Best Router Under $200: Top 10 Tested Picks for 2022!

Finding a new router for your home or office may be tiresome. However, once you get into the nitty-gritty of things and learn what makes each router unique, it can be a fun exercise!

But we get it – some people don’t have the time or patience to go through and compare router specifications to make the best decision, or simply put – they are not nerds like us!

Fortunately for our non-nerd readers, we’re a tech-savvy bunch that enjoys diving into the more minor details and are happy to shortlist the top ten best routers under $200! 

With this buyer’s guide, you can quickly figure out which router is best for your particular requirements without researching and reading boring spec sheets. So, without further ado, here are the best budget routers under $200:

TL;DR – Top Budget Routers for 2022:

  • Asus RT-AX82U: A sleek, stylish 5,400 Mbps Wi-Fi 6 router from Asus with Asus Aura RGB lighting effects and a dedicated mobile game mode. It features high speeds, a smooth gaming experience, and top-tier performance.
  • Asus RT-AX3000: The best cheap Wi-Fi 6 router with a peak throughput of 3,000 Mbps. Overall, this router performed exceptionally well in our test. The only complaint is its rather bland look; we realize that it is too subjective and depends on buyers’ taste.
  • TP-Link Archer A20: A feature-packed router with premium specifications. The Archer A20 is a tri-band router boasting a super-fast 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and six external antennas. The only major downside is its lack of Wi-Fi 6.
  • TP-Link Archer AX75: This is the best fast router under $200, with a peak throughput of 5,400 Mbps. So how did TP-Link achieve this insane bandwidth? Using the wider 160MHz channel per band with six external antennas at the back. It doesn’t perform too well in the looks department, but other than that, it’s a great router.
  • Asus RT-AX1800S: RT-AX1800S is a cheap router from Asus. The peak bandwidth is limited to 1,800 Mbps, of which just 1,200 Mbps is available for the Wi-Fi 6 band. However, it makes up for it with its huge range. Overall a solid choice, despite being on the pricier end. 
  • Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900: Asus ROG Rapture is the best gaming router under $200. It comes with a WTFast GPN (Gamers’ Private Network) subscription to reduce ping during online gaming, making it the go-to router for gaming. Unfortunately, it lacks Wi-Fi 6 support.
  • Netgear Nighthawk AC1750: Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 is a cheap router that checks many boxes for little money. The router has a peak bandwidth of 1,750 Mbps, of which 1,300 Mbps is available to Wi-Fi 5. But like the Asus GT-AC2900, this router also lacks Wi-Fi 6 support.
  • Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400: People searching for a VPN-centric Wi-Fi router will be hard-pressed to find one better than Asus the ROG Strix GS-AX5400. It supports Asus’ proprietary VPN Fusion technology and has a peak bandwidth of 5,400 Mbps, 4,804 Mbps of which are available for the Wi-Fi 6 band.
  • TP-Link Deco X20: TP-Link’s Deco X20 is a mesh networking solution that covers large homes and offices. Each Router is Wi-Fi 6 compatible with a peak bandwidth of 1,800 Mbps. While the overall coverage is excellent, mesh routers tend to have worse ping and latency than ordinary routers, and Deco X20 is no exception.
  • Synology Router RT2600ac: The RT2600ac makes a strong case for being the best wireless router for home use and is perfect for parents looking to keep a close eye on their children’s online activities. While limited to Wi-Fi 5, this router gives you complete control over your children’s PCs and phones via the DS Router app, available for Android and iPhone.

Does a More Expensive Router Make Your Internet Any Faster?

Not necessarily, as router speeds depend on the internet connection. For example, a 4000 Mbps router won’t make a difference if your data is capped at 200 Mbps. A 600 Mbps router will serve you just as well as a 4000 Mbps router in that particular case. 

Best Routers Under $200 [Tested and Reviewed]

The market is flooded with cheap products making it challenging for consumers to purchase good routers under $200. 

For our research, we also scoured several popular social media platforms like Reddit for users’ opinions. The goal was to read genuine reviews submitted by real people and shortlist routers worth mentioning in this blog.

Our Testing Methodology

We divided our testing methodology into three phases to thoroughly test and evaluate each router under different scenarios.

  1. Short-range test: In our short-range test, we hooked up the routers with our 1 Gbps internet connection and tested the peak download speeds of each router from a distance of 8 feet. Later, we evaluated the gaming performance, packet losses, and ping (specs: i5-12400F, RTX3060Ti, Asus PCE-AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 adapter) while playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

    We placed both machines in the same room as the router, and to be thorough, we also downloaded Apex Legends on our PlayStation 5, which is a 23.5GB download, and noted the download times.
  2. Medium range test: For our medium range test, we switched to our iPhone 12 Pro smartphone and tested the download speed from a distance of around 12 feet, with a wall between the router and the smartphone.
  3. Long-range test: For our long-range test, we used an iPhone 12 Pro and put a distance of around 35 feet between the phone and the router. All routers in this test phase shifted to the slower (albeit longer-ranged) 2.4GHz band, and naturally, speeds also took a dramatic hit.

Asus RT-AX82U – Best Router Under $200 Overall

RT-AX82U looks like it means business with its unique, all-blacked-out Batman-ish looks! 

It’s a fast, gamer-centric 5,400 Mbps router with Asus’ Aura RGB lighting effects, four external antennas at the back, four ethernet ports, a dedicated Mobile Game mode, support for Asus’ proprietary AiMesh network technology and commercial grade AiProtection Pro, powered by TrendMicro with WPA3 security. 

Asus didn’t cut corners in the performance department either. The router supports all Wi-Fi bands (802.11n/ac/ax), and the 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 band supports a staggering 4,804 Mbps max bandwidth, with Wi-Fi 5 trailing behind at 4,333 MHz. 

The RT-AX82U clocked an impressive peak speed of 959 Mbps in our short-range test. Things remained respectable at medium range, with our iPhone 12 Pro lodging a peak bandwidth of 681 Mbps. However, the performance was average at long-range at 119 Mbps on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 6.

Lastly, it took our PS5 about 3 minutes and 32 seconds to download Apex Legends. Speaking of which, the gaming experience was stellar; nowhere in our extended online gaming session in CS: GO did we notice any particular packet loss or high ping issues. 

All in all, this is, without a doubt, the best under $200 Wi-Fi 6 router available in the market.

ASUS TUF Gaming WiFi 6 Router (TUF-AX5400)
  • Ultrafast WiFi 6 - Enjoy speeds up to 5400 Mbps and 4X network efficiency with OFDMA and 160 MHz channels
  • Fast & Stable Wired Gaming - Dedicated gaming port to prioritize connected gaming device
  • Easy Port Forwarding in 3 Steps - Open NAT makes port forwarding simple, eliminating frustrating and complicated manual configuration

Asus RT-AX3000 – Best Wi-Fi 6 Router Under $200

Asus RT-AX3000 is a capable dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router, at the heart of which is a tri-core CPU with 512MB RAM. The peak bandwidth is 3,000 Mbps, of which 2,402 Mbps is available to Wi-Fi 6 band, with Wi-Fi 5 and 4 trailing behind at 1,733 Mbps and 300 Mbps, respectively.

At the back are four external antennas and an equal number of LAN ports. Other features include Asus’ proprietary AiMesh technology and AiProtection.

Overall, this router did well during the testing stage, despite its 3,000 Mbps peak bandwidth suggesting otherwise. At short range, we received a peak download speed of 963 Mbps, with our PlayStation 5 taking 3 minutes 35 seconds to download Apex Legends. Speeds remained great at medium range, with our iPhone 12 Pro reporting a peak download speed of 639 Mbps.

Finally, we achieved a respectable 129 Mbps in our long-range, outdoors test. Things were equally impressive during the online gaming session. The performance was buttery smooth, with no noteworthy ping, data packet losses, or reported latency issues. 

The verdict: one of the best Wi-Fi routers in our test.

ASUS WiFi 6 Router (RT-AX3000)
  • Maximum Range : 3000 Sq Ft
  • The Next Gen WiFi Standard - Future proof your home network with the next-gen WiFi 6 technology, providing up to 2. 7x faster speed than the previous WiFi generation featuring OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology.
  • Ultra-Fast Wi-Fi - RT-AX3000 supports 160MHz bandwidth and 1024-QAM, boasting a total network speed of 3000 Mbps - 575Mbps on the 2. 4GHz band, and 2402GHz on the 5GHz band.

TP-Link’s Archer A20 is an excellent tri-band wireless router under $200. It’s a budget-friendly tri-band 4,000 Mbps router with six external antennas and a 1.8GHz 64-bit ARM quad-core CPU with 512MB of RAM. Other features include TP-Link’s RangeBoost technology, Amazon Alexa voice command support, a built-in antivirus software utility, and a free subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare security. In a nutshell, impressive specs for a router costing less than $200.

Despite lacking a Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) band, the TP-Link Archer A20’s performance is nothing to scoff at. In the short-range test, our PC reported a peak download speed of 937 Mbps, which is surprisingly close to some Wi-Fi 6 routers in this list. 

As for our PS5 test, the console took 3 minutes 44 seconds to download Apex Legends, with an average download speed of 898 Mbps.  At medium range, things were equally impressive, with the iPhone 12 Pro peaking at download speeds of 647 Mbps.

However, at our long-range outdoors test, the phone switched to the slower Wi-Fi 4, and the speed nose-dived to 96 Mbps. So, although a lack of Wi-Fi 6 2.4GHz becomes evident at longer ranges, this router performs just fine for indoor online activity. 

The gaming performance was equally impressive, with no notable packet loss or latency issues and, overall, TP-Link Archer A20 is a great router, despite the specs sheet suggesting otherwise.

TP-Link AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi Router (Archer A20)
  • Tri Band Wireless Internet Router for 4K video, streaming and gaming with incredible high speed, 1625 Mbps on both 5 GHz bands and 750 Mbps on 2. 4 GHz band
  • Archer A20 V3 with Powerful 1. 8 GHz 64-bit CPU, three co-processors and 512 MB of RAM powers your home network. Works as a great gaming router.
  • Eliminate buffering with MU-MIMO technology letting you connect more devices simultaneously. Multiple requests and accelerate loading Times.

Users with a 1 Gbps internet connection will appreciate the TP-Link Archer AX75. For starters, the tri-band router has a whooping peak bandwidth of 5.4 Gbps, more than double than some routers on this list. 

Processing all that bandwidth is a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.7GHz paired with 512MB of RAM. Other features include a wide 160MHz channel per band—2x more expansive than most routers in this test—6 antennas at the back, four ethernet ports, support for Amazon Alexa, TP-Link’s proprietary low-latency technology, and a lifetime subscription to HomeShield security.

Unsurprisingly, the router didn’t disappoint, with peak speeds touching 978 Mbps in the short-range test on Wi-Fi 6 – no other router comes close. 

The story was equally as impressive when we downloaded Apex Legends on our PS5, which took just 3 minutes and 28 seconds to download. At medium-range, our iPhone 12 Pro recorded a peak speed of 712 Mbps, which are top numbers. 

Things were slightly less impressive at the long-range test, with our smartphone reaching a peak of 119 Mbps, which is decent but nothing to write home about. 

If speed is your thing, go for the TP-Link Archer AX75.

TP-Link AX5400 Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX75)
  • Super-Fast Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router - Up to 5400 Mbps WiFi for faster browsing, streaming, gaming and downloading, all at the same time(5 GHz: 2402 Mbps;5 GHz: 2402 Mbps;2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps)¹
  • Connect More, Stay Fast—Tri-Band makes most of the available spectrums for transmission and connect devices with separate bands to reduce interference
  • Powerful Quad-Core Processing - Equipped with a 1.7 GHz Quad-Core CPU to handle huge throughput and eradicate latency

Asus RT-AX1800S – Best Budget Long-Range Wi-Fi Router

People on a budget will find the Asus RT-AX1800S Wi-Fi router right up their alley. For starters, this Router is Wi-Fi 6 capable (802.11ax), supports dual-bands, has 4x antennas at the back with an equal number of ethernet ports, a partly 12W peak power consumption, commercial grade AiProtection by Trend Micro, and supports Amazon Alexa. 

Powering the device is a zippy quad-core ARM CPU which clocks at 1.5GHz.

While all that sounds good, remember that this is a budget-oriented product. The peak throughput, for instance, maxes out at just 1,800Mbps (AX1800), i.e., less than half of some other routers. Also, the bandwidth on Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is limited to just 1,200 Mbps, with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) taking things down to 867 Mbps. Bandwidth on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) is equally as low at just 300 Mbps.

The Asus RT-AX1800’s range and overall coverage were above average. During the short-range tests, it managed a respectable peak of 946 Mbps when connected to the PC. 

It took our PS5 roughly 3 minutes and 40 seconds to download Apex Legends with an average speed of 917Mbps. 

At medium range, the peak download speed dipped to 630 Mbps, and at long range, the iPhone 12 Pro switched to the slower Wi-Fi 6’s 2.4GHz band, with download speeds peaking at 126 Mbps.

ASUS AX1800 WiFi 6 Router (RT-AX1800S)
  • New-Gen WiFi Standard – WiFi 6(802.11ax) standard supporting MU-MIMO and OFDMA technology for better efficiency and throughput
  • Ultra-fast WiFi Speed – RT-AX1800S supports 1024-QAM for dramatically faster wireless connections
  • Increase Capacity and Efficiency – Supporting not only MU-MIMO but also OFDMA technique to efficiently allocate channels, communicate with multiple devices simultaneously

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 – Best Gaming Router Under $200

As the ROG, i.e., ‘Republic of Gamers’ moniker suggests, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 is a gaming-centric router through and through. For starters, the router supports Asus Aura RGB lighting effects and WTFast GPN (Gamers’ Private Network) service that reduces ping and minimizes packet losses during gameplay.

Other features include a 1.8GHz dual-core CPU paired with 512MB RAM, dual radio bands, 3x antennas at the back, 2900Mbps (AC2900) peak throughput, and support for Asus’ proprietary AiMesh network technology. 

As for wireless connectivity, the router is dual-band with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) and 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) support. Unfortunately, there’s no support for the faster Wi-Fi 6 standard (802.11ax).

In our short-range test, the router performed fairly decently on Wi-Fi 5 and displayed peak download speeds of around 909 Mbps. However, things improved at the medium range, where the numbers remained consistent at 580Mbps. 

During the long-range test, it managed a respectable 92Mbps on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 with speeds hovering above 80 Mbps. Lastly, it took us roughly 3 minutes and 55 seconds to download Apex Legends on our PS5 with an average speed of about 856 Mbps.

Lastly, we tested Overwatch and Dota 2, two games supported by WTFast’s GPN service, and noticed a 20-25ms reduction in ping. So buying this router is a no-brainer for people who do online gaming for long hours.

ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi Gaming Router (GT-AC2900)
  • Triple-level game Accelerator - optimizes your online gaming packets all the way from your PC to the game server.
  • Geforce now recommended router – enjoy an unrivaled cloud gaming experience with no latency.
  • Aimesh supported - works with Asus AiMesh compatible routers to create a powerful, flexible, seamless whole-home Wi-Fi system.

Netgear NightHawk AC1750 – Best Cheap Router for 200 Mbps Internet Connection

Are you facing low internet speeds? Then the Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 is just for you. 

It’s a Wi-Fi 5 only router with a maximum bandwidth of 1,750 Mbps and is limited to 1,300 Mbps, while the slower Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) takes things down to just 450 Mbps. By no means a powerhouse in the budget-friendly router space, but that’s not what it aims to be anyway. 

Regarding speed, the router peaked at 765 Mbps in our short-range test, and at medium range, things dropped to 392 Mbps. During the long-range testing stage, our iPhone 12 Pro struggled to pick 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 and managed only around 45 Mbps. 

It took our PS5 4 minutes and 52 seconds to download Apex Legends. For comparison, almost all routers in this test managed to download the game in under 4 minutes.

While all of this seems terrible on paper, remember that the overall performance of this router is still more than enough to fully harness the power of a 200 Mbps internet connection. Users with anything faster than a 500 Mbps internet connection may want to steer clear of Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 – It’s just not designed to handle large amounts of bandwidth.

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router, R6700
  • Maximum Range : 1500 Sq Ft
  • Recommended for up to 25 devices: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect smart home devices
  • Wired Ethernet ports: Plug in computers, game consoles, streaming players, and other nearby wired devices with 4 x 1 gigabit Ethernet ports

Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 – Best Router for VPNs Under $200

People who want extra protection against hackers and to beef up their online security should go for the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400. It is a powerful and secure router that supports Asus’ VPN Fusion technology (with an ‘Instant Guard’ mode) and comes with Asus’ lifetime internet security.

Other features include support for Wi-Fi 6. Peak throughput is at 5,400 Mbps, of which 4,804 Mbps is reserved for Wi-Fi 6, with Wi-Fi 5 trailing behind at a respectable 2,167 Mbps. But the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) band is limited to just 574 Mbps, which can cause long-distance connectivity issues.

In the short-range test, the router hit 959 Mbps, not up to par with the fastest router on our list, the TP-Link Archer AX75, which managed 978 Mbps but is impressive nonetheless. Also, our PlayStation 5 downloaded Apex Legends in just 3 minutes and 35 seconds with an average speed of 938 Mbps.

The medium-range performance remained equally good on the iPhone 12 Pro and peaked at download speeds of 682 Mbps. But the long-term performance suffered as speeds dropped down to just 87 Mbps. 

We believe it would have been better if Asus had allocated more bandwidth to the 2.4GHz band. However, the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 is a good option for short to medium-range usage.

ASUS ROG Strix AX5400 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (GS-AX5400)
  • New-generation WiFi 6 – Enjoy ultrafast speeds up to 5400 Mbps with 160 MHz WiFi 6 channels
  • Fully optimized gaming – Mobile Game Mode, dedicated Gaming Port and Gear Accelerator let you optimize any type of gaming on mobile, console or PC
  • VPN Fusion – Run a VPN and an ordinary internet connection simultaneously, allowing maximum speed even if other network users need to use a VPN

Wi-Fi coverage can be spotty for areas around 2,500 sq. ft. or larger. As a result, Wi-Fi dead zones are unavoidable, as no consumer-grade Wi-Fi router can blanket such a large area. The only solution to this unique problem is a mesh network.

TP-Link’s Deco X20 is our top pick in the mesh Wi-Fi category. The router comes in a pack of either one, two, or three units. Each unit is equipped with a 1.0GHz dual-core CPU, two integrated antennas, and two Ethernet ports at the back with support for Wi-Fi 4, 5, and 6 (802.11 n/ac/ax). However, the peak throughput is limited to only 1,800 Mbps (AX1800).

While the overall coverage of the mesh network is excellent, the actual speeds left us wanting. On the main router hooked up directly with our 1 Gbps optical fiber, the download speed reached a peak of 845 Mbps, and it took our PS5 4 minutes and 16 seconds to download Apex Legends with an average speed of 789 Mbps. Not a particularly good showing.

Worse still, the download speed dropped to 428 Mbps when connected with an iPhone 12 Pro with the secondary ‘satellite router’, placed at a medium distance from the main router. The ping also spiked by ~35ms. But, as expected, the long-range coverage was excellent, with our iPhone 12 Pro hitting a peak download speed of 146 Mbps on the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 6 band.

TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi System(Deco X20)
  • 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 4000 square feet with seamless high-performance Wi-Fi 6 and eliminate dead zones and buffering, better than traditional wifi booster, add more Deco X20 for more coverage
  • Connect More Devices - OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology quadruple capacity to enable simultaneous transmission to more devices

Synology Router RT2600ac – Best Budget Router With Parental Controls

Parents looking for an internet router emphasizing child safety and complete parental control should consider buying the Synology RT2600ac. 

At the heart of the router is a dual-core CPU clocked at 1.7GHz there are quad stream, dual-band radios, and four antennas at the back, along with an equal number of Ethernet ports. Unfortunately, this is a Wi-Fi 5 only router with a peak throughput of 2,600 Mbps (AC2600), of which 800 Mbps is dedicated to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) and 1,733 Mbps to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac).

As for parental controls, there are various website categories, such as shopping, gaming, dating, social networks, etc., which you can block individually. Alternatively, you can also block specific websites. 

Furthermore, you can also set time restrictions, set data and bandwidth caps, and block internet access to your children’s phones or computers after specific hours. 

As for the overall performance, the router did well in all scenarios. At short range, it hit an 871 Mbps peak on the PC and took 3 minutes and 54 seconds to download Apex Legends on the PS5 with an average download speed of 860 Mbps. 

At medium range, our iPhone 12 Pro managed 565 Mbps; at long range, the router switched to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 with a speed peaking at 89 Mbps. As for the gaming test, the ping was low, and packet loss was a non-issue. In the end, this is a great router for a 1 Gbps fiber optic connection.

Synology RT2600ac
  • 1.7GHz Dual-core processor for fast, uncompromising performance
  • Powerful 4x4 802.11ac wave 2 radios with MU-MIMO and up to 2.53Gbps breakthrough wireless speeds
  • Smart Connect for seamless transition between maximum speed or range

Comparing Top Routers Under $200

RouterBandwidthBandsWi-Fi StandardsCPUCheck Price
Asus RT-AX82U5,400 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5, 61.5GHz tri-coreLink 
ASUS RT-AX30003,000 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5, 61.5GHz tri-coreLink 
TP-Link Archer A204,000 MbpsTri-bandWi-Fi 5 only1.8GHz dual-coreLink 
TP-Link Archer AX755,400 MbpsTri-bandWi-Fi 5, 61.7GHz quad-coreLink 
Asus RT-AX1800S1,800 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5, 61.0GHz dual-coreLink 
Asus ROG RaptureGT-AC29002,900 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5 only1.8GHz dual-coreLink 
Netgear NighthawkAC17501,750 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5 onlyUnspecifiedLink 
Asus ROG StrixGS-AX54005,400 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5, 61.5GHz tri-coreLink 
TP-Link Deco X201,800 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5, 61.0GHz dual-coreLink 
Synology Router RT2600ac2,600 MbpsDual-bandWi-Fi 5 only1.7GHz dual-coreLink 

What Should You Look for When Buying a Router?

There are several things to consider before picking a new router, the most obvious of which is the total available bandwidth. 

For example, if you have a 500 Mbps internet connection, finding a router with at least 3x higher bandwidth is ideal. In this case, 1,500 Mbps for a 500 Mbps internet connection. In reality, routers rarely reach peak speeds; the advertised bandwidth is usually for marketing purposes. 

The second thing you should consider is the Wi-Fi standard, i.e., Wi-Fi 4, 5, and 6. Wi-Fi standards use two frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz, the latter being the fastest. However, you must also ensure that the smartphone, laptop, tablet, or PC you’ll be connecting with the router also supports the 5GHz frequency. A 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) only device, for instance, won’t be able to benefit from the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standards.

The number of radio bands is another critical aspect of a Wi-Fi router. Single-band routers only support 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4. Dual-band routers add support for 5GHz Wi-Fi, which could be Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6, or both. Also, tri-band routers come with dual 5GHz radios to reduce network congestion and minimize ping and latency. 

Always consider the number of antennas at the back of the router. More antennas equal better Wi-Fi range and overall reception. In addition, with multiple antennas, the router can control the direction of the Wi-Fi signal by gradually changing the phase of the signals, reducing Wi-Fi dead zones in the process.

Another crucial step is determining whether you need a single Wi-Fi router or multiple ones connected together via mesh configuration. A mesh network is almost always preferable for larger offices and homes

However, latency and ping are significant issues with mesh networks. The secondary ‘satellite’ nodes can suffer latency problems because the data has to ‘jump’ from one router to the next before reaching the recipient device.

Lastly, CPU and RAM are also important. For instance, a router with a quad-core CPU can handle more bandwidth than a dual-core CPU. The reason it’s important is that a slower CPU may get bottlenecked at higher speeds and, consequently, potentially worsen your latency, packet loss, and overall ping. In fast-paced online multiplayer games, this can make a big difference. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Routers

Let’s wrap up by answering some frequently asked questions about internet routers.

Why Is My Router Not Working?

  • There could be a network outage at the ISP’s end. If the network activity light on your router is red or blinking, then there’s a problem with your ISP. 
  • A damaged Ethernet or fiber optic cable may be the culprit. 
  • A router can freeze and stop working. Resolve this issue by rebooting your router. Try a hard factory reset to fix the problem if that doesn’t work.

How Long Do Routers Last?

Most routers easily last five years, and it’s not uncommon to see premium routers lasting for longer periods. Cheap routers from unknown brands can go bust just after a few months. People looking for longevity should buy a router from well-reputed companies; TP-Link, Asus, and Netgear are all good options.

Do Newer Routers Have Better Range?

Absolutely. Unlike older routers, modern routers use faster CPUs, newer Wi-Fi standards, have dual or even tri-band radios, and usually have 160 MHz channels for maximum bandwidth. Such routers cover larger areas and offer higher upload/download speeds. 

Do I Need to Call My ISP if I Get a New Router?

Yes. When installing a new router, you usually must input specific settings, like your PPPoE credentials or custom DNS, or you need to change your MAC address registered with your ISP. For that, you’ll have to contact your ISP provider. Without these details, you wouldn’t be able to connect your router to your ISP.

Are Gaming Routers Different From Regular Routers?

Unlike regular routers, gaming routers focus on minimizing latency, ping, and packet loss. As a result, they’re more suited for online gaming. Also, some gaming routers offer GPN (Gamers’ Private Network) services, which minimizes latency. An example is the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900.

Are Store-Bought Routers Better?

Yes. It’s always a good idea to replace your ISP router with a store-bought router. ISP routers are notorious for their poor speeds, insufficient network coverage, and sluggish performance in online gaming, with high ping and frequent packet losses being the norm. A store-bought router improves performance dramatically.

Conclusion

This concludes our review of the top 10 best routers under $200 available in the market. All the routers we covered in this review performed up to par. And while some routers performed better than others, remember that we ran tests on a 1 Gbps fiber optic internet connection. If you have a 512 Mbps (or slower) internet connection, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice any glaring differences between them.

Our favorite pick:

ASUS WiFi 6 Router (RT-AX3000)
  • Maximum Range : 3000 Sq Ft
  • The Next Gen WiFi Standard - Future proof your home network with the next-gen WiFi 6 technology, providing up to 2. 7x faster speed than the previous WiFi generation featuring OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology.
  • Ultra-Fast Wi-Fi - RT-AX3000 supports 160MHz bandwidth and 1024-QAM, boasting a total network speed of 3000 Mbps - 575Mbps on the 2. 4GHz band, and 2402GHz on the 5GHz band.
Ed has fond memories of the times when he played games on an 8-bit console. If you want to make him talk for hours on end, just ask him about Valla from Heroes of the Storm. Eddie despises hackers and gamers who do not take the game seriously. He sees RealGear as a place where he has the freedom to express his viewpoint regarding PC and console games and put his journalism skills into practice.

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