Everyone can think of a spot in their home or office where their Wi-Fi signal is weakest. It’s a dead zone that you dare not venture into with your devices unless you’re willing to encounter the dreaded buffer signal. The truth is, routers can only stretch their signal so far, and most of the time, that reach can’t cover the entire home. But what if there was a way to boost your Wi-Fi signal without moving the router?
What is the best Wi-Fi extender for streaming? It depends on several factors; the kind of router you have and the kind of Wi-Fi coverage you hope to achieve will determine the Wi-Fi extender that will serve you best. Wi-Fi extenders come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each one is equipped to handle different conditions.
Whether you’re watching a video on YouTube, streaming a series on Netflix, or caught in the rabbit hole of Facebook’s automated video string, at one point or another, your viewing experience was halted by a weak signal. When you search for Wi-Fi extenders online, you’ll be hit with a large mass of options. How do you pick the best Wi-Fi extender, and do they even work?
Do Wi-Fi Extenders Really Work?
Wi-Fi extenders are handy devices that repeat your router’s wireless signal and rebroadcasts it, expanding overall coverage. Let’s say that the technician set up your router in a room at the edge of the house, and all the rooms on the opposite end of the house have a weak signal as a result. If you set up the right Wi-Fi extender in the middle of the house, so long as it’s within range of the router’s signal, it can extend the signal to reach those dead rooms!
What is the right Wi-Fi extender for you? Wi-Fi extenders come in two types, desktop or plug-in:
- Desktop Wi-Fi extenders look very similar to routers. They’ll take up desk space, but they are usually stronger than plug-ins and have multiple Ethernet ports.
- Plug-in types are small devices that you plug into a wall. Some might have Ethernet ports, and you can even buy one with a power-thru so you can still use the electrical socket.
Do Wi-Fi Extenders Have Limitations?
Keep in mind, Wi-Fi extenders work well, but they are not all-powerful magic solutions. They simply extend the reach of your router and have the same Wi-Fi limitations. Just like routers, they cannot push the Wi-Fi signal through obstacles like concrete, microwaves, and metal objects; be mindful of that as you find a place for your Wi-Fi extender.
Another major factor to consider is that Wi-Fi extenders are designed to work together with routers. Make sure that the capabilities of the extender you choose match the capabilities of your router. A brand new, state of the art Wi-Fi extender will not improve the function of an old router. It will only match it.
For example, most new Wi-Fi extenders support 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, while older routers only support 2.4GHz. If your router only supports 2.4 GHz, but you buy an extender that supports 2 GHz and 5 GHz, the Wi-Fi extender will still work, but it will only extend the Wi-Fi signal exactly as the router distributes it at a 2.4 GHz frequency. Make sure you know what your router is capable of before purchasing a Wi-Fi extender, so you can get the most efficient function for your money.
Some Wi-Fi extenders use a separate SSID, or service set identifier, instead of the router they are paired with. If you’re relying on that extender to cover a dead zone in your home, you’ll need to switch your network connection as you move through your home. Higher Wi-Fi extenders solve this problem by making the process automatic with mesh range technology.
Make sure you always check compatibility and specs before making final purchases. Wi-Fi extenders come in many shapes and sizes. Some will run a Wi-Fi signal at half the speed of the router. Some require an advanced setup, while others simply just need to be plugged in.
The 19 Best Wi-Fi Extenders For Streaming
If you need help searching for different brands, types, and models of Wi-Fi extenders, the below table should help narrow down your search.
However, before you go through the list, there are some things to keep in mind as you choose your selection; in general, all Wi-Fi extenders are built for the same purpose: extending your Wi-Fi signal. With that being said, there’s an entire realm of factors that make each extender unique. The core differences between each Wi-Fi extender are:
- Price: The cheapest Wi-Fi extender on this list came in at $19.99, while the most expensive one will cost you a stunning $349.99! As with most things in life, the phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to Wi-Fi extenders. But, what do you get for paying more in this case?
- Range Coverage: This is perhaps the most important part of a Wi-Fi extender, as it applies to the actual extension function in the name. In this list, the lowest coverage range is 215 square feet, while the widest range is, according to the manufacturer’s product description, an astonishing one million square feet!
- Device Coverage: This is the number of devices that you can connect to the Wi-Fi extender without slowing down internet speeds. In this list, that number can cover anywhere from 5 devices, all the way up to 50! Those figures are based on manufacturers that share that information in their product description.
- Wi-Fi Speed: Wi-Fi speeds can get complicated. For those that don’t know, GHz stands for gigahertz. Gigahertz is a unit of measurement used to determine the speed of a microprocessor in a computer. You’ve probably noticed by now that some routers have an option for a 5 GHz connection. Most Wi-Fi extenders on this list support 5 GHz connections.
- Ethernet Ports: If Wi-Fi is a way to connect to the internet wirelessly, then Ethernet is how you connect with a wire. Almost all Wi-Fi extenders on this list have ethernet ports so that you can connect your devices directly.
- Desktop/Plug-In: Please keep in mind that all Wi-Fi extenders need to be plugged into a power source to function properly. Generally, desktop types are more powerful when it comes to range and device coverage, Wi-Fi speeds, and ethernet port quantity.
- Mu-Mimo: Have you ever gotten the complaint that too many people are using the Wi-Fi at once? Mu-Mimo solves that issue. It’s a special term that means “multi-user, multi-input, multi-output.” This is a handy technology that creates multiple data streams for more than one device. If you have multiple Wi-Fi users in your home, then you’ll want to consider a Wi-Fi extender that has mu-mimo technology.
- Beamforming: Beamforming is a useful feature that projects a wireless signal directly at your device. Certain brands and models of Wi-Fi extenders will include this function, and it improves the overall process of your streaming experience.
- Dual-Band: You’ll see this term a lot on this list. Dual-band equipment can transmit two different frequency ranges. Commonly, most routers offer the option between 2 GHz and 5 GHz.
The following table lists numerous Wi-Fi extenders in various price ranges that offer an assortment of speeds, coverage ranges, and the number of devices they can support:
|Name||Price||Range Coverage||Device Coverage||Wi-Fi Speed||Ethernet Ports||Desktop/Plug-In|
|NETGEAR Wi-Fi Range Extender EX3700||$29.99||1000 square feet||Up to 10 devices||300 Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|NETGEAR Wi-Fi Mesh Range Extender EX8000||$199.99||2500 square feet||Up to 50 devices||3000 Mbps||4 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Extender||$109.99||Not Listed||“Multiple Devices”||2.4 GHz – 800Mbps / 5 GHz – 1733Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Extender||$85.95||2000 Square Feet||Up to 32 Devices||2.4 GHz – 450 Mbps / 5 GHz – 1300 Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender||$30.99||1200 Square Feet||Up to 20 Devices||2.4 GHz – 300 Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|YOOSUN Wi-Fi Extender||$26.99||215 Square Feet||Up to 10 Devices||1900 Mbps||No Ethernet Ports||Plug-In|
|NETGEAR PowerLINE||$84.79||Connects to Home Power||Not Listed||1900 Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|NETGEAR Wi-Fi MeshRange Extender EX7000||$139.99||2100 Square Feet||Up to 35 Devices||1900 Mbps||5 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80||$249.99||2500 Square Feet||Up to 30 Devices||6 Gbps||4 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|Winegard RW-2035 Extreme Outdoor Wi-Fi Extender||$349.99||One Million Square Feet||Not Listed||Only 2 GHz Support||No Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|Wi-Fi Range Extender by ROCK SPACE||$45.99||1292 Square Feet||Not Listed||2GHz – 867 Mbps / 5.8 GHz||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|WAVLINK 1200 Mbps Dual Band Wi-Fi Extender||$74.99||Not Listed||Not Listed||2.4 GHz – 867 Mbps / 5.8 GHz||No Ethernet Ports||Plug-In|
|Amped Wireless High Power 800mW AC1750||$74.99||12000 Square Feet||Up to 5 Devices||Supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz||4 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|D-Link Wi-Fi Range Extender||$79.99||Not Listed||Not Listed||2.4 GHz – 450 Mbps / 5 GHz – 1300 Mbps||4 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|Linksys RE6700 AC1200||$75.91||10,000 Square Feet||Not Listed||N300 + AC867 Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|Linksys AC1900 Gigabit Range Extender||$73.99||10,000 Square Feet||Not Listed||2.4 GHz & 5 GHz up to 19. Gbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|Linksys AC750 Boost Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Range Extender||$59.99||6,500 Square Feet||Not Listed||N300 + AC433 Mbps||1 Ethernet Port||Plug-In|
|NETGEAR AC1200 Wireless Range Extender (EX6200)||$89.00||Not Listed||Not Listed||1200 Mbps at 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz||5 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
|Netgear WN2500RP – 100NAS N600 Desktop||$45||Not Listed||Not Listed||600 Mbps at 2 GHz & 5 GHz||4 Ethernet Ports||Desktop|
As you can see from the table above, no two Wi-Fi extenders are entirely similar. Depending on the size of your household or office, and the number of people who need Wi-Fi, one Wi-Fi extender may be someone’s perfect option, while being the worst choice for someone else.
For more information about each Wi-Fi extender option mentioned above, keep reading!
NETGEAR Wi-Fi Range Extender EX3700
At only $29.99, this plug-in Wi-Fi extender covers up to 1000 square feet and can support a whopping 15 devices. It supports an N300 Wi-Fi speed at 750 Mbps. It’s equipped with one ethernet port and features easy five-minute setup with universal router compatibility. This Wi-Fi extender has two adjustable antennas that allow you to customize the reach and direction of the range extension.
Something that you will want to keep in mind is that this Wi-Fi extender will not share an SSID with the router. It will have its own name, and you will need to switch between your router’s network and the Wi-Fi extender’s network as you move around the house.
NETGEAR Wi-Fi Mesh Range Extender EX8000
This is a heavy-duty desktop type Wi-Fi extender. Its coverage range is an impressive 2500 square feet with support to over 50 devices! Its tri-band and FastLane3 technology support an AC3000 Wi-Fi speed at 3000 Mbps. You can rest assured that all of your devices will seamlessly handle 4k streaming.
The NETGEAR Wi-Fi Mesh Range Extender EX8000 is user friendly with its universal compatibility, so its simple five-minute setup process will work no matter what kind of router you have. Thanks to its mesh range technology, you won’t have to change networks either.
A unique feature with this Wi-Fi extender is it’s simple to set up the parental control option. You can set a schedule per device, and control what times they can have access to Wi-Fi. This Wi-Fi extender, pricey as it may be, offers high speeds, full convenience, and family-friendly setup.
TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Extender
This plug-in device will cost you $109.99. It boasts phenomenal coverage with an AC2600 Wi-Fi speed at 800 Mbps for 2 GHz networks, and 1733 Mbps on a 5 GHz network. Thanks to the addition of Mu-Mimo technology, you can connect multiple devices at once without compromising the speed of the Wi-Fi. No matter what router you have, its universal compatibility will work with it.
TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Extender
This is the mid-tier of the TP-Link family. At $85.95, this plug-in type has a range of 2000 square feet and covers up to 32 separate devices. It has universal router compatibility and a very simple setup. It has a speed of 450 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz. It includes adjustable antennas for a targeted range and one ethernet port.
TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender
This may be the smallest Wi-Fi extender in the TP-Link family, but it’s still mighty! At $30.99, it covers a broad 1200 square feet and supports up to 20 devices. Keep in mind that it only supports 2.4 GHz at 300 Mbps with one ethernet port. Its setup process is made simple with indicator lights to help you pick the most effective spot for it to broadcast.
YOOSUN Wi-Fi Extender
This Wi-Fi extender is perfect for reaching that one pesky spot in your home that just can’t seem to get a signal. At a modest $26.99, this plug-in extender covers a small area of 215 square feet and will connect to up to ten devices. It supports a Wi-Fi speed of 2.4 GHz at 300 Mbps.
This is a unique selection on the list. At $84.79, it can handle speeds at 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz of up to 1000 Mbps. Instead of offering a typical range of coverage, this Wi-Fi extender works a bit differently. It uses the electrical wiring in your home to expand its signal.
Simply connect the powerline access point to your router, and then plug the adapter device in an outlet in a dead zone room, and you’re ready to go! You can plug in up to 8 powerline adapters in your home.
NETGEAR Wi-Fi Mesh Range Extender EX7000
This Wi-Fi extender is a heavy hitter desktop type at $139.99. It covers an impressive 2100 square feet and will connect with up to 35 devices. It supports an AC1900 dual-band Wi-Fi speed at 1900 Mbps and has five ethernet ports. Its universal router compatibility makes it a perfect fit for your home, and it has a family-friendly option for parental controls. Its mesh range technology puts it all on the same SSID, so you’ll never need to switch networks as you move around your home or office.
NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80
This is the second most expensive Wi-Fi extender on the list at $249.99. This desktop type covers an area of 2500 square feet and can support up to 30 devices. It has an impressive AX6000 Wi-Fi speed at 6 Gbps. It’s able to support up to eight simultaneous 4K streams and provides universal compatibility for any router you might have. With four ethernet ports, the Netgear Nighthawk is perfect for big families in larger homes who like streaming individually at the same time.
Winegard RW-2035 Extreme Outdoor Wi-Fi Extender
If you need coverage over a massive chunk of space, then this is going to be your go-to option. At a hefty $349.99, Winegard’s Wi-Fi extender boasts an incredible one million square foot coverage area! Please keep in mind, that figure depends entirely on product placement and surroundings.
It only supports speeds up to 2.4 GHz, so you may not be able to have ten devices streaming 4k, but you won’t have to use data. This Wi-Fi extender is weather-proof, so feel free to place it on your roof for maximum coverage. Its three antennas ensure a powerful, secure connection.
Wi-Fi Range Extender by ROCK SPACE
This dual-band desktop type Wi-Fi extender comes in at $45.99. It will cover up to 1292 square feet. It can support speeds of 2.4 GHz at 867 Mbps, and 5.8 GHz at 867 Mbps. Rock Space provides you with an easy setup process that will have you ready to go in minutes!
Just check the video on their product page, and they’ll walk you through the whole process. It has universal router compatibility and supports Wi-Fi speeds of 2.4 GHz at 300 MBps, and 5 GHz at 867 Mbps.
WAVLINK 1200 Mbps Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extender
This is a simple plug-in type at $33.99. It includes universal compatibility. It can handle speeds up to 1200 Mbps at 5GHz, and 867 Mbps at 2.4 GHz. Wavlink’s Wi-Fi extender may not be as powerful as some of the other entries on this list, but if you have a small area that needs coverage, then this device is perfect for you.
Amped Wireless High Power 800mW AC1750
This desktop Wi-Fi extender costs $74.99. It’s a powerful device that covers a whopping 12,000 square feet! It can connect to up to 5 devices, and has universal compatibility for all routers. It has an AC1750 Wi-Fi speed that supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Amped Wireless provides free support when you purchase this Wi-Fi extender, so you’ll never be left hanging should any issues arise in your setup.
D-Link Wi-Fi Range Extender Gigabit Ethernet PortAC1200 Dual Band Wireless Media Bridge/Access Point (DAP-1650)
At $79.99, this handy Wi-Fi extender is perfect for the budget-conscious buyer. At an easy price, it still ensures high speeds with 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz and 450 Mbps at 2.4 GHz. With dual-band Wi-Fi, you’re promised excellent flexibility and reduced interference. It comes with four ethernet ports and has an easy button push setup.
Linksys RE6700 AC1200
This is a powerful extender at a good value. At $75.91, the Linksys RE6700 AC1200 covers up to 10,000 square feet and has impressive speeds up to N300 + AC867 Mbps. You easily find the most effective spot for it using the Spot Finder Technology app. With the included beamforming technology, this extender specifically targets your devices for the best possible coverage.
This is a special Wi-Fi extender, because no matter where you plug it in, you’ll never sacrifice an outlet socket thanks to its integrated power outlet. It has one ethernet port and even has the option to stream music from your phone.
Linksys AC1900 Gigabit Range Extender
At $73.99, this plug-in Wi-Fi extender matches most of the same features, including 10,000 square foot coverage, beamforming technology, and one ethernet port. It lacks an electrical socket and music streaming capabilities, but it’s faster with an internet speed of up to 1.9 Gbps on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. It also includes Mu-Mimo technology for uncompromised multi-user use.
Linksys AC750 Boost Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Range Extender
This is the cheapest version of the two previous extenders at $59.99. It covers 6,500 square feet, has one ethernet port, and supports beamforming. It’s Wi-Fi signal is slightly slower with AC750 data transfer speeds up to N300 + AC433 Mbps. It doesn’t include an electrical socket or Mu-Mimo technology like the previous two extenders, but it’s perfect if for the cost-sensitive buy whose desired coverage range isn’t demanding.
NETGEAR AC1200 Wireless Range Extender (EX6200)
At $89, this desktop extender is universally compatible with all routers and has five ethernet ports. It has a Wi-Fi speed of 1200 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. With its 700 mW high power amplifiers and its two high gain 5dBi antennas, the dead zones in your home will be a thing of the past!
Netgear WN2500RP – 100NAS N600 Desktop
This is another good option for the value-seeking buyer who needs a powerful fix. At $45, this desktop extender will breathe life into your dead zones. It provides up to 600 Mbps on 2 GHz and 5 GHz. Thanks to its FastLane technology, this extender is able to use both frequencies, making for an ultra-fast connection. It includes four ethernet ports and has universal compatibility.
Every home and office is unique. Dead zones come in many shapes and sizes, but you can rest assured that no matter what kind of conditions you’re facing, there’s a Wi-Fi extender out there for you. As you’ve seen, they vary by price, speed, and coverage. The best Wi-Fi extender for your streaming needs will depend upon where you land in each of those categories.
If there’s one thing that humans of the internet can unite on, it’s that we all hate buffering. Having your stream stop to load mid-video is an instant patience-tester for most. If you think any areas in your home or office may be suffering Wi-Fi speed shortages due to limited router reach, then a Wi-Fi extender may be the solution you’ve been searching for.
Wi-Fi extenders are the perfect way to turn dead zones into hotspots. For more information on Wi-Fi extenders, check out this excellent resource.