How to Choose a Router for a Small and Large Rental Apartment

Finding the right router for your apartment can be difficult. Your router will need to fit your WIFI needs and be able to connect throughout your apartment. So, how do you choose a router for a small and large rental apartment?

When choosing a router for a small or large apartment, one must first determine how big the apartment is and what kind of router is needed—larger apartments need more powerful routers, etc. Then, one must decide whether to get a new or used router and what the WIFI needs in the apartment are.

Now that you know what factors you need to consider before you purchase a WIFI router, you might be wondering whether or not you should rent a router instead of purchasing one. Keep reading to find out more about how to choose the best router for your apartment and the benefits of renting a WIFI router.

If you are like me and like to save few bucks by buying a used router, Read this article on our blog – Used routers Pros, Cons and buying tips on Market Place.

Determine the Size of the Apartment

When getting a good router for your apartment, you should determine the size of your apartment. This can help you determine how powerful the router should be and the ideal range of the router. Which apartments are considered small, average, or large changes depending on where in the United States you are. What may be small in New York is average in California. For the purpose of this article, a small apartment is about 500 square feet. An average apartment is 800 square feet. Finally, a large apartment is about 1,100 square feet in total.

If you have a bigger apartment, it is likely that you will have more people there and will need a more powerful router. The WIFI router that you get will also need to have a wider range so you can still get WIFI on either end of the apartment. If you have a smaller apartment, you won’t need as powerful of a router, but you will still need one with a decent amount of range.

Just because your apartment is small, it doesn’t mean you just need a basic router. You still need one that has the range necessary to reach everywhere in your apartment and provide you with the internet strength you and your guests or roommates need.

Pros and Cons of Renting Vs. Buying a Router

Before you look into what kind of router you need, you should consider if you want to rent or buy a router. Both renting and buying routers have their pros and cons. Depending on your situation, you may need to rent instead of buy or vice versa.

In some cases, you may not need to do either. Usually, in college towns, the apartments or dorms come with a router that provides internet access throughout the complex. However, these routers are very finicky and can’t handle everything the students need.

“When I was a college student, there were often router outages or days when everything was extremely slow. The only good thing about it is that I didn’t need to pay for my internet because it was included in the rent. However, you may still consider getting your own router so you have guaranteed WIFI.”

-Former College Student

Whatever, the case may be, getting your own router, rented or purchased, is a good way to guarantee at least decent internet access in your apartment.

Renting Pros and Cons

You should rent a router if you aren’t going to be with the provider or in the apartment for long. It is better to rent a router for short periods of time to save you money. The router rented to you could cost $120 to buy outright, but you rented it for 6 months at $10 a month and only paid $60, you will save about $60 in the end.

If you rent a router for a long period of time, it will quickly begin to cost more than if you had purchased the router yourself.

Depending on the router you get from the internet service provider, it could be the best of the best, or it could be their unsold inventory that doesn’t work well. Some companies will let you use their amazing expensive routers and will upgrade and update them without any extra costs.

Other companies will give you older models that didn’t sell or just cheaper products because you’re just renting it, so it doesn’t need to be the best. They may also be more comfortable giving out the older models because if something happens, it isn’t too much lost.

Some other companies may give you options for routers, but the monthly cost will change depending on the model and the range. The best thing to do is learn what kind of router they are giving you before committing to one.

One of the major pros of renting a router is that it will be installed, set up, and repaired for you. Many people choose to rent a router because it means they don’t have to worry about installing it and setting it up themselves.

Some companies are likely to repair your router for you, or just switch out the device for a different one if the one you have stops working. However, they may still charge you if the damages can be attributed to you in any way.

The biggest disadvantage of renting a router is its internet usage or speed caps. Just because you rented a router doesn’t mean it will run at top speeds or that it will work all of the time.

Similar to phone plans, your router may have a stopping point for too much internet usage, and going over that may lead to fees or an increase in monthly rent for the router. They may also make it so the router that usually runs very fast internet only runs at three-quarters or half the speed so it won’t be overworked.

Overall, when renting a router, it is best to only do it for a short period of time.

Buying Pros and Cons

Buying your own router is better for long-term usage and is the best way to guarantee the router you get is the one that will fit your needs the best.

This may be the cheaper option for you in the long run. A year’s worth of renting a router may be the same cost as buying one. So, if you’re going to keep your router for more than a year, buying it is necessary. Buying it also makes it easier to move with that router. Most routers can be used with a variety of service providers. If you change service providers, you won’t have to return and rent a new router—they can just make the switch to your router on their end.

When purchasing your own router, you can also make sure it fits your needs. You can guarantee that your router has enough range for your apartment, goes at the speed you need or better, and gives you the freedom to use your internet as much as you like. There are no speed or internet usage caps when you purchase your own router (except for your internet bill).

A lot of people don’t really like buying their own router because it means they set it up themselves and usually have to find someone to repair or fix it if there are problems. The router you purchase could be from one internet service provider, but you have your internet coming from another. If your router needs to be fixed, that’s your job.

Buying your own router can be expensive as well. As much as you want to get that new high-speed router, it’s probably out of your price range, and you’ll have to settle for one that just fits the bill. This means you may even end up with the same one you would have gotten if you rented. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend.

We recommend buying because it gives you more freedom in your router choice, and typically most people need a router for longer periods of time anyway.

Choosing a Router for Your Needs

Choosing a good router can be really difficult. There are so many options for routers and some of the information or specifications can be confusing to understand. Besides considering the size of your apartment, you should also consider how much internet access you need.

Consider what roles do you have in life that may need more or less internet, and how many people will be using the internet. For example, gamers, students, and people who work from home need a lot more internet than those who use their internet leisurely.

In smaller apartments, it’s likely fewer people will be using the internet, so you won’t need a super-powerful router. Think about the usage of the internet you’ll need first.

Below, some basic specs you need for a well-functioning router will be described. These specs are great for average apartments with about one person who needs it for work, school, or gaming, and the rest for average internet usage. If you have a bigger apartment and/or more internet needs, consider going a step above what we describe.

We have a post on how to choose a router for Gaming and Streaming needs, Click to read this article – Routers for Gaming and Streaming.

The average cost for a good router is about $100 or less. You’ll want to make sure the router is bought from a trusted company. You should also make sure to read the reviews to see if the router is actually reliable.

Your router should also be compatible with various internet service providers in case you want to get cheaper internet, or you need to change providers. Wireless routers are becoming more common, so going for a wired router may lead to you getting older technology.

You should also be able to define which device connected to the internet gets priority. This means that if you are working and your spouse wants to watch Netflix, you will have the better internet because your router knows that your work computer takes priority. With that in mind, your router should also be able to connect to multiple devices, so you aren’t fighting over who gets the wifi while scrolling through Instagram.

A single-core router is becoming a thing of the past, which means a router with a single core is old technology and doesn’t function as well. At the very least, you’ll want a dual-core router because it can handle more devices better. If you use a whole lot more internet, such as two big-time games in the apartment, you’ll need a quad-core so it can handle the amount of internet you need on those separate devices.

You will also need plenty of Ram in order to have enough storage and power for your router. It is suggested to get at least 128 MB of Ram. If you get more, your internet will work faster because it has more storage to transfer data such as emails, texts, assignments, etc.

The last suggestion is to get a dual-band router. Dual-band means 2 different networks, with one of them being better than the other. The faster one is usually marked by 5G and will run faster; we recommend making this a personal WIFI network. The other one will be marked 2.4G or 2.5G and will be significantly slower. This would be better used for guests or less important devices in your apartment.

Types of Routers

Three of the best routers that fit the above molds are listed under each internet service provider:

Each of these internet service providers is trusted to provide good, fast, and reliable internet. These are recommended as great routers to get, however, it is best to do your own research to find the router that fits your lifestyle and apartment size. Some of these routers may not be best for you and the size of your apartment, but these are generally some of the best routers you can get.

Spectrum compatible routers:

  • 200 Mbps

There are a lot of affordable options online for routers that have higher speed capabilities.

The most recommended router/modem combo for speeds up to 200Mbps is the NETGEAR Cable Modem Wifi Router Combo C6220. It’s compatible with Spectrum and it’s pretty affordable at $85 on Amazon.  

  • 400 Mbps

If your internet speed is a bit higher, the most recommended is the ARRIS SURFboard SBG10 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem & AC1600 Dual Band WiFi Router. It’s priced at $99 on Amazon.

A great option for those who don’t have great internet needs is the Linksys – AC1000 Dual-Band WiFi 5 Router. This will work for up to 1000 Mbps, so this is a great standard option for either 200 Mbps or 400 Mbps.

  • 1 Gb

If you are signed up for the 1 Gb internet plan, you probably want a nice router to ensure fast internet speeds. A recommended option for high-speed internet is the TP-Link WiFi 6 AX1500 Smart WiFi Router (Archer AX10). This router will ensure quick speed and has other great features as well that improve your internet experience, such as triple-core processing to avoid buffering and the ability to connect more devices to WiFi. 


  • Wireless Gateway 1 TG862G
  • Wireless Gateway 2 DPC3939
  • Wireless Gateway 3 TG1682G


  • D-Link 2750B Wireless Gateway
  • Actiontec GT784WNV Wireless Gateway
  • 5G Home Internet Router

Sujatha Naidu

Passionate blogger and Technology enthusiast. I love DIY home projects, here I am sharing my experience.

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