This is a list to help you find the best wifi range extender! You might have to world’s fastest modem, a fiber connection, and a conventional router, but if your network is set up correctly none of that matters.
Without enough range, you might be left feeling like your 100Mbit/s fiber package in no better than an old dial-up connection. Remember those time wasters?
Why would anyone give away all their hard earned cash on modems and line rentals just to throw it all away due to the poor range?
For a pretty modest price, a Wi-Fi extender can really help you out. If you are willing to spend a bit more, you can really get something that will make a big difference. It will help you to get the great signal while you are far away bit it still feels like you are right next to your primary router.
Generally speaking, the main reason why people experience poor Wi-Fi performance and moderate coverage have to do with the walls between the user and the router. So, if you live in an apartment with many small rooms, or an old house with thick walls, you will probably need a good Wi-Fi extender.
If you buy the right one, it will really enable you to stream movies, surf the internet or even download upgrades without interruption regardless of how far you are from your primary router.
What exactly is a Wi-Fi range extender and how does it work?
A Wi-Fi range extender is a type of wireless repeater used to expand the reach of a wireless LAN. So, it basically takes an existing signal from your router and repeats it from another location.
A range extender connects wirelessly to a router or an access point, picks up the signal and retransmits it. The range extender must be in a range of both the signal source and the client’s device. The signal transmitted by the device will generally be the same as that of the source (usually your router).
Companies that make Wi-Fi range extenders are usually the same companies that make modems and routers like Netgear, and D-Link.
How To Choose The Best Wifi Range Extender 2017? (quick guide)
- The quality of Wi-Fi you need
- The speed of the connection you have
- The type of space (house) you want to be connected
- Signal strength of the router
- Range of coverage you need (distance)
- Number of devices you intend on using and how portable they are
- Is it secure?
- Your budget
- Your specific internet needs (speed/bandwidth)
- Warranty on the device
- Size of the device
- Is it user-friendly?
- Can you travel with it?
Here is our list of the top 10 best Wi-Fi range extenders:
|Name||Wi-Fi Technology||Ethernet ports||Color|
|TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE450||AC-1750||1||White||Check Price|
|NETGEAR N300 Wall Plug Version Wi-Fi Range Extender||N300||1||White|
|TP-Link RE580D (Ed’s Choice)||AC-1900||5||Black|
|NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK AC1900 EX7000 (Editor’s choice)||AC-1900||5||Black|
|TP-Link AC1900 Desktop Touch P5||AC-1900||4||Black with color interface|
About the list:
Let me take a moment to explain our list and how we went about compiling it for you.
We went and had a look at many Wi-Fi range extenders and did some research on them before putting them to the test for your benefit.
We tried to incorporate extenders from across different price and feature ranges. Some are quite basic extenders that just do the job, to some more expensive high-speed extenders.
It is quite easy to test an extender. We basically just had to record the transfer speed at two points away from the primary router. One point was 7m through two walls and a floor, and the other was more or less 20m and through another wall.
Here are ten detailed reviews of all the extenders we tested. I will also include some of the test results.
The benefits of a good Wi-Fi range extender are very obvious, but buying the correct one can be tricky. Our list and reviews are designed to make it easier for you.
Make sure to pay attention to all of the features that apply to your situation and your needs. There is no perfect extender, just the perfect extender for YOU!
Here we go!
Top 10 Best Wifi Range Extenders 2017 – In-Depth Reviews
Best wifi range extender #1: TP-Link AC1750
If your router works well enough when you are close to it, but lacks the signal strength to cover your entire house with Wi-Fi, you might find the TP-Link AC1750 very useful.
It is a dual-band extender that plugs into any wall outlet and delivers solid throughput speeds and a pretty good signal range.
The TP-Link AC1750 RE450 is quite a bit bigger than some of the other extender devices on this list. It makes up for its massive size, however, with its good performance. It has been particularly impressive at longer distances.
The RE450 is an 802.11ac range extender. It sports a maximum data rate of 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band. It has two fold-out antennas on either side plus an extra one that pulls out of the top of the extender.
The bright glossy white and gray device with all the antennas coming out of it looks very cheek and modern.
The entire device is quite similar in size and weight to a 6-inch smartphone but at least twice as thick. It’s bulky frame sometimes blocks access to the second outlet in a two-outlet receptacle. It also does not have a pass-through outlet like the one found on some of the other devices on the market and this list.
The front of the RE450 has a large Range Extender (RE)/Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button with a range of small LED lights circling its outer edge. When the extender has a good connection, the circle of lights is blue, and it goes red when the signal starts to fade and become weak.
The left side of the device holds power as well as a reset button. There is also a button that simply turns off all the display lights. This is a useful feature if the LED’s are distracting for work or sleep, especially while the device is not in use.
The right side of the device has a single gigabit LAN port. If we have to make an immediate comparison, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender (EX7000), which comes later on our list offers five gigabit Ethernet ports. But that model doesn’t plug directly into a wall outlet, where the RE450 does.
Installing the RE450 is incredibly easy, especially if your router already supports WPS. The entire setup process will most likely take less than three minutes.
After the initial setup is complete, you can move the extender further away from the router. An ideal distance would be about halfway between the router and the dead spot that you are trying to get some signal to. If the LED circle turns red, you have to move the extender closer to your router.
The RE450 delivered great scores all of the throughput- and range performance tests. The speed and throughput were comparable with the Netgear EX7000, which was one of the best performers.
Best wifi range extender #2: TRENDnet TEW-822DRE
This one is a small little box that also plugs directly into a wall socket (although it doesn’t support powerline networking).
It has an antenna on each side, which makes it look like some sort of bug! It also has four status LEDs on the front panel. The Netgear WN3000RP has a single 100Mbps Ethernet port located on the side, as well as buttons to reset the router and disable its wireless signal. It also comes with a hard reset button. Because, you know, sometimes a reset can fix all your problems!
The Netgear WN3000RP works only on the 2.4GHz wireless frequency, which can be quite limiting. It is, however, perfect if you are looking for a quick and simple network coverage solution. This model supports both 802.11n as well as older 802.11g and b devices.
There’s absolutely no software to install for this device to work. The fastest way to set up the Netgear WN3000RP is by pressing its Wireless Protected Setup (WPS) button, along with one on your router, which automatically copies your SSID name and security details across. It basically works the same as wireless keyboards where you just need to establish a connection between the device and the computer.
Correctly positioning the extender is very important. The extender has to be within the range of an existing wireless network, so you can’t just put it in the place that you want to be covered (the dead spot). You want to put it halfway between your router and the dead spot. Or as close as possible to the dead spot, but where there is still decent coverage. A LED at the front of the Netgear WN3000RP provides a visual cue to its signal strength. It is the same colors like a traffic light, and it tells you how strong or weak the signal is.
We positioned the Netgear WN3000RP within 15m of our router behind a thick wall, so the status LED was amber. We then tested it with a laptop placed close by.
The device did fairly well in all the speed and throughput tests. The only weakness was distance. The decay is quite fast when you start moving away from the extender.
It is obvious that using this particular wireless extender will not produce the same results as using your router’s original wireless network. This is unavoidable, due to the overhead created by network packets having to go through multiple wireless networks. However, the small performance drop when testing the WN3000RP at long range was still much better than what you would suspect from a device of this kind.
Best wifi range extender #3: TP-Link RE580D
TP-Link’s RE580D Wi-Fi extender combines good range and throughput. There are cheaper options on this list, but of all the high-performance extenders, this one is definitely a great choice.
One of the downsides, depending on your situation, is that this extender is quite big. It takes up a lot of space, so depending on where you plan on keeping it, that might be a problem. Usually, a wall mount or a bookshelf is a good idea. It also comes with a cool stand that might be an option.
The extender has three antennas that you can turn and shift according to your needs. It is also possible to replace them with high gain antennas if you require to get even more distance out of your Wi-Fi coverage.
Just like the EX7000, that we will also look at on this list, the RE580D has five wired gigabit LAN ports for linking the network to printers or other storage devices. This one, however, does not have a USB port.
On the front interface, there are buttons that let you turn the RE580D on and off, connect to a router or to reset the system. It also comes with a stealth mode that enables you to shut down the display lights if they maybe disturb you at night when you try to sleep.
Setup is very easy and will take less than 5 minutes to finish. There is an option to change the preset user/network names and the password. Don’t forget to do this!
It is possible to set up both the 2.4- and 5-GHz bands at the same time. Many other extenders require a two-step configuration. After picking your host network and typing the password, you can add the extended network names.
Best wifi range extender #4: NETGEAR ORBI
Okay, yes, the Orbi is way more expensive than any other extender on our list. But please give me a minute to explain why.
Technically the Orbi isn’t just aWi-Fi extender. Yes, the Orbi also contains a router that works at the same time as a Wi-Fi extender on the same network.
This means that you can literally go anywhere in your home and you will always have a perfect connection. Either to the router or the extender, without having to change any settings when you move around. It functions like one signal spread evenly over the area that it covers.
So if you are looking for perfect connectivity over a particular area with no need to worry about anything, and you have some extra money to spend, this is the extender for you.
Yes, the price is more than other extenders, but you really get what you pay for. This is really the best wireless extender technology available today. It does the job like no other.
The package includes a main router unit and one satellite, which functions so well it seems like a second router. Setup is simple, and once you’re up and running performance is as good as you could possibly expect.
The thing that is most unique about the Orbi it that, unlike traditional Wi-Fi extenders that act like just another device on your network, the Orbi units talk to each other on their own private network. This is why you can’t use the Orbi extender unit without the router unit. Through their own network, they enable you to get maximum speed on the networks your other devices are connected to.
With regular extenders, you always lose some speed as a result of half the band being occupied by router-to-router communication. The Orbi devices completely avoid this by setting up its own network.
Best wifi range extender #5: NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK AC1900 EX7000
The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 EX7000 is, probably one of the fastest Wi-Fi extenders that we tested. This is a top of the range extender. The price also gives that away. But, as usual with Netgear products, the performance absolutely matches the price.
The most important feature of this model would be the AC1900 Wi-Fi, which means it can achieve up to 600MBps on 2.4GHz and 1200MBps on 5GHz. Those are very impressive numbers for an extender, but they are only theoretical. You first need a fast router, before you can reap the benefits of an extender that can handle those speeds.
To be able to perform at those impressive speeds the EX7000 uses three large external aerials. Their antennae are also combined with a total of five Ethernet ports. As you can imagine, all of this adds up, and the model is quite bulky. Despite being quite big, it is well designed and can be held vertically of a beautiful stand.
This model also comes with a USB 3.0 that can be used for sharing data from USB hard drives or for sharing a printer. These types of features are not common on extenders, but can really be great as soon as you start making use of them.
The set up was fairly quick and easy, apart from one thing. Netgear makes it compulsory to sign up for their own online services. Yes, this can be very useful, especially in terms of technical support. We just prefer having a choice of joining or not.
Best wifi range extender #6: NETGEAR EX3800
Just like some of the other, smaller, extenders on this list, the Netgear EX3800 is marketed as being specific for smartphones and tablets. This does not mean it can’t support other devices. It simply means that it is small, and not too powerful. So if you have a router in the living are but want to use your phone in the room, this would be perfect for you.
It is not one of the best-looking extenders on the market, and it definitely is not bad at doing its job. It is another one of the budget options on offer, but as with other extenders on this list, it works very well.
Apart from having all of the basics covered, it comes with a mains passthrough, which means that this extender will take up almost no space in your electrical sockets.
It has a single Ethernet port, which is very useful for connecting to other devices that don’t happen to have Wi-Fi.
The EX3800 is super easy to get started on and to set up. It has a WPS button allowing for a simple one-button-push to connect to your router. After the initial hardware connection is established, you simply go to the online interface and you can fine tune the set up exactly according to your preferences.
In our new testing situation, we were able to get some very decent results. The performance was exactly what you would expect from this brand and this router.
Best wifi range extender #7: LINKSYS RE6500
This is one of the bigger extenders in our reviews. It’s quite a bit bulkier and looks almost like a router itself. It also comes with its own power adaptor.
Similar to the Netgear A6100, this one incorporates an Ethernet network switch, with four Ethernet sockets for connecting fixed devices. That means you can connect your gaming consoles, computers or even TVs. As well as allowing for non-wireless devices to connect, using a hub like this reduces the amount of competing for wireless signals, which will most likely improve the performance you get.
This extender offers direct audio streaming capabilities through its audio port. Similar to other devices, as you will see in the next review, the audio port comes with some standard problems. It is still a nice little extra to have.
The LINKSYS RE6500 is a dual-band extender that comes with a pair of very useful (and powerful) external antennae. Along with one other model, this one performed the best on our tests.
Setup for this model was surprisingly easy considering it is one of the most serious devices. The device itself sets up both bands automatically – most extenders connect to the bands one at a time. This one also automatically makes the SSIDs exactly the same as your existing ones. This is convenient, but it could possibly lead to some troubleshooting problems further down the line.
Performance was excellent. It came out on top of just about every test we did, living up to its reputation at every chance it got.
Best wifi range extender #8: ASUS RP-N53
One of the first things that anybody would notice about this extender is its interesting design. It is by far one of the coolest looking extenders out there today. The Asus RP-N53 has a sleek downward slope design with a cool crisscross, almost white flannel pattern over the front face. It also features some blue indicator lights that are built into a single thin strip that runs along the bottom of the device.
Although there are some extenders on this list that are smaller, this one is still a very manageable size and still counts as “small”. It measures adjust 85 x 54 x 31mm, which is still small enough not to interfere with other plugs that you might be using in the same area.
This is also another dual-band extender. The N53 is rated to N600 speed so it doesn’t take advantage of the latest AC standard but it still has the usual 5GHz band for reduced interference, which is always handy to have.
The N53 has some amazing extra features. On the bottom of the device, you will find a LED that flashes and reflects against the wall behind the device that really helps when the adapter is in a hallway or someplace less obvious, as extenders tend to be.
The device sports both an Ethernet and an Audio port on the one side. The Ethernet port for connecting other wired devices while the audio port can be connected to a music system. This is particularly useful if you want to stream audio straight to the device.
The audio port does not always work as great as you would expect.
Setup of the Asus is very easy with both automatic WPS setup and a simple manual procedure available. They also have a splendid, and responsive online assistance team that will be able to assist if there are any major glitches in the setup process.
The test performance of this model was excellent. It was one of the best performing models of all the ones we tested.
Best wifi range extender #9: D-Link DAP-1320
The D-Link DAP-1320 is one of the smallest and cheapest range extenders on our list. The first conclusion we can come to about this model, is that it takes up barely any space. It will therefore not get in the way of any space you might be using for other plugs.
It has a very attractive, yet compact design, that almost just looks like a plug or charger of some kind with a single LED on it.
It does not come with any extra features, but depending what it is that you are looking for, that can be a really good thing. Rated at 300Mbps it uses only the 2.4GHz band so doesn’t offer the contention reducing abilities of 5GHz, nor the speed of AC. But as I mentioned earlier, anything that it might lack in extras, it more than makes up for in how basic and easy it is to use.
If you are just looking for something cheap and straight forward that will do the job and not give you much hassle, this is the one for you.
The setup of this device is ridiculously simple. There is a WPS button on the side which you can just press to connect to your router automatically. If for some reason you insist on doing it manually, that is also possible. As soon as you log in to the default Wi-Fi settings you will have the option to access a setup page where you can do it all step by step.
After the device has been installed, you can choose to use a different SSID for your extended network or the same as your original network. It is usually better to keep it the same, just to avoid confusion. You can also set up a different password for the extension from your original router password.
Performance in our tests was much better than expected. For a very affordable extender, this little model is an excellent choice. But only if you need a maximum extension of 2.4GHz. If you need something more, you will have to look at some pricier options from our list.
Best wifi range extender #10: TP-Link AC1900 Desktop Touch P5
I really love the way this model takes user friendliness to the next level and brings touch screen technology to the world of Wi-Fi extenders. It really makes setting up a personal network into a sleek and modern experience
The color interface makes it very easy to access and adjust some different settings and tweaks. With the TP-Link AC1900 Touch Screen Wi-Fi Gigabit Router Touch P5 configuring your network is easier than ever, thanks to a brightly lit touch screen featuring a colorful graphical user interface.
The Touch P5 was super quick and easy to install and delivered relatively good throughput in our testing.
The Touch P5 is a very modern looking dual-band router. It uses a curved, black cabinet with a textured design, and measures 2.1 by 11.2 by 6.2 inches (HWD). The real big innovation of this model is the 4.3-inch, full-color, capacitive touch screen that’s embedded in the middle of the cabinet. This design really brings smartphone era to the world of Wi-Fi extenders. The router aims to sit on your desktop, but it can also be hung on the wall using the two mounting holes on the bottom of the cabinet.
The Touch P5 uses a 1GHz dual-core CPU and has three removable, adjustable antennas. It’s an AC1900 router, which means it can attain speeds of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band. Those speeds are only theoretical, but they are still impressive. At the rear of the cabinet are four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a WAN (Internet) port, a USB 2.0 port, and reset and Power buttons. A USB 3.0 port is conveniently positioned on the front of the router.
When you start up the router, the touch screen prompts you to enter a new administrator password, choose a region and time zone, choose an Internet connection type and create a Wi-Fi password. This is easily done using the on-screen keyboard and takes less than a minute to complete.
The P5 got consistently high scores on all of our tests, which is not surprising for state of the art, the high-end device like this one.
How We Pick – Things To Consider When Buying Your Best Wifi Range Extender 2017
At the start of this article, we gave you some points to consider when you buy your Wi-Fi range extender. Here I would like to give you a more detailed explanation of some of the most important things to keep in mind when you buy an extender for your network.
- Compatibility with Your Wi-Fi
There are many different brands, which all cater for various types of Wi-Fi. There is no use spending a lot of money on a good extender if it is not compatible with your router Wi-Fi.
Make sure to double check. Our list has all the information, but check the information of your router as well!
- Single- or Dual-Band
It makes a big difference in the speed and compatibility with other devices, so make sure to check the extender as well as your router.
This is always the first and easiest thing. But it cannot be overstated. Yes, we all want to save some money, but you have to remember that you get what you pay for.
Sure, there are affordable options, but they always come with certain sacrifices that you would have to be willing to make.
If you are smart about it and know what factors are important to you, it will be easy to make a choice that suits your needs and your budget.
Make sure that your extender matches the type of network setup that you are working with.
It would be a waste to have a top of the range extender if you are using a slow router.
- Distance of extension
Sometimes, especially in an office setting, you need to cover a very wide range of total uninterrupted coverage. Other times you just need a slight extension to reach an extra room, or just to improve existing coverage in a particular part of the house. It is important to take this into account when you consider the right extender for you.
- Internet needs
If you need a smooth network connection to cover a small office, it would make sense to get something that will give you just that. Certain network situations are more crucial in terms of smoothness than speed. You need to weigh your options carefully in this regard.
If you just need a small extension that enables you to use a smartphone in another room, make sure you get an extender that fits that purpose.
- Nature of your home or office
As I mentioned earlier in this article, one of the biggest things that influence network coverage is walls. You need to really take into account some walls in the space that you want to cover. The thickness of the walls (or the floors) also makes a big difference to how powerful the extender will have to be in order to cover the area.
- Size and portability of the device
For some homes and offices, space is a very valuable thing. Some of these extenders are much bigger than others. Make sure that you get an extender that will fit in very well with your space. This goes for the color, shape, and size of the extender.
How we tested
Since we test networking gear in the real world, external variables (competing signals, walls, network traffic) will affect any results that we got. We set up our main router in a room on the one end of the house. We then determined where the dead spot in the house starts.
All extenders were tested by placing them halfway between the dead spot and the main router. We then took different readings on some devices to see upload, download and throughput speeds.
We also gradually moved away from the extender to see how the distance from the extender affected the results and at what speed.
The purpose of our testing was not to simply establish which was the fastest extender. We also made sure to take note of which extender could deliver consistently strong performance without major problems. So consistency was also a big priority in our assessment of performance.
Final Words – Wrapping it up
In technology stores and online, there are dozens of wifi extender options to choose from. It can be very confusing to choose the right extender if you do not know exactly what it is that you are looking for.
These reviews are designed to help you understand your situation and needs in such a way that enables you to make the best possible choice – best wifi range extender.
We also aimed at giving you detailed and accurate information in every one of our reviews that will enable you to really understand what exactly every model of Wi-Fi extender offers and which one serve you the best.
My hope with this list is to help you, exactly in this regard. We did a lot of research, did tests and spoke to many experts trying to make something that can keep you as the consumer informed about your choices.
We also tried to include devices on the list that suit all kinds of budgets. So if you do not have a lot of money to spend on an extender, we are sure you will still be able to find something from this list.
I really hope that this list and our detailed reviews help you to make the best choice. Of course, there is not a perfect Wi-Fi range extender. All models serve different purposes at different prices. You just need to find what works for you!
Please let us know if you enjoyed our list. Did we leave something out? Let us know in the comments.
Like or share this article if you found it helpful!
Till next time!