Last Updated on July 1, 2020 by Scott Krager
With every year passing, routers are coming with more and more signal strength so that they can cover your entire house under WiFi blanket.
But more often than not, due to the non-optimal placement of these routers, interference, and weird designs of some houses, there can a dead-spot or two left in your house.
One of those solutions is adding a WiFi extender in your existing home network.
Best WiFi Extender 2020
- Motorola MX1200 (Best Budget WiFi Extender)
- D-Link DAP-1650 (Best Multi-Purpose WiFi Extender)
- TP-Link RE-650 (Best WiFi Extender For Large Homes)
- Netgear Nighthawk EX8000 (Best WiFi Extender Overall)
- TP-Link RE450 (Best WiFi Extender Under 70 Bucks)
A WiFi extender (also called by many as WiFi repeater or WiFi booster) is wirelessly connected to a router or an access point (which means extender should get strong WiFi signals in the first place), receives the WiFi signal, and re-transmits them.
The ideal location of these extenders is the halfway between your main router and a dead-spot.
The re-transmitted signal won’t be as powerful though, and with each hop, the latency will increase which is not so good for tasks like online gaming.
That is the reason why you can’t have too many WiFi extenders around your house. Because doing this may make the situation even worse.
However, these are one of the easiest ways to increase WiFi reception around your home – if done right.
Most people found themselves clueless when out in the market for a WiFi repeater. That’s why we have written this round-up about the best WiFi extenders in the market right now.
A good thing about these extenders is that all of them target different types of users. Some are of budget users, while the other ones are for those who can spend a little extra.
So, without any ado, let’s begin.
Best Wireless Extenders 2020 Buying Guide
Motorola MX1200: Check Price On Amazon
Best Budget WiFi Extender 2020
When most people think of Motorola, they think of it only as a smartphone manufacturer, which is pretty odd considering that they make many types of networking products such as cable modems and WiFi extenders etc. (In fact, one of their modems is recommended by us as the best one for gaming.)
One of those devices is MX1200 – a WiFi extender for those who are on a tight budget.
But even if we don’t consider price, it’s different than most of the other extenders out in the market – in more than one way.
For starters, it’s a plug-in WiFi extender which means it is plugged directly into an AC outlet which can be both a good and a bad thing.
The main advantage of it is the quick and easy setup, while the bad thing is that there’s no network monitoring app.
In terms of design, MX1200 is smaller than most extenders and has a two-pronged plug that is compatible with every outlet style in the US.
If you’re outside of the US, you’ll probably have to buy some converter which will make it compatible with your country’s outlet design. I would also recommend asking about its compatibility with your local retailer.
On the front side, there are six LEDs, of which five are arranged in a semi-circular position to form a signal-strength meter. Ideally, you should plug in an outlet where it LED number 3 is green, which has the label ‘good’.
The sixth LED light is to show the Power Status of this extender.
On the top side, there’s a WPS button which lets you quickly connect to the router, a host toggle which lets you switch between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Bands, an on/off button, and an Ethernet port.
In terms of hardware, this one comes with dual-band 2×2 stream setup and AC 1200 WiFi Rating which is good enough to give you a theoretical top speed of 1200 Mbps.
Among advanced features, MX1200 surprisingly features beamforming but MU-MIMO is absent. If you don’t know what these terms are, head over to our gaming router guide.
It comes with 2 internal antennas but there’s none outside.
From inside, mx1200 has a MediaTek MT7620A Wi-Fi chip featuring a 580 MHz processor.
One big disadvantage of mx1200 being a plug-in extender (as we discussed above) is that it can’t be set up via a mobile app.
Instead, your only option here is the Web browser-based admin panel. For the first-time setup, you need to plug it near your router.
You’ll be asked for a password, type ‘motorola’ which is default password that you can change later.
After this, you can either set it up manually by connecting it with your PC via an Ethernet cable or you can type ‘setupextender.net‘ to start the ‘setup wizard’ which will guide you through the whole process.
In terms of performance, we had mixed results. While it was outperformed by more expensive extenders in the long range (as expected), its performance was impressive in a relatively short distance.
Still, mx1200 is a very good product in its price range, which is less than 40 bucks at the time of this review.
D-Link DAP-1650: Check Price On Amazon
Best Multi-Purpose WiFi Extender 2020
D-Link is a very reputed brand when it comes to networking solutions. Time and again, I have bought their products and it didn’t result in any regrets.
Seriously, a roundup review related to home networking products is incomplete without mentioning D-Link.
So let’s see how its 3-in-1 DAP-1650 booster performs.
I said 3-in-1 because it’s indeed a multi-purpose WiFi booster that can act up as an access point and media bridge as well.
Media bridge is a functionality lets you connect an extender with a wired-only device (such as your PC, NAS or gaming console).
The access point, on the other hand, is a device which is connected to your router through an Ethernet cable and broadcasts WiFi signals to other devices.
An access point is only slightly different than a WiFi repeater because it requires a wired connection while a repeater can be connected wirelessly to a router.
Anyways, seeing all of these different functions in a single device was really amusing for us.
Unlike many other repeaters that come in rectangular shape, this one has a cylindrical design with a glossy black finish.
The front side has two status indicators: power indicator and Internet indicator.
Backside, however, is loaded with things like WPS button, 4 Ethernet ports, a reset button, a power button, and a USB 2.0 port. There’s no external antenna but inside, there are four.
DAP-1650 comes with a web console which let us do things like changing SSID, switching between networking modes, customizing transmission rates, and changing channel width for each band.
There are some extra settings as well, like media server settings, IPV6 settings, QoS, Mac filtering, as well as guest networking.
In our testing, we performed pretty well in 5 GHz band but faltered when switched to 2.4 GHz. Also, since the USB port is only 2.0, don’t expect file transfers to be blazing fast.
That being said, it’s good for you the money you’re putting into it. Also, having the access point and media bridge functionality is an added bonus.
All in all, this is best multi-purpose WiFi extender you can have in 2020.
TP-Link RE-650: Check Price On Amazon
Best WiFi Extender For Large Homes
Most people think that TP-Link only makes budget-oriented networking products.
And those products, while great for those on low-budget, don’t compare to the prowess of flagship products.
This is simply not true, and to prove the point, here we have the TP-Link RE-650: a slightly high-end extender but also a total beast.
Measuring 6.3 x 3.0 x 1.8 inches, this one is a little too big for a plug-in extender. Its large size may block you from plugging other devices in nearby power outlets.
Having a white and grey color scheme, it looks simple without being dull. There are four external, non-removable antennas which add to the overall large size of this RE-650.
On the front side, there are four LED indicators. The top one indicates the optimal location for the repeater. On a sweet spot, it’ll indicate blue light while red color will be for other scenarios.
Below this location-indicator are power indicator, 2.4 GHz indicator. and 5 GHz indicator. Being an AC 2600 extender, it can provide you a maximum speed of 1733 Mbps over its 5 GHz Band, and 800 Mbps over its 2.4 GHz Band.
There are two ways to set up this extender. You can either use the WPS feature of your router or go over same ol’ Web admin panel.
If you choose the latter, you just need to connect the RE-650 in a power outlet near your router, connect to a new password-free network called TP-LINK_EXTENDER_2.4GHz and type tplinkrepeater.net in your web browser.
After completing this process, you can change the password and SSID for this repeater.
Being equipped with beamforming and MU-MIMO features, this extender can easily cover the area over 14,000 sq. ft.
In terms of performance, RE-650 is second only to Nighthawk EX8000 (the best extender we have ever tested) but RE-650 also costs almost 60 bucks less than the EX8000. We were able to get decent signal strength despite being 75-feet away.
The only downsides in this extender, in my opinion, are a large size for being a plug-in extender. But if you’re comfortable with it, the second-best WiFi extender can be yours in less than 120 bucks.
NETGEAR Nighthawk EX8000: Check Price On Amazon
Best WiFi Extender 2020 Overall
Nighthawk EX8000 is different than most of the other WiFi extenders in the market, and the price is just one factor out of those differences.
Yes, priced at almost $180, EX8000 is definitely expensive – costing you as much as a full-fledged high-end router.
BUT, Netgear has worked hard to justify every single penny out of that amount.
Being bigger than any other extenders in this roundup, it doesn’t get plugged directly into a power outlet. Instead, you would have to place it on a desk and connect to a power outlet via a two-pronged AC adapter that comes as an accessory.
Design wise, EX8000 looks like Netgear’s own Orbi mesh WiFi system released in 2016, except the color. Both of them have the same curvy design, in addition to the same amount of ports and buttons.
Speaking of which, it has four Gigabit LAN ports, a single USB 2.0 port, a WPS button, and an on/off button.
At the top side, there are different LEDs to indicate different statuses like USB activity, Ethernet activity, or whether the extender is working well or not.
If you’re thinking about raw power, this one is Tri-band wireless repeater capable of giving you a maximum theoretical speed of 400 Mbps on its 2.4 GHz Band, 867 Mbps on its 2×2 GHz Band, and 1733 Mbps on its other 5 GHz Band with 4×4 stream setup.
All of it means that it is an AC3000 4×4 wireless repeater.
In terms of compatibility, it should work fine with any AC router, but we recommend having a 4×4 AC router for better utilization.
Another useful feature of this extender is that you can easily convert it into an access point by connecting it to your main router through an Ethernet cable.
Setting it up is really easy. You just need to press the WPS button of your router as well as that of EX8000, and an automated process will start. The SSID and the password settings of your router will be copied on this extender, but you can change them later.
If you don’t wanna use the WPS button anyhow, you can set EX8000 up using its web admin panel. Just type 192.168.1.250 after plugging an Ethernet cable from your PC into one of the LAN ports of this extender, and the setup process will start.
In this panel, you will also find other settings which you can customize later, such as WiFi channel selection, firmware update etc.
As you know, placement is necessary when it comes to WiFi extenders. This is why there’s the Netgear WiFi Analytics mobile app which will let you know the optimal placement for this beast.
As far as different bands are concerned, this extender will automatically choose the best band based on the distance it has with your main router.
In our testing, EX8000 performed heads and shoulders above any of its competitors. In fact, it performed even better than Linksys’ Velop mesh WiFi in close range testing.
In the longer range, however (75+ feet away), the results weren’t as impressive, and it performed only marginally better than the TP-Link’s RE-650. But still, it will provide sufficient speed and range for any home-based network.
My real gripe here is the USB 2.0 port which makes file transfer pretty average.
All in all though, this is best WiFi extender you have in 2020 – if money isn’t issue for you.
Big, expensive and worth every penny, Netgear’s Nighthawk X6S Tri-Band Range Extender leads the pack in data speed and range. It’s powerful enough to put speedy Wi-Fi in every corner of your house.
TP-Link RE450: Check Price On Amazon
Best WiFi Extender 2020 Under 70
You can think of RE450 as a minified version of the expensive RE650. It’s because this one got almost all the aspects found in its more costly sibling. It has the same design, small color scheme, same style for LED indicators, and it goes straight into a power outlet too.But almost all of these features are more limited than they used to be in RE650, which actually makes sense because this extender is geared for people on a tight budget.There are three antennas at the top, unlike in RE650 where there were two antennas on both the left and right sides. On its left side (when viewed from the front), there’s a single Ethernet port (not bad for an extender but more would’ve been appreciated) using which you can connect it with your main router through a wired connection, and turn it into an access point.At the top of its front side, there’s a big RE-button which basically acts as the WPS button to instantly connect this extender with your router. Apart from this, it comes with a smartphone app which lets you make slight adjustments and monitor your network.In case you don’t want to use the app, the good ol’ web admin panel is here, which lets you tinker even more with the network. You can create SSIDs for both of your WiFi Bands, change WiFi encryption method or update the firmware etc.To set it up for the first time, you’ll have to follow the same steps mentioned in RE-650 review above.In terms of WiFi connectivity, this is an AC 1750 extender which can give you a maximum speed of 450 Mbps on its 2.4 GHz Band and 1300 Mbps speed on its 5 GHz Band.In our testing, it performed well in terms of range and throughput but simply couldn’t match the likes of RE-650 or Nighthawk EX8000, which isn’t a bad thing considering how less it costs than fore-mentioned two extenders. It’s not without any cons though. Being bulky at the top side makes it occupy the nearby power outlet when connected.