The best budget Wi-Fi router is going to give you a lot of power and performance, but without breaking the bank. After all, it's easy to get something that performs well when you're spending hundreds of pounds on it, but it's a little trickier when you're trying to save money.
One of the biggest risks when looking for the best budget Wi-Fi router is that there are a lot of low-quality devices out there. The internet is replete with knock-offs and questionable tech, so grabbing something cheap can often mean you're getting a sub-par product.
It doesn't have to be that way though, and if you already know the brands involved in making the best Wi-Fi router then you'll have a good idea of what to look out for when looking for the best budget Wi-Fi router too.
We've gone through and picked out some of the best budget Wi-Fi routers around at the moment, with a good mix of pricing and functionality. Just keep in mind that these won't upgrade the speeds you're getting unless your broadband is capable of more than your current router.
Best budget Wi-Fi routers
1. Linksys MR9610
Best budget Wi-Fi router overall
Antenna: 4 (adjustable)
Ports: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports, 1 x Gigabit Pnternet port, 2 x USB 3.0
If you're after a well-rounded, cost-effective option for a router, then this Linksys MR9610 could be your answer. Despite its lower price tag, it can still deliver a reliable connection with its advanced technology and capacity for high speeds.
More specifically, it supports Wi-Fi 6 technology and speeds of up to 5GHz. This translates into lightning-fast downloads of up to 1000 Mbps and uploads of 100 MB, some of the highest speeds we came across in Linksys' range.
Moreover, the device features 5GigE LAN and WAN ports, allowing for a wired connection of 1012 Mbps for downloads and around 200 Mbps for uploads, thus taking your connection to the next level.
The router is also equipped with Intelligent Mesh Technology, enabling it to provide coverage of up to 3000 sq. ft. while supporting over 40 devices. Although that many devices will push the router to its limits, you should find it effortlessly handles more than 20 devices without any noticeable impact on speed.
When covering a large area, the device can dynamically boost Wi-Fi speed and coverage to eradicate dead zones in your home. And, if you want to increase the range and internet connection, you can use Linksys Mesh items to make your whole home even more stable.
All in all, this Linksys device is inexpensive as far as Wi-Fi 6 routers go and is more than suitable for larger homes. It even comes with parental controls, including monitoring time online and pausing Wi-Fi, making it an all-around great pick.
Read more: Best gaming PCs under 500
2. D-Link DIR-882
Best budget Wi-Fi router for gaming
Antenna: 4 (fixed)
Ports: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN, 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
Putting together a top gaming setup can be costly, and one area that often gets overlooked is the Wi-Fi. As a result, it's not uncommon to stick with a bog-standard router despite owning gaming PCs and peripherals costing thousands.
This is where the D-Link DIR-882 comes into play. It's a relatively inexpensive device with a ton of ports, four antennae, and the capacity to provide a fast, reliable connection.
This high-performing Wi-Fi router operates on a 5GHz frequency and can support speeds exceeding 1000 Mbps, even when up to 20 devices are connected. Whether playing video games or simply surfing the web, it can provide uninterrupted connectivity from every corner of your home.
If you need to connect multiple devices to the router itself, the DIR-882 is an ideal choice. It comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and both USB 2.0 and 3.0 connections, allowing you to link up multiple devices simultaneously and receive optimal speed.
On top of this, the device offers MIMO and QoS technology for gaming specifically. This combination ensures the lowest ping and highest speeds mid-session for ultra-smooth, uninterrupted gameplay.
Ultimately, this D-Link device looks to be an excellent option to consider to maximise your online gaming experience. So, make sure you check it out when you come to upgrade your setup.
Read More: Best gaming laptops under 300
3. Linksys Max Stream MR7350
Best budget Wi-Fi router for large houses
Antenna: 2 (adjustable)
Ports: 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x USB 3.0
Living in a large house makes it tricky to select a router that is suitable for wide-spread coverage. Weak or no connection can be experienced in certain areas, such as the basement, garage, or living rooms, which can be a major issue for anyone who relies on Wi-Fi in the home.
In our opinion, the best way to eliminate those dead zones is to use something like this Linksys Max Stream MR7350, one of Linksys' top-of-the-range devices.
It provides an uninterrupted connection over a Wi-Fi 6 network that covers up to 1700 sq. ft. and can support up to 25 devices at once. In practice, the device is said to have yielded impressive results, thus confirming its stated capabilities.
Furthermore, this budget-friendly router offers an impressive maximum speed of over 700 Mbps across long distances. This speed should be more than enough for the majority of people, and it also ensures a strong, stable connection even when up to 10 devices are connected.
Apart from its performance, it still features several great benefits. For example, it's compatible with Alexa, comes with parental control, and even has an antivirus option (though this is a paid feature). All of these additions, along with its stellar performance, make it a great option for your home network.
Read more: Best VPNs
4. TP-Link TL-WR902AC AC750
Best budget Wi-Fi router for travelling
Antenna: 2 (fixed)
Ports: 1 x 10/100 Mbps WAN/LAN Port, 1 x USB 2.0
When travelling, finding a reliable connection can be near impossible at times, especially in rural areas. If you want a low-cost solution to this problem though, then this TP-Link TL-WR902AC AC750 looks like an excellent pick.
Its small size ensures that it takes up very little space, measuring only 2.64 x 2.91 x 0.9 inches and weighing 7.2 ounces. Also, it offers three different modes, including Hotspot, Bridge, and Range Extender, making it incredibly versatile for travelling with.
Despite its diminutive stature, this travel router can reach a maximum speed of 733 Mbps, making it suitable for video conferencing, downloading files, and uploading YouTube videos while on the go.
It's also a great option for those looking to save some cash. It works as a private Wi-Fi hotspot, meaning you won't need to pay for internet services while away.
If you choose to pay a one-time fee, you can make your wireless connection inaccessible to anyone else. Not only will this provide you with a stable internet connection, but your data will remain private as well. However, with speeds up to 700 Mbps+, you can connect up to 10 devices without any noticeable drop in productivity if you desire.
In short, if you are looking for a portable router for your trips, then this TP-Link device is worth considering. It is small yet powerful, with impressive speeds. Make sure you check it out.
Read more: Best VPNs for streaming
5. TP-Link AX3000
Best budget mesh Wi-Fi router
Ports: 4 x Gigabit Ports
Mesh routers don't actually have to be bought all at once. You can grab one part of the system to begin with, and then go from there as and when you have the money available, or when you feel like you need more coverage.
The TP-Link AX3000 comes with just a single router, but is technically a mesh system as you can upgrade it as you wish, which is nice in the long term. The router is more than powerful enough to be good in the short term too, which is key if you need instant Wi-Fi.
With Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, the ability to maintain 150 connections at once, and impressive speeds too, you'll be getting a router that can handle nearly any needs, no matter how great
It's got good protection, strong parental controls, and works with all other Deco models too, making it easy to upgrade. Whether you end up doing so or not is up to you, but we really like that it gives you the option.
Read More: Best budget laptops
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
If you're new to picking out a Wi-Fi router, then we've got you covered. We've answered some of the most frequently asked questions below to help get you started...
How much should I spend on a router?
Price seems to be one of the most subjective aspects of choosing a Wi-Fi router. It all depends on your available budget and how much you're willing to invest to pick up a great router for your home network.
If you work with valuable data, or a stable internet connection is necessary to make your living, we'd recommend investing more into something capable of high speeds and a consistent connection.
These characteristics are usually a more premium feature, however, we feel our list proves you don't necessarily need to break the bank to pick up a top device or entire mesh system.
It's also worth keeping in mind you can always upgrade your router at a later date. So, if you can only afford a budget option right now, then don't worry as you may be able to take your home setup to the next level further down the line.
Do Wi-FI routers make a difference?
It's easy to think that your router won't impact the quality of your internet connection, but the reality is quite different.
To ensure a steady and speedy connection, it's important to invest in a reliable router that has the capacity to manage data transfer and multiple devices effectively. Doing so will eliminate any issues you may have had in the past with inconsistent internet.
A good router can also improve your home security. With the right device, you can get regular network scans to minimise any threats. Some routers also come with parental controls to regulate internet usage in a family home.
Do Wi-Fi routers cost monthly?
Although there is no monthly fee associated with Wi-Fi routers, some brands may offer subscription services.
These often include a private VPN, additional security features, and other resources. Therefore, it is important to research any available subscriptions before making a purchase.