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Best WiFi boosters 2020: Extenders for your broadband signal

Best WiFi boosters 2020: Extenders for your broadband signal
(Image credit: BestBuy)

If you’re struggling to get a WiFi signal around your home, then the best WiFi boosters can help boost the reach of your wireless internet connection around the house, and even out into the garden. WiFi boosters, also known as WiFi extenders or WiFi repeaters, help to eliminate dead zones in your WiFi signal, which can happen if you have a large home, or an older house with thick walls.

The best WiFi boosters are a cheaper way to boost your WiFi signal to the furthest reaches of your house, whether that’s the top floor bedroom in the attic conversion, or out into the garden so you can enjoy watching Netflix or ESPN outside on a sunny day. They also boost the signal in larger properties (we’ll bet there are tons of these things all over the White House). If you want your laptop or tablet to stay connected to the web wherever you are in your property, then a WiFi booster is your best friend.

There are tons of options to choose from when it comes to WiFi boosters, but they all fundamentally do the same thing. Premium products may have a longer range and provide a stronger, faster signal, but this extra power comes at a price. For many people, a cheap WiFi booster will get the job done. 

WiFi boosters tend to come in two styles - desktop and plug-in. Plug-in extenders connect directly to your plug socket, while the desktop versions sit on surfaces and look much like a standard router. This is largely an aesthetic choice, as they do the same job.

If you’re struggling with WiFi signal, you should also make sure that you’re using one of the best WiFi routers, as your current model might not have the clout that you need. 

1. Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000: Best WiFi booster overall

Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000

(Image credit: Netgear)

Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000

Using cutting edge tech, the Nighthawk X6S is our best pick in 2020

WiFi rating: AC3000 | WiFi specs: 802.11ac | Antennas: Six, internal | Ports: Four Gigabit Ethenet | Range: 168 feet

Tri-band operating
Uses one SSID for seamless use
Dedicated backhaul
High-speed and long range

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

Linksys RE7000 wifi booster

(Image credit: Linksys)

Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream

A low price option that still gives good performance

WiFi rating: AC1900 | WiFi specs: 802.11ac | Antennas: Four, internal | Ports: Gigabit Ethernet | Range: 10,000 square feet

Minimal design and form
Dead spot finder feature
Easy to setup
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.

TP-Link RE650

(Image credit: TP-Link)

A great little socket booster that fits neatly into any home

WiFi rating: AC3000 | WiFi specs: 802.11ac | Antennas: Four, external | Ports: One Gigabit Ethernet | Range: 14,000 square feet

Up to 14,000 sq ft coverage
Quad stream dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz
4x4 MU-MIMO speeds
Beamforming tech
App support
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

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

WiFi rating: AC1200 | WiFi specs: 802.11ac | Antennas: Two, external | Ports: Single/triple Gigabit Ethernet | Range: 984 feet

Dual-band AC1200 wireless
MIMO beamforming tech
Up to eight extenders
Three LAN ports
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

Amped Wireless Athena-EX RE2600M

(Image credit: Amped Wireless)

Amped Wireless Athena-EX RE2600M

This is our top WiFi booster for range

WiFi rating: AC3000 | WiFi specs: 802.11ac | Antennas: Six, internal | Ports: Four LAN | Range: 168 feet

AC2600 Wi-Fi
Quad antennas
Up to 15,000 square feet coverage
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.

D-Link N300 DAP-1325

(Image credit: D-Link)

Simple to use, and very afforable

WiFi rating: AC1200 | WiFi specs: 802.11g/n | Antennas: Two, external | Ports: Ethernet | Range: 4,000+ square feet

Easy to setup and use
Super affordable
300Mbps connection
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.