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Best WiFi boosters 2021: Extenders for your wireless signal

Best WiFi boosters 2021: Extenders for your broadband signal
(Image credit: BestBuy)

The best WiFi boosters are fast becoming one of the most important parts of the home. For large homes or those with troublesome walls, WiFi transmission can be an issue meaning black spots and slow connections. The right WiFi booster can fix all that to distribute all those lovely data tidbits across the house and even into the yard.

There are different types of WiFi boosters including wireless signal extenders and those that send signals over the powerlines of your home. Look out for the plug in socket WiFi extenders if you want to save a few bucks but still beat those dead spots. Generally speaking, the more you spend, the better the signal and the faster your home WiFi will be.

Make sure you know if you need one of the best WiFi boosters or if you need just a router with WiFi to get started. If you already have WiFi in your home then a booster to extend that signal should be all you need.

But of course it's also worth looking at the best wireless routers to make sure you have a good starting signal to work with – in some cases an upgrade here may be enough to have your issues mended. If you're more about wires then the best ethernet switches could be worth a look.


1. Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000: Best WiFi booster overall

Best Wifi Booster: Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000

(Image credit: Netgear)

Using cutting edge tech, the Nighthawk X6S is our best pick in 2021

Specifications
WiFi rating: AC3000
WiFi specs: 802.11ac
Antennas: Six, internal
Ports: Four Gigabit Ethenet
Range: 168 feet
Reasons to buy
+Tri-band operating+Uses one SSID for seamless use+Dedicated backhaul+High-speed and long range
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 is a tri-band WiFi booster that simply outperforms nearly every other home-based WiFi booster out there. By that we means it's super fast, has a long range, is easy to setup and use, looks great, and future-proofs you for a long time to come.

As such this is also one of the more expensive WiFi extenders available on this list. This desktop unit comes with features like Netgear's FastLane3 tech which uses the third of those tri-bands to offer a dedicated channel to move data from the router, ensuring maximum bandwidth before pushing it out further. You also get MU-MIMO and beamforming tech to ensure speeds are high even with lots of devices connected at once.

You can use multiple X6S units to create a mesh style network and this will also work with a LAN cable as an access point if you have that option. Setup is speedy and real world speeds hit as much as 526 Mbps. All that means this makes light work of 4K HDR video streams and more, all over even larger properties.


2. Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream: Best for budgets

Best Wifi Booster: Linksys RE7000 wifi booster

(Image credit: Linksys)

A low price option that still gives good performance

Specifications
WiFi rating: AC1900
WiFi specs: 802.11ac
Antennas: Four, internal
Ports: Gigabit Ethernet
Range: 10,000 square feet
Reasons to buy
+Minimal design and form+Dead spot finder feature+Easy to setup
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best performance

The Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream WiFi extender is a great option for anyone that wants an easy setup and a low cost. This budget friendly socket WiFi extender features a useful dead spot finder and LED light to help you find the best spot to plug in this unit. The WPS button means this can be as easy as a button press to have it connected to your network and running right away.

MU-MIMO support across four internal antennas amounts to AC1900 802.11ac WiFi which offered up to a massive 450 Mbps in our testing. A truly impressive performance on a unit at this price.


Best Wifi Booster: TP-Link RE650

(Image credit: TP-Link)

A great little socket booster that fits neatly into any home

Specifications
WiFi rating: AC3000
WiFi specs: 802.11ac
Antennas: Four, external
Ports: One Gigabit Ethernet
Range: 14,000 square feet
Reasons to buy
+Up to 14,000 sq ft coverage+Quad stream dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz+4x4 MU-MIMO speeds+Beamforming tech+App support
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Can block other outlets

The TP-Link RE650 AC2600 extender is a WiFi wonder in a very compact package. Yes, for a socket extender this is on the larger end, but that's thanks to how much power this little AC2600 rated unit offers. The 802.11ac offers a quad stream with MU-MIMO and beamforming tech that are good for a claimed 14,000 square feet of property space.

This looks decent for a socket unit, features a LAN port to act as an access point, is backed by a genuinely decent app, comes with a two year warranty and 24/7 customer support. It's also very easy to setup and use, making this ideal for a WiFi extender beginner who wants big power and range without taking any effort.

Expect up to 525 Mbps from this extender which, as you'd imagine, is priced at the higher end of the spectrum.


4. Trendnet WiFi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2: Best powerline extender

Best Wifi Booster: Trendnet WiFi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2

(Image credit: Trendnet)

If you want to use your power network to boost signal, this is the extender for you

Specifications
WiFi rating: AC1200
WiFi specs: 802.11ac
Antennas: Two, external
Ports: Single/triple Gigabit Ethernet
Range: 984 feet
Reasons to buy
+Dual-band AC1200 wireless+MIMO beamforming tech+Up to eight extenders+Three LAN ports
Reasons to avoid
-Not great looking-Wide adapter plug

The Trendnet WiFi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 is the only unit on this list which uses your power lines to transmit data. It stands out from the rest as this combines the best of powerline tech with the latest smarts from the WiFi extender world. That means you can get a range of nearly 1,000 feet and without worries about losing speed.

This uses dual-band AC1200 Wi-Fi with MIMO beamforming smarts so it works across lots of devices at once, offering high-bandwidth speeds. Want more? This supports up to eight extender units and even offers three LAN ports on each for maximum speeds. 

All that and this isn't even that pricey. So if you've got a home with wiring that covers the property as a whole, then this is a really great way to extend your broadband range.


5. Amped Wireless Athena-EX RE2600M: Best for raw power range

Best Wifi Booster: Amped Wireless Athena-EX RE2600M

(Image credit: Amped Wireless)

This is our top WiFi booster for range

Specifications
WiFi rating: AC3000
WiFi specs: 802.11ac
Antennas: Six, internal
Ports: Four LAN
Range: 168 feet
Reasons to buy
+AC2600 Wi-Fi+Quad antennas+MU-MIMO+Up to 15,000 square feet coverage
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Average MU-MIMO support

The Amped Wireless Athena-EX RE2600M WiFi extender is a desktop model packing in super speed quad dual-band 5dBi high-gain antennas. These standout on the design as they're the showpiece, backed by a whopping 16 amplifiers and 800 mW of pure power. 

All that equates to AC2600 802.11ac WiFi which can extend up to a whopping 15,000 square feet. It also uses MU-MIMO tech to ensure multiple devices connected at once all get high speeds. The company's BoostBand tech is essentially a backchannel meaning this gets the maximum amount of data from the router before sending it on. For power users this is the extender that is made to keep up.


Best Wifi Booster: D-Link N300 DAP-1325

(Image credit: D-Link)

Simple to use, and very afforable

Specifications
WiFi rating: AC1200
WiFi specs: 802.11g/n
Antennas: Two, external
Ports: Ethernet
Range: 4,000+ square feet
Reasons to buy
+Easy to setup and use+Super affordable+300Mbps connection
Reasons to avoid
-Limited range-Speeds could be faster

The D-Link N300 DAP-1325 WiFi extender is another budget friendly option that's ridiculously easy to setup and use. Simply tap the WPS button and you're good to go. Failing that the app has a setup wizard that makes customizing your setup very straight forward too.

This extender is rated AC1200 but tops out at 300Mbps. That means this isn't going to be as fast as any of the others on this list but it is very easy to use. The range is limited but for smaller scale use, where top-end speeds aren't always needed, this will do the job well.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.