The best WiFi extenders, boosters and alternatives
These boosters and extenders will patch the WiFi blackspots in your house or apartment.
There are so many factors that can impact the WiFi signal in your home. Larger homes can suffer from a distance issue, struggling to get signal when the modem lives at the other end of the house. But even smaller apartments can suffer slow speeds depending on the type of building (brick vs. fibro etc.) and the amount of interfering devices crammed in such a small space. Whatever your layout, there’s no need to put up with a weak WiFi signal. There are plenty of affordable WiFi extenders and boosters for a quick fix if you need to patch a black spot, but if you’re looking for a more future-focused fix, you can pick up a mesh WiFi network at a reasonable price these days.
Here are some of your best options for WiFi extenders and boosters based on customer reviews and our hands-on experience.
Best WiFi Extender for most
TP-Link RE200 V3 AC750
Choosing a WiFi extender can be almost as complicated as selecting an NBN router. But just like an NBN router, most people will be more than satisfied with something middle range. TP-Link has a wide range of wallet-friendly WiFi extenders, but its AC750 model hits the sweet spot for speed and performance. The AC750 comes at well under the $100 mark; offering dual-band speeds up to 750Mbps on the most modern WiFi technologies (802.11ac, aka WiFi 5 and below).
Most importantly, setup is a breeze. This is a plug-and-play device that allows you to connect with the press of a button. All you need to do is press the WPS button found on most modern routers, then RE repeater button on the TP-Link extender and bish bash bosh, you’ve sorted out your signal issue.
Workhorse WiFi extenders either take up space on your desk or hog the powerboard entirely, but the TP-Link RE200 V3 is a gracious roommate. There are more economical options with power passthrough (more on those in a second), but this model is easily one of the slimmest of its kind.
Netgear’s EX3100 AC750 extender fits the same bill as TP-Link’s RE200, with dual-band 750Mbps speeds and WiFi 5 technology, but it does come at a higher price around the $99 mark.
Netgear Nighthawk EX7500
If your internet usage is… unconventional, you may be looking for a WiFi extender with a little more oomph. That’s where Netgear’s old faithful Nighthawk range swoops in.
This plug-and-play powerhouse delivers tri-band speeds up to 2.2Gbps with four external antennas.
It comes at a decent price hike at around $250 to $300, but that’s understandable considering the technology packed in.
Netgear’s Nighthawk extender also features “Smart Roaming” that automatically connects you to the least cluttered band, MU-MIMO (for streaming on multiple devices), and a WiFi analytics app that lets you check the status of your network, measure interference and more.
Sticking with the trusted Nighthawk range, you could opt for the X6 WiFi Extender. It’s similar to the EX7500 in almost every way; it delivers tri-band speeds up to 2.2Gbps and utilises the same Smart Roaming technology for automatic channel switching. But the X6 sits on your desk, rather than hanging out of the wall. So it’s a good alternative if socket space is a rare commodity in your household.
Best Budget WiFi Booster
TP-Link’s tiny booster might not have all the fancy bits on bobs offered by the extenders above, but by golly does it make do with what it’s got.
At a cheap-as-chips price, this little goer will get you up to 300Mbps on a single-band connection.
If you prefer a hard-wired connection, the TP-LINK TL-WA850RE also has an ethernet port (and an ethernet cable packed in).
Lastly, and most importantly, there’s the price. At most, you’ll pay just below $60, but on a good day, there are regular deals under $40.
Can’t argue with that.
If your bandwidth needs are next to non-existent and you only need something to get you out of a spot of bother, you can get some cheap-and-nasty WiFi extenders on Amazon for as low as $13. We don’t recommend them, but if you’re desperate for a deal, they might offer a temporary solution to your WiFi woes.
Best Mesh Router for most
Google Nest WiFi
Mesh network systems work on the same principle as a WiFi extender, except that your modem comes packaged with two to three WiFi “points” for you to place around your rooms with a weaker signal.
Google’s Nest WiFi system is probably the most user-friendly example of this. You plug in your base station, connect with the Google Home app then choose where you’d like to place the additional WiFi points in your home. Once your devices connect to the Google Nest WiFi network, you will be free to roam the house without any dropouts or interference between base stations.
It’s not cheap, but it’s also not as expensive as you would imagine. You can buy Google Nest WiFi in several configurations (depending on the size of your house). A single base unit will cost you around $269, a two-pack around $399, and a triple-pack will set you back $549.
That seems a bit expensive at the top-end, but it will save you forking out for an extender in the future.
In our NBN modem round-up, we discussed the three most common connection issues in NBN-connected dwellings: out-of-date firmware, channel interference, and placement. The Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi System solves each of these issues with automatic firmware updates, automatic dual-band channel selection, and up to 418m² coverage.
To top it off, it comes with a reasonable $399 price tag and WiFi 5 technology that’s capable of delivering speeds up to 1300Mbps.