However, despite the fact that there are many pricey high-performance routers available on the market, our list of the best routers for small homes demonstrates that you don’t need to spend a lot of money if you’re simply seeking to cover the essentials in an apartment, condo, or medium-sized home.
There are some trade-offs when using a budget router, but even the most inexpensive models remain focused on what’s important: providing the best Wi-Fi performance possible for those who live in tiny apartments or other compact places.
Even when newer Wi-Fi standards are developed, they are designed to be fully backward-compatible with earlier ones, ensuring that older routers are never left behind. This implies that looking at previous models can save you a lot of money.
Furthermore, because manufacturers realize that not everyone needs coverage for a 5,000sq house with hundreds of linked devices, they prefer to keep some of their more popular routers on the market for several years after they are first introduced to the market.
This means you can purchase a sturdy and dependable router for a very reasonable price that still provides more than enough performance to handle even the most demanding activities such as 4K Netflix streaming and several Zoom and FaceTime conversations at the same time without sacrificing quality. Singles, couples, and small families that live in cramped quarters would appreciate the best routers for small homes on the market, according to GoodProductReview.
1. TP-Link Archer A6/C6 AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router
For the money, TP-Link produces some of the most affordable routers available on the market, and their Archer A6 (also known as the C6) is one of the most economical dual-band routers available from any manufacturer. With AC1200 specifications, it provides unexpectedly good performance for its price range, with throughput speeds of up to 867Mbps on the 5GHz band and an additional 300Mbps for lower-end 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi 4 devices on the 2.4GHz band.
Ultimately, this results in a very affordable router that is capable of streaming 4K content from Netflix, staying in touch with friends and coworkers via FaceTime and Zoom, and even light online gaming. You’ll need to keep your devices close to one other for the best performance, as is the case with most budget routers because the range isn’t enough for a large house. However, at this price, you should be able to easily afford to purchase a Wi-Fi extender if you discover that you require a little more range.
The Archer A6 also includes four Gigabit Ethernet connections on the rear panel, allowing you to hardwire in any devices that require higher speeds. MU-MIMO support, on the other hand, means that you’ll probably only need it for older Wi-Fi 4 clients or devices that don’t come with built-in Wi-Fi. For a device in its price category, this cheap router also has some amazing capabilities, such as device-based quality of service, rudimentary parental controls, WPA3 security, and even an OpenVPN server.
2. TP-Link TL-WR940N N450 Wi-Fi Router
The TL-WR940N from TP-Link is one of the most reasonably priced routers available. While you’ll be sacrificing a lot of features for this price, the strong 2.4GHz 802.11n WI-Fi 4 performance makes it a perfect pick for anybody who doesn’t need to worry about supporting devices operating at 5GHz frequencies.
Although this restricts the TL-WR940N to speeds of just 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, this is about the maximum speed you can expect from even more costly dual-band routers on the 2.4GHz band. More significantly, it’s still more than enough for three or four devices to stream in 4K and conduct Zoom calls at the same time without a problem. Furthermore, it offers basic Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities that let you regulate how much bandwidth each connected device may consume, allowing you to guarantee that your smart TVs and gaming consoles function to their full potential.
However, while you do get four Ethernet ports on the rear, they are all just Fast Ethernet, which means that your wired connections will be restricted to 100Mbps. This is the most significant drawback here. This provides the odd situation in which you may actually receive greater performance using your devices through Wi-Fi than you would if you connected them directly to the router, although this is not always the case.
3. Netgear R6080 Dual-Band AC1000 WiFi Router
Despite its reduced price, Netgear’s R6080 maintains the company’s reputation as a manufacturer of strong and dependable routers, offering some of the best value for money on the market. While it won’t be able to meet the demands of a large or small home or family, it will provide more than enough range and performance for a modest family to take advantage of everything the contemporary internet has to offer.
This dual-band AC1000 router provides 700Mbps of throughput on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps for 2.4GHz devices, which can be shared among up to 15 devices and has a range of 1,000 square feet, which is sufficient to cover your whole living area completely. The fact that it can deliver more than enough speed to stream content from services such as Netflix in full 4K quality and keep in touch with friends and family via FaceTime and Zoom makes it an excellent choice for single users, couples, and small families living in an apartment, bungalow, or condo. Just make sure you don’t try to cram too many devices into it.
4. TP-Link Archer C50 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router
The Archer C50 from TP-Link is a low-cost router that excels at providing greater range than most others in its class. It has industry-leading AC1200 Wi-Fi and enough range to give 1.2Gbps speeds across a typical 3 bedroom small home, which is faster than most other routers in its class.
In addition, the fixed antennas support beamforming and MU-MIMO to ensure that you get the fastest speeds possible throughout your home, even when supporting multiple devices. With 867Mbps of throughput on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, it provides more than enough performance for 4K streaming and video conferencing. A simple device-based Quality of Service function also allows you to prioritize certain devices, such as smart TVs or gaming consoles, to guarantee that they receive the best possible performance.
While the C50’s specifications are nearly identical to those of the Archer A6, which is easily the best budget router overall, if you don’t require VPN functionality or the ability to connect multiple high-speed wired devices, you can save a few dollars by choosing the C50, which only has Fast Ethernet ports. As an extra benefit, though, it also has the capability of acting as a range extender, making it a fantastic addition to the Archer A6.
5. Linksys E5350 Dual-Band AC1000 Wi-Fi Router
The Linksys E5350 demonstrates that you do not have to spend a premium in order to have a router that is attractive enough to be displayed in your living room. Even though this AC1000 dual-band Wi-Fi router has only two circular antennae on its top surface and a clean and elegant design, it provides ample range and performance for a typical-sized small home.
Because of the 1Gbps combined throughput—700Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band—you won’t have any difficulties when streaming Netflix in 4K and communicating with family and friends through FaceTime or Skype. What’s more, the shape makes it easier to position it where you’ll receive the best coverage for your smart TV or gaming console.
Aside from providing safe access for your guests, the E5350 also has a few simple parental controls to keep your children away from the less desirable parts of the internet. Unfortunately, the four Ethernet ports on the rear of the laptop only support 100Mbps Fast Ethernet, making it unsuitable for connecting high-speed wired devices; in reality, you’ll receive considerably faster rates via the 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is much more powerful.
6. TP-Link TL-WR841N Wi-Fi Router
For those who live in an apartment, condo, or cottage, the Tp-Link TL-WR841N router is a very inexpensive option that is excellent for single users as well as couples and small families. As a single-band router, everything operates on the 2.4GHz channel, but with speeds of up to 300Mbps, it provides more than enough performance for one or two people to enjoy streaming, video conferencing, and even some light online gaming on their computers.
The TL-range WR841N’s isn’t fantastic, but it’s still enough for most one-story two-bedroom small homes or flats, and at 5.1×1.3×7.60 inches and 8.1 ounces, it’s compact enough to tuck away just about anyplace. It’s also reasonably priced.
You will, of course, have to give up a few other features in order to get this price; the TL-WR841N only has four 100Mbps Fast Ethernet ports and no USB ports, and the single band may be a problem if you live in an area where other 2.4GHz devices such as cordless phones, security cameras, or even your neighbors’ Wi-Fi routers are prone to interference.
7. Asus RT-AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router
Small companies that can’t afford any downtime will appreciate the Asus RT-unique AC1200’s feature set, which makes it an excellent pick. With dual WAN capability, this router allows you to connect to two different internet connections at the same time, ensuring that you always have a backup connection available.
This dual-band Wi-Fi router, which has 867Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, otherwise provides the performance you’d expect from an AC1200 router, with enough bandwidth for all of the devices on your network. A very strong signal is broadcast from four exterior beamforming antennas, which may cover a small workplace or a modestly sized small home.
In order to take advantage of the dual WAN feature, one of the four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports must be connected to a second broadband connection. This second connection can either be configured to work in standby mode, automatically taking over if the primary connection fails, or it can be configured to use both connections at the same time, load balancing your traffic across them for the fastest possible throughput, as described above.
8. Asus RT-N12 N300 Wi-Fi Router
It is possible to establish up to four distinct Wi-Fi networks from a single router, making it an excellent solution for people who have small home offices or who wish to split their Wi-Fi access for security and performance reasons.
Despite the fact that it is a single-band N300 router, which means you will only get 300Mbps of throughput on the 2.4GHz channel, it is capable of supporting streaming, surfing, and video conferencing for a modest number of concurrent users. Besides, it won’t make much of a difference if your internet plan doesn’t have a download speed of more than 300Mbps, because that’s the combined speed that will be accessible to all of your devices in any case.
But more importantly, you can create several SSIDs with dynamic bandwidth management and varied access limits, allowing you to keep your mission-critical devices on a priority SSID while restricting the amount of bandwidth your children may use and regulating where they can go. It’s also adaptable enough to be utilized as a range extender or wireless repeater, depending on the application.