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Ultimate Review Of Best Wi-Fi Extender In 2020

by Lisa Hayden
Best Wifi extender

A weak Wi-Fi connection is the bane of many at home.

See, nothing is more frustrating that having to deal with slow internet speeds, dead spots or even unreliable connection.

But the good news is, there’re plenty of possible solutions for correcting the slow internet.

Unfortunately, a majority of these methods are either hard to configure or they extend your internet range at the expense of your Wi-Fi speed connection

This is where the best Wi-Fi extenders come in.

These units can boost the signal, and in some cases, they can even stabilize your existing Wi-Fi connection.

That said, the market is so full of these units that finding one suitable for your needs can be a challenge.

Fortunately, we’ve scoured the market, and here, we shall list the best Wi-Fi extenders in the market.

Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick!

This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start  and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and just need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!

Product

Wi-Fi Technology

Frequency Range Band

Ports

Buy Now

Dual band

2.4 & 5GHz

1 WAN and 3 LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports

Dual band

2.4 & 5GHz

1 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet Port (RJ45)

Dual band

2.4 & 5GHz

Gigabit WiFi, 1 100mbps ETH-ports and 0 USB-ports.

Other Great Recommendations

Cell

Dual band

2.4 & 5GHz

1x Gigabit WAN, 4x Gigabit LAN, 1x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 3.0

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900

Dual band

2.4 & 5GHz

Two (2) USB ports—one (1) USB 3.0 & one (1) USB 2.0 port

The Best Top 5 Wi-Fi Extenders In The Market For The Money!

Orbi vs Google Wifi Similarities

NETGEAR Orbi - Best Mesh Wi-Fi Extender

Sure, there’s no denying that Orbi is expensive, but it’s worth the high price of admission because it’s among the fastest and most reliable routers in the market today.

Sporting a modular design, this extender will let you extend your router coverage without the need of relying on the mish-mash of wireless extenders.

NETGEAR Orbi

Features and Benefits

Design

Overall the design of the Orbi is a far cry from the aggressive and angular styling we see in a majority of the high-end routers.

I find the oval profile quite design-friendly and more practical, too. With such a small footprint and absence of external aerial, it's easier to place the extender unobtrusively in your window or shelf.

The only downside I found with the design is that the raw performance can’t match that of some of the hefty routers.

This is because the Orbi’s six antennae are squeezed inside a much smaller space.

But here is the thing, with Wi-Fi extenders; it’s not always about maximum performance, but rather, more far-reaching performance.

2-in-1

The Netgear Orbi offers a new spin on the home Wi-Fi router, and it's designed with the sole purpose of stretching your coverage than what your router can achieve.

The performance on the Orbi is largely because this extender combines two routers in one, with the second unit acting more or less like a glorified extender.

The good thing with this combination is that they work on the same Wi-Fi network, or rather SSID, and so, regardless of where you’re in your home, this device will seamlessly connect you, either to the base router or to the extender.

Secondly, contrary to our expectation, setting up the Orbi doesn't come with disappointing performances or a head-scratching setup routine.

Instead, with this extender, you benefit from fast-blazing Wi-Fi connection and effortlessly easy setup procedure.

Dedicated 5 GHz Wi-Fi Band

With a dedicated 5 GHz Wi-Fi band for backhaul, the Orbi unit is in constant communication with the main router and the satellite router.

The backhaul system allows for constant communication between the devices on a private network, and it eliminates the poor connectivity that is often associated with a single band for communication.

Generally, with this system, you’ll benefit from maximum speed on the network, and this is because half of the band is free from router-to-router communication.

Single SSID

Netgear Orbi relies on a sing SSID as opposed to having separate Wi-Fi connection names for each Wi-Fi band.

While this is nothing new, the multi-router system on this extender eases up the setup process, especially when it's combined with the tri-band.

Set-Up

The setup process on the Netgear Orbi is a cinch, and if anything, it’s simply about plugging the main router into your modem and powering it on.

Pros
  • Consistent coverage
  • Easy to use
  • Fast, long-range speed
  • Easy to manage connections
Cons
  • Not the fastest router when in close range

Check NETGEAR Orbi Price On Amazon

TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Range Extender - Best Budget Option

The TP-Link RE350 AC1200 might not provide the fastest internet speeds at close range, but it effectively competes with the premium models favorably at a long-range and nearly half the price.

But beyond price, another notable element on the TP-Link RE350 is the rather subdued and discreet profile, which is good for those who are looking for unobtrusive design.

TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Range Extender

Features and Benefits

Design

Featuring a compact and sleek design, the TP-Link RE350 is the ideal solution for anyone in search of an extender that doesn’t look like a bulky eyesore.

The perfect complement to your home, the TP-Link RE350 will sit comfortably in your living room without grabbing your guest’s attention.

While this device won't be taking up an entire electrical outlet if placed on the lower plug, it will block the other outlets if you utilize the upper plug.

Performance-Speed

Generally, the performance on the RE350 is incredible, and in particular, the speed doesn’t usually waver.

The manufacturer advertises the 867Mbps on a 5 GHz connection and 300Mbps on a 2.4Ghz connection, but user experiences seem to differ from what the manufacture claims.

At 5GHz, for instance, the RE350 delivers an average of 83 Mbps. True, the speed is considerably lower than some of the modes in its class, but considering what you pay for the device, you'll see that it's impressive enough.

However, long-range tests are a bit discouraging, and in most cases, it achieves anywhere from 35-45Mbps.

Either way, the overall performance of the RE350 is not badly off the mark, and in my opinion, I would consider it decent.

Easy Set-Up

The set up on the RE350 is particularly appealing.

Like a majority of the extenders on our list, you can connect the RE350 to your existing network simply by plugging it in and tapping the WPS button.

The good thing with the entire RE350 setup is that there’re lights in front of the device, and they should act as a pointer on whether you’ve established a connection.

At the top of this device, you’ll also find a single Ethernet port. While it might not be positioned at the most convenient location, it doesn't affect the overall functionality because it can be used for connecting wired devices to the extended networks. Unfortunately, it can't convert the extender into an access point.

A potential downside with the TP-links default on the RE350 gives the extended networks similar names as your existing ones.

While this might seem convenient, it can result in problems with your device connecting via the least optimal route and is likely to fool you into thinking you’ve established a mesh network.

Fortunately, it's possible to change the situation manually by logging into the extender's web interface or by using the TP-Links' mobile app.

Software

The browser-based setup procedure is a cinch, and it doesn’t require extraneous software save for the TP-Links mobile app.

Pros
  • Small and sleek
  • Complete home coverage
  • Impressive long-range performance
  • Budget option
Cons
  • Better for range than outright speed

Check TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Price On Amazon

NETGEAR EX3800 - Best Mid-Range Budget Option

The NETGEAR EX3800 is an incredible mid-range dual-band Wi-Fi extender that can be used to extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal, saving you the hassle of running cable throughout your home.

It offers a decent range of features, and it supports Wi-Fi speed up to 75Mbps, and it also includes a main passthrough socket and so, it doesn't take up one of your plug sockets.

NETGEAR EX3800

Features and Benefits

Design

The design on the NETGEAR EX3800 is pretty bland and isn’t going to win any beauty contest.

For starters, the boxy design, alongside a mass of sprawling ventilation holes, is nowhere the elegance of the Netgear Orbi we had reviewed earlier.

However, I like that it’s fairly compact, especially considering the specifications. For users with a limited number of plug sockets, for instance, the mains pass-through is a welcome addition.

More importantly, however, NETGEAR EX3800 ticks all the boxes when it comes to performance.

 Performance

The NETGEAR EX3800 is ideal for those who are looking to boost the coverage of any existing Wi-Fi network.

When in use, it will provide you with a greatly enhanced network accessibility, range, and performance throughout your home for all your mobile-connected devices.

During the 5GHz short-range tests, users claim the NETGEAR EX3800 delivered approximately 61.9Mbps speeds, and then it delivered a reasonable 2.GHz long-range test.

While the overall range and speed are decent, EX3800 is not far-reaching as some of the other Wi-Fi extenders we've reviewed.

Specifically, if you have a home that is more than 3,000 square feet, or even want to extend your Wi-Fi coverage to other buildings, then you would be better off with the Netgear Orbi.

Set-Up

The set up on the EX3800 is something of a faff.

All you’ve to do is plugging the extender and pressing the WPS button on both the extender and on your router.

However, what I find annoying with the setup is that I'm required to set up the Netgear Genie service to operate.

Pros
  • Convenient mains pass-through
  • Good overall range and speed
  • Value for money
Cons
  • Annoying setup

Check NETGEAR EX3800 Price On Amazon

Linksys AC1900 - Best Value

The Linksys AC1900 is by no means the fastest Wi-Fi extender on our list, yet, it delivers some lightning-speeds, while at the same time offering a decent range, too.

Best Wi-Fi Extender

Features and Benefits

Design

Out of the box, it’s easy to notice that Linksys AC1900 borrows heavily from its predecessors, the EA400 and EA6700.

I find the design quite tidy, and though a hefty option, it’s neat and elegant.

Feature-Packed

Linksys AC1900 is not like your typical extender. Instead, it comes with a variety of features, including an on/off switch, a WPS button, and a reset button.

The Linksys AC1900 package also includes an Ethernet port on the underside that you can connect to other devices. 

Performance

The performance of the Linksys AC1900 is a mixed bag of results.

On the short-range tests, for instance, the Linksys AC1900 delivers lightning-fast upload speed that can reach up to 126.7Mbps at 5GHZ.

Unfortunately, the same is not replicated on the download speed, and we were a bit discouraged by the speed which averaged at 113 Mbps.

Uniquely, however, the upload speeds were higher than the download speeds, which is contrary to what other Wi-Fi extenders offer.

At long range, the Linksys AC1900 flips, but still, at 56 Mbps, it's reasonable.

Overall, I would say the performance of the Linksys AC1900 is decent, especially considering what your pay for this unit.

Set-Up

Like a majority of the Wi-in extenders on our list, the setup process is relatively simple.

All you've to do is to press the WPS button a couple of times to connect to the two Wi-Fi bands, and this should get you going.

Pros
  • Great short-range 5GHz performance
  • Chic
  • All-rounder
Cons
  • Disappointing speeds at long range

Check Linksys AC1900 Price On Amazon

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 - Best for Gamers

My last recommendation is the AC1900, a product from Netgear.

The AC1900 comes with a steep admission price, but it has higher specifications, and Netgear has managed to produce a powerful unit that is hard to find fault with.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900

Features and Benefits

Design

AC1900 is sleek and stylish and is designed to sit on a shelf or table.

It’s not bulky either, but surprisingly it holds numerous components and doesn’t sacrifice on the performance.

Performance

As we had indicated earlier, this model is flush with performance elements that go a long way in improving the overall user experience.

Notably, it features Fast Lane Technology, which is quite handy at promoting high-speed connections, a significant benefit for video gaming and HD Streaming.

Further, this extender features potent amplifiers, capable of boosting the range of your router.

With speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps, keeping up with this extender might prove difficult.

Finally, the core processor on this unit allows the delivery of signals to multiple devices with minimal effort and, most importantly, without lagging or interference.

Pros
  • Lightning speeds
  • Support multiple devices
  • Ideal for video streaming and gaming
Cons
  • Installation might be a bit challenging

Check NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Price On Amazon

Best Wi-Fi Extenders Buying Guide

Things to consider for a wifi network

Even though we’ve trimmed our list to the best 5 Wi-Fi extenders, I know it’s still a challenge for many to find an extender that suits their needs.

For this reason, we've created a quick guide that outlines all the features that you should consider when making your next Wi-Fi extender purchase.

Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Wi-Fi Extender

Processor

With every Wi-Fi extender is a processor, which I prefer to call the engine that runs your device.

Generally, I would recommend users to pick a dual-core type of processor as opposed to the single-core processors.

The former is more powerful, and this translates to better performance.

Secondly, it has lesser connection problems.

Bands

The number of band frequencies is also a crucial consideration to make when choosing the best Wi-Fi extender.

Generally, a majority of e extender has a dual-frequency, working on either 2.5 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands.

The benefit of dual-frequency band extenders is they can accommodate extra load without losing on the connection speed.

That said, there’re a few extenders that feature three bands, also known as tri-bands, and these normally give users an even better performance.

Compatibility

In most households, multiple devices are normally connected to the internet.

And, so, it’s always crucial that you ensure the extender you choose is compatible with these devices.

The good news is, most of the extenders in the market are compatible with all the standard routers and devices.

However, some are not, but in this case, the compatibility information is always listed on the extender's manual.

Set-Up Process

Anyone purchasing a Wi-Fi extender is looking for an easy to use the device.

Ideally, you should pick extenders with a straightforward process.

Router Speed

Before making an extender purchase, it’s always a good idea to check on the speed rating of the router for which it will be linked to.

For instance, if your router operates at 802.11N network, then you’ll require an extender rated N or higher.

Conclusion

The best Wi-Fi extenders provide a fast and effective way of amplifying the strength of your Wi-Fi signal.

It doesn't matter whether you have a big home or walls in between you and your router, having a Wi-Fi extender will allow you to enjoy higher connectivity without sacrificing speed or performance.

And now that we’ve listed the best Wi-Fi extenders in the market, all you’ve to do is to pick a unit that you think will suit your needs.

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