1. Netgear AC1200-WiFi EX6130 (£49.99)
The Netgear AC1200 EX6130 is a mid-ranged dual-band wireless network range extender – and is in fact our pick for the best extender equipped with AC pass-through – a feature that enables you to use the wall socket the booster is in with other devices, rather than losing the socket to the extenders.
Being rated for AC1200, this devices offers speeds of up to 1200 Mbps – 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, and up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz – making it an ideal device for home use, being more than capable at providing adequate performance for broadband-intensive tasks such as media streaming and online gaming.
When it comes to performance – we find the EX6130 to be pretty good – offer both a range of up to 75 Ft, with before dropping off significantly at ranges beyond this, and support for the most recent Wi-Fi protocol 802.11AC, which can be up to three times faster than the current standard.
The device is incredibly easy to setup – supporting automatic setup through WPS – as well as further configuration options, either through the devices browser-based software of with Netgear’s Wi-Fi Analytics app. This app can also make finding the perfect spot for the booster easier, eliminating the trial and error process by working to identify dead spots throughout your home.
The device itself also features a number of indicative LED lights on its front – these allow you to easily determine the status of the booster – and also offers a single Ethernet port, which can be used to interface non-Wi-Fi enabled devices with your network with an Ethernet cable.
We like the EX6130, as it offers a range of features and configurable options that rival that of more premium Netgear Wi-Fi boosters at a mid-range price, offering consumers good value. Another key feature for us is this device being a pass-through booster – something that people in smaller homes and apartments that often suffer with a shortage of wall sockets are also going to like.All-in-all, there are better Wi-Fi boosters out there – and if you’re looking for a solution for a larger home or office, we’d advice that you look at these – however, for the money, you can’t go wrong with the Neatgear EX6130.
2. TP-Link AC1750 RE450 (£49.99)
The TP-Link AC1750 RE450 is a dual-band Wi-Fi booster – supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands – and comes equipped with 802.11AC, the latest Wi-Fi protocol, offering speeds that are up to 3 times faster than is offered by the current standard 802.11n. This device is also designed specifically to help reduce signal interference – helping to improve the reliability of your home networks W-Fi coverage.
The RE450 from TP-Link is on the large size – in terms of dimensions, which could be a problem if you intend to use it in a double wall socket as it will partially cover the other socket – but is at the same time fairly light-weight. Located on its side you’ll find a single ethernet port – useful to connecting devices to with an ethernet cable, such as video games consoles, media devices or older, non-Wi-Fi enabled PCs.
Configuring the RE450 is very simple – ether automatically, by WPS, or via the devices web-based portal – taking no more than a few minutes to setup up and connect to your network. Once configured, you’ll need to slide out the retractable antennas, plug it into a wall socket and turn it on – it really is that easy.
The TP-Link RE450 delivers fast speeds – supporting up to 1750 Mbps, 450Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz – something that works to provide reliable connections for devices that require lots of bandwidth, such as HD/4K Streaming services, online game and other, bandwidth-intensive tasks. In terms of range – the RE450 performs well – being effective at extending the range of your network up to 100 Ft before you’ll any noticeable drop-off in performance when web browsing.
Overall the RE450 performs well, offering support for the latest Wi-Fi protocol, reliable performance on each band and range that is suitable for both home and office use – all at a price of less than £50.
3. Linksys RE6300 AC750 BOOST (£45.99)
The Linksys RE6300 AC750 BOOST, dual-band wireless internet booster, that offers speeds of up to 750 Mbps – 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz, and 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. Having a dual-band Wi-Fi booster offers a lot of benefits over those that operate solely on the 2.4 GHz band – with 5 GHz being much less congested, making it perfect for devices that use lots of bandwidth, such as games consoles and media streaming devices.
The RE6300 offers support for the latest Wi-Fi protocol – 802.11ac – which provides speeds of up to 3 times that of the current standard, whilst also supporting older, legacy protocols, ensuring that all of your Wi-Fi enabled devices are compatible with this booster.
Setup is also easy – with the this Linksys Wi-Fi booster pretty much working right out of the box – simply plug the device into an available wall socket, power it up and use WPS to connect it to your existing home wireless network at the press of a button. If you’d prefer to get more under the hood with this device, there are a wide range of configurable options – all of which are accessible through its browser-based software – however, this is entirely optional, and something reserved for more tech-savvy users.
When it comes to range – there are better performing Wi-Fi boosters in the sub-£50 price range – with the RE6300 providing solid speeds at ranges of up to 65 Ft, with performance dropping off significantly beyond this range. This should be good enough for most homes, however as a device for use in the office, you’ll likely find the RE6300 inadequate.
All-in-all, as a simple, easy-to-use solution for extending the range of your existing wireless network – the RE6300 works just fine – and is one of the more consumer-friendly devices on this list, particularly when it comes to setup, offering browser-based software, setup via mobile app and instant setup through WPS.
4. TP-Link AC1200 RE350 (£46.47)
The TP-Link AC1200 RE350 is a great choice for home users – offering competitive range at a far lower price point than many similarly performing extenders. It isn’t the fastest extender on the market, but that being said, it certainly performs well enough on speed and range for home users, making it a good, low-cost Wi-Fi expender for your house or apartment.
The AC1200 RE250 looks great – featuring a simple, flossy white and grey exterior, with a striking rounded shape and appealing external antennas – although it is on the large side, so if you’re intending to plug it in to a double socket you can expect that the adjacent plug will be blocked. When it comes to setup, this extender is very easy – simply plug it in and tap the WPS button, after which an indicator lights will confirm that everything is setup and ready for use on both Wi-Fi bands.
One notable problem this Wi-Fi extender has – and like others from TP-Link – it defaults to naming its extended networks the same name as your existing ones. This would typically be fine for most users, however this could become a nuisance for users with more extensive home networks. It is however possible to reset this manually if required, by logging into the TP-Link web interface of the AC1200 RE350 or via the TP-Link mobile application.
On the device itself, there are a number of buttons – on the side there is a button which turns off the lights on the front of the device if you prefer, as well as an on/off and reset button. On the top of the device you’ll find a single Ethernet port – not the most convenient place for this port, however that very much depends on your home wiring setup.
When it comes to performance, the RE350 fairs well – delivering around 84 Mbps at short-range and roughly half that over long-range. Whilst not the best performance on the market, in either speed or range, and considering the relatively inexpensive cost of this Wi Fi booster, it isn’t a bad choice and will likely be suitable for most homes.
All-in-all, the TP-Link AC1200 RE350 fairs well – offering a good level of performance, easy to setup and is aesthetically pleasing, making it a great option for most home users.
5. Netgear AC750-WiFi EX3800 (£39.99)
The Netgear AC750 EX3800 is a dual-band, mid-ranged Wi-Fi booster that offers an easy means of extending your home wireless network. This device supports speeds of up to 750 Mbps – 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. It also supports the latest Wi-Fi protocol – that being 802.11ac, a protocol that offers speeds that are up to 3 times faster than the current one – and offers solid performance in ranges up to 65 Ft.
The EX3800 isn’t the sexiest bit of kit – suffering from a boxy shape silver front plate and a mess of ventilation holes all over its sides – however, it is a compact device, which is great, and what it lacks in elegance, it certainly makes up for with its range of features.
First on the list of features is its AC passthrough – something that, unlike many of the other Wi-Fi boosters in its price range – allows you to still use the wall socket it sits in, rather than losing it to the device. This feature is especially useful for anyone who suffers with a lack of wall outlets in their home or apartment. The EX3800 is also compatible with Netgear Genie – an app that allows you to remotely control and configure all aspects of this device, without needing to login to it via web browser – something that makes this device incredibly easy to use.
On the device itself you’ll find four indicator lights on its front – these provide you with an easy means of determining the status of the device – and on its side is located a button for activating WPS, which is used to automatically connect the EX3800 to your wireless network. On the right side of the device you’ll also find a single ethernet port – perfect for connecting devices via Ethernet cable to the device, rather than by Wi-Fi.
The EX3800 from Netgear is a solid option for anyone looking to increase the range of their home Wi-Fi network, while delivering decent speeds. As a package – this Wi-Fi booster is good – offering consumers easy setup, a wide range of useful features and AC mains passthrough, something that will be particularly useful for people with a limited number of mains outlets. It does this all at a price point lower than £40 – making it not only a good performer, but also a smart buy.