The current internet revolution we’re living in today wouldn’t exist without wireless internet, but that doesn’t mean it works like it always should. Whether you’re simply living in a big house, juggling with multiple connections from myriad devices, or dealing with a lot of walls that can get in the way of your wireless signal, sometimes you need an extra boost to get the most out of your internet connection.
That’s where WiFi extenders come in. These handy devices can give you a significant boost to your internet performance. If you’re interested in finding an extender that can suit your needs, we’re here to help. We’re highlighting twelve of the best extenders on the market, and we’ve also put together a guide to help you narrow down your search.
The Best WiFi Range Extenders:
- NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X4S WiFi Extender
- NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 X6S WiFi Extender
- TP-Link RE220 WiFi Range Extender
- Linksys RE9000 Wi-Fi Range Extender
- TP-Link RE650 Wifi Extender/Repeater
- Belkin AC750 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender
- ASUS RP-N12 N300 Repeater
- NETGEAR EX7000 WiFi Extender
- D-Link DAP-1520 Wireless Range Extender
- Linksys RE6250 Wi-Fi Booster
- TP-Link RE580D Wi-Fi Range Extender
- D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Extender
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X4S WiFi Extender
If you want a simple solution to your WiFi woes, take a look at the Netgear Nighthawk X4S. Configuration requires little to no technical knowledge, but there's a significant amount of power packed into this WiFi extender. Its compact frame can plug into any standard wall outlet, making it highly adaptable to your home regardless of your circumstances, and all you have to do is tap on the WPS button to sync it directly to your WiFi network. There's not a lot to analyze here. The frame is slim and understated, and a simple array of LED lights along the top of the device let you know everything you need about your current connection.
But if you're looking for more robust configuration options, you can make use of the Netgear Genie to achieve your needs. It's a device simple enough for amateurs but capable of accomplishing more if you need.
2. NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 X6S WiFi Extender
If you're looking for a more powerful extender and you're willing to pay a little more and sacrifice the compactness of the X4S, you may want to make an upgrade to the X6S. The design resembles that of a traditional router in terms of design, shape, and size, but it can be freely moved around your home to get the perfect WiFi reception. The most notable advantage over the X4S is the inclusion of a huge range of ports that include four ethernet outlets and a USB 2.0 Type-A. That means that in addition to extending your wireless connection, you can get all the advantages that come from connecting your device directly to a modem.
But setup is equally as easy as with the X4S. It utilizes the same Netgear Genie software for more detailed configuration, but you can also just tap the WPS button for automatic adjustment.
3. TP-Link RE220 WiFi Range Extender
The TP-Link RE220 isn't just one of the cheapest options on the market. It's also potentially the best WiFi extender if you're looking to expand your internet connection to every corner of your house. The small size, affordable price tag, and ability to plug into any wall outlet means that you can cheaply outfit even the biggest homes with quality WiFi service without having to spend a fortune or take up too much space.
The universal compatibility means that the RE220 can power everything from your Alexa to your gaming console, and while it can be automatically configured with a single press of the WPS button, you'd be doing yourself a disservice taking that approach. The TP-Link mobile app is incredibly intuitive and surprisingly versatile, allowing you to not just oversee general management issues but also to set up schedules for your internet activity.
4. Linksys RE9000 Wi-Fi Range Extender
Where the earlier entries in our guide are designed to minimize their profile as much as possible, the Linksys RE9000 is a serious looking gadget. Resembling a gaming router more than its peers, this wired wifi extender is fortunately more than just intimidating posture. It has the practical power to back up its aesthetics. Four separate antennas provide a more extensive coverage area, and the RE9000 has MU-MIMO technology built in so you can get quality coverage even if you have multiple devices connected to the internet at the same time. It's also a tri-band device, so you can expect it to work exceptionally well regardless of your situation.
Further enhancing the quality of your connection is the fact that the RE9000 uses beamform and band steering technology. The latter ensures that you'll get a tighter and more reliable connection for each device, while the latter can cut through congestion.
5. TP-Link RE650 Wifi Extender/Repeater
The AC2600 may be another extender that can plug right into a socket, but it's a heavy duty piece of hardware. As far as plug-in extenders go, it's in the top of its class. The four antennas that extend from its sides give it a superb level of reach, and configuration can be handled through TP-Link's superb mobile app (the same one that powers the RE220). Just keep in mind that this is a big extender, and it could very well put your entire outlet out of commission.
The indicator lights are clear, visible, and easy to read, but they can easily be turned off manually or put on a schedule if they become a nuisance. That's a relief considering how bright they can be. The inclusion of the Intelligent Processing Engine lets this device automatically find the most efficient path for data to travel.
6. Belkin AC750 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender
Belkin's AC750 is a dual band WiFi extender that's ideal for diverse households that use their internet connection for a wide range of purposes. The ability to split your bandwidth between a 2.4 GHz band for low traffic needs like web surfing and emails and a 5.0 GHz band for gaming and high-end streaming allows you to more effectively control your traffic flow, and this Belkin router supports PerfectPoint Locator technology so you can find the perfect place to set it up without having to possess any technical knowledge.
The sleek design is one of its better selling points. While many plug in extenders have WPS buttons right on the front of the device, the Belkin moves it to the side, keeping it out of sight and out of mind. The result is an unobtrusive but relatively powerful extender that performs well on tests across the board.
7. ASUS RP-N12 N300 Repeater
Whatever you need your extender to do, the ASUS RP-N12 can accomplish it. Packed with multiple configuration modes, this long range WiFi extender can work as a media bridge, a wireless access point, or a more traditional WiFi repeater. It's also one of the more compact plug-in extenders available, so it will be easy to tuck it away strategically and not worry about it interrupting the feng shui of your room.
The compatible ASUS driver software handles all of the operations for this extender, and it can even be used to adjust the settings for the two bands or even outright disable one depending on your preferences. The design itself is as simple as could be: consisting of a tiny white box with three basic LED indicators, a single ethernet port, and reset and WPS buttons. It's a quiet little extender that can get the job done with little fuss.
8. NETGEAR EX7000 WiFi Extender
The Nighthawk EX7000 is the fastest WiFi extender Netgear has produced, and that's not just because it supports a mesh network for less data loss in the transfer. With a top speed of 600 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1,3000 Mbps at 5.0 GHz, it's one of the best options in the business. But if that wireless connection isn't enough for you, there's a whole treasure trove of wired connections here as well. You can connect up to four devices to the hub via ethernet, and this is also a USB WiFi extender. That's a nice little perk if you're looking to share files through a thumb drive or connect a printer. All told, this is easily one of the most powerful wireless WiFi extenders on the market and a good choice if you want the best of the best. But for casual users, the ethernet bank may be overkill.
9. D-Link DAP-1520 Wireless Range Extender
D-Link's DAP-1520 isn't the most powerful or feature heavy WiFi extender around, but it's highly compact, and it offers significantly impressive performance than you could hope from a device that costs less than $25. It makes use of next gen 802.11ac technology for the WiFi connection and can support speeds up to 300 Mbps on its 2.4 GHz band and 450 Mbps on the 5.0 GHz band. That's obviously not nearly in the ballpark of the EX7000, but it's impressive benchmarks for a simple outlet extender without any external antennae.
This is a clean and modern looking extender, and that's true of the portal you'll use to set it up as well. Getting this extender up and running can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. The customization options are a bit sparse, but it's perfectly capable of serving all but the pickiest internet users.
10. Linksys RE6250 Wi-Fi Booster
The Linksys RE6250 impresses with its boring consistency. It's a strong extender with a lower mid-range price that doesn't make bold promises or offer compelling new technology but instead offers quality performance and the full gamut of features at the price you'd expect. It's potentially the best all-around extender on the market in regards to value for pricing, and it hits the perfect middle ground between simple budget extenders like the RE9000 and beasts like the Nighthawk X6S which will probably be too much muscle for most consumers.
You get access to Beamform technology to ensure a stronger signal from the extender to your devices, and Spot Finder technology makes finding the right position for the device incredibly seamless. Like most extenders, it can be set up easily through the front facing button or through the use of a dedicated app.
11. TP-Link RE580D Wi-Fi Range Extender
This TP-Link router offers comparable speeds on both bands to the top shelf EX7000, and while it doesn't support mesh networks, it's a positively top notch choice if you're looking for a more traditional wireless extender. Resembling a modem, the RE580D is unobtrusive and designed so it can sit either horizontally or vertically at your desk. A bank of five separate ethernet ports makes it a great choice if you're looking to set it up in your media room or office, and the LED monitoring lights are simple and easy to read. The browser-based interface is equally as intuitive while still offering a decent diversity of configuration options.
12. D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Extender
The first thing you'll notice about the DAP-1650 is that it doesn't look like any other extender on this list. The cylindrical design is bright, bold, and sci-fi oriented. Where most extenders work hard to remain out of sight, this option puts itself out there for better or worse. But where it really sells itself is on its versatility. The DAP-1650 offers some of the widest configuration options around, being able to serve not just as a traditional extender but also as an access point or a media bridge, and it consistently provides quality throughput across the 5.0 GHz band regardless of the mode you set it to.
Best WiFi Extenders Buyer’s Guide
What’s the Difference Between an Extender and a Wireless Access Point?
An amped WiFi extender is essentially two routers packed into a single interface, but rather than being wired to a modem and then routing that signal to other devices wirelessly, one of these components speaks to the core router, while the other reroutes that connection to a wider area. While an extender can significantly expand your range, the deprecated signal can result in speed losses of up to 50%.
In terms of quality performance, a router will always win in the battle of traditional WiFi extender vs router, but many extenders can also serve as access points or bridges. Rather than create a separate network in the way that extenders do, wireless access points extend that connection on the same network and retain the quality of the signal.
Many of the routers on our list can serve as WAPs, and they may serve your purposes. But the problem is that access points require a wired connection to the router to properly work. As such, you’ll want to ask yourself whether the signal loss is going to have a serious impact on your online activities.
What is a Mesh Network?
If you want the wireless advantage that comes with an extender along with the reliable speeds that come with a WAP, you’ll want to look into a model like the EX7000 that supports mesh networks. They offer the best of both worlds, but they tend to be more expensive. They may also be overkill unless you have an especially large home or you need an outdoor WiFi extender that can provide speedy wireless internet.
What’s the Difference Between an Extender, a Booster, and a Repeater?
Across the course of this article, you’ll see the terms repeater, booster, and extender used. It’s parlance that you’ll probably continue to see if you do more research outside of our guide. So who wins in the battle of wifi extenders vs repeaters vs boosters? In technical terms, an extender is connected via a wired connection, a repeater is wireless, and a booster attaches physically to an existing router to boost its broadcast distance.
But the truth is that all three terms are used interchangeably in the industry. The three terms are usually used to describe the same thing: a wireless device that repeats the signal from your core router. You’re better off looking at the features and specs than trying to signify unique value to these three terms.
Do I Need Separate WiFi Adapters For Gaming?
In short, no, you don’t need a separate WiFi Adapter. If you have a router that’s built for gaming, any decent extender can provide you with quality performance from a distance. That said, there are a few things you should consider if you’re a serious or professional gamer in a situation where a little lag can have a serious impact on your game.
Ideally, you’ll want to look for an extender that has an ethernet connection. Wired connections are inherently superior in quality to WiFi, and that’s as true of an extender as it is for gaming routers or modems. But if you can’t manage that, your second best option is to get an extender that offers beamform technology. That will ensure a clearer and tighter signal from your extender to your console or PC.
All the extenders on our list of high quality, and the only question you need to ask yourself is what exactly you need. For many users, perhaps even the majority, a cheap repeater that can plug right into your outlet can work just find. For serious gamers or small businesses, you may want to look at a more serious mesh network extender. Our guide can provide you with the information you need to determine your needs, while our reviews can help you narrow zero in on the perfect extender for you.If you liked our article on wifi extenders, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.