WiFi boosters, also known as WiFi extenders or WiFi repeaters, help to eliminate dead zones in your internet signal, which can happen if you have a large home or an older house with thick walls. The best WiFi boosters can help boost the reach of your wireless internet connection around the house, and even out into the garden, so you stay connected.
We've been reviewing and testing WiFi boosters for almost 10 years. Using our hands-on test results, we've created this guide to help you buy the best.
Cutting edge technology
The Netgear EX8000 is a tri-band WiFi booster that simply outperforms nearly every other home-based WiFi booster because it’s super-fast, has a long-range, is easy to set up and use, and looks great. 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 units to create a mesh-style network, plus it also works with LAN cables as an access point.
Helps find dead spots
The Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream WiFi extender is a great option for anyone that needs an easy setup at a low cost. This 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 offers up to a massive 450 Mbps.
Up to 14,000 sq ft coverage
The TP-Link RE650 AC2600 extender is a WiFi wonder in a very compact package. For a socket extender, this is on the larger end, but that's thanks to how much power this little AC2600 unit offers. The 802.11ac offers a quad stream with MU-MIMO and beamforming tech that is good for a claimed 14,000 square feet of property space. This socket unit features a LAN port to act as an access point and is backed by a genuinely decent app and 24/7 customer support. It's also very easy to set up and use, making this ideal for a WiFi extender beginner who wants big power and range without taking any effort.
This WiFi booster plus into a power outlet to extend your internet signal up to 1500 square feet. It uses two wireless signal boosters to support high internet speeds of up to 1200Mbps, which is fast enough to support gaming. You can also plug your console, or other device, directly into the booster using an ethernet cable. This Netgear boost is strong enough to support 25 devices using your internet at once without causing slowdown or the signal to drop. It works with both wireless and cable modems
Powerful long-range booster
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.
The D-Link N300 DAP-1325 WiFi extender is another option that's ridiculously easy to set up and use. Simply tap the WPS button and you're good to go. There is an app with a setup wizard that makes customizing your setup very straightforward. This extender is rated AC1200 but tops out at 300Mbps. That means this isn't going to be as fast as other boosters, 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.
Dual-band signal boost
The Trendnet WiFi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 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.
Our final thoughts on WiFi boosters
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 on 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 a reliable WiFi router, as your current model might not have the clout that you need.
Repositioning your router, or even the antennas on your router can make a difference to your Wi-Fi coverage. If your router has internal antennas, make sure the router itself is standing vertically for the best range. It’s also best if you place your router in a central location, without major obstructions between it and the places you most use the Internet, such as walls with metal running through them (as in a kitchen or bathroom). Other wireless signals also affect your Wi-Fi. Devices using similar frequencies, such as microwaves, baby monitors, wireless security systems, or even your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network, can congest the channel and affect your connection.
If repositioning your router doesn’t do the trick, and if your router is an older model, replacing it may also improve your network performance. Since a home network is limited by the slowest part of that network, a router upgrade could give your Wi-Fi a necessary boost.
How we tested
We spent over 100 hours testing Wi-Fi range extenders in a variety of configurations throughout our office and lab space. We created five test runs throughout our building including a 100-foot line-of-sight test, a 150-foot line-of-sight test and three different multi-floor setups. Both straight runs were conducted in the hallway of our building with no obstructions between the router and laptop, with the extender placed halfway between the two. The three multi-level setups tested the extenders’ performance in a more house-like setting, with floors and walls between each device. During these tests, we also rated the products’ ease of setup and use, helpful features and design.
We started each trial by taking a baseline measurement of the network’s performance using Ixia’s IxChariot, as you can only boost the Wi-Fi you have, and network speeds fluctuate. We then connected the extender and ran the speed test five times, removed the top and bottom results and averaged the remaining scores. After collecting all 50 measurements for each product (five tests requiring five baseline measurements and five test measurements each), we compared the extenders’ results to their corresponding baseline measurements to see what percentage of the available signal was captured and rebroadcast.
Why trust us
At Top Ten Reviews we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.