Adding one of the best mesh routers to your home or even your small business can ensure that every smartphone, tablet, PC or other connected device has a strong and speedy connection.
By using multiple devices to create a single, seamless Wi-Fi network, a mesh system eliminates 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 strong Wi-Fi connections to every part of your home or small business.
At Tom’s Guide, we’ve tested and reviewed all of the most popular mesh-router systems on the market today from wireless-AC (aka Wi-Fi 5) models to the best Wi-Fi 6e mesh kits to determine their performance, range and usability to help you find the best system for your needs.
What are the best mesh routers?
When it comes to the best mesh router available today, our top pick is Google’s own mesh Wi-Fi solution, Nest WiFi. Along with an easy setup process and excellent smart home integration, it provides fantastic performance throughout your entire house.
One feature that sets it apart from the other mesh routers on this list is the fact that every mesh extension can act as its own Nest Mini providing you with voice interaction that can extend to every room of your home. (Here's how Nest WiFi stacks up against the older but cheaper Google WiFi.)
Another standout on our list is the Linksys Atlas Max 6E which features amazing Wi-Fi 6e performance and an easy setup and configuration process. The individual units can be configured as a base or as a satellite while delivering some of the best data speeds available. Linksys also offers a generous three-year warranty in case you run into any connectivity issues down the road.
From everything we’ve tested and reviewed, these are the best mesh Wi-Fi routers you can buy right now.
The best mesh routers right now
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want to switch to a mesh network without ditching your current router, there's no better option than the Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (model EAX20), a desktop Wi-Fi extender that can create a mesh network with just about any Wi-Fi router or ISP gateway.
With Wi-Fi 6 speeds and even mesh capability built right in, the Netgear EAX20 is one of the best Wi-Fi extenders you can get, and the only choice for adding mesh coverage to a standalone Wi-Fi 6 router.
While not everyone will be excited about it's large desktop design — without a plug-in design, there's no hiding this extender behind the couch or in the corner — and a price that's more expensive than some routers, the proof is in the performance. And boy, does the Netgear EAX20 deliver, with category-leading speeds and an awesome 95-foot range.
Read our full Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) review.
How to choose the best mesh router for you
Finding the right mesh Wi-Fi system starts with deciding whether you even need one.
Coverage: 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.
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 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 would probably be 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 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.
Ports: Though wireless connectivity is the main thing you want from a mesh Wi-Fi kit, 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 handy for attaching a printer or storage to your network. But not every mesh system has physical ports, so make sure you get a system that will meet your needs.
Price: 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.
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.
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 routers
We test every mesh router 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 system.
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 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.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.
Wi-Fi terms explained
Are you having trouble deciphering what these wireless terms mean? We're here to help with these explainers. If you have an older router, you can turn it into a Wi-Fi extender. You should also check out our guide on how to set up your Wi-Fi extender for the best signal. If you've trying to decide between an extender and a mesh router, then you'll want to read what is a mesh Wi-Fi router, and do you need one?
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