These are the best cheap wireless router deals for October 2020

Almost all of us use a wireless router on a daily basis, but if you’re like most people, you’re probably using whatever basic device was supplied by your internet service provider — and you’re also probably paying monthly rental fees for the privilege. If you want to liberate yourself from those equipment fees (and possibly from slow Wi-Fi if your ISP-supplied router isn’t up to snuff), then it’s a good idea to buy your own router.

We can help you with that. We’ve scoured the web to bring you a handy list of the best cheap wireless router deals available right now, from cheap gigabit routers to high-end gaming routers and everything in-between. If you want to take control of your home or office Wi-Fi network and save some cash, read on:

Today’s best wireless router deals

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Speedefy K7 AC2100 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

$74 $99
If you're looking for the best sub-$100 router with a gigabit throughput, then the Speedefy K7 AC2100 is a strong contender.
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TP-Link Archer A20 AC4000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router

$168 $190
Boasting six antennae, 4,000 Mbps of bandwidth across three bands, and MU-MIMO technology, the Archer A20 is a top-tier router for gaming, streaming, and large local networks.
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NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 Router with 2 Satellite Extenders

$950 $1,000
Finally eliminate WiFi dead zones in your home, blanketing up to 7500 square feet with blazing fast gigabit speeds. Featuring easy set up, this wireless mesh system works with all internet providers.
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TP-Link Deco AC1200 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System (3-Pack)

$150 $180
For less than $150, the TP-Link Deco AC1200 Wi-Fi router 3-pack is one of the most affordable ways to enjoy whole-home mesh wireless connectivity.
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Linksys WRT AC3200 Gaming Dual-Bind Router

$199 $250
If you want a dedicated router just for your gaming needs, specifically for the Xbox, this Linkssys WRT gaming router is exactly what you need, capable of delivering fast speeds with minimal lag.
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TP-Link N300 Single-Band Router

$20 $38
If you aren't in the market for anything extravagant, the TP-Link N300 router is a simple yet effective way to extend the range of your Wi-Fi with speeds of up to 300 Mbps.
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TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

$62 $80
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.
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Asus AiMesh AX6100 Tri-Band Mesh Router (2-Pack)

$350 $400
The Asus AiMesh AX6100 tri-band mesh router bundle is an incredibly powerful router duo that can pump out up to 6100 megabits a second for nonstop high-speed connectivity.
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Netgear Nighthawk X6S AC3600 Tri-Band Router

$175 $199
With tri-band connectivity and up to 3.5 Gbps speeds, the Netgear Nighthawk X6S AC3600 tri-band router is an excellent option if you want brute speed and versatility.
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Netgear Nighthawk RAX40 AX3000 Dual-Band Router

$190 $200
When 3 Gbps is more than enough, the Netgear Nighthawk RAX40 AX3000 dual-band router is all you need for a stable internet connection with up to 4 streams with up to four Gigabit LAN connections.
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Motorola MR2600 AC2600 Wi-Fi Dual-Band Gigabit Router

$100 $150
If you're paying for gigabit internet, then for a Benjamin, it doesn't get much better than the Motorola MR2600 dual-band router which delivers a total bandwidth of up to 2,600 Mbps.
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Netgear R6700 AC1750 Wi-Fi Router

$86 $100
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.
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NETGEAR AC2000 Dual Band Wireless Access Point (WAC124)

$70 $90
With up to 300mbps speed, this Netgear router can provide great internet connections for multiple devices. It also has 3 SSIDs for separate wi-fi networks, the ideal feature for office use.
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Belkin AC1600 Dual-Band Router

$49 $100
If you want a simple yet effective router, this Belkin AC1600 dual-band router is exactly what you're looking for. It's incredibly affordable and makes for a great router for any household.
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TP-Link Archer A9 AC1900 Dual-Band Router

$90 $100
If you want a decent smart router, the TP-Link AC1900 dual-band router is a great choice for any household that can't go too grand or too cheap, offering great functionality at an affordable price.
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Tenda AC1200 Dual-Band WiFi Router

$34 $50
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.
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Asus Lyra Voice AC2200 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi Router and Alexa Bluetooth Speaker

$150 $180
The Asus Lyra Voice is one of the most unique devices on the market, and one that can pull double duty as a mesh Wi-Fi router and an Alexa-powered Bluetooth smart speaker.
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Netgear Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Mobile Router

$298 $350
Capable of providing 4G LTE to up to 20 different mobile devices anywhere you are, the Netgear Nighthawk M1 mobile hotspot is a powerful little machine that can last all day, indoors or outdoors.
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TP-Link AC750 Portable Travel Wireless Router

$40 $45
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.
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Belkin AC1200 Wi-Fi Dual-Band Router

$34 $90
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.
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ASUS GT-AC5300 Tri-Band Gaming Router

$331 $350
A stable internet connection is a must for any hardcore gamer, and with the ASUS tri-band GT-AC5300 gaming router, that's exactly what you'll get, capable of reaching speeds of up to 5334 Mbps.
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TP-Link Deco Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System (Three Units)

$152 $170
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.

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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