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The best Wi-Fi extenders in 2022

best Wi-Fi extender
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The best Wi-Fi extenders can eliminate wireless dead spots in your home by stretching your Wi-Fi coverage over a larger area. By sending a signal farther than your existing router can, you can improve the range of your home network without breaking the bank.

Also known as Wi-Fi boosters, Wi-Fi repeaters or signal boosters, these small and affordable devices can extend your Wi-Fi signal where you need it while often costing much less than upgrading to one of the best mesh routers.

From inexpensive wall plugs that can be hidden behind a sofa to desktop units that prioritize power over aesthetics, we’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed many popular Wi-Fi extenders and this is how they compare to powerline adapters.

While there are plenty of features and various functions to consider, the best Wi-Fi extender for you is the one that efficiently expands your Wi-Fi coverage the most (they can even boost network speed if placed in the right location). Big or small, cheap or expensive, we’ve tested them all to provide you with the best advice when shopping for a Wi-Fi extender.

The best Wi-Fi extender for you will meet your coverage needs, be convenient to use and will fit your budget. Our rating criteria for these devices include their design, range, throughput, setup process and which settings you can adjust.

Our recommendations aren’t just centered around speed and coverage but are also about price so that you can find the right device for your needs without spending too much money.

What are the best Wi-Fi extenders?

Based on our in-depth lab tests and hands-on usage in a real home, the best Wi-Fi extender on the market is the TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender. It has great range and performance in a plug-in design that's easy to install in most any room. It also has a handy smartphone app that makes managing your network easier.

If you're willing to pay for top performance, the Editor's Choice Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20) is the most capable extender we've reviewed, with Wi-Fi 6 speeds and built-in mesh support, but it's a larger desktop model that's not as easy to hide.

The best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy today

TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: TP-Link)
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Best Wi-Fi extender overall

Specifications

Antennas/Removable: 4 external/No
Wi-Fi Spec: AC2600 802.11ac dual-band
Ports: 1 gigabit Ethernet
Size: 6.3 x 3.0 x 1.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Good performance
+
Excellent interface
+
Phone/tablet app

Reasons to avoid

-
Can block adjacent outlets

The TP-Link RE650 takes a top position as the best Wi-Fi extender overall, with a convenient plug-in design, and long range for big homes. It packs a lot of power, and delivers great speeds at up to 75 feet. Really, our only problem with the TP-Link RE650 is that the plug-in unit is large enough that it will probably block adjacent outlets, but that's a small quibble for the excellent performance this extender provides.

That performance came second only to our top overall pick, but the TP-Link RE650 offers competitive speeds in a handy, easy-to-install design. With four external antennas and dual-band wireless-AC support, the TP-Link RE650 is a great choice for large homes. You can also set up and monitor your extended network with TP-Link's handy Tether app, which puts advanced settings and security tools right on your phone or tablet.

Read our full TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender review.

Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20)

(Image credit: Netgear)
The best extender with Wi-Fi 6 support

Specifications

Antennas/Removable: 4 internal/No
Wi-Fi Spec: AX1800 802.11ax dual band
Ports: 4 gigabit Ethernet
Size: 9.5 x 6.7 x 2.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Wi-Fi 6 support with 802.11ax operations
+
Customization and built-in security
+
Offers mesh compatibility with other Netgear devices

Reasons to avoid

-
Large desktop design
-
No USB ports

With Wi-Fi 6 speeds and even mesh capability built right in, the Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) was already a contender for the best Wi-Fi extender you can get. While not everyone will be excited about it's large desktop design – without a plug-in design, there's no hiding this extender behind the couch or in the corner – and a price that's more expensive than some routers, the proof is in the performance. And boy, does the Netgear EAX20 deliver, with category-leading speeds and an awesome 95-foot range.

The Netgear EAX20 does one thing and does well: it extends networks that are faster and have a longer range than the competition. Throw in a handful of customization options, and add a layer of online security to help protect your home network, and it's not hard to say that this admittedly pricey extender is worth every penny.

Read our full Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) review.

Rock Space AC1200 WiFi Extender

(Image credit: Rock Space)
A great affordable Wi-Fi extender

Specifications

Antennas/Removable: 2 external/No
Wi-Fi Spec: AC1200 802.11ac dual band
Ports: 1 gigabit Ethernet
Size: 3.4 x 3.1 x 2.0 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Small, unobtrusive design
+
Two adjustable antennas
+
Better for townhomes

Reasons to avoid

-
No Wi-Fi 6 support
-
Mediocre performance

For an affordable, but capable Wi-Fi extender, you might want to consider the Rock Space AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender. With solid basic Wi-Fi performance and dead-simple setup, this little Wi-Fi extender is a great way to cover the odd dead spot in your Wi-Fi coverage, or to push stronger wireless signals out to your back patio or garage.

With a compact plug-in design and adjustable antennas, you can easily tuck the Rock Space extender out of the way, and setup can be done in just minutes, with no extra app to worry about. And with solid middle of the road performance that works as well between floors as it does room-to-room, it's also a great choice for townhouses and other multi-floor homes. Just don't expect blazing speeds or advanced customization options – this is strictly for basic Wi-Fi.

Read our full Rock Space AC1200 WiFi Extender review

Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: Linksys)
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A great Wi-Fi extender with a low profile

Specifications

Antennas/Removable: 4 external/No
Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac dual band
Ports: 1 Gigabit Ethernet
Size: 4.9 x 3.2 x 1.7 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Simple design
+
Dual-band operations
+
Practical software

Reasons to avoid

-
Gets hot
-
Unexceptional performance

Need to beef up your Wi-Fi network coverage and range, but don't want an extender that stands out? The Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi range extender is compact and low-profile, with a design that won't block other outlets or stand out as a garish tech product. It's easily the best Wi-Fi extender we've seen for people that want an unobtrusive design, instead of an antenna-festooned brick that blocks adjacent outlets.

But aside from the subtle design, the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ offers solid throughput speeds and set-up assistance that helps you find the right spot for optimal performance. The overall performance is pretty good, but that set-up assistant makes it a great choice for anyone that wants a little help getting things set up just right.

Read our full Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender review.

D-Link DAP-1720 Wi-Fi AC1750 Range Extender

(Image credit: D-Link)
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Best for two-story homes

Specifications

Antennas/Removable: 3 external/No
Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac dual band
Ports: 1 Gigabit Ethernet
Size: 6.4 x 3.3 x 1.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Two-prong plug
+
Good multistory performance
+
Easy setup with mobile app

Reasons to avoid

-
Can block adjacent outlet
-
Spotty performance

D-Link's DAP-1720 is easy to set up, provides a convenient mobile app for managing device settings and can help fill a home with Wi-Fi. Handy features like a built-in Ethernet port that can handle Gigabit speeds, and a physical on/off switch make it a capable tool for extending the reach of your router, but it serves up patchy performance and is so large that it risks blocking adjacent AC outlets. 

Despite some irregular performance, the D-Link DAP-1720 does particularly well when pushing signal to a floor above or below. That verticality makes it one of the best Wi-Fi extenders available for getting signal to every floor of a multistory home, making it the perfect choice for anyone who finds their Wi-Fi signal dropping out when they go up or down stairs.

Read our full D-Link DAP-1720 Wi-Fi AC1750 Range Extender 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.  (One of our editors traded in his router-and-extender combination for a Netgear Orbi mesh system. See why he says "This mesh router is the best thing I bought during the pandemic.") 

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 how we test page for Tom's Guide. 

Wi-Fi terms explained

Are you having trouble deciphering what these 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. If you've trying to decide between an extender and a mesh router, then you'll want to read what is a mesh Wi-Fi router, and do you need one? 

There's also a lot of new Wi-Fi standards available, including Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6e, and Wi-Fi 7. Knowing what they are and how they work will help you choose the best system for your home.

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 modems

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

  • prashB
    Hi Tom, I use Wi-Fi at home, coffee shop and library and carry Wi-Fi booster around. Do you know of a Wi-Fi booster/extender that once programed to a Wi-Fi router saves its info and when configured to other weak public Wi-Fi router saves its info as well. A Wi-Fi booster than can save more than 1 router info in it. So that next time when plugged in within a range of 1 of the pre-configured router does not need to re configure again.
    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.
    Reply
  • dolandr
    I just got this and set it up but it wouldn't see my 2.4ghz network at all! I had to click the text that reads "I don't need a second network". Will it not work as well because of that?? Also, is it supposed to improve speeds when doing a speed test because it didn't, in fact it got 32mbps versus 44mbps before right I bought it. Is there maybe a router setting I should do for it to see my 2.4? (I have a Netgear router)
    Reply
  • Sonja_
    Wow, RE6500 as best buy. You are very lucky or this paid review, no offense. I have that crap and it breaking whole network, DC every so, breaking connections between my devices and router, WPS not working at all. If you want more just go at Amazon and read 1 star reviews. There are no problem there I have not experienced. It even broke casting radio via router to Chromecast somehow. Could not listen more than 30 sec. Setup is story for it self, you can try same thing 5 times and it won't work, but 6th it will. It is like playing lottery, and yes, speed, my internet speed was dropped to 1/3 of my max speed, still RE6500 was showing that it is on perfect spot. DO NOT BUY THIS.
    Reply
  • nasty62nick
    I bought the RE6500 and got it set up without difficulty but was surprised to find out that it does not offer the option of using MAC address filtering on the extended network. There has been some discussion about using MAC address filtering on the router and virtual MAC addresses assigned by the extender to achieve this but I don't have any spare spots in my router's permitted MAC address list. My old Netgear extender had no problem using MAC address filtering but it crapped out on me six months after the warranty expired.
    Reply
  • durland
    Thanks, Tom. I'm taking your suggestion for best extender and clicking BUY.
    Reply
  • mr_dj80
    I can't believe nobody has commented this yet. Your wifi range chart says the TRENDNET TEW-822DRE comes in second place with 150 feet. But in your review comment, you say it comes in third with 125 feet.

    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! :-(
    Reply
  • Nick_150
    thanks tom for this article. Very helpful as I've tried 3 different extenders so far but not this one
    Reply
  • kerumbo
    The Netgear Nighthawk EX7000 rescued our changeover to gigabit wifi, which involved moving the router/modem to a different floor than my home office and past a weight-bearing wall. Throughput for the main floor's TV was over 250mbps, but my "work" computer upstairs was barely online. Our new "fast" wifi would have been worthless to me personally if not for the range and speed that this range extender gave me -- I got about 150 gigabits from the extender. Now the bad news: The EX7000 flat-out died in less than 2 months. I liked it enough to buy a second one, this time with the kind of add-on warranty that I normally refuse. So it was great, until it turned to crap.
    Reply
  • optimisjoe
    About a year ago, I looked for cheaper alternatives including messing around with my router settings and trying different antennas and after my second attempt, luckily, I found these ASUS Antennas on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PA1WCL4) that seemed to do the job perfectly. The reviews are pretty good and I would personally recommend them to anybody but nobody seems to be selling them on there anymore. I did find them on eBay however: http://cgi.ebay.com/122536401882
    Reply
  • RichSad
    Hey Tom, I moved to an office in the farthest corner of my house in the basement. My TP-Link AC3150 WiFi router couldn't be relocated and I had trouble with 5GHz signal strength. Based on the positive reviews I saw of TP-Links earlier Range Extenders I decided to go bleeding edge with their new RE650 AC2600. WOWZA. It effectively tripled my speed on 5GHz. It's an awkward shape. I got it on Amazon with a $20 coupon so paid $109. Okla speedtest reports nearly 3X faster on 5GHz and 2.5X on 2.4GHz with no noticeable degradation anywhere on the network. I'd encourage you to test this model in the future. I can't speak for distance or some of the other criteria you measure on, but as far as getting it done this thing works better than I could have hoped.
    Reply