When your wireless router doesn’t reach everywhere you need it to, there are many different methods for improving signal strength. Of course, you can get better signal distribution by upgrading or relocating your router, or even bridging it with a second router, but the simplest solution by far is to plug in a WiFi signal booster. Basic signal boosters are inexpensive, can take up no less space than a Glade plugin, and are usually all you need to fill out a couple of dead zones in your house.
Keep in mind that the most affordable range extenders only offer speeds of about 300Mbps, so if you are on a Gigabit internet plan, you may want to instead choose from among the best AC WiFi Boosters. This will not apply to most people, however, so if you find yourself in need, consider some of these top range extenders to soothe your networking woes.
1. NETGEAR EX2700 N300
Netgear’s wall-plug style EX2700 is a simple and convenient solution for spotty wireless distribution in a house. Its external antennas can be placed around where your signal starts to die off and they will act as a signal repeater for your WiFi. There is even an ethernet port on the device to offer a fast wired connection without trailing cable through the house. Keep in mind that because of house layouts, wall insulation, and other obstacles, you cannot easily estimate range improvement in footage, but knowing that this extender only offers 300Mbps of throughput will help you understand its limitations. Boosting a signal into a second story can typically be tough, but this #1 Best Seller does it fairly well. Device setup is simple even if your router doesn’t have the WPS button needed for the two-button setup, and the Netgear support team is incredibly helpful with any issues.
Price: $35.50 (11 percent off MSRP)
2. NETGEAR N600 WN2500RP Dual Band
Another Netgear range extender, the WN2500RP router is exemplary of the second common type of range extenders, full desktop versions that sacrifice a compact design for greater range and speed for your home network. Note that a faster range extender will not improve your signal to more than what your service provider delivers to you, but if you do have a premium wireless plan, an N600 Dual Band range extender supports up to 600Mbps for faster speeds. Though it is about the size of a router anyway, opting for an extender over a second router can mean less confusion switching between two networks within your house, or more confusing yet, figuring out how to bridge them. The improved range this extender offers makes the difference in size well worth it, plus it offers 4 ethernet ports to allow hardwired devices onto your network as well. If a full-size unit meets your needs best and you currently have an AC router, you will probably want an AC Dual Band range extender that packs more punch than the WN2500RP. But for simpler home network setups, this little range extender gets the job done.
Price: $62.50 (48 percent off MSRP)
3. TP-LINK TL-WA860RE N300
TP-LINK is known to offer some of the best values in networking equipment, and their TL-WA860RE lives up to this as an inexpensive, well-designed universal wireless range extender. Though just a bit bulkier than Netgear’s EX2700, TP-LINK’s range extender is built with an extra power socket that keeps your outlet free for other devices, and also offers an ethernet port on its underside for a wired connection. It can boost a wireless signal beyond the normal range of your router at up to 300Mbps, and has external antennas that can be tweaked for better directional performance. Quick connection is a breeze if you have a compatible router, and TP-LINK’s 2 year warranty is just icing on the cake for this high-value range booster.
Price: $24.99 (50 percent off MSRP)
4. Securifi Almond 2015
Securifi’s newest multi-purpose Almond is successor to the wildly popular Securifi Almond 2012, now adding compatibility for smarthome security and home automation support in addition to its other functions. What else can the Almond do? It can act as a router, wireless bridge, access point, and of course, a range extender. Aside from a modem, the Almond can be anything you need it to, and this flexibility can be incredibly valuable. Additionally, the Almond boasts the unique feature of a built-in touchscreen, which guarantees a 3 minute setup for 95% of users. This screen eliminates the need for any clumsy web interfaces, and makes for one of the simplest setup processes for any range extender out there. That said, some of the extra functionality of the Almond might go to waste if you are just looking for a range extender. But if you do want a flexible device that can generally beef up your wireless network, the Almond is a great pick.
Price: $99.99 (33 percent off MSRP)
5. TP-LINK TL-WPA4220 Powerline Kit
TP-LINK’s TL-WPA4220 is unique for being both a wireless and wired range extender, which uses household power circuits to send a stable ethernet connection from your router to the wireless signal booster. The compact wall unit can put out a wireless signal with speeds up to 300Mbps, but using one of the two ethernet ports on the extender unit can provide speeds up to 500Mbps since it is directly wired into router. This direct line in also makes for ridiculously easy wireless setup, as once the necessary ethernet cables have been connected, simply press the WiFi Clone button to have the extender pull the necessary information directly from the router. Another perk of this flexible WiFi and powerline unit is that while wired devices will still take up bandwidth, they do not compete with wireless devices for the router’s broadcast power, therefore lightening the load of the network.
Price: $58.99 (26 percent off MSRP)