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You’re setting up your home network systems and you set your sights on your router.
A clanky, softly beeping device that provides your household devices with internet. Although speeds vary in its old age, it’s been a trooper with you for years. Years longer than it should. WiFi 6 is out and that means upgraded routers.
Do you know what else that means?
More stable connections and faster internet speeds. Sign me up! With the stabilization of WiFi 6 earlier this year, you can finally upgrade our network systems with peace of mind that firmware updates won’t rend your network inoperable for a week.
All the bugs have been worked out. All the kinks straightened. A great router can make your internet run smoother and faster, and these models can do just that for you.
Let’s take a peak at the 8 best Routers under $100 on the market in 2020 and see who comes out on top.
1. Asus RT-AC66U B1
1 GHz Dual core CPU | Dual-band | 802.11ac Wi-Fi Technology speeds for up to 1750Mbps | 3,000 sq. ft. Coverage | 2.4GHz and 5GHz concurrent bands up to 450Mbps / 1300Bmps respectively | 2x USB (3.0 & 2.0)
- Amazing coverage
- Great speeds
- Full control over your network
- Lots of customization
- 2x USB ports
REASONS TO AVOID
- Lacks WiFi 6
- Not a smart router
Our Rating: 9.7/10
Our number 1 slot comes down to the Asus RT-AC66U B1 router. And it is number 1 for many reasons. The RT-AC66U B1 from Asus has the best coverage for any router under $100. It’s speeds are amazing and it’s customizable to boot.
Speeds come to 1750Mbps with 3,000 Sq. Ft. Coverage through any sort of terrain. It’s also got 2 USB ports (3.0 & 2.0) for more convenience.
Asus has been making prosumer products for years and their brand continues to shine through at the top of our list. Asus models are typically faster, techy-er, and more reliable than most other router brands, with good customer service and products that hold up for a while.
But brand doesn’t make the RT-AC66U B1 number 1. Performance makes it number 1. The boasted 3,000 Sq. Ft. Coverage isn’t a just a boast and works like a charm. During testing it gets great speeds despite being near the edge of its coverage zone through basements and brick walls.
You won’t be needing an extender with this marvelous piece, and you won’t be needing a pricier router either. This champ could still perform well against a higher price bracket.
Asus has their own app which is absolutely beautiful and a breeze to use. You can easily set-up your network, manage traffic, diagnose connection issues, and even update your firmware without your computer!
The RT-AC66U has got the standard suite of dual band technology and plenty of safety and parental control features. What makes this router so great is the levels after levels of protection it offers your network security.
AiProtection from Trend Micro in combination with advanced parental controls make the Asus RT-AC66U B1 the champ of speed, coverage, and security which nails our number 1 slot.
AiProtection is state-of-the-art, three-pronged security that provides advanced parental controls, black malicious addresses and intrusions for your PC or device, and alerts you if an infected device is connected. Potential weakness are also monitored, such as password strength and operating system vulnerabilities.
You can feel relaxed and comfortable that all your devices are safe and sound.
Asus has their own iCloud for their routers, which just makes your lives easier as you transfer files between different devices on your network-based-cloud. For the standard user, this is perfect because the ease of use will make your work easier and faster.
For the prosumer, you are given the reigns because the firmware offers plenty of features to “play around with” as you like.
It’s not Wi-Fi 6 because this model is a little over 2 years old. If it had Wi-Fi 6 it would very likely be the best router at any price point, but if you want WiFi 6 then this router isn’t your #1.
It’s also not a smart router. It’s just a plain, simple router. Overall, this is the best router on the market, provided you don’t have 30+ smart devices that need WiFi 6’s network optimization. If you do, consider our second pick: The Tp-Link Archer AX10.
2. TP-Link Archer AX10
1.5Gbps Wireless Speed | Dual Band AX | WiFi 6 | 1.5GHz Tri-core processor | 4 Antenna | 4x Gigabit Lan ports | OFDMA & MU-MIMO
- Great speeds
- Fast tri-core processor
- WiFi 6
- Alexa voice controls
- Parental controls
- Backwards compatibility
- MU-MIMO and OFDMA
REASONS TO AVOID
- Poor customer support
- Some products are spotty
- No USB ports
Our Rating: 9.7/10
Speaking of WiFi 6 and the Archer AX10 comes around from TP-Link. It’s hands down one of the best AX WiFi 6 routers on the market.
Why? Because it’s powerful, very fast, uses the latest in MU-MIMO, Beamforming, & OFDMA technology, got great coverage, all the bells and whistles up-to and included backwards compatibility for older Wi-Fi standard devices.
Performance alone makes this the best model. It has an amazing 1.5Gbps speed, a 1.5Ghz Tri-core processor, and 4x gigabit Lan ports.
MU-MIMO stands for Multi-user networking. With MU-MIMO technology, the router is able to handle multiple users and devices on the same network demanding bandwidth without a loss in speeds or smoothness.
OFDMA allows the router a similar ability to serve multiple of those clients at the same time.
Beamforming technology allows the router to direct a signal toward a specific receiving device. This -pretty much- means that you’re mobile devices are going to get better stability on the network as well as faster speeds when not in the same room as the router.
All this tech makes a huge impact in performance for the Tp-Link Archer AX10. Having WiFi 6 means you won’t have to update your router for years all-the-while having a stellar model chugging away at high speeds. Its coverage isn’t as great as our #1 Asus, but it’s no slouch either.
Devices don’t get dropped and it does a fantastic job of managing a Multi-user interface due to consistently new firmware and a now-stable Wi-Fi 6. The 4 antennas can be maneuvered for increased coverage, and they do a very good job. Despite being strong, fast, and reliable, it’s also fairly inexpensive.
Besides that, they’ve got their own Tp-Link Network app which helps manage parental controls and your network. It’s easy and smooth although nothing revolutionary.
The Archer AX10 really excels due to combining a ton of different features into one very sweet package at a low price point without compromises. It’s also a smart router, so it’ll be talkin’ to all your smart-home devices within minutes of the box arriving on your doorstep.
The bad news?
Tp-Link doesn’t have the great customer support that Asus does. Additionally, every couple of a hundred will be functional but spotty and slow. If you get a defective unit you’ll have to return it.
Having no USB ports is another negative mark. Which means no cloud space, no file sharing, etc. If you’re a prosumer that needs these, consider a different model.
However, for 95% of all consumers and prosumers that want a modern, sleek, WiFi 6 Router with Smart controls and a great performance package – The Tp-Link Archer AX10 is tied for first on our grand list of best routers under $100.
3. Netgear RAX15
1.8Gbps Wireless Speed | AX1800 | WiFi 6 | Quad core processor | 2 Amplified antennas | 4 Simultaneous streams | Fiber up to 1GB | 1500 Solid Sq. Ft. Coverage | 1x USB 3.0
- Amazing speeds
- WiFi 6
- 4 Simultaneous data streams
- Powerful quad core processor
- Alexa smart controls
REASONS TO AVOID
- Standard coverage
Our Rating: 9.5/10
The RAX15 by Netgear is a speed beast. They’ve done well with their newest RAX15 router, although their launch had a mixed bag of success.
It has a great 1.8Gbps Wireless speed and a quad-core processor that covers 1500 Sq. Ft. In coverage. It’s also got 1 USB 3.0 port.
Early in the days of WiFi 6, the RAX15 was one of the earliest Wifi 6 routers on the market. Which was poor for early users because WiFi 6 (and Netgear firmware) just wasn’t ready for launch. It took months to get what we finally have here today: The new RAX15.
While not a brand-new model, The RAX15 is a reliable powerhouse that has been through a lot. It’s unbelievably powerful with 4 simultaneous data streams, WiFi 6, crazy 1.8Gbps Wireless speed, 2 Amplified antennas, and a quad core processor to boot.
Having 4 simultaneous data streams means it can easily stream data to 4 different devices without any compromise in its speed. It’s not as good as MU-MIMO tech, but it’s still not bad.
With that quad core processor, performance is exactly what you’d expect from a beast! Hardware specs are excellent and do a great job managing a single data user network with high speeds.
It’s got Beamforming+ as a bonus, which is Netgear’s personal adaptation to Beamforming technology that further improves the speed and connectivity of mobile devices. It’s Zerg-fast on mobile, rogue fast on desktop.
The RAX15 is also sporting Alexa smart controls and a standard set of typical security protocols, guest WiFi access, DoS, Firewall, VPN, and the others. They’ve got their own app too, but nothing out of the ordinary.
DoS protection attempts to keep illegitimate and unauthorized computers or access out of computer resources and the network in general. This bad boy comes ready to sink its claws into gigabit fiber optic up to 1Gb, which is huge. Your router shouldn’t handicap your speeds and this one definitely won’t be handicapping your fiber.
Besides that, it’s a breeze to connect to legacy Ac wireless devices (Android & iOS), so no need to worry about compatibility with old devices. Unfortunately the model had such a bad launch which lasted for a few months afterward. Then the poor firmware updates kicked in after its crashing disaster of a launch. Which added oil to the fire.
The RAX15’s hardware is king in performance, but software even to this day (long after the debacle of its launch) is still just a little inconsistent.
Coverage isn’t the greatest but it isn’t poor by any means.
It’s also pricey with only 1 USB 3.0 port. All in all, the Netgear RAX15 is a really solid router. You could probably warp in pylons with the power this thing has. 4 different pylons because its got 4 simultaneous data streams. Don’t buy the RAX15 for the WiFi 6 promise, buy it for the amazing performance and power.
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4. Asus RT-ACRH17
Quad core processor w/ 256MB ram | 2.4GHz + 5GHz 1700Mbps speeds | 4x Gigabit ethernet ports | 1x USB 3.0 Port | 4 Antennas | AiRadar
- Great coverage
- Quad core processor with 256MB RAM
- Has Ai mesh
- Cool & adjustable LED lighting
- Very small footprint
REASONS TO AVOID
- Lacks the power of other top routers
- Not WiFi 6
Our Rating: 9.4/10
The Asus RT-ACRH17 is a great contender and the cheapest option on our list. Despite being cheapest, it was hard to rank it as low as fourth. However, the RT-ACRH17 from Asus doesn’t have Wi-Fi 6 and I counted that against this little guy.
What it does have is great coverage and a powerful quad-core processor that chugs along with the best of them.
The RT-ACRH17 pushes 1700Mbps speeds with 4 ethernet ports and 1 USB 3.0 port. It’s also got 256mb of Ram along with that processor for cloud storage and improved speeds.
It’s also a product by Asus and their amazing team. Brand goes a long way for Asus products. Their app is still amazing and their customer support team is friendly and helpful. This little guy also has a lot of customization and an advanced suite of settings for a deep-dive into geek-dom.
Options such as Whitelists, DMZ, network logging, Firewall, IPS, proxy, openVPN, connected devices, and plenty more exist within its customization settings. Parental controls are on-point, and the GUI is the best of any I’ve ever seen (Go Asus!). Even the LED lights can be adjusted!
Whitelisting allows you to grant specific items access to systems and protocol, while denying access to anything outside of that Whitelist. For example, you can Whitelist your IP address so that any access outside of your IP address would be denied.
DMZ allows you to build what’s termed a “demilitarized zone” which is essentially a perimeter network between your network and the public internet, making it more difficult for 1-step intrusions into your network.
An OpenVPN is essentially a tool that helps establish a secure network “tunnel” between the VPN and the server (client – server communications). It’s also got Ai mesh, so you can combine multiple devices to build a massive mesh.
As you can see, the Asus RT-ACRH17 has got a ton of tweekable features for almost any situation and scenario. Whether you’re building an office and server communications network, or you’re looking for advanced security settings from your living room computer, the Asus RT-ACRH17 has got almost anything you could need. You can even get instant notifications about network based events!
That said, the router does have an easy set-up (which truly is easy by following along in the app) so you can have your router online in a matter of minutes.
Again it doesn’t have WiFi 6. Nor does it have the power of some other routers. The RT-ACRH17 is not the most powerful, or the newest model, but it’s definitely a top notch for reasonable users and tech enthusiasts due to its solid performance and super high customization. There’s so much you can do with this little guy, and for being so inexpensive, it claims the #4 spot on our list.
5. Netgear Nighthawk R6700
1750Mbps | 1GHz dual core processor | 4x gigabit ethernet ports | 1x USB 3.0 | 25+ devices | 1500 Sq. Ft coverage | 3 amplified antennas | Dynamic QoS
- Standard speeds
- WiFi 6
- Great connection with 25+ devices
- Dynamic QoS
- Smart router
- Smart parental controls (extensive control)
REASONS TO AVOID
- Sometimes unreliable firmware
- Advanced use of parental controls costs extra
Our Rating: 9.3/10
Another Netgear takes the stage as a solid contender against the other top routers. Netgear’s Nighthawk R6700 takes another top 5 spot with their Nighthawk model, a new and powerful beast similar to their previous – without the debacle of a poor launch.
WiFi 6? Check!
1750Mbps speeds but no problem in the power department with a 1GHz dual processor. It can connect 25x devices without a loss of productivity (quite a feat), and has an average 1500 Sq. Ft. coverage.
This is a smart router if ever you encountered one: Smart home connectivity, Smart connect to devices, smart parental controls (with extensive controls in the advanced package)… Netgear Nighthawk: The smartest router alive.
They’ve done a better job at the software for the Nighthawk family series with a couple of additional extras, most of which don’t cause problems or kink your internet speeds. QoS is a new technology that further optimizes upstream and downstream bandwidth dynamically based on how much bandwidth a device requires.
Other routers do something similar to this with Wi-Fi 6, but it seems Netgear are combining both Wi-Fi 6’s optimization and their own technology to make for more optimized system. The Nighthawk R6700 model also sports Armor Security, all your standard security notes, and extremely advanced parental control from their app.
The downside is that you have to pay for those “more advanced” parental control features to the tune of $4.99/Monthly after the first month of use. The Nighthawk pretty sweet, fairly straight forward but expensive router. And Netgear routers still suffer from unreliable firmware. Some updates are finicky and may bug out and not work properly.
6. Tp-Link Archer A9
1900Mbps Speeds | Dual band | 3 Simultaneous Data streams | 2.4 GHz & 5GHz for 600Mbps & 1300Mbps respectively
- Great speeds
- Smart Router
- Smart Connect
- 3 simultaneous data streams
- Boosted long-range WiFi
- Enhanced Wave 2 AC WiFi
REASONS TO AVOID
- Poor customer support team
- Not WiFi 6
- Older model
Our Rating: 9.2/10
Tp-Link makes another appearance with their Archer A9 Smart Router. It’s hard to compare against the power of Netgear or the coverage and brand of Asus, but they make another attempt with their Tp-Link Archer A9. They’ve got a decent combination of power, 3 Simultaneous data streams, boosted long-range WiFi, and their proprietary Enhanced Wave 2 AC WiFi.
The Archer A9 holds speeds up to 1900Mbps, which is a little better than your average $100 router. With 3 Data streams the router is able to more appropriately divert data to different devices that demand different bandwidth requirements.
So even when it’s a little lacking in power, it makes up for that power with being able to power multiple devices that want bandwidth. Enhanced Wave 2 AC WiFi is Tp-Link’s technology that bands MU-MIMO, Beamforming, and “Airtime Fairness” into a single package.
It’s not remarkable but they are actively developing firmware to improve their routers and that diligence to performance should be noted as this machine doesn’t slouch in multi-user juggling power.
Unfortunately Tp-Link has had a bad run in with poor techs and supports for this product, and has brought the product down a little.
It’s also an older model. For good or for ill. But Overall, the Archer A9 is a solid, strong working router.
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7. D-Link DIR-1750-US
1750Mbps | Dual Band | 802.11a Wireless Standard | Dual core processor | 4x Gigabit ethernet ports | MU-MIMO
- Voice control with Google Assistant or Alexa
- Easy compatibility for extenders
- Easy set-up with the app
REASONS TO AVOID
- Average in every category
Our Rating: 8.9/10
D-Link isn’t going to hit “best router of 2020”, but they did do surprisingly… average.
1750Mbps speeds (although it will fluctuate up and down), Dual band, dual core processor, with 4x gigabit ethernet ports on the back of the router.
The D-Link DIR-1750-US is simple. Everything isn’t too grandiose and they didn’t try to do too much outside of their wheelhouse. It’s got MU-MIMO technology but doesn’t have WiFi 6 or the reliable power or the consistent coverage that our better contenders have. The first benefit it holds distinctly above the others is it’s compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa equally.
The second is it’s super-easy and quick compatibility with D-Link extenders if you’re interested in building your own network mesh fairly cheaply and easily, with solid coverage and average power.
It’s got smart connect technology, beamforming tech, and performs so-so in both coverage and speeds. Nothing to write home about, but it’s still a reliable contender that fell short a couple of paces in nearly every category.
They do have an app to help with easy set-up, so that’s a plus. Overall, the standard D-Link DIR-1750-US is middle of the road, but still a contender due to its simplicity and compatibility with Google Assistant, and ideal design for a lower-power consumer.
8. Linksys EA6900
1900Mbps Speeds | Dual Band | Dual Core 800MHz CPU | 5x Ethernet ports | 2x UBS (3.0 & 2.0)
- Smart WiFi
- App enabled networking and parental controls
- Beamforming technology
- DNLA certified
- 2 USB ports, 5 ethernet ports
REASONS TO AVOID
- Below average coverage
- Poor multi-device connectivity
Our Rating: 8.8/10
Linksys does a fair job with their Linksys EA6900. They made a solid attempt, but overall fell flat to out-deliver it’s competitors in either performance, reliability, or cost.
1900Mbps speeds, which is no slouch!
They have their own app, with 3 adjustable antennas with most of the bells & whistles that the rest of routers have. What it does have is power. It’s got a Dual Core 800GHz processor and 2x USB ports (3.0 & 2.0), with 5 ethernet ports and 2 USB ports (3.0 & 2.0) which is uncommon and useful for the right user.
The router does a comparable performance in power and speeds but still cannot beat a Netgear due to optimization. Coverage is a different question, as Linksys AC1900 have a smaller coverage range than every other router contending on our list.
If you don’t have a large space or are willing to spend extra on extenders, keep reading. It is a smart WiFi router however, with app enabled networking & parental controls, and beam forming.
It also has good customization options for the geeky power-users or special applications. Lastly, it’s DLNA certified for home media management! Which is a certification for extra-high security in data sharing between devices. Which means that should one of your devices be corrupted, it is much more unlikely any other devices on your network would be infected due to its extra security measures.
However…Mac users beware.
This router is -nearly- incompatible with Mac computers, as many reviewers have found out the hard way. Sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t.
Lastly, it has a poor multi-device connectivity. With a lot of devices you’ll sometimes notice dropped signals or reduced speeds, making this a hopeful but low contender on our list of best Routers under $100.
What is the best router under $100?
The best router in 2020 for under $100 comes down to a tie between the Asus RT-AC66U B1 (Also known as “Blue Cave”), and the Tp-Link Archer AX10 (known as Archer AX10).
Asus scores top slot due to their simplicity, beautiful design, plethora of features, super crazy high coverage range, and continual effort as a prosumer brand.
But the Archer AX10 is a powerful beast of a machine. Asus has a little more class and is a little older.
If you’re looking for a plain and simple Wifi router, then the absolute best is the Asus RT-AC66U B1.
But if you want your router to be a smart router with state-of-the-art WiFi 6, with a machine that’s future-proof, then the Tp-Link Archer AX10 is going to be the best router on the market for you.
What is the best router for home use?
While the Asus RT-AC66U B1 and the Tp-Link Archer AX10 are definitely prosumer products, they fit extremely well in a standard home-use environment.
Both have easy set-up apps for simple installation within minutes. Network management is a breeze with either model. Both are very fast, with very nice coverage and are designed with standard users in mind.
Although Asus definitely takes the cake with “best GUI design of the month”.
If you’re a home user that needs a ton of customization, I would also consider the Asus AC1700 due to it’s massive suite of customization features.
If you want power and an optimized, smart-future-proofed network select the Tp-Link Archer AX10.
If you want a clean and crisp design from the best brand in routers, with great power and the best coverage around, go with the Asus RT-AC66U B1.
Will a better router increase internet speed?
For example, WiFi 6 routers are known to increase speed, coverage, and number of connected devices in comparison to older routers. One reason that is true is because WiFi 6 uses technology that improves an existing network of devices.
If your router has 20 or 30 devices clamoring for its attention, it has a hard time managing each of those devices and their individual demands and signals. Your router has a hard time talking to so many devices at once, so it has to make compromises. Those compromises come from being unable to efficiently manage the number of devices requesting bandwidth.
But WiFi 6 is about efficiency in the network of devices. You will see improved speeds, but that is because it is handling all your devices much more efficiently and effectively.
With our Smart Watches, multiple mobile devices, computers, Nintendo Switches, Alexa, there are so many devices talking to your router at once. A cheap or old router just won’t be able to handle a smart-connected world with more then 4 or 5 devices without a loss of speeds.
An older router is unlikely to have Beamforming, which can be another big influencer for internet speeds on Mobile devices.
Beamforming is a new technology that improves the speed and connectivity of internet on mobile devices. (Beamforming+ is Netgear variation on Beamforming, an improved firmware version for WiFi performance and rage.)
Additionally, depending on your current Internet Service Plan you’ve arranged with your provider, a better router could definitely improve your internet speeds.
So yes! A better router can definitely improve your internet speed.
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How much should I spend on a router?
Qualities for your router come with how much you spend.
With routers, you are typically paying for a strong signal, strong throughput (which is the allowed speeds from your ISP), coverage, and a strong brand. The more you pay the better each of these qualities become.
But there is a limit. Routers under $50 are very cheap with unpredictable coverage and speeds. Sometimes they hold a signal, but sometimes they don’t get the speeds advertised. Routers require good antennas and a solid processor, which makes most quality routers around $90 dollars.
However, you don’t need to spend excessively if your router isn’t meant to cover a large square foot area.
If you do have an area of coverage more than 3,000, the listed routers may need an extender in addition to the router itself.
Routers just under $100 will be the most bang-for-your-buck you can get as a standard or prosumer user.