Wifi is something that most people can’t live without, but for many, it can also be a source of frustration. You don’t necessarily need to live in a large house or sprawling apartment to run into wifi dead zones, which can make staying connected a problem. A single router can sometimes struggle to provide complete coverage depending on your space’s layout and construction or if there’s interference from nearby networks or household devices.
If you can’t eliminate the problem at the source (and are sure the problem isn’t just with your router), you’ll need to give those wifi signals in your home or office a boost. A simple range extender should get the job done for most folks, but if you have a really large house or an especially problematic space, you may want to look into a mesh wifi network for the best results.
Check out the quick reviews below of our top five wifi extenders, or keep scrolling for helpful buying info and full reviews of these models and other high-ranking options.
Differences Between Extenders
Wifi extenders can vary considerably in features and capabilities. The majority support 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz frequency bands and are known as dual-band devices, but some cheaper options are only single-band and use 2.4 Ghz frequency to transit data. Typically, dual-band extenders provide a faster connection because they have more bandwidth and experience less interference, which makes them a better choice for gaming and video streaming. However, single-band extenders have a farther range that can provide better coverage in spaces with many obstacles, such as walls and furniture. Higher-end tri-band extenders, which feature two 5-GHz bands and one 2.4-GHz band, will give you the best coverage with the least interference (but cost more).
By the same token, you can also generally expect to pay more for extenders with more antennas, which you might or might not need depending on the size of your house or apartment. Antennas can be external or internal, and the more a device has, the better it’s able to pick up and transmit wifi signals.
Like routers, wifi extenders are rated in different classes, such as AC750 and AC1200, where the number simply indicates the combined maximum speeds they are capable of supporting (measured in Mbps, or megabits per second). And also like routers, they come in a range of different shapes and sizes, from small plug-in units that will largely go unnoticed to bulky, desktop-style units you’ll need to clear some space for.
How We Chose These Wifi Extenders
To choose these wifi extenders, we surveyed the market and relied on our previous research and experience reviewing these and other devices. We evaluated models based on coverage, speed, cost, and design. When we weren’t able to test the products ourselves, we relied on expert sources, including PCMag, PC Gamer, and Tom’s Guide, as well customer reviews from various retailers.