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You don’t always need to buy a new router to improve your wireless coverage in your home, especially if the problem is limited to one or two far-flung corners. In this case, one of the best Wi-Fi Range Extenders can greatly extend your reach at a much lower cost, providing an additional bubble of wireless coverage for those areas that require it the most.
The best Wi-Fi extenders can help boost performance in areas where the signal is too weak to deliver the speeds required for demanding online activities like Netflix streaming, video calling, and online gaming, as well as bring wireless coverage to dead zones. The best Wi-Fi extenders are ideal for anyone in a larger home who needs to cover a couple of areas that the main router can’t reach, whether it’s a family room, home office, or even your backyard.
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Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2200 Wi-Fi Mesh Extender (EX7300)
The best Wi-Fi range extender should be a cost-effective way to extend coverage to a room full of devices without sacrificing performance, and Netgear’s Nighthawk X4 (Check latest price on Amazon) does just that.
The Nighthawk X4 can deliver up to 2.2Gbps of sustained bandwidth to all your devices and can cover up to 2,000 square feet with advanced dual-band Wi-Fi. This makes it an excellent choice for expanding your Wi-Fi coverage into a busy family room or home office, as everyone will be able to enjoy 4K Netflix, FaceTime with friends and family, and competing in the latest online games.
Around the back, there’s a wired Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting a game console or smart TV for maximum wired performance, and you can designate one of the two frequency bands to work as a dedicated backhaul channel to your main router, ensuring your traffic stays in the fast lane.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC2200 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1
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Best Value: Netgear EX3700 AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender
The Netgear EX3700 (Check latest price on Amazon) is a cost-effective way to extend Wi-Fi coverage to a less-used area of your home, such as a guest room or a typical home office. While the dual-band AC750 performance isn’t as fast as some of the more expensive extenders on our list, it’s more than enough for two or three devices to enjoy uninterrupted 4K streaming and video calling.
This small and inexpensive Wi-Fi range extender provides up to 1,000 square feet of additional wireless coverage, and because it can be plugged in almost anywhere, it’s also a great way to ensure that your far-flung smart home devices stay connected, with plenty of bandwidth for everything from light switches and smart plugs to home security cameras.
The EX3700 also has another useful trick up its sleeve: you can use the wired Gigabit Ethernet port to turn it into a Wi-Fi access point or hotspot. This allows you to maximize performance by avoiding the use of a portion of your Wi-Fi bandwidth to maintain a connection to your main router, and it can also be used as a separate Wi-Fi access point for situations where you want to set up a separate network for your kids or guests.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC750 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1
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Best Wi-Fi 6: TP-Link RE505X AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 Range Extender
Whether you’re already using an 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 router or you’re planning to jump into this newest wireless technology, you’ll want a Wi-Fi extender like TP-Link’s RE505X (Check latest price on Amazon) that can play along. Although older 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 range extenders will work fine with modern 802.11ax routers, you’ll won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 when your smartphones and tablets stray out of range of your main router.
The RE505X, as an 802.11ax Wi-Fi extender, can keep your Wi-Fi 6 devices connected at the fastest speeds, even on the busiest networks, while also allowing them to use less power to keep a Wi-Fi connection. To take advantage of this, your devices must support Wi-Fi 6, but if you’re using the latest smartphones, laptops, or tablets from companies like Apple and Samsung, you’re already there.
The RE505X also has a few other tricks up its sleeve, such as an intelligent signal light that can help you figure out where to plug it in, and a Gigabit Ethernet port that can be used to extend the range of wired devices as well as turn the RE505X into a standard wireless access point. If you already have a supported TP-Link router, you can use the RE505X to extend your network more seamlessly and manage it all from one location, thanks to the company’s OneMesh technology.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AX1500 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1
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Best Outdoor: Netgear Orbi RBS50Y Outdoor Satellite Wi-Fi Extender
Netgear’s Orbi RBS50Y (Check latest price on Amazon) is a great choice for covering large outdoor areas with strong Wi-Fi because it’s one of the few Wi-Fi range extenders that’s specifically designed to withstand the elements. Even if you strategically place a Wi-Fi extender inside your home to extend coverage to your back deck, you’ll still lose some signal due to your home’s brick and concrete construction.
You’ll want to put your Wi-Fi extender out in the open air for maximum range and speed, and with an IP66 weatherproof rating, the Orbi RBS50Y is up to the task of weathering rain, snow, and sprinklers without missing a beat. While the RBS50Y is most commonly associated with Netgear’s popular mesh Wi-Fi systems, it can be used with any standard Wi-Fi router to extend the range of your home network to your backyard, poolside deck, and beyond.
The RBS50Y employs the same tri-band mesh Wi-Fi technology as Netgear’s Orbi mesh Wi-Fi systems, ensuring high performance while roaming seamlessly throughout your Wi-Fi network, both indoors and out. While it costs a little more than most Wi-Fi range extenders, it’s well worth it if you want a device that will keep you surfing and streaming throughout your back yard.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC3000 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: None
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Best Performance: Netgear Nighthawk EAX80 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Extender
The Netgear Nighthawk EAX80 (Check latest price on Amazon) is hard to beat if you need a Wi-Fi 6 range extender that can deliver top-notch performance to the other end of a busy home. It’s a great companion to Netgear’s Nighthawk RAX-series routers, but don’t be fooled by the name; it can be used to extend your coverage from any Wi-Fi router.
In fact, even if your main router doesn’t yet support the newest 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 standard, the EAX80 can provide a nice zone of Wi-Fi 6 coverage. This makes it a great way to bring Wi-Fi 6’s benefits, such as lower power consumption and better wireless congestion management, to a busier area of your home without having to replace your main router.
The EAX80 is no slouch, either, with AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 speeds—up to 4.8Gbps on the 5GHz band and 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz side. Its eight-stream Wi-Fi performance, which includes 160MHz-wide channels, MU-MIMO support, and beamforming antennas, rivals that of many standalone routers. It’s like adding a second router to your home network, with coverage of up to 2,500 square feet and seamless smart roaming. There are even four wired Gigabit Ethernet ports, so you can plug in your game console and smart TV to get top speeds and help reduce Wi-Fi congestion.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4
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Best Range: TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender
With four powerful fixed beamforming antennas that deliver a strong targeted Wi-Fi signal to devices across a large area, TP-RE650 Link’s (Check latest price on Amazon) is a Wi-Fi range extender that puts the emphasis on the word range. It can also balance the load of multiple Wi-Fi devices thanks to MU-MIMO technology and an intelligent signal processor, so it can handle even the busiest networks.
The RE650 is an excellent choice for adding strong Wi-Fi to a family room, a busy home office, or simply extending the signal to the other end of your house. For your 5GHz 802.11ac devices, the AC2600 Wi-Fi provides up to 1.7Gbps of bandwidth, with a respectable 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz channels. This means you’ll have no trouble watching Netflix in 4K and playing the hottest online games.
There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port on the side, which you can use to hardwire in a PC, smart TV, or game console that needs more power or doesn’t have built-in high-speed Wi-Fi. The RE650 can also be turned into a wireless access point by using the wired Ethernet port in the opposite direction. The RE650 is simple to set up and manage thanks to TP-mobile Link’s Tether app, and an intelligent signal LED helps you plug it in where you’ll get the best signal back to your primary router.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC2600 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 1
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Best Powerline: Netgear PowerLINE 1000 + Wi-Fi Range Extender (PLW1000)
Most Wi-Fi range extenders are designed to take an existing wireless signal and effectively extend its range, so they won’t always work if you need to extend coverage to a dead zone on the other end of your house. The NetGear PLW1000 (Check latest price on Amazon) is a Powerline network adapter that uses your electrical wiring to carry your network connection to the farthest reaches of your home.
While any Powerline network adapter can be used to extend a wired connection, you’ll need to add a separate wireless access point if you want wireless coverage on the other end. The PLW1000, on the other hand, addresses this issue with built-in dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi in a device that’s small enough to plug in almost anywhere and doesn’t require any additional cables or clutter.
This means you can create a new Wi-Fi zone anywhere there is an electrical outlet, and a whole roomful of devices will be able to enjoy smooth surfing, streaming, and gaming thanks to 1,000Mbps of bandwidth back to your main router. The PLW1000, like other Powerline adapters, also has a Gigabit Ethernet port, allowing you to hardwire non-Wi-Fi devices on the other end.
Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC1000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1
The Final Word
Netgear’s Nighthawk X4 delivers the performance that most families require for an affordable way to bring solid Wi-Fi to a whole room of devices. Netgear’s EX3700, on the other hand, is a much more cost-effective option for covering a single room or a few far-flung smart home accessories.