The best Wi-Fi extender for just about anyone
The continuing coronavirus pandemic has kept many of us working from home and needing steady, reliable Wi-Fi more than ever. Dead zones can be a real pain, as you may have learned the hard way if you’ve tried to set up a home office that’s a little too far from your router, but a Wi-Fi range extender can help.
The best Wi-Fi range extenders give your network a boost by receiving the wireless signal from your router and re-amplifying it farther out into your home. They’re simple to operate: just pick a good spot, plug it in and press the WPS button to sync it with your router. In most cases, your wireless range extender doesn’t have to be the same brand as your router’s in order to work. And fortunately, there are many options that are both solid and affordable.
But don’t start thinking these things are interchangeable. I picked out some of the major manufacturers’ most popular, budget-friendly options and spent a few days testing out their wireless coverage. Most were underwhelming, which isn’t too surprising when you’re talking about a hunk of plastic that costs $30 or $40. One was an absolute standout, however, and strong enough for me to say that it’s the best pick for just about everybody. (Just note that I’m testing from home and working with a limited sample size of devices — once I’m able to test more, I’ll update this post accordingly.)
Best Wi-Fi range extender for almost everybody
TP-Link RE220 WiFi Extender
At $35, the TP-Link RE220 was the least expensive range extender I tested, but that didn’t stop it from outperforming everything else I tested at every turn. It’s fast, it’s reliable, it works with just about every router out there, and it’s really easy to use. And, as of writing this, it costs even less than I paid for it — down to just $30 on Amazon.
Plug it in and press the WPS button to pair it with your home network, and it’ll begin broadcasting its own networks on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. Both offered steady speeds throughout my entire home, including average download speeds on the 5GHz band of at least 75 megabits per second in every room I tested, along with strong upload speeds, too. The RE220 never once dropped my connection, and its speeds were consistent across multiple days of tests during both daytime and evening hours.
Nothing else I tested was able to match that level of performance, which makes the RE220 a steal at $30. All of that makes it a great choice for anyone looking to boost the signal to a back room that sits a bit too far beyond the router’s reach. Read more about improving your home’s Wi-Fi…Read more>>