People spend $139 a year on router fees, 40% more than the cost of a new router


Feb 2, 2021 — 3 min read

Buying your own router makes financial sense, but there can be some blockers.

Key facts

  • The average cost of renting a router from one of America’s top 10 internet service providers is about $11.58/mo.
  • That’s an average of $138.97 per year to rent a router.
  • The average mid-range router found at retailers such as Amazon or Best Buy costs anywhere from $80 to $120.
  • You’d pay for a new router every year, plus have an extra $20-$40 with the money saved by purchasing your own router.
  • Technical hurdles and inconvenience may apply to some customers.

As frustrating as they can be, you’re probably familiar with most of the taxes and fees on your cable or wireless bills these days. Recently, a law was passed that, at the very least, stops internet service providers (ISPs) from charging you for a router you’re not using, but when you’re trying to save money on your internet bill, seeing a $12 fee on there doesn’t feel great. That fee also seems to be going up every year.

The humble “router” or “equipment” fee on your internet bill might actually feel somewhat reasonable to some people since they’re getting a physical piece of technology installed in their home with some support. But at a price of about $11.50/mo., the average subscriber could pay for a router of equal ability in less than a year.

What is the average router fee?

We monitor closely all the taxes and fees you’ll encounter on your monthly internet bill so we can keep you informed.

We looked at fees from the top 12 providers in the U.S. to find our average. Prices run from $5/mo. to $15/mo. among these providers.

How to purchase your own router and avoid that router fee

ISPs have no monopoly over the technology found in a standard router. Retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy sell many routers of various quality. A midrange unit of decent quality costs anywhere from $80 to $120 or more, depending on what features you’ll want (most people don’t need a router that costs more than this). Here are some things to consider when choosing a router:

  • Is the router supported by your provider? Many router descriptions will mention that they are supported by Comcast, Cox, Spectrum and more. But we do recommend contacting your provider or check Google for a list of supported devices before purchasing because technology changes over time. Here’s Comcast’s directions and list, for example.
  • Do you need built-in Wi-Fi? A router is separate from your Wi-Fi device. Comcast, for example, uses a device that is both a router and Wi-Fi. If you’re replacing that equipment, you’ll want a router with Wi-Fi built-in or a separate Wi-Fi broadcasting device.
  • Are you somewhat technical or do you have access to technical help? Your internet provider will not provide support for this piece of hardware. They might be able to help you get it set up part of the way, but if something goes wrong or it’s not working, they’ll likely ask that you switch back to their hardware or figure it out on your own. But with even a bit of technical knowledge (or access to a friend with some!) you should be able to make the swap easily.

By Jacob Klein