Wireless networking has become synonymous with the Internet, but to get online wirelessly you need a router. Top routers will deliver exceptional speed and signal range, but your router can never boost your speed beyond the connection speed you pay for.
Therefore, unless you have a maximum-speed Internet connection, these inexpensive Wireless-N routers will get the job done just fine using up-to-date technology, and save you a bunch of cash in the process.
1. Linksys E3200 High-Performance Dual Band Wireless Router
While all routers give you what you pay for, this one gives the best bang for your buck. It debuted at $150, but now retails on Amazon for $65, and delivers the performance of a more expensive router.
The router features Cisco Connect, a user-friendly, cloud-based software utility for networking. It has all the features of a top-end router; sleek design, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and one WAN port. Its fast, with a top WiFi speed of 600Mbps, and top actual speed at 95.3Mbps that is sufficiently fast for the average user.
Who should buy this router? With a full range of features, good speed and design, this is the total package and a good router for anyone.
2. Linksys E1200 Wireless Router
The predecessor of the E3200, this is a solid option and slightly cheaper than the former. In exchange, the WiFi is slower, maxing at 300Mbps. CNET found it new on eBay for $12, but it retails on Amazon for $44. It also has a shorter range than the E3200, losing signal quick outside of 100 feet. Regardless, it still utilizes the easy-to-use Cisco Connect software, making this a good, if basic, choice.
Who should buy this router? Solid features and great user-friendliness make this the perfect router for an entry-level wireless user in a small office or apartment.
3. Belkin N+ Wireless Router
Belkin brings a fast router with tremendous range. On the other hand, its bulky, ugly and doesnt support the newer dual-band WiFi functionality. But you get excellent performance for a mere $50.
Who should buy this router? Someone who lives in a large home that demands ranges up to 400 feet, or someone who wants function without worrying about form.
4. D-Link DIR-605L
As its name suggests, the only novelty feature about this router is itscloud-based management feature, meaning you can monitor or change settings from any Internet device, anywhere. The 200-foot range will be enough for most home users, as well as its 40Mbps speeds. This router is small and light with big antennae that make it look like an ants head. Its reliable and inexpensive at $35.
Who should buy this router? The D-Link is a good router for a basic home network, and the cloud functions are a nice perk for forward-thinking users, or anyone who wants to change or monitor their network on the go.
SEE ALSO: Beginners Guide To Wireless Routers
5. D-Link HD Media Router 1000
A router specifically designed for the speed and stability desired by gamers or those who stream movies. It also delivers a wide range of features, including customizable QoS to prioritize web traffic in favor of, say, online gaming. It also boasts a helpful web utility interface. On the downside, it has a short range. Not bad for less than $50.
Who should buy this router? This is a good all-around router, but especially for those who use the Internet for online gaming or HD video streaming.