Where you are matters. Some providers are good in some places and some in others.
Assuming you are in the USA, two carriers I like (and use) are T-Mobile's ToGo plan and PagePlus. PagePlus uses Verizon's network. It's a weird company with a bad website but the quality of coverage and the rates are great.
Check the coverage maps with those carriers to see how they are for where you live.
You can keep T-Mobile going for as little as $10 a year once you have put $100 into it. PagePlus requires $10 every 120 days.