By Etha Mathilde
Updated May 14, 2018
7 Best Cheap Routers 2018

It can be intimidating to configure and play around networking technology, which is why most prefer simpler router models.  Simple isn’t so bad when it comes to cost either. See, cheap routers tend to be straightforward but still get the job done for less than $50.

Now, if you’re concerned about speeds note that even high tech router WiFi speeds aren’t always consistent with advertising. Many things will affect your internet speed from your ISP subscription to the environment, which the manufacturer rarely mentions.

If you’re more into practical speeds for simple applications and usage a simple router would do fine. In this light, cheaper single-band, lower bandwidth routers would fit your household. However, if you need something more robust that supports multiple Netflix subscriptions simultaneously streaming, these picks may not be for you.

Meanwhile, if you’re out for a budget router, we’ve picked these best routers for less than $50 on the market.

Product
Image
RouterPortsSecurity FeaturesOther Features 
Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Linksys Connect Including Parental Controls & Advanced Settings (E1200)Linksys N300 (E2100)• 4 Ethernet Ports
• 1 WAN
• WPA/WPA2 encryption
• SPI firewall
• Guest and parental controls
• Easy set up
• MIMO ready
• Wireless N technology
Buy on Amazon
TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (Archer C5)TP Link Archer C50 (AC1200)• 4 Ethernet Ports
• 1 WAN Port
• 1 USB 2.0 Port
• Guest and parental controls
• WEP, WPA/WPA2
• IPV6 support
• Supports Amazon Alexa
• TP-Link Tether App
• Dual-band Gigabit router
Buy on Amazon
RAVPower Wireless Router AC750, WiFi Dual Band 2.4GHz / 5GHz, USB port, IP QoS, MAC Address & Client Filtering, Parental Control, Bandwidth Control, Compact Profile (RP-ND007)RAVPower AC750• 1 USB 2.0 Port
• 4 Ethernet Ports
• MAC address and client filtering
• Parental control
• WPA/WPA2
• Dual-band
• 802.11c WiFi
• Quick set up
• IP QoS
Buy on Amazon
TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Nano Router - WiFi Bridge/Range Extender/Access Point/Client Modes(TL-WR802N)TP-Link N300• 4 Ethernet Ports• Guest and parental controls
• WPA/WPA2
• Wireless N technology
• Backward compatible (including 802.11 b/g)
• IP QoS
• IPv6 support
Buy on Amazon
NETGEAR AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router Fast Ethernet w/USB 2.0 (R6100-100PAS)NETGEAR AC1200 • 4 Ethernet Ports
• 1 USB 2.0
• Guest and parental controls
• WPA/WPA2
• WPS
• Dual band
• Backward compatible (including 802.11 b/g)
• Advanced QoS
• Netgear Genie app
Buy on Amazon
ASUS Wireless-N300 (Up to 300Mbps) Router with 2T2R MIMO Technology ideally for streaming 4K HD Video, placing VoIP calls, and performing other essential internet tasks (RT-N12)ASUS RT N-12 (Editor’s Choice)• 4 Ethernet Ports
• 1 USB 2.0
• 1 USB 3.0
• Guest and parental controls
• WPA/WPA2
• 4 SSID’s
• 3-in-1 router, extender and access point
• Advanced QoS
• Netgear Genie app
Buy on Amazon
HooToo Wireless Router AC1200, 4 Antennas USB 3.0 Port, Dual Band 2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi RouterHooToo AC1200• 4 Ethernet Ports
• 1 USB 3.0
• Guest and parental controls
• WPA/WPA2
• Dual band
• 802.11ac
Buy on Amazon

Our top picks each have their own useful feature packs including the basic security needs for network safety. Additionally, while these models are all below $50, you’ll notice they have good range and multiple ports available. Finally, they are all easy to install and set-up giving no hassle at all.

If you need a wireless router with a little over the basic specs for your network arrangement, consider the Linksys N300 (E1200). With up to 300Mbps in transfer rates, advanced Wireless-N tech (802.11n), and specs that support a slightly demanding network, you get good value for less than $50. The E1200 goes beyond your basic specs with its MIMO internal antenna technology alongside these other specs.

With these combined features, the E1200 boosts WiFi signal strength and provides an extended coverage area. Moreover, it has enough connections for a good hub of guest connections and wired connections. Plus, it also supports CICO connect for easy network and device management.

It’s easy to appreciate the advanced features on this router, especially considering its price. It’s not common to find the latest MIMO and Wireless-N technology on a sub $50 model. However, being a single-band router, it isn’t strong enough to host a LAN party or TWITCH live streaming.

Overall though, the E1200 smart choice for basic use while also supporting HD video streaming and large file transfers on WiFi.

Some customers feel it is underpowered and has a short range, though it’s just what to expect with a single band router.

Pros
  • Has Four Ethernet ports on its hub
  • Features advanced functions and features including: MIMO and Wireless-N tech
  • Internal antenna and simple design for aesthetics
  • CISCO connect compatible
  • Less than $50
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a USB port
  • Single-band only
  • Limited range

Overall, the E2100 makes a good hub and provides fair internet speeds for basic use. Moreover, many customers note how easy it is to set up and use.  It only supports single-band frequency, which can be limiting. However, that may be adequate if your usage isn’t too demanding. Considering its affordable price and feature set it gives good value for money.

TP-Link Archer AC1200 makes one of the best choices under $50 for its advanced feature set. This fast Ethernet router works on simultaneous Dual-band frequencies supporting speeds up to 300Mbps and 867 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands respectively.  This is just the right horsepower to support HD streaming on Netflix and play simple online games.

One other good thing about the AC1200 is that it supports 802.11ac while also compatible on 802.11n. Moreover, its Dual-band antennas provide additional coverage providing decent coverage around your house.  They keep connection strong, so you can worry less about losing signal as you move around.

Connectivity wise, the best possible performance however is around smaller spaces and homes with fewer users. This is most applicable in apartment or condo’s and single family homes. The unit itself is also small and doesn’t take up too much space, easily hidden in a small office or room.

As a hub, the AC1200 provides a good amount of connection options including four Ethernet ports and a USB port. Performance wise, it may leave room to impress still in comparison to models that are more expensive. To help better manage WiFi settings and accesses, you can download TP-Link’s Android and iOS mobile app.

Finally, to cap all these great features, it comes with a 2-year warranty and free support with setup assistance.

Some users had trouble with the OEM firmware

Pros
  • IPV6 support
  • Supports Amazon Alexa
  • TP-Link Tether App
  • Dual-band Gigabit router
  • Multiple ports, including USB
  • Good coverage
Cons
  • Unimpressive design
  • Limited range

Overall, the AC1200’s design is simple and unimpressive. However, it is a great buying choice considering its feature set. From advanced WiFi tech, a good connection hub, easy set up to its 2-year warranty.  Plus, in a sea of budget routers, this model is one of the fastest on the market.

There aren’t a lot of dual-band routers in this price range, plus it provides good coverage. Considering that, you get good value and features for a router under $50.

While Dual-band routers tend to be rare in the sub-$50 range, the RAVPower makes it possible. It easily makes it on our list of featured routers from the market for being Dual-band and its full feature set.  While RAVPower makes their name for their great value affordable charging devices, they did well on this budget router too.

The RAVPower AC750 starts of great value with its dual band nature. It supports speeds of 300Mbps and 433Mbps on the 2.GHz and 5GHzbands respectively. Additionally, it has 802.11ac WiFi to work on these speeds.  Meanwhile, they advertise that it takes less than a minute to setup; most customers find it takes a few minutes.

The RAVPowerAC750 also features a USB 2.0 port. So you can share files and media (photos, movies and music) through your network. Moreover, while it may seem to be a simple device, it does offer some security measures. This includes being able to whitelist/blacklist websites to keep children from accessing unsafe content or URLs. 

Other controls available with the RAVPower AC750 are the basic WPA/WPA2 security and IP QoS.

Some users say the signal isn’t consistent and tends to be spotty.

Pros
  • Dual-band
  • Parental and bandwidth controls
  • Good coverage
  • Easy to setup
Cons
  • Unimpressive design
  • Signal quality is intermittent in some areas.

Overall, the RAVPower AC750 makes an adequate router for simple uses and small households. Its Dual-band feature makes it standout against other budget routers. On top of that, it has the basic controls needed for safety and network efficiency. It provides all these while also being easy to use and setup.

The low price on this budget router might have some thinking it can’t be that good. However, you’d be surprised with what the TP-Link N300 offers for its price including Wireless N tech and IP QoS. Just note that best results occur in small spaces like a studio or small-apartment.

The TP-Link N300 supports up to 300Mbps in download speed. It’s just right for web browsing, video streaming, and playing basic online games. Meanwhile, the device is small and weighs 8.1 ounces, but well-built and sturdy. With that size, it doesn’t take up too much space and t stands well on a solid surface. You can also opt to mount it on the wall using its provided back holes.

Now, as you’d expect, there are things you can’t get for this price point. For one, The N300 doesn’t support Gigabit Ethernet. However, it has LAN and WAN ports for a modem connection and supports wireless connections via single-band 802.11n WiFi standard. This router also features a 2x2 dual-stream setup.

However, being single band means it can only access the 2.4GHz band (without access to the faster 5GHz frequency)This network can get congested if you have multiple smartphones and other smart devices in your home.  Meanwhile, you can complete set up in a snap, and you can get online within a few minutes.

Some users had problems with the OEM firmware

Pros
  • Compact and easy to place around the house
  • Wireless N technology
  • IP QoS
Cons
  • Single band only
  • Doesn’t support Gigabit Ethernet
  • Cannot support too many users

The TP-Link N300 is simple and straightforward. You can get online within minutes. However, the device' overall design is meant for basic use. It’s good enough to get you connected for basic internet needs for a budget price.

Netgear is one of the main go-to brands when it comes to routers. And while they have high-end routers for hundreds of dollars, they’ve released sub-$50 devices that are bang-for-the-buck. One of which, is the NETGEAR AC1200.This router makes our budget favorites for its sleek design, excellent feature set, and easy installation and setup.

The NETGEAR genie app supports its easy installation and setup; you can also opt to do it manually. While the former provides convenience, either way it’s easy to set up and connect to the device.

When it comes to speed, the NETGEAR AC1200 is an 802.11ac router. The WiFi version made to be the boosted version of the older 802.11n tech. However, it does work on both WiFi standards being backwards compatible.

Also supporting speed, it works on simultaneous dual-band WiFi technology, which supports combined speeds of up to 1200Mbps (300+867 Mbps). This means it works on both the 2.4GHzand 5 GHz bands. This means no spotty WiFi and enough speeds for uninterrupted multi-player online gaming as well as multiple HD video streaming.

Meanwhile, NETGEAR’s famous Beamforming+ technology isn’t included in this device. It’s not like theR6220 model, however, it doesn’t cost as much either. Amazon reviewers note how it does get the job done well and is easy to configure. If you’re looking for something simple, reliable, and affordable, this router is a good choice.

Some encountered issues after a firmware update

Pros
  • Effortless set up
  • Simultaneous dual-band
  • 802.11ac WiFi standard
  • Good speeds for its price
  • Good coverage
Cons
  • Doesn’t include NETGEAR Beamforming+ tech

For a sub-$50 router the NETGEAR AC1200 has an impressive feature set.  The combination of its simultaneous dual-band support along with 802.11ac WiFi standards enables fast speeds and good coverage. Meanwhile, if you do encounter any concerns with the unit, they’re support team has been well commended.

Overall, it may not be comparable to expensive models, but it is provides great value for money. You actually get more than what you pay for, and it’s good enough to get the job done.

This may be a budget router, but it’s one good enough a home office or small business network. Equipped with MIMO technology, the Asus RT-N12 provides good coverage area, which makes-up for lower advertised speeds. This tech makes use of multiple transmit and receive antennas in optimizing data exchange.

Apart from MIMO tech, the ASUS RT-N12 also has two detachable high-gain 5dBi antennas.  This design enables the device to extend WiFi coverage throughout the office space. This includes four service sets (SSIDs) that has dynamic bandwidth controls.

The combination makes it a perfect budget choice for office and commercial establishments who provide connectivity to multiple guests. Now, you may feel that that a 300Mbps throughput doesn’t seem much especially in comparison to our former listed routers. However, remember that advertised speeds may not always be completely accurate.

It would be good to note that the ASUS RT-N12’s advertised speeds may be conservative. See, depending on actual set-up and considering its MIMO tech and high –gain antennas, it may actually perform better in a speed test.  After all, speed is relative to efficiency.

The router seems to only work well for a year, though some troubleshooting resolved the issues. The router seems to work best at particular configuration settings

Pros
  • Good coverage supported by MIMO tech and high-gain antennas
  • Compact and doesn’t take up too much space
  • Simultaneous dual-band
Cons
  • Low advertised speeds
  • Support needs improvement

With the ASUS RT-N12’s extended coverage and speeds supported by MIMO tech, it makes a budget router that works well as an office router.  You can make the most of it with the right set up and even find that advertised speeds can be conservative.

Its design makes it reliable to provide for multiple guests, which suits a small business space. So if you need a budget router for your small office or business, here’s a good option to consider.

HooToo isn’t a popular brand, but their HooToo AC1200 is a good router to consider if you’re up for lower costs. This device broadcasts through the 802.11ac WiFi standard. It also provides up to 300Mbps speeds on the 2.4GHz band and speeds of 866Mbps on the 5GHz band.

In addition to good speeds, its four-antenna design reduces interference by allowing alternation between the two frequency bands. It incorporates this as well in a beautiful design without looking too bulky.

The HooToo AC1200 also features four Ethernet ports as well as a USB 3.0 port. These allow easy sharing of files and media between friends, family, or roommates who are on the same network. Moreover, it offers the security of being able to whitelist/backlist websites and URLs as you see fit.

For a low-cost router, this provides adequate speeds. Users on amazon confirm this through many positive reviews. However, its design doesn't support a wide range, so this isn’t the best router for a large house or office.

Some users reported limited range or spotty coverage. There were a few customers who weren’t a fan of its design. A few of users mentioned trouble with its firmware

Pros
  • Dual-band
  • Multiple ports including 4 Ethernet ports and USB 3.0
  • 802.11ac WiFi standard
  • Parental controls for security
Cons
  • Limited range and spotty coverage

While coming from an unpopular brand many users have given it good ratings for speed and easy set-up. Moreover, that USB 3.0 port is something to appreciate. You get good speeds and the ability to share media and files on the network. However, since the range of the HooToo AC1200 isn’t as reliable, it’s more fitting for smaller spaces like condos and apartments.

CONCLUSION

Going for the sub-$50 price range doesn’t mean you have to give up much. We have picked our favorites above that will give you enough WiFi speeds to stream your videos and play basic games. Most are provide just enough to get the job done.  Meanwhile, coverage isn’t always as wide as expensive models though.

So depending on your home or office space and users, some may or may not be adequate for your needs. Faster routers may provide twice as much speed, but at the end of the day, how much do you really actually need? And how much can you actually afford?

Have more suggestions for budget options? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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