The best Wi-Fi extenders might not be in vogue in the networking world anymore – the spotlight has shifted to more expensive mesh Wi-Fi setups – but if you have a large space to cover, the best Wi-Fi extenders are a cheap and effective way to expand your network coverage. If you work in a large office – or even live in a large home – you’re probably familiar with the issues that can rise up when you start testing the range of your wireless network. Sure, you can spring for one of the best routers – but even they have a limited range.
Whether you have a wireless modem you rent from your ISP, or even if you have a standalone router, you can start to notice some issues with the range of your network. There are several things that can cause this – your router may not be in a central location, or maybe it’s obscured by walls or other objects. You can shift some things around to attempt to fix these problems, but if you’re looking for a cheap fix-all solution, you should consider picking up one of the best Wi-Fi extenders.
But, how do they work? Well, Wi-Fi extenders work by connecting to your base router or modem, then extending that signal to every device – even if it would normally be out of range of your router. It’s a simple concept, but it can make a world of difference if you’re trying to get something done in a inconvenient area.
However, when you pull up an online retailer, looking for Wi-Fi extenders, you may notice that there are dozens of the things to sort through. We here at TechRadar have you covered, though –- we’ve concocted a list of the best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy in 2018.
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
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
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
Simple and easy to use
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 1 x Ethernet | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), LED shows connection strength for easy placement
Sure, TP-Link is a Chinese networking company, but that shouldn’t put you off – they’ve slowly been gaining recognition in the west, 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, and it’s cheap at that. It might not be the fastest Wi-Fi extender in the world, but with the range this extender offers at the price it’s available at it’s a steal. Plus, thanks to an LED signal indicator on the front, installation is simply a breeze.
4. Netgear AC1200 Desktop WiFi Range Extender EX6200
Big and powerful
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
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
Another powerful choice
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, Audio Jack | Features: Linksys Spot Finder Technology, music streaming, easy setup
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
Small and cheap
Bands: 802.11n 2.4GHz | Connectivity: N/A | Features: WPS, internal antennae
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.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the TP-Link RE350
7. D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender DAP-1650
A great all-rounder
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, USB 2.0 | Features: WPS, reset button, guest access
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.
- This product is only available in the US and Australia at the time of this writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Netgear EX6200
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 (2x2), 802.11ac networking; 716MHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 processor, beamforming
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
9. Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2
Two birds with one stone
Bands: : 802.11n (up to 300Mbps) 802.11ac (up to 866Mbps) | Connectivity: : 3x Gigabit LAN ports | Features: : 300m range over electrical power lines, Auto-connects to other TRENDnet powerline adapters, QoS Management support
If you’re looking for a great way to upgrade your network to have great coverage no matter where you go in your house, a powerline adapter is a fantastic choice. Not only do they maintain the same functionality that the best Wi-Fi extenders can afford, but the TRENDnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline might just be a dream come true. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, and the price tag may be a tad high, but this unit more than makes up for those issues with sheer performance. And, unlike other powerline adapters, the TRENDnet Wi-Fi Everywhere comes equipped with a clone button that will, well, clone the SSID and WPA key of your network so that it can double as a Wi-Fi extender. An expensive Wi-Fi extender.
Read the full review: Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere powerline 1200 AV2
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Linksys Velop