If you have read my previous article, then you might have already known that I took the “best router under $50” inside “best budget/cheap routers” category. Which is also inside the “best wireless routers.” Now, it also has three big brothers such as best routers under $100, routers under $150, and best routers under $200.
Recently I tested 67 wireless routers and categorized them according to the purposes and needs. So, when it comes to buying the best routers under 50 dollars, I picked three best out of the box. They are amazing, well-priced, and feature-packed. Plus, I’ll be sharing my favorite one with you, or you can choose on your own after reading my complete guide of buying a router under $50.
So, what is the best wireless router under 50 In 2021? The Medialink MLWR-AC1200R is my recommendation for 2021. It has all the necessary features we look for in an ideal router. Plus, it is a great looking router and has some key features such as Range Extender and firewall.
3 Best Routers Under $50 For 2021
|1. Medialink AC1200 MLWR-AC1200R||Overall Best||4.9|
|2. TP-Link AC1200 Smart WiFi Router||Best DD-WRT Router Under $50||4.9|
|3. NETGEAR WiFi Router (R6080)||Best For Large Homes||4.9|
Medialink AC1200 Is a fantastic router. After testing this router and compare with the similar router on the market. The Medialink MLWR-AC1200 becomes my favorite router when it comes to buying under $50.
The Medialink AC1200 is a dual-band router and supports beamforming technology. It has four LAN Gigabit Ethernet port with one USB 2.0 port, which can be found on the back panel of the router. It has two high-powered antennas that can provide excellent coverage. It is equipped with Broadcom ARM Cortex A7 CPU with 128MB DDR3 RAM, which can easily handle multiple devices up to 20 without any network interference.
Pros & Cons:
- It provides fast internet WiFi speeds up to 1200 Mbps ( 300Mbps from 2.4GHz + 867Mbps from 5Ghz ).
- The LED lights can be turned off.
- The Universal Range Extender mode to extend the existing wireless network.
- The security of the router is excellent, and It has a powerful firewall feature that prevents you from unwanted visitors.
- USA-Based Customer support.
I don’t like:
- The USB port doesn’t support the printer.
At $50, you can’t get better than this router. Some features such as Gigabit Ethernet ports, beamforming, and firewall protection make this router a perfect networking device. Most routers don’t include these features as they only come with high-end routers. That is why the Medialink MLWR-AC1200R is my first choice for $50.
I consider this router the best for home users. It has pretty much all the necessary features that a normal person looks for in a good router.
Note:You can add one or two WiFi range-extender in order to enhance wireless network for WiFi Coverage. However, it doesn’ support daisy chain functionality. Instead, It works as a WiFi access point.
The second router on my list is TP-LINK Archer A6. Both Medialink and TP-LINK are great routers in terms of performance and features, but Medialink MLWR-AC1200R offers some extra features. That is why TP-LINK Archer A6 becomes the first runner up.
Like Medialink MLWR-AC1200R, the TP-LINK A6 is also a dual-band router. It ensures maximum WiFi speeds up to 1200Mbps using both bands where 2.4Ghz band delivers speeds up to 300Mbps and 5Ghz band up to 867Mbps. It also supports MU-MIMO technology for handling multiple devices at once. While the beamforming technology is for better, stronger, and reliable internet connection.
Pros & Cons:
- It has four LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections.
- The TP-Link Tether app works fine and lets you manage your home network remotely.
- Its AP mode allows it to work as an access point in order to share internet wirelessly.
- Four external antennas for long-range coverage.
- It supports both MU-MIMO and beamforming technologies.
- Tp-Link provides a 2-year of warranty and 24/7 technical support with the router.
I don’t like:
- It doesn’t have any USB port.
TP-LINk Archer A6 is a feature-packed router under $50. It has many smart features which make this router a perfect one. However, the only thing which I don’t like about this router is the USB port. It might not be useful for some people, but TP-LINK should have included this port. Other than that, this router is excellent. Unlike Medialink, it offers MU-MIMO with beamforming. However, If you want to save some money, then you can choose its second model which doesn’t have MU-MIMO.
I will love to recommend this router if your primary concern is long-range coverage.
The third router on my list is Netgear’s R6080 AC1000. It can be a great rival to TP-LINK A6 and Medialink MLWR-AC1200R in terms of performance and features. The only drawback of this router is that it is AC1000 router and comes with fast Ethernet LAN ports, not Gigabit Ports, plus, a little bit higher in price. That is why this is in the third position on my list.
The Netgear R6080 AC1000 is a dual-band router and capable of delivering fastest WiFi speeds up to 1000Mbps ( 2.4Ghz band delivers maximum WiFi speed up to 300Mbps, while the 5Ghz band delivers maximum WiFi speeds up to 700Mbps). It has four LAN Fast Ethernet Ports with the maximum download speeds of up to 100Mbps; you can connect wired devices to these ports. It has two external antennas for better WiFi range and coverage.
Pros & Cons:
- It performs nicely when it comes to streaming HD videos and playing games.
- The Nighthawk App for managing internet access and setting up the router. It hardly takes 5 minutes to set up.
- It can provide WiFi coverage up to 1000sq.ft.
- It lets you connect 15 devices at once while maintaining the WiFi speed.
- WPA2 security protocols, DoS, VPN, and firewall ensure the safety of the network.
I don’t like:
- It doesn’t include a USB port.
Overall performance of the router is ok. However, compared to Tp-LINK A6 and Medialink MLWR-AC1200R, it costs more and offers fewer features. Some drawbacks such as Gigabit Ethernet Ports, USB ports, MU-MIMO, and Beamforming make this router weak.
On the other hand, it comes with some useful features too such as advanced Parental controls, Secure remote access, Guest WiFi access, and Netgear’s Nighthawk App are amazing features and comes under $50.
If you have a large home, then you should consider this router as it can provide coverage up to 1000sq.ft.
Complete Buying Guide
What Things Need To Be Considered While Purchasing Router
Whether you buy a router under 50, under 100, under 150, or even under 200, the criteria will be the same; however, the features and price will be different, which is obvious. So, what are the essential things you need to keep in mind before buying?
There are many buying factors available, but I’ll let you know about only four the most important key factors which you can expect from a good $50 router.
There are many WiFi standard’s routers available on the market, including N, AC, and the latest AD. However, there are some old WiFi standards, such as A, B, and G. These WiFi standards or protocols are standardized by IEEE every five years. So, the WiFi standard of a router becomes very important as it can be responsible for the overall performance of your router. In simple words, these protocols determine how fast your router’s connection.
We can’t buy ‘ad’ standard routers under $50 as they are costly. So make sure that your router is atleast ‘ac’ standard’s router.
Most of the routers offer various types of ports on the back panel of the router such as Ethernet LAN Ports, WAN ports, USB Ports, eSATA ports, and many more. However, The LAN Ports and WAN ports are essential ports. Other ports are optional. So, let’s talk about LAN ports first.
LAN ports are of two types: Fast Ethernet ports and Gigabit Ethernet Ports.
1. Fast Ethernet Ports:
You can expect a maximum speed up to 100Mbps and capable of covering distance up to 10km. These ports are considered a successor of 10-Base-T Ethernet.
2. Gigabit Ethernet Ports:
You can expect a maximum speed up to 1Gbps and capable of covering distance up to 70 km and more. These ports are considered a successor of fast Ethernet.
Verdict: Make sure your router comes with Gigabit Ports.
The third key factor needs to be considered the bands of routers. It can be a single-band, dual-band, and tri-band router. However, a single-band router is a thing of the past. So, there only two bands we should look for in a router – dual-band or tri-band. Under $50, we can’t expect tri-band routers. So, there is only one left, which is dual-band.
The dual-band router uses two bands: 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. It means these routers are capable of transmitting two simultaneous wireless signals: providing, a better performance than a single-band router.
Verdict: Our router should be a dual-band router.
The fourth thing you should keep in mind is the coverage of a router. It is also self-explanatory. Even though your router is fast, still bad at the range. Is it worth the money?
Make sure your router comes with MU-MIMO technology that gives an extra boost to your router in terms of range. Moreover, If your router also packed with Beamforming technology, then this would be great.
My all three recommendations, for under $50 router, are top of the line. These routers are from different brands and sharing some common features. However, after comparing with each other, The Medialink MLWR-AC1200R deserves a better place in terms of performance and overall features.
So when it comes to the overall performance of the router under $50, My recommendation goes to MediaLink MLWR-AC1200R. It can be a perfect choice for you.
If you want a good looking or stylish router yet powerful, then consider TP-LINK A6. The router is cheaper than Medialink MLWR-AC1200R. However, it has one drawback which makes this router first runner up that is ‘missing USB port.’ If you don’t think the USB port is essential for you, then TP-LINK A6 is better than Medialink for sure.
When it comes to large or medium homes, then consider Netgear’s R6080. The router is feature-packed but missing MU-MIMO, Beamforming, and USB ports.
Now, It all depends on you which one is best for you or simply go with my recommended one. Please let me know in the comment section about which $50 router impressed you much.