The Best WiFi Extenders 2020

The Best WiFi Extenders {YEAR}

The Best WiFi Extenders 2020

Updated 23 November 2020

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A consistent, strong WiFi signal can still be an issue in many homes, causing endless internet frustration.

Whilst not the most exciting of gadgets, WiFi extenders are critical pieces of kit if you suffer from poor internet coverage.

Issues with signal strength and coverage are most often experienced in more rural areas but even if you live in the city, five family members all competing for WiFi signal from various rooms could also bring on the signal pains.

A WiFi extender is a fairly cheap and simple way of giving a boost to your existing WiFi network by eliminating the WiFi ‘dead zones’ in your home or office.

To help you in your quest to overcome your WiFi black spots, we tested out the best WiFi extenders currently on the market.

Our Pick
TP-Link AC2600 RE650 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Ranger Extender

An excellent performance and fantastic coverage for a competitive price

The TP-Link RE650 greatly improved our internet coverage and for the competitive price, it is our top pick.

£87.98 from Amazon

The coverage provided by the TP-Link AC2600 RE650 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Ranger Extender is truly amazing, with the four external antennas providing up to 14,000 sq. ft of coverage.

Whilst we couldn’t put the whole 14,000 sq. ft to the test, the TP-Link RE650 did an excellent job of improving speed in troublesome areas of the home and extended coverage into previously unserved rooms.

We used the WPS button for easy setup, but you can also use the TP-Link Tether app or set up the device via the web – great for those who don’t want to have to download yet another app (particularly if your phone is tight on storage space).

The device’s Intelligent Signal Indicator helped us to find the ideal position for the extender by showing the signal strength in each placement.

To start, we tested the internet speed in two of the hardest to reach WiFi locations around the house – at the end of the kitchen and in one of the bedrooms upstairs.

Without the extender the speeds were as follows:

  • Kitchen – Unobtainable. No WiFi signal
  • Bedroom – 92 ms latency, 11.3 Mbps download speed, 5.3 Mbps upload speed

We then plugged the extender in, set it up via the method above and re-checked the speeds.

The difference between the two speed readings was huge and the internet coverage was greatly improved.

TP-Link

Photo credit: Alice Watts Photography

The speeds using the extender were as follows:

  • Kitchen – 10 ms latency, 42.3 Mbps download speed, 8.9 Mbps upload speed
  • Bedroom – 10 ms latency, 44.8 Mbps download speed, 9.3 Mbps upload speed

From the original speeds, you can see the poor internet we were working with as a baseline, but with the TP-Link RE650, latency was significantly reduced, download speed increased by 33.5 Mbps in the bedroom and the kitchen was provided with coverage.

In terms of aesthetics and practicality, the RE650 plugs straight into your wall.

It is one of the bulkier options (it’s fairly thin but quite tall and the antennas increase the space it takes up), but the coverage it provides means it’s more than worth it.

The unit itself has a fairly sleek design and endearingly looks a little like a friendly rebroadcasting robot, sent to solve all your WiFi problems.

The extender has BeamForming technology which sends a targeted WiFi signal to individual devices to provide stronger connections.

It also has a 1 Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting wired devices such as your PC, games console or Smart TV for faster speeds and a stronger performance.

This isn’t as many as other products but it was sufficient for our use. You’ll know if you require more.

One thing this extender doesn’t have is mesh capability, so if you’re looking for an extender with the flexibility to build a mesh network in the future, our runner up choice the TP-Link RE300 AC1200 Extender with OneMesh™ technology is probably the better choice.

The TP-Link RE650 AC2600 WiFi Range Extender worked brilliantly, improving speeds in the hardest to reach areas of the home.

  • Speed: 2,600 Mbps (1,733 Mbps on 5 GHz band, 800 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band)
  • Supports: 802.11ac
  • Features: Dual-Band backup, MU-MIMO, setup and management via the TP-Link Tether app, BeamForming technology, external antennas, Intelligent Signal Indicator
  • System: Standard repeater

Also available at:

Runner Up
TP-Link Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender RE300 AC1200 Dual Band

A solidly performing WiFi extender with mesh capabilities at a great price point

If you’re looking to pay under £40 and want the flexibility of mesh as a potential option, the RE300 is an excellent choice.

£33.98 from Amazon

We were surprised by just how much of an impact the TP-Link Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender made to the internet speeds in our hard to reach corners.

We first tested the internet speed in two of the hardest to reach WiFi locations around the house; at the end of the kitchen and in one of the bedrooms upstairs.

Without the extender the speeds were as follows:

  • Kitchen – Unobtainable. No WiFi signal
  • Bedroom – 92 ms latency, 11.3 Mbps download speed, 5.3 Mbps upload speed

We then set up the TP-Link RE300 extender to see the difference it could make.

Connecting the extender was very simple.

There are three different setup options: via the Tether App, a web browser or WPS. We opted for a quick one-touch connection via WPS.

If you are happy not tapping into its mesh capabilities, the TP-Link RE300 will work with any router or WiFi access point.

During setup, we found the Smart Signal indicator a handy feature as it enabled us to find the best spot for the extender to ensure maximum additional coverage.

Handy separate indicator lights also show whether the extender is connected to the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless networks of your host router.

With the extender plugged in, we checked the speeds again and they were vastly improved. The speeds were as follows:

  • Kitchen – 13 ms latency, 46.3 Mbps download speed, 8.9 upload speed
  • Bedroom – 41 ms latency, 45.7 Mbps download speed, 9.1 upload speed

By increasing download speeds in the bedroom by 34.4 Mbps and creating coverage of 46.3 Mbps in the kitchen, the extender allowed for improved music and video streaming and faster file downloads in both locations.

The Dual-Band technology of the RE300 allows devices to use separate bands, meaning that an increased number of devices can use the network without impacting performance.

TP-Link Mesh

Photo credit: Alice Watts Photography

The extender features a high-speed mode – during which you can use both available WiFi bands to establish one super high-speed connection.

This is ideal for times when a lot of bandwidth is required; for example, for online gaming.

The extender also has an access control feature, enabling the restriction of certain devices for custom amounts of time. This is particularly useful when managing children’s internet/screen time.

All these features can be easily controlled via the TP-Link Tether app. They can also be activated through Web UI if you don’t want to use the app.

This product doesn’t have the same coverage capacity as the TP-Link RE650, but we found that it was more than sufficient for eliminating the key WiFi dead zones in our home.

If you have a larger home, the RE650 will most likely be a better choice.

A great selling point of this TP-Link WiFi extender is its OneMesh™ technology – you can enjoy continuous WiFi as you move through your home, without interruptions, lags or dropouts. This works by setting up your router and extenders so they share a single WiFi name and network.

To take advantage of the mesh technology, however, you will need to have a TP-Link router which is mesh compatible.

If you’re already a TP-Link router owner, the good news is that you should be able to upgrade your existing TP-Link router’s firmware to the OneMesh™ version.

For example, with a firmware update, you can use OneMesh™ with the TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router. For reference, this is available for £70.28 at Amazon.

This means that if you’re an existing TP-Link customer, the RE300 extender is a great value choice with the potential to set up a mesh network.

If not, then setting up this TP-Link mesh network will come out at similar cost to the Linksys MX10600 Velop, slightly more than the Tendra Nova (note that the Nova comes in a three-pack) and a bit less than the Devolo Magic 1 WiFi Powerline Extender.

We found this a little confusing, as the box states it ‘works with any router’, so we wanted to demystify the RE300’s mesh offering. It is, though, still a great and affordable mesh network option that rivals the others on this list at a similar price point.

The TP-Link RE650 pipped the RE300 extender to the top spot due to its wider coverage, high-speed capacity and gigabit ethernet port, but in our testing location, both of the TP-Link extenders performed brilliantly.

The TP-Link RE300 AC2600 is a discrete and compact plugin.

  • Speed: 1,200 Mbps (867 Mbps for 5 GHz band, 300 Mbps for 2.4GHz band)
  • Features: Dual-Band, smart roaming, easy set up via Tether app
  • System: Repeater with Mesh capability (with OneMesh™ products)
Also Awesome
Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band WiFi Extender

Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band WiFi Extender

The Netgear Nighthawk is expensive but leading the way with its technology

The Nighthawk settled in our third spot due to its high cost, but if you have the money to spend, it is an excellent high-quality WiFi extender.

£241 from Amazon

Whilst being a significant investment, the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band WiFi Extender is a top-performing extender.

The price reflects the fact that it can be set up to create a mesh network, so you have a continuous WiFi network throughout your house and will not need to switch WiFi network names.

Whilst other extenders disconnect and reconnect, the Nighthawk’s signal coverage is seamless.

It is worth noting that, if required, you are still able to use multiple SSIDs to create separate networks.

In terms of practicality, setup is simple and the extender will work with any WiFi router.

The extender features not Dual-Band but Tri-Band technology.

The patented ‘FastLane3 technology’, about which it raves, involves a dedicated WiFi link back to the router. This avoids the halving of bandwidth which often occurs with extended WiFi signals.

It also includes a dedicated 5 GHz band which has up to 1.7 Gbps for extending internet speeds to your devices.

The Netgear Nighthawk has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for plugging in your entertainment devices (such as Smart TVs and games consoles) to ensure the most stable connection for streaming.

Although streamlined in design, the Nighthawk is significantly larger than other plug-in extenders and needs to sit on a surface, so it isn’t necessarily a discrete choice. However, as it looks similar to a router, it won’t look too out of place on your kitchen work surface or living room side table.

It is a cutting-edge quality product, creating dependable full WiFi coverage and eliminating your WiFi black spots (it even works into your backyard depending on positioning).

If you have the money to spend, this WiFi extender should be your product of choice.

  • Speed: Up to 3 Gbps (3,000 Mbps)
  • Band specifications: Band 1: 400 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz, Band 2: 866 Mbps @ 5 GHz & Band 3: 1,733 Mbps @ 5 GHz
  • Supports up to: 802.11ac
  • Features: Quad-core processor, Smart Connect, Tri-Band technology, MU-MIMO capabilities, one-year Netgear hardware warranty
  • System: Mesh
wifi extenders

A Note on the Testing Context

I know first-hand the frustration of poor internet connection as, growing up on the south coast of the UK, the internet provision was dire – even the BBC news homepage would take a full five minutes to load.

The only way to get functioning internet into our house proved to be via satellite and then microwave broadband (expensive and usually reserved for the most rural of locations such as the Australian outback).

The village was eventually permitted to join the 21st century and fibre broadband cables were installed, but WiFi signal remains patchy across the house.

Having escaped my small London flat with its solid internet provision before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I was able to put our selected WiFi extenders to the test in the rural and highly-challenging environment that is my family home – an ideal location for putting them through their paces.

What Is a WiFi Extender?

A WiFi extender promises to boost the internet in areas of your home where the signal from your internet router is weaker or does not reach.

WiFi extenders can also be referred to as ‘repeaters’ as they connect to your existing WiFi network and then rebroadcast their own signals. This helps to improve both the strength and reach of connection for using your devices.

For example, if your WiFi router is set up in your home office but you always find that the signal in your kitchen is weak – perhaps daily you find yourself waiting and struggling to load all those new recipes to try out for dinner on your iPad – then setting up a WiFi extender may be your answer.

Cheaper than upgrading your whole network, a WiFi extender is an excellent solution to fix patchy coverage and a weak WiFi signal.

Indeed, in some areas (particularly rural or coastal), a WiFi extender may be the only way currently available to improve your home WiFi.

WiFi extenders are particularly useful for working around obstructions that may be hampering your signal. They are, however, only functional in small household spaces as they cannot extend your network too far beyond its current scope.

How Do WiFi Extenders Work?

So, WiFi extenders can improve your WiFi reach by rebroadcasting the signal, but how do they do this?

WiFi range extenders can work on one of three different systems:

1. WiFi Repeaters

A WiFi repeater is a single unit that connects with your existing router to rebroadcast the WiFi signal and extend its coverage.

The extender needs to be placed in a location with minimal obstructions between itself and the router. This is because its signal rebroadcasts can only be as good as its connection to the home router.

WiFi extenders are an affordable fix but they come with the limitations of the network they are connected into.

They will also require your devices to disconnect and reconnect into the router/extender networks as you move through the house.

If you are struggling with a poor internet connection, it may be worth opting for a more comprehensive WiFi mesh-networking kit.

2. Mesh Networks

A Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) works similarly to a WiFi repeater but provides the capacity to connect multiple extenders (also known as nodes) into the system for maximum coverage across a large area.

The networks usually come with three nodes, the first plugs into your current router and the rest are spaced around your house to create the mesh network.

Some mesh systems come with a new router but if nodes are available to purchase separately, it is important to check that these will be compatible with your existing WiFi router.

It is common for mesh systems to require all components to be the same brand.

Each mesh network node broadcasts a signal of the same strength as the router, avoiding the drop in the signal strength that is rebroadcast from standard WiFi repeaters.

Having a mesh network can also stabilise your original router.

The nodes provide seamless connectivity without the interruptions of signal drop out, as they are set up on a single network with one password.

Although mesh WiFi kits are pricey, sometimes the high cost of upgrading your router and/or purchasing an additional extender means that opting for a mesh kit is the most sensible investment.

As a compromise between both of the above, brands are now building mesh technology into their WiFi repeaters.

A mesh WiFi repeater works more seamlessly than your standard repeater as they avoid the need to manually connect to the extender network as you move through the house.

Instead, like with a mesh system, you will still have one network to connect to for the whole of your house. This makes mesh a particularly desirable addition.

3. Powerline Adaptors

Powerline extenders, or a powerline networking kit, usually consists of two units which are plugged into the wall.

The first is placed near to the existing router and connected via Ethernet. The second is plugged into the wall in the room you wish to extend your WiFi into.

Data is relayed back to the first unit via your mains electrical wiring (hence the product name).

The selling point is that, unlike with a repeater, the signal does not lose strength according to how far away it is from the router.

Note, though, that powerline adaptors will only work if your house has one electrical circuit. If you have different circuits then this will not be the best solution for you.

Price-wise, powerline adaptors are more expensive than standard WiFi repeaters, but they safeguard your signal for rebroadcasting in a way standard repeaters cannot.

Key Features – Things to Consider When Buying a WiFi Extender

You know you want to buy a WiFi range extender, but it can be difficult to know what to look for in a decent extender.

To help us recommend the best WiFi extenders, we considered the following features:

802.11ac Support

We looked for WiFi extenders that support up to the 802.11ac WiFi standard.

Older 802.11n extenders are sold more cheaply, but these can detrimentally impact the speed of your connection – decreasing the speed of devices connected to the network and only offering half of the router connection speed to devices connecting to the extender.

If you’re on a budget, an 802.11n may do the trick, but be aware there will be a sacrifice in terms of speed.

Most of the WiFi extenders in this article are 802.11ac but we decided to include a couple of 802.11n extenders because of their low price.

Whether the speed these provide is sufficient will depend on your habits and will be a judgement call.

The Google Nest has an 802.11s WiFi standard. This is an amendment to the 802.11 standard that specifies the creation of a wireless mesh network (WMN) in a wireless local area network (WLAN).

Dual-Band/Tri-Band

Dual-Band WiFi extenders use both 2.4 GHz (long-range, slower) and 5 GHz (short-range, faster) frequencies to rebroadcast the WiFi signal.

However, Dual-Band uses both radio bands for transmission to and from the router, so your router and the devices connected to your extender compete for bandwidth.

Extenders with Tri-Band technology have a dedicated WiFi link back to the router, preventing the lowering of bandwidth for devices on the extended network.

It is worth noting that some Dual-Band models allow you to dedicate a band for communications between the router and extender.

MU-MIMO Capabilities

This acronym stands for 'Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output' and increases the extender’s capacity for supporting multiple uploads and downloads at the same time.

Performance

Performance is, after all, what you are intending to improve by investing in an extender.

All the WiFi extenders reviewed needed to give marked improvement to connectivity and household coverage.

They should improve both the throughput (aka. speed, both in terms of download and upload) and the latency (the time it takes for a page to load).

Speed

The speed, measured in Megabits per second (Mbps), is better the higher it is.

There are, however, practical limits to the speed that your network will be able to reach.

The extender speed will depend on the speed of your existing network and where the extender is positioned relative to the router.

Coverage

As you are buying an extender to broadcast your WiFi over a larger space, the coverage increase is particularly important.

WiFi extenders usually state their coverage in square feet. The larger your home or the further away your WiFi black spot is from the router, the greater coverage you will need to fix your device connectivity issues.

Price

If you are investing in improving your WiFi signal, you want it to be worth the money.

WiFi extenders range in price from around £20 to £230, depending on whether they are standard repeaters, powerline adapters or part of a mesh networking system.

At the top end, the mesh systems have the edge in terms of speed, seamless connectivity and coverage.

They are, however, a significant investment and may not be necessary for your WiFi needs.

Consequently, we have included extenders at a variety of price points and accompanying specifications.

Ethernet/Gigabit Ethernet Ports

Ethernet ports are handy for plugging in entertainment devices such as computers, laptops, games consoles or other streaming devices.

These devices often demand high bandwidth so plugging them directly into your router via Ethernet means fewer demanding devices competing for your WiFi signal.

We checked to see how many Ethernet ports each WiFi extender offered and also looked to see if there was a USB 3.0 port.

Note that Gigabit-Ethernet ports can support wired connections up to 10x faster than standard Ethernet, so are preferable.

Remember that connecting your devices via Ethernet to your extender unit won’t deliver your internet as fast as a direct-wired connection to the router would. This is because the signal needs to travel to the extender first.

Mesh Compatibility

We looked at whether the WiFi extenders were compatible with mesh systems or had embedded mesh technology. See the section on mesh networks for more information.

Simple Set Up & Interaction

Today, most range extenders support WPS (WiFi Protected Setup). This means that pairing your device involves little more than pressing a few buttons and either naming your new network and protecting it with a password or linking into your existing network.

There are usually setup options via an app and/or browser.

For setup practicality, LED status indicator lights are useful to have as they tell you if your extender is too far away from the router.

Other Ways You Can Boost Your WiFi Signal

If you are having trouble with your WiFi signal coverage, it may be worth checking if you can get a router upgrade from your service provider (preferably a free upgrade – if you’ve been with your provider for a while, stress this).

Most of us are guilty of setting up our WiFi router and then forgetting about it, proceeding to use our WiFi network for years, unaware that advances and upgrades are occurring and may be able to improve our service provision.

When internet drop out is causing problems, checking for a free router upgrade should be your first port of call. After all, you have nothing to lose by enquiring.

If, however, you find you are required to pay for an upgrade to your existing router or indeed already have a shiny new router/the latest router available, a WiFi range extender is a great option to fill in those WiFi dead zones in your home.

Whilst you could seek to upgrade your internet and/or change service provider – and we recommend that you do your own research when it comes to this – this will likely incur a greater cost than boosting your network with a WiFi extender.

If this turns out to be the case, WiFi extenders are worth a go as they could easily solve all your coverage frustrations.

Other WiFi Extenders We Reviewed

Alongside our top picks, we felt the following WiFi extenders also deserved a mention.

They all have different strengths, so for a quick and easy comparison, see our handy ‘At a Glance’ specifications table.

  • Speed: Up to 300 Mbps
  • Supports up to: 802.11n
  • Features: One Ethernet port, two coverage boosting antennas
  • System: Standard repeater

This small, compact WiFi range extender from Netgear is a discrete way of boosting your WiFi signal.

Super simple to use, this extender plugs straight into your wall and its external antennas give extra range.

It only supports up to 802.11n, so cannot reach the faster speeds – but this is reflected in the low cost.

It should boost coverage up to 600 sq. ft and allow 10 devices to be connected.

It will work with any router and has one Ethernet port for connecting a nearby wired device.

It is a personal judgement as to whether the speeds provided by this extender will suit your needs. For those on a budget who do not require high-speed internet, the Netgear N300 is a good choice.

  • Speed: Up to 2,600 Mbps
  • Supports up to: 802.11n
  • Features: Dual-Band, SmartBeam, SmartConnect, MU-MIMO technology
  • System: Standard repeater

We found the D-Link DAP-1860 very simple to set up, all that was required was pressing the WPS button both on the router and on the extender.

The clear Smart Signal Indicator was helpful in rapidly finding the optimal position for the device.

Its handy SmartConnect feature means that the best possible band is allocated to ensure the optimal performance of your WiFi.

It provides speeds of up to 2,532 Mbps, filling the gaps in your WiFi coverage with internet capable of sustaining 4K/HD streaming.

MU-MIMO technology distributes data effectively, allowing multiple devices to have high bandwidth simultaneously. Smart Beam also tracks connected devices for enhanced WiFi speed.

It has one Gigabit Ethernet port to plug in your devices, for occasions when WiFi is not fast or reliable enough (such as with Smart TVs and games consoles).

It doesn’t have the most stylish design of all the WiFi extenders we reviewed, but it fits comfortably into a plug socket without looking too bulky and its antennae help to improve the coverage provided.

Overall, the D-Link AC2600 extender is a good value option but note that, as with the other cheaper extenders featured in this review, it only supports WiFi up to 802.11n.

If this isn’t a problem for your needs, this extender is a solid buy and a great balance between performance and affordability.

  • Speed: Up to 1,200 Mbps
  • Supports up to: 802.11ac
  • Features: Dual-Band, BeamForming technology, PefectPoint Locator (via app), two-year limited warranty
  • System: Standard repeater

The Belkin AC1200 extender has a simple set up featuring its PefectPoint Locator, which helpfully indicates when you have placed your extender in the ideal position.

Positioning is vital to a WiFi extender’s performance as placing the device too close to the router limits its extension, whilst setting it down too far away will limit the internet speed it can provide your devices.

The Belkin helpfully takes the guesswork out of this positioning process.

With data transfer speeds of up to N300 + AC867 Mbps, this extender comfortably supports activities such as video streaming and online gaming on the devices connected to the extended network.

For optimal performance, BeamForming technology enables the range extender to focus the WiFi signal directly to connected devices.

As it supports 802.11ac, the extender claims to deliver speeds up to 2.8x faster than Wireless-N (802.11n) technology. Helpfully, though, for your older devices, the Belkin is backwards compatible with older Wireless-N and -G devices.

The Belkin AC1200 is Dual-Band so features a 5 GHz band for high bandwidth activities and a 2.4 GHz band for everyday tasks such as email and browsing.

Crucially, it provides a solid amount of extension, improving coverage by 7,500 sq. ft.

Finally, from a practical point of view, it doesn’t block other power points and the LED lights on the extender aren’t too bright and obtrusive at night.

BT 11ac Wi-Fi Extender 1200

BT 11ac Wi-Fi Extender 1200

A Dual-Band extender at the lower end of the price range which supports WiFi up to 802.11ac

Price: Available for £38 at Amazon
  • Speed: Up to 1,200 Mbps
  • Supports up to: 802.11ac
  • Features: Dual-Band, smart WiFi positioning, one Ethernet port
  • System: Standard repeater

The BT Wi-Fi Extender 1200 is a Dual-Band extender at the lower end of the price range, but unlike the other cheaper options, it supports WiFi up to 802.11ac.

Setup was simple, just plug the extender into the wall and connect it to your router.

It will work with all broadband providers and routers – you don’t need to be a BT broadband customer.

Smart WiFi positioning helps you to place the extender in the optimal position for maximum coverage.

Due to the Dual-Band technology, you can choose the WiFi band that best suits your devices. The extended coverage is ideal for video streaming, downloading music or playing online games.

Each extender features one Ethernet port for wired device connections and the product has a three-year manufacturer's warranty for peace of mind.

BT Whole Home WiFi

BT Whole Home WiFi

A mesh network which will improve signal coverage across your entire home

Price: Available for £171.98 for 3 discs

Additional discs are available for purchase separately for £79.99 each

  • Speed: Up to 2,600 Mbps
  • Supports up to: 802.11ac
  • Features: Dual-Band, feature control via Whole Home app, network pausing, scheduling access, secure guest network, three-year warranty
  • System: Mesh

The BT Whole Home WiFi system is a mesh network which will improve signal coverage across your entire home.

It works with all UK broadband providers but is a complete system so requires a BT Whole Home router.

The Whole Home WiFi app provides step by step instructions for easy setup, helpfully indicating where you should place each disc for the best connection.

We found the LED lights on the nodes (which remain on to indicate connection strength) to be very bright but, thankfully, the brightness can be adjusted via the app.

This was gratefully discovered as the indicator lights are bright enough to disrupt sleep at their original setting.

The app can be used to easily adjust settings during use. These features include being able to view online devices, pausing the network, creating a guest network and scheduling internet-free times (such as at bedtimes).

Its performance is good – Dual-Band technology works to provide uncongested and improved signal strength, whilst ‘Intelligent WiFi’ technology automatically connects you to the fastest and strongest signal as you move through rooms. This means you can stream TV, films, music and games in all locations without any trouble.

As the Whole Home system is a mesh network, there is no disconnect/reconnect lag when moving through the house. The system can also sustain multiple high-demand devices simultaneously without a noticeable loss in speed.

If you’re looking for a Tri-Band product, though, BT offers a Premium Whole Home WiFi System which is currently £199.99 for two discs directly from BT.

In terms of pack sizes, the three-pack of discs is recommended for three to five-bedroom properties. If you have a smaller home or flat with one to two bedrooms, a pack of two discs should suffice to effectively improve coverage.

There is also a Mini Whole Home WiFi option available for £59.98 for smaller homes, but the coverage and speed provided is lower than that of the BT Whole Home WiFi.

Linksys MX10600 Velop Wi-Fi Whole Home System & Extender

Linksys MX10600 Velop Wi-Fi Whole Home System & Extender

Consistently delivers seamless WiFi throughout your home, but it comes with a high price tag

Price: Available at Amazon from £99.49

Additional extender available for £76.25

  • Speed: Up to 5.3 Gbps
  • Supports up to: WiFi 6 (AX)
  • Features: Tri-Band, BSS technology, Linksy setup app, OFDMA, MU-MIMO, Gigabit Ethernet ports, USB 3.0 port
  • System: Mesh

This Tri-Band mesh network is set up easily via an app and consistently delivers seamless WiFi throughout your home, but it comes with a high price tag.

Like the Google Nest system, Linksy’s extenders only work as part of their Mesh Whole Home Network.

It is, however, a leading product in terms of speed and coverage and has many additional features which boost its performance.

It provides an exceptional speed of up to 5.3 Gbps (due to mesh technology with WiFi 6) and has 12-stream connectivity – perfect for larger families with high streaming demand.

Once the system is set up, it can take additional extenders (or nodes as they are referred to by Linksy) to ensure full coverage across any desired area. The product should extend coverage to up to 2,000 sq. ft with two nodes.

WiFi 6 (AX) has four times the capacity of WiFi 5 (AC) technology and is capable of simultaneously sending and receiving multiple streams of data. In fact, the Linksy system can support 50 connected devices, so you’ll struggle to overload your WiFi.

OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) technology increases the efficiency in these high-density scenarios whilst MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) technology provides capacity for uploads and downloads on eight devices simultaneously.

BSS technology works to eliminate interference from other WiFi networks nearby, to make sure your signal is the clearest it can be.

The device features four Gigabit Ethernet ports (remember, Gigabit ports are faster than your standard Ethernet port). These are useful for relieving demand on your WiFi network and connecting devices that may require a more stable connection. The extender also has a handy USB 3.0 port for connecting storage devices.

  • Speed: Up to 2,200 Mbps (400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1,733 Mbps on the 5 GHz)
  • Supports up to: 802.11s (an amendment to the 802.11 standard that specifies the creation of a wireless mesh network)
  • Features: Dual-Band, MU-MIMO, Google Home compatible, control via Google Home app, guest network, firewall, speaker functionality, Google Assistant.
  • System: Mesh

Nest WiFi is Google’s offering into the WiFi extender space.

Whilst simultaneously providing quality, aesthetics and performance, we feel that at over the £200 price point, the Nest WiFi extender system is just that bit too expensive for most.

Whilst the Google Nest WiFi Point Add-on Wi-Fi Extender is available for £125 it only works with – you guessed it – the Google Nest WiFi Router.

This is available separately for £149 from John Lewis, or they are currently being sold together for £230, with a two-year guarantee.

As with most Google products, set up is intuitive and can be done via the Google Home app.

If you have just two nodes, one is plugged into your router and the other is placed in the optimal position for extending your signal (the app will help you determine this). Multiple nodes can be added as needed to extend coverage throughout a larger home or office.

The Nest WiFi system has many handy additional features such as the capability to group and block devices, schedule internet-free times and pause the network. It also has good security and protection with an instant firewall to block sites. The system also offers guest networking, perfect for occasions when you are having people over.

The Nest WiFi system is part of a wider Smart Home system, syncing with Google Home to connect with other smart devices you may own. If you are in the process of building a smart home tech collection, the Nest system will appeal.

A final feature to mention is that the Google Nest nodes have an in-built speaker and microphone. This means that your WiFi extenders are simultaneously smart speakers (fire away and ask it all your questions) – and can play your music too.

The features of the Google Nest are all very appealing extras, but if you were just looking for a simple WiFi extender (with that as its sole purpose) this isn’t the pricey pick for you.

As we have come to expect from Google, the Nest system is stylish and won’t look out of place in your (Google) home.

  • Speed: Up to 1,200 Mbps
  • Supports up to: 802.11ac
  • Features: Dual-Band, MU-MIMO technology, guest network, setup app, parental controls
  • System: Mesh

The Nova AC1200 is the cheapest mesh system on the list by far, in fact, it is around the average price of a WiFi extender alone.

As it is a mesh network, it has one single SSID and password, providing the seamless node connectivity expected from mesh technology.

It can support up to 60 devices simultaneously (you’d be very unlikely to need more than this) and three nodes provide coverage over an area of up to 3,500 sq. ft. Two nodes will have coverage of up to 2,500 sq. ft.

In terms of quality, though, unlike the other mesh systems with sleeker designs, the Nova Mesh System looks a bit plasticky.

Setup was also a little trickier than the other systems as it involved connecting and then disconnecting which could be a bit confusing, despite the effort to make it simpler via the Tendra app.

The app is also used for network management. Via the app, you can block users, set parental controls and add a guest network.

The Nova system doesn’t, however, have all the features of other mesh networks. For example, the Nova does not offer device grouping, a pause facility or a security firewall.

It is also Dual-Band, whereas most of the other mesh systems featured have Tri-Band technology, which provides a dedicated band for extender-router communications. This is likely to impact the bandwidth available to devices connected to the extender.

It is worth noting, though, that the Tendra Nova prioritises 5 GHz network access so that videos can be streamed in 4K HD without any irritating lag.

The extenders have one Ethernet port for connecting wired devices that require a stable connection, such as your Smart TV.

The Nova MW3 is a mesh network and it works as such – it just lacks some of the performance enhancers and extra features of other mesh device clusters. This is, however, reflected in the low price.

Devolo Magic 1 WiFi

Devolo Magic 1 WiFi

Perfect for providing fast internet coverage to larger spaces

Price: Available for £117.99 at Amazon
  • Speed: Up to 1,200 Mbps (Bands: 2.4 GHz – 300 Mbits/sec, 5 GHz – 867 Mbits/sec)
  • Supports up to: 802.11ac
  • Features: Two Gigabit Ethernet ports, guest WiFi, parental controls
  • System: Powerline and mesh

The Devolo Magic 1 WiFi extender is a powerline device which means that unlike other extenders, the signal strength rebroadcasted is not impacted by the distance of the extender from the router.

This means it is perfect for providing fast internet coverage to larger spaces with WiFi woes.

Merging mesh and powerline technology, this powerline adaptor creates a seamless mesh network through tapping into your electrical wiring. This means your devices will not have to disconnect and reconnect to different networks as you move through your home.

For demanding devices (or those that require Ethernet ports, such as some wireless printers), the Devolo extenders have two fast Gigabit Ethernet ports.

These extenders are not particularly aesthetic, but as they are plug-ins, they won’t be invading your coffee table or kitchen work surface so we didn’t see this as a huge issue.

On the practicality front, however, these powerline extenders are fairly chunky so could block adjacent sockets (depending on the size of the plug sharing with it).

Ultimately, if your home struggles with WiFi provision, this powerline mesh adaptor is a brilliant option and well worth the investment.

At a Glance Comparison

NamePriceSystemSupports up To:SpeedBand SpecificationsCoverage (sq. ft)No. of Ethernet PortsFeatures
Devolo Magic 1 WiFi£117.99Powerline and mesh802.11acUp to 1,200 Mbps2.4 GHz – 300 Mbits/sec, 5 GHz – 867 Mbits/secNot specifiedTwoDual-Band; guest WiFi; parental controls
Nova MW3 AC1200 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System£72.99Mesh802.11ac1,200 MbpsNot specified3,500 (supports up to 60 devices)OneDual-Band; MU-MIMO; Maximal Ratio Combining (MRC) technology; BeamForming technology
Nest WiFi£230Mesh802.11sUp to 2,200 Mbps400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1,733 Mbps on the 5 GHzNot specified, but Nest supports up to 200 connected devices – the most of any extenders/mesh networks we reviewed)NoneDual-Band; MU-MIMO; Google Home compatible; control via Google Home app; speaker functionality; Google Assistant
Linksys MX10600 Velop Wi-Fi Whole Home System & ExtenderFrom £99.49. Additional extender available for £76.25MeshWiFi 6 (AX)5.3 GbpsNot specifiedUp to 2,000 sq. ft (supports 50+ devices)Four, plus a USB 3.0 portTri-Band; MU-MIMO; BSS technology; Linksy setup app; OFDMA technology
BT Wi-Fi Extender 1200£38Standard repeater802.11ac1,200 MbpsNot specifiedNot specifiedOneDual-Band; smart WiFi positioning
Belkin AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Range Extender with Internal Antenna£51.95Standard repeater802.11ac1,200 MbpsUp to N300 Mbps (2.4 GHz band) and AC866 Mbps (5.0 GHz band)Up to 7,500NoneDual-Band; BeamForming technology; PefectPoint Locator (via app); two-year limited warranty
D-Link AC2600 DAP-1860 WiFi Range Extender£74.44Standard repeater802.11n2,600 MbpsNot specifiedNot specifiedOneDual-Band; MU-MIMO technology; SmartBeam; SmartConnect; Smart Signal Indicator; four external antenna
Netgear EX2700 N300 Universal WiFi Range Extender£20.65Standard repeater802.11n300 MbpsSingle-Band600 sq. ft (the lowest coverage of the extenders we reviewed); it supports up to 10 devicesOneTwo external antennas
Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band WiFi Extender£241Mesh802.11acUp to 3 GbpsBand 1: 400 Mbps @2.4 GHz, Band 2: 866 Mbps @5 GHz & Band 3: 1,733 Mbps @5 GHzUp to 2,500 sq. ft (supports up to 50 devices)Four (Gigabit)Tri-Band technology; MU-MIMO capabilities; quad-core processor; Smart Connect; Smart Roaming; one-year Netgear hardware warranty
TP-Link Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender RE300 AC1200 Dual Band£33.98 but requires a OneMesh™ compatible router to use mesh (available for £70.28)Repeater with Mesh capability802.11ac1,200 Mbps867 Mbps for 5 GHz band, 300 Mbps for 2.4 GHz bandNot specified (but supports up to 32 devices)NoneDual-Band; Smart Roaming; easy setup and management via the Tether app
TP-Link AC2600 RE650 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Ranger Extender RE650£87 to £100Standard repeater802.11ac2,600 Mbps(1,733 Mbps on 5 GHz band, 800 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band)Up to an amazing 14,000 sq. ftOne (Gigabit)MU-MIMO; setup and management via the Tether app; BeamForming technology; external antennas; intelligent signal indicator
BT Whole Home WiFi£171.98 for 3 discs, or £124.99 for 2 discs. Additional discs are available for £79.99 eachMesh802.11acUp to 2,600 MbpsNot specifiedNot specifiedNoneDual-Band; feature control via Whole Home app; Network pausing; scheduling access; secure guest network; three-year warranty

Final Thoughts

If you are suffering from patchy and weak WiFi in your home, a WiFi range extender is a great way to eliminate those WiFi dead zones.

In this article, we have reviewed the best WiFi extenders on offer, but the extender best suited to you will depend on your location, level of signal issues and priority needs.

If you only have minimal problems with drop out, a standard WiFi repeater may be all you need to increase your coverage to the level you require. If your internet is very poor, a powerline adaptor is a great solution as the broadcasting signal is not impacted by distance from the router – meaning you can position it to provide optimal coverage without limitations.

If you have the extra budget, a mesh network will give you consistent connectivity and provide a seamless network for your whole home. It is the mesh networks that tend to be at the cutting edge of technology too – with lots of additional features.

It is worth noting that, with all of these options, you are unlikely to experience the max speeds noted in the extender specification as WiFi speed depends heavily on your local conditions and existing WiFi contract.

Whichever type of extender you opt for, though, the chances are it will greatly improve your WiFi signal and be money well spent.

By Alice Watts Alice Watts

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