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Best mesh Wi-Fi systems for 2020

best mesh Wi-Fi

The best mesh Wi-Fi systems can fill even the largest home with speedy Wi-Fi signals, eliminating dead spots and expanding coverage to the backyard and the garage. We've looked at more than a dozen mesh routers, testing the performance and usability of each to help you find the best mesh Wi-Fi kit for your home.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems use a number of connected devices to spread Wi-Fi signal farther than any traditional router can do alone, and without the connectivity issues some Wi-Fi extenders will bring by adding new networks to your home. Instead, a mesh system blankets the entire home in one wireless network, providing seamless transitions as you move from room to room, and delivering the same great speed all through the house. They're also great for multistory homes, providing coverage on other floors that a single router might have difficulty reaching.

And don't miss our latest coverage, like the 2019 Eero mesh router, which offers whole-house coverage for a very reasonable price, Or check out the Linksys Max-Stream MR8300, which can be used as a standalone router, or paired with Linksys Velop extensions for a mesh network.

Whether you need a mesh system for inexpensive whole-house coverage or security that covers all of your connected devices, here are the best mesh Wi-Fi routers to buy now.

What are the best mesh Wi-Fi systems?

Our pick for the best mesh Wi-Fi system is the Nest WiFi, Google's own mesh solution. It offers excellent performance throughout the house, and features easy setup and great smart home integration. It also has a killer feature: 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 is another mesh networking favorite, with great 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. There's even a budget-friendly version with the slightly cheaper Netgear Orbi RBK40.

If you want an inexpensive mesh-networking solution, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi mesh router is the best mesh router for those on a budget, offering the most economical system for whole-house coverage and great performance.

Whole-home Wi-Fi coverage is nice, but peace of mind is even better, which is why the Gryphon Secure mesh router is our pick for security-focused mesh systems. It boasts malware protection, parental controls and even a VPN that keeps you safe when you're away from home.

For other options, we like the Linksys Velop, which can cover a 6,000 square foot home without needing to buy additional units. The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus offers super-quick setup and convenient management controls to match the house-wide signal. And the latest Eero mesh wi-fi system offers one of the best bargains in mesh networking today, with a price so affordable you'll forgive the middle-of-the-pack performance. Finally, if you're happy with the router you have, there's the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000, which adds a true mesh extension to existing networks, offering better performance and ease-of-use than any basic Wi-Fi signal booster can match.

Best mesh Wi-Fi systems right now

Best mesh Wi-Fi: Nest WiFi

(Image credit: Google)

1. Nest WiFi

The best mesh Wi-Fi system

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

Excellent performance
Google Assistant built in
Easy setup
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.

Best mesh Wi-Fi - Netgear Orbi

(Image credit: Netgear)

2. Netgear Orbi

An excellent mesh system for the whole home

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: Four 1Gbps LAN, USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 552.1Mbps | Size: 8.9 x 6.7 x 3.1 inches

Great performance
Choice of app or browser setup
Relatively large devices

The Netgear Orbi checks all the right boxes: strong performance, easy setup and flexibility to handle homes large and small. It's a long-time leader in the mesh Wi-Fi category, and is still one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems you can get.

Even without the mesh extensions, the Orbi's base unit is one of the fastest routers we've ever tested. Pair it with an Orbi extension and the system easily covers a 5,000-square-foot home, and it does just as well through walls and up and down floors in a multistory home.

On top of this great performance, the Orbi also offers best-in-class flexibility, with add-on units that provide Alexa voice capability, plug-and-play expansion and even weatherproofed satellite units for outdoor coverage. Pair this with excellent security and parental controls, and it's no wonder so many people love the Netgear Orbi.

Read our full Netgear Orbi review

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router

3. Samsung SmartThings Wifi

The top value mesh system

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/ Dual Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 5/No | Ports: Two 1Gbps LAN | Peak Throughput: 539.9Mbps | Size: 4.7 x 4.7 x 1.2 inches

Excellent performance
Creates smart home hub
Can use many small extensions
Requires two apps
Short range

The Samsung SmartThings Wifi uses discreet disk-shaped devices to offer whole-home Wi-Fi for less. Available in a three pack for $289 (or $120 per device), the Samsung SmartThings Wifi is the best mesh Wi-Fi system we've reviewed at this price.

But there's more to love than affordability. In addition to a low price and an easy-to-use design, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi system can consolidate everything from connected thermostats to light switches to let you take control of your digital home.

It's one of the best mesh Wi-Fi  options for anyone who is into home automation. The system lets you set up pre-programmed control sequences for your connected home devices, such as timers for smart lights and powered window shades, and deep integration with Samsung's own smart home products.

All told, Samsung's SmartThings Wifi is an economical way to fill just about any home with Wi-Fi while satisfying demanding users.

Check out the Samsung SmartThings Wifi mesh system review.
 

Credit: Netgear

(Image credit: Netgear)

4. Netgear Orbi RBK40

The more affordable Orbi

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No | Ports: Four 1 Gbps LAN | Peak Throughput: 549.93 Mbps | Size: 8.0 x 6.4 x 3.1inches

Excellent performance all around
Quick and easy setup
Customizable via browser interface
Relatively large devices
Bare-bones dedicated app

The Netgear Orbi RBK40 is the smaller, more streamlined version of the award-winning Netgear Orbi, and it provides a more affordable option for anyone who wants an Orbi for their moderate-size home.

You will give up a few niceties that go along with the more expensive Orbi, like USB ports for connecting printers and storage. You'll also get slightly slower performance and a smaller coverage area, but the smaller, sleeker Orbi RBK40 still delivers some of the best mesh Wi-Fi performance and flexibility.

It also works with all of the Orbi products Netgear offers, from indoor and outdoor Orbi extensions to the Alexa-powered Orbi Voice. And if the 4,000-square-foot coverage area offered by the Orbi RBK40's two units don't take care of your entire house, you can add a plug-in extension to cover the dead spots.

Read the full Netgear Orbi RBK40 review.
  

Gryphon Secure Mesh Router

5. Gryphon Secure Mesh Router

Best security-focused mesh router

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: 1 WAN/Four 1Gbps LAN | Peak Throughput: 607.8Mbps | Size: 9.4 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches

Excellent performance
Includes security software
Triband design with dedicated backhaul channel
Large
Expensive

The Gryphon secure mesh router combines excellent performance and stunning design with a phalanx of security measures to protect a family's data and digital identity. From a unique, sculpture-inspired design to powerful security, the Gryphon justifies its higher-than-average price by offering everything from parental controls and intrusion detection to ESET malware protection and virtual private network (VPN) service. It also combines configuration, malware protection and parental controls into a single app, for convenient setup and management.

But, while the security features and data speeds are excellent, the Gryphon mesh system has its limitations. To start, the mesh solution is limited to six units: a far cry from the 10 or more that can be supported by some competing systems. And there's no USB connection, so network-connected printers and storage will have to connect via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

Read our full Gryphon Secure Mesh Router review.
  

Credit: Linksys

(Image credit: Linksys)

6. Linksys Velop

Great for large homes

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: Two 1Gbps LAN | Peak Throughput: 527.1Mbps | Size: 3.0 x 3.0 x 7.5 inches

Dedicated connection between devices
Strong throughput at medium range
Uses latest Wi-Fi technologies
Inconsistent results during lab tests
Expensive

The Linksys Velop mesh system consists of three tower-style mesh units that offer serious coverage for larger homes. Without adding additional units, this three pack can cover a 6,000-foot home with ease, and with daisy-chain support, it can stretch that coverage away from the base unit as far as you need. That wide coverage and flexibility make it one of the best mesh Wi-Fi options for larger homes.

But there are a few rough spots in the Velop's otherwise impressive mesh solution. The first is the inclusion of a ZigBee radio for connecting with and controlling a host of IoT devices – but Linksys has never enabled it.

The other is a lack of physical connections on the three Velop satellites. Each tower has a pair of Ethernet ports, but with no USB connection, it will be more difficult to use the mesh system with a printer or network-attached storage.

In our testing, the Velop was also inconsistent: It offered strong performance for one test and poor performance for the next, even when it was a second run of the same test. Given that the Velop is also one of the more expensive mesh routers we've reviewed, it won't be the best choice for everyone.

Read the complete Linksys Velop review.
  

Credit: TP-Link

(Image credit: TP-Link)

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

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

See our full TP-Link Deco M9 Plus review.
  

(Image credit: Eero)

8. 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

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

Credit: Netgear

(Image credit: Netgear)

9. Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000

Best mesh extension

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: Four 1Gbps LAN, USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 526.1Mbps | Size: 8.9 x 6.7 x 3.7 inches

Top performance
Software is easy to set up
Excellent assortment of ports
Huge device
Only 90-day support included

If you want the wide-ranging coverage of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems but don't want to give up the router you already have, the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-Band Extender provides the mesh solution for you. This wireless extension is much more than a Wi-Fi signal booster: It offers mesh capability that spreads Wi-Fi throughout your home, regardless of what brand or model router you use.

Unlike a traditional Wi-Fi extender, the Nighthawk X6S uses beam-forming and MU-MIMO technology to offer speedy connectivity and gives you the same, single-network convenience that complete mesh systems provide. And for further coverage, it can be paired with other Nighthawk X6S units to deliver that same mesh network over a larger area. With class-leading performance and easy setup, it's the best way to add mesh capability to your existing hardware.

See our full Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-Band Extender review.
  

Credit: Netgear

(Image credit: Netgear)

10. Netgear Orbi Voice

The best functional add-on

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band | Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No | Ports: Four 1Gbps LAN, USB 2.0 | Peak Throughput: 607.2 Mbps | Size: 8.6 x 6.5 x 4.9 inches

Excellent performance
Alexa voice assistant built-in
Built-in speakers and microphones
Muddy audio
Large devices

 The Netgear Orbi holds it's spot as the best mesh Wi-Fi system, in part, because it has unmatched flexibility,  with Netgear offering several specialty units for extending coverage and adding functionality. Our favorite add-on has to be the Netgear Orbi Voice, which combines the Orbi's excellent performance and impressive range with speakers and Alexa voice control.

Officially called the Orbi RBS40V, the Alexa-fied extension adds a 35-watt amplifier, 3.5-inch woofer, 1-inch tweeter and passive bass-reflex port – all tuned by Harman Kardon audio engineers – to Netgear's signature tri-band 802.11ac Orbi extension. With it, you can use Alexa as your consolidated smart home interface, stream music right from the Orbi Voice and use any of the dozens of skills Amazon supports for all of the Alexa Echo devices.

Read our full Netgear Orbi Voice review.

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

Finding the right mesh Wi-Fi system starts with deciding whether you even need one. If you have a large home of 3,000 square feet or more, a regular router won't cut it. The same is true of multistory homes and oddly laid out houses, which don't necessarily match the range pattern of coverage most standalone routers deliver. And even if your home looks like it may be well-served by a regular wireless router, there are plenty of obstacles and signal-disruptions that can make it difficult to get strong Wi-Fi coverage in every part of your home.

The basic guideline is this: If your router leaves you with dead spots in your home or even in your yard, you would probably be better off with a mesh Wi-Fi system instead.

Picking the right mesh Wi-Fi system is much like any other Wi-Fi device. Our reviews look at design, range and throughput performance,  setup, and which settings you can adjust. We look at security protections and parental controls. We even look at whether a mesh extension is easy to adopt into your home decor, or whether it's something you'll want to tuck away out of sight. Any of our reviews will dig into these aspects of a product, and will also highlight any unique features you may want to consider in your decision making, like whether you want voice interaction, or how well a mesh solution pairs with other connected devices in the home.

For many shoppers, though, it all comes down to value — which extender provides the most for the lowest cost. So we also consider what you really get for your money, weighing what features and performance are worthwhile, and how any given product compares with other devices from other manufacturers.

In the end, our top picks are listed here, because they are the best mesh Wi-Fi systems you can buy. Whether it's a question of performance, value or features, we call out the products that deliver the best bang for your buck, and explain why it might be the right choice for your home.

How we test mesh Wi-Fi systems

Every router we review has been rigorously tested in our Utah and New York facilities, using Ixia's IxChariot software to measure throughput at distances that are between 5 and 150 feet. As with standard routers, we test performance at a distance to provide real-world information about coverage and speeds.

We also test how well each router transmits and receives signals through drywall, brick, concrete and even metal walls; and how each handles coverage of a two- or three-story home.

Mesh Wi-Fi spreads wireless signal throughout the home.

Mesh routers get additional testing to see how well each system does when sending a signal through the main router and through the included satellite units. Beyond simple throughput tests, we also perform detailed heat map testing to determine how well a mesh system distributes signals over a larger coverage area — a test that involves taking dozens of measurements throughout our lab space. We use each mesh router with several connected devices in a real home that contains thick walls.

Other factors used in evaluating the routers include ease of setup and use, software features and available ports.

What Mesh Routers Cost

Mesh routers range in price from $120 to $400 or more. Because mesh systems use multiple devices, you can generally buy a complete mesh system as a two- or three-unit package. You can also buy individual satellite units to extend a mesh network to a broader area. Individual units generally sell for $100 to 200, although specialized units offering added functions may cost more.

  • jacksmith21006
    Two things not considered and should be. First, is security. Google has found Broadpwn, Cloudbleed, Heartbleed, Shellshock, Meltdown and Spectre and have a security chip inside the GW.

    Google developed their own security chip which is inside the GW to lock the boot image to the hardware. So you are going to get a far more secure solution then any other.

    The other aspect is the Google App is just a lot better then any other router. We have the Google WiFi and could not be happier.
    Reply
  • ale5506
    In amazon comparison, it says 3,000 Mb/s as data transfer for Netgear Orbi, against 1,200 Mb/s for Google Wifi. Does it mean I will have a faster connection speed on Netgear ? My network speed is 240 Mbps.
    Reply
  • wolfc01
    Please advice readers and point to forums where experiences are shared about those stuff.

    I share here my experience with linksys: it is good stuff hardware-wise, but Linksys definitely does not have the firmware software quality under control.

    I had 2 systems of linksys: (One wrt router, and a VELOP 3 node system later on) both were suffering from bad automatic firmware updates. The VELOP worked flawlessly for 3 months then broke as result of a firmware update.
    Reply