The 9 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

Wi-Fi extenders improve the coverage area of your router, and in some cases, they can provide additional Wi-Fi access points. If your home is too big for your router, there are a few things to consider before diving into the world of Wi-Fi extenders. For example, if you only want to maximize performance, it may be better to simply add Ethernet connections or additional routers to weak Wi-Fi zones. Also, you probably don’t need to spend more than $100 on a Wi-Fi extender, because you could get an additional router or wired connection for the same price or less.

Finally, it's wise to avoid single-band extenders. Because extenders consume a good deal of your router’s throughput, you want to make sure it’s as efficient as possible. Single-band extenders connect to your router and broadcast their own signals on the same band, and that compromises performance. Dual-band routers, on the other hand, connect to the router on one band and broadcast on the other. With that in mind, let’s take a 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.)

NETGEAR EX3700 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC750)

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)

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 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.

Linksys RE6500 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC1200)

If you’re willing to spend a bit more for a bit more coverage area and a few extra security features, the Linksys RE6500 may be a better choice. Most users complain about its complicated setup process, but if you have a knack for networking and don’t mind the headache, it offers some impressive performance. With Wireless-AC compatibility and up to 1200Mbps of throughput, the RE6500 can extend your home’s wireless coverage area by up to 10,000 square feet (or so Linksys claims). It also includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing you to use the device as a wired access point.

One unique feature is the RE6500’s audio input jack. This allows you to connect a stereo or speaker system and wirelessly stream music from a computer or mobile device. The RE6500 may also be suited for offices and small businesses, as it includes a 128-bit encryption and a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) function.

All in all, the Linksys RE6500 is a bit pricier ($110) than you probably need to spend on a decent Wi-Fi extender. But if you can find it for less than $100, it’s a solid competitor for our top pick. Just make sure you have the patience for a somewhat complicated setup process.

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

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)

The D-Link DAP-1650 is another robust, versatile option for folks who want to get a lot out of a Wi-Fi extender. Professional reviews show it offers impressive speeds over a large coverage area, and it can be found for around $90—a bit cheaper than our two top picks. Some owners may also appreciate the compact, console design.

With dual-band Wireless-AC compatibility, the DAP-1650 offers throughput of up to 1200Mbps. While the 2.4GHz band is somewhat middling at 300Mbps, the 5GHz band (867Mbps) is mighty impressive. Between the four Gigabit Ethernet ports, simple setup process and the media server options that allow you to share music, video and other files throughout your network, the DAP-1650 is quite a flexible little machine. There are no external antennas, but some users may appreciate this for aesthetic reasons.

One downside (that could be an advantage for some) is that the DAP-1650 connects back to your router on the same band that it broadcasts. This tends to compromise coverage area. Other extenders skirt this problem by broadcasting and connecting on different bands. It’s not a huge deal, but it may make for a slower connection if you connect to the extender on the same band that it uses to connect to the router.

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 Wifi

If you dig design, there’s likely no better buy than the Google Wifi system. It acts as a replacement for your existing router and contains three satellites, which Google call “WiFi points.” They each cover 1,500 square feet, for a grand total of 4,500 square feet of blanketed coverage. The points are shaped like thick hockey pucks and sit beautifully in plain view. Unfortunately, they lack USB ports, which mean you can’t connect peripherals.

Each point houses a quad-core Arm CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC flash memory, plus AC1200 (2X2) 802.11ac and 802.11s (mesh) circuitry and a Bluetooth radio. Google combines its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands into a single band, which means you can’t designate a device to a single band, but on the upside, it uses beamforming technology, which automatically routes devices to the strongest signal.

The accompanying app (available for both Android and iOS) is intuitive and lets you manage the status of your points, as well as set up guest networks, test speeds, port forwarding and more. Unfortunately, there are no parental controls, but regardless, Google Wifi will get your household online quickly and easily – and perhaps more important, stylishly.

Securifi Almond + Long Range Touchscreen Wireless AC1750 Gigabit Router

The Securifi Almond system will get your whole home connected thanks to an AC1200 (2x2) router that delivers max speeds of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The design isn’t quite what you’re used to, but it’s sleek nonetheless. It comes in both black or white and uses an interface reminiscent of Windows on its touchscreen to guide you through setup and customization. Parental controls are very basic – you can’t restrict access to certain websites – but you can block access to specific devices via a handy mobile or desktop app.

Perhaps our favorite feature of the Securifi Almond is its ability to double as a home automation system. It works with Philips Hue lightbulbs, the Nest thermostat, Amazon Alexa and throws of other devices, which is something no other system here can say.

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