If you’re someone who’s been struggling to get a good wi-fi signal in certain parts of your house, you may be in need of a wifi extender. But with so many different options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best wifi extenders available, complete with the key features of each one. We hope this will help make your decision easier and give you the coverage you need.
What is a WiFi Extender?
A wifi extender is a device used to amplify the signal of an existing wireless network. It does this by recreating the same network name (SSID) and password as the original network, which allows devices to seamlessly switch between the two networks without any interruption.
Why Do I Need a WiFi Extender?
There are a few reasons you might need a wifi extender. Maybe you have a large home and the existing wi-fi router can’t reach all the way to the farthest corners. Perhaps you live in an older home with thick walls that block signals. Or, maybe you just have a lot of devices connecting to your network all at once, which can slow down the speed for everyone. Whatever the reason, a wifi extender can help improve your coverage and give you the reliable signal you need.
How to Choose the Best Wi-Fi Extender For Your Home
When choosing a wifi extender, you’ll want to keep in mind the size of your home, the existing signal strength, and the latest generation of technology. For example, if you have a small home or business and work close to the router, you might not need as powerful an extender as someone with a large home or office.
In the market for a new router? Check out our top choices on wifi routers.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a wi-fi extender:
AX Versus AC
The latest generation of extenders also offer better speeds and range than older models, so it’s worth keeping that in mind as well. “AX” is the newest generation, offering speeds up to 10 Gbps. “AC” is the previous generation, offering speeds up to 5 Gbps. The numbers that come after the AX or AC refer to the maximum theoretical speed in Mbps. In reality, you’ll never get speeds that high, but it’s a good way to compare the potential speed of different devices.
Wifi 5 Versus Wifi 6
During your search, you might also see terminology like “Wifi 6” or “Wifi 5” which refers to the 802.11ax or 802.11ac standard that the device uses. Wifi 5 is the older standard while Wifi 6 is the newest. Wifi 6 offers faster speeds and more efficient connections than Wifi 5. To figure out which generation of Wifi your devices use, check the manual or look for a label on the device itself.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the range of the extender. The range is how far away from the router the extender can be and still work effectively. Most home wi-fi extenders have a range of about 200 to 300 feet. If you need an extender for a large home, you may need to purchase multiple units to get full wi-fi coverage.
The 6 Best Wifi Extenders of 2023
- TP-Link RE550 (Best Overall Wifi Extender)
- TP-Link RE220 (Best Selling Wifi Extender)
- Linksys RE7310 (Best High-Performing WiFi 6 Extender)
- Asus RP-AX56 (Best Mesh-Compatible Wifi 6 Extender)
- TP-Link RE505X(Best Affordable WiFi 6 Extender Option)
- NETGEAR Nighthawk EAX80: Good For Gaming (Best Wifi Extender For Gaming)
Now that we’ve answered some of the basics, let’s get to the good stuff. Here are our picks for the best wifi extenders available on the market today.
1. TP-Link RE550
Best Overall Wifi Extender
With 4.4 stars and over 6,000 reviews on Amazon, the TP-Link RE550 WiFi Extender is one of our top picks for the best wifi extender. This little gadget covers up to 2800 Sq.ft and 35 devices, and it’s compatible with any router. Plus, you can use the free TP-Link Tether app to manage your network from anywhere. It has three antennas for maximum speed and range, and the external antennas are adjustable so you can get the perfect signal. Last but not least, this device has an ethernet port so you can connect a wired device like a TV or gaming console.
Remember, “AC1900” means that this extender offers speeds up to 1,900Mbps. In reality, you’ll never get speeds that high, but it’s still a fast and reliable connection. This extender also uses Wifi 5 (802.11ac) technology. So, if you have devices that use Wifi 6 (802.11ax), they’ll be downgraded to the older, slower standard when they’re connected to this extender.
For users, the only downside to this wi-fi extender seems to be how difficult it is to set up. However, TP-Link does offer 24/7 customer support if you need help getting it up and running.
If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable wifi extender for a home or small to medium-sized office, the TP-Link RE550 is a great option.
2. TP-Link RE220
Best Selling Wifi Extender
At less than $30 at the time of writing this, the TP-Link RE220 is one of the best budget wifi extenders out there. With over 50,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, it’s clear that this is a popular choice amongst customers. As far as signal length goes, it can extend the wifi up to 1200 sq.ft and 20 devices, so it’s a bit of a downgrade from our previous option in that regard.
It utilizes OneMesh technology; let’s take a second to talk about what that means. Essentially, OneMesh is a system that allows you to connect multiple TP-Link Mesh products together for a stronger, more seamless network. It is said to eliminate dead zones altogether by providing a single network for all of your devices. So, if you have other TP-Link products in your home, this could be a good option for you.
For the price, this is a great little device that can really help to extend your wifi signal to a single room or dead spot in your home. However, because of its low price, there are a few sacrifices that had to be made. First, it only uses Wifi 5 (802.11ac) technology like the previous option, so the same rules apply there. Second, the range is shorter at 1200 sq.ft, so it won’t be enough to cover a large home or office.
3. Linksys RE7310
Best High-Performing WiFi 6 Extender
Our first Wifi 6 extender on the list is the Linksys RE7310. This is a more expensive option at over $100, but it has the latest and greatest technology to offer. So, if you have devices that use Wifi 6, they’ll be able to connect at blazing-fast speeds.
This particular model can extend the wifi signal up to 2000 sq.ft and supports speeds up to 1,800Mbps. For reference, that’s a little over twice as much as the previous option. But again, you’re never actually going to get those speeds in real-world usage. It’s also compatible with any router, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
How does it compare with number one on our list? Well, you probably don’t need to worry about the minuscule speed difference if you’re stuck between these two options. It has a shorter range at only 2000 sq.ft as opposed to 2800 sq.ft. But, if you have Wifi 6 devices, this is the extender for you.
4. Asus RP-AX56
Best Mesh-Compatible Wifi 6 Extender
The Asus RP-AX56 is a great choice for those who need the latest and greatest technology has to offer. Like the previous option, it uses Wifi 6 technology and can extend the wifi signal up to 2200 sq.ft. However, its lack of security features makes it less ideal for business use.
It is compatible with AiMesh devices. The AiMesh system allows you to connect multiple Asus AiMesh-compatible devices together to create a powerful and seamless network. If you have other Asus products in your home, this is a great option for you. Mesh wifi systems are becoming increasingly popular, so this is a great feature to have. If you don’t have a mesh system, this is still a great option as it can extend the wifi signal to 2200 sq.ft on its own.
One of the downsides of this particular model is its lack of security features. Namely, it doesn’t password-protect the separate network it creates, so it’s less ideal for anyone concerned about security. However, if you’re not too worried about that, this is still a great wi-fi range extender and one of our top performers.
5. TP-Link RE505X
Best Affordable WiFi 6 Extender Option
Another TP-Link! It’s no accident that TP-Link products appear multiple times on this list. They produce a high volume of products that are all generally high-quality and affordable.
The TP-Link RE505X is a great choice for those who need a budget-friendly wifi extender without sacrificing too much in terms of performance. It uses Wifi 6 technology and can extend the wifi signal up to 1500 sq.ft. It’s also compatible with any router, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
It’s cheaper than other WiFi 6 models on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice. It has a solid performance and is a great option for anyone on a budget. However, it does have a shorter range than some of the other options on this list. Overall, it’s a healthy mix of performance and affordability, which is why it’s one of our top picks.
6. NETGEAR Nighthawk EAX80
Best Wifi Extender For Gaming
Rounding out our list is the NETGEAR Nighthawk EAX80. This is a more expensive option, but it’s one of the easiest to set up. It also has some great features that make it ideal for gaming and 4K streaming.
This particular model can extend the wifi signal up to 2500 sq.ft and can reach high speeds like the other extenders in our list. Dual-band technology ensures that you won’t experience any lag or buffering while gaming or streaming. It’s also very easy to set up with the NETGEAR app. Simply download the app, connect your extender, and you’re good to go.
The only downside is that it’s more expensive than any of the others on the list. And its performance value doesn’t always justify the price. But, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use extender with great performance, this is a great option for you.
Final Thoughts on the Best Wi-Fi Extenders
And there you have it! A list of the best wifi extenders on the market. No matter what your needs are, there’s an option on this list that’s perfect for you. So, don’t wait any longer, get a wifi extender and enjoy better wifi coverage in your home today.
Do you have a favorite wifi extender that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should my range extender have an ethernet port?
Ethernet ports are helpful because they allow you to connect wired devices, like printers or gaming consoles, to your network. This can be helpful if you want to keep those devices on a separate network from your other wireless devices.
Do I need to use the same SSID for my router and extender?
No, you don’t need to. In fact, it’s often helpful to use a different SSID (name) for your extender so that you can easily tell which network you’re connected to. However, you will need to enter the password for both networks whenever you want to connect a new device.
Is it better to have one big network or two smaller ones?
There’s no right answer to this question. It really depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you have a lot of devices that you want to be able to connect to either network, then one big network might be the best option. However, if you want to keep your wired and wireless devices on separate networks, then two smaller ones might be a better choice.
What do the “AX” and “AC” numbers mean?
When you’re looking at wi-fi range extenders, you may notice that some of them have “AX” or “AC” in the name. These refer to the latest generations of wifi technology, with AX being the newest. AC is still a perfectly good option, but if you have the opportunity to get an AX extender, it will be faster and more future-proof.
“AX” essentially means that the device is compatible with the 802.11ax standard, which is the latest and greatest in wifi technology. It offers speeds up to 10 Gbps (gigabits per second), which is about double what you’ll get with an AC extender. It’s also more efficient with how it uses the available spectrum, so you’re less likely to experience interference from other devices that are using the same frequency.
“AC” means that the device is compatible with the 802.11ac standard, which was the previous generation of wifi technology. It offers speeds up to 5 Gbps (gigabits per second), which is still quite fast. However, since it’s not the newest standard, you won’t get the same speeds as you would with an AX extender.
The numbers that come after the AX or AC (such as “1200”) refer to the maximum theoretical speed in Mbps (megabits per second). In reality, you’ll never get speeds that high, but it’s a good way to compare the potential speed of different devices.