Best buy mesh wifi

Best buy mesh wifi DEFAULT

Get one of the best mesh networks in 2021 set up in your home and you can say goodbye to Wi-Fi range and coverage problems: mesh networking beams Wi-Fi to parts of your home that standard routers cannot reach, and can improve speed and connection quality at the same time. They're particularly good for larger homes or for places where a single router really struggles.

We've put the best mesh Wi-Fi networks in the UK in 2021 to the test to see which ones really deliver the goods. We're not just interested in how far they reach: we're also looking at the quality of connections they deliver, how easy they are to set up and expand, and whether they represent good value for money compared to other Wi-Fi options.

For many of us, recent events have meant we're more dependent on our Wi-Fi than ever before: with so many of us learning, working and socialising online, Wi-Fi setups that were acceptable in The Before Times are often inadequate for the lives we're leading now: a Wi-Fi network that was okay for the odd Netflix binge might not be up to the challenge of the kids' Teams classrooms, the office's Skype calls or your Friday night Zoom catch-ups. 

A mesh network can help with that, ensuring that wherever you need a connection for your computer, console, laptop or tablet you can get a strong signal – and it can also ensure that you don't suffer any drops or quality issues when more than one person in your home needs to be online.

If you're looking into a mesh network while building a home office, then also take a look at T3's best webcams, best office chairs and best NAS drives buying guides.

Scroll down to discover T3's curated list of the very best mesh Wi-Fi systems you can buy, followed by some useful information about how they work, what to watch out for and which mesh network features really matter.

And don't forget to check the best Black Friday deals for mesh networking kit: routers often attract deep discounting in and around the Black Friday sales event, so you can often pick up high-end hardware without having to pay high prices. That's particularly handy if you're buying for a large home or office that requires multiple mesh points.

The best mesh networks you can buy today

(Image credit: Netgear)

1. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6

The best premium mesh network


Connection: Tri-band AC6000

Reasons to buy

+Excellent coverage and speed+Quick and easy setup+Plenty of wired ports available

Reasons to avoid

-It's going to cost you-App could be better-Units are big and chunky

There are cheaper Orbi options (see below), but the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 is the latest and greatest mesh network system from Netgear – with full Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, it's able to reach blazing fast speeds, and uses a dedicated backhaul channel to make sure the connection between the router and its satellites is always rock solid.

It's certainly on the expensive side, but with a total of 6Gbps of bandwidth available to up to 100 devices, the kit will create a network that it's very hard to get the better of. Whether you want your Wi-Fi to reach right into the attic, or you need to connect up a slew of new smart home devices, the Orbi WiFi 6 can help.

Add in a straightforward setup process, an intuitive and easy to use app, and support for Google Assistant and Alexa voice commands, and you can see why the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 not only makes it on to our best mesh network list, but even won Best Home Networking Tech at the T3 Awards 2021.

(Image credit: Eero)

2. Eero 6

The best mesh network for most people


Connection: Dual-band

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6

Max speed: 500 Mbps

Reasons to buy

+Strong and stable Wi-Fi+App is polished and professional+Cover up to 460 square metres

Reasons to avoid

-Security extras require a subscription-No Ethernet ports on extenders-Lacks advanced customisations

Eero is a company with a strong tradition in the mesh Wi-Fi networking game, and that heritage is definitely on show with its latest offering: the Eero pack isn't quite the fastest option out there, nor does it offer the most advanced features, but it's a compelling blend of performance and features at the right price.

The system is incredibly easy to set up and use, and it has one of the most intuitive and polished apps we've come across in all our years of mesh Wi-Fi network testing. You can pause internet access, set up a guest network for your friends and much more, all with a few taps on your phone. It's now Wi-Fi 6 compatible for connecting up to the latest gadgets you've got in your home, too.

If you're looking for something that can be configured in minutes and that 'just works' – and we expect that most of you are – then you can't do very much better than the Eero 6 system. For a faster and more expensive option, have a look at the Eero 6 Pro set.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

3. TP-Link Deco P9

The best budget mesh network


Connection: Dual-band AC1200

Reasons to buy

+Excellent mesh Wi-Fi performance+One of the more affordable options+Adds Powerline tech capabilities

Reasons to avoid

-Apps are occasionally clunky-Not the best-looking system out there-Your existing setup might be enough

One of the reasons we like the TP-Link Deco P9 mesh networking kit so much is because it gives you the flexibility of using mesh Wi-Fi alongside Powerline networking – so internet signals can travel through the existing wiring in your home, as well as through the air.

That gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to trying to get wireless internet into every corner of your house, and the Deco P9 3-pack really does impress when it comes to blanketing your whole home with a Wi-Fi signal.

The accompanying app is simple and straightforward to use, and lets you prioritise devices as well as cut off the kids' connections to the web when it's bedtime. It's an all-round solid package, and definitely worth a place on your best mesh Wi-Fi shortlist – especially considering the competitive price.

The TP-Link Deco P9 has won the Best Home Networking Tech Award at the T3 Awards 2020, too, with the judging panel bowled over by its style and quality.

To see how this system stacks up against our number one choice, be sure to check out T3's Eero vs TP-Link Deco P9 comparison feature.

(Image credit: Google)

4. Google Nest Wifi

Google's mesh networking kit is getting better and better


Connection: Dual-band AC2200

Reasons to buy

+Fast and reliable connection+Built-in Google Assistant

Reasons to avoid

-No Ethernet ports on the nodes-No support for the incoming Wi-Fi 6 standard-Google Assistant built into the nodes

As you can tell from our Google Nest Wifi review, we're quite taken with this upgrade on Google's Wi-Fi networking kit – it's faster, it's more reliable, it offers more coverage, and the satellite nodes now come with Google Assistant built in (so they're really mini smart speakers).

The app is as polished as you would expect from Google, enabling you to do everything from measuring signal strength to stopping the kids from staying on the internet for too long. Setup is very easy too, which is always something we like to see.

While you might get faster speeds from other kit, and there's no Wi-Fi 6 support here, there's no doubt this is one of the best mesh networking kits in the business – especially if you're already heavily invested in the Google ecosystem.

According to Google, a two-pack Nest Wifi hub is good for 210 square metres (2,260 square feet) of coverage, and in our testing we found it had very impressive reach as well as very low latency. It can even work alongside your existing Wi-Fi network to add a second network.

To see how this unit stacks up against our number one choice then check out T3's Amazon Eero vs Google Nest Wifi comparison feature.

(Image credit: Tenda)

5. Tenda MW6 Nova

An excellent mesh network kit for wide coverage on a budget.


Connection: AC1200, dual-band

Reasons to buy

+Wide Wi-Fi coverage+Very attractive price+Alexa support

The white cubes that make up the Tenda MW6 Nova system are undeniably stylish, and they'll do a great job of getting Wi-Fi coverage all around your home – even if the top speeds don't quite match the very best that the competition can offer.

Even if the speeds aren't the maximum that the market can offer, this is still one of the best mesh network kits in the UK: you get a simple to use guest mode (to keep visitors away from your key equipment), straightforward parental controls, and support for Amazon Alexa control.

All that and the sort of reliable, far-reaching Wi-Fi that you've come on this page to find out about. To seal the deal, you can pick up a pack of three router nodes for a very decent price too.

6. Netgear Wi-Fi 6 Orbi RBK353

The best mesh networking system for a lot of people


Connection: Dual-band

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6

Max speed: 1,800 Mbps

Reasons to buy

+Wi-Fi 6 support+Easy to set up+Smaller Orbi units

Reasons to avoid

-Only dual-band-Very white and plastic-Slightly clunky app

There are numerous Orbi packages to pick from when it comes to choosing the best mesh networking system for you, and this is the most affordable: you do miss out on some advanced features (it's dual-band rather than tri-band, for example), but there is support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard.

The units in this pack are smaller than they are in other Orbi systems as well, so they're easier to place around the house. As usual with Netgear hardware, everything is very straightforward to set up and configure – basically all you have to do is plug the boxes in, install the app, and follow the instructions.

With total speeds of 1,800 Mbps possible (though your broadband will probably fall far short of that), and coverage for around 488 square metres (with the three-pack option), this is a mesh networking system that you can rely on for getting dozens of devices online.

The BT mesh network takes the approach of sitting alongside your router rather than replacing it, which makes it a bit of a bargain as well – you can currently get three satellites devices for £199, which will only get you a single unit with some of the other solutions. This is well worth a spot on our best mesh networking kit of 2021 list.

This setup suits homes where you're locked into using the router that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has given you. If you've signed up with Virgin Media for internet and television services, for example, you can't get at the router (it's inside the main TV box) – BT Whole Home solves that problem.

BT has nailed the price then, but the design of these satellite notes isn't necessarily something we're going to be basing our interior design plans around. These white dishes on little metal stands aren’t exactly ugly, but do look like networking aerials, and that clear BT logo in the middle really doesn't help the aesthetics either. 

Other solutions are a little faster but the sheer square footage you can cover with three receivers is mammoth. BT also sells the Whole Home with two units or just a single one these days, so there are solutions to suit just about any living setup and budget, and the app includes plenty of smarts for monitoring and controlling internet access.

See how this mesh network stacks up against our number one choice in our Amazon Eero vs BT Whole Home comparison feature.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

8. TP-Link Deco X60

Say hello to Wi-Fi 6


Connection: Dual-band AX3000

Reasons to buy

+Top speeds+Simple setup

Reasons to avoid

-Software is a bit clunky-On the expensive side-Plain design

If you want the very best speeds that modern-day wireless internet can offer, then you want Wi-Fi 6 – and the TP-Link Deco X60 fits the bill (it's a bit more powerful and a bit more expensive than the other TP-Link option we've featured below). Throughput of 3,000Mbps is possible, in theory, though note that your other devices will need to support Wi-Fi 6 to get the fastest speeds.

As usual with TP-Link, performance is impressive and rock-solid, and you won't have any problems setting up this mesh network around the home. The setup app even tells you whereabouts in your house or flat you should be putting the various satellite nodes, based on your current layout (you can pick up the TP-Link Deco X60 in either a two-pack or a three-pack).

Not only do the four antennas in each unit ensure a fast connection, they also mean you can connect more devices without any drops in speed and stability. No matter how many laptops and smartphones you need to hook up, the Deco X60 will be able to cope – and your connection will stay strong even as you move around the home.

It's hard to fault the TP-Link Deco X60, although it'll cost you a fair bit, and the software isn't quite as polished as it is on some of its competitors' systems. If you want the best speeds when looking for the best mesh network of 2021, then we'd say that this is a system that's well worth getting on your radar.

9. Linksys Velop

The best mesh network for experts and patient users


Connection: Tri-band AC2200

Reasons to buy

+Scorching speeds+Huge range+Looks perfectly alright

With its vaguely Bluetooth speaker-like looks, the Linksys Velop networking gear doesn't score many points in terms of its design, but the satellite nodes do have a small enough footprint that you can effectively hide them away around the home. 

We found performance to be very good indeed during our testing: we barely saw any speed loss even with a fast 100/150Mbps optical fibre home internet connection. It was a shame then that setup was more fiddly than with the Vesop's competitors – we needed a factory reset and a bit of troubleshooting to get everything working properly.

Also in the negatives column, the Linksys Velop gear lacks a few extras that the likes of the Netgear boxes include, and you only get two Ethernet ports on the bottom of each box unlike the four on the Orbi nodes. You can however set priority devices in the app, and customise your Wi-Fi access in a variety of other helpful ways.

As far as buying choices go, you can pick up the Linksys Velop hardware in a bundle of one, two or three units. If you want to start off with just one router node, we're happy to report that it gave us just about the best wireless range we've seen from one of these mesh setups – even just one satellite is able to cover a very wide area, so you might not even need a mesh at all.

10. Zyxel Multy X Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh System

Best plug-in mesh network boxes


Connection: Dual-band AC1750

Reasons to buy

+Very fast connection speeds+Generous number of ports+Can be used with Alexa

There's a lot to like about the Multy X system from Zyxel, including the 3,000 Mbps maximum speed and the rock-solid strength of the connections. Oh and it works with Alexa too, so if you've got a few Amazon Echo devices dotted around the home then you can control your internet with your voice.

As well as excellent speeds, you get extras like three Ethernet ports on each of the nodes, plus a USB port – it's only USB 2.0, which is a shame, but it should be speedy enough to use a printer or external hard drive and share it around the network.

From the software angle, the supplied Zyxel app is a little rough around the edges but just about does the job. Other apps are friendlier and more intuitive but we got there in the end with the Zyxel app – and at the end of the day you just want fast, comprehensive Wi-Fi first and foremost from the best mesh network hardware, don't you? You don't even have to use the app if you prefer telling Alexa to turn off the internet instead.

On the downside, the kit is a little on the expensive side and isn't the most compact or well-designed system we've ever seen. Overall though, the problems are minor and the pluses are major, and we'd recommend putting this any shortlist of the best mesh networking gear in 2021.

(Image credit: Netgear)

11. Netgear XRM570 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router and Mesh Wi-Fi System

A mesh network designed specifically for gamers


Connection:: Dual-band AC2600 (router) / Tri-band AC2200 (extender)

Reasons to buy

+Optimised for the busiest games+Express lane for priority traffic+Very, very fast

Gamers have very different requirements to most other network users: a slight bit of network congestion or lag might not matter very much if you're updating a spreadsheet or chatting on Zoom, but it's pretty significant if you're in the middle of a Battle Royale against elite opponents. 

This package combines two strong products: Netgear’s gaming-focused XRM500 router and its EX7700 range extender. They’re pre-paired for quick setup.

The XRM500 is a dual band AC2600 router with four gigabit ethernet ports, a 1.7GHz dual core processor and the ability to create an “express lane” to prioritise a specific device and reduce congestion, lag and jitter – three things that can mean life or death in fast-moving games. It also has geofiltering to identify the closest servers and has been optimised specifically for Fortnite, COD: Black Ops 4, Overwatch, PUBG and other big names. The range extender is tri-band with the same FastLane tech, smart roaming for seamless connectivity and a 2.2Gbps ethernet connection.

What is a mesh network?

Rather than having one router serving up Wi-Fi to your home, these mesh network routers and nodes give you several access points, blanketing all the rooms in your home with the wireless internet connectivity you need – Netflix need never be interrupted by the buffering symbol again.

What's more, now is a great time to be shopping for one of the best mesh networks, as hardware manufacturers continue to introduce price drops and deals, even on newer systems. Before we get to our list though, let's first take a look at what mesh networks are, and how to choose the best mesh network for your home.

How to buy the best mesh Wi-Fi system for you

Bear in mind that there are other ways to extend your Wi-Fi and get rid of dead zones around the home, including Wi-Fi extenders and Powerline adapters. Before you start splurging cash on the best mesh Wi-Fi network gear, make sure a mesh networking kit is definitely the right choice for you.

It's easy to see the appeal of mesh networks: they're fast, reliable, and easy to set up (it's almost as if tech companies are waking up to how easy home Wi-Fi should be). Even if you've never had to configure your own wireless network before, the best mesh networking kits make it all very straightforward.

On a technical level, these mesh networks are made up of little Wi-Fi 'nodes' that talk to each other and get as a strong a signal as possible out to all your devices. As far as your devices are concerned, it's just one consistent wireless network.

Look for the speed, often written as something like AC2200 – that's the type of Wi-Fi (AC) and theoretical maximum speed (2,200 Mbps), though you probably won't get that in reality. You'll also need to decide on a number of nodes: two should do most homes, but bigger places might need more.


Best mesh Wi-Fi systems for 2021: Mesh Wi-Fi routers and points

The best mesh routers let you cover the largest of homes with speedy Wi-Fi, and upgrading to one of the latest Mesh Wi-Fi systems can upgrade the experience for every device on your network. With multiple devices creating a single, seamless Wi-Fi network, a mesh router is the best way to blanket a large home with signal, eliminating dead spots in the farthest rooms and even out in the backyard. Whether you're dealing with a multi-story home or signal-dampening brick walls, a mesh router can do what a standalone router simply can't, pushing strong Wi-Fi signal to every part of your home. 

Whether you want better Wi-Fi in the farthest room, the top floor of the house, or even getting coverage in the garage or backyard, even a basic mesh system is a step up. We've tested and reviewed the most popular mesh routers you can buy, from wireless-AC models to the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh kits, evaluating the performance, range and usability of each one to help you find the best mesh system for your home.

From everything we've tested and reviewed, here are the best mesh Wi-Fi routers to buy now.

What are the best mesh routers?

Our pick for the best mesh routers is the Nest WiFi, Google's own mesh Wi-Fi solution. It offers excellent performance throughout the house, and features easy setup and great smart home integration. It also has a killer feature the other best mesh routers can't match: Built in Google Home smart speakers in every mesh extension, giving you voice interaction that can extend to every room of the house. 

The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is another mesh networking favorite, with great Wi-Fi 6 performance and easy setup. The individual units deliver some of the best data speeds available, and Netgear offers a range of extensions, including weatherproof outdoor extensions and the Netgear Orbi Voice, which has Amazon Alexa built in.

The best mesh routers right now

1. Nest WiFi

The best mesh router


Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/dual band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No

Ports: Two 1-Gbps LAN

Peak Throughput: 653.2 Mbps

Size: 4.3 x 4.3 x 3.6 inches

Reasons to buy

+Excellent performance+Google Assistant built in+Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-Short range-Minimal configuration options

If you want the best mesh Wi-Fi solution available, Google's Nest WiFi is the best you can get. It offers superb performance, a dead-simple setup process and it delivers Wi-Fi coverage that can expand coverage to handle everything from a small home to large estate.

But the Nest WiFi has something no other mesh kit does, with a Google Home smart speaker built into every mesh extension. The compact units let you control the router with voice commands, along with every other connected device in your house, from smart lights to your smart TV.

Adding additional Nest extensions adds new Google Home units in other rooms, seamlessly giving you a voice assistant in any room of the house. And if you still have an old Google WiFi system gathering dust, you can add those to extend the mesh coverage, too. If you want the best and simplest mesh WiFi solution for your home, this is it.

Read our full Nest WiFi review.

2. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852)

The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router


Wi-Fi Spec: AX6000/Tri Band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No

Ports: Router – 1 WAN/4 LAN; Satellite – 4 LAN

Peak Throughput: 883.6Mbps

Size: 10.0 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+Top Wi-Fi 6 mesh performance+Malware protection+Excellent wall and ceiling penetration

Reasons to avoid

-Very expensive-Large

The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is the Orbi we have been waiting for, combining everything we love about Netgear's premiere mesh Wi-Fi solution with the futureproof capabilities and blinding speeds of Wi-Fi 6. Easy setup and a great performance are the hallmarks of the Orbi model line, and the newest model doesn't disappoint.

The RBK852 serves up category leading performance with strong signal that punched through ceilings, floors and walls with ease, and built-in security blankets your home with a layer of online protection along with the zippy Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for the easiest and fastest mesh networking kit on the market, the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) does the trick with excellent performance, particularly for those in older homes with lots of walls. When it comes to mesh Wi-Fi 6 devices, the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is the one to beat.

Read our full Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) review.

3. TP-Link Deco X20

Best value mesh Wi-Fi system


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No

Ports: 1 WAN Gigabit Ethernet, 1 LAN Gigabit Ethernet

Throughput: 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz)/1201 Mbps (5 GHz)

Size: 4.33 x 4.33 x 4.49 inches

Reasons to buy

+Small router and satellites+Inexpensive+Excellent range+Extra security

Reasons to avoid

-No dedicated backchannel for data-Lack of customization options

Inexpensive, small and easy to set up, TP-Link’s Deco X20 mesh networking kit is a cheap thrill that can help fill a home with Wi-Fi 6 data while protecting a family’s identities with an extra layer of online security. If you want mesh capability and Wi-Fi 6, the TP-Link Deco X20 is the best budget option for covering larger homes with better speed and capability than any older 802.11ac system can match. It even earned the runner up for best mesh router in our 2021 Tom's Guide Awards. Selling in a 3-pack of matching units, the Deco X20 covers up to 5,800 square feet, and can manage up to 150 separate connected devices.

With dual-band connectivity and two gigabit wired connections on each node, the Deco X20 offers great coverage and connectivity with easy setup and management. TP-Link gives you all the tools you need in the accompanying Deco app, which lets you set up your network quickly and control the individual features of the network with illustrated, easy-to-navigate menus. It also protects, with WPA3 encryption and a lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare security and antivirus included with the set.

Read our full TP-Link Deco X20 review. 

4. Linksys Velop AX4200

Affordable Wi-Fi 6 for bigger homes


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Tri-Band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No

Ports: 1 WAN/3 LAN, USB 3.0 (per unit)

Peak Throughput: 507.7Mbps

Size: 9.6 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+Inexpensive mesh kit+Good throughput with dynamic tri-band operation+Three-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-No security software-Slow set up

The Linksys Velop AX4200 mesh kit offers tri-band Wi-Fi 6 that can cover a large home in Wi-Fi signal without the higher prices of many Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems. That was enough to get it named the best mesh router in our 2021 Tom's Guide Awards. With decent throughput and great range – the three-pack we reviewed can fill 8,000 square feet, and is easily expanded with additional units – this affordable mesh system offers simple configuration tools and a generous three-year warranty. It also has USB connectivity, a small touch, but one that some users will hugely appreciate.

But it's not the fastest mesh kit on the block, lagging behind more expensive competitors and offering none of the extra security and customization options you'd get from other manufacturers. That said, the three-pack Linksys Velop AX4200 is one of the best bargains in mesh networking at the moment, offering a relatively cheap way to set up a wide-ranging Wi-Fi network in a big house.

Read our full Linksys Velop AX4200 review.

5. Eero Pro 6

Wi-Fi 6 speeds with incredible convenience


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Tri-band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 7/No

Ports: 2 Ethernet on each unit

Throughput: 438.2Mbps

Size: 5.3 x 5.3 x 1.9 inches

Reasons to buy

+Great range+Dynamic tri-band operation+Easy fast setup

Reasons to avoid

-Devices have only two Ethernet ports-Moderate throughput close up-No USB ports

The Eero Pro 6 combines tri-band Wi-Fi 6 networking with a mesh setup that's quicker and easier than pretty much any mesh system we've reviewed, making it the best way to get great performance throughout your home without much hassle. With a single unit covering 2,000 square feet with reasonably fast Wi-Fi, the three-pack Eero Pro 6 will blanket up to 6,000 square feet with ease - and we set up the three-piece system in about 11 minutes.

It may not have the highest throughput, but the Eero Pro 6 mesh kit does well at mid-range distances where others peter out, is quick to set up and automatically adjusts just about everything. If you want granular customization, then tools like band steering, local DNS caching and home automation tools, it's got those, too. But the Eero Pro 6 does it's best when it lets you set it and forget it, giving you speedy Wi-Fi 6 without the hassles.

Read our full Eero Pro 6 review. 

6. Netgear Orbi RBK752

A less expensive version of the Wi-Fi 6 Orbi


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Tri-Band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No

Ports: Router – 1 WAN/3 LAN; Satellite – 2 LAN

Peak Throughput: 506.7 Mbps

Size: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.0 inches

Reasons to buy

+Malware protection+Tri-band operation+Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-Large-90-day support policy-Short range

The Netgear Orbi RBK752  is the smaller and cheaper alternative to one of the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems on the market, the highly ranked Netgear Orbi RBK852. Selling in a two-pack that can cover up to 5,000 square feet, the cheaper Orbi RBK752 has fewer internal antennas and a less powerful processor, which translate into reduced throughput and range. That makes it well-suited to mid-sized homes, but you'll want to step up to the 3- or 4-packs for larger coverage areas. They may be more expensive, but buying them as a package will be cheaper than adding single satellite units.

The cheaper Wi-Fi 6 Orbi doesn’t place as much emphasis on raw performance, but does manage to include an impressive array of customization options, and offers a way to get the ease of Netgear's excellent mesh networking gear and decent speeds throughout your home for less than the more expensive version.

Read our full Netgear Orbi RBK752 review.

7. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

A great whole-home solution


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Tri-band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No

Ports: 1 WAN (2.5Gbps)/3 LAN (Gbps), USB 3.0

Throughput: 701.0Mbps

Size: 6.6 x 6.3 x 2.9 inches

Reasons to buy

+Good Wi-Fi 6 performance+Protects against malware+Tri-band design+Two-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-Can take long time to reconnect satellites-Short range

The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) puts Wi-Fi 6 mesh networking into an easy-to-use package that's excellent for all sorts of mid-range homes. With its tri-band design and Wi-Fi 6 performance, the Asus ZenWiFi AX comes through with the ability to fill a moderate-sized home with wireless data. It may not be the fastest mesh kit, but the ZenWiFi AX’s two-year warranty and built-in security can give a family network “administrator” the peace of mind that the data will get through.

The sleek-looking design isn't festooned with antennas, nor is it blinking with an array of lights. Instead the ZenWiFi keeps things sedate with a design that could be used as bookend on a shelf, and a size that makes competing mesh systems look downright bulky. Plus, if you already have an Asus router at home, chances are pretty good that you can add it to the ZenWiFi's mesh network for even more coverage area, making it a great way to expand the coverage without giving up current hardware that you love.

Read our full Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) review.

8. TP-Link Deco M9 Plus

Convenience meets security


Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No

Ports: Two 1Gbps LAN, USB (“reserved”)

Peak Throughput: 570.5Mbps

Size: 6.0 by 6.0 by 1.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+Home Automation connections+Simple, straight-forward setup+Network security software

Reasons to avoid

-Need to use TP-Link Deco app

With a quick setup process and the ability to offer whole-home Wi-Fi connection while controlling all sorts of smart home devices, TP-Link's Deco M9 Plus Smart Home Mesh Wi-Fi System (sold in a three pack) can almost do it all. The Deco M9 Plus uses a trio of compact extensions that are easy to hide or mount on the wall and can cover up to 6,500 square feet with a strong wireless signal.

Built-in conveniences like security – including intrusion prevention, a malicious-content filter and infected-device quarantine – make it easy to manage your home network, but we did find the overall performance to be mediocre when the system had to deal with walls and ceilings.

While it lacks top performance, the Deco M9 Plus is still the best mesh Wi-Fi kit to get if you care more about a simple setup procedure than about top speed. And while each Deco unit has a built-in USB port, it's not enabled (yet), so there's no way to connect USB devices like printers and storage.

Read our full TP-Link Deco M9 Plus review.

9. Eero Mesh Wi-Fi Router

A great mesh bargain


Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual Band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No

Ports: Two 1Gbps LAN

Peak Throughput: 342.1 Mbps

Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 2.4 inches

Reasons to buy

+Easy setup+Small, easy-to-hide devices+Extra security available

Reasons to avoid

-Low performance-Expensive security options

If you want a simple Wi-Fi solution that won't leave dead spots in your home, the 2019 Eero mesh router is one of the best bargains in mesh networking today. The Eero three-pack of mesh devices is affordable, and each unit is easy to hide away, thanks to its compact design. While the range and performance aren't groundbreaking, it's easy to fill a home with capable Wi-Fi signal without spending an arm and a leg.

Set up is easily handled with a smartphone, and configuration is designed for anyone to use. There's even an option for robust network security, though it comes with a monthly subscription fee. You can also connect the Eero system to an Alexa smart speaker if you want to add voice controls to your home network.

Read our full Eero mesh router review.

10. Linksys Max Stream MR9600

Our favorite mesh-capable router


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No

Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN gigabit per second, 2 USB 3.0

Throughput: 822.0 Mbps

Size: 11.0 x 6.8 x 5.6 inches

Reasons to buy

+Can create mesh network with other Linksys equipment+Small and easy to hide

Reasons to avoid

-Mediocre performance-Lacks port aggregation

The Linksys Max Stream MR9600 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that is among the smallest and least obtrusive Wi-Fi 6 routers, but promises huge coverage when you need it. Able to work either as a standalone router or to create a mesh network by linking it with other Linksys networking gear, the MR9600 offers the choice of a single unit for smaller homes and apartments, or it can be incorporated into a mesh setup with other Linksys networking devices, giving you the unique ability to expand coverage for larger homes.

The small size makes it easy to fit onto a shelf or desk, but the streamlined design does leave little room for ports -- with only a WAN port, four LAN ports and two USB 3.0 connectors, the rear panel of the Linksys Max Stream MR9600 is uncluttered, but we wish it offered the two-line aggregation seen on many competing Wi-Fi 6 models.

Read our full Linksys Max Stream MR9600 review.  

11. Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20)

Best mesh extender


Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6/Dual-band

Number of Antennas/Removable: 4 internal/No

Ports: 4 gigabit Ethernet

Throughput: 375.4Mbps

Size: 9.5 x 6.7 x 2.5 inches

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Our home wireless networks are a little more strained these days than they have been in the past. People are working from home, streaming their favorite shows and gaming on devices that require a lot of bandwidth -- sometimes all at once! As such, having a dependable home Wi-Fi network that can handle multiple devices in all corners of your house or apartment is essential. But what if your router falls well short of covering your entire home with a fast, reliable wireless connection? That can be an issue if you're living in a multistory home and trying to stream upstairs, or working out of a back office that's several rooms away from where your router sits. 

Fortunately, you can decimate dead zones like those and spread a fast and reliable Wi-Fi signal throughout your entire home by using a mesh system that pairs a router with range-extending satellite devices. A mesh system augments your traditional router and ensures that using more than one connected device at a time won't slow down your connection -- this is especially important if you rely on a smart home device or three. 

With hardware like that spread strategically throughout your home, a good mesh network setup will automatically "route" your connection as you move through the place, steering you between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands within a single, unified Wi-Fi network. It'll also decide when to route your connection through a satellite mesh point and when to send your connection straight to the main router. That's better than what you'll get from a simple range extender and it makes for a close-to-seamless home network, with more consistent internet speed in each room.

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The rub is that mesh Wi-Fi systems are much more expensive than range extenders and typically more expensive than traditional, stand-alone routers, too. Further, you may need more than one mesh point or mesh node to create the ideal mesh networking conditions. That said, we've also seen lots of new mesh competition hitting the market in recent years and that's driven prices down significantly. Though we'd recommend aiming a bit higher, you can even find basic, entry-level mesh systems for as little as $20 per device.

Some of the best mesh Wi-Fi models include systems from Eero, which popularized mesh networking before being bought by Amazon in 2019, as well as the latest setups from Netgear Orbi and Google Nest. Mesh systems like those regularly sold for as much as $400 or even $500 a few years ago, but now all of these manufacturers and others offer multipoint mesh router systems -- including the main router and the satellite devices, or nodes -- that cost less than $300, if not less than $200.

We've still got lots of routers and mesh systems we'd like to try out -- including a growing number that use Wi-Fi 6 technology promising better performance and faster speeds. More mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6E, which means they can access a newly unlocked mass of bandwidth in the 6GHz band, should be arriving in the coming months, too.

Expect regular updates to this post as new Wi-Fi mesh routers like those make it to market. For now, here are the top mesh routers we'd recommend right now for anyone ready to make the upgrade.

Best overall

Nest Wifi

Chris Monroe/CNET

Nov 2019

Several years ago, Google Wifi became a breakout hit thanks to its easy setup and its ability to spread a fast, reliable Wi-Fi connection throughout your home for all of your connected devices. Now, there's the Nest Wifi, a second-gen follow-up that adds in faster internet speed and a better-looking design, plus Google Assistant smart speakers built into each range extender. The price is a little lower this time around, too -- $269 for the two-piece setup above, with roughly the same area of Wi-Fi coverage as a three-piece, $300 Google Wifi setup from years back.

On average, the Nest Wifi notched the fastest top speeds that we saw from any Wi-Fi 5 mesh router (and faster speeds than the newest Linksys Velop system, which supports Wi-Fi 6 and costs more than twice as much). Plus, the two-piece setup offered enough signal strength to provide sufficient coverage at the 5,800-square-foot CNET Smart Home. It also aced our mesh tests, never once dropping my connection as I moved about my home running speed tests, and I never caught it routing my connection through the extender when connecting directly to the router was faster, either.

The lack of Wi-Fi 6 support might seem like a missed opportunity, but the Nest Wifi does include support for modern features like WPA3 security, device grouping and prioritization and 4x4 MU-MIMO connections that offer faster aggregate speeds for devices like the MacBook Pro that can use multiple Wi-Fi antennas at once. It's also fully backward-compatible with previous-gen Google Wifi setups, which is a smart touch. All of it is easy to set up, easy to use and easy to rely on, making it the most well-rounded mesh router pick of the bunch, and the first one I'd recommend to just about anyone looking to upgrade a home network.

It was a little surprising that we didn't see a Wi-Fi 6 version of Nest Wifi in 2020 or 2021, but that might have been a savvy move on Google's part -- a mesh router will get the most out of Wi-Fi 6 if it adds in a second 5GHz band for dedicated traffic between the router and its satellites, and tri-band designs like that get expensive fast. Among dual-band mesh routers, I'd much rather have a top-of-the-line Wi-Fi 5 system than an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 system. Even among new competition, the Nest Wifi fits that bill.

Read our Nest Wifi review.

Best for large homes

Eero Pro 6


Eero was an early pioneer of the mesh networking approach, and in 2019, it got scooped up by Amazon. Then, in 2020, we got two new versions of the Eero mesh router: the Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6, both of which add in support for -- you guessed it -- Wi-Fi 6.

Each system is priced at a value, netting you a three-piece setup with two range-extending satellites for about as much as some competitors charge for a two-piece setup. That's great if you live in a large home and you need your Wi-Fi network to cover a lot of ground -- the additional mesh Wi-Fi network extender will make a big, noticeable difference in your speeds when you're connecting at range.

But between the two of them, I strongly prefer the Eero Pro 6, which costs $599 for a three-pack. Unlike the regular Eero 6, which disappointed in my tests with poor band-steering, the Eero Pro 6 setup I tested worked like a charm, spreading fast, reliable speeds across my entire home. Plus, it features a tri-band design with two 5GHz bands, which is key for optimal mesh performance. It's also a great pick for Alexa users thanks to a built-in Zigbee radio that lets you pair things like smart locks and smart lights with your voice assistant without needing any extra hub hardware.

$599 isn't inexpensive by any stretch, but it's about as good a price as you'll find for a three-piece, tri-band mesh router with full support for Wi-Fi 6. That makes it a worthy and sensible upgrade for large homes. And if you don't need a three-piece system, you could consider the Eero Pro 6 two-pack, which costs $399.

Read our Eero Pro 6 review.


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The Fastest Most Affordable Mesh Wifi System

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