Now that many people are working from home or self-isolating due to the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19), router issues are popping up much more frequently. It's old, it's outdated, and it can't keep up with the increased workload. While some major retailers are shifting focus to essential items and other private sellers are jacking up prices, Best Buy still has a bunch of great routers that won't break the bank. Best part? They're available for curbside pickup so you can keep to your social-distancing pledge. Here are the best budget routers we could find.
Great for Most People
This dual-band router offers theoretical speeds up to 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz radio and 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio, making it fast enough to keep up with the average household. It has an excellent range, and it has four Ethernet ports for connecting your wired devices.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is slowly taking over from Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), so if you're buying a router now, you might want to future-proof your network and reap the benefits of significantly increased speeds. The Archer AX10 is affordable, yet delivers theoretical speeds up to 1.5Gbps across 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios.
Start a Mesh Network
Are you tired of dead spots in the far reaches of your home? A mesh network can solve this problem, and you can get started with a single eero. It acts just like a standard Wi-Fi 5 router with 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios, but you can add nodes as required to blanket your space in Wi-Fi.
For Light Work
Just you living in a small space? Just want something for streaming or light PC work? This Wi-Fi 5 router offers theoretical speeds up to 300Mbps and 700Mbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios. It has enough range for apartments and small homes, and you really can't beat the price.
For Heavier Traffic
The Archer C2300 costs more than other options on this list, but it also offers the highest throughput, ideal for more users, or for heavy streaming. It offers theoretical speeds up to 1,625Mbps on the 5GHz radio and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio, and three antennas deliver a substantial range for larger spaces.
Get the proper router for your needs
Thanks to Best Buy's new curbside pickup policy, these routers should be available to buy as long as they're in stock at your nearest store. All of the routers listed here will do an excellent job of networking in your home, but we can make a couple of suggestions to help you make a final decision.
If you're looking for a solid Wi-Fi 5 router than can handle the average home's networking needs, TP-Link's Archer C7 (opens in new tab) will get the job done at a very attractive price. It offers combined theoretical speeds up to 1,750Mbps across 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios, plus it has four Ethernet ports to connect wired devices. It's easy to set up, and it has enough range to cover the average home in a strong signal.
Don't want to buy a Wi-Fi 5 router now that Wi-Fi 6 is taking over? TP-Link's Archer AX10 (opens in new tab) is an affordable way to get started with the new standard. Keep in mind that devices must be compatible with Wi-Fi 6, so if you're mostly using older hardware, it's probably not worth the investment. In any case, you're going to see wireless speeds up to 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz radio and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio. Wi-Fi 6 is better to cut out to handle a high volume of connections, so if you're living in a crowded home, this might just be the way to go.
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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