Best WiFi Extender: our pick of the best internet range extenders

The best WiFi extenders to make your internet connection go a little bit (or a lot) further

best wifi extender NETGEAR Nighthawk EAX80 AX6000 WiFi 6 Range Extender
(Image credit: Netgear)

As our homes become automated havens of smart devices and technology, the stress put on our WiFi connections is becoming more of a problem. This goes even more for those not using one of the best WiFi extenders, but who were already dealing with weak signals, random drop-outs, and dead zones across their homes, sometimes making a smart home more trouble than it's worth.

But the good news is that WiFi extenders have developed at the same rate as the rest of the home technology world, and so can offer support for your existing WiFi speeds. These range from the fastest mesh network extenders to cheaper plug-in boosters that can solve problems in badly-connected areas.

A good extender will make all of the difference when trying to set up common smart home devices including the best video doorbells, security cameras, and TVs. 

We've taken a look at the best WiFi extenders available right now, listing the best below. So whether you want a low-maintenance plug-in device or something a little more advanced, we have you (and your internet) covered.

The best WiFi extenders 2022

NETGEAR Nighthawk EAX80 AX6000 WiFi 6 Range Extender

(Image credit: Netgear)

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk EAX80 AX6000

Best WiFi extender overall

Specifications

Speed: 6,000mb/s
Standard: AC, AX, N
Band: Dual
Connection: Wired, wireless
App?: Yes
Dimensions: 10 x 4.2 x 7.7in
Weight: 1.9lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Wi-Fi 6 networking standard
+
Set-up and control via Nighthawk app
+
Ultra fast 6000mb/s speeds

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

The fastest Wi-Fi extender on our list, reaching up to 6 gigabits per second, the Netgear Nighthawk EAX80 AX600 Range Extender is our top pick for households that want to get more out of their existing internet connection. Working to create a mesh Wi-Fi from your current coverage, it's recommended for those experiencing dead spots.

The 8-stream Wi-Fi means it can handle more with its bandwidth, and it's especially useful if you want your internet to reach areas such as your yard or porch area where security cameras and smart doorbells may reside. You can also use an ethernet cable (you get four ports) to connect devices such as gaming consoles.

Of course, with lots of features comes a higher price tag, and we would recommend that only those with a large amount of ground to cover (or particularly patchy coverage) and serious internet usage spend this much. But if you want the best, then this is it.

TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: TP-Link)
Best WiFi extender for large homes

Specifications

Speed: 800mb/s
Standard: AC, N
Band: Dual
Connection: Wired, wireless
App?: Yes
Dimensions: 1.6 x 3.4 x 6.4in
Weight: 1lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Plug-in
+
Suitable for homes up to 14,000 sqft

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower speeds

A more traditional plug-in Wi-Fi extender, the TP-Link AX2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender is simpler than simple to set up. Just find an empty socket and you're in business. The quartet of antennas on the sides of the device then promises to extend your signal up to 14,000 sqft for better overall connections. 

Note though that, despite extending your Wi-Fi's reach the most of the examples on this list, speeds only reach about 800 megabits/s over 2.4GHz and 1,733 megabits/s over 5GHz. But the company promises this is more than enough to enjoy better 4K streaming and intense gaming.

There's also something called 'beamforming technology' that offers targeted Wi-FI signals to individual devices that need a connection. You can also connect your tech via ethernet cable for more reliable speeds.

NETGEAR Orbi Voice AC2200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: Netgear)

3. NETGEAR Orbi Voice AC2200

Best smart WiFi extender

Specifications

Speed: 2,200mb/s
Standard: AC, N
Band: Tri
Connection: Wireless, wired
App?: Yes
Dimensions: 4.9 x 8.6 x 6.3in
Weight: 3.9lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Fast 2200mb/s speeds
+
Built-in Alexa smart speaker
+
Tri-band Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-
Only suitable for homes up to 2,000 sqft
-
Very expensive

A smart speaker and Wi-Fi extender in one package, the Netgear Orbi Voice AC2200 is designed to form part of a wider Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system but adds a ton of new features tied to Alexa on top. That makes it a fantastic option if you've been meaning to set up a smart home, or just want an extra multi-tasking speaker.

Tri-band Wi-Fi and 2,200mb/s speeds mean the Orbi Voice is more than capable of making your streaming, smart device usage, and gaming that must faster and more reliable. There is also FastLane3 technology to ensure that this doesn't slow down as more devices are added.

As for its performance as a speaker, it's mixed. The audio has been offered by Harman Kardon, while the smart features are from Amazon's Alexa. Despite these credentials, some reviewers claim audio quality is just 'okay'. But if that's not your priority, it shouldn't be much of a problem.

NETGEAR Orbi Voice AC2200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: Netgear)

4. NETGEAR Powerline 1000

Best WiFi extender on Wi-Fi 4

Specifications

Speed: 1,000mb/s (wired)
Connection: Wired, wireless
App?: No
Dimensions: 3.9 x 1.4 x 2.3in
Weight: 0.28lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Tri-band Wi-Fi
+
Plug-in
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Older Wi-Fi 4 networking standard

A cheaper option for those whose requirements are more limited, the Netgear Powerline 1000 Network Extender costs less than $100 and offers 1GB/s speeds along with wired and wireless connection options for different devices. It's also super simple to set up, with a plug-in design and no app.

It's nothing super-advanced but should suit anyone who simply wants a bit more juice from their Wi-Fi connection for streaming or browsing in dead spots. There's also an energy-efficient feature, as the extender automatically powers itself down when not in use.

Linksys RE9000 AC3000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: Linksys)

5. Linksys RE9000 AC3000

Best Tri-band WiFi extender (runner up)

Specifications

Speed: 3,000mb/s
Standard: AC, N
Band: Tri
Connection: Wireless, wired
App?: Yes
Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.4 x 6.7in
Weight: 0.8lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Fast 3000mb/s speeds
+
Suitable for homes up to 10,000 sqft

Reasons to avoid

-
Design will stand out

The Linksys RE9000 AC3000 MU-MINO Wi-Fi Range Extender sneaks into our top five with fast 3GB/s speeds and promised extension of 10,000 sqft, all using 5GHz Tri-band Wi-Fi to extend the reach of your internet at home. Beamforming technology means each device gets a targeted signal, and you can connect an ethernet cable for reliable speeds.

The device works a little differently, assigning a single 5Ghz band to your existing router so that the other two bands are dedicated to your connected smart devices. The MU-MIMO technology also boosts speeds to devices being used at the same time (which is often the case in busy households).

How to choose the best WiFi extender for your home

best wifi extender NETGEAR Orbi Voice AC2200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender

(Image credit: Netgear)

What is the difference between Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6?

Throughout this guide, you will have noticed mention of Wi-Fi 4, 5, or 6. Put simply, these relate to the progression of wireless internet technology, with Wi-Fi 4 being the oldest and Wi-Fi 6 the newest, most up-to-date standard. As such, Wi-Fi 6 offers better speeds, less congested bandwidth, and more. In short, the more recent your Wi-Fi standard, the better.

What do Dual-band and Tri-band mean?

Much like with the different Wi-Fi standards, the difference between dual-band and tri-band is modernity. For most purposes, the dual bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz) are sufficient to connect a variety of internet-ready devices around the home, but those with more appliances, TVs and smart security devices may need a little more heft. For that reason, tri-band routers are more capable, but tend to cost a little more.

Caroline is the smart homes ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.