Best Wi-Fi Extenders 2022

Clear out those annoying dead zones with one of the best Wi-Fi extenders you can get.

Our pick: Which Wi-Fi extender is best?

The NETGEAR EX8000 is our top pick for best Wi-Fi extender because it has an incredible range of 2,500 square feet. It packs three bands (one 2.4 GHz, two 5 GHz), four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a USB-A port. Sure, it’s rather pricey for an extender, but there’s enough connectivity here to make your router jealous.

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5 best Wi-Fi extenders

Compare Wi-Fi extender features and prices

ModelStandardMax throughputPrice*Get it
Best overallNETGEAR EX8000Wi-Fi 53,000 Mbps$149.99View on Amazon
Best for budgetsTP-Link TL-WA855REWi-Fi 4300 Mbps$19.99View on Amazon
Best for large homesTP-Link RE450Wi-Fi 51,750 Mbps$59.99View on Amazon
Best for multiple usersLinksys RE7000Wi-Fi 51,900 Mbps$50.00View on Amazon
Best compact extenderNETGEAR EX6120Wi-Fi 51,200 Mbps$59.99View on Amazon

What should you look for in a Wi-Fi extender?

You should look for range, Wi-Fi specification, and ports when choosing a Wi-Fi extender.

First, be sure the extender supports a recent Wi-Fi specification like Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless AC) and Wi-Fi 6 (Wireless AX). Wi-Fi extenders based on Wi-Fi 4 (Wireless N) are fine if you’re on a budget, and range is more important than speed.

Second, you want a Wi-Fi extender that actually extends your Wi-Fi network a decent amount. Some product listings make this information front and center, while others require a little digging on the manufacturer’s website.

Finally, keep an eye on the port count. Most typically ship with one Ethernet port supporting 1,000 Mbps, which you can utilize for computers, consoles, and other devices.

Best overall—NETGEAR EX8000

Best overall

$149.99*

Specs:

  • Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Max throughput: 3,000 Mbps
  • Antennas: 6
  • Streams: 2 or 4 (depends on the band)
  • Band 1: Up to 400 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
  • Band 2: Up to 866 Mbps (5 GHz)
  • Band 3: Up to 1,733 Mbps (5 GHz)
  • Range: 2,500 sq. ft.
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1x USB-A port (480 Mbps)

The NETGEAR EX8000 doesn’t play around. It pushes usable speeds up to 866 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and packs four Gigabit Ethernet ports to support multiple wired devices. There’s even a USB port for sharing files or a printer across your local network.

But don’t let the tri-band selling point fool you: the faster 5 GHz connection can’t be used directly like the other two bands. Instead, it’s a dedicated wireless fast lane between the extender and a compatible router, creating a solid Wi-Fi backbone that your devices will never disrupt and clutter.

Under the hood, this extender hides six antennas for better beamforming. Its MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output) technology allows the extender to communicate with devices simultaneously—older SU-MIMO (single-user MIMO) tech can handle only one connection request at a time.

Of course, all these features come at a price—but we think it’s worth it if you’re serious about extending Wi-Fi coverage throughout your house.

Pros

  • Employs MU-MIMO technology
  • Dedicates one band for the router only

Cons

  • Expensive price
  • No USB 3.2

Best for budgets—TP-Link TL-WA855RE

Best budget pick

$14.99*

Specs:

  • Standard: Wi-Fi 4
  • Max throughput: 300 Mbps
  • Antennas: 2
  • Streams: 2 each band
  • Band 1: Up to 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
  • Range: 886 sq. ft.
  • 1x Fast Ethernet port (100 Mbps)

If you’re willing to sacrifice some features for a more basic approach to a Wi-Fi extender, the price of TP-Link’s TL-WA855RE is hard to beat.

This extender provides just one 2.4 GHz band supporting speeds of up to 300 Mbps to keep the price low. The Ethernet port is old-school, too, limiting the wired connection to 100 Mbps. From what we could tell, the range is only 886 square feet, far lower than other extenders on our list.

One neat feature is the extender’s ability to switch to access point (AP) mode. Generally, extenders repeat your router’s Wi-Fi network, including the name (SSID). With AP mode, you connect the extender directly to the router using an Ethernet cable. In turn, the extender creates a new Wi-Fi network outside your router’s reach.

Overall, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another Wi-Fi range extender close to the TL-WA855RE’s price—most run at least double or even triple what it costs.

Pros

  • Has a low price tag
  • Supports AP mode

Cons

  • Provides just one band
  • Doesn’t have a wide range

Best for large homes—TP-Link RE450

Best for large homes

$59.99*

Specs:

  • Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Max throughput: 1,750 Mbps
  • Antennas: 3
  • Streams: 3 each band
  • Band 1: Up to 450 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
  • Band 2: Up to 1,300 Mbps (5 GHz)
  • Range: 2,000 sq. ft.
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet port

Though it looks a bit ungainly with its three-pronged design, the TP-Link RE450 earned great reviews on Amazon for its ability to extend Wi-Fi signals through walls, into other rooms, and even to other floors.

One hidden feature we love about this extender is the High Speed Mode. Usually, a router and extender send and receive data using the same band. With High Speed Mode, the extender uses one band to communicate with the router and one band to communicate with wireless devices.

While it provides a gigabit Ethernet port, we’re not fond of this port residing on the extender’s side. You can pair it with your router by pressing the RE button on the front (and the WPS button on the router), or you can wire it directly to your router if you don’t mind the cable.

Pros

  • Provides a great range
  • Combines both bands in High Speed Mode

Cons

  • Places the Ethernet port on the side
  • Features a top-heavy design

Best for multiple users—Linksys RE7000

Best for multiple users

$50.00*

Specs:

  • Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Max throughput: 1,900 Mbps
  • Antennas: 4
  • Streams: 3 each band
  • Band 1: Up to 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
  • Band 2: Up to 1,300 Mbps (5 GHz)
  • Range: 2,500 sq. ft.
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet port

Just like the NETGEAR EX8000, the Linksys RE7000 comes with MU-MIMO technology. But while both extenders are great for connecting multiple devices simultaneously, the Linksys RE7000 comes in at a much lower price point.

The big difference between this model and NETGEAR’s EX8000 is speed and connectivity. The RE7000 uses three streams versus two on the EX8000, so your maximum usable speed is 1,300 Mbps (versus 866 Mbps). However, the RE7000 has just one Ethernet port and no USB port whatsoever.

The result is a Wi-Fi extender with the same range, but with fewer connections at a far cheaper price point. It’s also much more compact than NETGEAR’s EX8000, although other Wi-Fi extenders tend to be less bulky. If you’re prone to accidents, the Linksys RE7000 might prove just enough to catch an unwary shin or snag your vacuum cord.

Pros

  • Provides a great range
  • Includes a gigabit Ethernet port

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a USB port

Best compact extender—NETGEAR EX6120

Best for odd-shaped rooms

$59.99*

Specs:

  • Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Max throughput: 1,200 Mbps
  • Antennas: 2
  • Streams: 2 each band
  • Band 1: Up to 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
  • Band 2: Up to 866 Mbps (5 GHz)
  • Range: 1,500 sq. ft.
  • 1x Fast Ethernet port (100 Mbps)

If you have a home office or area around the house that always seems to have a spotty connection, NETGEAR’s EX6120 will make for a quick and cheap solution.

Of all the Wi-Fi extenders on our list, the EX6120 is the least wide and shortest. It’s slightly longer than the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream unit, but it’s still a great compact solution that will blend into your surroundings better than the competition.

Outside of its compact size, the EX6120 has a decent range and speed for the price. The Ethernet port supports only a maximum of 100 Mbps, which is fine so long as your wireless connection between the router and extender stays strong.

Pros

  • Features a compact design
  • Provides a decent range

Cons

  • Supports 100 Mbps wired connections only
  • Doesn’t include a USB port

Extender vs. repeater vs. booster: What’s the difference?

All three terms apply to the same thing: a standalone device for capturing your network signals and sending them into areas your router can’t reach. Most Wi-Fi extenders now have two modes you can toggle from the bottom or the side: repeat and extend. We’ll explain both modes and how an extender can boost your Wi-Fi.

Repeater

By default, an extender connects to your router using Wi-Fi. To set it up, press the WPS button or log in to your Wi-Fi network through the repeater’s app or web interface. It then captures and repeats your router’s Wi-Fi through amplified antennas, so you don’t need to manually disconnect and reconnect as you roam. But your data throughput doesn’t increase in speed because there’s no wired connection to the router.

Extender (access point)

With the access point mode enabled, the extender connects to your router using Wi-Fi, an Ethernet cable, or a coax cable. It creates a new Wi-Fi network, so you must manually connect your wireless devices upon first use—they reconnect when you move outside the router’s range. This mode has the fastest data throughput if you use a wired connection, but it ties up the Ethernet port.

Booster

This term applies to all Wi-Fi extenders because they “boost” your Wi-Fi range. Extenders have amplified antennas, so if you get a -80 dBm signal from your router while standing next to the bookcase, a Wi-Fi extender in that spot may broadcast a -38 dBm signal, which is far better—the closer to zero, the stronger the signal. What extenders can’t do is increase your data speed unless it’s wired to the router.

What if an extender doesn’t solve my Wi-Fi issues?

Aside from grabbing a Wi-Fi extender, there are a few other steps you can take to boost your Wi-Fi signal strength.

Put your router in a central location

You should place your router in an area where its signal can have the easiest possible access to your various devices. Of course, if your Ethernet jack sits in a remote corner of a bedroom, you probably can’t move your router. In this case, a Wi-Fi extender is a great solution.

Move your antennas

Try adjusting your router’s antennas, so they all point at different angles, with at least one sitting horizontally and another standing perpendicular. Is your router missing external antennas? You can try rotating it to better position its internal antennas instead.

Move obstructions

Position your router so walls, doors, and furniture do not block it. You can also place it high up on a shelf or mount it on a wall to make the signal travel better. And keep it away from your microwave, which will interfere with the router’s 2.4 GHz band.

Update your router

Check for any firmware updates for your router. Manufacturers typically publish at least one update (unless yours is brand new). However, if your router is based on the older 802.11b/g/n standards, you should upgrade to a router that supports 802.11ac. Take a look at some options in our guide to long-range routers and mesh systems.

Move to the 5 GHz frequency

If you have a dual- or tri-band router, you can connect your extender to the 5 GHz band instead of the 2.4 GHz band. Swapping your extender to the 5 GHz band means you’ll probably have less interference because most wireless devices use the 2.4 GHz band. You can learn how to set up and swap to the 5 GHz band by checking your router’s online support articles.

Why doesn’t your device see the advertised combined speed?

A single device will never see the advertised combined speed because the number represents the maximum output to all devices connected simultaneously.

For example, the NETGEAR EX8000 advertises speeds of up to 3,000 Mbps. This number is the sum of all three bands combined:

400 Mbps + 866 Mbps + 1,733 Mbps = 2,999 Mbps

That means you can have one modern smartphone connected to the 400 Mbps connection and one connected to the 866 Mbps connection, and they’ll use the full bandwidth—remember, the 1,733 Mbps connection isn’t available. These two devices must share that bandwidth with other devices when they join, so the maximum speeds for each device will be lower.

The third band is faster because it uses four incoming and four outgoing streams to communicate with a compatible router. Generally, most devices like tablets, smartphones, laptops, and game consoles use a 2×2 configuration only, which is why the extender’s slower 5 GHz band has a maximum speed of just 866 Mbps.

In the real world, you’ll never see the advertised maximum speeds. They’re based on what the hardware can do, but interference, distance, and so on prevent those maximum speeds. Here’s a handy chart to better explain NETGEAR’s advertised speed:

Band# of streamsMbps per streamTotal Mbps per band
2.4 GHz2200400
5 GHz2433867
5 GHz44331,733
Total:2,999

Our verdict

We think the NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000 is the best Wi-Fi extender you can get. It packs three connections—one of which is a dedicated wireless line to your router—along with four gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port. Sure, it costs a pretty penny, but it’s an excellent way to expand your current network without purchasing an even more expensive router.

Of course, the other Wi-Fi extenders on our list are great too. Each does an excellent job addressing a specific scenario, like multiple users, large homes, and budget-minded individuals. To complement your fast Wi-Fi network, enter your zip code below to see if there’s a plan with better speeds offered in your area.

FAQ about Wi-Fi extenders

Do Wi-Fi extenders really work?

Wi-Fi extenders work well when you need extra coverage to fill in the dead zones around an apartment, house, or office. But they are not always the fix you need. There can be other issues that lead to a weak Wi-Fi signal like slow internet or bad router positioning.

Where should I place a Wi-Fi extender?

To get the best out of a Wi-Fi extender, place it between the midpoint of your router and the computer or other device you’re trying to connect to Wi-Fi. It helps if the router and the extender are in clear view of each other, so avoid separating them by a wall or door and keep any metal appliances out of their way.

What do “AC3000” and similar labels mean?

The letters in these labels signify a Wi-Fi standard. For instance, an AC3000 type is based on Wireless AC (Wi-Fi 5), while an N300 type is based on Wireless N (Wi-Fi 4). Right off the bat, you know what generation the device supports. The numbers represent the maximum speed of the router’s wireless connections when combined.

Still stuck with slow speeds even after a tech upgrade? Maybe it’s time for a new internet plan. Enter your ZIP code to see what’s in your area.

Author -

Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel columns to internet guides and reviews. She's a lead writer on internet and technology for Reviews.org and believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, that everyone should have access to. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.