What are the Best Wi-Fi Extenders?
If you are looking for an effective way to extend your Wi-Fi network’s range, a wireless range extender provides a practical and affordable option. The best Wi-Fi extenders eliminate wireless dead spots in every corner of your house by stretching your Wi-Fi coverage over a larger area without sacrificing speed.
Whether you need a big, small, affordable, or premium extender, our guide will provide you with the best options and advice to help find a device that meets your specific needs.
The big players
Rock Space AC1200
The Rock Space AC1200 Wi-Fi range extender offers solid Wi-Fi performance and simple setup. It comes with best-in-class features to adequately cover dead spots and push your Wi-Fi coverage to the farthest room in your home, or even an outdoor patio. This small and discreet extender has better vertical reach than many plug-in units making it ideal for townhouses and multi-story environments. It comes with an Ethernet port that enables it to operate as a wired access point or typical wireless extender. As for performance, the AC1200 can move up to 300Mbps in 2.4GHz mode and up to 867Mbps in 5GHz mode to fill a 3,500-square-foot home with no hassle.
- Small design
- Quick setup process
- Ideal for multi-story buildings
- No Wi-Fi 6 support
The TP-Link RE650 is one of the best options for big homes owing to its long-range. It features a convenient plug-in design and delivers lighting fast speeds up to 75 feet away. The RE650 is equipped with four antennas and dual-band wireless AC support to provide adequate coverage through even the thickest walls and ceilings. Additionally, the RE650 leverages 802.11ac specs to re-transmit strong signals and extend your router’s reach. It also features beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies to handle multiple connected devices simultaneously. Inside the extender is an 880MHz dual-core processor controlling the extender’s operations and streamlining data delivery. A handy tether app delivers advanced settings and security tools right on your tablet or phone.
- Excellent performance
- Phone/tablet app
- Excellent interface
- A bit pricey
Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender
The Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) is acclaimed for delivering blazing speeds in ranges up to 95 feet. It also adds a variety of online security features to protect your household. The extender leverages the latest 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) technology to create robust mesh extensions without sacrificing speed. During testing, the extender pushed 375Mbps across 15 feet to a receiving system making it one of the most powerful extenders you can find today. If you need access but are on a different floor than the router, you are guaranteed of 173Mbps of bandwidth 40 feet away. It is equipped with a USB port, a reset button, and four gigabit Ethernet ports to connect networked printers and storage systems. The EAX20 also combines beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies running on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- Online security features
- Customization options
- Device is large and can be obstructive
Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream
Need a compact but reliable extender that won’t block other outlets? The Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ extender is the best low-profile extender for people who want an unobtrusive design. Apart from its subtle design, the AC1900+ delivers solid throughput speeds to guarantee strong connections across your entire home. Additionally, it comes with setup assistance making it an excellent choice for anyone in need of some help getting things set up. It’s packed with beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies to provide up to 10,000 square feet of coverage and meet the needs of a home full of all sorts of digital devices. It can deliver up to 84Mbps of throughput to a device located 70 feet away from the extender, meaning it’s a perfect device for watching 4K movies while grilling burgers in your backyard.
- Compact and simple design
- Powerful performance
- Dual-band operations
- Runs hot during peak usage
The D-Link DAP-1720 does impressively well in pushing strong signals to floors above or below the router. The excellent vertical performance makes it one of the best Wi-Fi extenders for getting signals to all floors in a multi-story home. It comes with a handy mobile app for monitoring performance and ensuring all dead zones in your space are eliminated. Its dual-band design means this extender is capable of re-broadcasting data in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. It can move up to 450Mbps and 1.3Gbps over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands respectively. Overall, the DAP-1720 delivers a throughput of 404Mbps and 450Mbps in 150-and 100-feet space. Best of all, it comes with MU-MIMO and beamforming technologies to deliver extended coverage in all your spaces.
- Excellent multi-story performance
- Easy setup
- Mobile app
- More expensive than other options
The TP-Link RE605X undoubtedly deserves a spot at the top of your list when shopping for a quality, affordable Wi-Fi extender. It features a highly capable AX1800 design, full support for Wi-Fi 6 speeds, and an easy-to-use app for both Android and iOS. The performance is impressive; it extends the router’s signal to deliver strong upload and download speeds across several rooms. As for the design and connections, the RE605X range extenders are an all-white design and feature two large external antennas and one gigabit Ethernet port. Although this is not the smallest extender, it will fit perfectly into a double wall socket without blocking the neighboring sockets.
- Easy setup
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- Compatible with all routers, not just TP-Link
- Larger in size than some other options
D-Link EaglePro AI
The D-Link EaglePro AI boasts a newly designed control app on Android and iOS and an impressive design that syncs up well with your router. It delivers average speeds of 14Mbps for Wi-Fi 6 devices and 112Mbps for Wi-Fi 5 devices across each room in a multi-story home. The device features dual-band support, four antennae, one WAN, and one LAN gigabit Ethernet port. You can use the Eagle Pro App to set the device up. This requires creating an Eagle Pro account, scanning the QR code, and following the instructions. The extender also works with Google Assistant and Alexa, which you can use to check Wi-Fi status, update firmware, reboot the router, and more.
- Affordable Wi-Fi 6 mesh upgrade
- Easy to use
- Excellent performance
- Limited parental controls
- Dual-band only
The following are some of the things to keep in mind when selecting a Wi-Fi extender:
There is no doubt your budget will be a primary factor when choosing from among the various options available. While the cheapest Wi-Fi extenders sell for about $50, premium products cost a lot more. Usually, newer versions with top-notch signal boosting technologies such as beamforming and MU-MIMO are at the higher end of the cost spectrum, but paying a bit more up front can mean you won’t have to update your hardware for quite some time.
You must pay a lot of attention to which wireless standard your router uses. If your wireless router uses the latest 802.11ax standard, choose an extender that uses the same standard too. Keep in mind the older 802.11n standard is slower and mostly limited to one band. This will likely slow down your browsing and streaming, so dual-band options are a better route if you can take it.
Speed is an essential element to check when buying an extender. If it supports the latest 802.11ax standard, the extender will deliver wireless speeds up to 2.8 times faster than the wireless network. This allows you to stream HD-quality videos and play online games without any lag.
The best Wi-Fi extenders offer dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios. The 2.4GHz band is typically crowded with several Wi-Fi devices and smart home devices. The 5GHz band tends to be clearer and less crowded. A dual-band extender allows you to use the 5GHz band for video in the home theater and the 2.4GHz for general web surfing. This means a dual-band extender provides greater options to configure your network and enjoy the smoothest wireless experience.
What others are saying
The New York Times has this to say “If your stand-alone router isn’t keeping your laptop or phone reliably connected everywhere in your house, a good Wi-Fi extender is the quickest, cheapest fix.”
According to CNET “All of today’s top models are less expensive than upgrading to a full-fledged mesh router with its own range-extending satellite devices. They’re a cinch to set up, will work no matter what brand of router you’re using”
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Who needs a Wi-Fi extender?
If your house is fully served by the Wi-Fi router you already own, you may not need to upgrade your home network. However, if you have one room or a section of the house where there is poor coverage, Wi-Fi extenders are a great solution.
Do Wi-Fi extenders make your network slow?
Wi-Fi extenders can slow down your network if you allow them to talk to network devices sharing the same band it is using to talk to the router.
Are extenders securing?
The extender works over the same signal and same levels of security as traditional Wi-Fi routers using WEP, WPA, and other standard communications protocols. If your network is secure, your extender will be too.
How are Wi-Fi extenders tested?
Wi-Fi extenders are evaluated based on a combination of in-depth performance tests and hands-on usage. Combining controlled benchmark testing and real-world use gives a clearer picture of how ell each device performs.
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