With one of the best mesh routers, you can improve wifi coverage across your whole home, even the largest. It doesn’t matter whether you have a multi-story home or brick walls that interfere with the signal transmission; a mesh router can accomplish what a solo router simply cannot: it can distribute a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout your whole home. A mesh router, which connects numerous devices to form a single Wi-Fi network that provides a strong signal throughout the home, is the most effective solution for difficulties with weak or absent signals.
Whether you want better Wi-Fi in the farthest room, on the top floor of the home, or even greater coverage in the garage or garden, even a basic mesh system is an improvement over a single access point. Our team of experts has tested and analyzed the most popular mesh routers on the market today, ranging from wireless-AC models to the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh kits, assessing each one’s performance, range, and usability in order to help you discover the best mesh system for your house.
This list of the top mesh Wi-Fi routers available today will help you decide if you need a mesh router for affordable whole-house coverage or security that covers all of your connected devices.
When working from home, streaming, or gaming, having a stable home Wi-Fi network is critical to your success. But what happens if your router falls well short of providing a fast and dependable wireless connection throughout your entire home? Especially if you live in a multistory home and are attempting to stream from the second floor, or if you operate out of a rear office that is several rooms away from where your router is located, this might be an issue.
Fortunately, you can eliminate dead zones like this and ensure that your Wi-Fi connection is fast and dependable across your entire home by using a mesh network, which consists of a router and range-extending satellite devices that work together. A mesh system works in conjunction with your standard router to guarantee that using more than one connected device at the same time does not cause your connection to slow down — this is especially essential if you rely on one or more smart home devices.
The use of mesh networking technology, which is hardware that is strategically placed throughout your home, allows you to automatically “route” your connection as you walk around the space, directing you between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands inside a single, unified Wi-Fi network, as seen below. Moreover, it will determine whether or not to route your connection through a satellite mesh point and whether or not to route your connection directly to the main router. That’s far better than what you’ll get from a simple range extender, and it results in a home network that’s nearly seamless, with more constant internet speed throughout the house.
Read more: Best Wifi Routers
What are the best mesh routers?
The Nest WiFi, which is Google’s own mesh Wi-Fi solution, is our top selection for the best mesh routers. It provides good performance across the house, is simple to set up, and has excellent smart home integration capabilities. It also has a killer feature that none of the other top mesh routers can match: it can connect to the internet wirelessly. Every mesh extension has Google Home smart speakers built in, allowing you to connect with your home using voice commands that can be heard in every room.
The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is another popular mesh networking device, because of its excellent Wi-Fi 6 performance and ease of installation. In addition to the individual devices, Netgear now provides a variety of extensions, including weatherproof outdoor extensions and the Netgear Orbi Voice, which includes Amazon Alexa built in.
1. Google Nest WiFi
If you’re looking for the greatest mesh Wi-Fi solution on the market, Google’s Nest WiFi is the finest option available. It has excellent performance, has a really simple setup procedure, and provides Wi-Fi coverage that can be expanded to cover everything from a tiny house to a huge estate.
The Nest WiFi, on the other hand, offers something no other mesh kit can match: a Google Home smart speaker integrated into each and every mesh extension. The little devices let you manage your router, as well as every other connected item in your home, from smart lighting to your smart TV, using voice commands using the included microphone.
Adding more Nest extensions causes new Google Home devices to be added in other rooms, allowing you to have a voice assistant in every area of the house without interruption. Additionally, if you still have an old Google WiFi system sitting around collecting dust, you may use that to increase the mesh coverage as well. If you’re looking for the greatest and most straightforward mesh WiFi solution for your house, look no further.
2. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852)
Introducing the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852), the Orbi we’ve all been waiting for. Combining everything we love about Netgear’s flagship mesh Wi-Fi solution with the futureproof features and blinding speeds of Wi-Fi 6, the Orbi is the perfect mesh Wi-Fi solution for every situation. The Orbi model series is known for its ease of use and high-quality performance, and the newest model does not fail to meet those standards.
The RBK852 delivers category-leading performance, with a powerful signal that easily punches through ceilings, floors, and walls, and built-in security wraps your house with an additional layer of online safety in addition to the speedy Wi-Fi. The RBK852 is available now. For those searching for the most straightforward and quickest mesh networking kit available, the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) delivers great performance, especially for those living in older homes with a number of partitions and partitions on the network. Among mesh Wi-Fi 6 devices, the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is the one to beat when it comes to performance.
3. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)
Asus’s ZenWiFi AX, which won the Editors’ Choice Award for best wireless router, isn’t nearly as fast as the Netgear Orbi mentioned above, but it’s a lot more affordable at $435 for a two-piece system.
It has been accomplished by Asus with the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) to bring Wi-Fi 6 to another cutting-edge technology in connectivity: mesh routers. Despite the fact that it is one of the more expensive options available and that it is limited to only two mesh routers, the Asus ZenWifi AX provides blisteringly fast speeds as well as a great deal of flexibility in its configuration – such as the ability to set up one or two networks using the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This is a wonderful pick if you’re searching for the best mesh Wi-Fi systems because it has outstanding security features on top of that.
In fact, the ZenWiFi AX has the same number of multigigabit WAN ports as the Orbi 6, as well as a dedicated backhaul band to assist keep system transmissions distinct from your network traffic, the same simplicity of setup and consistent mesh operation, as well as the same great range performance. It’s even available in your pick of white or black color!
Additionally, the Asus app provided a great deal of flexibility in terms of managing your network and customizing the backhaul as needed. If $435 is a little too much for your budget, you should know that there is a smaller version of this system called the Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini that is available for $199. The fact that it comes with three devices that all support Wi-Fi 6 for $250 makes it a compelling option despite the fact that it isn’t as powerful.
4. Eero Pro 6
In addition to tri-band Wi-Fi 6 networking, the Eero Pro 6 has a mesh configuration that is quicker and easier to set up than almost any other mesh system we’ve tested, making it the ideal option to obtain outstanding performance across your home without a lot of trouble. Using a single unit to cover 2,000 square feet with relatively fast Wi-Fi, the three-piece Eero Pro 6 system can cover up to 6,000 square feet effortlessly – and we were able to set up the three-piece system in around 11 minutes.
Although it does not have the greatest throughput, the Eero Pro 6 mesh kit performs well at mid-range distances when others fail to deliver results. It is very simple to set up and automatically adjusts almost everything. If you desire more detailed customization, you may use tools like band steering, local DNS caching, and home automation capabilities, all of which are included. However, the Eero Pro 6 performs at its best when you can set it and forget it, providing you with fast Wi-Fi 6 without the headaches of configuring it.
5. TP-Link Deco X20
Cheap, compact, and simple to set up, the TP-Link Deco X20 mesh networking kit is an inexpensive delight that can help fill a house with Wi-Fi 6 data while also safeguarding a family’s identity by adding an extra layer of online protection to their network. For those looking for mesh functionality as well as Wi-Fi 6, the TP-Link Deco X20 is the finest budget option for covering larger households with faster speeds and greater capabilities than any previous 802.11ac system can provide. It even got the runner-up spot in our Tom’s Guide Awards for best mesh router in 2021 for its performance. The Deco X20, which is available in a three-pack of identical units, can cover an area of up to 5,800 square feet and handle up to 150 different connected devices.
The Deco X20, which has dual-band connectivity and two-gigabit wired connections on each node, provides excellent coverage and connectivity while being simple to set up and operate. The accompanying Deco software, which allows you to rapidly set up your network and control the different functions of the network through graphical, easy-to-navigate menus, has all of the tools you’ll need. With WPA3 encryption and a lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare security and antivirus software bundled with the set, it also provides protection.
6. Linksys Velop AX4200
In comparison to other Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems, the Linksys Velop AX4200 mesh kit provides tri-band Wi-Fi 6, which can cover a big residence in a Wi-Fi signal without charging as much as other Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems. That was enough to earn it the title of best mesh router in our Tom’s Guide Awards for the year 2021. This inexpensive mesh system has good throughput and range – the three-pack we tested can cover 8,000 square feet and can be easily extended with additional units – and it comes with straightforward configuration tools and a hefty three-year guarantee. A tiny but important feature is the inclusion of a USB connection, which will be much appreciated by some users.
However, it is not the quickest mesh kit on the street, falling behind more costly rivals and providing none of the additional security and customization features that you would find from other vendors. Having said that, the Linksys Velop AX4200 three-pack is one of the greatest values available in mesh networking right now, providing a relatively inexpensive method to build up a wide-ranging Wi-Fi network in a large house for a reasonable price.
7. Netgear Nighthawk MK83
The Nighthawk MK83 still provides a great connection for two- to three-bedroom households, despite its shortcomings (the Nighthawk app is surprisingly limited and requires additional subscriptions for more essential functions). Its three-piece kit has a coverage area of 6,750 sq.ft. and has Wi-Fi 6, which allows it to transfer data more effectively to a large number of devices at the same time, all at the same time. The perfect solution for a smart family with several rooms and devices, especially if you have a little more cash to throw about.
8. Ubiquiti Amplifi HD
If you admire Apple’s design philosophy, appreciate having visually appealing devices installed around your house, and have more than enough spare cash to spare, the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD mesh router is the ideal choice for you. With this gadget, you’ll find a lot to like, especially if you live in a large house and can make use of the full power that this mesh Wi-Fi network gives since it’s capable of a tremendous amount of throughput. However, if you live in a smaller place, you may discover that the value of your house decreases significantly, as there are more cheap options available for small to medium-sized homes available. The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD may be expensive, but you’re getting a piece of technology that’s both stylish and packed with features and functionality. This is more than enough to justify the high price, making this a fantastic addition to our list of the best wireless mesh routers available.
9. Netgear Orbi RBK752
The Netgear Orbi RBK752 is a smaller and less expensive alternative to one of the finest Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems available on the market, the highly rated Netgear Orbi RBK852, which is both smaller and less expensive. The less expensive Orbi RBK752, which is available in a two-pack that can cover up to 5,000 square feet, has fewer internal antennae and a less powerful CPU, resulting in decreased throughput and range, according to the manufacturer. Because of this, it is well-suited for medium-sized houses; however, for greater coverage areas, you will need to purchase the 3- or 4-packs. Although they are more expensive, purchasing them as a package will be less expensive than purchasing individual satellite units.
Despite the fact that the Wi-Fi 6 Orbi is less expensive than the more expensive Wi-Fi 6 Orbi, it still includes an impressive array of customization options and allows you to enjoy the ease of Netgear’s excellent mesh networking gear as well as decent speeds throughout your home for a lower price than the more expensive version.
10. TP-Link Deco M9 Plus
It can practically do it all thanks to its simple setup procedure and ability to provide a whole-house Wi-Fi connection while also controlling a variety of smart home gadgets. TP-Deco Link’s M9 Plus Smart Home Mesh Wi-Fi System (available in a three-pack) is a good example. The Deco M9 Plus makes use of a trio of tiny extensions that are easy to conceal or install on the wall, and it has a wireless range of up to 6,500 square feet, which is more than enough for most homes.
Conveniences such as built-in security – which includes intrusion prevention, a malicious-content filter, and an infected-device quarantine – make it simple to manage your home network, but we found the overall performance to be mediocre when the system had to deal with walls and ceilings in our testing.
Despite its lack of top-tier performance, the Deco M9 Plus is still the best mesh Wi-Fi kit to buy if you are more concerned with a straightforward setup process than with maximum speed. Furthermore, while each Deco unit includes a built-in USB connection, it is not yet functional (at least not yet), making it unable to connect to USB devices such as printers and storage.
11. Linksys Max Stream MR9600
This dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router from Linksys is among the smallest and least intrusive Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market, yet it offers massive coverage when you need it the most. The MR9600 is a standalone router that can also be used to create a mesh network by connecting it to other Linksys networking equipment. It can be used as a single unit for smaller homes and apartments, or it can be integrated into a mesh network with other Linksys networking devices, giving you the unique ability to expand coverage for larger homes.
Even though the Linksys Max Stream MR9600’s small size makes it easy to store on a shelf or desk, the device’s minimalist design leaves little room for ports — with only a WAN port, four LAN ports, and two USB 3.0 connectors, the device’s rear panel is uncluttered, but we wish it supported two-line aggregation, as is found on many competing Wi-Fi 6 models.
12. Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20)
In order to make the switch to a mesh network without having to replace your current router, there is no better option than the Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20), which is a desktop Wi-Fi extender that can work with virtually any Wi-Fi router or Internet service provider gateway to create an extended network. Due to the fact that it comes equipped with Wi-Fi 6 speeds and even mesh functionality, the Netgear EAX20 is one of the greatest Wi-Fi extenders you can buy and the only option for adding mesh coverage to a solo Wi-Fi 6 router that is currently available.
Despite the fact that it’s big desktop style – because it lacks a plug-in design, it can’t be easily hidden behind the sofa or in the corner – and a price that’s more costly than certain routers will not appeal to everyone, the performance of this extender speaks for itself. Netgear EAX20 is a high-performance wireless router that offers category-leading speeds and an impressive 95-foot range.
What Is a Mesh Wi-Fi System?
The Wi-Fi system, which is a hybrid of many networking components that are designed to blanket your home with wireless coverage, is a type of hybrid in itself. It consists of a primary router that connects directly to your modem, as well as a number of satellite modules, or nodes, that you distribute around your home. Every one of them is connected to the same wireless network, which has the same SSID and password. Unlike range extenders, which interact with the router through the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio bands, most Wi-Fi system satellites connect with the router and with one another through the usage of a mesh networking technique called mesh networking.
To other nodes in the system, each node acts as a connection point. It is easier for the nodes that are further away from the router to produce a robust Wi-Fi signal because they are communicating with other nodes rather than depending on one-to-one communication with the router. Not all Wi-Fi systems, on the other hand, employ mesh networking; some, for example, interact with the router and with one another using a separate radiofrequency. As with mesh networks, the specialized band frees up the standard-use 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels for usage by individual clients.
How to choose the best mesh router for you
Finding the best mesh Wi-Fi system begins with determining if you really require one in the first place.
Even though it’s critical to maintain smooth Wi-Fi performance and throughput for gaming, video streaming, and smart home devices, it’s also important to consider important work applications and different modes of work communication, particularly video conferencing, now that so many people are working from home and there is no end in sight. Whole-house coverage becomes more than a nice-to-have feature in this situation.
However, bigger residences and buildings with solid walls, several floors, metal and concrete substructures, and other structural obstacles may require additional components to extend Wi-Fi service to locations where the router is unable to give coverage. Despite the fact that range extenders are effective at filling up dead zones, they generally give only half the bandwidth that you would get from your primary router. The bandwidth provided by access points is more than that provided by range extenders, but they need a cable connection to the main router. Furthermore, both methods generally generate a new network SSID, which you must log in to each time you move from one part of the home to another.
As a networking novice, you may be concerned that the events described above will leave you sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of router paperwork and lamenting your life choices. This is a reasonable concern. Because there is an option, you might want to think about installing a mesh Wi-Fi system instead.
If you have a large home, say 3,000 square feet or more, a standard router will not suffice to complete the job. Similarly, multistory residences and houses with unusual floor plans may not provide coverage in the same way that most standalone routers do since they do not have the same range pattern. While your home may appear to be well-served by a standard wireless router, there are a variety of obstructions and signal-disrupting factors that can make it difficult to achieve excellent Wi-Fi coverage across your whole home.
The general rule of thumb is that if your router leaves you with dead patches throughout your house or even in your yard, you would be better off investing in a mesh Wi-Fi system.
Choosing the best mesh Wi-Fi system is similar to selecting any other Wi-Fi equipment. Our evaluations take into account the design, range and throughput performance, setup, and the settings that may be customized. We’ll take a look at security measures and parental control features. We also consider whether a mesh extension would be simple to incorporate into your existing home décor or whether it will be something you’ll want to hide away out of sight. Any of our product evaluations will go into depth about these elements of a product, as well as any special features that you may want to consider in your decision-making process, such as whether you want voice interaction or how effectively a mesh solution connects with other connected devices in the house.
Despite the fact that wireless connectivity is the most important feature of a mesh Wi-Fi kit, you’ll also want to consider the possibility of wired connections. When connecting devices that require greater bandwidth, such as gaming consoles and smart TVs, Ethernet provides quicker connectivity, while USB ports are useful for connecting a printer or storage device to your network. However, not every mesh system has physical ports, so be sure you choose a system that will match your requirements.
The most important consideration for many buyers is value – which extender offers the greatest benefits at the lowest possible price. Therefore, we take into account what you truly receive for your money, considering which features and performance are important, as well as how each particular product compares to other gadgets from other manufacturers.
Mesh routers are available for purchase for anywhere from $120 to $400 or more. Because mesh systems make use of a number of different devices, you can often purchase a full mesh system in a two- or three-unit configuration. Individual satellite devices are also available for purchase if you want to expand the reach of your mesh network to a larger region. Individual units typically retail for between $100 and $200, however more specialized devices with additional features may be more expensive.
Last but not least, our top selections are featured here since they are the best mesh Wi-Fi systems available on the market today. Performance, pricing, and features are all considered when identifying the items that provide the most value for your money, and we explain why they could be the ideal choice for your house.
Easy Setup and App-Based Network Management
Although you may be technically proficient, setting up and maintaining a typical wireless home network can be challenging. In contrast to these systems, which are designed for users with little or no technical knowledge and can be set up in minutes, Wi-Fi systems are simple to set up. They are generally accompanied with a user-friendly smartphone application that guides you through the installation procedure with clear, illustrated instructions. Using the app, you can figure out where to place each node for optimum coverage, as well as which Wi-Fi channel and radio band to utilize for optimal throughput performance, so you can keep a strong wireless connection as you move around your home.
Mesh Wi-Fi networks are simple to set up and manage using your smartphone, allowing you to disable Wi-Fi access to specific devices with the touch of a button and give specific devices network priority without having to log into a complicated network console. There is currently no limit to the number of nodes you can add to your network.
Design and Features
The router and nodes are equipped with internal antennae and are nearly always attractively designed, allowing them to be placed in a public area rather than a closet or beneath a desk if desired. If you are looking for flashing LED indicators, you won’t find them because these systems are meant to fit in with your home’s décor. The majority of them contain at least one LAN connection for connecting to other devices such as televisions and game consoles, however, USB connectivity is a rather unusual feature at this time.
2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands are used by mesh systems, which are multi-band networking devices that rely on 802.11ac wireless technology to communicate with one another. The Multi-User Many Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology, which transmits data to multiple compatible wireless clients concurrently instead of sequentially, is supported by some models. For the greatest performance, the vast majority of Wi-Fi systems employ band steering to automatically choose the least-congested radio band available.
They also include simple-to-use parental controls, guest networking capabilities, and device priority choices. Even though they are designed to be simple to use, they typically only allow you to configure port forwarding and wireless security settings, and they do not provide advanced networking management options such as individual band control, firewall settings, and wireless transmission rate settings that you would find on a traditional router. Furthermore, you will not be able to utilize third-party WRT firmware to modify the system for improved performance and network monitoring.
It is an evolution of 802.11ac technology that promises increased throughput speeds (up to 9.6Gbps), less network congestion, greater client capacity, and better range performance. This is made possible by a number of new and improved wireless technologies, including Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). OFDMA increases total throughput by dividing Wi-Fi channels into sub-channels, allowing up to 30 users to use a single channel at the same time, resulting in higher overall throughput.
Additionally, 802.11ax takes use of previously underutilized radio frequencies to enable faster 2.4GHz performance, as well as MU-MIMO streaming, which is not available with other wireless standards. Check out our speed tests and primer for additional information on the advantages of the 802.11ax standard. What Exactly Is Wi-Fi 6?
Which Is Better: Wireless Mesh or Range Extenders?
Do not fret if you are concerned about the expense of these systems; aside from a few high-end options, most mesh systems are just somewhat more expensive than a router/range extender combo. A single-node Wi-Fi system may be purchased for roughly $150, while a multi-node system can be purchased for approximately $500.
The cost for these systems appears to be greater since, in most cases, you’re paying for at least two devices: the router and a router node that joins together to form the mesh network. Most systems, in fact, come with two nodes, which means you’ll be purchasing a total of three devices. In most cases, if you break it down per device, you’ll discover that they’re just a bit more expensive than a comparably powered router and range extender combination. In particular, we’re seeing pricing for mesh systems, including the more recent ones that are compatible with Wi-Fi 6, come down, which is encouraging.
Also keep in mind that Wi-Fi networks are designed to be simple to operate. You can set them up and manage them in minutes, and they enable seamless room-to-room roaming over a single network. They also give whole-house coverage through the deployment of a series of visually appealing nodes. Continue to use a classic router solution if you want complete control over your network, as well as the highest potential throughput performance and connectivity possibilities. A Wi-Fi system, on the other hand, makes sense if you don’t want to deal with things like allocating radio frequencies and logging in to different networks as you move around your house.