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These are the best cheap wireless router deals for September 2020

For all the heavy lifting they do every day, wireless routers don’t get the appreciation they deserve. Pretty much all of us take them for granted, yet these humble little devices perform a vital job: Turning your wired internet connection into a Wi-Fi signal that laptops, printers, mobile devices, smart TVs, streaming players, and gaming consoles can connect to wirelessly. You’re probably currently using a fairly basic router supplied by your internet service provider (and you’re likely paying monthly rental fees for the privilege, too, which will total much more than what the router itself is worth).

Buying your own Wi-Fi router has other advantages along with potentially reducing those ISP fees, too, such as giving you tighter control over your local network and letting you enjoy a clearer, congestion-free wireless connection. To help you find one, we’ve rounded up the best cheap wireless router deals you can score right now on everything from cheap routers to super-powered, high-bandwidth models packing all the latest and greatest networking features.

Today’s best wireless router deals

  • Belkin AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless Router$30, was $90
  • TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Dual-Band Wireless Router$63, was $80
  • Asus Blue Cave AC2600 Dual-Band Wireless Router$137, was $180
  • Linksys Velop AC2200 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System (2-pack)$230, was $300
  • TP-Link Archer AC5400 Tri-Band Wireless Gaming Router$249, was $300

Linksys Velop AC2200 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System (2-pack)

$219 $300
Expires soon
Mesh router systems like the Linksys Velop system quite literally "blanket" your home in Wi-Fi, eliminating dead zones. Grab this tri-band Velop 2-pack if standard dual-band is no longer cutting it.

TP-Link Deco Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System (Three Units)

$170 $300
Expires soon
If you have a large home, then a good mesh Wi-Fi setup like the TP-Link Deco router system can quite literally "blanket" an entire area in wireless connectivity and eliminate dead zones.

TP-Link AC750 Portable Travel Wireless Router

$40 $45
Expires soon
We live in a mobile digital world now, and this compact travel-friendly router lets you set up a 750 Mbps dual-band Wi-Fi signal virtually anywhere you have an ethernet connection.

Razer Sila AC3000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router

$206 $250
Expires soon
Along with combined 3,000 Mbps of bandwidth across three bands, the Razer Sila router packs a full suite of bandwidth-optimizing features for high-speed, lag-free gaming and streaming.

TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

$63 $80
Expires soon
The Archer A7 from TP-Link is one of the best "cheap" routers, with its 1,750 dual-band speeds putting it head and shoulders above the majority of ISP-supplied units. It'll easily pay for itself, too.

Netgear R6700 AC1750 Wi-Fi Router

$87 $100
Expires soon
Netgear's R6700 is one of our favorite gigabit routers for gaming, streaming, and general use, and this deal might make it the best mid-range router you can score for around $100.

Asus Blue Cave AC2600 Dual-Band Wireless Router

$127 $180
Expires soon
With 2,600 Mbps dual-band bandwidth and MU-MIMO technology, the striking Asus Blue Cave is one of the best mid-range routers you can buy if you're willing to spend a bit more than a Benjamin.

Gryphon Guardian Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System w/Parental Controls (3-Pack)

$239 $299
Expires soon
With built-in parental controls, advanced security features, and a 5,000 square-foot coverage area, the Gryphon Guardian 3-pack is an ideal (and very affordable) mesh Wi-Fi system for family homes.

Tenda AC1200 Dual Band WiFi Router

$38 $50
Expires soon
For about the same price as cheap N300 and AC750 routers, this Tenda AC1200 dual-band router punches well above its weight and even features MU-MIMO technology to reduce network traffic congestion.

Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router

$340 $480
Expires soon
The Netgear Nighthawk X10 tri-band MU-MIMO router is purpose-built for serious gamers, with some extra features like Beamforming+ and Amazon Alexa voice control compatibility.

TP-Link Archer AC5400 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router

$280 $300
Expires soon
Boasting eight antennae, 6,500 Mbps of bandwidth across three bands, and MU-MIMO technology, the Archer C5400X is a top-tier router for gaming, streaming, and large local networks.

Belkin AC1200 Wi-Fi Dual-Band Router

$34 $90
Expires soon
This dual-band 1,200 Mbps router from Belkin is a fine pick (and a super-affordable one) for smaller homes and networks with modest requirements.

A beginner’s guide to wireless routers

If you have the internet, then you almost certainly have a wireless router somewhere in your home. There’s also a good chance that it was the one supplied by your ISP, which means you’re probably paying a monthly fee to rent it. These ISP-supplied routers are, as you might expect, generally not the best — they’re often the same cheap routers you can buy yourself for $20 to $40 — but that doesn’t stop service providers from charging anywhere from $5 to $15 per month in “equipment rental fees” for the privilege of using one.

That alone is a big reason why it’s a good idea to find a good wireless router deal and buy your own, as even a solid midrange unit can easily pay for itself in a matter of months. Yet another reason is that a good wireless router can enhance your home or office Wi-Fi network by allowing you to enjoy the internet speeds you’re paying for. This is especially important if you frequently have multiple users connected to the internet at once, and even more so if you regularly stream or game online. Routers are relatively complicated and some of the specs and terminology can be a bit confusing to the uninitiated, however, so here’s what you should know before buying.

What does “dual-band” mean?

Most Wi-Fi routers you will see today (even cheap routers) are dual-band, meaning that they transmit data across two separate streams or “bands.” The 2.4GHz band is used for tasks with moderate bandwidth needs, such as web browsing, while the 5GHz band is reserved for bandwidth-hungry jobs like HD video streaming and online gaming where a lot of data is being transmitted at once. Dividing your wireless connection up between two “highways” in this manner prevents congestion, particularly when multiple people are using the internet at the same time, which can slow down your connection. Many newer routers also have a feature called MU-MIMO (multiple user, multiple input/multiple output) which divides the bands into separate channels to further mitigate congestion when the network is under heavy load.

What does “bandwidth” mean?

If a “band” is a data stream, the “bandwidth” refers to how much data can be transmitted across that stream at one time. Imagine something like an oil pipeline — the wider the pipe, the more can pass through it at once. Routers vary widely when it comes to bandwidth, and how much you need will depend on your network environment. A wireless router will typically have its bandwidth speed represented by a number — N450, AC1900, AC5300, et cetera – which tells you at a glance how many megabytes per second (Mbps) of data can be transmitted across all bands at once.

The routers that are typically rented out by ISPs are on the lower end of the bandwidth spectrum (which, as we said, is why you find a good wireless router deal so you can buy your own), but 600 to 2,400 Mbps is a good range for normal users and small families. Larger networks and more demanding users, such as gamers, will be better served by a router in the 3,200 to 6,700 Mbps range, while routers in the 7,200 to 9,600 Mbps range are deep into “professional” territory — think large offices and other bandwidth-heavy network environments. Note that this total bandwidth is divided between the bands; for instance, a dual-band AC1600 router with 1,600Mbps total bandwidth might commit 300Mbps to the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps to the 5GHz band.

Can wireless routers provide wired connections?

Pretty much all wireless routers (again, this includes cheap routers) have Ethernet LAN ports on the back that allow for multiple wired connections where you want them. Depending on where your wireless router is installed, it might be worth it to use a wired Ethernet connection, as these will almost always be faster than a wireless connection. For instance, if your router is close to your PC or smart TV, it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of this wired connectivity. It will also free up some wireless bandwidth that your other devices are using for their Wi-Fi, preventing wireless traffic congestion, although your overall bandwidth will still be determined by your internet service.

Can a faster wireless router give me faster internet?

Your base internet speeds are capped by your service provider and depend on what internet plan you are paying for. A faster wireless router cannot increase the bandwidth limits set by your ISP; however, a faster router can allow you to more fully enjoy the speeds that you’re paying for if a slow unit — such as the cheap routers typically provided by ISPs — is bottlenecking your connection. If you’re paying for faster internet, make sure you get a router that won’t create a “choke point” that slows your Wi-Fi down to ensure you’re getting all the bandwidth that you’re already paying for. You’ll want a gigabit-capable router (that is, at least 1,000Mbps on the 5GHz band) if you have gigabit internet service, for example.

What are mesh routers?

If you have a large home or are looking for a router capable of sufficiently covering a similar large space (like a multi-story office), then you might want to consider investing in a mesh router system. In contrast to standard single-unit wireless routers, mesh router systems feature multiple “hubs” that you place throughout your network zone. These hubs amplify your internet’s wireless signal, essentially blanketing your home or office in Wi-Fi connectivity and thereby mitigating or eliminating dead zones in the network. This prevents you from losing your connection when moving about.

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