Best Wi-Fi Extenders 2018

Product Use case Rating
Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band WiFi Extender Best Extender Overall 9
Coredy E300 Mini WiFi Range Extender Best Value 7
TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender Best for Large Homes 8
Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender 7
Netgear EX6120 AC1200 Essentials Edition Wi-Fi Range Extender 6

Your wireless router can't do everything, and Wi-Fi dead spots are  unavoidable in most homes. The quickest solution to wireless coverage woes is to add a Wi-Fi extender, which is a specialized repeater that boosts the wireless coverage to those portions of your home that your router just can't  reach.

Based on our rigorous testing, which includes in-depth lab tests and hands-on evaluation in a real home, the best extender on the market is the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000. It offers fast speeds, excellent reach and an array of features that make it easy to use. Our top value pick is the Coredy E300 Mini, which gives you a Wi-Fi boost for under $30.

News & Updates (June 2018)

  • Our new top pick for wireless range extenders is the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000. With potent tri-band support, impressive range and speed, and optional mesh support for multiple repeaters, it's the best option you can buy.
  • Comcast is finally bringing expanded coverage to its Xfinity wireless gear with the introduction of xFi Pods. Designed for use with Comcast's xFi Wireless Gateway, these wireless extensions  blend  range-extender technology with mesh-networking capability, letting you cover more of your home just by plugging in an xFi Pod. These extenders will be sold in packs of three for $119, or packs of six for $199.

The Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band Extender emerged as the best range extender we tested by a large margin, with faster data speeds and an enormous range.

The Nighthawk X6S uses a desktop design that's much larger than the average plug-in range extender, but that size allows for more antennas (six in total) and beefier hardware that offers tri-band coverage out to 168 feet. You can even use multiple X6S extenders to create a mesh network for larger homes. It's big and expensive, but it's worth every penny.

The Good

  • Top performance
  • Tri-band operations
  • Software is easy to set up
  • Excellent assortment of ports

The Bad

  • Huge device
  • Only 90-day support included
  • Expensive

If you want a bargain, there's no beating the Coredy E300 Mini, which offers added range and simple setup for under $30. Besides that, it offers all-day, error-free performance and a plug-in design that won't hog all the space for your outlets.

If you're just looking for the most affordable way to push your Wi-Fi signal to that one corner of the house that never seems to get a signal, the E300 Mini offers an affordable solution, with a compact plug-in design that can add as much as 75 feet of range to your network and still deliver enough bandwidth for streaming media in 4K. Sure, it's  limited to single-band, wireless-N performance, but you're unlikely to find a cheaper option that gets the job done.

The Good

  • Low-cost
  • Small
  • Simple setup

The Bad

  • 802.11n-based single band operation
  • Unreliable bandwidth
  • Ethernet ports limited to 100Mbps

The TP-Link RE650 takes the runner-up position as the best plug-in range extender we’ve tested. It packs a lot of power, and delivers great speeds at up to 75 feet.

That performance came second only to our top pick, but the TP-Link RE650 offers competitive speeds in a handy plug-in 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.

The Good

  • Good performance
  • Dual-band operations
  • Excellent interface
  • Phone/tablet app

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Bulky Design
  • Can block adjacent outlets

Other Wi-Fi Extenders Reviewed

Need to beef up your Wi-Fi network 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. But aside from the subtle design, the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ offers solid performance and set-up assistance that helps you find  the right spot for optimal performance.

The Good

  • Simple design
  • Dual-band operations
  • Practical software

The Bad

  • Gets hot
  • Unexceptional performance

The Netgear EX6120 AC1200 Essentials Edition Wi-Fi range extender offers all  the basics, like a petite size and easy-to-setup installation. But Netgear's technology is lagging behind the latest standards, and we wish it had better performance and support coverage.

The Good

  • Tiny
  • Inexpensive
  • Dual-band operations
  • Quick installation

The Bad

  • Poor performance
  • 100-Mbps Ethernet
  • 90-day support

How We Test Wi-Fi Extenders

We rigorously test every Wi-Fi extender we review to get a clear picture of how well each device performs. This testing is performed in our Utah testing facility and our reviewer's suburban home, in addition to hands-on use. Overall, our rating criteria include design, range, throughput,  setup, and which settings you can adjust. In the final analysis, though, it all comes down to value — which extender provides the most for the lowest cost.

We use Ixia's IxChariot testing software to measure throughput at a variety of distances and environmental conditions. This includes testing with the extender placed at 50 feet and 75 feet from the router, as well as testing between floors in different configurations. The software simulates traffic in a busy wireless network while measuring data flow 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 lets use determine the effective range of the extender, giving you a better understanding of how well a device will do in covering the farthest corners of your home.

Quick Tips for Shoppers

  • How Much Should a Wi-Fi Extender Cost? The cheapest Wi-Fi extenders will often sell for less than $50, and our current budget pick sells for half that. Newer devices with support for the latest wireless standards and offering technologies like beam-forming and Mu-MIMO for enhanced performance will often cost more, but even the best extenders can be had for less than $200.
  • Plug-In or Desktop? While most Wi-Fi extenders use small plug-in designs that connect directly to a wall outlet, they aren't the only option. Some use 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, allowing for better antenna placement and better internal hardware. Plug-in models, on the other hand, will often be less expensive and more convenient to install.
  • Match Wi-Fi Standards: While you may not pay much attention to which wireless standard your router uses, it will definitely have an impact on how helpful your extender is. If your wireless router uses the current 802.11ac standard, you’ll want to be sure your extender does, too. The older 802.11n standard is slower and often is limited to one band, which will create a bottleneck in your Wi-Fi coverage, slowing down all of your browsing and streaming. But that's  a problem only if your router is offering 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 somewhere that's close enough to the router to grab a strong signal to rebroadcast, but far enough away to extend the network's range to where it's needed. To get the best performance, you'll want to position the device where the signal is unimpeded by anything that will disrupt radio waves, such as metal beams or  aquariums.
    Consider an Upgrade: If your wireless router isn't providing the speeds or coverage you want, it may be better to skip the Wi-Fi extender entirely and get a new router. Newer models offer better performance, and mesh routers will let you expand your wireless coverage across even the largest home.
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  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • durland
    Thanks, Tom. I'm taking your suggestion for best extender and clicking BUY.
  • 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! :-(
  • Nick_150
    thanks tom for this article. Very helpful as I've tried 3 different extenders so far but not this one
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • jwyantbusiness
    I have some basic questions about extending wifi outside to a metal building. Do you get an antenna for the metal building so it can hear the wifi in the house or do you get an antenna on the house pointed at the outside metal building to transmit a strong wifi signal that can be picked up by a wifi access point in the metal building.
  • whitblauvelt
    Don't know why you say the DAP-1620 needs separate setup for 2 and 5 GHz bands. I've had a couple of these (the first was flakey), and the only option it gave me was a single setup. It only connects to the main router on one band or the other, although when they both share the same ID it can sometimes switch between them. Then the 2GHz and 5GHz radios can be set to different IDs and passwords, if you like. But the setup is quick.
  • puffkit
    tom....i need a bit of advice. we have a tp link c9 in our basement ......my wife's laptop (other end of house about 60 feet away and up one floor; passes by kitchen) frequently has lapses in signal strength. i was looking at extenders but am a bit confused about which would be best for my scenario. i think the best would be an extender that she can hardwire with ethernet and have it right next to her computer. i was looking at something like the tplink ac1200 extender but b/c the extender will be essentially as far away as the laptop i may need stronger antennas to pickup the c9 signal without losing much? in this case should i look for something that has a longer range as an extender? any recommendations for this instance. ......
  • phinchiankok
    Details All Fields talk about
  • homenetworksolutions
    Informative article, I'm a bit behind on Extenders. If you have the money I would always recommend a Mesh Network System, not only do they give a large coverage area, they also provide a far more resilient network.