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The best budget routers for under $90

Compare the best budget routers from Google, Asus, and Netgear to keep your devices connected.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Christina Darby

The modern workplace looks a little different than it used to. Instead of early morning commutes and overcrowded office buildings, many are reporting to a home or remote office where privacy and personal space is at the forefront.  

But to work out of the office, you need the right supplies, and that includes the best router to keep you plugged in. These routers help ensure a stable, steady Internet connection, especially when you are working from home and on the clock. 

Luckily,  staying connected doesn't have to cost a fortune. I compared the best routers based on factors like price, performance, and even talked to users regarding their experiences. With that in mind, these are the best budget routers you can buy for your home or office.

Also: Read more about the best Wi-Fi routers

Pros & Cons
  • Parental controls
  • Built-in VPN
  • Simple set-up
  • More basic features
  • Decent speed
More Details

TP-Link Archer AX21 tech specs: Frequency: 5 gigahertz | Data transfer rate: 1200 megabytes per second | Frequency bands supported: Dual band | Dimensions: 10.28 x 5.3 x 1.61 inches 

The TP-Link Archer AX21 combines affordability with performance, making it the best budget router overall that you can buy.

As the CEO of VoicesDavid Ciccarelli uses his router to run his business on a daily basis. "It's a pretty nifty device, especially considering its affordable price tag," he says. "Although it doesn't have some of the advanced features that higher-end routers come with, I find it does the job for my day-to-day internet needs."

This dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router offers faster speeds with Wi-Fi moving up 1.8 billions of bits per second. It can attain speeds moving up to 1200 megabytes per second over a five gigahertz-band for fast performance. Connectivity is great, too, with the option to use Wi-FI, Ethernet, or USB connections. You can connect your devices knowing that OFDMA technology is going to make use seamless. Beamforming technology even makes it possible to connect devices that are farther away, and smart technology means this is compatible with your smart home. 

Plus, set-up is made simply with the help of Alexa, and compatibility is fantastic, working with all Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Frontier, Spectrum, and Xfinity.

"If you're considering the TP-Link Archer AX21, I'd say go for it," says Ciccarelli. "It's a solid choice if you're looking for reliable, easy-to-use Wi-Fi on a budget."

Also: The best Wi-Fi routers of 2023

Pros & Cons
  • Fast performance
  • Supportive mobile app
  • Easy to set up
  • Lacks USB port
  • Not for large spaces
More Details

Asus RT-AC1200 tech specs: Frequency: 5 gigahertz | Data transfer rate: 1200 megabytes per second | Frequency bands supported: Dual band | Dimensions: 1.94 x 2.98 x 0.46 inches

The Asus RT-AC1200 is the best budget router for work because it is compatible with a series of computer screens. The dual-band router has four external 5dBi antennas in total: two for 2.4 gigahertz and two 5 gigahertz bands for an even faster performance. As far as connectivity, you can choose from Wi-Fi and wired connections with a USB 2.0 port. 

The ASUSWRT dashboard UI is your way of managing the router, allowing for an easy set-up and then simple management of the entire system. There are even parental controls to help protect your children, giving you the option to set time limits for their internet use. Simply download the ASUS Router App to get started. 

Calling it the "little router that could, busy consultant Milosz Krasinski speaks highly of the Asus RT-AC1200. "This budget-friendly gem has me streaming cat videos in one room while my partner is in a conference call next door, all without a hiccup," he says. "The easy setup and coverage for the whole house is the cherry on top of this Wi-Fi sundae."

Also: Modem vs. router: What's the difference? 

Pros & Cons
  • Fast performance
  • Parental controls
  • Simple guest network access
  • Lacks USB ports
  • Just two Ethernet ports
More Details

Google Nest Wi-Fi tech specs: Frequency: 5 gigahertz | Data transfer rate: 2200 megabytes per second
| Frequency bands supported: Dual band | Dimensions: 4.33 x 4.33 x 3.56 inches

The Google Nest Wi-Fi is packed with power, making it the best budget mesh router you can buy.

Using this router when working from home, CEO of Voices David Ciccarelli, loves that the router is "double act - it's both a mesh Wi-Fi router and a smart home speaker. This gadget does a stellar job at bringing those two worlds together."

This dual-band router delivers whole-home coverage, covering up to 4,400 square feet to cover those nooks and crannies of your home. In fact, it is capable of supporting up to an astounding 200 devices and can also support multiple simultaneous streams of 4K videos. You simply plug the router into your internet modem, and you're off. 

Marco Andolfatto's company Apollo Cover uses this router at work to keep his office up and running. "We have multiple devices and streams going all the time, and we've had no issues with the Wi-Fi coverage," he says. 

The app kicks off an overall user-friendly experience, allowing you to control users and the time they spend online. 

Ultimately, Ciccarelli says he'd "recommend the Google Nest Wi-Fi to anyone who values simplicity, smart home integration, and robust Wi-Fi coverage." 

Review: Google Nest Wi-Fi review

Pros & Cons
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Supports 20+ devices
  • Effective cooling
  • No USB ports
  • Cumbersome app
More Details

NETGEAR R6700AX tech specs: Frequency: 5 gigahertz | Data transfer rate: 1200 megabytes per second | Frequency bands supported: Dual band | Dimensions: 10.71 x 8.07 x 4.41 inches

When you have a smaller area to cover, the Netgear R6700AX is the best budget router for apartments. This router covers up to 1,500 square feet and supports up to 20 devices. Therefore, it may not be the right fit for larger homes and offices, but it is the best router you can buy when working with a smaller space.   

Leo Watts uses this router to work as Head of Content for CNCSourced and is impressed by both its capabilities and price tag."It's a budget-friendly option that doesn't compromise on performance," he says simply, adding that it is versatile enough to fit most households.

It is a dual-band, four-stream router that provides Wi-Fi 6 for faster speeds and a more reliable connection. Conveniently, it is compatible with a variety of devices, whether it is your phone, laptop, or even your Xbox.

In all, Watts says, "I've found the Netgear R6700AX to be a reliable choice. I recommend the NETGEAR R6700AX to anyone looking for a cost-effective router that supports the latest Wi-Fi standards."

Pros & Cons
  • Simple to use
  • Integrated VPN server
  • Excellent performance
  • No anti-malware software
  • No USB ports
More Details

TP-Link Archer AX21 tech specs: Frequency: 5 gigahertz | Data transfer rate: 1500 megabytes per second | Frequency bands supported: Dual band | Dimensions: 10.24 x 4.96 x 1.3 inches

TP-Link is a well-known name when it comes to routers, and it comes through again with its TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500) Wi-Fi 6 Router. With an affordable price tag, this is the best Wi-Fi 6 budget router you can buy.

It is a dual-band router with a 1.5-gigahertz tri-core processor, giving you access to a one-gigabit per second-WiFi network with a total of four high-gain antennas. It uses OFDMA and MU-MIMO to support up to 25 devices, and it is suitable for two- or three-bedroom homes. For even faster performance, you have the option to connect to TP-Link's OneMesh Wi-Fi extenders for whole-home coverage. Enjoy excellent connectivity with the ability to connect to your laptop, desktop, Xbox, and even the best smart TV. Either way, Beamforming technology focuses on stronger connections to your devices. 

When you are ready for set-up, connect via the Tether App or online interface to control your router without fuss. There are even parental controls, so you never have to worry about family use.

What is the best budget router?

TP-Link takes the prize, providing the best budget router that is both affordable and reliable. Enjoy the help of Alexa as you set up your router for lightning-fast speeds and multi-device support.

To see how it compares, this is a look at the best budget routers.

Best budget router


Data transfer rate

TP-Link Archer AX21


1200 megabytes per second

Asus RT-AC1200


1200 megabytes per second

Google Nest Wi-Fi


2200 megabytes per second

Netgear R6700AX


1200 megabytes per second

TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500) Wi-Fi 6 Router


1500 megabytes per second

Which is the best budget router for you?

It can quickly get confusing when trying to sort through the differences between each router. To help, these are my recommendations so you can find the best budget router for your space.

Choose this best budget router...

If you want...

TP-Link Archer AX21

The best budget router overall with a 5 gigahertz frequency, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router connectivity, moving 1.8 billion of bits per second and $75 price tag. 

Asus RT-AC1200

The best budget router for the office. Compact and equipped with external 5dBi antennas, this model is fantastic for those who work from home.

Google Nest Wi-Fi

The best affordable mesh router. This budget router can tackle multiple sources of connectivity without trouble and cover up to 4,400 square feet. 

Netgear R6700AX

The best budget router for a smaller space. At 10.71 x 4.41 inches, this is an excellent fit for your apartment

TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500) Wi-Fi 6 Router

The fastest budget router, toting a 1.5 -gigahertz tri-core processor and using OFDMA and MU-MIMO, it can support up to 25 devices. 

How did I choose these best budget routers?

In choosing the best budget router, it's important to consider speeds, ports, area dimensions, and app compatibility.  

  • Speeds: When purchasing a router, you want to be sure that the router moves quickly so there are no lags when downloading files or streaming content. I chose routers that boast faster speeds with Wi-Fi 6 technology.

  • Ports: It is imperative to have multiple ethernet ports, so you can connect your devices. Those with a higher number of ports get extra points.

  • Area: Consider the area you are trying to power. Some routers, like the Netgear R6700AX, are appropriate for smaller homes and offices, while others, like the Google Nest Wi-Fi, provide whole-home coverage.

  • App: The best budget routers all have accompanying apps that allow you to manage your router. They also aid in the set-up of your router, making for a far easier and more user-friendly experience. 

How much do routers cost?

The cost of routers can vary significantly - while it is possible to find one under $100, you can also find models that cost several hundred. Budget is a major determinant when choosing the best router for you, so look for routers with excellent value and high-speed performance. The best budget routers range in cost from $60 to $90, giving you plenty of options that cost under $100. 

What does a router do?

A router is a hub that allows your devices to access the internet. It is the middle point that connects your devices with an internet connection. To set up, simply connect your devices to the router, connect your router to the modem, and you're good to start surfing the web. 

What is the best budget router brand?

There are many popular companies that have been long known for manufacturing quality budget routers. Netgear and Google are among those companies. Other companies that make an appearance on our list include top-rated picks from Asus and TP-Link. 

Are there alternative best budget routers worth considering?

These are far from the only options you have to choose from. These are some other best budget routers that may also be right for your home or office.

Asus RT-AC66U B1 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router


Asus RT-AC66U B1 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router - Best budget router protection

This budget router provides the best protection for your devices and is easy to manage from your mobile device. 

View at Amazon
NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750


Netgear R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 - Best budget router for gaming

The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 is the best budget router for gamers.

View at Amazon
TP-Link Archer AX55


TP-Link Archer AX55 - Best budget router upgrade

The TP-Link Archer AX55 is the best budget router when you want to splurge on an upgrade.

View at Amazon

For other options, consider ZDNET's top picks for the best VPN routers and the best mesh Wi-Fi systems

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