The best WiFi extender is something more and more of us need, as both our working and social lives increasingly move to the web.
Is your WiFi router struggling to distribute the internet around your home? Do you find there are places where you can't access the web, on your phone, laptop or other devices, or where it runs much more slowly than elsewhere? Are your Zoom calls stuttering, your Netflix shows freezing, and your web pages crashing? Then it's a sure sign you need a WiFi extender.
Although there's a lot of technical jargon surrounding WiFi extenders, they're actually pretty simple to use. You just place them in a strategic spot around your home, and they'll boost the signal to where you need them to reach.
How to choose the best WiFi extender
The main thing to consider when choosing a WiFi extender is whether it supports the WiFi standard offered by your router: this will usually be written somewhere on the actual device and be something like 802.11a or 802.11b. You don't need to know what this means, only that it's supported.
If you have only recently bought your router, though, it's probably got a faster standard than most, and you'll want a WiFi extender that can take advantage. The slightly confusing thing here is that the latest standards – 802.11ac and 802.11ax – are also known as WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 respectively. But as long as you understand they're the same thing, you'll be fine.
Beyond that, the main way to choose your WiFi extender will come down to price, the amount of area it covers (usually measured in square feet or square meters), and the speeds it offers. Plus, if you want to plug in wired devices to your WiFi extender, you'll need to know what ports it has.
With all that in mind, read on to discover the best WiFi extenders available today. We've selected a range of models, to cover a variety of budgets. If you're in a hurry, though, just go ahead and buy the first choice on our list, which is the best WiFi extender overall.
If you don't want to get in the weeds of discussing tech specifications, then we'll make it easy for you: the Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700 Mesh Range Extender is the best WiFi extender for all-round performance in 2022.
It covers up to 2,000 square feet and you can connect up to 40 devices, including laptops, smartphones, speakers, IP cameras, tablets and smart home tech. It offers speeds of up to 2,200Mbps performance using tri-band and FastLane3 technology, which means that even if you're streaming 4K movies or playing hi-res multiplayer games, you'll find everything flows smoothly. There are two Ethernet ports for plugging in devices for maximum speed. And the price is very reasonable, too.
If you have one of the very latest routers, note that this WiFi extender doesn't support WiFi 6 (aka 802.11ax). It'll still work with a WiFi 6 router, though; you just won't get the fastest speeds possible.
If you want to spend less money, or have specific needs, you may want to look further down our list. But otherwise, for most people this is the best WiFi extender for your money in 2022.
If you have one of the latest routers offering WiFi 6, aka 802.11ax, you'll want a wireless extender that supports its maximum speeds. In which case, we recommend the Netgear AX1800.
In general, too, this is a fantastic WiFi extender. You also get a generous 1,500 square feet of coverage, lightning fast speeds of up to 1,800mbps and can connect up to 20 wireless devices. Plus, if you need to connect wired devices, there are four Ethernet ports and one USB 3.0 slot.
The main black mark against this device is that it's quite expensive. It's also big and bulky, at 9.5 x 6.7 x 2.5 inches (29 x 21.1 x 11.4cm). However, if you have space to put it, the money to afford it, and (crucially) the router to make best use of it, you'll be rewarded with fast, reliable WiFi wherever you are in your home.
Do you feel the need for speed? Then the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 offers the fastest on this list, at up to 3Gbps across three bands. It also supports up to 50 devices, the most on the list. (That might sound like overkill, but if you have a smart home, you may not be far off that when you count up every web-connected piece of equipment.) And it includes a generous four Ethernet ports, along with a USB 2.0 socket, for connecting up wired devices.
Note, though, that it doesn't support WiFi 6, and it is quite expensive. But otherwise, this is a very capable all-rounder. And if you do a lot of streaming or video game playing, the high speeds it offers will come in handy indeed.
If the WiFi extenders we've covered so far are a little pricey for your wallet, then here's a great alternative for significantly less cash.
With three adjustable external antennas, the TP-Link AX1750 offers an expansive 2,000 square feet of coverage and supports up to 30 devices. Speeds of up to 1,750mbps are impressive, and we also like the smart indicator light, which helps you to install the device in the best location. There's only one Ethernet port, but for this price, you can't complain too much about that.
If you don't have much money at all, don't worry. You can still get a decent WiFi extender for very little, in the form of the TP-Link AC750. Despite its low price, this capable device has a lot to offer.
It's compatible with a wide range of routers, and although it doesn't support WiFi 6, it does support WiFi 5, aka 802.11ac. It offers dual band speeds of up to 750Mbps, which is slower than most on this list, but still pretty decent. (To put that into context, Netflix state that 25Mbps is enough to stream 4K HDR video.) And its compact size – 11 x 6.6 x 6.6cm – and wall-mounted design make it easy to store, too.
Don't get too excited. For example, there's just one Ethernet port, and the manufacturers recommend this model for HD streaming rather than 4K, so that gives you an idea of its limitations. But for this price, it's still a real bargain.
WiFi extenders work by sending out wireless signals to devices around your house. However, some homes are annoyingly filled with obstacles that disrupt these signals, such as thick walls and copper pipes. One solution that's easier than remodelling your home is a powerline extender. This harnesses the electrical wiring in your house to help your internet travel to places that radio signals can't penetrate.
The Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 offers the best of both worlds, offering a powerline connection through your electricity network, and also doubling up as a WiFi extender. It's quite a technical solution that won't for everyone (for example, it requires your electrical wiring to be on a single circuit.) And it's definitely overkill unless you've had problems using normal WiFi extenders.
However, it is quite affordable. And so if you're tearing your hair out because nothing else will work, this is definitely worth a go.
If you're short on space, or just keen to keep tech clutter to a minimum, you may be seeking a WiFi extender that's nice and compact. In which case, the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ is one of the best. At just 4.6 x 8.1 x 12.6cm, it won't take up much room at all. And yet it covers up to 2,500 square feet, offers maximum speeds of 1,900mbps, and boasts a 'dead spot finder' to help you position it optimally.
Note, though, that it's expensive. There's only one Ethernet port. And if you're in the UK you'll need to buy an adapter, as it doesn't come with a British plug.
Got a big house? Then coverage is the thing you'll be most interested in, and the TP-Link RE650 AC2600 offers the most on this list: an impressive 14,000 square feet. It also promises speeds of up to 1,733Mbps.
Overall, this is quite a basic model. But on the plus side, it's easy to set up, with an intelligent signal indicator to help you position it optimally. It can serve up to four wireless devices at once. And an Ethernet port lets you connect a wired device, such as a game console.
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