Updated November 2018

Best WiFi Extenders

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Best WiFi Extenders Updated November 2018

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

TP-Link

WiFi Range Extender w/Gigabit Ethernet Port
Check Price at: 1 store
This WiFi extender is speedy. It has a broad range and reliable customer support.
High speed with enough range to cover a large house—and a good bit of yard, too (up to 10k feet).
More expensive than other extenders. Some periodic IP connection drop-off reported.

NETGEAR

WiFi Range Extender
Check Price at: 1 store
Decent connectivity at a reasonable price plus ethernet port for wired devices.
Highest number of customer reviews (28k+). Ethernet is a big plus for backup connectivity and added security.
Some complaints with setup. Be aware of the support fee that kicks in after 90 days.

D-Link DAP

Mbps Wireless Range Extender
Check Price at: 1 store
Good coverage and signal, but some issues connecting multiple devices.
Simple setup, good connectivity, and cost-effective.
The throughput is mediocre despite having a strong signal. Users may not be able to stream movies and games well.

MSRM

WiFi Extender 300Mbps
Check Price at: 1 store
Decent range, but some customers report connectivity and signal issues.
Great performance for multi-story homes. Ethernet is also an option.
Some customers had issues with speed.

Belkin

Dual-Band WiFi Range Extender
Check Price at: 1 store
Does the trick—extends WiFi range to other rooms at a low cost. Connection issues may require to be reset more frequently.
Customer service team proactively reaches out. Also offers ethernet port.
Some users report theirs runs hot and requires more attention to ensure it doesn’t overheat.

Our process

Dial-up days are behind us. No one has time for slow WiFi anymore and no one wants to invest in a tech product that doesn’t meet expectations. The House Method Reviews team is here to make sure you don’t waste your time or money on wireless extenders, or WiFi extenders, that cause more headache than improvement. We tested WiFi extenders in our own office and consulted online WiFi extender reviews (thousands of them) to help you find an effective and reliable WiFi extender. Time—and streaming speed—is money, so we did the review work for you in this comprehensive look at the best WiFi extenders for sale today.

WiFi extender reviews guide 

In this digital age, WiFi must be reliable and fast. The average home needs the connection for multiple devices and high throughput (in other words, the ability to support activity like video streaming). If you’ve noticed your connection dropping off from room to room or if you’d like connection outside, a WiFi range extender (also called a wireless extender) is a purchase worth considering. Kids will be able to stream simultaneously on their devices or your next outdoor viewing party for the big game will be less stressful and more enjoyable with better connection.

There’s a lot of tech out there and picking the wrong product is frustrating. That’s why we reviewed a spectrum of WiFi extenders—including the popular TP-Link WiFi Range Extender to the NetGear WiFi Range Extender—to make sure your purchase delivers the range and reliability you’re looking for.

Use this WiFi extender reviews guide as a resource before you buy. We’ve highlighted what you need to know about the best WiFi extenders, like the use case, benchmarks, and installation. We’ve also answered some common questions we encountered along the way.

How does a WiFi extender work and why would I want one?

WiFi extenders rebroadcast existing signal from your base router. An extender is plugged into an outlet—no ethernet required although sometimes available—and uses antennas to receive, replicate, and extend connection. These are great for dead zones or out-of-reach areas in your home.

What’s a dead zone? Connection can drop off if there are stairs, brick, or other infrastructure between you and your router. Far off areas like different levels of the home or the yard often have a subpar signal.

WiFi extenders should not be confused with WiFi boosters. Boosters are hardware plugged in through an ethernet port. These are designed to be stronger than your router and provide extra security, but they’re not ideal because they’re prone to dead-zones.

Typically, standard signal is 100 Mbps when you are close to your router. But you can get significantly less signal—something like 10 Mbps—in those trouble areas that are far from the router or hindered by walls and interference. Make sure your router is in an optimal location, specifically up high in a central location rather than on the floor in a corner of the home. But sometimes, the signal can be disrupted even if your router is in the perfect place. The best WiFi extender should improve the consistency of your signal for out-of-reach areas sometimes up to a 10,000-foot range.

WiFi range extenders are a great purchase for homes with inconsistent connectivity or with the need for connection outside of the home.”

How do I know I need a WiFi extender?

To pick the right wireless extender for you, identify areas in your home and surrounding area that are prone to poor throughput. These are referred to as “benchmarks.”

  1. You can download an app like Netspot, Wifiner, or Ookla for testing your WiFi signal.
  2. With the app, start your first throughput test near your router. Note the output number.
  3. Next, run the test in trouble areas with slow or spotty WiFi. If the results come back lower than the benchmark from step two, consider a WiFi extender.
  4. After you’ve purchased and installed your extender (instructions on installation below), retest throughput speed in the areas you tested in step three. If you’re still experiencing poor consistency, consider a different extender.  

Understand your home’s existing signal (and drop-off points) to know what you’ll need out of a WiFi extender. Test your router signal and establish benchmarks so that you’ll really know the difference once you install an extender.”

Choosing the best WiFi extender

Brand matters. Be sure to select the same brand for your WiFi extender as your router and consider any device compatibility limitations by reviewing product description—not all products work with every computer.

Bands matter. Consider dual-band models—supporting 2.4 and 5 GHz—as opposed to older, one-band models that offer only half the effectiveness (just 2.4 GHz). Dual bands allow the extender to simultaneously communicate with the router and with the personal devices you’re connecting to the extender while maximizing coverage and speed.

Consider your accessory needs. Prioritize WiFi extenders with ethernet ports if you plan to directly connect devices, like gaming consoles, for extra high throughput.

Don’t let the tech scare you. Some extenders that seem more complicated are rightfully so. They’re likely more advanced with better throughput. Focus on customer reviews that mention the quality of instructions and customer service.

How to boost WiFi signal and install a WiFi range extender

  1. Raise antennas (if applicable) after unboxing your extender.
  2. Plug the extender into an outlet near your wireless router. Setting the connection up near the router allows the extender to establish a strong signal.
  3. Locate the WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) button on your router. Your router may require ethernet cable connection so look for this feature before purchasing an extender.
  4. Press the WPS button on your extender, then press the EPS button on your router, and wait for the signal of connection (usually a green light).
  5. Repeat step three and four if your router supports the 5 GHz band.
  6. Recall the weak spots you identified when setting benchmarks. Select a halfway point between one of these spots and the router. Unplug the WiFi extender from near the router and plug into this halfway point.
  7. Test connecting a device, like your phone, to the extender. It will be your router’s existing SSID, but with “_EXT” added to the end. Your password should be the same as your existing network’s password.
  8. Revisit your benchmarks and test throughput now with the extender in place.

A key consideration to good connection is proper router placement. Performance will be hindered if your router is in a corner room on the floor or surrounded by brick or concrete. Try a central location up high rather than on the floor. A properly placed router plus the best WiFi extender will maximize effectiveness and reliability.”

Frequently asked questions

What is the best WiFi range extender to buy?

Buy a dual-band WiFi extender (supporting 2.4 and 5 GHz bands) to ensure maximum coverage and reliability. One of the best WiFi extenders is the TP-Link WiFi Range Extender with Gigabit Ethernet Port. It offers a 10,000-foot range. Another top and trusted brand is the Netgear WiFi Range Extender.

Do wireless extenders work?

Wireless extenders, or WiFi range extenders, are a great solution for homes where certain rooms or areas have notably worse connection. Extenders rebroadcast your router’s existing signal at a much broader range.

Can you use multiple WiFi extenders?

You can use multiple WiFi extenders, but your second will not perform if connected to your first extender. Make sure each extender is connected to the main router.

Where is the best place to put a WiFi extender?

WiFi extenders perform best at the halfway point between your router and the device accessing the extender.

The team that worked on this review

Sabrina Karr
Writer
Kelsey Roadruck
Editor
Marc Lewis
Product Tester
Kealia Reynolds
Product Tester
Kortney Sweeney
Designer

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