Save money and boost your wireless network range with these cheap WiFi extenders.
If you are planning to expand and improve the performance and range of your existing home network, the idea of buying a new powerful router might have crossed your mind, and you might be looking for options, but did you know that you could save more money while enjoying the best wireless network with only $50 or less? All you need is the best WiFi range extender.
A range extender is one of the best low-cost range enhancement devices on the market, and it is an ideal alternative to looking for and buying a new router. The range extender will easily beef up your WiFi network. There’s one catch, though: the market is full of range extenders, and it gets quite confusing to pick one WiFi extender over the others, especially when you are unsure about what you should be looking for. Often, this confusion results in wrong purchases, or rather, the purchase of poor performance range extenders that leave you disappointed, with a dent on your bank balance. And this really sucks, which is why we’ve come up with this review. We’ve been at that confusing point you currently are, but thanks to the experiences and insights gained over the years, we can guide you to make smart choices.
This review takes you through everything you need to know about the features that make the best WiFi range extenders, and we’ll also highlight some of the best options on the market today.
So, let’s get started.
Best WiFi Extenders Under $50 – Comparison Table
Best WiFi Extenders Under $50
TP-Link N300 WiFi Extender
Best Overall WiFi Extender
TP-Link RE220 WiFi Extender
Most Popular Range Extender
D-Link DAP-1620 AC1200 WiFi Range Extender
High-Performance Range Extender
NETGEAR WiFi Range Extender EX3700
Best Value for Money
Superboost WiFi Extender
Ultra-Versatile WiFi Extender
Reviews of the Best WiFi Extenders Under $50
TP-Link N300 WiFi Extender – Best Overall WiFi Extender
- Extend Wi-Fi Coverage - Boost Internet Wi-Fi Coverage up to 800 Square feet - Compatible with any Wi-Fi...
- Eliminate Wi-Fi Dead Zones - Enjoy Lag-Free connection to any type of devices, including wired devices...
First on our list is this top-rated TP-Link N300 range extender. If you are looking for the most affordable range extender on the market that will enhance your range coverage in your small apartment, this range extender might be the best option for you.
It’s designed to enhance wireless signal coverage in spaces up to 800sq.ft, at speeds of 300Mbps, and the best part is that you could use it as a WiFi signal booster or an access point. Unfortunately, this range extender will not work well for you if you need to enjoy high internet speeds – in addition to the shared band between the router and this extender, there’s also the fact that this is a single-band range extender. It will only do a good job of expanding the range thanks to the long frequency range of the 2.4GHz radio band. For enhanced performance, this range extender features two external antennas with MIMO support, hence an improvement in range.
You might also like this range extender because of the easy setup, as well as its smart setup that allows for connections with all your smart home devices.
- Two antennas and MIMO support
- Works with all smart home devices
- Easy setup – plug-in extender
- Good range of up to 800sq.ft
- Speeds of 300Mbps
- Single-band setup
TP-Link RE220 WiFi Extender – Most Popular Range Extender
- Extend Wi-Fi Coverage - Boost Internet Wi-Fi Coverage up to 1200 Sq.ft and Connects up to 20 devices -...
- Eliminate Wi-Fi Dead Zones - Enjoy Lag-Free Connection to any type of devices, including wired devices...
This is the other inexpensive WiFi extender you might want to try out if you are looking for a range extender that offers great performance without breaking the bank.
It’s quite easy to use, it offers reliable performance, and it’s also compatible with most of the routers on the market today. It is a plug-in kind of range extender, and it will start working soon after you plug it in – once plugged in, you only need to press the WPS button then pair it with your existing home network.
The other reason why this is one of the best range extenders on the market is that it is a dual-band range extender, and both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands work well, offering steady, above average download speeds of at least 750Mbps on the 5GHz band. The upload speeds from this range extender are also commendable, and the overall performance is quite impressive.
- Excellent range
- Device capacity of up to 20 devices
- High download and upload speeds
- Large coverage up to 1200sq.ft
- Plug-in extender with one Ethernet port for wired connections
- One mesh technology for seamless roaming
- Reliable coverage and speeds
- Speed could be better
D-Link DAP-1620 AC1200 WiFi Range Extender – High-Performance Range Extender
- Extend the coverage of your home's existing wireless network at faster speeds
- Greater flexibility and reduced interference
If you are looking for an inexpensive, high-performance WiFi range extender, you might want to try out this D-Link range extender designed to enhance your existing router’s wireless range while allowing you to enjoy fast internet access in areas that previously were dead zones.
It offers a high level of flexibility, with less interference, and the best part is that you won’t have to worry about its placement because it’s designed to help you find the best location for the best coverage.
It is a plug-in router, and an ideal option for you if your home features a pre-wired Ethernet outlet. It offers high internet speeds, and you can stream HD video content with ease thanks to its AC1200 setup.
It’s easy to use, and the app features an easy-to-use interface that allows for easy network management.
- Overall high-speed performance
- Excellent range
- Placement guide incorporated
- Easy setup
- Inconsistent network speeds
- The app’s setup is a little finicky
NETGEAR WiFi Range Extender EX3700 – Best Value for Money
- Extended wireless coverage: Adds WiFi range coverage up to 1000 square feet, and connects up to 15...
- AC750 WIFI speed: Provides up to 750Mbps performance using dual band and patented FastLane technology
This Netgear WiFi range extender is the other top-rated range extender on our list, and it is a crowd favorite for people looking for a high-performance range extender that offers support for up to 15 devices, and with a coverage of 1000sq.ft.
It promises a high-speed performance of up to 750Mbps, and it’s also versatile, working as a wireless signal repeater or booster. You might also like its compact design, the plug-in design, as well as the two external antennas that enhance the extender’s performance without blocking the other power outlet.
It’s a dual-band AC750 range extender, and it makes use of the patented Netgear FastLane technology, which boosts the performance of the range extender. It is also a universally compatible range extender that works with all wireless routers on the market, along with cable modems and gateway systems. It also features a 10/100M wired Ethernet port for wired connections to your streaming and gaming devices.
- Reliable performance
- Easy setup and operation
- Wired Ethernet port
- Safe and secure WEP, WPA/ WPA2 systems
- 15 devices’ support
- Large coverage up to 1000sq.ft
- Works as an extender and an Access Point
- The latency could be lower
DrillTop Superboost WiFi Extender – Ultra-Versatile WiFi Extender
Last on our list is this Superboost WiFi range extender that offers the best long-range signal coverage. In addition to being one of the best range extenders, this device is one of the most versatile network devices, and you will enjoy the benefits of this range extender from its 5 working modes, which enhance its performance. It functions as a standalone router, can be used as a repeater, client device, a wisp client router, and it also has an access point mode. These modes allow you to enjoy different modes and connections, and the best bit is that the side button allows for the easiest resets.
Besides the versatility, this extender is powerful, with the capacity to cover up to 2500sq/ft. while connecting to about 15 devices seamlessly. Its power is further enhanced by the 2.4GHz processor that ensures great performance across devices, and also fast and strong wireless signals. It offers speeds of up to 300Mbps.
- Easy plug-and-play connection
- Stable, fast, and strong wireless signals
- 4GHz processor for demanding activities
- Large coverage area
- Universal compatibility
- 5 Modes
- Secure system with WEP/ WPA/ WPA2 protocols
- Overvoltage protection incorporated
- Actual speeds could be higher
Buying Guide for the Best WiFi Extenders Under $50
A range extender is one of the tools you could use to beef up your home WiFi network, and though there are several options of WiFi extenders on the market today, the range extenders are not created equal. Some of the range extenders come designed with support for advanced features and technological functions like Mesh networking and MU-MIMO, meaning that you can look forward to the best performance, yet other range extenders lack these advancements.
Therefore, an understanding of the features that make the best range extenders is important. That said, here are some of the things that you need to know/ lookout for in range extenders.
Types of WiFi Extenders
There are many types of WiFi extenders on the market today, including the mesh WiFi system, WiFi signal extender, WiFi signal repeaters, and even the whole-new WiFi access points.
Mesh wireless systems – These are also called whole-home wireless systems, and they make use of a central router that connects to your modem and the satellite routers acting as the WiFi signal access points. These units will, therefore, result in a wide range coverage beyond what you would get from one router.
Wireless Extenders and Repeaters – Often going by the names WiFi Repeater/WiFi Extender, they mean the same thing, and either device will extend the range of your WiFi signals from your existing router to the rest of the house. They are also called WiFi amplifiers or boosters.
Access Points – these are hardwired devices that will effectively create a new wireless ecosystem for your home while using your existing SSID and password.
Finding the ideal range extender for your router – Radio Bands and Other Features
The first thing that you need to keep in mind in your search for an affordable range extender is its design and whether it matches the specifications of your router or not. Essentially, the specs of the router and the range extender should match to a tee, meaning that if your router is a dual-band AC1900, the extender you choose must also be a dual-band AC1900 or more advanced. And if the router features support for MU-MIMO( Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) for simultaneous data streaming across multiple devices, the extender you choose must also feature MU-MIMO technology for you to enjoy the best performance by sending data packets to all the compatible devices/ clients in a simultaneous rather than a sequential manner.
Besides the dual-band setup, there also are range extenders that feature a triband setup, either with an extra 5GHz band or a dedicated backhaul specifically for communication between the router and the satellite units.
Design – Plug-In or Desktop Range Extender
You also need to pay attention to the design of the WiFi range extender. There are two main types of range extenders, the desktop extender, and the plug-in. While the desktop range extender looks a lot like your typical wireless router as it comes with adjustable external antennas and a number of LAN ports for wired connections to gaming consoles and TVs, as well as USB ports for data/ filet transfers, the plug-in WiFi range extenders are smaller and their design allows you to plug them into the wall outlet directly.
However, some of the plug-in extenders will also feature external antennas – most of these extenders have internal antennas, though, hence the overall unobtrusive profile of the range extender. And since the plug-in range extenders are smaller than the desktop extenders, you will find that these plug-in extenders often feature one LAN port, and they also lack a USB port for file transfers. With these design features in mind, the plug-in range extenders are often more affordable, but less versatile than the desktop extenders.
Isn’t there an in-between? Well, while some people can afford to sacrifice the plug-in for the desktop extender or vice versa, this might not be the ideal solution for you. In such cases, especially when you need the wall-outlet use, you could opt for the plug-in range extender models that feature an additional pass-through outlet.
Make sure that the extender you choose is capable of providing the coverage range and performance you need for space.
The best extenders have basic wireless security functions, for example, WPA, WPA2, or WPA3.
The other thing you must bear in mind is the setup of the range extender. You need a WiFi range extender that’s easy to set up, configure, and use, albeit with minimal technical expertise. You don’t want a range extender that forces you to pay for installation and configuration, which means that your selected range extender must be easy to use.
The good news is that the best range extenders on the market today are designed so that they are quite easy to setup. You will find that most of the range extenders feature WPS support (WiFi Protected Setup), meaning that you get to pair a range extender to a router easily by only pressing a button or some buttons. This is followed by the naming of the new extended network and coming up with a password for the network.
Also, an increasing number of manufacturers will give you a simple, web-based wizard setup along with instructions (often illustrated) for simple configurations and for basic wireless signal settings.
You’ll also come across extenders with LED status indicators, which will tell you when the extender is too far from your router and when to reposition it. In other cases, the extenders will feature advanced management features like guest networking, media server capabilities, and access scheduling.
Range extenders are imperfect.
Although the range extenders are meant for easy configuration, they are imperfect, and there are limitations that you need to be aware of. For example, the range extender makes use of a separate/ different network SSID than your router during logins, and you also need to know before you buy the range extender that the wireless speeds will be only half the speed you enjoy from the main router.
And when it comes to the dual-band extenders, these devices will use both radio bands for bandwidth transmission, which means that the devices that connect to your network via the range extender end up competing for bandwidth with the router, hence a low performance. One of the remedies offered by range extender manufacturers us the development of a dedicated band for use specifically for the router-extender communications.
What causes dead zones for WiFi networks?
One of the primary reasons why you would be looking for a range extender is if you have WiFi dead zones in your home or office. These dead zones refer to the areas in your home where WiFi is either too slow or even non-existent, and you can tell that you have dead zones if it takes much more time for pages/ content to load when you are in certain areas in your house than others. But causes these dead or slow zones?
Well, to understand the cause of the dead zones, you have to think of the WiFi signals as sound waves that would get quieter the farther away they travel, especially where the waves have to traverse walls, floors, and doors. Naturally, you won’t hear much of the sound if you move in the opposite direction from the source of the sound or when you move farther away. The same happens to WiFi signals, and they weaken when they travel farther from the router and through the walls, doors, and floors, and other obstacles.
Do I need a range extender?
If your router is centrally placed in your home, but still struggle with WiFi signal access from specific points farther from the router, you might need the range extender. We recommend getting a range extender if all known troubleshooting options for resolving WiFi range issues have failed.
Besides the increasing range of signals, the range extender might also come in handy if you need a solution for network traffic management. A mesh system working as an extender would make this possible by directing traffic, hence the reduction of network congestion.
Do I need a mesh WiFi system?
The typical WiFi range extenders don’t always work, and you might want to opt for the wireless mesh system, especially if you have been thinking of an upgrade. These mesh systems offer blanket wireless coverage, and they are a preferred option for bigger homes.
The WiFi extenders reviewed above are some of the best options on the market today, and if you are on a budget, you may like any of these range extenders.