Online gaming can be a lot of fun but not if you don’t have the right equipment. Your internet connectivity is going to play a huge role in your gaming experience. It isn’t enough to just have any connection; you need to have the best connection you can find. Luckily, there are a ton of great gaming router options for budget conscious consumers like yourself.
When shopping for a good gaming router, there are a few key features that you want to be on the lookout for. For instance, data processing speed, connection range, number of devices supported, etc. are all important to ensuring the best gaming experience possible. Having a good router means being able to play online whenever you want and playing without lag.
Gaming routers can be expensive but this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Below is a list of the top 10 best budget gaming routers.
Best Budget Gaming Router Comparison Table
Again, there are a variety of features that make a router stand out among the rest. These features affect the reliability of your connection. Here is a comparison table of the many features of the top 10 budget gaming routers. This gives you a quick overview of available options.
1. Netgear Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) – Best Overall
The incredibly popular Netgear Nighthawk is the top choice on this list. It provides 1,750 mbps processing speed (450 dual band plus 1,300 mbps). It also contains features such as Beamforming Plus, Dynamic QoS, and Smart Connect which all assist the router with focusing wireless signal and traffic management.
The Nighthawk has four 1G ethernet ports for you to connect your devices directly. It also has a USB port that allows you to share a storage drive or printer over the network. This router gives you up to 1,500 square feet of wireless coverage so you can play throughout the house.
You can connect up to 25 devices to the Nighthawk at a time.
The 1 GHz dual core processor and three amplified antennas boost this router’s signal and data processing speed to ensure reliable, high speed gameplay. Netgear also provides an advanced security system to prevent against viruses, malware, and computer theft. You can set up the Nighthawk easily with the Netgear Nighthawk app.
2. TP-Link Smart WiFi Router Archer A7
The Archer A7 is another top seller and winner of the JD Power award in 2017 and 2019. The dual band router upgrades to give you 1,750 mbps (450 mbps for 2.4 GHz and 1,300 mbps for 5 GHz). This router has three antennas to ensure long range WiFi (up to 2,500 square feet). Bandwidth prioritization (QoS) and a strong signal allow for fast, reliable gameplay.
The Archer A7 has four Gigabit LAN ports and one USB port. The USB ports also acts as a media server so you can easily share USB drive content.
The TP-Link tether app compatibility lets you remotely control and mange the WiFi network. TP-Link also offers WPA/WPA2 advanced wireless encryption and a guest network to enhance security.
3. Linksys EA7300 Dual-Band WiFi Router
The Linksys EA7300 is another great choice for high speed internet. This router offers dual-band WiFi with speeds up to 1,750 mbps (450 mbps for 2.4 GHz and 1,300 mbps for 5 GHz). The EA7300 has three antennas to boost signal and range. With this router, you can get a range up to 1,500 square feet.
The dual-core processor helps manage network traffic and ensure high speed data processing. You can also increase speed with the device prioritizing feature. This lets you prioritize connection to devices requiring the most signal.
Linksys EA7300 Dual-Band WiFi Router
This router has Multi User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU MIMO) technology to allow you to connect up to 10 devices at a time. Setup for this router is also easy with the Smart WiFi App. This app helps you set up and control the network remotely. It also provides several network customization tools.
The EA7300 has built in security features as well. Using the Smart WiFi App, you can set up a password protected guest network to keep you and your guests secure.
4. D-Link WiFi Router
The D-Link WiFi Router delivers fast and reliable connections. It gives you a connection speed of 1,750 mbps. The dual core processor and technology such as Smart Connect and Beamforming serve to decongest network traffic.
This router is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Using these, you can also access the router via voice control. The D-Link Wi-Fi app lets you change network settings and manage the network easily. This router also supports MU MIMO. This router has four Gigabit ethernet ports and a WPS push button to easily add new users.
5. Netgear WiFi Router
This router is another great choice from Netgear. It has 1,600 mbps speed and a 1,200 square foot range. This router supports MU MIMO and can connect up to 20 devices at one time. The three amplified antennas and advanced QoS features help to boost the signal and clear up network traffic.
The Netgear WiFi Router features a guest WiFi network and firewall protection to enhance network security. It has WPA/WPA2 level security.
6. Tenda Dual Band WiFi Router AC6 – Budget Pick
The Tenda AC6 is a cheap, yet high quality choice of gaming router. It gives you a speed of 1,200 mbps (300 mbps at 2.4 GHz and about 900 mbps at 5 GHz). This router has four omni-directional antennas to boost the signal and give you a range up to 2,000 square feet. Beamforming and MU MIMO technology help control network traffic.
Tenda Dual Band WiFi Router AC6
This router has three LAN ports and one WAN port. You can connect up to 20 devices at a time to the AC6. It is also compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Tenda WiFi app allows you to access and control the network remotely. This includes features such as WiFi timeout to help you better customize your network.
The AC6 has industry level WPA/WPA2 security levels. It also has features such as Blacklist (blocks unknown devices), guest WiFi, and security checks to protect your network from threats.
7. TP-Link Smart WiFi Router Archer A9 – Premium Pick
The TP-Link Archer A9 is a little more expensive than the A7 but brings you a lot of great features. It has incredibly fast speeds at 1,900 mbps (600 mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1,300 mbps on 5 GHz). It has a range of about 2,000 square feet.
It has four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, and a USB port. It also has Smart Connect, QoS, and Airtime Fairness to help control network flow and prevent lag. The TP-Link tether app gives you remote access and easy setup.
The Archer A9 also has excellent security features. It has WPA3 level security. It also has a guest WiFi option, access control, and a VPN available.
8. Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router
The Medialink AC1200 from Mediabridge has speeds up to 1,000 mbps. This router has a range up to 2,000 square feet and includes a Universal Range Extender Mode to give you an even larger range. It has two antennas with beamforming technology for network traffic control.
This router has one Gigabit WAN port, four Gigabit LAN ports, and a USB 2.0 port. The Medialink AC1200 can be connected to up to 20 devices at a time. One really nice feature of this router is that it allows you to turn off the lights without turning off the router, which is very helpful at night.
The Medialink AC1200 has firewall protection and wireless security to protect your network. In addition, it also has guest WiFi to keep your home network secure.
9. Tenda AC10U Smart Gigabit Wi-Fi Router
The Tenda AC10U gives you a connection speed of 1,200 mbps (300 mbps on 2.4 GHz and 900 mbps on 5 GHz). It has four omni-directional antennas that support MU MIMO and beamforming to enhance network connection. This router has a range up to 2,000 square feet.
This router is also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This router has WPA/WPA2 mixed security as well as industry level password encryption. You also have a guest WiFi network available.
10. ASUS Dual Band Gigabit Router RT-ACRH17
The RT-ARCH17 provides connection speeds up to 1,700 mbps (400 mbps for 2.4 GHz and 1,300 mbps for 5 GHz). The quad core processor has 256 MB of RAM to optimize network traffic and connectivity. It also has MU MIMO and AiRadar Beamforming with four antennas to improve network flow. In addition, this router has an excellent range of over 2,500 square feet.
Wireless security settings allow you to monitor network users and connected USB devices. This router also has a guest WiFi option available.
How To Select The Best Budget Gaming Router
There are many different features to look for when shopping for a gaming router. You want to make sure you get the fastest, most reliable, and most secure connection speeds you can for your price range. Each of the routers listed above provides a fast, reliable connection so you won’t need to worry about that here. But it’s still good to know what to look for.
Price: This list is specific to budget-friendly gaming routers, all of which are less than $100. Many gaming routers fall within the $200-$300 range. But, as you can see, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good router.
Mbps: This acronym stands for Megabits Per Second and refers to data transfer speed. Put simply, this is how quickly data flows through the network while you’re gaming. You only need about 3 mbps for typical gaming. That said, faster is always better.
Network traffic: There were a lot of features listed here that help control the flow of network traffic. When you have multiple devices connected at once, you will find that they can sort of “fight” over the connection. Too much activity on a network can slow down everyone’s connection and make for a pretty lousy gaming experience. Features such as dual band, beamforming, MU MIMO, etc. help your devices use the network more efficiently and prevent lag.
Range: This refers to how far the WiFi signal will reach. You should know the square footage of your home (and yard if you use any devices outside) before you shop. Make sure the router you get can cover all of the necessary areas. The average home is about 1,700 square feet so anything above this is generally a good go-to. Many routers can extend well beyond this range, though.
Device compatibility: The routers listed above are compatible with a variety of consoles, PC’s, tablets, phone providers, etc. But not every router is compatible with every device. So, make sure you get a router that can connect to your specific device. In addition, routers will also vary in how many devices they can connect to at one time. This need will vary by user so just make sure you have an idea of how many devices you need to connect before purchasing.
Ports: For a direct network connection, routers will also have a variety of LAN, WAN, and USB ports available. Depending on the device(s) you plan to connect, you may or may not need these ports. It’s always good to have them available, though, in case the wireless connection has issues or you get a device that can’t connect wirelessly.
Security: You also want to make sure you get a network that has a variety of security features such as firewall protection, password encryption, guest WiFi, VPN’s, etc. to make sure your personal data is always protected.
Now that you know what features to look for, you can check out the above list and find the best budget gaming router for you. Remember to get features that enable fast and reliable processing speeds, a good range, great connectivity to multiple devices, and a good security system. With these features in place, you are sure to have a great gaming experience.