Best Routers of 2021

BEST ROUTERS COMPILATION

NAMES FEATURES WHERE TO BUY

Linksys EA6350

: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 2 Antennas; Beamforming; Easy setup | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 3.0) GET IT ON AMAZON

ASUS Dual-Band AC1300

Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 4 Antennas; ASUSWRT and ASUS Router app; quad-core 717 MHz CPU | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps | No. of | Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 3.0) GET IT ON AMAZON

NETGEAR R6080

Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 8 MB flash + 64 MB RAM; Nighthawk app; 2 antennas | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1 Gbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 0 | Dimensions: 7.05 x 8.62 x 4.29 in GET IT ON AMAZON

HooToo TripMate Titan

: AP, Bridge, and Router modes; 10,400 mAh battery; Media sharing and streaming; FileHub | Wireless Protocols: 802.11n | Data Transfer Rate: 300 Mbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 1 / 1 (1x USB 2.0) GET IT ON AMAZON

TP-Link Archer C50

Dual-band (2.4 + 5); TP-Link Tether app; 2 antennas | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 0 | Dimensions: 4.9 x 7.2 x 1.3 in GET IT ON AMAZON

NETGEAR WNDR4500

Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Advanced QoS; SPI and NAT firewall; USB ReadyShare; NETGEAR Genie App | Wireless Protocols: 802.11n | Data Transfer Rate: 900 Mbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (2x USB 2.0) GET IT ON AMAZON

TP-Link TL-WR902AC

: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Client, AP, Router, Hotspot, and Range extender modes; multi-functional USB port | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 750 Mbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 1 / 1 (1x USB 2.0) GET IT ON AMAZON

 

INTRODUCTION

For home and small offices, a cheap router that offers the best features/performance to price ratio would be ideal along with a fair bit of future-proofing. Some of the best cheap routers on this list offer features that can be found on other expensive routers like in automatic door closer.

To get the best cheap routers, we’ve carefully reviewed and tested a lot of cheap routers and finally settled with these routers on this list. The fact that these routers are cheap doesn’t mean they are no good. Actually, they are and even possess some of the features you can find in a more expensive router. The major difference between a cheap and an expensive router will be the material used for construction and the coverage area.

Most cheap routers offer both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands although, although, not all might offer wireless AC speeds. You can check our other publications like solid state drive, wall mounted coat rack, smoke detector, electric blanket

BEST ROUTERS BUYERS GUIDE

Router with or without Internet

You can even use the router even without an active Internet connection to connect your devices like home alarm  smartphones, tablets, TVs, computers to each other for streaming videos, file transfers and more. In such a case, you’ll obviously have no ISP and will need to invest in a router of your own.

Most users, however, need a router to use the Internet connection on multiple devices. Now your Internet connection can either be cable or ADSL. If it’s the former – you should check with your ISP to identify what kind it is if unsure – you typically wouldn’t need anything other than the router. However, if you have a DSL connection – the kind supplied by the likes of BSNL, MTNL, and Airtel, which usually comes with a landline – you’ll also need a ADSL modem. In such a case, it makes sense to buy a router with a built-in ADSL modem, which will take lesser space on your table and there will be fewer wires to manage like setting a television stand.

However, these routers are a little bit more expensive – a standalone ADSL modem costs less than Rs. 1,000 so keep this in mind when comparing a router with built-in ADSL modem against a modem + router combo.

There are a lot of different numbers and specifications floating around, but these are the ones you want to keep in mind buying a router:

Router’s Wi-Fi Standard (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)

The first thing you’ll want to check is the Wi-Fi standard that the router supports. Older ones would be 802.11 ‘b’ or ‘g’ – but almost all new routers also support ‘n’. This standard – 802.11n – allows you to transfer data at 600Mbps (mega bits per second) theoretically, though some 802.11n routers come with top speeds of only 300Mbps (which translates to downloads of 37.5MBps or mega bytes per second).

The latest Wi-Fi standard is 802.11ac. It allows a transfer speed of 1.3Gbps. Of course, in practical scenarios the speed is reduced a lot. This means that 802.11ac allows you to connect more devices with high data transfer speed, thanks to better multi-antenna and MIMO (Multi Input Multi Output) support. MIMO allows multiple streams for a single connection for faster connections, particularly if you are doing multimedia activities.

Only a handful of phones and laptops support 802.11ac and the technology is more expensive at the moment than 802.11n routers. So which one should you go for? For now, the choice is simple – the ‘n’ standard is more than fast enough for your Internet connection in India, and it’s more likely to be supported by all your devices. As a bonus, you save money too.

Router’s wireless frequency (2.4GHz or 5GHz)

Frequency of a router will decide how powerful your network would be for multiple devices. The two main standards are 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The key difference between these two is of interference and range.

 

“Advantage of 5GHz frequency is that there will be less disturbance for each device, so they can attain maximum gain from the bandwidth,” explains network engineer Hirak Patel. “And the interference from the other Wi-Fi networks is also very less.” This means that if you are connecting lots of devices, or if there are overlapping networks in the same area (like a multi-story apartment building) then a 5GHz network is the better choice.

The 5GHz routers are more expensive than the 2.4GHz routers, so you should go with the 2.4GHz ones, unless interference is a real issue with your network.

Speed of the router

Even if the router is following a certain standard, the actual speed depends on the hardware used in the specific model. The maximum speed in the router is usually specified in the spec sheet. You would have the speed written under “High Speed Upto”. The slower router is often cheaper – and if the only use is going to be connecting devices to the Internet, then you should buy the cheapest one, considering that even 300Mbps is several times higher than the typical 4Mbps or 8Mbps connections in India.

If you’re using it to stream movies inside your house from your computer to the home theatre, you might want to spend a little extra for more speed. If you want to stream full-HD (1080p) movies to your laptop or tablet a 300Mbps router would be more than enough. But to stream the content to multiple devices simultaneously, or to stream 4K content, 600Mbps routers are for you.

Router’s antenna range

There is no straightforward method to measure the range of the WiFi router, since it depends on a wide variety of factors.

“You always need to consider the environment you’re in. Also, your home or office’s architecture plays a major part in the range of a particular router”, explains US-based network consultant Pranav Rajpara. You can instead look at the dBi ratings of the antenna of the router, which will be included in the specifications.

In a small to medium sized apartment, 2-4dBi is sufficient, according to Rajpara. If you have many obstacles (walls, other household electronics like a fridge or microwave) between where you will be sitting and your router’s position, you will need a router with higher dBi ratings.

Walls play a large part in blocking the WiFi signals. Concrete walls and even thin wooden doors create a hindrance for the signals. A study says that the signal strength gets very weak after 3 to 4 walls. So if the router you got from the ISP isn’t up to the mark, you must look at this dBi specification, and go with a higher number.

Router ports, security, and additional features

If you have a small office and desktop computers in place, check for the number of LAN ports available to connect. This can often be more convenient. Newer routers also provide additional USB ports. That would help you connect the printers for network printing or a hard drive for file-sharing. Once again, the router you buy has to match your needs – if you’re connecting just your phone and laptop to the Internet, then you should choose a router without extra ports instead. Some routers come with extra features, like Apple’s Airport Express which has AirPlay support. It comes with a 3.5mm port where you can connect any speakers and wirelessly stream music from your PC, Mac, or mobile.

For security, check if it supports 128 bit encryption, and WPA2 standard compatibility. These are pretty standard now so you don’t have to worry much about this.

Linksys EA6350

Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 2 Antennas; Beamforming; Easy setup | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 3.0) | Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.92 x 1.11 in

The Linksys EA6350 is one of the best routers and yet one of the best cheap routers available today. It supports double band wireless AC that can yield a most extreme throughput of 1.2 Gbps and the included USB 3.0 port permits associating capacity gadgets for media access. The EA6350 offers just a double radio wire arrangement however they have satisfactory power and their situating can be acclimated to boost coverage in a small room.

In addition, beamforming ability is accessible, which is always found in most expensive models. While setting up the router is genuinely clear, try to refresh the firmware to the most recent form as there have been a few reports of having a shaky association in the 5 GHz band. To further expand connection stability.

PROS CONS
Dual-band Only 2 antennas
MU-MIMO function

ASUS Dual-Band AC1300

Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 4 Antennas; ASUSWRT and ASUS Router app; quad-core 717 MHz CPU | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps | No. of | Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 3.0) | Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.1 in

Looking for a cheap router for gaming? Then check out the Asus Dual-Band AC1300. With only 4 antennas and high speeds, the ASUS Dual-Band AC1300 is easily one of the best cheap routers for gaming. For those who like gaming and streaming, this is the best cheap router for you. With the presence of both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands ensures that both range and bandwidth are taken care of. In addition, the availability of MU-MIMO and Beamforming abilities adds to its coverage and signal strength.

Furthermore, the overall performance of the router is great and the included 4 LAN ports support full Gigabit LAN connections for wired connections. The interface is definitely not hard to use and is incorporate rich out of the box. Along these lines, it doesn’t require any custom firmware blasting except if you totally need it. This switch can in like manner be used as a repeater if vital. In any case, customers have uncovered issues in suitably setting up IPv6 plans.

PROS CONS
ASUS apps IPv6 configuration can seem a bit tedious
Quad-core CPU

NETGEAR R6080

Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 8 MB flash + 64 MB RAM; Nighthawk app; 2 antennas | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1 Gbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 0 | Dimensions: 7.05 x 8.62 x 4.29 in

The NETGEAR R6080 has a lot to offers despite it being cheap. NETGEAR packs the element rich Nighthawk App although, this isn’t a Nighthawk switch. The Nighthawk App controls most parts of the switch and offers propelled alternatives for the individuals who wish to tinker with the settings.

This switch is appraised for a hypothetical speed of 1 Gbps however that is for both bands joined. That implies you get just up to 700 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. Consequently, in case you’re utilizing a higher data transfer capacity plan from your ISP, you may need to look somewhere else. Justifiably in this way, the LAN ports at the back are likewise only 10/100 ports. Be that as it may, if your internet speed is under 1 Gbps, this switch offers features found in other expensive routers.

PROS CONS
Gets the basics right Not really suitable for connections at 1 Gbps

HooToo TripMate Titan

Features: AP, Bridge, and Router modes; 10,400 mAh battery; Media sharing and streaming; FileHub | Wireless Protocols: 802.11n | Data Transfer Rate: 300 Mbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 1 / 1 (1x USB 2.0) | Dimensions: 1.65 x 3.74 x 1.65 in

The HooToo TripMate Titan can be known as the Swiss armed force blade of switches as it consolidates a capable wireless travel router and a tremendous 10,400 mAh battery. That implies you can charge gadgets in a hurry while all also utilizing the switch in the access point, extension, or router modes. The TripMate Titan accompanies the FileHub application that changes the gadget into an undeniable media sharing, spilling, and record the executive’s instrument. You can share and stream media with up to 5 associated customers and furthermore utilize your Chromecast for spilling recordings to the extra large screen.

There a couple of provisos with the HooToo TripMate Titan, however. It can’t function as a remote hotspot and furthermore does not bolster any OpenVPN customers. It likewise can’t connect an iPhone hotspot or stream DRM-empowered media. The product fills in as an incredible record server yet clients have revealed it to be easily ‘hackable’.

PROS CONS
Large capacity power bank Bundled software does not focus on security
Multiple wireless functions

TP-Link Archer C50

Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); TP-Link Tether app; 2 antennas | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 0 | Dimensions: 4.9 x 7.2 x 1.3 in

The TP-Link Archer C50 is a standout amongst the best cheap routers in this list and it sports some extraordinary features commonly found in other costly models. With an absolute potential throughput of 1.2 Gbps, which can stream Netflix or Amazon Prime in HD while at the same time offering enough data transfer capacity for different intentions isn’t each of an issue. At a price this cheap, the coverage is ok.

The firmware is able enough yet tragically, DD-WRT or Open Tomato firmware isn’t supported yet. To avoid overheating due to its plastic case, ensure the router is placed in a well-ventilated place

PROS CONS
Good speeds and coverage Plastic construction not good for thermals
Affordable but fully functional

NETGEAR WNDR4500

Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Advanced QoS; SPI and NAT firewall; USB ReadyShare; NETGEAR Genie App | Wireless Protocols: 802.11n | Data Transfer Rate: 900 Mbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (2x USB 2.0) | Dimensions: 11.6 x 10.3 x 3.4 in

The NETGEAR WNDR4500 is a double band switch which offers speed up to 900 Mbps crosswise over both the 2.4 and 5 GHz groups yet at the same time adheres to the wireless N protocol. The WNDR4500 is worked for record sharing and is perfect with Apple Time Machine for programmed backups. The presence of two bands lessens impedance or interference while as yet offering a decent range. Progressed QoS highlights empower distribution of transfer speed as wanted to every customer.

Given the value, the WNDR4500 foregoes some propelled highlights, for example, beamforming or band controlling. There have been a few issues concerning the firmware so ensure you update it to the most recent form when you install it. NETGEAR’s guarantee approaches may find you napping so better check those in advance.

PROS CONS
Media sharing capabilities Buggy firmware

TP-Link TL-WR902AC

Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Client, AP, Router, Hotspot, and Range extender modes; multi-functional USB port | Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac | Data Transfer Rate: 750 Mbps | No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 1 / 1 (1x USB 2.0) | Dimensions: 2.64 x 2.91 x 0.87 in

The TP-Link TL-WR902AC isn’t only a remote travel switch however can likewise fill in as a mesh network. It has enough transmission capacity up to 750 Mbps making it appropriate for most hotel networks and even most home connections. As a wireless gadget, it can fill in as a range extender, access point, and furthermore as a hotspot. The product UI is genuinely simple to set up and dissimilar to most travel switches, it additionally offers propelled highlights, for example, DHCP reservation, port sending, DMZ, and so on.

The gadget thusly performs well yet the product may be up to everybody’s taste, particularly for exceptionally experienced clients. For instance, there is no arrangement to design a similar MAC address without a moment’s delay for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz groups. Clients have likewise revealed that the smaller scale USB port is additionally recessed obstructing a tight association.

PROS CONS
Multiple wireless modes; Good speeds The design flaw in micro USB port placement

CONCLUSION

If you’re still here it means you are ready to get a cheap routers. Most major brands like Linksys and TPlink have good cheap router options. In this list of the best cheap router, you’ll find all you need to know about any cheap router both the once that can be used for gaming and streaming as well. Following the advice above, you know what to look for if you want to expand the range of your network or have a new Internet connection; if you need more range or more speed; if you’re planning on sharing files and streaming video between your devices or if you’re just planning on connecting your laptop and mobile phone to the Internet.