Updated at: 08-05-2023 - By: Leo Hall
Need a cheap router to boost the signal in your home? Check out this guide to the best routers under $50 to see our top picks.If your router is underpowered, it will be difficult to provide a reliable wireless signal throughout your entire home.Fortunately, a simple, inexpensive wireless router can help boost and extend the signal.

To extend your network’s range without breaking the bank, we’ve compiled a list of the top four affordable routers on the market right now.

  • Solid protection
  • Stylish layout
  • Excellent cost-effectiveness

What Is a Wireless Router?

A wireless router, or Wi-Fi router, is a computer networking device that rebroadcasts your modem’s internet signal so that other devices can connect to the internet wirelessly. If your modem doesn’t have a built-in router, you can use a separate router to get online wirelessly.

Best Wireless Routers Under 50$ This Guide Will Help You To Decide Which  One Is best

Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Wireless Router

Remember that your ISP places constraints on the speed of your networking hardware (i.e., your router and modem). To get the most out of your high-end router, you need a similarly high-quality internet connection.

There are numerous brands and hundreds of models of routers, but these are the most important considerations:

  • Price
  • Speed
  • Dispersion of Wireless Networks
  • Usability
  • Brand

Make sure it has a speed rating of over 25 Mbps and supports the latest Wi-Fi generation (802.11ac). Think about what features are most important to you (like HD video streaming and online gaming) and how those features are implemented in the various major models. Consider a long-range router or a Wi-Fi range extender if your router needs to reach multiple rooms on different floors.

How Much Should You Spend on a Wi-Fi Router?

Shopping for a router at the best price requires diligence and patience. The differences between Router A and Router B, which can cost twice as much, can be crucial to some users and irrelevant to others.

Cost Variation What to Anticipate
$50-$99 Useful for one person or a small family in a small home or apartment for basic online activities like video streaming and video chatting.
$100-$300 Appropriate for larger dwellings and intensive internet use, such as online gaming and live-streaming.
$300-$400 Perfect for busy, multi-tenant office buildings. Extra safety functions are typically standard on more expensive models.

The price of a consumer broadband router is primarily influenced by:

  • There is a price increase from 802.11n to 802.11ac in terms of wireless routers.
  • Routers that advertise higher data rates typically cost more than those that advertise lower rates, all else being equal. For instance, the retail price of an 802.11n router with a throughput of 600 Mbps will be greater than that of an identical model set to transmit at 300 Mbps.
  • Traditional home routers were essentially rectangular boxes with antennas protruding from the top or sides. In an effort to set themselves apart from competitors and charge higher prices, merchants have started offering products in a wider range of unique shapes, colors, and materials.
  • There are a wide variety of consumer-grade router manufacturers. There may be a premium placed on more well-known brand names due to the credibility of their suppliers.
  • Like other consumer electronics, routers are occasionally offered at reduced prices by retailers. You can save a lot of money if you buy a router during a major sale.

How Fast Does a Wi-Fi Router Need to Be?

The Mbps speed rating is commonly used to describe wireless routers. Starting at 11 Mbps for the first consumer Wi-Fi models, moving up through 54 Mbps for 802.11g, 150 Mbps to 600 Mbps for 802.11n, and now over 1 Gbps for 802.11ac.

Don’t just go for the fastest router on the market. In most cases, you won’t get anywhere near the maximum performance claimed by the manufacturer.

There are many variables that affect the actual router speed, including the number of connected devices, the strength of the wireless signal, the distance between the router and the device, and more.

If your internet connection is slow, even the fastest router won’t help. In the case of an ISP providing service at 25 Mbps, for instance, even a router capable of speeds in excess of 1 Gbps will be limited to the ISP’s maximum.

In a network, the maximum speed is limited by the router and the Internet service provider (ISP), whichever is lower. Therefore, if a router boasts extremely fast speeds but your Internet service provider (ISP) only provides a meager amount of bandwidth, the router will only deliver the meager amount. If you have fast bandwidth but a slow router, you will still experience slow speeds.

Invest in a router that can reach speeds at least as fast as your Internet service provider’s to get the most out of your wireless network.

How Far Does the Wi-Fi Range Extend?

Does your router need to cover a single floor with a few rooms, or a multi-story house with a garage? The power of the router you’ll need is determined by this parameter.

The Wi-Fi signal strength and range of a single-unit router will determine whether or not the entire home can be covered by the network. However, if you need to cover a sizable area, a Wi-Fi repeater/range extender, a mesh network consisting of multiple routers, or a long-range router are all viable options to explore.

Large, multi-story homes, or those who wish to extend Wi-Fi to the backyard, may also benefit from installing a second router.

Do You Need a Smart Router?

If you’re not tech-savvy and this is your first time setting up a network, look for a router with a user interface designed for non-techies. Find out what sort of router you require by reading this:

  • You can change the settings on a traditional router by going online and entering the device’s IP address. This is a complicated method for inexperienced users to manage a network because you have to remember the password and be at home to make adjustments (like changing the Wi-Fi password and other settings).
  • Even when you’re not at home, you can control your smart router with an app on your smartphone that establishes a direct connection to the network. Initial configuration of these routers takes only a few minutes to complete.

If you’re on a tight budget, the first type of wireless router is your best bet, as the convenience of the second type is what drives up its price. The IP address method is typically only seen with standalone routers, while mesh Wi-Fi networks typically use a mobile app.

Take review scores and ratings about routers with a grain of salt, even though it’s always helpful to get advice from consumers. People often have complaints about technology when the technology was poorly suited to their needs.

What Brand Should You Choose?

In the past, external network adapters were frequently bought alongside routers. When compared brand for brand, the products of some networking manufacturers benefit from proprietary add-ons that boost performance slightly. Compatibility with the vendor’s hardware can also be rigorously tested.

Brand-matching your Wi-Fi router with the rest of your consumer electronics might make sense. Otherwise, learn about the different manufacturers and select a reliable one. ​

Who Should Buy a Wireless Router?

Since routers are essential to the operation of any network, they are also required for the use of Wi-Fi.

  • WiFi users at home. In order to use the internet, watch videos online, or play online games, you need a router that is compatible with all of your wireless devices.
  • Offices. Wi-Fi and fast internet access are now standard in most workplaces.
  • Businesses. Wi-Fi is essential for running a business, and you may also want to offer it to your customers for free.
  • In the open. You can find free Wi-Fi at places like libraries, churches, and community centers.

What to Do After You Buy

After purchasing a router, the next step is to configure it.

  • Join the modem to the router. To connect your modem and router, first plug in the router end of the Ethernet cable.
  • Get online via Wi-Fi. Enter the password for the Wi-Fi network and connect your wireless device to the network. This data is either displayed on the router itself or included in the user manual.
  • A router login is needed. Changing the Wi-Fi password, configuring security settings, blocking websites, etc. can all be done from the administrative console.

Best Wireless Router Under 50

Tenda N301

The 802.11b/g/n wireless standard

It is not dual-band technology.

The Pros:

  • Extremely low-priced
  • Minimalist layout

The Cons:

  • Not scalable to large areas or a large number of gadgets.
  • Not exactly dependable

About The Router

Tenda’s N301, a compact and unobtrusive router, is our first pick. Even though it costs less and takes up less space than the other routers on this list, its performance is not compromised in any way.

This compact router is perfect if you need to cover a small area, such as a single room where signal strength is low. However, it lacks exceptional strength and distinctive features.


Wi-Fi protocols that can be used 802.11b/g/n
Transmission of Data 11/54/300 Mbps
Frequencies that can be used 2.4GHz
Antennae 2, 5dBi
Dimensions 5×3.5x1in
Weight 4.3oz

Our Thoughts

The Tenda N301 is an excellent option if you need a basic router with few extra features. It is flexible in terms of placement and can handle multiple devices simultaneously.

However, you’ll want to upgrade to a more potent router if you need to cover multiple rooms or have a lot of devices that need access to a stable connection across a wider area. In addition, it has not proven to be the most dependable router over time, so spending a little more now could pay off later.

802.11b/g/n is the Wi-Fi standard.

Two-Band: Not at This Time

The Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Minimalist layout
  • Extremely dependable

The Cons:

  • Can’t handle big spaces or lots of gadgets.

About The Router

The following TP-Link option is very similar to the aforementioned Tenda product in that it is also a basic, compact router with very similar features.

However, as is usually the case, the product provided by a larger and more well-known company is of higher quality and performs more reliably in practice. This is especially true of the TL-WR841N and the main reason why it made the cut.


Wi-Fi protocols that can be used 802.11b/g/n
Transmission of Data 11/54/300 Mbps
Frequencies that can be used 2.4GHz
Antennae 2, 5dBi
Dimensions 5.1×1.3×7.6in
Weight 8.8oz

Our Thoughts

This TP-Link router, as was previously mentioned, is very similar to the Tenda router. The product and the service behind it are more reliable and of higher quality in this alternative.

There are no noticeable differences in performance, and the increased durability and dependability are why we advise spending the extra money.

Asus RT-N12

802.11b/g/n is the Wi-Fi standard.

Two-Band: Not at This Time

The Pros:

  • Superior range and coverage
  • Perfect for sweeping multiple spaces
  • Stylish layout

The Cons:

  • Larger and heavier than competing designs.

About The Router

Up next is the RT-N12, a single-band budget router from Asus that is a little more expensive than the previous model.

Router wifi ASUS RT-N12+ Wireless N300Mbps | HACOM

This tiny router is more attractive and more solidly constructed than the two products you mentioned. Again, the technology appears to be the same, although Asus includes some optimizations that boost the performance of their router.


Compatible Wireless LAN Protocols 802.11b/g/n
Flow of Information 11/54/300 Mbps
Frequencies that can be used 2.4GHz
Antennae 2, 5dBi
Dimensions 3.1×7.7×11.1in
Weight 22oz

Our Thoughts

The RT-N12 has a built-in signal amplifier that increases coverage and helps it maintain a stable signal across multiple rooms, despite having seemingly identical technical specs.

The router provides great throughput and range, but it’s rather cumbersome in comparison to the other options. This is unfortunate, but if you’re shopping for the most productive low-cost router, it’s not a deal breaker.


The 802.11b/g/n wireless standard

Is it dual-band?

The Pros:

  • Dual-band wireless router
  • Excellent coverage

The Cons:

  • Expensive

About The Router

Finally, there is a Netgear router that can’t be compared to the others in terms of performance.

The fact that you can use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at such a low price is undoubtedly the most impressive feature of this router. This is fantastic news for people who reside in heavily populated areas, where the standard 2.4GHz band can quickly become congested due to the sheer number of connected devices.


Wi-Fi protocols that can be used 802.11b/g/n
The Flow of Data 300 450 Mbps
Frequencies that can be used both 2.4 and 5 GHz
Antennae Internal
Dimensions 5.9x3x9.2in
Weight 34oz

Our Thoughts

Obviously, if you’re looking for the best possible value in a router, this Netgear model is your best bet. As was mentioned up front, there is less traffic on the 5GHz band than the 2.4GHz band, which translates to less interference.

The show, however, has a monetary cost. Although it’s the least expensive dual-band router here, this model is also the priciest at just over $50. Even so, if you want the best performance in a low-cost router, it is money well spent.

Read on to find out how we arrive at our unbiased product recommendations following extensive research, testing, and review. By clicking on our links and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission.

If you’re looking at the market for high-end home routers and realizing that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good router, you might be surprised. This is especially true if you only need to handle a small number of devices in a modestly sized home. We’ve included some great options for single users and small families in our list of the best routers under $50, especially if you live in an apartment, condo, or medium-sized home where maximum range and tri-band coverage aren’t as important.

If you’re on a tight budget but still want a high-quality router that can support multiple devices simultaneously streaming 4K video from Netflix or making video calls with Zoom, then one of the best routers under $50 is a great choice. If you’re looking for a high-quality router that won’t break the bank, then keep reading for our recommendations.

Our Favorites

  • Superb cost-effectiveness.
  • MU-MIMO compatibility
  • Security with WPA3

Disliked Features

  • A lack of USB ports

When it comes to dual-band routers, TP-Link’s Archer A6 (also known as the C6) is arguably the most reasonably priced option available. Offering up to 867Mbps on throughput on the 5GHz band and an additional 300Mpbs for lower-end 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi 4 devices, its AC1200 specifications provide surprisingly great performance for its price range.

The end result is a cheap router capable of 4K Netflix streaming, video chatting with friends and coworkers via services like FaceTime and Zoom, and even some light online gaming. You’ll need to keep your devices close together for the best performance, as the range of a budget router won’t be sufficient to cover a large home. However, if you find you need additional range, you can easily add a Wi-Fi extender to your order at this price.

There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of the Archer A6 for connecting high-performance devices that can’t be wirelessly connected. However, with MU-MIMO support, you’ll likely only need to worry about compatibility with older Wi-Fi 4 clients or devices without Wi-Fi capabilities. Device-based QoS, basic parental controls, WPA3 security, and even an OpenVPN server are just some of the impressive features included in this inexpensive router.

Standard/Speed: AC1200; Bands: Dual-band; MU-MIMO: Yes; Beamforming: Yes; Wired Ports: 5; Wireless Specification: 802.11ac; Security: WPA3, OpenVPN, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access;

Our Favorites

  • Exceptional 802.11n wireless performance
  • Serves as a potential signal booster
  • Cheap as chips

Disliked Features

  • Can’t connect to Gigabit Ethernet
  • Only one frequency range is supported.
  • 0 USB ports

The TL-WR940N from TP-Link is, among other routers, extremely cheap. At this price, you’re making a lot of sacrifices, but if you don’t need to support 5GHz devices, the solid 2.4GHz 802.11n WI-Fi 4 performance makes it a great choice.

The TL-WR940N can only reach 450Mbps because of this, but even the most expensive dual-band routers typically top out at that speed on the 2.4GHz band. What’s more, it’s more than enough for four devices to simultaneously stream 4K content and participate in Zoom video calls. In addition, it has support for QoS basics that let you regulate the bandwidth allocated to each device, ensuring that your smart TVs and gaming consoles run at peak efficiency.

The biggest drawback is that the four Ethernet ports on the back are all Fast Ethernet, meaning the fastest wired speeds you can expect are 100Mbps. This makes possible the extremely unusual situation where wireless connectivity to your router may provide superior performance to hardwiring your devices.

Standard/Speed: N450; Security: WPA2; Bands: Single; MU-MIMO: No; Beamforming: No; Wired Ports: 5; Wireless Specifications: 802.11n; Security: WPA2; Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access;

Netgear R6080 Dual-Band AC1000 WiFi Router

Our Favorites

  • Reduced bulk
  • Gigabit Ethernet through four ports

Disliked Features

  • 0 USB ports
  • Restricted scope

The R6080 from Netgear is one of the most cost-effective routers available without sacrificing the quality you’ve come to expect from the company. You shouldn’t count on it to meet the demands of a large household, but it’s more than adequate for a couple or a small family to use the internet as it was meant to be used.

With a range of up to 1,000 square feet and a maximum throughput of 700 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, this dual-band AC1000 router is ideal for households with multiple connected devices. As long as you don’t overload the network, it will provide more than enough speed for single users, couples, and small families living in an apartment, bungalow, or condo to stream from services like Netflix in full 4K quality and keep in touch with friends and family via FaceTime and Zoom.

Standard/Speed: AC1000; Bands: Dual-band; MU-MIMO: No; Beamforming: No; Wired Ports: 5; Wireless Specifications: 802.11ac; Security: WPA2; Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access;

Our Favorites

  • Stylish appearance
  • Cheap as chips
  • Strong scope

Disliked Features

  • Average velocities
  • Not very good at juggling several gadgets at once

With its superior AC1200 Wi-Fi and enough range to deliver 1.2Gbps speeds throughout a typical three-bedroom home, the Archer C50 from TP-Link is an inexpensive router that excels at offering better range than most others in its class.

With 867Mbps of throughput on the 5GHz band and an additional 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz side, it provides more than enough performance for 4K streaming and video calling, and the fixed antennas support beamforming and MU-MIMO to ensure you get top speeds throughout your home, even when supporting multiple devices. With the help of a straightforward device-based QoS feature, you can also give smart TVs and game consoles preferential treatment for optimal performance.

While the C50’s specifications are very close to those of the Archer A6, which is unquestionably the best budget router overall, the C50’s omission of VPN features and capacity for high-speed wired devices allows you to save a little extra cash. Additionally, it can function as a range extender, making it a useful accessory for the Archer A6.

MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5 | Standard/Speed: AC1000 | Bands: Dual-band | WPA2, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access

 Linksys E5350 Dual-Band AC1000 Wi-Fi Router

Things We Dig

  • Good looking layout
  • Provides some simple safeguards for kids

The Things That Bother Us

  • No Gigabit Ethernet ports available.
  • 0 USB ports

The Linksys E5350 shows that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a router that won’t look out of place in your living room. This AC1000 dual-band Wi-Fi router has only two round antennas, but it provides more than enough range and performance for an average-sized home thanks to its smooth and sleek top surface.

You’ll have no trouble watching Netflix in 4K and talking to your friends and family on FaceTime and Skype with a total throughput of 1Gbps (700Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band). Better yet, it can be placed wherever you like for optimal coverage of your smart TV or gaming console.

The E5350 provides safeguarded access for visitors and basic parental controls to keep children from accessing inappropriate content online. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi is much faster than the 100Mbps Fast Ethernet supported by the four Ethernet ports in the back, which means it isn’t ideal for high-speed wired devices.

Standard/Speed: AC1000; Bands: Dual-band; MU-MIMO: No; Beamforming: No; Wired Ports: 5; Wireless Specifications: 802.11ac; Security: WPA2; Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access;

Our Favorites

  • Wi-Fi with two bands
  • Quick speeds with 802.11ac
  • Flexible wireless protocols

Disliked Features

  • less distance
  • The port’s design is subpar.

The TP-Link TL-WR902AC is the best option for users who are constantly on the go because it is one of the fastest pocket-sized routers currently available. It weighs only 7.2 ounces and has dimensions of 2.64 by 2.91 by 0.9 inches, so you can take your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot with you virtually anywhere.

But don’t let its diminutive stature fool you. The AC750 dual-band Wi-Fi it provides is more than capable of handling your streaming and video conferencing needs, with speeds of up to 733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz side. In addition to its primary function as a router or Wi-Fi access point, this device can also serve as a range extender, a private Wi-Fi hotspot for WISP networks, or a client to grant Wi-Fi connectivity to a wired-only device.

Keep in mind that with a device this small, you won’t get very much range, but for one-on-one or two-on-two use while traveling, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re using it to connect to the internet in a public place like a hotel or a cafe, you’re never more than a few feet away from it.

Standard/Speed: AC750; Bands: Dual-band; MU-MIMO: No; Beamforming: No; Wired Ports: 1; Wireless Specifications: 802.11ac; Security: WPA2; Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access;

Asus RT-AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

Our Favorites

  • Use of two independent wide area networks
  • Service quality and traffic analysis
  • Tools for keeping the kids in line

Disliked Features

  • Failure to support MU-MIMO
  • A lack of USB ports

The unique design of the Asus RT-AC1200 makes it an excellent option for small businesses that can’t afford downtime. This router’s ability to utilize two independent WAN connections simultaneously ensures that a fallback connection is always available.

With 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz side, this dual-band Wi-Fi router has more than enough speed for all of your network’s devices. With their powerful signal, four external beamforming antennas can cover a small office or a modest home.

One of the four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports can be used to connect to a secondary broadband connection that acts as a failover in the event of an outage on the primary connection or that can be used simultaneously to load-balance traffic and increase overall network speed.

Standard/Speed: AC1200; Bands: Dual-band; MU-MIMO: No; Beamforming: Yes; Wired Ports: 5; Wireless Specifications: 802.11ac; Security: WPA2, RADIUS, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access;

What To Look For In A Budget Router

It’s tempting to go out and buy the most cutting-edge and powerful Wi-Fi router money can buy, but before you do that, it’s important to take a step back and assess your actual requirements.

For instance, avid gamers may favor a gaming-specific router, but you don’t have to shell out for top-tier hardware if gaming isn’t your primary focus. This is especially true if you intend to hardwire your computer or gaming console, in which case wireless speed is less of an issue.

Keep in mind that the most powerful, expensive, and large routers are typically intended for the most trafficked residences. If you’re a single person in a small dwelling like a condo or bungalow, you can get by with a less expensive Wi-Fi router. Don’t let flashy marketing or sophisticated spec sheets convince you that you need to buy a Cadillac when a Chevrolet will do everything you need and more.

Single, Dual, Or Tri-Band? 

If you’re trying to save money on a router, knowing the distinctions between Wi-Fi standards and wireless frequencies is crucial. Otherwise, you might end up paying for features you don’t need.

Routers can be classified as “single-band,” “dual-band,” or “tri-band” depending on the number of frequencies they can use simultaneously.

For over 20 years, 2.4 GHz has been the default Wi-Fi frequency, making it the norm for nearly all single-band routers. Single-band routers today typically support the 802.11n standard (also known as “Wi-Fi 4”) and provide throughputs of up to 600Mbps. The older, slower 802.11b and 802.11g standards (with a maximum throughput of 54Mbps) are also supported. While it’s likely that none of your consumer-facing devices, like computers, are still using these older standards, many IoT and smart home devices likely still are.

The 2.4 GHz band has the drawback of being slower and more crowded than higher frequencies. Cordless phones, home security systems, garage door openers, and even microwave ovens all operate at 2.4GHz and, as a result, all produce interference in this band.

The new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard was developed to address these interference issues and improve Wi-Fi performance. It operates on the 5GHz frequency, which allows for the possibility of much faster speeds (a high-end 802.11ac router can offer multi-gigabit performance) and is free of most of the usual interference. However, 5GHz has one major drawback: it cannot penetrate solid objects and therefore cannot cover as much ground.

Due to the shorter range and the need to remain backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi devices, all 802.11ac routers also support the 2.4GHz band and are therefore referred to as dual-band routers.

How about three bands at once? In order to alleviate bottlenecks caused by an abundance of 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 devices, these routers provide a second 5GHz frequency band. There is no point in purchasing a tri-band router unless you have more than two or three 802.11ac 5GHz devices in your home that require peak performance, as each device can only connect to a single band at a time. Remember that even a tri-band router only has a single 2.4GHz band, so it won’t help your older Wi-Fi devices at all.

Range And Coverage

We won’t sugarcoat it: budget routers don’t typically have a lot of range, so while most will be perfectly adequate for a studio or small apartment, you’ll need more than most of these routers can give you to cover every corner of a medium to large home.

A mesh Wi-Fi system is your best bet if you have a massive house. These can be very costly, but some allow you to begin with a single base router and add on as necessary, so you may only end up spending a few hundred dollars or more to cover a large home.

Many low-cost routers, however, can double as basic wireless access points, meaning that if you’re willing to run Ethernet cables or buy a Powerline network adapter, you have a relatively cheap DIY option for covering your entire home. When compared to the cost of a single mesh Wi-Fi node, many budget routers are much more cost-effective.

It’s important to remember that just because your home is larger doesn’t mean you need to spend more money on Wi-Fi to reach every inch of it.

The Gear to Get Reliable Wi-Fi in Any Home | Wirecutter

Security & Encryption

While features like advanced parental controls and malware protection aren’t typically included in budget routers, that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on security altogether. Make sure the router you’re looking at has at least Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption and can forward VPN connections from your computers, especially if you’re buying an older model.

Network Address Translation and private IP addresses are fundamental features of home internet routers, so you may not need a complex firewall to keep intruders out. However, you should still install anti-malware software on your computers and enable the other appropriate security features on tablets and smartphones to prevent malware from infiltrating your network.

Speed & Performance

You can tell a router’s performance by its letter and number rating, such as AC1900 or N600. Both of these numbers represent the maximum throughput and the fastest supported Wi-Fi standard that your router can handle. Comparatively, an AC1900 router supports 802.11ac and can achieve speeds of 1,900Mbps (or 1.9Gbps), while an N600 router supports 802.11n at speeds of up to 600Mbps. However, in the case of multi-band routers, these are the combined speeds for all bands. An AC1900 router, for instance, might only provide 1.3Gbps throughput on the 5GHz band and another 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. That 5,300Mbps of bandwidth is actually distributed across three bands, which is why tri-band routers typically have much higher ratings, such as AC5300.

Although theoretically possible, in practice you should not count on AC1900 speeds or higher from a single device, even if you have a dual-band router. Multiple Wi-Fi devices can be connected to a single router, with all of them sharing the available bandwidth.

To put this in perspective, the minimum speed required to stream 4K UHD movies from Netflix is only around 25Mbps, and in most cases, you don’t need more than that for online gaming either; low latency is much more important than raw speed. In most cases, an ultra-fast router is not required unless you have a large number of devices sharing the network or regularly download very large files.

Keep in mind that if your home internet connection is only 25 Mbps, a Wi-Fi router with a higher throughput won’t make up for the difference in performance, so there’s usually no need to spend a lot of money on a much faster model than the one you already have.

Wired Connectivity

There are times when wireless Internet just isn’t enough, and even the cheapest routers have a few Ethernet ports for wired connections.

As we’ve already discussed, there’s more to gaming than just raw speed; your router also needs to provide low latency to ensure lag-free gaming performance, making this a particularly important consideration for gamers. After all, nothing is more frustrating than being on the verge of making the decisive kill in your favorite first-person shooter only to have the game freeze due to network lag.

Most budget routers won’t provide the low latency Wi-Fi performance required for serious gaming, so you’ll almost certainly have to plug in. Many older and cheaper routers only have Fast Ethernet ports, but these will suffice unless your internet connection is faster than 100 Mbps. Some budget routers have Gigabit Ethernet ports, which is a nice bonus.

What About Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi standards, as we’ve already established, vary primarily in terms of allowed data rates and supported frequencies. Names like “802.11b” and “802.11ac” have been in use for some time, but the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group in charge of these standards, has recently decided to switch to names that both sound less technical and make the connection between standards clear. Wi-Fi 4 is based on the older 802.11n standard, while Wi-Fi 5 is based on the more recent 802.11ac standard.

All of this transpired during the final stages of ratification for Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax. However, unless you have a lot of spare cash and want to be at the cutting edge of technology, you probably won’t be able to find a cheap router that supports Wi-Fi 6, and you probably don’t even need to worry about it.

Wi-Fi 6 is compatible with the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, provides dramatically improved performance, and functions better in highly populated and crowded networks. However, you won’t be able to take advantage of this until you upgrade to Wi-Fi 6-capable computers, smartphones, etc. At the moment, only the newest smartphones, tablets, and laptops are widely available, and, let’s be honest, how much faster do you really need your iPhone’s network connection to be?

Therefore, if you’re looking for a cheap router, you probably won’t find one that supports Wi-Fi 6, but there’s a good chance you don’t need to worry about it anyway because you probably don’t have any devices at home that will benefit from it. You can save up for the time when Wi-Fi 6 is more widely adopted and routers that support it are cheaper.

Top Brands


TP-Link has been making routers for over 20 years, and while it does offer some high-end models (as evidenced by the inclusion of a few on this list), the company is more well-known for its wide selection of low-cost all-purpose routers. Actually, TP-Link is one of the few companies that not only keeps a huge variety of older router models in stock but also updates them every few years with brand new features and improvements.


While Asus is best known for its high-end gaming routers, it still sells and supports a number of older models that boast innovative capabilities like dual WAN support and multiple SSIDs (network names), allowing you to create multiple Wi-Fi networks with a single device.


With high-performance features like dual-band 2.4GHz Wi-Fi for older devices, Netgear has long been known to produce some of the most powerful routers you can buy. If you’re only interested in supporting 2.4GHz devices, you can get a fairly inexpensive router from Netgear’s large family of older models, which are still available and supported by the company.

Single-Band vs. Dual-Band

Single-band routers typically operate at the standard frequency of 2.4 GHz, where Wi-Fi signals are broadcast. Dual-band routers use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, but the former has lower range and lower throughput than the latter.

The primary reason to consider a budget dual-band router among the affordable routers discussed here is to prevent signal interference if there are numerous Wi-Fi networks operating nearby or if you have a large number of devices connected to your network.

There is also the wider bandwidth. In the case of the aforementioned Netgear router, we have access to a combined 750 Mbps of bandwidth between the 2.4GHz band’s 300 Mbps and the 5GHz band’s 450 Mbps. Again, this is something to keep in mind if you suspect that too many people are using the network at once, resulting in slow Wi-Fi speeds.


Is it okay to buy an older router?

When shopping for a router for a smaller home, it can be very cost-effective to choose an older model. Since not everyone has a pressing need for the latest and greatest in Wi-Fi technologies, many companies keep selling older models. If you’re a single user in a dorm or small apartment, you can get some incredibly affordable 802.11n Wi-Fi 4 routers that will still give you more than enough performance for streaming your favorite movies and TV shows from services like Netflix, even though we normally recommend going with at least a dual-band router that offers 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 support.

Can an inexpensive router cover my entire home?

Budget routers typically have a range of only a few thousand square feet, and speed degrades rapidly beyond that. However, many low-priced routers can also function as range extenders or wireless access points, and the cost of adding one of these is much less than the cost of a long-range router.

Should I buy a used Wi-Fi router?

Unless you have solid evidence that the previous owner took good care of the device, you should avoid purchasing a used Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi routers have a shorter lifespan than they should because most people ignore them and store them in dusty corners or closets, where debris and dirt can block airflow and cause overheating.

Conclusion – The Best Router Under $50 For 2022

The Asus RT-N12 is our top pick for best router under $50 because, in our opinion, it offers the most bang for the buck. It has all the qualities of an ideal budget router, including low price, high reliability, and the ability to satisfy the requirements of the typical user.

Keeping your specific requirements and the features available in mind, you can’t go wrong with any of the inexpensive routers we’ve covered here.