The Best Wi-Fi Extender and Signal Booster

The Best Wi-Fi Extender and Signal Booster

No inexpensive Wi-Fi extender will improve the speeds of an outdated router or cover multiple dead spots in your home. If you have a good router and a lot of areas to improve, we recommend the Netgear EX7700 below. If your router is more than a few years old, you’ll be better off skipping the extender and replacing your network completely with a mesh Wi-Fi kit.

Our pick

TP-Link RE220

TP-Link RE220

Improved Wi-Fi coverage, low cost

TP-Link’s RE220 is a cheap way to add more reliable Wi-Fi coverage and an Ethernet port to a part of your home if you already have a router and a wireless network.

Buying Options

$30* from Amazon
$30 from Dell

*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.

The TP-Link RE220 is a dirt-cheap, dual-band Wi-Fi extender that improved the Wi-Fi quality and connection reliability of our standalone router in testing. Plus, it’s easy to set up, it isn’t too bulky, and it has an Ethernet port for connecting wired devices. At a typical price of $25, it’s a simple fix that costs a lot less than a major hardware upgrade. If you have a compatible TP-Link router, you can use the RE220’s OneMesh feature—when we tried it out, it was easy to use and improved performance even more with the TP-Link Archer A7 router. The RE220 isn’t a panacea, as it improves reliability at the cost of a drop in speed, but it is a quick fix for dropped Wi-Fi connections in a small part of your home.

Advertisement

Runner-up

TP-Link RE300

TP-Link RE300

Solid Wi-Fi, no wired ports

The TP-Link RE300 doesn’t have onboard Ethernet but does offer slightly better wireless coverage.

Buying Options

$50* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $35.

The TP-Link RE300 is larger and more expensive than the RE220, but it offers slightly more reliable Wi-Fi coverage, with zero dropouts in our testing. It’s also a good choice if the RE220 is out of stock. It lacks an Ethernet port for connecting devices (such as desktop PCs or gaming consoles) to improve performance, so it’s strictly wireless-only. But the RE300 has the same OneMesh feature that will make it easier to set up and manage if you have a compatible TP-Link router.

Upgrade pick

Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700

Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700

Rock-solid speedy connections, but pricey

With the Netgear EX7700 you can improve your Wi-Fi’s speed and reliability in a larger portion of your home, almost as well as with a mesh-networking kit, without having to replace your current router or cable gateway.

Buying Options

$160* from Staples

*At the time of publishing, the price was $124.

If you have a good router that’s just one or two years old and you need faster or more reliable Wi-Fi in an area bigger than just one room, the more expensive Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700 is a better choice than the simple TP-Link extenders. Unlike basic extenders, which repeat your Wi-Fi signal on a second network name—often trading speed for reliability—the EX7700 works like a mesh-networking kit. It extends your existing network under the same name, improves both reliability and speed in dead zones, and covers a larger area than standard extenders. Though a new mesh kit with a matching router and extender may perform a little better, going with the EX7700 generally costs $100 less than starting from scratch with our favorite budget mesh-networking pick.

Another way to easily expand your Wi-Fi network is to use a powerline networking kit, which uses your home’s electrical wiring to transmit data from one extender to the other. Such kits can be more reliable than Wi-Fi–only extenders, but they’re also heavily dependent on the age, quality, and complexity of your home’s electrical wires. You can read more in our full guide to powerline networking kits.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

TP-Link RE220

TP-Link RE220

Improved Wi-Fi coverage, low cost

TP-Link’s RE220 is a cheap way to add more reliable Wi-Fi coverage and an Ethernet port to a part of your home if you already have a router and a wireless network.

Buying Options

$30* from Amazon
$30 from Dell

*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.

Runner-up

TP-Link RE300

TP-Link RE300

Solid Wi-Fi, no wired ports

The TP-Link RE300 doesn’t have onboard Ethernet but does offer slightly better wireless coverage.

Buying Options

$50* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $35.

Upgrade pick

Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700

Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700

Rock-solid speedy connections, but pricey

With the Netgear EX7700 you can improve your Wi-Fi’s speed and reliability in a larger portion of your home, almost as well as with a mesh-networking kit, without having to replace your current router or cable gateway.

Buying Options

$160* from Staples

*At the time of publishing, the price was $124.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *