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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)

If your WiFi signal is weak in your home, consider one of the best WiFi boosters to help strengthen your connection. WiFi extenders and boosters are very much the same thing, and they allow you to increase the clarity of the WiFi coming from your router. Large homes, houses with thick walls, or homes where the router is right in the corner of the structure will all benefit from a booster, and if you like to use WiFi in your yard, they can help with this too.

The best WiFi boosters come in a few different options. Some are separate devices intended to simply pick up and amplify the WiFi coming from your main router. These tend to be quite expensive, but they offer the best signal, especially if you're extending your wireless over a large area. The other variety is the socket extender, which will plug into a wall socket in the room of your choice and extend the WiFi to any dead zones you may have in that area. These are a little cheaper, and you can usually use a few to cover your home.

While cheaper WiFi boosters may degrade your connection, the best ones should be able to amplify it with no loss of speed or fidelity. If a steady and consistent internet connection is important to you, make sure you spend a little extra to get something quality. Of course, many of the best wireless routers have excellent WiFi built-in, so you may not need a booster. Also know that if you have a large home network, the best ethernet switches may serve you better, across multiple devices.


1. Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000: Best WiFi booster overall

Best Wifi Booster: Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000

(Image credit: Netgear)

Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000

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)

Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream

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)

TP-Link RE650 AC2600

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)

Trendnet WiFi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2

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)

Amped Wireless Athena-EX RE2600M

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)

D-Link N300 DAP-1325

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.