Best mesh Wi-Fi systems of 2023

Best mesh Wi-Fi systems

With one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems in your home or even your small business, you can ensure that every smartphone, tablet, PC and other connected devices have a strong and speedy connection.

By using multiple nodes or satellites to create a single, seamless Wi-Fi network across your entire home, the best mesh Wi-Fi systems eliminate dead spots in the rooms farthest away from your router and even out in your backyard. Regardless of whether you have a multi-story home or brick walls that dampen your internet signal, a mesh system goes beyond a traditional router by pushing a strong Wi-Fi connection to every part of your home. Although, before you buy one, there is one problem with mesh routers that you need to read about.

At Tom’s Guide, we’ve tested and reviewed all of the most popular mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market today from older Wi-Fi 5 models to the best Wi-Fi 6E mesh kits to determine their performance, range and usability to help you determine the best system for your needs.

The best mesh Wi-Fi systems right now

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(Image credit: Netgear)
Blazing fast speeds

Specifications

Wi-Fi spec: Wi-Fi 6e/Quad-band
Number of antennas/removable: 12/No
Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN (base unit), 4 LAN (satellites)
Measured peak throughput: 1.009 Gbps
Size: 11.1 x 7.5 x 3.0 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent mesh performance 
+
Easy to set up and configure
+
Optional security software, parental controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Very xpensive
-
Just 90 days of free tech support

Netgear's Orbi WiFi 6E is easily one of the fastest mesh routers on the planet — and also the most expensive. But if you have a fat wallet, a very fast broadband connection and a very big house, then this is probably the mesh system for you. 

The Orbi WiFi 6E, model number RBKE963, can cover up to 9,000 square feet. Add a third satellite and you can go to 12,000 square feet. At a distance of 15 feet, the router's 6-Ghz channel delivered throughput of more than a gigabit, the first mesh router to do so in our tests. 

Each unit has 12 antennas and four Ethernet ports (one rated at 2.5 Gbps), and the system creates channels on the 2.5, 5 and 6-Ghz bands, plus a fourth 5-Ghz one for backhaul between units.

Netgear offers trial subscriptions to its Armor security software, which includes Bitdefender antivirus, and parental controls. You'll also have to pay for tech support after 90 days. 

But if you can afford to pay for this mesh system, you won't mind. If not, the Wi-Fi 6-based Orbi RBK852 just below makes for a worthy alternative.

Read our full Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E (RBKE963) review.

TP-Link Deco XE75

(Image credit: Future)
A convenient and affordable way to build a Wi-Fi 6E mesh network

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: AX5400/Tri Band
Number of Antennas/Removable: 4/No
Ports: 1 WAN/2 LAN
Peak Throughput: 1.220Gbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 6.8 x 4.1x 4.1 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Excellent data throughput
+
Built-in security software and two-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Only three Ethernet ports

The Deco XE75 from TP-Link is available in either two-packs or three-packs and this mesh router system provides an inexpensive way to create a Wi-Fi 6E network that can fill your whole home with Wi-Fi. Each of the two (or three) nodes can act as either a satellite or a router and they all have three Ethernet ports that can be used to hardwire devices or as a wired access point.

In our testing, the Deco XE75 had excellent data flow through walls, clause up and at middle distances with a throughput of 1.220 Gbps at 15 feet. While you can use the 6GHz band to connect newer computers and phones, you can also use it for wireless backhaul between the unit designated as the router and the satellites. One downside to the XE75 is that its Ethernet ports only support 1Gbps which is why TP-Link just released the Deco XE75 Pro which features a 2.5G Ethernet port for multi-gig connections.

Read our full TP-Link Deco XE75 review

Linksys Atlas Max 6E on counter

(Image credit: Linksys)
The best Wi-Fi 6e mesh router

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ax
Number of Antennas/Removable: 12/No
Ports: Router: 1 WAN/4 LAN; Satellite: 4 LAN
Peak Throughput: 1.189 Gbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 9.6 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Great overall performance
+
Able to push a strong signal through walls
+
App or online configuration
+
Three-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
No added security protection
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Bulky design
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Expensive

The Linksys Atlas Max 6E was the first mesh Wi-Fi router we tested that beat the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E (RBKE963) in terms of overall throughput. At 15 feet, the Atlas 6E had a throughput of 1.189 Gbps of data, which stayed strong at 25 feet (1.008 Gbps), before dropping to 382.2 Mbps at 50 feet. 

Each Atlas Max 6E device has 12 amplified antennas, one 5Gbps WAN input port, four downstream gigabit LAN ports and a USB 3.0 port for attaching a storage device. Just as significantly, each can be configured as the host router or satellite during setup. We also like the fact that it comes with a three-year warranty and lifetime support, which blows away the competition.

Read our full Linksys Atlas Max 6E review.

Google Nest WiFi Lifestyle

(Image credit: Google)
The best mesh router for most people

Specifications

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 Wi-Fi solution for your home, this is it.

However, if you want a mesh Wi-Fi system from Google with Wi-Fi 6E support, the Nest Wifi Pro is now available and stay tuned for our full review.

Read our full Nest WiFi review.

Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852)

(Image credit: Netgear)
The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Specifications

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) combines everything we love about Netgear's premier mesh Wi-Fi solution with the futureproof capabilities and fast speeds of Wi-Fi 6. Easy setup and a great performance are the hallmarks of the Orbi model line, and the Orbi WiFi 6 model doesn't disappoint.

The RBK852 has a strong signal that punched through ceilings, floors and walls with ease in our tests. Its 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 (as opposed to 6e) devices, the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is the one to beat.

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

Eero Pro 6e on shelf in living room

(Image credit: Amazon)
Wi-Fi 6E speeds with incredible convenience

Specifications

Wi-Fi Spec: Wi-Fi 6E/AX5400
Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No
Ports: 2 Ethernet ports on each unit
Throughput: 1.144Gbps (at 15 feet)
Size: 5.5 x 5.5 x 2.1 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Small and easy to set up
+
Zigbee and Bluetooth radios built-in
+
2.5Gbps input port

Reasons to avoid

-
Short range
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Devices have only two Ethernet ports

The Eero Pro 6E combines tri-band Wi-Fi 6E networking with a mesh setup that is quicker and easier than many of the other mesh systems we’ve reviewed, making it the best way to get great performance throughout your home with little hassle. With a single unit covering 2,000 square feet with fast Wi-Fi, the three-pack Eero Pro 6E will blanket up to 6,000 square feet with ease – and we set up the three-piece system in about 10 minutes.

It may not be the fastest or longest-reaching mesh kit we’ve tested, but the Eero Pro 6E can provide a gigabit of data per second up close while its 2.5Gbps Etherent port means this mesh router is ready for when you decide to upgrade to multi-gig internet. The built-in Zigbee host can make this mesh router the center of your smart home and Amazon’s engineers are also working on adding Matter support in a future update. The Eero Pro 6E lets you set it and forget it while giving you speedy Wi-Fi 6E speeds. Another great thing about Eero's mesh Wi-Fi systems is that you can use an Echo Dot as a mesh extender for additional Wi-Fi coverage.

Read our full Eero Pro 6E review.

TP-Link Deco X20 review

(Image credit: TP-Link)
Best value mesh Wi-Fi system

Specifications

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. 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. 

Linksys Velop AX4200 review

(Image credit: Linksys)
Affordable Wi-Fi 6 for bigger homes

Specifications

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.

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.

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

Coverage: If you have a larger home with 3,000 square feet or more, a regular router just won’t cut it. The same is true for multistory homes and oddly laid out houses, which don’t necessarily match the range pattern of coverage most standalone routers deliver.

Even if your home looks like it may be well-served by one of the best Wi-Fi routers, there are plenty of obstacles and signal-disruptions that can make it difficult to get strong wireless coverage in every part of your home. In this case, the usual steps to make your Wi-Fi faster may not work.

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

Speed: Picking the right mesh Wi-Fi system is much like any other Wi-Fi device. Our reviews examine the design, range and throughput performance, setup process and which settings you can adjust. We also look at each device’s built-in security features and parental controls. We even look at whether a mesh extension is easy to add to your home décor or whether it’s something you’ll want to tuck away out of sight.

All of our reviews dig into these aspects of a product while also highlighting any unique features worth considering in your decision making, like whether you want voice integration or how well a mesh system pairs with other smart home devices.

Ports: Though improved wireless connectivity is the main thing you want from a mesh Wi-Fi system, you’ll also want to think about wired connections. Ethernet offers faster connectivity for devices like game consoles and smart TVs that use more bandwidth and USB ports are useful for attaching older printers or storage to your network. However, not every mesh system has physical ports, so make sure you get a system that will meet your needs. Keep in mind though, you can always use an Ethernet switch to easily add more ports to your mesh router. 

Price: For many shoppers, it all comes down to value – which mesh Wi-Fi system provides the most bang for your buck. So we also consider what you really get for your money, weighting which features are worthwhile and how any given product compares with other devices from competing manufacturers.

Mesh routers range in price from $120 to $400 or more. As mesh systems use multiple devices, you can generally buy a complete mesh Wi-Fi system as a two or three-unit package. However, you can also buy individual satellite units to extend a mesh network to cover a larger area. Individual units often sell for $100 to $200, though specialized units offering additional functions may cost more.

The products on this list are our top picks as they are the best mesh Wi-Fi systems you can buy right now. Whether it’s a question of performance, value or features, we call out the products that deliver the best value and explain why they might be the perfect fit for your home.

How we test the best mesh Wi-Fi systems

We test every mesh Wi-Fi system to measure performance and range, using Ixia's IxChariot software. Testing is done in a multi-story home with brick walls. As with standard routers, we test performance at a distance to provide real-world information about coverage and speeds. In addition to lab testing, we evaluate the ease-of-setup and features of each device.

We measure performance at a 5-foot distance without obstructions, so that we can gauge the maximum amount of data that the router can move. Higher throughput will serve you better in data-heavy uses, like streaming video, gaming, or connecting multiple users at once.

Range measures the furthest usable distance for the router. Longer ranges are better for larger homes, where rooms are spread out at a distance. We measure how much data a router can move at 5, 50, 75 and 100 feet, as well as what the maximum coverage area of a mesh Wi-Fi system.

We also test how well each mesh Wi-Fi system transmits and receives signals through drywall, brick, concrete and even metal walls; and how each handles coverage of a two- or three-story home. They also get additional testing to see how well each system does when sending a signal through the main router and through the included satellite units.

For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.


Check out all of our home networking coverage:

Best Wi-Fi routers | Best Wi-Fi 6 routers |  Best gaming routers |  Best Wi-Fi extenders | Best powerline extenders 

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

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. 

With contributions from
  • 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