Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 1200 square feet coverage
- 880 MHz processor
What We Like About NETGEAR R6230
Netgear provides its signature software packages with this router, including a powerful security package, family-friendly settings, and guest and device management
What We Don’t Like About NETGEAR R6230
As with many Netgear devices, this router requires the proprietary Nighthawk application to manage most of the settings.
- Integrated and expansive security package
- Compatible with all operating systems
- USB connectivity
- Nighthawk app for complete control
- Connects more than 20 active devices
- Mobile app needed for router management
- No beamforming capability
Quality internet might approach a basic need for the modern family, but that shouldn’t mean giving up on others. With these devices, you can keep a home or office connected without breaking the bank.
It is worth noting that for many of these routers, the main savings come in the form of reduced integrated software, including content filters and security programs. Users should make sure to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and those around them.
As many of these routers are relatively short-ranged, larger buildings may find themselves in need of a repeater to provide a signal to all areas. Depending on the repeater and connection, it may be worth the extra funds to get a more powerful router in the first place.