How expensive is a router?

Routers range widely in price from inexpensive models designed for basic home use to high-end routers packed with advanced features for networking professionals. The price of a router depends largely on its speed, range, number of ethernet ports, wireless standards supported, and advanced capabilities.

How expensive is a router?

What to consider when determining router costs

Several key factors influence router pricing:

  • Speed – Faster wifi speeds and ethernet port speeds allow faster data transfers. Gigabit routers with wifi 6 support are generally the fastest and most expensive home models.
  • Range – More powerful antennas and amplifiers extend wifi coverage over larger homes and offices, but increase costs.
  • Ports – More wired ethernet ports allow connecting more devices directly to the router but aren’t always needed for basic setups.
  • Features – Advanced management, security, QoS, and VPN features are ideal for IT professionals but overkill for typical home needs.

Home vs business routers

Home routers designed for personal use are generally cheaper, smaller, and simpler to set up than full-featured business-class routers built for large organizations.

Home routers typical price range:

  • Inexpensive – $50 and under – Basic wifi 5 and gigabit ethernet ports
  • Mid-range – $50-$150 – Good for most homes. Wifi 6, robust software, and security
  • High-end – $150-$300 – Extra range and wireless performance for large spaces

Business routers start around $200 but enterprise-level models are $1,000+ and include:

  • Robust wifi networks with 100+ simultaneous device connections
  • Centralized management and increased control
  • Advanced analytics, traffic shaping, and security
  • Redundant failover hardware and cellular backups

Budget vs premium router tiers

Within each router category of home and business, you’ll find low cost budget models as well as premium routers with higher performance and more features.

The least expensive home routers start under $30 but compromise on range, speeds, and support.

Stepping up to the $100 price point provides better value with faster processors, boosted wifi coverage, and robust firmware.

The most expensive high-performance home routers boast the latest wifi 6E speeds, 2.5Gbps ports, and mesh wifi functionality for full home coverage. However, you’ll pay a premium for these advanced features.

Similarly, small business routers can be had for less than $100 but typically lack IT-orientedextras like centralized management dashboards, advanced QoS, and cellular failover.

Enterprise-class routers for large campuses and multi-site organizations easily cost $500+ but enable institution-wide monitoring, priority traffic control, and maximum security.

Factors that lower costs

A few key factors can reduce routers prices significantly:

  • Sales discounts from 10-50% off can provide big router savings buying older models or renewed versions.
  • Opting for refurbished/used routers can cut costs in half but have shorter warranty periods.
  • Choosing last-generation routers with older wifi 5 standards or gigabit ports vs the latest wifi 6.
  • Compromising on size and range to get just enough to cover your space vs overspeccing.

Recommendations by price and use case

Depending on your specific home or office networking requirements, here are some good router options at different price points:

Reliable, inexpensive home router

  • TP-Link Archer A7 – $55
  • Dual-band AC1750 wifi
  • 4 gigabit LAN ports

Best mid-range home router

  • ASUS RT-AX58U – $150
  • Wifi 6, up to 1.8Gbps speed
  • Mesh wifi supports wide coverage
  • Robust QoS for streaming, gaming

Advanced prosumer home model

  • Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 – $350
  • Wifi 6E, up to 10.8Gbps
  • 8 gigabit ethernet ports

Affordable small business router

  • TP-Link Safestream TL-R600VPN – $90
  • Gigabit ports, built-in VPN
  • Remote management mobile app

Top-tier enterprise router

  • Cisco Catalyst 9200L – $2,500+
  • Modular chassis, redundant power
  • Advanced analytics and security
  • Cellular failover options

As you can see, routers scale widely in pricing from basic models under $100 to enterprise routers over $1000+. Carefully weigh your current and future networking requirements before choosing a solution. Overspending on advanced features you may not use can be avoided with an appropriate mid-range or prosumer router in the $150-$300 range.

Conclusion

Routers can be very inexpensive but also reasonably cost over $1000 depending on features. Consider modem specs like wifi standards, ports, and hardware redundancy along with software capabilities like mesh systems, QoS, and VPN support. Advanced routers enable robust networks for heavy duty use by large organizations and networks. For most home users and small offices, an AC1600-AC3000 wifi 5 or wifi 6 router between $100-$200 should more than suffice. Carefully factor in your budget, space, number of users, and future growth requirements when deciding on the right router investment for your needs.

FAQs on Router Costs

How much does a typical house router cost?

Basic routers for most home can be had for $100 to $250. Decent dual-band gigabit home routers with WiFi 6 support start around $150.

Should you buy the cheapest router?

Very inexpensive routers under $50 often compromise on speed, range, and reliability. It’s better to spend $100 to $150 for a robust mid-range home router with good range.

How much more for WiFi 6 support?

WiFi 6 routers generally start around $150, just $50 to $100 more than decent WiFi 5 options. WiFi 6 is a good option if you have newer devices that support it.

What about mesh routers vs traditional?

Mesh systems start around $250 for a two-pack but provide wider coverage and seamless handoff roaming. They can also be expanded more easily to cover larger spaces.

Why do business routers cost so much more?

Business-class routers have much higher throughput, support 100s of devices, provide advanced traffic shaping and manageability, and offer redundancies/failovers to keep networks up 24/7. These capabilities raise costs significantly.

How much is an enterprise level router?

Enterprise routers like the Cisco Catalyst 9200L start around $2,500. Add chassis expansions, advanced analytics tools, cellular backups, and they easily exceed $5,000. However, they power campus/multi-site networks with 10,000+ devices.

Should I buy refurbished or used routers?

Refurbished and used routers provide big 50%+ discounts from new prices. Reputable renewed vendors thoroughly test hardware and include warranties. Just ensure any used router still receives firmware security patches from the vendor if choosing this budget route.

Can I find routers on sale for less?

Sale discounts or buying last year’s model can save 25% or more on retail costs. Wait for major holidays, clearances sales, orcoupons from mfgs. Be ready to buy when you spot a good discount on the router model you want.

How much do additional ethernet ports add?

Routers with 8 ports vs 4 costs $20 to $50 more for home models. Business routers charge up to $100 extra for additional modular LAN expansion cards. More ports allow directly connecting smart home and office devices.

Should I buy more speed/bandwidth than I need?

It’s best not to overpay for extreme speeds like wifi 6E that your devices can’t fully utilize. However, some overhead for future growth is reasonable. Target mainstream wifi 6 routers in the 1.5Gbps to 2.5Gbps range for best value.

How much does commercial-grade security add?

Small biz routers with commercial-grade security, robust VPN support, and centralized management can start around $250. For highest level enterprise protection, Cisco and Fortinet firewall routers start at $500+. Protect sensitive organization data with ruggedized security features.

Is it worth paying more for mesh vs single router?

Mesh systems provide wider, stronger whole home coverage and better roaming for $250-500. But they cost more upfront. Single powerful routers like wifi 6 work well up to 2,500 sq ft homes for just $150-200.

Can I use an old router to save money?

Very outdated routers with 802.11n wifi or 10/100 ethernet ports will choke modern device speeds. Plus, old hardware often stops receiving firmware updates leaving you vulnerable. Ideally, upgrade routers every 5 years minimum to maintain performance and security.

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