The best Wi-Fi extenders can help eliminate wireless dead spots in your home by stretching your Wi-Fi router’s coverage over a larger area. This way, you can improve the range of your home network without having to upgrade your router.
Also known as Wi-Fi boosters, Wi-Fi repeaters or signal boosters, these small and affordable devices can extend your Wi-Fi signal to where you need it. The best part though, they usually cost much less than having to upgrade to a mesh Wi-Fi system.
From inexpensive wall plugs that can be easily hidden behind a sofa to desktop units that prioritize sheer power over aesthetics, we’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed many popular Wi-Fi extenders so you can find the best one for your needs.
The best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy today
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The TP-Link RE705X takes the top spot with excellent performance, the ability to use wide 160MHz data channels, a three-year warranty and it can even link up with your mesh network. While it may not be the smallest Wi-Fi extender out there, it does have positionable antennas and the LED lights on its side show you the status of its 2.4- and 5GHz networks along with the strength of its signals.
Although the TP-Link RE705X doesn’t have a USB port for sending data over your home network, it does have a gigabit Ethernet port on its left side for connecting hardwired devices. It also uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 tricks like MUMIMO, beamforming and 1024 QAM modulation to give you excellent speeds. At the same time, TP-Link’s Adaptive Path Selection system helps pick the best route for data to travel. The TP-Link RE705X also performed well in our tests moving 528 Mbps at 10 feet but it did get hot while in use. If you’re looking for a plug-in extender that’s easy to set up, this is the one to get.
Read our full TP-Link RE705X Wi-Fi extender review.
The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 WiFi Mesh Extender (EAX80) stands out on this list as instead of being a plug-in extender that goes directly into an outlet, it’s designed to sit on a desk or table. Its larger size means it takes up a lot more space but this provides you with four gigabit Ethernet ports along with a USB 3.0 port for sending data across your network.
Like the TP-Link RE705X, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 WiFi Mesh Extender can use wide 160MHz data channels and is built around MUMIMO, 1024 QAM modulation and beamforming. During our tests, it moved 358 Mbps at 10 feet and the extender has a range of 85 feet. This extender can also be used as part of an Orbi mesh network but only as an extender and not as another mesh node. If you don’t mind having an extender that takes up extra space and plan on using its ports, this Wi-Fi extender is well worth its higher price.
Read our full Netgear Nighthawk AX8 WiFi Mesh Extender (EAX80) review.
The Linksys RE7310 is a plug-in Wi-Fi extender that goes without movable antennas for a more compact design despite still being rather bulky. Instead, its antennas are hidden inside its case while a single LED bar near the top lets you know the status of its connection. However, there’s no way to turn this LED off nor is there a startup and configuration app to get it set up, you need to use a connected browser instead.
The Linksys RE7310 can connect with up to 20 clients at once and just like the other top Wi-Fi extenders on this list, it uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology including MUMIMO, beamforming and 1024 QAM modulation. However, it lacks both Ethernet and USB but it does have a WPS button at its side for quickly connecting wireless devices. In our tests, the Linksys RE7310 was able to move 322.4 Mbps at 10 feet and its Spot Finder technology helped us set it up in the perfect spot. If you want a Wi-Fi extender with good all-around performance that’s easy to get its placement just right, this might be the one for your home network.
Read our full Linksys RE7310 Wi-Fi extender review.
The Tenda A27 is another plug-in Wi-Fi extender that sets itself apart from the others on this list thanks to its wealth of customization options. However, it lacks a setup app and must be configured from a web browser. Still, once this is done, you can choose to set it up as an extender or access point and its More section lets you use OFDMA and change the time zone.
Besides using MUMIMO, beamforming and 1024 QAM modulation to give you a strong signal, its 5dBi amplified antennas help it grab a weak Wi-Fi signal to boost it and retransmit it. Its paddle antennas can also be rotated to aim its transmissions. In our testing, the Tenda A27 delivered reasonable performance with speeds up to 294.3 Mbps at 10 feet. If you want a Wi-Fi extender with a class-leading three-year warranty and a gigabit Ethernet port, the Tenda A27 is perfect for stretching the range of your home network.
Read our full Tenda A27 Wi-Fi extender review.
The D-Link Eagle Pro AI E15 is a compact Wi-Fi extender that uses artificial intelligence to steer data to the least used channels. Its engine continually scans both the 2.4- and 5GHz bands for congestion which is perfect in areas with lots of Wi-Fi networks like in an apartment building. The D-Link Eagle Pro AI E15 also has a gigabit Ethernet port for connecting wired devices but no USB port.
Besides AI, this Wi-Fi extender uses beamforming, MUMIMO and 1024 QAM modulation to extend the signal from your Wi-Fi router. However, its performance falls behind others on this list and in our tests, it was only able to move 205.5 Mbps of data at 10 feet. The D-Link Eagle Pro AI E15 also comes with an app that offers some areas for customization but its Statistics page provides you with a lot of information about your network. If you want a budget Wi-Fi extender that gets the job done, the D-Link Eagle Pro AI E15 is a great choice.
Read our full D-Link Eagle Pro AI E15 Wi-Fi extender review.
The NexusLink Wireless Gaming Bridge WB-1750 is a bit of an outlier as it acts more like a wireless cable to connect Ethernet devices to a router than a traditional Wi-Fi extender. It was easy to set up and provided excellent range despite being the only device on this list still using Wi-Fi 5. Still, two units are required and the devices you connect need to be hardwired over Ethernet.
The NexusLink Wireless Gaming Bridge is much larger than other plug-in Wi-Fi extenders and each unit has its own power supply. At the front, there are seven LEDs that show its connection status and both devices are meant to be placed vertically as opposed to horizontally. In our testing, the NexusLink Wireless Gaming Bridge was able to deliver 143.2 Mbps at 10 feet but it does have a longer range of 110 feet. If you need a way to get a better connection to your game consoles and don’t want to run an Ethernet cable across your house, the NexusLink Wireless Gaming Bridge might be just what your gaming setup was missing.
Read our full NexusLink Wireless Gaming Bridge WB-1750 review.
Do you need a Wi-Fi extender?
With so many options for upgrading your home network, like getting a new router or a mesh router, or adding a Wi-Fi extender or powerline extender, how do you know which is the best option for you?
If your existing Wi-Fi router is able to adequately cover most of your house, you may not necessarily need to buy a new one. A Wi-Fi extender is the perfect solution if you have one room or one section of your house where the internet always seems to cut out. Wi-Fi extenders are great for eliminating specific wireless dead spots, for giving your Wi-Fi signal a little more range to reach that far room or giving your Wi-Fi a little oomph to make it to the next floor.
However, if you have large portions of your home or property that don’t get adequate Wi-Fi, you may need to step up to one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems, which use multiple devices to create a larger shared network. If you have multiple rooms with spotty coverage or a far end of the house that your router just can’t reach, or want to extend your coverage out to the backyard or garage, then a mesh kit is the better choice.
How to choose the best Wi-Fi extender for you
- How much should a Wi-Fi extender cost? The cheapest Wi-Fi extenders will often sell for less than $50 but our current budget pick sells for half that. Newer signal boosting devices have support for all of the latest wireless standards and offer technologies like beam-forming and Mu-MIMO for enhanced performance. While they cost more as a result, even the best Wi-Fi extenders can be had for less than $200. Also, it’s worth watching out for cheap discount range extenders, like the one in our Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater review. The attractively low price also brings extremely poor performance.
- Plug-in or desktop? Although most signal boosters use small, plug-in designs that connect directly to a wall outlet, they aren’t the only option available. Some of the best Wi-Fi extenders have larger designs that sit on a desk or shelf, more like a traditional router. These larger devices don’t have the same size and weight limitations of plug-in units which allows for better antenna placement and improved internal hardware. On the other hand, plug-in models are often less expensive and easier to install.
- Match Wi-Fi standards: While you may not pay much attention to which wireless standard your router uses, it will certainly have an impact on how helpful your extender is. If your wireless router uses the current 802.11ac standard, you’ll want to make sure your extender does too. The older 802.11n standard is slower and is often limited to one band, which will create a bottleneck in your Wi-Fi coverage, slowing down your browsing and streaming. However, this is only a problem if your router offers better speeds. If you have an older wireless-N router, then a matching extender will do the job just fine.
- Placement is everything: Both wireless routers and Wi-Fi extenders use radio waves to share data back and forth with your internet connection. You need to find a place that’s close enough to the router to get a strong signal to rebroadcast but still far enough away to extend the network’s range to where it’s needed. Check out our guide to Wi-Fi extender placement.
- Consider an upgrade: If your wireless router isn’t providing the speeds or coverage you want, it may be best to skip getting a Wi-Fi extender entirely and just get a new router. Newer models offer better performance while mesh routers allow you to expand your wireless coverage across even the largest homes.
How we test Wi-Fi extenders
Every Wi-Fi extender we review is evaluated based on a combination of extensive performance tests and hands-on use in a real home. This mix of real-world use and controlled benchmark testing provides us with a clear picture of how well each device performs.
For benchmarking Wi-Fi extenders and other networking equipment, we use Ixia's IxChariot testing software to measure throughput at a variety of distances and environmental conditions. This includes testing with the extender at 50 feet and 75 feet away from a router.
This software simulates traffic on a busy wireless network while measuring how data flows back and forth. The results are shown in megabits per second (Mbps) at a distance from the extender, with higher numbers indicating better performance.
Measuring the throughput at various distances also allows us to determine the effective range of each extender, giving you a better idea of how well a device will do when it comes to covering the farthest corners of your home with a stronger wireless signal.
We also use each product in a real home which has signal-thwarting brick walls and the kind of sturdy construction that basic routers tend to struggle with. In that environment, we use the network for everything from listening to music and streaming video to performing additional tests and even writing reviews.
All of our reviews also include additional details about the set-up process such as the quirks and cool aspects of the design along with all of the settings and management functions a device offers. If you want to learn more about any of the best Wi-Fi extenders detailed above, just check out the full reviews.
For more information, check out our guide on how we test Wi-Fi routers and our more general how we test page for Tom's Guide.
Check out our other Wi-Fi extender reviews
- TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender
- Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20)
- Rock Space AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender
- Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender
- D-Link DAP-1720 Wi-Fi AC1750 Range Extender
Wi-Fi terms explained
Are you having trouble figuring out what all these different wireless terms mean? We’re here to help with these explainers. If you have an older router, you can turn it into a Wi-Fi extender. You should also check out our guide on how to set up your Wi-Fi extender for the best signal. However, if you’re trying to decide between an extender and upgrading to a mesh router, then you’ll want to read what is a mesh Wi-Fi router, and do you need one?
There are also a lot of new Wi-Fi standards available, including Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6e, and Wi-Fi 7. By knowing what they are and how they work, you’ll be able to choose the best system for your home.
Next: When and when not to use a Wi-Fi extender — and what to do instead.
Check out all of our home networking coverage:
Best Wi-Fi routers | Best Wi-Fi 6 routers | Best mesh routers | Best gaming routers | Best powerline extenders | Best cable modem
Example… the way our laptops store various Wi-Fi routers security info and when within a range just connects it.
Currently I have Netgear WN3500RP configured to my home. It works fine there. When I decided to take it to a coffee shop and use there had to factory reset it to configure it to the
coffee shop. I do not want to factory reset every time I configure to a new place.
So, WHICH IS IT??? ;-)
I personalli am looking for a long range, but still cost/efficient wifi booster solution and was just about to buy the Trend 822dre based on your range chart.
But undtill confirmed, it seems I can't depend on the information provided! :-(