Should You Leave Your Wi-Fi Extender On Or Unplug It When Not In Use?

Wi-Fi extenders are very handy home networking solutions, but they do always need to be plugged into a wall socket to be used. Which brings up the obvious question – can you actually unplug your extender when you are not using it? Or are they meant to be left on all the time?

It is entirely up to the user whether they leave their Wi-Fi extender on or unplug it when not using it. They only consume a minimal amount of energy so turning them off will not save much, but they will still save their settings and work fine when turned back on if you do decide to do this.

In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you leave your Wi-Fi repeater on all the time or turn it off at night. For more seamless connectivity, it’s recommended to leave them on, as they don’t use much electricity.

But for users who do want to save energy, or don’t want any Wi-Fi running at night for safety/health reasons, it’s also perfectly possible to do this and still get the extender working again when you need it.

How To Turn Off Your Extender At Certain Times

If you want to turn your Wi-Fi extender off physically at certain times (eg. at night), you will usually have to unplug manually or turn it off from the wall socket yourself. To my knowledge, there are no extender model with an actual protruding power switch/button/toggle. You have to fully unplug or turn them off from the wall.

However, within settings of my TP Link extender at least, there is an option to actually schedule your extender to turn off at certain times of the day, and then come back on on it’s own. You can run your extender to a timetable, which is very useful.

To find this on your own extender, you need to log into it’s settings panel. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Open up any browser on a device connected to the extender and type in it’s login URL in the address bar:
      • TP Link –
      • Netgear –
      • Linksys –
      • Wavlink –
  2. Type in the admin username/password you’ve set for it.
  3. Once inside the extender’s settings browse around for Power options or similar. It might be under Advanced, System Tools or some other tab.
  4. Look for a Power Schedule or similar option to turn the extender off at certain times of day and fill in the days/times you want it to be off.
  5. Save settings and exit.

There’s also an option on some extenders to only turn the LED off, if for example it bothers you at night. Browse around your extender’s settings for such an option if this is what you prefer.

What Happens If You Turn Off Or Unplug Your Extender?

First time users might be a little unsure about what happens if they actually unplug or manually turn off their extender. Let’s fill this info in to reassure them:

  • When you turn off your extender, all custom settings are saved, so you don’t lose any networks or settings you’ve configured on them.
  • When you turn it back on, it will work fine again as long as you don’t factory reset it. However, there will be a pause of 30-60 seconds while the extender comes back online and re-broadcasts it’s signal and your devices re-connect.
  • You can also unplug and move your extenders to try different wall sockets to try and get a better signal.

In other words, there’s no big deal unplugging your extenders when you want. They’ll still work fine when you turn them back on later, but you might have to wait a short while for the extender’s network to come back online again.

How Much Energy Do Wi-Fi Extenders Use?

To give readers a bit more of an idea whether it’s worth turning them off when not being used for cost reasons, let’s give a brief overview of roughly how much electricity you can expect them to use.

Wi-Fi extenders are not really power hungry devices. They do require a power source for the inner workings of the device, and also for the LED light on the front, but they don’t really use much electricity overall.

I looked for more specific stats on how much energy Wi-Fi extenders use, and I honestly couldn’t find much in the documentation of these products online. I did however find one user manual for a TP Link extender which listed Consumption as 9.5 Watts.

Using the calculation method laid out on this site, you multiply the Wattage value by the number of hours used per day, which if it was left on all day would be 24 * 9.5 = 228 Watts per day.

Watts need converting to kilowatts and kilowatt hours (kWh), so here are some calculations:

  • Daily usage = 228/1000 = 0.228 kWh
  • Annual usage = 83.22 kWh (assuming it’s left on 24/7)
  • Average electricity cost – using the most up to date US figures of $0.16/kWh at the time of writing.
  • Annual cost = $13.31/year if left on all the time.

See our full article on the power usage/running costs of extenders for more detailed analysis.

Therefore, assuming the stats from this particular extender are typical of other extenders, they basically cost next to nothing to run, even when left on all the time. Any power savings you’d get by turning them off at night appear to be minimal.


Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

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