The 5 Best WiFi Extenders to Boost Your WiFi Range in 2019
#1 eero WiFi Booster
The eero is a mesh WiFi system that uses a tri-band network to broadcast your router signal to beacons spread throughout your home. This allows the system to use the full breadth of its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Highlights include:
- Tri-band system
- Cover about 4,000 square feet
- Continual updates to the system via ongoing software upgrades.
#2 Netgear Orbi
The Netgear Orbi is more than just a WiFi booster. Netgear calls it “the world’s first tri-band mesh system.” This means that you can create one network, with one name, for your WiFi extender that will remain constant as you move throughout your home. Highlights include:
- 5,000 square feet of coverage
- Router and WiFi extender in one
- Easy set up
#4 D-Link DAP-1520
The D-Link DAP-1520 is perfect for non-techies looking for a simple way to extend their WiFi coverage throughout their home. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, which is good for people who don’t want a complex system. Highlights include:
- Small in design
- Easy to use and set up
- More affordable than competitors
#5 Netgear EX3800
The Netgear EX3800 is a mid-range WiFi extender that extends the range of your WiFi signal. It supports WiFi speeds up to 750 Mbps and is dual-band and compatible with Wireless-AC technology. Highlights include:
- Good overall range and speed
- Passthrough wall plug design
- Extra ethernet port
- Cheaper than competitors
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Are you happy with your overall internet speed? Does it seamlessly reach the far corners of your house or apartment? If so, consider yourself lucky, and you can likely stop reading your post. You don’t need a WiFi extender. However, if you find your internet constantly buffering (or going out altogether), have dead-zones in your home that the WiFi never seems to reach, or are unhappy with how long it takes to upload or download large files, you may want to invest in a WiFi extender. But, where should you start? Do you need a WiFi extender, a WiFi repeater, or a mesh system? Keep reading and we’ll answer all of your questions!
Best Luxury Overall WiFi Extender: Eero
The Eero isn’t just a WiFi extender, but a mesh system and is often called the and “the Cadillac of WiFi extenders.” While most WiFi extenders have just one unit, Eero has 3 or more: one acts as a base WiFi router, and the others act as beacons that receive and emit the wireless signal. Three Eero unites (one base and two beacons) are typically recommended for a home up to 4,000 square feet. Have a larger home? No problem – just add more beacons.
- Aesthetically pleasing: While most WiFi extenders are cumbersome and/or ugly, Eero’s units are sleek and blend well with their surroundings.
- Solid performance: Eero provides strong, uninterrupted WiFi across large areas thanks to its tri-band system
Easy to use: Eero’s in-app control network makes setup and updates simple
- Large coverage area: One 3-piece system can cover up to 4,000 square feet. Live in a larger home? No worries! You can simply add more beacons and easily extend the coverage.
- Always up to date: The Eero system has automatic software updates, which means you’ll always have the latest protection
- Unlimited beacons: While most people only need three beacons, if you want to cover a larger area (such as your home, pool house, guest house, etc) you can simply add more beacons.
- Price: Eero unite are pricy and more expensive than other WiFi extenders on the market. If you’re looking for the cheapest unit, keep looking.
- Speed: Eero’s speed is “good enough” for most people, but if you need to download at a higher speed of 200+ Mbps, you’ll need to find another WiFi extender.
- No ethernet ports: Eero’s beacons do not have any ethernet ports. Again, this is fine for most people, but if you are looking to hook up your smart TV or a printer or gaming device directly to your WiFi unit, this will not be the best WiFi extender for you.
- SmartPhone Required: While most people have a smartphone nowadays if you don’t, you won’t be able to set up the Eero system.
Best Wifi Extender For Large Homes: Netgear Orbi
Similar to the Eero, the Netgear Orbi is a tri-band mesh system that helps boost WiFi throughout your home. It is comprised of two units, a router and a satellite. Both act as tri-band routers. Each unit has several ethernet and USB ports as well as one 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band and two 5GHz bands. The system can provide WiFi coverage for up to 5,000 square feet.
Netgear Orbi Pros
- Set up: Very easy to set up
- Set up: Orbi app is intuitive and easy to use and enables you to customize your system
- Speed: System allows for very fast internet speed
- Large coverage area: Orbi’s two units can cover up to 5,000 square feet
- Consistent coverage: WiFi remains constant throughout house with no buffering
- Single SSID: A single SSID means you have one password and one WiFi network throughout your entire house. While some WiFi extenders force you to create multiple networks and switch networks as you move throughout the house, Orbi does not.
- Aesthetically pleasing: Units are white and not as “techy” looking as other WiFi extenders.
Netgear Orbi Cons
- Price: More expensive than competitors
- Limited warranty: One year warranty
- Size: Units are larger than competitors, so harder to hide in rooms. That being said, they aren’t unattractive, so if you are okay with electronic devices on display this may not be a con for you.
Best Wifi Extender For Android Lovers: Google
If you’re a die-hard follower of Google products and are in the market for a new WiFi extender, Google’s mesh system is the one for you. Google’s mesh system is comprised of multiple units that act as both WiFi router and extender. The three pack is the most popular system and can cover up to 4,500 square feet. Have a larger home? Just purchase more units. Set up is simple and does require a Google account and a Smart Phone.
- Price: Google’s mesh unit is more affordable than similar mesh units on the market
- Visually pleasing: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google’s units are sleek, modern, and blend well with their surroundings
- Automatic updates: Google’s units update automatically so you never have to worry about doing it yourself
- Easy setup: Google’s WiFi system is a breeze to install; not tech-savvy? No problem
- Features: Google’s WiFi system doesn’t have as many advanced features as other WiFi extenders and mesh systems on the market. If you are looking for an advanced product, this isn’t it. However, if you are simply looking for an easy way to boost your WiFi, we highly recommend it.
- Google account required: Most people nowadays have a Gmail or other form of Google account. However if you don’t, you will need to set one up in order to use this system.
- Lost connection: If you lose a connection to the internet, settings and options are very limited
- Limited hardware control: You’ll need to be savvy enough to use the app to make edits or changes
- Slower than some competitors: Lower AC rating; Google WiFi uses AC1200 technology and isn’t capable of the AC3000 or AC2200 throughput like some WiFi booster competitors are
Best Wifi Extender For The Technologically-Challenged: D-Link
If you’re looking for a cheap, easy, basic WiFi extender, the D-Link DAP-1520 is it. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles like ethernet ports, USB ports or audio inputs and – unlike a few of the WiFi extenders on our list – isn’t a WiFi router and extender in one. It’s a simple WiFi extender that takes your existing 11N or 11AC WiFi network and extends if farther than your router can do on its own. It’s also incredibly simple to set up.
- Non-obtrusive: Units are small and simply plug into the wall
Simple set-up: Easy to use and set up
- Price: Cheaper than other WiFi extenders on the market (particularly mesh units)
- Easy to sync to your existing WiFi router: Compatible with all wireless router brands
- Speed: Up to 750 Mbps (300 Mbps -2.4GHz and 433 Mbps – 5GHz)
- No ethernet ports: If you are looking for a WiFi extender you can plug your smart TV into, this isn’t it
- No special functions: As we mentioned, this is the most basic WiFi extender on our list
- Limited range: Internal antennas limit range
- No USB or audio inputs: Again, this is the most basic WiFi extender on our list. If you need USB, Ethernet, or Audio inputs, look for another WiFi extender
- Network bridging: Functionality does not exist on D-Link WiFi extender
Best Wifi Extender For The Price: Netgear EX3800
If you’re looking for a high-quality, affordable, basic WiFi extender, take a look at the Netgear EX3800. This WiFi extender is a mid-range booster than supports WiFi speeds up to 750 Mbps. It is dual-band, and compatible with Wireless-AC technology (the latest standard for wireless). It plugs directly into an electrical socket and is easy to configure.
Netgear EX3800 Pros
- High quality: strong range and speed
- Plug design: This unit has a passthrough wall plug design, meaning you plug it directly into a wall socket, and then can plug another electronic device into the outlet on the Netgrear EX3800
- Ethernet port: If you want to hook up a device directly to your WiFi extender you can thanks to the ethernet port
- Price: Cheaper than competitors (especially the mesh units)
Netgear EX3800 Cons
- Netgear Genie: It’s not as plug and play as some of the other WiFi extenders. In order to install, you will need to download and set up Netgear Genie
- Less aesthetically pleasing: If having a “pretty” WiFi extender is important to you, then you may want to choose another, as this is less attractive than some of the other units we looked at.
Should You Buy A WiFi Extender?
The truth is, not everyone needs a WiFi extender. If you live in an apartment, if you live alone, and if you rarely stream or download large files the truth is you likely don’t need one.
So, how do you know if you need a WiFi Extender?
We’ll start by asking you a few quick questions:
- Are there certain areas of your home or outside your home that WiFi doesn’t reach?
- Does your WiFi slow down as more people use it?
- Have you ever been in the middle of streaming a movie when suddenly your WiFi paused or started buffering?
- Do you just want faster WiFi?
If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of the above questions, you may want to invest in a WiFi extender.
How Does A WiFi Extender Work?
Simply put, A WiFi extender works by boosting your existing WiFi signal. It takes the WiFi signal emitted from your router, strengthens it, and then rebroadcasts it throughout your home. The newly boosted signal is stronger than the original signal emitted by your router and thus is able to reach more areas of your home. It can not only reach these new areas but is also stronger in the already-existing areas of WiFi coverage.
How to Choose the Ideal WiFi Extender for Your Home
There are a lot of WiFi range extenders out there. Some are marketed as WiFi extenders, some as WiFi boosters, and other as WiFi mesh systems. All promise “better internet,” so how do you know which is best for you? It all depends on your WiFi needs and the size of your home.
If you live in a modest sized home or apartment and are looking to speed up your WiFi and get ride of WiFi “dead zones,” a simple WiFi extender such as the D-Link or Netgear EX3800 will likely suffice. If you don’t care about attaching a smart TV, a printer, or any other device to your WiFi extender, we recommend investing in the simplest unit possible.
If you live in a large home with many rooms that need access to WiFi, need to upload and download large files, and/or have multiple people that need access to WiFi, you may want to invest in a more luxurious WiFi system. Want to hook up your gaming console and smart TV as well? You’ll definitely need a WiFi system with more bells and whistles. In these examples, we recommend a mesh WiFi system such as the Eero, Netgear Orbi, or Google system. These systems’ units feature both a router and WiFi extender and can transmit WiFi signals farther than the more basic WiFi extenders on the market. Keep in mind they are significantly more expensive than basic WiFi range extenders.
WiFi Repeaters vs Extenders vs Mesh Systems
If you’re looking for a way to improve your WiFi, you can invest in a WiFi repeater, a WiFi Extender, or a WiFi mesh system. All will strengthen your WiFi, help to eliminate dead zones and allow for faster streaming. So what’s the difference? The difference is how they function:
How Does a WiFi Repeater Work?
A WiFi repeater receives your existing WiFi signal, amplifies it, and then transmits the newly boosted signal. It is a single unit and can double the coverage of your old WiFi network so it reached the far corners of your home and even yard.
How Does a WiFi Extender Work?
A WiFi extender works similar to a WiFi repeater: it takes your existing WiFi signal, boosts it, and then rebroadcasts it throughout your home. WiFi extenders are typically plugged directly into electrical outlets and use two antennas, one to receive and one to emit the signal. WiFi extender can be used in homes, as well as restaurants, cafes, bars, and more. WiFi extenders are often referred to as WiFi boosters.
How Does a WiFi Mesh System Work?
A WiFi mesh system is the latest and greatest type of WiFi extender. While most WiFi extenders and boosters are a single unit that works with your existing router, a WiFi mesh system is comprised of multiple units, one of which acts as a router. Most WiFi mesh systems we looked at recommend having 2-3 units: one will act as the base router that emits a strong WiFi signal, and the others act as beacons that to push the signal out into remote areas of your home. In general, WiFi mesh systems are recommended for large homes, while more simplistic WiFi extenders and WiFi repeaters are recommended for apartments and modest-sized homes.
WiFi Extender Compatability
Nowadays, most WiFi extenders are compatible with the vast majority of routers on the market. If you purchase a WiFi mesh system you don’t need to worry about compatibility, as the system acts as a router. If you are purchasing a WiFi extender, just make sure to do your research in advance. Some WiFi extenders operate on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band. You will want to ensure that your router operates on the same band as your WiFi extender. If, for example, your router only supports 2.4GHz but your extender is 5GHz, your WiFi will not be as powerful as it could be. It can still be used, but won’t be living up to its full potential.
Common household items like walls, microwaves, baby monitors, and even furniture can interfere with your WiFi signal. If you invest in a WiFI extender, placement is key. No matter how good an extender you purchase, if you put it in the wrong place, it’s sure to disappoint. So, where should you put it?
Ideally, a WiFi extender should be placed halfway between a wireless router and the areas you wish to send WiFi to. If you have an office and this is the main area you wish to improve service, then place it halfway between your router and your office. However, if you want to boost it to more than one area of your house, a good rule of thumb is to sketch the floorplan of your house. Mark the location of your wireless router and dead zones or slow-zones. Next, see if there’s a power outlet located midway between these areas and plug your WiFi extender in there. Once you have it set up, take your devices into the previously highlighted dead zones and see if these dead zones have improved. If not, consider moving your WiFi extender.
Should You Get a Plug-in Or Desktop Extender?
We have a mix of plug-in extenders and desktop WiFi range extenders on our list and the truth is, both are good. Based on plug-in or desktop alone, one isn’t better than the other. What does differentiate them, however, is mesh system versus simple plugin unit.
The desktop units we reviewed are mesh units, while the plug-ins are simple WiFi extenders. As we told you above, if you have a large home, a mesh extender may better suit your needs, so in that case, a desktop would be better.Read More