Ultimate Best Wifi Extender Reviews: 2017 Edition

After a long day you just want to get home and relax. Whether that be by the computer, or in bed streaming a movie, you rely on your WiFi on a daily basis. So what do you do when your internet strength isn’t what it should be? You need an easy to use device which will boost the signal and luckily, 2016 has brought us some of the best wifi extenders.

WiFi extenders are able to catch wireless signals and rebroadcast them throughout a space on a broader scale. This will help strengthen the signal from the router, allowing it to reach various floors and levels of a building.

It needs to be placed in a relatively central area of the building, but shouldn’t be too far away from the router. It’s important to remember that the extender is simply boosting the signal, so if the location it’s in is a weak connection spot it will rebroadcast the weak connection.

The best place for your WiFi extender is halfway between your main router and the wireless devices you’re looking to strengthen the signal too. It’s best in an open area such as a corridor or a large room such as the living room, rather than a crowded space.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your extender should be placed away from any other devices in your home which may interfere. Devices like your home phone or cordless phone, Bluetooth devices, as well as microwave ovens as they may interfere with your extender.

Top 6 Best Wifi Extender Comparison Table 2017

WIFI EXTENDERSSTRENGTHFEATURESOUR RATING
Belkin N300
Belkin N300
SIMPLE- Won't Block Outlet
- Easy Installation
- Up-to-date security
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Belkin N600
Belkin N600
SECURITY- Excellent Security
- Fast 600 Mbps Data
- Two external antennas
4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)

netgear n300
Netgear N300
COMPACT- Two Antennas
- Compact Design
- Backwards compatibility
5 Stars (5 / 5)
Linksys AC750
Linksys AC750
UNIVERSAL- Compact Design
- Impressive Range
- Universal compatibility
4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Netgear AC1200
Netgear AC1200
FASTEST- Dual Antennas
- 802.11ac support
- Fast 1200 Mbps Data
4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Linksys AC1200
Linksys AC1200
OUTLET+- Built-In Audio Jack
- Ethernet Connector
- Three step setup
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

WiFi has been the saving grace of businesses, institutions, and households for years. The technology that transmits these wireless signals helps us connect with the internet.

But how has the technology improved over the years? Are signals getting stronger? Is security improving? And what should consumers be looking out for when buying a wireless router or accessory?

These are all good questions to ask. A good router is the cornerstone of any house or business interested in getting online.

A common complaint people have about WiFi is that they can't get a strong signal. There are few things more annoying than losing a wireless signal while working online. Productivity grinds to a halt when people can't access the internet.

Wireless technology may be improving but it has a way to go. Obstructed views and other competing signals can still affect your WiFi network.

While not every family and business are going to need a wireless booster, there are a lot that will. Rural homes that can't get a strong connection rely on extenders to improve their signal.

Extenders work by receiving your signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the boosted signal. With the best WiFi extender, you can double the coverage area of your network.

WiFi boosters work best in central locations where a strong signal is present. The technology is sharing the signal in the area. So, if its place in a spot that has a weak signal it will push around that same signal.

The best location for an extender is halfway between your devices and router. An open space works well because there are fewer obstructions surrounding the extender. You should also make sure the area is free of devices such as microwaves and cordless phones. Appliances and technology that sends out a signal could interfere with the extender.

How You can Find the Ultimate WiFi Extender

So, what are some of the features you should be looking for in an extender? How can you find the best WiFi range extender for your house? We're going to break that down now.

1) Signal strength indicator. Finding out where to put your extender for the best signal is important. Too far and it's boosting a weak signal. If it's too close it could interfere with your router.

That's why having an indicator on your extender is so useful. Try and find one that provides a reading of signal strength so you can find just the right spot.

2) Two-button setup. WiFi Protected Setup is the easiest way to pair your extender with your router. Just press the WPS buttons on both your WiFi box and extender at the same time. This lets the systems talk to each other and take care of the setup.

Try and avoid extenders that come with an installation CD or software. The setup process for these is more complicated than WPS models. You should also try and stay away from extenders that need configuring through a web browser.

3) Dual Channel Support. The biggest problem with extenders has always been the loss of bandwidth they cause. In 2011, networking expert Tim Higgins explained that extenders start out with 50% loss. The reason is that it receives then retransmits each packet using the same radio on the same channel.

If the extender is efficient, then your loss will be close to 50%. But if it's not, throughput loss can be higher. Luckily, the technology has gotten better. You should make sure the extender you buy has a dual-band radio to bypass the hit to bandwidth.

4) The Amount of Ethernet Ports. Having more than one ethernet port on your extender is useful. When you're using a device that's out of your wireless range, you can connect them to your booster. This is great for gaming consoles or media boxes.

Providing a wired connection also gives the best throughput data rate. Ethernet ports on extenders are useful for non-mobile devices. If there aren't enough ports, getting a connection with some devices can be difficult.

5) Design. Extenders come in different sizes and styles. The design can determine where you place the extender, how obtrusive it is, and how simple it is to move.

There are three basic designs of extenders:

Needs a flat surface for placement

Wall-mounted devices

Plug-in models

Desktop extenders need a flat surface that's close to a wall outlet, which can be limiting. This creates a hazard if there's a large distance between the outlet and extender. Moving furniture to accommodate the extender could be a pain as well.

Those plugged into the wall blend into a home or office. They don't need any cables and can fit almost anywhere an outlet is free. This includes areas where there might not be extra space, like hallways and kitchens.

Plug-in models take up valuable outlet space. This can be a problem if it's located in a room where there aren't a lot of outlets. Also, the size of extenders may prevent access to both outlets.

Wall-mounted extenders are a good choice because they don't need a flat-space to operate. They also give consumers the option of running cords down the wall to the device after setup.

6) Warranty. Electronics can be temperamental. Software glitches and hardware malfunctions plague a lot of users. That’s why it’s so important that you understand what your warranty covers and for how long.

Most companies will cover against defects that occur during manufacturing for one year. If you’re worried about the extender you buy, check to see if your retailer offers a longer warranty for you to purchase.

Customer service is also important. There can be some pretty confusing problems that come up during installation. Even after you have the extender running, glitches can happen.

That’s why you should make sure that the company you’re buying from has helpful customer service. This mean a friendly and knowledgeable staff with convenient hours.

These are some of the features to look for in a wireless extender. Of course, consumers should also double check the installation information and compatibility.

Should You Buy a Network Extender?

If you’re getting a weak signal, there are steps you can take to fix it. Just because a WiFi extender works well for some people doesn’t mean it’s right for you. We’re going to break down some popular alternatives for users interested in getting the best signal they can.

Your first move is to see how old your router is. Older technology connected using the 802.11g wireless standard. Look for brands that support 802.11n and dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

best wifi extender

Another option is connecting two wireless routers with ethernet cables. Routers either have 100 megabit or gigabit Ethernet ports. Turning an extra router into a second access point is almost as easy as plugging a cable into each one.

There are a couple extra sets you’ll need to perform to get the two routers working together. But once you have the settings figured out, you’ll notice an improved signal across your house.

If your house is wired for cable, you can use the MoCA (Coaxial) to Ethernet conversion method. This lets you take wired Ethernet data and transfer it over a coaxial cable.

The downside to using MoCA is that it doesn’t play well with satellite TV or work backwards through amplifiers. That means you might need to upgrade old low-bandwidth splitters.

Our final suggestion is a powerline Ethernet adapter. These work by plugging the adapter into an outlet and running an Ethernet cable to the port.

An important note about powerline adapters is that the wiring in your house can have an impact on performance. The distance between outlets also factors into how well data will transfer. The more circuits a powerline connection has to cross, the weaker it gets.

Wired connections deliver a stronger signal than wireless ones. If you can’t work with a weaker wireless signal and prefer plugging in, then these solutions are for you.

Wireless Extender Reviews: The Best Network Booster for You

You should now understand more about how a network booster works. But, how do you find the best WiFi extender for you? The most productive way to begin is to find out what you need.

Here are some questions you should ask:

How large is the area I want to cover?

Is there interference around?

Where will I put the network booster?

What data transfer rate do I need to have?

This is just a small sample of the questions you need to consider before purchasing a network booster. To help you research some brands, we're going to review models that work well.

In these wifi extender reviews, we're highlighting the features as well as the pros and cons. We'll also talk about who we think the product is best suited for.

While reading, you might find a model below that you love. This is also a great way to learn more about WiFi boosters.

1. Belkin N600 Dual Band WiFi Range Extender

Specs at a glance:

Features - The N600 includes dual band speeds of up to 300Mbps. It uses 2.4GHz with 5.0GHz to counter the throughput loss associated with extenders. This booster also uses external antennas for improved range.

Features - The N600 includes dual band speeds of up to 300Mbps. It uses 2.4GHz with 5.0GHz to counter the throughput loss associated with extenders. This booster also uses external antennas for improved range.

This WiFi extender has a compact design and includes an ethernet port. The plug-in design is great for reducing tripping hazards.

The N600 is compatible with G and N equipment. It also uses crossband technology to switch between bands for greater speed.

Recommended For - If you’re in the market for a reliable product that doesn’t cost too much then this is the best WiFi extender for you. The ethernet port is great for hardwiring a device.

Also, the slimmer design reduces wires while providing optimal coverage. This is a good choice for first-time users because the installation is straightforward.

Belkin N600 Dual Band WiFi Range Extender

Pros

  • Great, slim design
  • Strong signal
  • Dual band technonogy

Cons

  • Instructions aren’t clear
  • Signal indicator would be helpful

Wrap Up - The N600 uses dual band with crossband technology to deliver strong signals across large areas. The design is slim and eliminates the need for a lot of wires. Our biggest problem was installation, which was tricky without clear instructions.

Also, the inclusion of a signal indicator would be helpful when finding the best spot for the booster.

Our Rating 4.5/5

2. Netgear N300 WiFi Range Extender, Essentials Edition

Specs at a glance:

Features - The N300 includes external antennas for data transfer speeds of up to 300Mbps. The compact design is attractive and fits into any outlet.

This booster is compatible with any router. It also includes one ethernet port, an important inclusion for stationary devices to use a wired connection.

Recommended For - This WiFi booster is ideal for video streaming and gaming. We also recommend it for iPads, smartphones, smart TVs, and computers.

Netgear N300 WiFi Range Extender

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Bridging function
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Customer service
  • Packaging is poor

Wrap Up -The speed and performance of the N300 makes it a great device for smaller homes. The range isn’t as large as other extenders, but it will serve well for most people.

The setup is very easy and takes a couple minutes. We also tested it against different routers and found it worked with each.

The customer service could have been more helpful when we called about the poor packaging. Overall, this is a great product for smaller homes that want to increase the range of this signal.

Our Rating 4.0/5


  

3. Netgear AC1200 WiFi Range Extender Dual Band Gigabit

Specs at a glance:

Features - The AC1200 includes dual band data transfer speeds of up to 1200Mbps. It supports new 802.11 ac & b/g/n WiFi devices. This booster also has external antennas for better performance.

It includes a Gigabit ethernet port for connecting wired devices like Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, or smart TVS.

The AC1200 also uses FastLane technology that uses both bands to establish one high-speed connection.

Recommended For - This WiFi extender is best for users that need a strong signal in a large area. The range is great and transfers consistent speeds to multiple devices.

The addition of the analytics app is perfect for monitoring signal strength, getting a status overview, and measuring interference.

3. Netgear AC1200 WiFi Range Extender Dual Band Gigabit

Pros

  • Useful app
  • Strong signal across large range
  • External antennas really help

Cons

  • Setup takes some time
  • The model is expensive

Wrap Up - This is a great WiFi extender for power users that are willing to invest some money into the product. The quality supports the cost with a large range and strong signal.

It can take some work getting the model working, so set some time aside for the project.

Our Rating 4.0/5


4. Linksys AC750 Boost Dual Band WiFi Range Extender

Specs at a glance:

Features - The AC750 includes cross band technology that maximizes the use of dual bands at once. It also has a beam forcing feature that focuses and strengthens the WiFi signal.

It uses a simple setup with Push Button Connect and Spot Finder technology for optimal placement and performance. The WiFi speeds for the AC750 are 300N + AC433 Mbps.

This extender also includes a gigabit ethernet port and is compatible with all router brands. According to Linksys, the signal coverage is up to 6,500 square feet.

Recommended For - This model is perfect for people who need coverage across large areas. The AC750 has a larger range than any model we’ve tested. The extra features are great for users that monitor the performance of their booster.

First-time buyers will appreciate how easy it is to install this model. The Push Button Connect works well and made setup a breeze.

4. Linksys AC750 Boost Dual Band WiFi Range Extender

Pros

  • Useful features
  • Great customer service
  • Connecting made easy
  • Large range

Cons

  • Changing the SSD name can be difficult
  • Relies on up-to-date firmware to shine

Wrap Up - The AC750 is easy to setup and use. The Push Button Connect and Spot Finder technology are helpful additions that make this unit stand out.

You can’t go wrong with a product supported by excellent customer service. We found the representatives we spoke to very helpful and friendly.

Our Rating 4.5/5


5. Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High Power WiFi Range Extender

Specs at a glance:

Features - The AC1200 uses Spot Finder Technology to show users where to place the extender. The technology relies on a smartphone to find the best location for the booster to deliver optimal performance.

The wireless coverage for this booster is up to 10,000 square feet. The AC1200 produces speed of up to N300 + AC867 Mbps. It also uses Crossband Technology to maximize the use of both bands at once.

The design includes a pass-through function. This means you can use the built-in outlet to get back the spot taken by the extender.

Recommended For - The AC1200 is perfect for people who want the best. It includes a ton of useful features and is easy to setup. The range was excellent and carried a strong signal through walls and rooms.

The inclusion of the WiFi Audio feature lets music lovers stream their favorite songs anywhere in the house. Also, the pass-through technology is great for freeing up the outlet used by the booster.

Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High Power WiFi Range Extender

Pros

  • WiFi Audio
  • Huge range
  • Pass-through design

Cons

  • The price
  • Instructions were vague

Wrap Up - If you’re willing to invest the money, you can’t go wrong with the AC1200. It includes useful features and a smart design choice.

The range was strong, even when it had to travel through rooms and floors to reach us. The only problem we came across was when we used technology that relied on the same signal as the booster. This issue went away when we removed the conflicting devices.

The instructions are a little vague but once you’re up and running, it’s one of the best WiFi extenders you can find.

Our Rating 4.5/5


Purchasing a great wireless booster isn't easy. But, when you find one that works for your environment, it'll get rid of a lot of frustration. Weak signals are especially maddening because the point of wireless is to improve connections.

Some important features to keep an eye out for include; dual band technology, easy installation, signal indicator, and a slim design.

Plug-in models work well because they are easily movable but don’t need wires to function. Wall-mounted extenders can be a hinderance if you relocate your router. Also, desktop brands need valuable space to sit.

In a market filled with various devices claiming to be the best, how do you really know? Based on reviews, we’ve found the best WiFi extenders on the market today.