Which Netgear Wi-Fi extender is best?

We all know the struggle of trying to stream shows, play games or just surf the web on bad Wi-Fi connections. It’s even worse when the bad connection is in your own home. With a Netgear Wi-Fi extender, you can ensure the same fast, stable speeds on the fringes of your house as you get when next to your router.

The best is the Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80. It’s built to serve large offices, so it won’t break a sweat serving your home.

What to know before you buy a Netgear Wi-Fi extender

AC number

On Netgear Wi-FI extenders, the AC or AX number is the sum total speeds that the extender can provide. For example, if the AC or AX number is 1,500, then all the devices connected to the extender share 1.5 gigabits per second worth of data speeds. This matters more the more devices you plan on connecting to the extender at once.

Size

Your Netgear Wi-Fi extender takes up space, just like your router and modem. Better extenders are typically large enough to require something to stand on, such as a small table — you could always place them on the floor, but there’s the risk of being kicked or stepped on. Small extenders are roughly the size of the outlet they need to be plugged into, but these don’t provide much speed.

Setup

Most Netgear Wi-Fi extenders have easy-to-follow instructions for connecting to your router. Some can even be set up with just one button. If there are any issues, Netgear has a wealth of troubleshooting information on its website.

What to look for in a quality Netgear Wi-Fi extender

Speed

Speed is the fastest service a single device can experience when connected to the Netgear Wi-Fi extender. For example, one extender may offer 1-gigabit-per-second speeds, while another may offer 500 megabits per second. Make sure your extender has the same or higher max speeds as what you pay your internet service provider for.

The best Netgear Wi-Fi extenders typically offer 1Gbps top speeds.

Ethernet ports

Most Netgear Wi-Fi extenders include Ethernet ports. These ports are used to physically connect your devices to your internet service. Physical connections are more stable, making them more important for activities like online gaming and streaming than surfing the web.

The best Netgear extenders offer up to four ports while the smallest, weakest extenders usually have none or one.

How much you can expect to spend on a Netgear Wi-Fi extender

Netgear Wi-Fi extenders typically cost $20-$250. Basic extenders cost $50 or less but offer the slowest speeds. Spending up to $150 will get you good speeds and range, but you need to spend up to $250 for Netgear’s best extenders.

Netgear Wi-Fi extender FAQ

Are directional or omnidirectional antennas better?

A. That depends on your needs. An omnidirectional antenna pushes your Wi-Fi signal in every direction. It’s the optimal choice for covering as much nearby space as possible — such as an entire floor of an office or home. A directional antenna pushes the signal in one direction, and devices get a better signal the closer they are. This is the right choice if you’re trying to reach a specific spot, such as a distant home office or an outside guest house.

Will my internet be faster if my Netgear Wi-Fi extender has faster speeds than I currently have?

A. No. Your Wi-Fi extender’s max speeds only detail the fastest signal they can push forward. If your ISP gives you 1Gbps and your extender has a max speed of 1.5Gbps, it’s still only carrying the original 1Gbps forward. Conversely, if your ISP gives you the same speeds but your extender has a max speed of 500Mbps, then only 500Mbps speeds will be pushed to your distant devices.

This is why it’s important to buy extenders with the same or faster speeds as your ISP provides, or you’ll slow your connection at the edges of your home or office.

What’s the best Netgear Wi-Fi extender to buy?

Top Netgear Wi-Fi extender 

Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80

Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80

What you need to know: This has a huge range to best cover offices and large homes.

What you’ll love: It has an AC number of 6Gbps, covers up to 2,500 square feet and can connect to 30 devices or more. There are four 1Gbps Ethernet ports, perfect for connecting devices such as gaming consoles. Most consumers found it easy to set up.

What you should consider: It’s among the most expensive extenders. A few users were unhappy with the brightness of the LEDs, finding them distracting.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Netgear Wi-Fi extender for the money

Netgear Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX20

Netgear Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX20

What you need to know: It’s an affordable, well-performing choice meant for smaller homes.

What you’ll love: It has an AC number of 1.8Gbps, covers up to 1,500 square feet and can connect to 20 devices or more. It uses the same Wi-Fi name and connection as your main router, meaning there’s no need to change what you’re connected to.

What you should consider: Larger homes would likely need to use more than one, negating the savings. A few customers struggled to follow the setup instructions.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Worth checking out

Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6120

Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6120

What you need to know: This tiny thing is the cheapest way to boost the Wi-Fi in your home.

What you’ll love: It has a maximum speed of 1.2Gbps, covers up to 1,500 square feet and can connect to 25 devices or more. Connection is possible with almost any router or modem brand, not just Netgear. Setup takes five minutes and uses just one button.

What you should consider: It only has one Ethernet port. The 1.2Gbps max speed isn’t quick enough for the fastest ISP speeds — it could cause some slowdowns.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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