WE TAKE A LOOK AT SEVEN BUDGET WI-FI ROUTERS BEST BUY TO GET YOU CONNECTED FOR LESS.
BEST BUDGET ROUTERS BEST BUY
HERE AT TOPNEWREVIEW, we test the best of the best, but some of the more affordable tech can be overlooked. When it comes to Wi-Fi routers, not everyone needs a + wiz-bang model that can create a private cloud and transfer files stupidly fast. So we’ve put together seven very affordable Wi-Fi routers you can buy.. To compare what you get by stepping up to the next model, we also tested three more that cost just $80, but offer some handy extra features.
HOW WE TESTED ROUTER BEST BUY
All routers were connected to our existing Gigabit Network, with an NBN internet connection. Wi-Fi testing was done with both a laptop and smartphone, in a typical three-bedroom home.
The most notable factor with cheaper routers is the Wi-Fi spec — usually 802.1 In, with a maximum throughput of 300Mbps. They also tend to only offer 10/100 speed LAN ports, and no WAN ports. Even some of the most affordable models include an ADSL 2+ modem, and some are also NBN-ready. Stepping up to the $80 routers sees 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and even some USB ports.
Note that some key brands, such as Netgear and Linksys, also have affordable models but were unable to supply them for our tests.
|Best buy router under 60$|
|MAX SINGLE BAND THROUGHPUT||ADSL
|Edimax EW-7208APC||2.4GHz/5GHz||AC750||433 Mbps||No|
|D-Link DSL-2750U||2.4GHz||N300||300 Mbps||Yes||1x|
|ASUS DSL-N12E||2.4GHz||N300||300 Mbps||Yes|
|D-Link DSL-2790U||2.4GHz||N300||300 Mbps||Yes||1x|
|Edimax BR-6288ACL||2.4GHz/5GHz||AC750||433 Mbps||No|
|Best buy router under 80$|
|SERVICE||BANDS||WI-FI SPEC||MAX SINGLE BAND THROUGHPUT||ADSL MODEM||USB|
|Edimax BR-6478AC V2||2.4GHz / 5GHz||AC1200||867 Mbps||No||1x|
|TP-Link Archer C2||2.4GHz / 5GHz||AC750||433 Mbps||No||1x|
|Netcomm NB604N||2.4GHz||N300||300 Mbps||Yes||1x|
BEST BUY ROUTER Under 60$
Edimax EW-7208APC Router
IS IT WORTH SPENDING A LITTLE MORE?
BUMPING UP THE price by a heady, the Edimax EW-7208APC brings some extra features but is still quite affordable.
Most noticeable is the 802.1 lac spec Wi-Fi, which operates on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The maximum throughput on the 5GHz band is 433Mbps, while 2.4GHz is limited to the usual 300Mbps. To handle the extra band, the Edimax router has three (quite large) high-gain antennas, which are removable.
The setup works, too, and the EW-7208APC gave some of the better signal strength and throughput during testing.
Wired networking doesn’t get the same love, and is still limited to 10/100 speeds — though there is a dedicated WAN port. No built-in modem is included, though the unit has WPS and Wi-Fi on/off buttons.
Like its more affordable brethren (also reviewed), the Edimax router can operate as an access point, wireless bridge or range extender and create a separate guest network. As expected, setup and configuration is very easy, thanks to the straightforward web interface and wizard.
EW-7208APC AC750 Dualband Acceess Point / Extender / WiFi Bridge, High Gain Antenna for Better Range, iQ-Setup Easy to Install17 new from $ 44.99
802.11ac Wi-Fi; 4x 10/100 LAN; wireless bridge mode
D-Link DSL-2750U Router
AN AFFORDABLE UPGRADE.
PLAIN, WHITE, the D-Link DSL-2750U ticks all the boxes for a basic but functional Wi-Fi router. It uses 802.1 In wireless spec, which gives a maximum throughput of 300Mbps. It’s also got four 10/100 LAN ports, for connecting wired devices, and comes with a single short cable. The 2750U has an ADSL2+ model built in, and includes both a telephone cable and ADSL splitter/filter in the box. Wireless range is quite good, and the D-Link router gave consistent coverage over our test house.
In a move we wished more companies would follow, D-Link has included a USB 2.0 port around the back on the router. This can be used to bring a USB printer onto the network or easily share the contents of a flash drive or portable HDD.
The D-Link web interface and easy setup wizard are top notch, and users will have no problem getting up and running. The router does include both a separate Wi-Fi on/off switch and a WPS button.
802.11n Wi-Fi; 4x 10/100 LAN; USB 2.0 port
Edimax BR-6428nS V3 Router
WHILE MANY OF the routers tested dally about with prices, the Edimax BR-6428nS V3 breaks away with a very low price. Some sellers even have it available, which is by far the cheapest we tested. You might expect that Edimax had to make some sacrifices to get the price so low, and you would be correct.
But the key specs are still there — 802.1 In Wi-Fi and four 10/100 LAN ports. What the BR-6428nS misses out on is an ADSL modem and extras such as USB.
Despite being on the low end, the Edimax interface and underlying firmware is top notch and setup with the wizard is very simple.
The router uses dual antennae to give a maximum throughput of 300Mbps, as well as an excellent range. But handily for those who want to use the router in conjunction with an existing network, it also works as an access point, range extender or dedicated Wi-Fi bridge.
802.11n WI-FI; 4x 10/100 LAN; WI-FI bridge mode
TP-Link TL-WR841HP Router
FOR LONG-RANGE WI-FI.
THE TP-Link TL-WR841HP is not particularly cheap, nor is it tending towards the higher end. Rather than beefing up the spec slightly, the TP-Link boffins have built router as a high power, long range device.
It’s still normal 802.1 In spec, with a maximum throughput of 300Mbps. But the TL-WR841HP includes two huge 9dBi detachable antennas, driven by independent high-power amplifiers. The result is excellent Wi-Fi range, that has no problem punching through normal dead spots. Sure, it’s not as fast as 5GHz AC, but we had no problem getting a strong connection over the entire property — not just the house. The TL-WR841HP can also work with your existing network and operate as an access point or range extender.
Round the back, the router has the usual four 10/100 LAN ports, as well as a single 10/100 WAN connection. It also has a WPS button and supports WPA2 security.
While setup can be done via web interface, TP-Link also have an excellent smartphone app.
1 used from $ 45.00
802.11n WI-FI; 4x 10/100 LAN; 9dBI high-gain antennae
WI-FI AND A MODEM.
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE online, the ASUS DSL-N12E makes for a budget-friendly Wi-Fi router. The base spec is nothing special, with 802.11n Wi-Fi that is good for a maximum of 300Mbps throughout. The four LAN ports are 10/100 spec — no Gigabit at this price. The DSL-N12E does try to stand out a little, though, with a built-in ADSL modem. Range and throughput are quite good, and the ASUS router had no problem maintaining a strong signal in the far corners of our house. Setup is very simple, thanks to the quite-good ASUS interface and wizard. The router also has a WPS button, which makes it very quick to connect compatible devices without needing to enter the Wi-Fi password.
ASUS pushes the DSL-N12E as an eco friendly option, so we tracked the power use and found it did consume a marginally smaller amount than its competition. Handily, the unit comes with both a LAN and telephone cable, so is ready to go out of the box.
802.11n Wi-Fi; 4x 10/100 LAN; A0SL modem
D-Link DSL-2790U Router
INTEGRATED ADSL 2+ MODEM.
The D-Link DSL-2790U is on the very affordable end of Wi-Fi routers. It has the usual four 10/100 LAN ports, paired up with 802.1 In Wi-Fi. The little router actually has some sizeable 5dBi (non-removable) antennae for better reception, and can handle a maximum throughput of 300Mbps.
Where the device stands out, though, is with the inclusion of an ADSL 2+ modem.
For future proofing, it’s also NBN-ready.
It’s also got a USB 2.0 port, which can be used to plug in an external drive and share it over the network. Considering the price, this is a super handy feature, as it turns the router into a basic NAS very easily. The DSL-2790U has WPA2 security, as well as a built-in firewall.
Setup is quite quick and easy, with an installation wizard that guides you through the process. The web interface is also quite good, and makes further configurations simple.
Edimax BR-6288ACL Router
802.11AC WI-FI ON A BUDGET.
JUST SNEAKING UNDER, the Edimax BR-6288ACL takes a slightly different approach than the usual 4-port Wi-Fi router. By dialling the spec back a little, to just a single 10/100 LAN port, the Edimax engineers could upgrade the Wi-Fi to 802.1 lac spec without upping the price. The unit is also very compact, measuring in at 215 x 70x 70mm, with internal antennae. Not surprisingly, it does not include a modem, and is designed to bring Wi-Fi to your existing device.
The router is dual-band, with a maximum throughput of 300Mbps on 2.4Ghz, and 433Mbps on 5GHz. Range is pretty decent, but slightly worse than larger routers with adjustable antennae, so the Edimax BR-6288ACL is better suited to apartments or smaller houses.
While the web interface and setup wizard are great, there is also an Edimax app that makes configuring the device even easier.
For greater flexibility, the unit can operate as an access point, range extender or dedicated Wi-Fi bridge.
802.11ac Wi-Fi; dual 2.4 and 5GHz; smartphone app
BEST BUY ROUTER Under 80$
Edimax BR-6478AC V2 Router
A VERITABLE SPEED DEMON.
WHILE NOT EXACTLY standout compared to high-end routers, the Edimax BR-6478AC V2 blitzes its cheaper competition with Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds of up to 867Mbps. Even better, the price remains quite affordable, as long as you are willing to shop around.
The sleek Edimax router sports two quite large antennae, which handle both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. On the back side, the unit has four LAN ports, as well as a Gigabit WAN connection. While it can’t handle your ADSL connection, it is ready to be connected to the NBN.
Range is excellent, and the Edimax managed to maintain a strong 5GHz signal in areas where some of the cheaper routers faded a little. The full 867Mbps throughput on the 5GHz band is hard to manage, but generally, it gives significantly improved speeds.
The BR-6478AC also has a single USB 2.0 port, which can be coupled up to a printer, or USB storage device, to turn the router into a mini NAS.
BR-6478AC V2 New AC1200 Gigabit Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router/Range Extender/AP/Bridge/WISP with USB Port and VPN (White)39 new
2 used from $ 25.99
802.11AC Wi-Fi; 4x Gigabit LAN; USB 2.0 connection
TP-Link Archer C2 Router
EXTRA BELLS AND WHISTLES.
UNLIKE SOME OF the routers tested, where the cheapest price is only available from a few sellers, the Archer C2 is sold from at least 10 retailers. As expected, the Wi-Fi spec takes a bump up to 802.1 lac, with the usual 300Mbps available on 2.4GHz, and up to 433Mbps on the 5GHz band.
Instead of the slower 10/100 ports, the Archer C2 supports 4x Gigabit Ethernet, as well as a Gigabit WAN port. It also has a USB 2.0 connection, which can handle sharing files from a portable drive or connecting a printer.
The TP-Link Archer C2 uses three high-gain antennae, with two working on the 2.4GHz band, and the third operating dual-band. It’s also got the usual WPS button, as well as a separate Wi-Fi on/off switch.
Range is quite good, with strong signal and reasonable throughput even quite far from the router. Setup is also dead simple and the router includes extras, such as parental controls.
2 used from $ 49.99
802.11AC Wi-Fi; 4x Gigabit Ethernet; USB 2.0 connection
Netcomm NB604N Router
IS IT WORTH SPENDING EXTRA?
THE NETCOMM NB604N is an interesting router, which is widely available and often bundled by ISPs. But despite Kogan selling it. The unit has an ADSL2+ modem built in, but only has 802.1 In spec Wi-Fi, which maxes out at 300Mbps. Considering many of the more affordable competition have AC Wi-Fi, this is a little bit of a letdown.
The same goes for the LAN ports, with four 10/100 connection, rather than Gigabit. On the plus side, it does include a USB 2.0 connection on the rear that can be used to share a portable HDD or flash drive onto the network, or operate as a print server.
The NB604N has the usual removable antennae, and gives decent but not outstanding coverage. Throughput drops off on the fringes, but it’s generally pretty good. Setup is straightforward, and the usual web interface is quite nice.
While the NetComm NB604N isn’t bad per-se, it needs to be a whole lot cheaper to compete.
802.11n Wi-Fi; 4x 10/100 LAN; USB 2.0 port