Best Router Systems
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The Best Wi-Fi Extenders and Mesh Router Systems for Better Internet at Home

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Best Router Systems
Andrii Atanov/istockphoto

Solidify Your Wi-Fi

These days, we ask a lot of our Wi-Fi. Kids are home using multiple devices most or part of every day. Parents might also work from home, either all or a portion of the week. There's gaming, video-conferencing, and binge-watching going on, often all at the same time. Some of us have TVs, doorbells, thermostats, garage door openers, and security cameras connected to our networks, too. If your household tech is overloading your Wi-Fi signal, it might be time for an upgrade. From whole-house mesh routers to Wi-Fi extenders, here are some ways you can amp up your signal and eliminate dead zones.

Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: 100 Tech Products That Will Make Your Life Easier

Wi-Fi Extender
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Mesh Routers vs. Wi-Fi Extenders

The benefits of a mesh router system are two-fold. One, these systems are often scalable, which means you can buy as many units and/or extenders as your house needs. The second benefit is that mesh systems use two separate frequency bands to boost Wi-Fi, which doesn't degrade performance or speed. Mesh router systems are great for large homes and are typically much easier to configure. Wi-Fi extenders are devices that look a lot like a router with additional antennas or are products that plug into an electrical outlet and use one frequency, which usually results in slower connections. While they're usually much cheaper than mesh systems, they can be difficult to configure and usually don't work as well as mesh routers. The product you buy — and how much you spend — will largely depend on how big your house is, how many devices you're looking to support, and your tech-configuration abilities.

Wi-Fi Performance Tips
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Wi-Fi Performance Tips

Before you make any purchases, consider doing one or all of these three things to help determine your path forward to better, faster Wi-Fi.

- Call your internet service provider. Find out what level of broadband you're paying for. If your connections are slow, and you're not already at one of the higher-broadband plans, consider upgrading before investing in expensive products to see if that makes a difference first.
- Weigh the "rental" cost of your current router. Many ISPs charge you a monthly fee of around $10-$12 to use the router they provide. If that's the case for you, factor that into any long-term costs to see if it makes sense to spend a little or a lot more on a one-time purchase.
- Run a speed test. This might be more technical than some people will want to get into, but if you have a tech professional in your life who can help you interpret your results, use a site like SpeedOf.Me and/or your ISP's speed test to test your internet speed. Or you can refer to a site like this one to help determine if your speed is fast enough for the things you want to do, like download large files, stream 4K shows on one TV or multiple devices, or game with others around the world.

Ubiquiti Labs AmpliFi Home Wireless System
Amazon

Ubiquiti Labs AmpliFi Home Wireless System

Price: $340 from Amazon
Buy It
If you're ready to ditch your old router and install an entirely new Wi-Fi system — and don't mind shelling out more cash for better, more reliable connectivity and speed — this system comes highly recommended by folks in the IT industry. The router has a touchscreen display, and two MeshPoints with adjustable "super" antennas help maximize coverage in dead zones. AmpliFi claims an up-to-10,000-square-foot range, which means not only can you work anywhere in the house, but more than likely anywhere in the yard, in the RV in the driveway, or even in a backyard shed converted into an office.

Netgear Orbi Compact Wall-Plug Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System
Amazon

Netgear Orbi Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

Price: $185 and up from Amazon
Buy It
If you've got a larger home and need to cover a lot of ground, Netgear's scalable mesh Orbi systems don't come cheap, but they do come well-recommended. One IT professional we spoke to says he installed a base station in his finished basement, placed two extenders in the upper floors of his 5,000-square-foot house, and there are no dead zones anywhere in his home. He notes the system was easy to configure and install.

Amazon Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System
Amazon

Amazon Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System

Buy on  $249

Price: $199 and up from Amazon
Buy It
This three-pack covers 5,000 square feet, so if you've got a smaller home, chances are you could make do with just one or two of the Eero units and perhaps also use one or more of the system's Wi-Fi extending beacons, which plug into an electrical socket and, as a bonus, also act as a nightlight. The Eero system auto-updates with new security and features and, as an Amazon product, is of course Alexa-compatible. One IT professional we spoke to noted he had upgraded to the Eero system for its speed and ease of setup — and wasn't disappointed.

Google Nest Wi-Fi System
Best Buy

Google Nest Wi-Fi System

Price: $269 from Best Buy
Buy It
Like other mesh Wi-Fi systems, Google's Nest is scalable, and the app-controlled system also comes with features that let you put parental controls in place, prioritize devices, run a speed test, and more. Finally, for those who like their routers to complement their decor rather than detract from it, the system is aesthetically pleasing and comes in three different colors: mist, sand, and snow.

ASUS ZenWi-Fi Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
Amazon

ASUS ZenWi-Fi Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System

Price: $450 from Amazon
Buy It
This mesh system includes two routers that claim to offer coverage for up to 5,500 square feet and more than six rooms. Pricey? Yes, but keep in mind that buyers rate it a very solid 4.3 stars and say that the bump in speed is significant, even with multiple devices in play.

Linksys Max-Stream Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender
Amazon

Linksys Max-Stream Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender

Price: $115 from Amazon
Buy It
This extender — available from Amazon Renewed for about $35 less than it normally sells for — works with all Wi-Fi routers and claims to eliminate "dead zones throughout a home including, a patio, garage, and additional floors." One reviewer noted that he's using it to extend a signal to a guest house with just slightly lowered speed.

Yoosun Wi-Fi Range Extender
Amazon

Yoosun Wi-Fi Range Extender

Price: $46 from Amazon
Buy It
This plug-in extender provides a 1200Mbps stable signal boost and 360° coverage, plus it works with almost any standard router, providing boosted signal strength to most devices. Amazon buyers give it 4.3 stars, and its "smart signal" indicator helps you locate the best place in your house to put it. Finally, reviews say the setup is simple.

MSRM Wi-Fi Extender
Amazon

MSRM Wi-Fi Extender

Price: $48 from Amazon
Buy It
The plug-in MSRM 1200Mbps extender has an ethernet connection, a router and repeater mode, a ventilated design, and an LED indicator light that changes color to represent strong and weak signals. Some users say installation is a bit complicated, with some indicating that it's easier to install using a smartphone rather than a laptop or desktop computer.

DrillTop Superboost Wi-Fi Extender
Amazon

DrillTop Superboost Wi-Fi Extender

Price: $35 from Amazon
Buy It
The manufacturer of this four-antennaed, 300Mbps booster claims that it can extend coverage up to 2,500 square feet for around 15 devices. It has built-in overvoltage protection and is universally compatible. Users report good things and also say install and setup isn't complicated.

Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender AC750
Amazon

Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender AC750

Buy on  $34.90  $46.99

Price: $30 from Amazon
Buy It
Extend your Wi-Fi up to 1,200 square feet for up to 20 devices with this Netgear plug-in extender. It has universal compatibility, up to 750Mbps speed, and an ethernet port. Netgear claims an easy, five-minute setup, but buyers seem divided on that claim.

Netgear Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender AC1200
Best Buy

Netgear Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender AC1200

Buy on Best Buy U.S  $109.99

Price: $110 from Best Buy
Buy It
For a Netgear plug-in product with more range and power, try this 1200Mbps version, which the company says "includes mesh features" and allows you to move from room to room while streaming video on your device.

TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender
Amazon

TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender

Price: $31 from Amazon
Buy It
This booster was named the best Wi-Fi extender and signal booster by Wirecutter "because it's cheap and it improved network stability in our tests for networks with lots of devices active at once."

UTOPB Wavlink Wi-Fi Range Extender
Amazon

UTOPB Wavlink Wi-Fi Range Extender

Price: $50 from Amazon
Buy It
This multi-mode plug-in extender claims a wide coverage range, easy setup, wide compatibility, and a strong signal. Amazon buyers give it very solid reviews — 4.8 stars — for its signal strength and its ease of installation and use.

Prescitech N300 Mini Wi-Fi Range Extender
Amazon

Prescitech N300 Mini Wi-Fi Range Extender

Price: $30 from Amazon
Buy It
For another budget option, the Prescitech 300Mbps extender is easy to set up, according to multiple Amazon buyers, has LED light indicators to let you know when it's powered up, and has LAN and WAN connections. It'll perform best in small spaces without a lot of obstacles to project around, in a home with fewer devices and less Wi-Fi demand.