Table of Contents
- 1 Best Gaming Router Under 100 – Comparison
- 2 Things to Consider before Buying the Best Gaming Router
- 3 Reviews of the Best Gaming Routers Under $100
- 4 Medialink AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Router – (MLWR-AC1200)
- 5 ASUS AC1750 Wireless Dual Band (5GHz + 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router (RT-AC66U)
- 6 TP-Link AC1900 Long Range Wireless Wi-Fi Router (Archer C9)
- 7 Gaming Router Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- 8 Final Words
Not so many years ago, we were playing games without computers, but with the expansion of Internet popularity, online gaming has become integral part of a true gamer’s life. One of those essential things that every gamer must have is, besides good Internet connection, a good router.
Although many people think that ordinary routers can be used for gaming without any problems, that’s not true. Gaming router can help a lot and improve the quality of the gaming process. It’s not easy to find a good and relatively affordable gaming router, because the market is flooded with different kinds of regular and gaming routers, and that’s the reason why we are presenting to you our text about the best gaming router under 100, and trying to find the very best router for you.
Best Gaming Router Under 100 – Comparison
Things to Consider before Buying the Best Gaming Router
Gaming routers aren’t made just for gamers, they can be used for everyday Internet use, but they certainly have some features that make the life of a gamer much easier. We have marked out some of them and described them shortly so that you can know what are the most important features of every gaming router.
Quality of Service (QoS)
QoS is definitely one of the most important features that a gaming router can have. This feature is common for many kinds of routers, not only for those that have “gaming” in their name. It enables you to easily define priorities when online activities are concerned.
For example, if you’re living in a house with the rest of your family, every member will have his/her own activities on the Internet. If you want to play a game online at the same time as they are surfing the Internet, watching movies or uploading/downloading something, and you don’t have gaming router with good QoS, it will be difficult for you to play your game with your virtual friends and you don’t want to see the word “buffering” on your screen.
Routers with QoS have possibility to prioritize certain activity in a way that it doesn’t suffer because of other parallel activities. Gaming routers always give high priority to gaming traffic.
Wired / Wi-Fi Speed
If you’re looking for gaming router, then you must know that there are two ways to play games online. You can establish wired or wireless Internet connection, depending on your preferences and gaming conditions.
Older way of connecting to the Internet is through cables. Gamers use Ethernet cables to create LAN in order to play games simultaneously. Ethernet connection is more preferable, because it enables faster response, better performance and safer playing without interference. Ethernet is also better in prioritizing your gaming traffic.
However, there are many problems with this type of connection. Depending on the number of ports that your router has, you will be able to play games with limited number of friends in the same room. Number of ports is equal to the number of cables scattered in your room and they can make quite a mess.
The second problem is space itself. If you want to play with someone far away from you, you will have to use wireless connection, because you can’t spread cable from your house to other gamers’ houses.
This is the moment when Wi-Fi speed becomes really important. Wireless connections are by default slower than wired, but the latest 802.11ac standard has improved wireless connection. Routers with 802.11ac standard should be satisfying in most situations and you shouldn’t have problems with upload/download speed, although it has weaker protection from interference.
Every router has its firewall. The main difference between firewalls that ordinary and gaming routers use is in their efficiency and number of features. Every router protects users from unwanted interruptions and viruses, but gaming routers are programmed not to allow interruptions through open ports that are not in use at the moment.
Gaming routers protect users from malware but they have some other interesting and useful features. Some of them offer their users to access secure network through an unsecured one and that we call VPN. Another way to securely access another gamer’s network is through GNA that allows the host to enable access to his guest without revealing his password. They also offer possibility for parents to control activities of their kids and they often have big RAM memory.
The type of security encryption that you should be looking for is WEP or WPA, but the best option is definitely WPA2.
Dual or Triple Band
Back in the time, there was only one option – single band routers. Today we have an opportunity to choose between dual and triple band routers, but it doesn’t have to mean that every innovation can help you.
Dual-band routers are quite common and almost all 802.11ac gaming routers are dual-band. Dual-band router means that it can send two signals at the same time; 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz signals. Depending on the type of your devices, they will connect to only one of these signals. Newer devices will connect to faster 5Ghz signal, and older ones to 2.4Ghz signal.
Triple-band routers are those that separate one signal into three; one 2.4Ghz and two separate 5Ghz signals and they are hosts for three different Wi-Fi networks at the same time.
The idea is to use these routers to speed up your connection and prioritize the most important activities. While dual-band routers do their job very well, triple-band routers have one problem – you won’t notice easily any difference in comparison to dual-band routers. In order to notice the difference, you should have very fast Internet connection and many devices that use Wi-Fi.
Reviews of the Best Gaming Routers Under $100
Experienced users, especially those with technical knowledge, try to improve their devices and use new technologies whenever they can. In order to win online games, they try to boost output, lower ping and improve performance and preserve maximum protection at the same time. For the best result, they need good devices that can help them achieve their goals and that’s the reason why they buy different kinds of routers, trying to find the right one. In the following lines, we will try to present three excellent gaming routers that are not so expensive and even pick the best gaming router under 100 USD.
- Features: Wired / Wi-Fi Speed: up to 1000Mbps Gigabit wired speed; up to 1200Mbps total bandwidth; up to 867Mbps@5Ghz / up to 300Mbps@2.4Ghz dual band speed
- Safety: Powerful firewall, WPA/WPA2, parental control, gest network
- Range: Beamforming supported; 2 antennas + range extender
- Compatibility: Compatible with all OS and all Wi-Fi enabled devices
Things we liked
One of the things we liked about Medialink MLWR-AC1200 is definitely its 802.11ac/n/g/b/a dual band Wi-Fi technology, which enables relatively good wireless speed. This router has great dimensions (8.9 x 7.07 x 3.02 inches) and it weighs approximately 15 ounces, which means that it doesn’t occupy much space, especially because of its vertical design. In spite of its size, it has wide range and range extender, which means that it can enable great signal for every corner of a big house with its two external high-power antennas. Medialink MLWR-AC1200 has easy-to-use controls and great firewall with parental controls that prevent interruptions and enable parents to control their kids’ activities on the Internet.
Things we didn’t like
Some of the disadvantages of Medialink MLWR-AC1200 are small number of USB ports as the router has only one 2.0 USB port and memory that can be enlarged (current memory – 128MB DDR3).
What other reviewers say
According to customers’ experience, this router is great in general. People appreciate its affordable price and easy setup most and it does the job of a much more expensive router. However, it’s not all that great. Some people experienced problems with connectivity and reported that 5Ghz signal is unstable, while there are no reported problems with 2.4Ghz. There were also some problems with wireless signal, which is described as not much better than the signal of a regular router, and with connecting to printers.
- Features: Wired / Wi-Fi Speed: up to 1000Mbps Gigabit wired speed; up to 1750Mbps total bandwidth; up to 450Mbps (2.4GHz) and up to 1300Mbps (5GHz) speed; dual-band
- Safety: SPI and NAT firewalls; WPA2 encryption; parental control
- Range: 3 beamforming adjustable antennas for achieving the best possible range
- Compatibility: Compatible with all OS; AiCloud app that is used for streaming, synchronizing and sharing your files
Things we liked
ASUS AC1750 RT-AC66U is nicely designed black router that can easily fit in any gaming space. It has 3 attachable antennas that can be placed in different directions. There are also 5 Ethernet ports (1 WAN and 4 LAN ports) and even 2 USB ports (2.0 and 3.0) for connecting to different devices and sharing storage or connecting to printers. The router offers faster Wi-Fi connection than some others and it has really good protection from web attacks and parents get the opportunity to control their children’s actions on the Internet. One interesting feature that this router has is that it is business friendly and it is often used in big companies.
Things we didn’t like
One of the bad sides of this router is setup. Modern routers are usually easy to set up, even wirelessly. That’s not the case with this router. In this situation, you will have to use one Ethernet cable to connect the router to your computer. In the package, along with the router, you will find user manual and a CD with detailed instructions for setup. It’s not the most difficult thing in the world, but it’s a bit unusual to set up modern routers this way.
What other reviewers say
Customers were mostly pleased with nice design and construction quality. It is confirmed that the signal from the router covers large places such as big houses and business centers and that it is compatible with all kinds of devices (printers, scanners, smartphones etc.) Most of the complaints are related to its firewall because it disables access to certain pages and it is difficult to find the right update. Also, there were complaints about connectivity, stability of 5GHz signal and performance problems that go away only after rebooting the router.
- Features: Wired / Wi-Fi Speed: up to 600Mbps (2.4GHz) and up to 1300Mbps (5GHz) speed; dual-band. 5GHz band for streaming 4K Ultra HD videos and online gaming and 2.4GHz band for everyday surfing and other activities.
- Safety: WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS, WPA2-Enterprise, parental control, NAT, SPI
- Range: 3 detachable dual band antennas for better coverage
- Compatibility: Compatible with all OS
Things we liked
TP-Link Archer C9 is dual band router that supports newest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology. It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 Gigabit WAN port. Wi-Fi can be turned on/off by pressing one button on the backside of the router and 3 dual band detachable antennas help you catch the best signal. The USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Ports make it easy to share a printer locally as well as files and media with other networked devices. The router has very good firewall and simple beginners-friendly web interface.
Things we didn’t like
TP-Link Archer C9 is nicely designed router that really doesn’t have physical characteristics that could separate it from other routers. However, we wish it was black so it could fit it into any working/gaming space.
What other reviewers say
We noticed that customers appreciated the easy setup and great signal that can reach every corner of your house or apartment. They are also satisfied with the nice design and small dimensions. On the negative side, problems with connectivity and loss of signal were often reported.
NOTE: At the moment of writing there is a $10 discount coupon which makes this router eligible for our “best gaming router under $100” list.
Gaming Router Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the difference between a gaming router and a regular one?
Many people would say that there are no big differences between a gaming router and a regular one. That’s not actually true. Gaming routers can always be used as regular ones without any problems. There’s also a possibility to use an ordinary router for gaming, but you will never reach maximum performance. Some basic differences between the two types of routers do exist and we will list them.
Let’s start from the obvious – design. That is the first thing that you will notice when you look at some router and you will immediately know if it’s gaming or regular one. The design of gaming routers is catchy and it is conceived in order to match with gaming accessories easy.
Gaming routers have more efficient QoS that is configured in the way that enables prioritizing gaming activities from the rest of traffic on your network, prevents delays and buffering problems.
USB ports are common feature of gaming routers and they can be used for media and photo transferring and any person who is connected to your network has the access to your files.
Besides these few features, gaming routers have numerous extra features like powerful firewalls, parental controls, VPN etc. One more thing we shouldn’t forget is that gaming routers are always more expensive than regular ones, but our suggestions are proof that they don’t have to be too pricey.
Why buy a gaming router?
Every gamer will definitely pick a gaming router over regular one. Some of the reasons is QoS that enables prioritizing gaming activities. Their antennas optimize and boost data transfer speed. Gaming routers provide great performance; there are no buffering or delays, just smooth and fast gaming process. These routers usually support greater Internet speeds (up to 1GBps) and they can cover with their signal bigger areas than regular routers. Firewalls are better and stronger; it will be more difficult for an intruder to access gamer’s network than any other. They have modern and innovative configuration and they support all needy requests of any gaming process (adequate Internet speed, great RAM, numerous Ethernet ports, at least one USB port etc.). In the end, we can’t forget their design, which is predicted especially for gaming environment, they are small, powerful and can fit into any gaming room.
Will a gaming router help?
Well, it depends on many things. We can’t say that buying a gaming router will be great improvement for everybody because every person wants different things.
Features that gaming routers have are not common only for them. Most of expensive, quality and high-end routers have QoS, double or triple band, Gigabit Ethernet and they support modern 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Big companies use some of those routers because they employ many people with numerous online activities and that requires stable connection and fast data transfer without delays.
If you play games online from time to time and you don’t think that it is one of the most important things in the world, you won’t see the difference between some quality regular router and true gaming router. Greatness of a gaming router can be understood only by a true gamer and only if you are one of them, that kind of purchase can help you.
What is a good speed for online gaming?
Some might think that faster is always better, but that’s actually not always true. When you’re playing a game online, there are numerous factors that affect the process, besides the size of you Internet package.
First of all, many things depend on the server you are connecting to, because some of them are easy to access and some are more difficult.
Second of all, there are always other players and there’s a great chance that all of you have different Internet speed and different pings.
All in all, sometimes even 2MB can be enough, but if you have more advanced requests, you should have faster Internet connection; although it is often more important to have completely stable connection than incredibly fast one.
Are routers under $100 good for gaming?
Definitely, yes. It all depends on your needs and wishes. There are numerous great routers out there on the market and you will certainly be able to find the right one for you. You just have to define some basic criteria before making final decision.
One of the most important things is to realize what kind of Internet connection you have and what kind of router will be able to spread it all over your house. After that, you have to see what do you need that router for. For example, you have to decide, what kind of online games you want to play, do you want wired or wireless connection and do you need that router for something else besides gaming. In case you want wired connection, you should think about the number of Ethernet ports that router has. Also, if you need your router to divide signal to different devices that will be used simultaneously, you should think about the maximum Internet speed that the router supports and if it is dual or triple band.
When you define all those things, it should be easy to find the right one as there are so many quality gaming routers under $100 and three of them are on our list.
In the end, we have to decide which one of the presented routers is the best option. All of them offer good performance, nice design and they are all affordable.
However, we have to choose ASUS RT-AC66U. This router is the best gaming router under $100 on our list. Although it has some similarities with Archer C9, RT-AC66U in our opinion has better performance with the most stable connection and the best range. It has one 3.0 USB (along with one 2.0 USB port) port and its design is adequate for any gaming space. Its price might be the highest one and its setup could be the most difficult, but we think that in this case we found the best price-quality ratio.