Having a strong wireless connection throughout your entire home can make everything you do online that much easier. From streaming to working from home and even gaming, you and everyone else in your household can make the most of your home internet.
While one of the best Wi-Fi routers will provide more than enough coverage for an apartment, the same can’t be said for larger homes and those with odd layouts. You may find that you have Wi-Fi dead zones around your house or that your connection drops off when out in the backyard. Although the best Wi-Fi extenders can offer a quick fix, there’s a more permanent solution to your Wi-Fi woes.
Upgrading to one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems is the way to go if you live in a house as opposed to an apartment. This is because they use multiple satellites or nodes spread throughout your house to blanket your home with a strong wireless connection. Also, unlike with a Wi-Fi extender, you don’t need to constantly switch networks as you move throughout your home. Instead, your mesh router hands off your connection to the different nodes so that you’re never disconnected.
As someone who tried using a Wi-Fi extender and even one of the best powerline extenders for better internet after moving from an apartment into a house, making the switch to a mesh Wi-Fi system was one of the best things I’ve ever done. In fact, the upgrade ensured all of my smart home devices have a strong connection including my outdoor security cameras and it even let me use my Wi-Fi when out in the garage and backyard.
Whether you’re moving into your first home or are just plain tired of having poor Wi-Fi throughout your house, here are six mesh Wi-Fi systems worth considering for every type of home.
Best on a budget
TP-Link Deco X20
From closing costs to new appliances, buying a new house can get expensive fast which is why you might want to consider a budget-friendly mesh Wi-Fi system like the TP-Link Deco X20. At $129 for a 2-pack or $179 for a 3-pack, the Deco X-20 is an affordable mesh router and each node can cover up to 2,000 square feet with support for up to 150 connected devices.
The Deco X20 is a Wi-Fi 6-based mesh Wi-Fi system that’s incredibly easy to set up and configure which can be really helpful when moving into a new home. Each node has two gigabit Ethernet ports for connecting wired devices to your network but if your house is wired for Ethernet, you can also use them to connect the nodes together for better performance. TP-Link’s built-in security software helps keep your home safe from hackers and there are also parental controls as well in case you have little ones you want to keep safe from the worst parts of the internet.
If the Deco X20 is out of your price range and you're shopping on a shoestring budget, we've also rounded up the best cheap mesh Wi-Fi systems, all of which can be had for $100 or less.
Best for small homes
Wyze Mesh Router
Although Wyze is best known for its home security cameras, the company officially entered the networking business earlier this year with the Wyze Mesh Router and Wyze Mesh Router Pro. The Wi-Fi 6-based Wyze Mesh Router is the more affordable of the two with a 2-pack available for $174 and a 3-pack coming in at $249. It has a more pucked-shaped design than the Deco X20 and can be easily tucked away out of sight.
Each Wyze Mesh Router node covers up to 1,500 square feet and supports 50+ connected devices. There are two gigabit Ethernet ports at the rear and built-in Firedome security helps keep your home network and the devices connected to it secure. When testing out the Wyze Mesh Router, I was really impressed by just how simple it was to set up. Another highlight is the fact that you configure this mesh Wi-Fi system right in the Wyze app and if you’re using the company’s smart lights, smart plugs or other smart home devices, you can control everything from a single app.
Best for large homes
Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E (RBKE963)
Filling large homes with a strong Wi-Fi signal — especially if they have brick walls or an odd layout — is always challenging. Fortunately, each Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E (RBKE963) node can cover up to 3,000 square feet, which means a 3-pack can easily fill a 9,000 square foot home with Wi-Fi. In fact, you can actually connect up to six nodes to cover up to 21,000 square feet. This extra coverage doesn’t come cheap though, as a single device sells for $600 and a 3-pack costs a whopping $1,500. Still, the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E has the best performance based on our testing and with Wi-Fi 6E, you’ll be able to use the new 6 GHz band with the best phones and laptops for super fast speeds.
Besides excellent coverage and speeds, the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E (RBKE963) also has a 10 gigabit per second WAN port for multi-gig internet along with one 2.5 gigabit port and three gigabit Ethernet ports. If you do have a larger home and are considering this mesh Wi-Fi system, be warned as Netgear’s Orbi devices are quite large. Also, with Wi-Fi 7 just around the corner, this premium mesh system isn’t as future proof as it once was.
Best for smart homes
eero Pro 6E
If you want your home to be a smart home, the eero Pro 6E could be the perfect mesh Wi-Fi system for you. This is because it has a built-in Zigbee and Thread support which allows it to act as a smart home hub. Also, since eero is owned by Amazon, you can even use the latest Echo Dot as a mesh Wi-Fi extender so you don’t have to purchase additional nodes for more coverage.
Even without an Echo Dot to expand your Wi-Fi coverage further, each eero Pro 6E device can cover up to 2,000 square feet with a strong Wi-Fi signal. At the back of the device, you’ll find a 2.5 gigabit Ethernet port, a gigabit Ethernet port and a USB-C port for power. One of our favorite things about eero’s mesh Wi-Fi systems is their reliability and how easy they are to set up. Also, if you sign up for an eero Plus subscription, you can use eero internet backup to get back online when your internet goes down.
Best for gamers
Asus ROG Rapture GT6
Although you could go with one of the best gaming routers if you value bandwidth prioritization and customization for long play sessions, the Asus ROG Rapture GT6 is actually the first mesh Wi-Fi system built with gamers in mind. Its distinct design and RGB lights make it stand out and although it’s a Wi-Fi 6 router, in our testing, it was able to give Wi-Fi 6E devices a run for their money.
Besides gaming features like game acceleration and a ping heatmap for finding servers with the lowest latency, the ROG Rapture GT6 also has a 2.5 gigabit Ethernet port, three gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 3.2 port at its rear. In terms of performance, the device uses 160 MHz data channels and beamforming and during testing, it was even able to beat Neatgear’s Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) in terms of raw performance while being cheaper. A two-pack which covers up to 5,800 square feet will set you back $599.
Best for your home decor
Nest Wifi Pro
Google’s Nest Wifi Pro replaces the older Nest Wifi and while you do lose out on smart speaker functionality, you get a performance boost thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi 6E. It also adds Matter support for controlling your smart home devices and features a brand-new design. The reason I recommend it for your home decor is that unlike other mesh Wi-Fi systems that only come in white or black, the Nest Wifi Pro is available in several different color options including white, beige, blueish green and yellow. You can pick several devices individually if you want them to match or you can get a multi pack on the Google Store that includes a blueish green, a beige and a white Nest Wifi Pro.
Going the first route will set you back quite a bit, as each Nest Wifi Pro device costs $199 while a 3-pack is available for $399. Either way, you get a capable mesh Wi-Fi system where each device covers up to 2,200 square feet with built-in security and automatic updates. There are two gigabit Ethernet ports at the back and setting up as well as configuring your home network is done entirely through the Google Home app. If you're still unsure as to whether you want Google's latest mesh Wi-Fi system or its predecessor, check out our guide on the Nest Wifi vs Nest Wifi Pro.
How to pick the right mesh Wi-Fi system for your home
Choosing the right mesh Wi-Fi system for your home requires a fair bit of research in order to ensure that you get the right one. You’ll want to have your home’s dimensions handy and decide beforehand whether you want a 2-piece or a 3-piece mesh kit. Don’t worry though, as you can always add more nodes or satellites later. Mesh Wi-Fi systems can communicate with one another wirelessly but if your home is wired for Ethernet, you can plug them right into the wall for better performance and lower latency.
If you’re already invested in a particular smart home ecosystem, that’s also something you should consider before making your final decision. If you use the best Alexa devices, then picking up an eero router is a no-brainer. The same goes for the Nest Wifi and Nest Wifi Pro if you already have a few of the best Google Home speakers. Like I mentioned earlier, the Wyze Mesh Router and the Wi-Fi 6E-compatible Wyze Mesh Router Pro work great with Wyze’s security cameras and smart lights.
At the same time, you also want to consider and — if possible count — all of the connected devices currently in your home. If you have a large household with multiple computers, smartphones, tablets and other internet-connected gadgets, you’re going to want a mesh Wi-Fi system that can support a high number of connected devices simultaneously. This way, your devices won’t lose connection when there are too many fighting for bandwidth at the same time.
Regardless of which mesh Wi-Fi system you end up choosing, you’re likely going to notice a huge difference over your old Wi-Fi router. I know I did and picking up the TP-Link Deco XE75 was one of the best decisions I ever made.
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Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.
I'm curious about where you see Ubiquiti/Unifi stack up? Is this something you test but not in the same category? Or do you not like it?Reply
Good afternoon, I notice a total lack of cisco or cisco meraki products. Cisco based is by far the finest and most reliable on any market available, aruba and ubiqity, close but still no cigar....Reply