If you have a large home or office, and you’re tired of not having constant access when you go too far from your router, it might be time to consider buying one of the best Wi-Fi extenders. Even if you have one of the best wireless routers, the space they all cover is limited – so the best Wi-Fi extenders are a great solution.
When using a single wireless router, or one that’s built directly into your modem, it’s likely that you’re going to run into some problems with the range of your Wi-Fi signal. This usually happens because your wireless router isn’t located in a central location, or it’s obscured by other objects. These issues can seriously degrade the range of your network, but they’re both issues that are easily remedied by the best Wi-Fi extenders.
This is where the best Wi-Fi extenders really come into their own. All they do is connect to your main network, then bounce that signal around to all the devices that might be out of reach. It’s a stunningly simple concept, but even in its simplicity these products will make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to play some Mario Kart online while you’re in the upstairs bedroom.
The only problem is that the market is absolutely chock-full of great Wi-Fi extenders. So, to help you find the best Wi-Fi extender for your needs, we here on the TechRadar editorial team have picked out the best Wi-Fi extenders available right now.
1. Netgear AC1200 WiFi Range Extender EX6150
Fast speeds throughout your house
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), Extender/Access Point mode switch, power button
Super simple setup
Only one Ethernet port
Over the last few years, Netgear has basically become a household name in the networking world. And, they’ve put their extensive expertise to fantastic use with their AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6150. This fantastic extender is a simple device that you can inconspicuously plug right into any electrical outlet.
As an added bonus, the EX6150 features quick and simple installation, free of any hassling installation software. Just follow the easy-to-read instructions, and before you can even blink, you’ll have fast and reliable Wi-Fi covering the entire home or office. It’s just that easy.
2. D-Link Wi-Fi Dual Band Range Extender DAP-1520
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: N/A | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), two internal antennas
Easy to use
D-Link’s reticent Wi-Fi Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1520) is tiny and inconspicuous, meaning that while it has extremely robust performance boosting your Wi-Fi network throughout your home or office – it’s virtually invisible to anyone who isn’t explicitly looking for it.
The unassuming and straightforward design does come with some inherent issues, however: it doesn’t feature an Ethernet port for extending a wired connection. Also, contrary to some Wi-Fi extenders, the antennae are internal, and while that does allow it to disappear into the background, it does mean range is somewhat reduced.
3. TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 1 x Ethernet | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), LED shows connection strength for easy placement
LED showing connection strength makes installation easy
TP-Link is a Chinese networking company, and that shouldn’t put you off, as they’ve slowly been gaining recognition in the West. And, with good reason. With devices like the TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender, it’s easy to see their worth: it does the job well, it’s inexpensive and the design is pleasing, as well.
While it’s far from being fastest Wi-Fi extender in the world, it features a phenomenal range, due to two external high-gain antennae and an LED on the front displaying how strong the signal quality is, making installing it in the right location a walk in the park.
4. Netgear AC1200 Desktop WiFi Range Extender EX6200
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 5 x Ethernet, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), Beamforming, quad-core processor
Five Ethernet ports
If you’re seriously thinking about expanding your Wi-Fi network, then the Netgear AC1200 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (EX6200) is certainly worth consideration. Many other Wi-Fi extenders are small devices that sit in an outlet, the EX6200 looks more like a router or modem though.
While the size may rub some people the wrong way, it does allow it to offer a range of options – including five Ethernet ports for wired devices, which other Wi-Fi extenders are unable to include. High-powered amplifiers ensure your Wi-Fi can reach all parts of the building, and a quad-core CPU helps make the network faster and more reliable.
5. Linksys RE6500 AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless Range Extender
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, Audio Jack | Features: Linksys Spot Finder Technology, music streaming, easy setup
Audio streaming capability
The Linksys RE6500 AC1200 is an yet another Wi-Fi extender that looks more like a router. The more sturdy design allows Linksys to include four gigabit Ethernet ports, which means that you are empowered to expand your network to internet-connected devices that need an ethernet connection.
It also has an audio output jack which allows you to connect it to speakers or an audio system, allowing you to stream digital music from your PC to your audio receiver.
6. D-Link DAP-1320 Wireless N300 Range Extender
Bands: 802.11n 2.4GHz | Connectivity: N/A | Features: WPS, internal antennae
Not the fastest Wi-Fi
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to beef up your Wi-Fi network, and you’re ok with making a few concessions in performance and features, then the D-Link DAP-1320 Wireless N300 Range Extender is a great device for you. This tiny device doesn’t include any Ethernet ports, and it doesn’t feature dual bands or 802.11ac, presently the fastest form of Wi-Fi.
Still, it is designed well and built to last, and it’s a quick, easy and cheap way of bolstering your Wi-Fi network as long as you’re not anticipating too much network traffic.
7. D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender DAP-1650
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, USB 2.0 | Features: WPS, reset button, guest access
Good selection of ports
Not great range
USB is only 2.0
That’s right, D-Link has scored another entry on the list of the best wi-fi extenders. The D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender DAP-1650 is a fantastic mid-range Wi-Fi extender that packs in some of the features of more pricey extenders, such as multiple Ethernet ports and USB, while also boasting a design that’s not only small, but also blends into the background.
The DAP-1650 looks fantastic, and it’s priced competitively. The only drawback is that due to its compact size and internal antennae, its range isn’t as wide as some other extenders.
8. Linksys Velop
Layman’s mesh Wi-Fi comes at a cost
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet per unit (1 WAN and 1 LAN each) | Features: App-based setup; dual-stream (2×2), 802.11ac networking; 716MHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 processor, beamforming
Fully modular mesh network
Pricey in comparison
Performance too dependent on position
The Linksys Velop makes a sound argument for a wireless mesh network’s ease of setup. With the aim of replacing both your router and your now-antiquated range extender, the Velop arrives at a time when companies like Google and Netgear are doing the same thing. The main way Linksys hopes to differentiate its contender in the wireless mesh networking space is with a user-friendly setup that anyone with a smartphone can understand. With just a visit to the App Store or Google Play marketplace, you’ll have the Linksys Velop running in a matter of minutes.
Read the full review: Linksys Velop