If your Wi-Fi router lacks enough oomph to reach all your devices or leaves you with dead zones around the home or office, you’ve got a problem. As much as a decent router can alleviate that problem, Wi-Fi extenders can push your signal even further. Our favorite is the TP-Link RE650, which offers high speeds and MU-MIMO compatibility. However, if you are looking for something a little less pricey, we have picked other great models as well, including some very affordable options.
Note: Don’t confuse a “mesh” router and a Wi-Fi extender, although they can both solve the same problems. “Mesh” simply means that the router can link up to other routers of a similar kind to propagate a signal more effectively. Today’s mesh routers are often sold in packs of three so you can spread them out around a building and solve coverage woes. Extenders may have mesh features, but most are unable to act as a router by themselves (and are more affordable as a result).
For are more affordable solution to the problem, you could also learn how to convert a old router into a Wi-Fi extender of your own.
If you’re looking for an elite extender that doesn’t sacrifice your Wi-Fi quality (possibly for gaming, or for a larger office, etc.) then this AC2600 TP-Link model is an excellent choice. It comes with a high-speed mode that prioritizes a stable connection, and an intelligent signal indicator that will help you locate the right area for maximizing your Wi-Fi signal as much as possible–up to 14,000 square feet! It also supports the latest router technologies like MU-MIMO, so you don’t lose those advantages when extending your network. Like modern routers, this extender also uses beamforming to help maintain connections with wireless devices even if they aren’t MU-MIMO compatible.
It’s definitely the best extender we’ve found, but the price may be a little high for some buyers, especially those who don’t need to cover such a large area or who don’t need such a powerful signal. Fortunately, we have a lot of other options available for those who are looking for something less expensive! Check out below.
Netgear Wi-Fi Mesh Range Extender EX7300
Netgear’s ambitious extender can increase Wi-Fi ranges by up to 2,000 square feet for up to 35 various devices, ideal for a small office or smart home, all at up to AC2200 speeds. Various Netgear tech is included, including giving preference to more demanding connections (like HD gaming) and smart roaming that helps interconnect the extender and router more reliably. It even supports MU-MIMO for a limited number of more direct connections to mobile devices. The unit also has a Gigabit Ethernet port for wireless connections. It’s an especially strong choice for those who already have a Netgear router, since they can use the same app for settings and parental controls.
This dual-band AC1200 extender can extend both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at once. It’s also a great choice if you have multiple devices to connect directly — there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the device just for these situations. The WPA2 security is also top-notch, so you don’t have to worry about extending your network at the cost of security. It can also act as a more direct access point if necessary (it’s a repeater by default, but you can easily switch modes with the app-based controls). It’s a solid option if you use Wi-Fi to stream a significant amount of content and need a particularly reliable extender to make your network larger. However, note that this model does need a table or shelf to rest on!
This Linksys model may be small, but it packs a lot of power. The AC1900 extender can remove dead zones with intelligent beamforming, help you find the right location for plugging it in to get maximum coverage, and can increase your Wi-Fi zone by up to 10,000 square feet. It’s another extender that’s MU-MIMO compatible, so you don’t have to worry about upcoming compatibility issues for reliable connections to your newer devices. It also offers seamless roaming, a feature that automatically switches to the strongest Wi-Fi signal available as you move through the extended network, so you don’t need to worry as much about lingering on a poor wireless connection.
Netgear’s simple, effective dual-band extender is a nice middle-of-the-road compromise. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it is a good 300Mbps extender with great reliability and a super-simple setup process for connecting and making sure the extender is working. Don’t let the Netgear brand fool you, either: This extender will work with any router that you’ve got. It also includes an Ethernet port for one wired connection if necessary. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and is a great fit for most homes.
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