Dealing with slow internet or dead spots? Our home office experts researched over 50 WiFi extenders before buying and testing 9 of the top-rated models on the market for an in-depth side-by-side analysis. We evaluated each model on its ease of setup, installation, and use. We even compared the product's aesthetics and measured WiFi ranges and speeds. Whether you're trying to get a signal boost to the office in the far corner of your home, or you need more WiFi coverage for guests or a special event, we've put together the test results you'll need to choose the best WiFi extender for you.
The TP-Link AX1500 outshined the competition, blowing us away with its impressive range. It stayed connected to a mobile device at a longer distance than any other extender we tested. It was easy to connect to the router, does not require an app for mobile devices, and offers an easy setup compared to other models. This extender creates a seamless network with compatible routers, so your devices will always connect to the strongest signal, whether or not it is from the extender or your primary router. Additionally, AX1500 features a single gigabit ethernet port, allowing a device to take advantage of hardwired speed and reliability.
Although the TP-Link AX1500 supports WiFi over an extensive range, it isn't the fastest WiFi extender in our fleet. If you're using an extender for gaming or other high-speed applications, you might want to consider a model that supports higher Megabits per second (Mbps) rates. While aesthetics are subjective, we don't find this model very attractive. It protrudes nearly two inches out of a wall outlet and has two less-than-sleek-looking antennas. Speed and aesthetics aside, TP-Link AX1500 is hands-down one of the best WiFi extenders in our lineup. We recommend it to anyone searching for a wall plug model capable of covering an extended range.
The TP-Link RE220 is one of our favorite extenders we tested. Set up is made easy with a QR code on the box that links to the app and guides you through a setup that takes mere minutes. We love its stylish look and the fact that it's no larger than the average air freshener or night light. Despite its size and aesthetics, the RE-220 has still managed to fit in an ethernet port, which is fantastic.
The RE-220 has an excellent range for home use. However, we recommend opting for another device if you need to project a signal over more extensive square footage for businesses or special events. On that note, it's not the fastest repeater. So you'll need a faster model to get maximum Mbps for gaming or an office. Despite that, we still think RE-220 is great for most applications.
The TP-Link N300 is an excellent choice if you need a decent WiFi extender at an affordable price. This device has a more tolerable look than models with several extra antennas, and as with all wall plug mount models, there are no wires or cords to deal with. The setup process for the N300 was swift and easy, with a QR code on the box that directly links your phone to the proper avenue for downloading the TP-Link Tether app.
The TP-Link N300 lacks in a few ways. First off, the range is unimpressive, and it's not the fastest due to its single 2.4 GHz band. It also only allows connection for eight devices, so if you need to boost the signal for many computers, phones, and tablets, the N300 is probably not the right one for you. We think this WiFi extender would be better suited for one or two devices in a smaller space than an entire home or office, and its bargain price makes it a great buy for those shopping on a budget.
If you don't feel like downloading apps, resetting your router, or dealing with confusing instruction pamphlets, we recommend the Netgear EX5000. Netgear claims that this product takes five minutes to set up, but it only took us about three minutes. It does not require an app; any browser will guide you through the setup process by simply going to the website listed on the box or scanning the QR code. Although it's a bit boxy, the EX5000 is compact and has a discreet look. This model can connect up to 25 devices, the highest number we've seen to date. Where this model truly shines is in the speed it delivers. During our Mbps tests, the EX5000 was much faster than any other wall plug model that we've used to date.
Unfortunately, the Netgear EX5000 does not support mesh capabilities, so you'll need to manually change back to your primary router if you're in a location where the extender signal is weaker than the primary router signal. The compact design lacks an ethernet port, so if you want to hardwire a device to the extender, you'll need to look into a different model. Despite some minor drawbacks, the EX5000 WiFi extender is a top choice for those needing high speeds and an easy setup.
If you're in the market for a WiFi extender that looks good, works well, and connects many devices, check out the TP-Link RE300. This model supports up to 25 devices, making it an excellent choice for households or offices with many connected devices. Thanks to its dual bandwidth, it also has decent speed and range. This model has no antennas, giving it a nice, sleek look, which we liked.
One way that we found that the RE300 fell short is the lack of an ethernet plug — this device can only repeat wireless signals. As far as wall plug-style models go, the RE300 is not the most affordable extender, but if you need an extended signal for several devices, we still think it's a reliable option.
Right out of the box, the Netgear EX6150 stood out to us with how easy the setup process was. The Netgear Nighthawk App allows you to automatically set up the extender using their SmartConnect mesh system without having to rename a network or reconnect all of your devices to a new network. This simple process, coupled with the wall plug design and lack of wires, will have you boosting your signal in a matter of mere minutes. The EX6150 also offers a substantial range for a wall plug style model, 1200 square feet. We love that this model has a discreet look and doesn't stick out of the wall very far.
However, this model has only one ethernet port, so if you're looking to hardwire several devices straight into your extender, this is not the one. The EX6150 is also on the pricey side. Despite that, if you're looking for an extender that seamlessly integrates with your current wireless system, we think that it's worth the time saved.
A Solid Dual Band WiFi Extender with a Classic Look
We like that the BrosTrend Wifi Extender package includes an ethernet cable for its port located on the bottom of the unit. Its classic look of a small box with two antennas isn't quite as snazzy as other models but is also much less of a mess to look at than the models with several antennas.
During our internet speed trials, the BrosTrend finished in the middle of the road. The setup also wasn't our favorite. There is a WPS button function for pairing with a router, yet BrosTrend does not have an app. That means you'll need to navigate to their website to create the administrator login and password for the extender and then write it down on a piece of paper for backup.
With a range of 1100 sq feet and an ethernet cable port, the D-Link DAP-1720 is a pretty solid WiFi extender and a solid choice for a wall plug model for someone who requires a decent amount of range. We found the signal indicator to be handy for letting users know their connectivity level with the primary router. This model finished reasonably well for a dual-band model during our speed tests.
With its three antennas, we didn't think the DAP-1720 had the most modern-looking aesthetics, so if you're looking for a more sleek device design, this isn't the one. It's also a bit top-heavy, and it nearly falls out in certain outlets. The setup process for the D-Link system seems a bit dated when compared to the models that have apps associated with them. A configuration card with passwords and codes is included in this package that could easily get lost.
An OK WiFi Extender at an OK Price
Amake Super Boost
Range: 800 sq. ft. | Bandwidth: 2.4 GHz
REASONS TO BUY
Ethernet port and cable
Access point mode
REASONS TO AVOID
You can set up the Amake Super Boost in a repeater mode for stronger wireless coverage or an AP mode. Once set up, its "access point" capabilities let you plug it directly into a modem to create a small area of WiFi.
However, most hotels and restaurants do not have their modem out for public access. Most places have wireless routers plugged into their modems, making this a bit of a useless feature, except in particular situations. The Amake also protrudes from the wall a bit, giving it an awkward look. The setup process for the Super Boost is convoluted and requires the user to enter their current WiFi password into a questionable website. This device would make a good choice for someone who needs a wireless signal projected directly from the router over a minimal area and is willing to sacrifice a little bit of security.
Why You Should Trust Us
At GearLab, we pride ourselves that we don't build our reviews from manufacturer specs or other reviews. We purchase each product from the same retailers as our readers to get our own hands and eyes on them. We create a unique and comprehensive test plan for each product category we test, including side-by-side analysis to gauge each contender's true performance.
We are well versed in office products as we've reviewed many over the years, providing us with extensive knowledge and experience. To prepare for this review, we researched over 50 of the best WiFi extenders on the market before buying and testing 9 of the top-rated models to send through testing. We subjected each product to 13 individual tests to rate their performance.
Our tests cover three weighted rating metrics:
Ease of Use
Speed and Range
An important test metric assesses speed and range, which involves more than 3 specific tests. To test speed, we set each WiFi extender up precisely halfway between our router and device, a distance of 25 feet. We ran tests on smartphones and laptops and recorded the results using a free internet speed test website. To test range, we connected a smartphone to the extenders, pushed play on a YouTube video, and slowly walked away until the WiFi connection was lost, then measured the distance back to the extender with a measuring wheel.
Leading the charge on our WiFi Extender review is Ross Patton. Ross's educational background is in environmental science, so he's no stranger to running experiments and spending time in the lab. Additionally, he has ten years of product testing experience and has worked on projects such as Bluetooth trackers and lithium-ion battery-powered tools.
Analysis and Test Results
Our devised test plan contains three test metrics to assess all aspects of a WiFi extender's performance, including ease of use, aesthetics, and speed and range. How the competition performs in these metrics is detailed below.
Ease of Use
We determined the amount of involvement each WiFi extender requires from plug to play to assess ease of use; in other words, from unboxing to operation. Our evaluation involved noting the included cables, instruction booklets, cords, and configuration cards. Next, we meticulously inspect each model for various buttons, plugs, lights, and ports. We mostly weighted this metric towards each extender's setup process and how they interfaced with the current WiFi router.
In terms of setup, the TP-Link AX1500 and Netgear EX5000 are very similar. Both units have QR codes on their packaging that take you directly to the setup website when scanned. Alternatively, you can manually enter them. Neither box had cords or cables — just a simple wall plug extender. Many extenders require installing an app. However, you can configure these two models using an internet browser. This is an excellent feature for those who have enough apps and don't want to clutter their smartphone with another one or don't like relying on an app for everything. Plus, neither of these WiFi extenders requires you to reset or push any buttons on your existing modem, making them extremely easy to use. We could unbox, plug in, and have these contenders repeating an existing WiFi signal in under five minutes each.
We used our expert panel of judges to score each device's look and feel subjectively for aesthetics. We agreed that the more sleek-looking extenders with the least amount of antennas looked the best.
Our favorite model for this metric was the TP-Link AC750 RE220, as it looks more like a nightlight or an air freshener than something emitting a WiFi signal. Also scoring well for this metric is the Netgear EX5000, which looks a bit more like an extender but lacks antennas.
Our other favorites for their looks are the TP-Link AX1500 and the TP-Link N300. These each only have two antennas, unlike other models that have three or four. In particular, the TP-Link N300 has very minimal dimensions, making it less noticeable.
Speed and Range
Speed and range are dependent on the strength and number of bands that the extender provides. Single bands broadcast at 2.4 GHz, dual bands emit 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and the newest triple-band models have two 5 GHz bands and a 2.4 GHz band. The higher the bandwidth and the more bands available, the more range and speed the extender will produce.
To test speed, we placed each contender precisely midway between our router and the devices (a distance of 25 feet), then ran tests on smartphones and laptops and recorded the results using one of the many free internet speed test websites. To test range, we connected a smartphone to the extenders, played a YouTube video, then slowly walked away until the WiFi connection was lost. Using a professional-grade measuring wheel, we measured the distance back to the extender.
Tip: Since speed and range for WiFi extenders are intertwined, you'll need to be mindful of where you're placing it compared to the router. If you place your extender too close to the router, it will reduce the range. But, if you have the extender too far away from the router, it will reduce the speed.
Two dual-band models stood out during this assessment — the Netgear EX5000 and the TP-Link AX1500. The EX5000 showed a fantastic speed of 63 Mbps on a laptop and 28 Mbps on a smartphone. We were able to keep a WiFi connection up to a distance of 45 feet with this model.
The TP-Link AX1500 is not quite as fast as either of the NetGear models mentioned above, but it still showed 45 Mbps on a laptop and 16 Mbps on a smartphone. However, the AX1500's range is where it outshines the rest of the lineup. This extender was able to play a YouTube video up to a distance of 75 feet.
Networking products can be a confusing and challenging category to navigate. This review will help you find a user-friendly product that is straightforward to set up and robust enough to suit your needs without overspending on a device that is more powerful than necessary. Our goal is to provide comprehensive data and information so that you can confidently purchase the perfect product for your needs and budget.