WiFi Extender Buyers Guide

Best WiFi Extenders – Buyers Guide

Are Extenders The Answer?

An extender may be the answer to your WiFi woes or it may not. It’s tempting to think one of these wonderfully simple, inexpensive devices can sync up to your WiFi router and light up a large section of your home with screaming fast WiFi. Not so fast there Buddy! While it’s true a good WiFi extender can extend the range of your home WiFi signal there are limitations. 

using wifi extenders

Those limitations depend on things like the speed of your internet connection, the distance from your WiFI router, the section of your home that needs more coverage, and the demands of the users and devices on your network.

There is no simple way to calculate in advance if the results you’ll get from a WiFi extender will meet your expectations. The only way to find out is to try it for yourself and to save your receipt.

The Thing About WiFi Extenders

The unfortunate thing about many extenders is they play the role of the middle man. On one hand, they’re reaching back to the WiFi router to grab all the Internet goodies they can. On the other hand, they’re simultaneously trying to push it all out to your remote devices.

Having to do all that “double duty” ends up slowing the extenders down and reducing the bandwidth you end up with at the far end of your home by almost 50%. True this is better than the 10% they were getting before but it’s not a perfect solution.

To overcome this many WiFi extenders that have a special 2nd or 3rd band reserved for communication back and forth to the router. This frees up the other band for your devices. Other extenders and some WiFi routers allow you to switch them to AP mode.

This allows you to connect an Ethernet cable from your main WiFi router and the extender/router. This frees up the WiFi side of the device for device communication. Some extenders will allow you to choose between these multiple connection types until you find one that suits you best.

For more on how to use extenders and access points to expand your WiFi coverage and even how to convert old WiFi routers that you may have laying around the house into access points and extenders see the chapter on Extending Your Home Network in the WiFi Guys Home IT Pro Handbook

The fastest way to connect an extender is by using its WPS feature. Simply press the WPS button on your WiFi router (If it has one.) and do the same on the extender. In a few seconds, they’ll be connected. WPS has some known security holes so it’s best to use this initial connection to connect to the extender web or mobile interface and reconfigure your WiFi network names and passwords.

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An Important Difference Between WiFi Extenders And Mesh

One of the biggest differences between extenders and Mesh systems is what I like to call “stickiness” – extenders have it and mesh systems don’t.  Stickiness happens when a device is connected to a weak WiFi signal and refuses to let go of the signal until it’s out of range. Traditional WiFi systems don’t have the intelligence to realize a stronger more useful signal is nearby like Mesh systems do.

A Mesh system will drop a weak signal in favor of a stronger one automatically. This is known as “seamless roaming.” Even if your extender has the same SSID and password as your main WiFi router you’ll still need to manually disconnect from one to connect to the other. This is a huge hassle if you regularly roam around your home with mobile devices such as phones and tablets. 

Wi-Fi Extenders Setup And Test – Video

When To Use WiFi Extenders

WiFi Extenders are still useful devices when used properly. The best use for an extender is in a home with a strong WiFi signal throughout most of it with a few exceptions such as the bedroom in the far corner of the house or a basement with a single TV or gaming system that’s starving for WiFi.

I wouldn’t go too crazy with extenders by buying too many either because their signals can interfere with each other. 

In short, the less you expect from a WiFi extender the less disappointed you’ll be. The devices are not a replacement for a second router or a Mesh WiFi system but they can be a cheap and easy solution for small areas in your home that are suffering from poor WiFi coverage.

When used properly WiFi Extenders can be a quick and easy way to expand the wireless coverage in your home. coverage. They can be tricky to set up at times and may not always provide the performance you’re looking for.

Top 5

1. Netgear Nighthawk X6

Cool design, exceptional power, and connectivity. The Netgear Nighthawk X6 allows seamless roaming with your current wireless router. The Netgear Nighthawk X6 is a tri-band router that can produce Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3200 Mbps. and deliver superb performance and value at that price. Regrettably, that’s about what you would pay for a Mesh alternative. It may attractive purchase for users who own other Netgear devices and are already in love with the Netgear ecosystem.

Netgear Nighthawk X6 Full Review

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Netgear Nighthawk X6 Wi-Fi Extender Review
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Design The design of the Netgear Nighthawk X6 fits its name. The angular lines bring the recently retired F-117A Nighthawk Stealth fighter jet to mind. This is in direct contrast to other WiFi …

2. Linksys RE7000

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Linksys WiFi Extender, WiFi 5 Range Booster, Dual-Band Booster, 2,500 Sq. ft...

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Last update was on: January 14, 2023 11:05 pm

The Linksys RE7000 Extender is a powerful WiFi extender with MU-MIMO and Beamforming support. Its MaxStream feature makes it an almost irresistible option for owners of MaxStream-compatible WiFi routers who wish to extend coverage without spending the expense of an expensive WiFi mesh system. The Access Point mode feature adds to this extender’s flexibility. The RE7000 extender is flexible, simple to set up, and powerful.

Linksys RE7000 Full Review

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The Linksys RE7000 Extender boosts your existing home network by increasing WiFi range and speed, delivering dual-band AC1900 (2.4GHz and 5GHz) WiFi up to 600Mbps. Design The Linksys RE7000 …

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TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender (RE450), PCMag Editor's Choice, Up to 1750Mbps, Dual...

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Last update was on: January 14, 2023 11:05 pm
$50.26 $99.99

The TP-Link RE450 WiFi Extender offers excellent range and speed for an affordable price. The easy installation and intuitive setup make any hesitation for an upgrade high. The TP-Link RE450s “Editors Choice” designation for WiFi Extenders stems from the great cost-to-benefit ratio. Unfortunately, OneMesh compatibility is lacking, which prevents this WiFi extender from perfectly meeting the needs of TP-Link wireless router owners.

TP-Link RE450 Full Review

Editor Choice
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TP-Link RE450 WiFi Extender Review
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TP-Link is a leading provider of home and commercial networking solutions. The TP-Link RE450 WiFi extender is a powerful device that can extend the reach of your wireless network. It’s easy …

4. Netgear EX6120

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NETGEAR Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6120 - Coverage Up to 1500 Sq Ft...

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Last update was on: January 14, 2023 11:05 pm
$39.98 $69.99

Netgear’s EX6120 Extender is a small white and silver plug-in that barely draws attention to itself except for the conspicuous antennas sticking out of its sides. Its small size can actually be considered an advantage, considering that compared to other plug-in extenders, it does not block adjacent electrical outlets. It uses a simple system of LED indicator lights to help place the device.

Netgear EX6120 Full Review

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Netgear EX6120 Extender Review
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The Netgear EX6120 Extender can extend the reach of a wired network by up to 600 feet. The extender supports up to eight devices, including two wired and six wireless client devices. It also …
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TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender (RE220), Covers Up to 1200 Sq.ft and 20...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: January 14, 2023 11:05 pm
$22.99 $34.99

The TP-Link AC750 Extender is not intended for extremely high-speed transfer speeds, but the connections are solid. The higher-frequency band offers 300Mbps speed while the low-frequency band delivers 433GHz. This is good enough for one or two Wi-Fi devices and a workstation in a room in the far corner of your home. This is a dual-band extender, so you prevent the loss of 50% of the data transfer rate with other extenders.

TP-Link AC750 Full Review

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TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender Review
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The TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender is a small, discreet device that can extend the reach of an existing router by up to 750 feet. The AC750 can be used to increase the range of a wireless network or …

Buzzwords You Should Know

WPS

WPS stands for WiFi Protected Setup. It’s also known as the “push-button” method of WiFi security. Instead of manually creating a network name and password for your WiFi network depressing the WPS button automatically generates a code that connects a device to the wireless router. Unfortunately, there are known security holes in WPS. The best practice is to use it to establish an initial connection and then use the device’s web or mobile interface to manually configure a more secure connection.

Access Point Mode

Many routers and extenders provide an optional “access point” mode for additional flexibility. When a router or extender is switched to access point mode an Ethernet cable can be used to create a connection between the main router and the access point. This in effect creates a 2nd WiFi router that doesn’t suffer from the same loss of bandwidth an extender does

Seamless Roaming

The ability of a Mesh network system to allow a client device to automatically release a weak connection in exchange for a stronger one.  Traditional WiFi routers and extenders don’t have this ability. 

Affiliate Disclosure

Jerry Jones (WiFi Guy) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” – Jerry Jones

Affiliate Disclosure

Jerry Jones (WiFi Guy) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” – Jerry Jones

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