7 Best Routers under 200 Dollars (Top Reviews and Guide 2022)

GigabyteKingdom is audience-supported. When you purchase through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Best Routers under 200

A budget of 200 dollars puts you in full view of tri-band and dedicated gaming routers. But when it comes to routers, $200 isn’t an insignificant amount of money. However, you get the peace of mind of knowing your choosing from among the best for high-speed wireless Internet surfing and lag free gaming, without spending as much as you could. The ones on this roundup are top-rated devices chosen based on performance, specs and design to easily connect to any network and they’re easy to configure. If you’re not sure how to find the best router to support your needs, be sure to check out our guide for choosing the best routers under 200 dollars.

Related: Best Routers under 150 Dollars

IN A HURRY?  HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

   Dimensions (HWD)2.4GHz Performance5GHz PerformanceWi-Fi Protocol 
1.Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR5009.6x12.7x2.2-inches800 Mbps1733 MbpsWi-Fi 5View
2.Asus RT-AX86U6.4x9.4x3.1-inches861 Mbps4804 Mbps Wi-Fi 6View
3.Synology RT2600AC3x11x6.7-inches800 Mbps1733 MbpsWi-Fi 6View
4.Linksys WRT1900ACS7.6x9.7x2.1-inches 600 Mbps1300 MbpsWi-Fi 5View
5.TP-Link Archer GX908.3x8.3x2-inches 574 Mbps1201/4804 MbpsWi-Fi 6View
6.Netgear Nighthawk RAX508.1x11.7x2.3-inches600 Mbps4800 MbpsWi-Fi 6View
7.TP-Link Deco X204.3x4.3x4.5-inches575 Mbps1200 MbpsWi-Fi 6View

Best Routers under 200 Dollars Review  

1. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping
  • Minimize ping and maximize performance with four 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports for lag free, wired connectivity and 1.7 GHz dual core processor network efficiency
  • Amp up your Wi-Fi with AC2600 dual band router that delivers blazing fast speeds up to 2.6 Gbps
  • Put your gaming traffic in a designated express lane with advanced quality of service, bypassing network congestion and reducing lag spikes, jumps and jitters
  • Make every millisecond count by using Geo filtering to connect to the closest servers and players so you can respond and dominate
  • Monitor your network and game ping in real time so you can see who’s hogging the bandwidth by device and application

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What’s the difference between a router and a router meant for gaming? Like a gaming laptop, a credible gaming router needs hardware that can back up its bravado.

Given that leading intro, the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is a high-end router and among the best wireless routers with tons of gaming features to reduce latency with reliable wireless connections.

Wide and flat, the design is similar to other routers within the Nighthawk lineup but with sharp angles all around. If the LED lights in front get distracting, there’s a way for you to turn them off in back. Unfortunately, there’s no option for wall mounting.

The menu is powered by DumaOS with all the tools and analytics you need to minimize latency and keep your games running smoothly. You can customize your home network through the R-Apps (Router Apps).

With a Qualcomm QCA9984 Wi-Fi chipset, Wi-Fi performance is the most powerful among 802.11ac packages. And the band-steering feature is useful if you’re not terribly router-savvy.

You’ll find two USB 2.0 ports located on the sides. The back has four gigabit LAN ports, one gigabit WAN port and a DC port for power.

Setup is easy via the Web browser, but there’s no usable app. It does, however work with the Netgear Up app and the Netgear Genie app but the functionality is spars for both.

Pros:

  • fantastic traffic management
  • powerful Wi-Fi with range
  • lots of extras

Cons:

  • R-Apps store is lacking

2. Asus RT-AX86U

Sale
ASUS AX5700 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX86U Zaku II Edition) – Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, NVIDIA GeForce Now, 2.5G Port, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh, Lifetime Internet Security
  • New-generation WiFi 6 - Enjoy ultrafast speeds up to 5700 Mbps with the latest WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and 160MHz channels
  • Mobile Game Mode - Minimize lag and latency for mobile gaming with just a tap on the ASUS Router app
  • True 2 Gbps wired and wireless speeds - Aggregated 2 Gbps WAN connections, wired 2.5 Gbps port and WiFi 6
  • ASUS AiMesh support – Create a flexible, seamless whole-home mesh network with AiMesh-compatible routers
  • Commercial-grade home network security – Lifetime free ASUS AiProtection Pro, powered by Trend Micro, with WPA3 and advanced Parental Controls to protect your home

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another contender for best wifi router at this is price is the Asus RT-AX86U. It starts with excellent performance and adds to that configuration customization options, port aggregation and top-shelf security for what amounts to be one of the best Wi-Fi 6 gaming routers on the market.

It’s the follow up to the RT-AC86U (also on our list). While the RT-AX86U lacks the recessed inserts for wall mounting, it looks good on a bookshelf or desk.

It’s one of the most customizable routers on the market. Setup, configuration and adjustments can be accomplished via the Asus Router app or through the browser interface.

The RT-AX86U is an 802.11AX dual-band router that can create 2.4 and 5 GHz networks capable of taking advantage of ultra-wide 160 MHz data channels, as well as MU-MIMO and beamforming technologies to squeeze as much data onto a transmission as possible. It can move 861 Mbps over its 2.4GHz band and 4804 Mbps on its 5 GHz band.

Along the back are a 1 Gbps and a 2.5 Gbps Multi-Gig WAN input port for working with the latest broadband modems. There’s also four dedicated Gbps downstream Ethernet ports, along with an extra Lan port and there’s also a pair of USB 3 ports.

You have the choice of either using the Asus Web browser interface or the Asus phone and tablet apps to setup the router with software for Android and iOS.

Pros:

  • excellent throughput
  • multi-gig input and port aggregation
  • security software with lifetime updates

Cons:

  • lacks gamer tools

3. Synology RT2600AC

Synology RT2600AC IEEE 802.11ac Ethernet Wireless Router
  • Sold as 1 Each.
  • Desktop installation - Ideal for deployments outside the wiring closet. Maximize the throughput for smoother and faster HD video streaming and file transfer by utilizing the ISM Band.
  • Maximize the throughput for smoother and faster HD video streaming and file transfer by utilizing the ISM Band.
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for ultra-fast wired network speeds.
  • For USB-enabled devices accessibility, the router comes with a built-in USB port.

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Synology RT2600AC is a feature-rich AC2600 router with support for MU-MIMO technology and dual WAN connectivity.

It’s an average sized router with four removable and adjustable external antennas. The front of the router is home to a series of LED indicators for power, Internet (WAN), all four LAN ports, both USB ports and WPS activity.

The RT2600AC is a follow up to the company’s RT1900AC router with some new features, including the aforementioned support for MU-MIMO data streaming and dual-WAN connectivity. It also offers comprehensive parental controls, traffic monitoring and intrusion projection.

It’s capable of 800 Mbps throughput on the 2.4 GHz band. And a high speed of 1733 Mbps when it comes to MU-MIMO throughput.

The RT2600AC can be managed using the Windows-like SRM web console or the DS Router mobile app. The mobile app offers parental controls and traffic control settings, guest networking and basic wireless settings. But the Web console offers more robust controls.

It comes with four gigabit LAN ports, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, a dedicated WAN port and an SD card slot (LAN port number one can be used as a secondary WAN port).

Installation is fast and easy. Once connected, the setup screen is automatically launched in a browser window.

Pros:

  • solid 2.4 and 5 GHz throughput performance
  • MU-MIMO data streaming
  • dual WAN support

Cons:

  • middling MU-MIMO throughput
  • middling file transfer speeds

4. Linksys WRT1900ACS

Linksys Open Source Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Wireless Router, Speeds up to (AC1900) 1.9Gbps - WRT1900ACS
  • Wireless AC, up to 4.3x faster than N technology: Simultaneous dual band speed up to 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) for media intensive applications
  • 4 high performance antennas: Engineered to enhance dual band communication, four external, adjustable antennas ensure supreme Wi Fi signal strength in multilevel homes and small offices
  • Dual Core 1.6 GHz CPU: Powerful CPU promotes simultaneous high speed data processing allowing multiple users to simultaneously game online, stream movies, and transfer files without lagging
  • Share content via an external storage device with ultra fast data transfer speeds. USB 3.0 delivers enhanced performance over USB 2.0; eSATA delivers optimal data transfer speeds from external SATA drives and accommodates USB 2.0
  • Users can prioritize devices or websites, gain parental control over content, monitor network activity, turn Wi Fi access on or off and create select password protected guest networks. Network Map offers a visual map of the home network

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Linksys WRT1900ACS is an open-source router that can also serve as a wireless extender. It’s not Wi-Fi 6 or MU-MIMO capable but it offers a few unique, even advanced features to make it a wonderful contender in this price spectrum.

It retains a polarizing old school design: The blue and black color scheme gives it a toy-like appearance that’ll be challenging to blend into most environments. But it also comes with four removable and adjustable antennas.

Key features include its open-source capability and the fact that it can operate in different modes, including wireless router mode. It can also serve as an access point, a wired bridge, a wireless bridge or a wireless repeater. This allows you to use a second Linksys to extend your Wi-Fi signal.

Since this is an AC1900 dual-band 802.11ac router, Wi-Fi speeds max out at 1300 Mbps over the 5 GHz band. They can reach up to 600 Mbps over the 2.4 GHz band. It comes with beamforming technology so you can concentrate the signal strength to connected devices.

The Linksys app is one of the more comprehensive router apps out there. Use it to setup a guest network, manage and prioritize devices and set up parental controls.

You can find all the ports ideally positioned in the back, which include a gigabit WAN port, four gigabit LAN ports, a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port along with button controls.

As with most modern routers, setup is easy in the Linksys app, or you can use the Web portal.

Pros:

  • open source
  • different modes
  • good parental controls

Cons:

  • bigger than most routers
  • uninspired design

5. TP-Link Archer GX90

Sale
TP-Link AX6600 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (Archer GX90)- Tri Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, High-Speed ax Router, Smart VPN Router for a Large Home
  • Game Band: Tri-Band structure provides a 4.8 Gbps Game Band exclusive for your gaming rigs and bings pure immersion. 4804 Mbps (5GHz, HE160) + 1201 Mbps (5GHz) + 574 Mbps (2.4GHz)
  • Game Accelerator: Detect and optimize gaming streams, to ensure your gaming stays immersive
  • Ultra Connectivity: 1 × 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN port + 1 × 1 Gbps WAN/LAN port + 3 × Gigabit LAN ports and 2 x USB ports ensure max flexibility and boosted throughput
  • Expansive Coverage: 8 detachable high-performance antennas, Beamforming, high-power FEM, 4T4R combine to deliver WiFi coverage up to a 4-bedroom house
  • More Devices with Less Lag: OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology deliver data to multiple devices, simultaneously

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The TP-Link Archer GX-90 is a powerful tri-band Wi-Fi 6 gaming router delivering impressive performance with features like multi-gig connectivity, robust parental controls, network security software and game optimization tools.

The cabinet has a black textured design with red accents. It uses eight removable antennas but unfortunately, they’re not adjustable. The LED indicator light on top glows solid white to let you know that everything is working as it should, solid red when connectivity is lost and pulses red when there’s no Internet connection.

Since this is a tri-band router, it can hit maximum data rates of up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 1201 Mbps on the first 5 GHz band and up to 4804 Mbps on the second 5 GHz band for a total of 6600 Mbps.

The GX-90 offers a slick user interface that lets you optimize your connections, check real-time latency and protect your network from malicious attacks. You can manage the router using TP-Link’s Tether mobile app or with a Web console. The console also offers a gaming dashboard.

The router is equipped with one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port. Around back are three gigabit LAN ports, a gigabit LAN/WAN port and a 2.5GbE LAN/WAN port.

Pros:

  • strong throughput
  • gamer-friendly settings
  • lifetime network security

Cons:

  • non-adjustable antennas

6. Netgear Nighthawk RAX50

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk 6-Stream AX5400 WiFi 6 Router (RAX50) - AX5400 Dual Band Wireless Speed (Up to 5.4 Gbps) | 2,500 sq. ft. Coverage
  • WIFI 6 – STREAM EVERYTHING AT EPIC SPEED: Simultaneously stream uninterrupted movies, games, video calls or download/transfer files at 10.8Gbps Wi-Fi speed. Works with existing and new Wi-Fi 6 devices like iPhone 11, Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10
  • WORKS WITH ALL INTERNET PROVIDERS: Replace your existing Wi-Fi Router (separate modem or gateway required). Compatible with any Internet Service Provider up to 2Gbps including cable, satellite, fiber, DSL and more
  • EASY TO SET-UP AND MANAGE: Connects to your existing cable modem and sets up and customizes in minutes with the Nighthawk app – easily manage your Wi-Fi settings at the device and network level, test your Internet speed, view speed history and monitor data usage
  • USB CONNECTIONS: Share a storage drive with any connected device and create a personal cloud storage to access from anywhere using the 2 x 3.0 USB ports
  • NETGEAR ARMOR POWERED BY BITDEFENDER: The world’s leading cybersecurity protects all your home devices from virus, malware, and data theft with a 30-day free trial.

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Netgear Nighthawk RAX50 combines high-speed operations with great security. It also combines 802.11AX high-speed operations with the best security enhancements for home networks.

The RAX50 has a jet-black rectangular case, curved top and several gem-like facets. It also has four adjustable antennas and lots of vents to keep things cool.

The second-generation Armor software can help make your network and devices more airtight by stopping malware before it does any damage to keep your data from leaking out.

The dual-band design uses the latest 802.11AX (Wi-Fi 6) protocol to push data to the limit. Its abilities range from MU-MIMO to beamforming to full 1024QAM operations. It can move 600 Mbps over its 2.4 GHz bands and 4.8 Gbps over the 5 GHz band.

The connection panel contains more than the basics with an input WAN port, four downstream Ethernet ports. But none can be aggregated for higher performance. There is a USB 3.0 port that’s useful for adding external storage devices.

It’s quick and easy to setup with a wide variety of customization options. You get the choice between using a visually appealing mobile app or a more thoroughly connected browser.

Pros:

  • customization potential
  • excellent performance
  • security upgrade

Cons:

  • support lasts only 90-days
  • security subscription only lasts one month

7. TP-Link Deco X20

Sale
TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh System(Deco X20) - Covers up to 5800 Sq.Ft. , Replaces Wireless Routers and Extenders(3-Pack, 6 Ethernet Ports in total, supports Wired Ethernet Backhaul)
  • Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Wi-Fi - Next-gen Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 whole home mesh system to eliminate weak Wi-Fi for good
  • Whole Home Wi-Fi Coverage - Cover up to 5800 square feet with seamless high-performance Wi-Fi 6 and eliminate dead zones and buffering Better than traditional Wi-Fi booster
  • Connect More Devices - With Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Deco X20 (3-pack) is strong enough to connect up to 150 devices with strong and reliable Wi-Fi. Smartphone/Tablet Requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 4.4 or later
  • Easy Setup and Management - The Deco app helps you set up your network in minutes with clear visual guidance and keeps you in control even when you are not home; Works with Alexa as well Turn on or off Guest Wi-Fi by simple voice commands
  • Peace of Mind with Parental Controls - Manage limit and monitor internet use with profiles that let you customize Wi-Fi access for every person and device in your home

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Designed for a large home of up to 5800 square feet, the TP-Link Deco X20 is a three-piece dual-band mesh Wi-Fi 6 system that’s easy to use offering strong parental controls and network security software.

The X20 comes with three stylish nodes that are identical in every way. There’s an LED indicator that glows yellow during startup, green when connected and working properly, blue during configuration and red when there’s an issue.

It comes with TP-Link’s HomeCare suite, which includes robust parental controls, user-friendly QoS settings and security software to keep your network and clients safe from malware.

It’s not a speedster by any means; each node has four internal antennas. But it’s a dual-band AX1800 system that can reach maximum data rates of up to 575 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 1200 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. It uses 802.11k/v/r technology for mesh communication supporting most of the latest 802.11ax technologies.

You can control the X20 network using the TP-Link Deco mobile app or through the Web console. The app opens to a dashboard that displays a list of all online and offline clients.

Around back are two Gigabit LAN ports and a power jack. As with other TP-Link Deco mesh systems, the X20 is easy to install by downloading the Deco mobile app and creating an account.

Pros:

  • user-friendly apps
  • free anti-malware tools
  • robust parental controls

Cons:

  • no USB ports
  • middling performance
  • doesn’t support 160 MHz channel bandwidth
Our Top Choice
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping
ASUS AX5700 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX86U Zaku II Edition) – Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, NVIDIA GeForce Now, 2.5G Port, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh, Lifetime Internet Security
Synology RT2600AC IEEE 802.11ac Ethernet Wireless Router
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping
ASUS AX5700 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX86U Zaku II Edition) – Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, NVIDIA GeForce Now, 2.5G Port, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh, Lifetime Internet Security
Synology RT2600AC IEEE 802.11ac Ethernet Wireless Router
Our Top Choice
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping
ASUS AX5700 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX86U Zaku II Edition) – Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, NVIDIA GeForce Now, 2.5G Port, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh, Lifetime Internet Security
ASUS AX5700 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX86U Zaku II Edition) – Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, NVIDIA GeForce Now, 2.5G Port, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh, Lifetime Internet Security
Synology RT2600AC IEEE 802.11ac Ethernet Wireless Router
Synology RT2600AC IEEE 802.11ac Ethernet Wireless Router

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Routers under 200 Dollars Buying Guide 

A Wi-Fi router at this price range can be very powerful in terms of performance and features. If you’re curious to know about our selection process for these routers, you’ll want to look at this guide. Below are the critical factors you need to choose from the best routers under 200 dollars to help you provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.

Wi-Fi Standards

Wi-Fi standards don’t change often. But when they do, they build on the older ones. This means your devices and routers will always be backward compatible.

Since it’s rarely necessary to live on the bleeding edge of technology, you can save yourself a lot of money by going with a router with an older protocol.  

As you shop routers, you’ll find there are many new Wi-Fi standards, including N, AC and AD. But there are some older standards, like A, B and G.

These protocols are standardized by the IEEE every five years. The WiFi standard for the router you choose will be responsible for the overall performance of your network.

In short, the Wi-Fi protocol determines the speed of your router’s connection. While the AD protocol prices WiFi routers beyond the scope of our budget. Be sure the router you choose has at least the AC standard, which is fairly common.

Below is a breakdown of the two most common Wi-Fi standards:

802.11ac

The most widely used Wi-Fi protocol to send and receive data is 802.11ac. It allows for maximum data rates of up to 5400 Mbps (megabytes per second). And it operates on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

The 802.11ac protocol also uses MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology. You can identify a MIMO router by its multiple antennas used to send and receive up to eight spatial streams for enhanced performance.

MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO) technology provides bandwidth to multiple devices simultaneously so that up to four clients get their own data streams instead of waiting in turn to receive data from the router.

The Wi-Fi 802.11ac protocol can also use beamforming, which is a technology that sends Wi-Fi signals directly to the client instead of broadcasting in all directions. It can use automatic band steering technology which lets the router select the most efficient radio band based on availability, network traffic and range.

802.11ax

This is the Wi-Fi protocol behind the leading-edge Wi-Fi 6 routers. It’s an evolution of the 802.11ac technology that promises increased throughput speeds of up to 9.6Gbps (gigabytes per second).

It also promises less network congestion, greater client capacity and better range performance.

Several new and improved wireless technologies make this possible, the top of which are: OFMDA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) and TWT (Target Wake Time).

OFMDA improves throughput by breaking Wi-Fi channels into sub-channels. And allows up to 30 users to share a channel simultaneously.

TWT is a technology that allows devices to determine when and how often they will wake up to send and receive data which helps reduce power consumption.

Like the 802.11ac protocol, 802.11ax is backward-compatible to work with devices in and around your home that use 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi radios.

NOTE: A router that’s fast with next to zero range likely isn’t worth the cost. Prioritize routers that have good range thanks to an extra boost from technologies like MU-MIMO and Beamforming. You won’t be disappointed.

Bands

A powerful router can have a single-, dual-, or tri-band. Normally, we’d say that no matter the type of router, the two types of bands you should only consider are dual- and tri-band. Most routers are dual-band.

But with a budget of say 50 dollars, you’ll find that most routers are single-band. But they still have the capability for pretty good performance.

Dual-band routers use two bands: one with a 2.4 GHz frequency and the other a 5 GHz frequency. This allows a router to transmit two wireless signals simultaneously.

Tri-band routers use three bands: two 2.4 GHz and one 5 GHz frequency. This is why single-band routers are considered a still useful relic from the past.

Antennas

Optimize routers with removable antennas. Many third-party, high-gain antennas that help boost performance are available. Some manufacturers even offer replacements.

No matter what you decide, make sure the router you choose supports the aftermarket antennas you want so you don’t end up with decreased performance overtime.

Speed

As you shop, you’ll see routers with labels like AC1750, AC3100, AC4000, even AX6000 and so forth. This is a reference to the router’s theoretical maximum speed.

Theoretical because routers rarely, if ever reach these “maximum speeds” in real world applications.

A router that can achieve a maximum link rate of 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band is considered an AC1750 router. This means a tri-band AC3200 will give you a 600 Mbps link rate over the 2.4 GHz band 1300 Mbps over the two 5 GHz bands.

An AC5400 tri-band router will be capable of 1 Gbps speeds on the 2.4 GHz band and 2.1 Gbps on each 5 GHz band.

Network Management Tools

This one is especially important if you have young kids around. Many electronics come with parental controls these days to block young eyes from seeing things they shouldn’t. And routers are no different.

To manage how your Wi-Fi network is used, prioritize routers with parental controls, QoS options and guest-network features. Parental controls are a great way to regulate the amount of time spent online gaming and the use of social network activities, for instance.

Parental Controls

Some routers only offer basic parental controls like access scheduling and Website blocking options. But more robust parental controls allow you to pause the Internet and select age-appropriate presets that automatically block access to social media platforms, including sites that contain adult content, like gambling, shopping, blogs and games.

Guest Networks

Say you have people over for the weekend. Guest networks allow you to offer Wi-Fi connectivity to them without leaving your entire network vulnerable. You create a separate network for guests with an SSID (Service Set Identifier) and password different from your main network credentials. Your guest(s) will be able to connect to the Internet without access to your files, printers or other connected devices.

QoS

Quality of Service settings give you the power to decide which applications and devices connected to the router get network priority. For example, if you’re connecting to an office meeting via video conferencing. Giving priority to your Webcam will keep you connected, even if another device is downloading files or streaming Netflix videos.

Security

Almost all routers offer multiple types of security.

A router with WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) allows you to add compatible devices by pressing the WPS button on the router and pressing the WPS button on the client device to add the network. WPA2 is a more secure connection that requires entering a network password for each device.

Routers with WPA-Enterprise security offer an even higher level of security. They require a RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) to authenticate each device.

IP Addressing

Something to keep in mind as you shop the latest routers for your multiple devices is that IPv4 will soon be replaced by IPv6 – it’s the technology used to assign IP Addresses.

IPv4 is a 32-bit addressing scheme that’s about to run out of addresses due to all the devices connected to the Web. IPv6 is a 128-bit scheme poised to replace it with a near infinite number of IP addresses to assign.

You likely don’t have to worry about this much since most of the latest routers come with built-in support for IPv6 addressing. But it’s something to think about.

Ports

All the ports you need can be found on the back of most routers. Some of the most common include Ethernet LAN, WAN, USB and eSATA. The LAN and WAN ports are the most essential and most common.

There are two types of LAN ports: Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports:

Fast Ethernet Ports

These ports are considered the replacement to 10-Base-T Ethernet. They have a maximum speed of up to 100 Mbps and they’re capable of covering a distance of 6.2 miles (10km).

Gigabit Ethernet Ports

These ports replace Fast Ethernet Ports. You can expect a maximum speed of up to 1 Gbps. They’re capable of covering a distance up to 43.9 miles (70km).

Ethernet Ports

You want a router with at least a 10/100/1000 (gigabit) Ethernet port. It’ll allow you to connect to your wired devices like a laptop, NAS (network-attached storage) drives and home-automation hubs.

Additionally, if you think you need faster throughput or large file transfers, prioritize routers that support link aggregation.

Link aggregation uses two gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for an increased throughput of up to 2 Gbps. It also covers you so that if one LAN connection goes down, you have a backup. And you can even use it to load balance your network traffic.

USB Ports

A router with at least one USB port will make it easy to plug in peripherals like a printer or a USB drive, which you can share across your network. A router with two USB ports means you don’t have to make a crucial decision between sacrificing the printer for the drive, you can share both.

Price

As with purchasing almost anything electronic, figure on spending a few hundred dollars for a new router. Most decent routers are between $50 and $600; price is highly dependent on performance and features.

For example, an entry-level AC1750 router with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol will run you less than one hundred dollars. An AC2400 router with premium features like MU-MIMMO streaming capabilities will be between $100 to $300.

But for something like a tri-band AC5400 gaming router tricked out with all the bells and whistles. You’ll be walking away feeling as much as five hundred dollars lighter.

802.11ax routers can be between three and five hundred dollars. But as the examples on our list show, prices fluctuate depending on data rates.

The latest Wi-Fi 6E is a fantastic option if you need more wireless bandwidth. But these types of routers don’t come cheap. Expect to be out of pocket at least $450 or more.

FAQ

What is a modem versus a router?

A modem connects your network to the Internet. A router allows all your wired and wireless devices to use that connection to the Internet all at the same time. Routers also allow your devices to talk to one another without using the Internet.

Is an expensive router worth it?

In terms of performance, pricier routers can mean better WiFi coverage, faster speeds at longer distances (even through walls). They even give you the ability to have a lot more wireless users connected to it without things slowing down.

This is likely because they use newer technologies. But it’s not always worth the price tag unless your application requires the latest greatest router technology.

Is 1000 Mbps fast enough for Netflix and gaming?

Yes. According to the official Netflix site, 100 Mbps is fast enough for Netflix’s HD streaming. Streaming 4K content, playing online games and downloading huge files requires all the megabytes per second you can get; it’s often recommended to have at least 500 to 1000 Mbps.

How good is Wifi 6?

Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 carry the highest number of streams. Wi-Fi 6 increases the number of streams to a new high of 12 across the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, whereas Wi-Fi 5 has a limit of 8 in a dual band configuration.

Is Netgear a good router brand?

Netgear has more than two decades of experience in the networking hardware space. It’s one of the most well-known wireless router brands often making up the list of overall best Wi-Fi routers.

Is 5GHz good for gaming?

5GHz is best suited for high bandwidth activities like gaming and streaming HDTV. Low bandwidth activities like browsing the Internet can make do with the 2.4 GHz band with no problem.

How often should you replace your router?

Although users have been able to hold onto their routers for 10+ years. Generally, it is recommended that you upgrade to a new router every three to four years.

Will having two routers make my Internet faster?

The true benefit of a new router comes with having better coverage. Internet speeds are determined by your ISP (Internet service provider). Doubling the number of routers will not affect your Internet speed, even if they are on the same channel. And at any rate, you want to avoid overlapping.

Do routers get slower over time?

Technology and Internet standards change quickly. As such, routers slow down over time as the technology behind them become obsolete and new standards are introduced. Another thing that ages routers and causes them to slow down is when the software overheats and components wear out.

Do WiFi routers make a difference?

If you have some dead zones in your home, a new router might be able to emit a stronger signal capable of getting Wi-Fi into more corners of your house or apartment.

Can I extend my wireless signal?

You’re no doubt asking because you’ve either worked in an office without enough coverage, or you live in a large, multi-story home.

Wi-Fi “dead zones” are the areas in your home or office where the router’s signal can’t reach your device(s).

Solution?

You could run long cords all around the premises, which is just a tripping hazard waiting to happen. Or get a wireless range extender. This nifty piece of tech is adept at picking up a router’s Wi-Fi signal, amplifying it and rebroadcasting the signal.

The issue is that the rebroadcasted signal is half the strength of what you get from the router. And since many of these range extenders create a separate network, seamless roaming is a challenge.

And even if the one you get shares the same network SSID and password as your router, you’ll want to make sure both devices are made by the same manufacturer for a seamless connection.

What’s a Wi-Fi mesh network system?

It’s another way to fill in those dreaded dead zones without additional wiring, access points or purchasing a Wi-Fi range extender.

By using nodes or satellites to extend your Wi-Fi signal, you can extend your Wi-Fi signal across a larger area than most routers.

And depending on the number of nodes in the system you choose. You can blanket a consistent Web connection across as much as 4,000 to 6,000 square feet.

Excellent considerations are Google Wifi and Linksys Velop.

Unlike most range extenders, satellites in a Wi-Fi mesh system are part of the same network. So, you get seamless connectivity as you go from room to room in your house or office.

And if you find network setups intimidating, configuration and management only requires a few taps on a free, associated mobile app.

But because Wi-Fi mesh systems are designed to be simple, you may not be able to access the same kind of in-depth settings as you can on a router.

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router with 4 Ethernet Ports and Wireless Speeds Up to 2.6 Gbps, AC2600, Optimized for Low Ping
  • Minimize ping and maximize performance with four 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports for lag free, wired connectivity and 1.7 GHz dual core processor network efficiency
  • Amp up your Wi-Fi with AC2600 dual band router that delivers blazing fast speeds up to 2.6 Gbps
  • Put your gaming traffic in a designated express lane with advanced quality of service, bypassing network congestion and reducing lag spikes, jumps and jitters
  • Make every millisecond count by using Geo filtering to connect to the closest servers and players so you can respond and dominate
  • Monitor your network and game ping in real time so you can see who’s hogging the bandwidth by device and application

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 07:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

To Sum Up

It can be frustrating when your Wifi suddenly stops working. That’s why we’ve put together our list of the best routers under 200 dollars with a great guide to help you choose the right one for your needs. Our top choice is the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500. It’s one of the best gaming routers with tons of gaming features. Our second choice is the Asus RT-AX86U. It has an 802.11AX dual-band design along with MU-MIMO and beamforming technologies. And our third top choice is the Synology RT2600AC. You’ll love that it comes with support for MU-MIMO data streaming and dual-WAN connectivity.