Are you trying to stream online videos while working in your garage or basement but can’t get a hold of Wi-Fi signal? Or perhaps you’re trying to upload your new selfies from the comfort of your bed but the thick bedroom walls are limiting your connection? Wherever your needs lie, having the best wifi range extender in your home is an excellent way of extending the signal to all rooms and gadgets. To make sure you get the right gadget, we have prepared this buying guide that will help you understand which features a wifi extender should have, how to select the right one, and how to operate it!
If you’re not sure what you want and are looking for the best overall solution, you might be interested in NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 Mesh X6S Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender. While our number one pick boasts of premium fast-lane technology, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and the capability of delivering combined speeds of up to 3 Gbps, all of the range extenders presented have been proven efficient and trustworthy. Make sure to scroll through our runner-ups and give our buying guide a peek!
Featuring high-quality FastLane technology, this desktop wifi range extender works with any router and is capable of delivering combined speeds of up to 3 Gbps. It comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and enables simultaneous streaming of data to multiple devices.
Top 5 Wifi Range Extenders
|Name||Max Wi-Fi Speed||Placement||Price|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 Mesh X6S Tri-Band||3000 Mbps||Desktop||Check Price|
|OptiCover WiFi Extender||300 Mbps||Wall-Plug||Check Price|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900||1900 Mbps||Desktop||Check Price|
|NETGEAR N300||300 Mbps||Wall-Plug||Check Price|
|GALAWAY G308||300 Mbps||Wall-Plug||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Wifi Range Extender
NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 Mesh X6S Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender
If you are looking for a WiFi range extender that doesn’t cut your WiFi speed in half, this product by NETGEAR might be a great choice. There is no need to struggle with insufficient WiFi range or speed for gaming or streaming, as this device maximizes it to deliver fast internet connection across your home.
Unlike traditional extenders that make adding and connecting difficult due to multiple names, the Nighthawk Mesh Extender combines your visible WiFi networks into one. All you have to do is to add more devices to the network and this device will automatically find the optimal hidden network to improve WiFi performance.
One SSID will also simplify your network for a better experience, making adding new devices to the network easy. Seamless and stable WiFi also lets you move around your home freely without worrying about interrupted downloading or streaming.
After placing the extender and supplying power, simply connect the extender to the router with WPS. It works with a router or ISP-provided gateway. This WiFi extender combines speeds up to 3 Gbps and enables simultaneous streaming of data to different devices.
Also, it has four Gigabit ports that let you connect wired devices, such as game consoles and smart TVs.
Pros and Cons
- Avoids cutting the WiFi bandwidth in half
- It has four Gigabit ports for wired devices
- Combine speeds up to three Gbps
- One WiFi name for all connected devices
- Easy to setup
- Pricier than most extenders
2. Best Wall-Plug Wifi Range Extender
OptiCover WiFi Extender With WPS Internet Signal Booster
Are you tired of having dead spots in your home and you want to eliminate such zones in rooms with weak Wi-Fi coverage? This Wi-Fi extender by OptiCover might be the right solution for improving internet connection of your Android devices, iPhone, iPad, PCs, smart TVs, Alexa/Echo devices, and more.
Compatible with any router or access point, it boosts existing network range and strengthens network in 2.4, delivering AC dual band WiFi up to 300 Mbps. It is easy to install and connect to any wired device such as PlayStation, Blu-ray players, Xbox, and PC.
Designed to be small and discreet, this Wi-Fi repeater blends easily into your home décor. Expanding wireless coverage is as quick as pressing WPS Button. This device also meets three kinds of needs: Router mode, AP mode, and Repeater mode.
Router mode creates an instant private wireless network, allowing multiple devices to share it. AP mode covers a wired network to a wireless network, while Repeater mode is used for extending WiFi coverage.
Pros and Cons
- Small and discreet
- Three Wi-Fi modes
- Easy to setup
- Extends Wi-Fi to both wireless and wired devices
- Some reviewers said that instructions are hard to follow
- May drop the signal from time to time
- Delivers Wi-Fi up to 300 Mbps
3. Best Mid-Range Wifi Extender
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (EX7000-100NAS)
This WiFi range extender by NETGEAR extends dual band Wi-Fi up to 1900 Mbps with reduced interference, and its dual-core 1GHz processor ensures maximum Wi-Fi performance. Compatible with any standard WiFi router, this device is ideal for gaming and HD video streaming.
For additional speed and better coverage, it comes with three external antennas. This makes sure that you can watch movies or play games in any room of your home without experiencing interruptions or delays.
There is also no need to worry about connecting wired devices as it features 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, letting you connect a game console, Blu-ray player, or a smart TV to the available Wi-Fi network.
With FastLane technology, it uses both Wi-Fi bands to deliver super high-speed connection. It also has two Wi-Fi modes that let you create a new AC Wi-Fi access point or extend an existing Wi-Fi connection. The Access Point mode allows you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot with a wired Ethernet connection.
For a better experience, the NETGEAR Wi-Fi Analytics App lets you optimize your newly extended or existing Wi-Fi network.
Pros and Cons
- Extends dual band Wi-Fi up to 1900 Mbps
- Two Wi-Fi Modes
- 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Three external antennas for maximum signal coverage
- The app lets you optimize your Wi-Fi network
- Can be difficult to set up
- It does not extend the Wi-Fi name which means users are forced to connect to another network
4. Best Wifi Range Extender for Mobile Devices
NETGEAR N300 WiFi Range Extender (EX2700)
Sharing WiFi throughout your home is no longer difficult with this WiFi range extender by NETGEAR. The N300 helps eliminate dead zones to make sure that you stay connected whether you’re watching, playing, or talking with family and friends.
This device enhances mobile WiFi speeds by up to 100percent with its two external antennas. These create a stronger signal in hard-to-reach areas of your home including your balcony, backyard, and garage. Ideal for devices like iPad 2, PS 3, iPhone 5, and Samsung Galaxy S3, the N300 delivers WiFi up to 300 Mbps.
On top of that, it has a wall-plug design which is discreet and small enough to blend easily into your home appliances and decoration.
Optimizing your WiFi network is also easy by downloading NETGEAR’s WiFi Analytics App. This allows you to check the WiFi strength in every room to help you determine where the coverage is weakest. After installation of the WiFi Booster, use the app again to see if the network speed is better.
This 2.4GHz wireless router works with any standard router or gateway. It also has a fast Ethernet port that lets you connect wired devices.
Pros and Cons
- Compact and wall-plug design
- WiFi Analytics app for better optimization
- Two adjustable large antennas
- Easy to setup
- It only has one single Ethernet port for wired devices
- Extends WiFi up to 300 Mbps
5. Best Affordable Wifi Range Extender
GALAWAY G308 WiFi Range Extender With 360 Degree Full Coverage
With 2.4 Ghz double external antennas, there is no need to fret about weak WiFi signals in some areas of your home. This WiFi range extender by Galaway is compatible with any wireless device to make sure that your phone, iPad, or tablet has access to the internet.
This repeater also features three functions: AP mode, Repeater mode and Router mode. Maximum WLAN security with WPA, WEP and WPA2 provides a more reliable and secure connection.
Its small size and wall-plug design make this unit easily movable and suitable for both home use and traveling. It also has an Ethernet port for wired devices such as smart TV, Xbox, and computer.
Setting this device up is also easy. After plugging it in, simply push the WPS button on the unit as well as your router and you’re ready to connect.
It boosts the existing WiFi signal and improves the overall signal quality over long distances.
Pros and Cons
- Three working modes: Repeater mode, AP mode and Router mode
- 2.4 Ghz double antennas
- Wall-plug design
- Compatible with most wireless devices
- Not as efficient as certain pricier alternatives
- It extends WiFi up to 300 Mpbs
What Is It & How Does It Work?
A Wi-Fi range extender, also known as a repeater, is a device that connects to your existing wireless router and extends, improves the Wi-Fi coverage in your home. Having such a device is beneficial for various reasons.
- It is affordable and capable of improving your wireless connection coverage without requiring you to buy a new, more expensive router.
- It is an excellent solution for all those who use routers given by their service providers and they aren’t allowed to switch them on their own.
- It is a quick and easy solution for bigger homes that are struggling with internet access in remote rooms.
A Wi-Fi range extender should be placed halfway between the area that lacks coverage and the location of your router. Then, the device will pick up the signal and repeat it to the nearby rooms. The extender will also provide a new network ID (SSID).
Are There Any Limitations?
Wi-Fi range repeaters are relatively easy to set up and configure. While anyone can get them running, they do have certain limitations that you should be aware of before buying this device.
- Most extenders generate a new, separate network ID (SSID) that you will have to switch to when you move into the rooms where the signal is covered by the extender and not the router itself.
- Depending on the main router and the performance of the extender, most repeaters reduce the Wi-Fi speed by as much as half in the areas covered by them.
- The majority of dual-band repeaters use both bands to convey the data from and to the router. This may lead to the devices that are connecting to the repeater to compete with the router for the bandwidth.
Quick Shopping Tips & Features to Consider
Selecting the right Wi-Fi extender is a demanding process that has to be based on several factors such as the size of your home, your existing connection, and your specific needs.
Placement of the extender is everything. Wi-Fi extenders, just like wireless routers, use radio waves to transmit data within your existing internet connection system. You want to make sure that you place the device close enough to the router so that it will be able to pick the signal and rebroadcast it.
On the other hand, the extender should also be far enough from the router so that it can reach other areas of the house. To find out what the best location for the extender is, you are suggested to lay out the floor plan and mark appropriate areas.
Keep in mind that the extender should be close enough to the Wi-Fi source as well as to the rooms where you spend the most time in or where you want to have a strong internet connection.
Some extenders come in a small design while others are larger in size. Typically, larger devices are designed to sit on top of a desk or shelf. They look similar to traditional routers and normally offer more features and Ethernet ports than smaller versions.
Smaller, wall-plug extenders, on the other hand, are less expensive and very convenient to install. Typically, all one has to do is plug it in the wall outlet and the magic begins. It is important to understand, however, that smaller and cheaper alternatives might not be as effective at extending the signal.
If you want the connection to run undisturbed, it is best to match the wireless standard of your router with the one that the extender uses. For example, if your router runs under the current 802.11ac standard you should make sure that the extender you buy also supports the same standard.
In case your router uses a newer standard than the extender, the connection might be slower and limited to one band. This can create a blockage in your wireless coverage, causing the slowdown of your streaming and browsing.
If you’re looking for a satisfying performance that your current router doesn’t offer, keep in mind that the extender might not solve your problems, as the device simply conveys the existing connection.
If you’re having problems with the speed or connectivity, you might be better off buying a newer router model that will let you expand the coverage throughout your home without the need for an extender.
While budget-friendly Wi-Fi repeaters cost as little as $30 – $40, you can’t expect them to do miracles when it comes to improving coverage, especially when it comes to high-speed connections. If you want a more reliable product that will minimize the chances of wireless blockages and connection drops consider investing in high-end extenders which can cost up to a few hundred bucks.
Smaller range extenders typically feature only one Ethernet port. If you want to connect multiple devices via cable, make sure to get a larger, desktop version of the extender with multiple ports at your disposal.
Boosting Your Wi-Fi Signal
If you want to reduce or eliminate issues related to lagging or dropping of the signal during browsing or streaming, there are plenty of alternative solutions you might consider to improve the overall Wi-Fi signal at your home.
1. Upgrade Your Router
Are you still using an old router version such as 802.11g (Wireless G) or 802.11n (Wireless N)? If so, it’s time to update your software. This is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to ensure a faster and steadier connection.
- First of all, ask your service provider if they can replace the router for you, optimally free of charge. If that’s not possible, you can look for a router on your own. Make sure that it uses the newest, 802.11ac standard.
- If you want more assistance with router setup or future updates, make sure to opt for a product that offers a long lifeline of support. Older models are most likely not being updated by their manufactures any longer.
While 802.11ac routers might not increase the range that older versions offered, they will definitely give the performance a huge boost which comes in handy if you’re planning on getting a range extender as well.
2. Rethink Router Placement
Routers may look messy but there’s no good reason why you should hide them behind the TV or inside a cabinet. If you want your Wi-Fi signal to work at its finest, make sure that the router is free of obstructions in its proximity.
It’s best if you place the router in an open space around your waist level or higher. Don’t place the router in a cupboard or a cabinet. If you lack a flat surface to place the router on, look for holders that will let you mount the router on the wall.
Lastly, make sure that the router is positioned in the middle of your home or in the middle of the areas where you require a wireless connection.
The same thing goes for range extenders. If you feel that your device is not performing as well as it should, try moving it closer or further away from the router until you find a spot that works best.
3. Get Rid of Obstructions
Besides replacing your router, you also want to make sure that there are no obstacles that could interfere with its signals in proximity. Remove any hangers, lamp stands, cabinets, and other objects that might block the signal from traveling to all directions.
4. Wire Up
While we all love the convenience that going wireless offers, you don’t necessarily always need to opt for a wireless connection. If there are gadgets that can be wired easily, consider plugging them directly into the router or range extender to relieve the stress off of your wireless network.
5. Get Adequate Bandwidth
Most experts recommend a downloading rate that the majority of cable providers surpass easily – 10 megabits per second. If you, however, intend to strain your wireless network by keeping several devices connected at once, a better bandwidth might be required.
Keep in mind that the activities on these devices matter too. Video streaming, for example, is one of the biggest bandwidth consumers, especially when streaming 4K videos.
If you want to find out how fast your current connection is, feel free to use this tester to find out!
6. Stay Safe from Hackers
Proper security is crucial to keep unwanted guests at bay and prevent them from stealing your connection.
- Regularly update your router’s firmware
- Create a unique password and keep it protected by using a WPA2 encryption
Disable router’s ‘remote management’ services
Having a reliable wifi range extender at your home will help you extend the signal throughout the rooms and ensure a speedy and reliable connection in all areas of the house. Choosing the right device for your needs, however, is not a simple job. You have to consider where you want to place it, what internet speed it should be capable of conveying, and how many Ethernet ports it should have. Fortunately, we have included everything you need to know before making a purchase in this guide.
While the NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 Mesh X6S Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender occupies the first place on our list due to its premium FastLane technology and the capability of delivering combined speeds of up to 3 Gbps, all of the devices presented are bound to extend the signal throughout your home. If you already know what type to look for, feel free to pick the best wifi range extender for your needs and spread the signal!