The 10 Best Wi-Fi Extenders to Buy in 2018

Increase the Wi-Fi range in your home or office with these extenders

NETGEAR EX3700 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC750)
Photo from Amazon

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Wi-Fi is the way many of us connect to the internet at home and work; it’s become the ubiquitous standard for wireless connectivity. Sometimes, though, one wireless router isn’t quite enough to cover an entire home or office space; that’s where Wi-Fi extenders come in. They can be a cost-effective way to boost the coverage area of your router, ensuring that every room has a good signal to better enjoy Netflix, online gaming, and video conferencing. 

You don’t really need to spend more than $100 on an extender, though you might consider a mesh networking system that can cost a bit more. Also, you want to avoid single-band extenders, since they need extra bandwidth to operate efficiently while they communicate with your main router. With all of that in mind, then, let’s look at the best Wi-Fi extenders that meet these criteria.

Tip: If you're looking for a whole new setup, a Mesh Wi-Fi network is your best option for superb coverage. Check out our list of the Best Mesh Wi-Fi Network Systems to see the top picks.

Note: These Wi-Fii extenders should work great no matter what ISP you have (Verizon FIOS, Comcast, Spectrum, etc.)

Our Top Picks

Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC2200 Wi-Fi Mesh Extender

The X6 AC2200 is the newest Wi-Fi extender in Netgear’s Nighthawk line, and just like the regular Nighthawk mesh receivers, it does its job really well. But this model includes a few new features that are pretty amazing for those looking to amp up their home’s Wi-Fi coverage. First off, there’s the smart roaming technology, which automatically connects your mobile devices to whatever Wi-Fi connection point is strongest, without lag or delay. Pair that with the new FastLane3 tech, which establishes a strong, independent connection point to the primary router (rather than daisy-chaining and dividing signal). And of course, the speeds are blisteringly fast, offering you up 2.2 Gbps on the 5GHz band. It all ladders up to the latest Nighthawk tri-band system, which can be easily controlled with a standalone mobile app. This extender works with any brand Wi-Fi router.

NETGEAR EX3700 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC750)

NETGEAR EX3700 WiFi Range Extender (AC750)
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The low-cost NETGEAR EX3700 Wi-Fi extender plugs directly into a wall socket. It’s dual-band and compatible with Wireless-AC technology (the latest wireless standard), and it offers throughput of up to 750Mbps.

The EX3700 features two external antennas for enhanced Wi-Fi coverage, as well as the option to create a new Wi-Fi access point or hotspot through a wired Gigabit Ethernet port. This is ideal if you want to create a separate network for guests. NETGEAR also includes its Wi-Fi Analytics App, which allows you to gauge the strength of your Wi-Fi signal, check on its status or identify crowded channels.

These few extra features may be extraneous for some, but the fact that it’s all found in a relatively inexpensive package suggests it’s a better purchase than the competing D-Link DAP-1520. Buy the NETGEAR EX3700 if you want a bit more versatility for your budget.

NETGEAR EX6200 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC1200)

NETGEAR EX6200 WiFi Range Extender (AC1200)
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If you need a Wi-Fi Extender, the NETGEAR EX6200 is the best option for most situations. It is a powerful dual-band extender that’s both versatile and affordable. It supports the newest Wireless-AC standard and can double as a second Wi-Fi access point. It’s important that any Wi-Fi extender you purchase has dual-band functionality (for reasons mentioned in the intro), meaning it can stream on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. The EX6200 operates on both Wi-Fi bands and offers up to 1200Mbps of throughput. It also features five Gigabit Ethernet ports, which are significantly faster than the Fast Ethernet standard. This allows the EX6200 to function as a (quite speedy) wired access point. It also includes a dual-core processor for optimal performance, as well as high-power amplifiers and two high-gain 5dBi antennas. And it can be found for as low as $95.

All this should extend your router’s coverage area by several hundred square feet. Both user and professional reviews seem to back up that claim, making the NETGEAR EX6200 one of the best all-around Wi-Fi extenders on the market.

Check out our guide to the best Netgear routers you can buy today. 

TP-Link AC750 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE200)

Seriously, sometimes simpler is better. If you’re not looking for anything fancy, don’t want to dig deep into configuration settings, and just want to plug your extender into a wall socket, then the TP-Link AC750 is the one for you. It may not be the fastest Wi-Fi extender around, but it’s super cheap, easy to install, and offers a 100 Mbps wired Ethernet port for any wired devices you might need to physically connect to the network (like a legacy network printer, for example).

Amazon reviewers rave about this little power plug gadget, claiming all sorts of boosts to their Wi-Fi networks at home. For less than $30, it’s definitely worth a try; heck, buy more than one and slather your home in reliable Wi-Fi signal. The TP-Link AC750 can be used to extend your Wi-Fi signal to Alexa and Google Home devices, WeMo and TP-Link smart plugs and light bulbs, mobile devices, tablets, game consoles, and more, and it works with any standard router or gateway you already have. There’s even a High-Speed mode that provides dual-band speeds of up to 750 Mbps.

There’s a smart signal indicator that will light up green when you’ve found the optimal placement for the plug. Once you’ve set it up (on a Mac, PC or Linux machine), you can move it to any other spot within range without a second setup. 

D-Link DAP-1520 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC750)

D-Link DAP-1520 WiFi Range Extender (AC750)
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The dual-band D-Link DAP-1520 plugs right into any wall socket and can extend your router’s coverage area at the push of a button. It features Wireless-AC technology with throughput of up to 750Mbps (300 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 433 Mbps on 5GHz). You can also save and restore the device’s settings—ideal for power outages or factory resets—and monitor the traffic on your network. It’s small, easy to install, cheap and according to most reviews it offers an impressively strong wireless signal for the package.

That said, it’s small and inexpensive for a reason. When you downsize to a wall socket Wi-Fi extender you sacrifice a few features some folks might find indispensable. There’s no Ethernet, USB, or audio inputs, for example, and no network bridging functionality.

This is a solid, affordable gadget for basic Wi-Fi extending. It’s ideal for people who have limited technological know-how. It’s not meant for networking wizards who are looking to outfit a press conference or LAN party. Buy the DAP-1520 if you want a simple Wi-Fi extender without all the bells and whistles. 

D-Link DAP-1650 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC1200)

D-Link DAP-1650 WiFi Range Extender (AC1200)
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If you’re looking for a stylish, fast, capable Wi-Fi range extender, the D-Link DAP-1650 should be on your list. Costing less than $70, this extender offers dual-band Wireless-AC connectivity and will look good wherever you place it. It’s got four Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well, making it ideal to set up next to a smart TV, wired PC, or non-wireless printer.

Users find that the setup is simple, especially with the Wi-Fi Protected set up one-touch connection, and the included media server option is a breeze to enable. The DAAP-1650 is compatible with any standard wireless router, and provides backward compatibility with 802.11n, b, g, and a, offering WPA or WPA2 security as well. While it does connect back to your router on the same band it uses itself (potentially introducing some network congestion), that may not be an issue for your specific network setup, as the 5GHz band offers 867 Mbps throughput (with 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHx band). The design is pretty great, too, without any unsightly antennas coming off the stylish black, cylindrical device. 

TP-Link AC1200 (RE305)

It might not be the fastest extender at close range, but the dual-band RE305 is one of the best extenders for long range. Its two bands run at 2.4GHz (up to 300Mbps) + 5GHz (up to 867Mbps) and it has a Fast Ethernet port that lets you connect to a wired device. That’ll help boost your Wi-Fi to stream to your heart’s desire.

The RE305 is probably best described as “cute”; it is white with rounded edges and two short antennas. It has three LED lights on the front that indicate whether it’s properly connected, which make its setup a cinch. If you have any doubt, rest easy knowing that it also comes with a two-year warranty plus around-the-clock technical support.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 AC2200 WiFi Range Extender (EX7300)

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 AC2200 WiFi Range Extender brings Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology to a convenient plug-in range extender. That technology allows it to communicate with multiple devices at the same time, which means the whole family can stream heavy content without buffering.

As with all of the others on this list, it’s a dual-band extender that can reach speeds of up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,733Mbps on the 5GHz band. On top of that, it supports beamforming technology, which sends data directly to clients instead of using a broad spectrum. It’s a bit larger, measuring 6.3 by 3.2 by 1.7 inches but has an internal antenna array instead of an external one. The Nighthawk X4 AC2200 is also a cinch to set up, so you can be up and running with better internet in just a few minutes.​

Google Wi-Fi

Google Wifi solution
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If you want to start up with mesh networking but don’t want to mess with a confusing, expensive router and additional extenders, you might want to take a look at Google’s Wi-Fi offering. It comes in a three pack of discrete, white round “pucks,” similar in size and shape to Amazon’s Echo Dot. Each of the three little devices can cover 1,500 square feet, giving you a total of 4,500 square feet of solid, mesh-style Wi-Fi network.

While they don’t have physical ports like some other extenders on this list, making it impossible to connect hard-wired devices, the ease of use and simple setup — as well as an affordable mesh networking tech — make Google Wi-Fi a serious contender for a whole house or apartment. Each device is its own router, as well; you can connect any of the three gadgets to your internet provider’s modem, and the other two will act as extenders. They run on a quad-core Arm CPU with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of eMMC flash memory and boast both 802.11ac and 802.11s (mesh) tech along with a Bluetooth radio. They use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and while you can’t choose which band your devices connect to, Google’s beamforming technology ensures the best signal across each band.

Ease of setup is key for anything like this, and Google provides a fantastic, intuitive app to manage your network, letting you forward ports, set up guest Wi-Fi networks, and test your speeds. Google Wi-Fi is likely the best way to get a mesh network up quickly, stylishly, and for relatively less money.

Netgear Orbi Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

Another relatively affordable mesh networking system, Orbi offers a three-pack of its tall, rounded towers for around $300. What makes this system unique is two-fold: Netgear packs in three bands for flexible connectivity, using one exclusively for backchannel networking to the router it’s connected to, avoiding any congestion on the other two bands. Netgear also promises a range of 5,000 square feet of coverage at up to 1.2Gbps of data flow to all your gadgets. That’s a ton of bandwidth for Netflix, online gaming, and video conferencing.

Each satellite tower connects to the router tower, making this more of a hub and spoke arrangement than true mesh networking, but Netgear says its working on a firmware update to let all the satellites connect with each other. Each tower comes with four Ethernet ports, too, making them ideal to connect wired devices like printers and such. Plus, setup is easy and intuitive via either a mobile app or web browser, and you can easily see the devices’ status with a blue (good), orange (average), or red (not connected) LED status light atop each tower.