Best Mesh Wi-Fi Router: top 6 Mesh Wi-Fi Systems You Can Buy now

Fed up with flaky Wi-Fi? Choose one of our best mesh WiFi systems and you’ll be able to enjoy a superfast connection in all corners of your home.

These clever extensible kits cover a huge area, and since you can locate the nodes wherever you want and even add extras you can be certain of getting a strong signal where it’s needed.

Performance is top-notch, too, leaving traditional wireless repeaters and powerline extenders in the dust.
Here’s our guide to the best whole-home mesh Wi-Fi kits on the market the ones that provided the best range and the fastest coverage in our extensive testing.

We’ve included a comprehensive buyer’s guide, too, so you’ll know what features to look out for. Read on to find the mesh networking system that will wash away your wireless blues.

The best mesh Wi-Fi routers you can buy

1. Tenda Whole Home Mesh WiFi System: Another great-value mesh router

Tenda’s little white cubes are undeniably tasteful, and they’re compact enough that you can easily distribute the three of them about your home.

The downside is a comparatively slow backhaul speed, which means download speeds can’t match the market leaders – but I still reliably got upwards of 10MB/sec all over my home.

The feature set isn’t as generous as other mesh systems, either: there’s no band-splitting option, nor support for IPv6.

You do, however, get a simple guest network feature, which you can activate for four hours, eight hours or permanently, and a group-based parental control function that lets you limit internet access to certain times of day for specified clients.

Tenda Whole Home Mesh WiFi System - Dual Band Gigabit AC1200 Router Replacement for SmartHome,Works with Amazon Alexa for 6000 sq.ft Coverage (MW6 3 Pack), Mesh AC1200

There’s Alexa support too, so you can use voice commands to check the router status and adjust various settings.

What really sets the Tenda Nova MW6 apart is its low price. True, the BT Whole Home kit costs a similar amount, but it only functions as an extender, whereas the MW6 is a fully standalone system.

That makes it a terrifically cost-effective option if you’re looking to replace an underperforming router and extend your Wi-Fi coverage at the same time.

2. Zyxel Zyxel Multy X Tri-Band WiFi Mesh System: The fastest 802.11ac mesh router

Read our full reviews

Zyxel’s bulging Multy X modules aren’t exactly beautiful and with a sizeable footprint of 236 x 178mm, they’re bulky. But their size allows them to pack in multiple large antennae, allowing them to communicate faster, and over longer distances, than most other mesh systems.

Even when positioned at opposite extremities of my home, they were able to maintain a strong, speedy connection which translated to excellent Wi-Fi performance, with a minimum of 14MB/sec downstream all around the house. Wired clients are well served too, as each node has a generous four Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Zyxel AC3000 Small Business Mesh WiFi System with Advanced AiShield Network Security, Captaive Portal, and Remote Access - Pack of 2 (Multy Plus)

As a bonus, the Multy X works with Alexa, so if you have an Amazon Echo device you can verbally instruct it to disable the guest network, test your internet speed or temporarily suspend internet access.

Our only caveat is that the Multy X doesn’t currently operate as a true mesh network all nodes talk directly to the router.

A forthcoming firmware update promises to add daisy-chaining, though, so you can extend the system’s range even further by buying extra nodes.

3. Netgear Orbi Mesh WiFi 6: Fastest next-gen mesh router

Read our full review

Netgear’s Orbi WiFi 6 is the first mesh system we’ve seen that supports the new 802.11ax standard.

That means that, if you connect from a compatible device, it can deliver much faster downloads than any other system on this page typically in excess of 40MB/sec.

Needless to say, the Orbi units work with older clients as well, and even then they still manage to outperform the competition, thanks to a dedicated ultra-fast backhaul connection.

The catch is the cost. At $599.99 for a two-node pack, the Orbi WiFi 6 is vastly more expensive than any regular 802.11ac mesh system.

It also costs a lot more than a regular 802.11ax router, which might be enough to deliver the performance and coverage you’re looking for. But if only a mesh system will do, the Orbi WiFi 6 is hands down the fastest money can buy.

NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (RBK852) – Router With 1 Satellite Extender | Coverage up to 5,000 sq. ft. and 60+ Devices | 11AX Mesh AX6000 WiFi (Up to 6Gbps)

4. Linksys Velop: Most fully featured mesh router

Read our full reviews

The Velop is an upmarket mesh system, with advanced features such as port forwarding and port range triggering. Alexa integration means that Amazon Echo owners can also turn the guest network on and off, and perform a few other tasks, with a voice command.

Linksys claims its three nodes offer a large coverage area of 560m², and setting up a daisy-chain configuration is easy.

In my own home, I did see some drop-off in transfer rates towards the rear of the house, but things never dipped below 11MB/sec so it’s more than capable of distributing the full speed of your internet connection all around a moderately sized dwelling.

What’s more, you can easily split the radio bands into separate SSIDs to ensure that compatible devices always connect to the faster 5GHz band.

The Velop is a comparatively expensive system, but the three nodes give you flexibility when it comes to positioning the nodes, and few other mesh systems can match it for features.

Linksys WHW0303 Velop Mesh Router (Tri-Band Home Mesh WiFi System for Whole-Home WiFi Mesh Network) 3-Pack

5. NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System: Best mesh router for families

Read our full reviews

Netgear’s Orbi system comes in two sizes: the smaller RBK50 kits promise 370m² of dual-band coverage, while these larger units increase coverage to 460m², and have a faster backhaul for maximum performance.

When I say they’re large, I mean it: the nodes stand a full 8in tall, but that means there’s room inside for some powerful antennae, and I got a good signal between the two nodes even when placed at opposite ends of the house.

In use, the Orbi system delivered strong Wi-Fi performance everywhere in my home, matching the Velop’s minimum of 11MB/sec and it’s great for wired connections too, with four Gigabit Ethernet sockets per node.

Netgear scores highly on the features front too, with an impressive range of management options, including the ability to set a custom IP range and a comprehensive Disney-branded parental control suite that puts other router-based controls to shame.

While the Orbi is more expensive than the Zyxel, it’s more configurable and if you share your home with inquisitive kids, the excellent parental controls could swing the deal.

NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with 3Gbps Speed (RBK50) – Router & Extender replacement covers up to 5,000 sq. ft

6. Google Nest Wifi Router 2 Pack: Most user-friendly mesh system

Read our full reviews

Google’s second-generation mesh Wi-Fi system includes remote satellites that double up as smart speakers, providing always-on access to the Google Assistant.

This means you can use voice commands to do everything from playing music to controlling your smart home devices. They sound pretty decent too, producing warmer, cleaner audio than the Home Mini.

The Nest Wifi is also one of the easiest mesh systems to set up and administer: everything’s done from your phone, and there’s a simple set of guest network and parental control options on hand.

We found the two-node pack was sufficient to deliver good wireless coverage throughout a medium-sized home, and if you’ve any older first-generation Google Wifi units knocking around, it’ll work with those too.

The dual-band design means that the Nest Wifi isn’t as fast as some other mesh systems, and it’s a little lacking in advanced networking features.

Even so, it does everything the average household needs, and it’s a supremely convenient way to improve your coverage and upgrade your home with a bit of “OK Google” magic at the same time.

Google Nest Wifi Router 2 Pack (2nd Generation) – 4x4 AC2200 Mesh Wi-Fi Routers with 4400 Sq Ft Coverage

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

What type of mesh Wi-Fi router should I buy?

Mesh systems work on the same basic principle as wireless repeaters, but they use a private radio channel the “backhaul” to talk to each other. This means less contention, and better performance, on your main wireless network.

  As the name suggests, mesh systems are also designed to support multiple nodes, which can be deployed in a “daisy-chain” configuration, rather than each one needing a direct connection to the router.

This makes it easy to extend a wireless connection over a huge area by simply placing nodes at regular intervals around your home or workplace.

Will a mesh system work with my router?

Most mesh systems are designed to replace your existing router. If you’re currently using a combined modem router, you can normally switch this into modem mode, allowing the mesh system to handle router duties.

Alternatively, you can switch your mesh kit into bridge mode, and connect it to your existing router via an Ethernet cable.

Just be warned that this isn’t normally the default installation procedure, so you may need to do a bit of research when getting set up.

And make sure you connect your first mesh node to a Gigabit Ethernet port on your router; a slower 100Mbits/sec port will seriously bottleneck the speed of your wireless clients.

How many nodes do I need?

Most kits promise more than 400m² of wireless coverage with just two or three nodes. In practice, the coverage you actually get will depend on mundane things such as fridges and walls but the best kits are more than capable of filling a moderately sized home with fast Wi-Fi, even with only two nodes.

If you think you might want to invest in additional nodes, check your options before you buy, as not all manufacturers sell individual units.

Do I need the fastest mesh Wi-Fi system out there?

If you’re chiefly interested in extending your internet connection around your home, there’s no need to invest in the fastest, most expensive kit you can find.

Almost any mesh system will be fast enough to share the full bandwidth of a typical 40Mbits/sec internet connection around your home.

That said, it makes sense to pick a kit that won’t hold you back if you upgrade to faster broadband in a couple of years.

Choosing a faster system also means traffic will be able to travel around your local network faster, so (for example) you’ll be able to copy files to and from a NAS appliance more quickly; that’s how we tested the mesh systems below to get a true picture of their maximum transfer speeds.

Are mesh Wi-Fi systems easy to set up and administer?

Most mesh Wi-Fi kits come with a smartphone app for both Android and iOS that walks you through the setup process.

You can then continue to use the smartphone app to monitor and manage your mesh system. A web portal is sometimes available too, but it may not expose all of the available settings.

Note that, while most mesh kits do basic router duties, they’re often not as configurable as a “real” router. You may not be able to change the default address range, and not all models let you join clients to the network via WPS.

What features should I look for?

Most mesh systems can present a wireless guest network alongside your normal domestic network. Devices connecting to this will be able to connect to the internet, but can’t talk to other devices on your home network.

This means visitors can’t snoop through your shared folders or unwittingly bring malware onto your home network.

Some systems also offer basic parental controls: for example, you might be able to block internet access for specific devices between certain hours.

They don’t normally have the ability to filter out unsuitable content, though; if you want to keep a detailed eye on what your kids get up to online, you’ll probably need a software-based system.

A final feature worth looking out for is Alexa integration, which allows you to trigger various tasks by issuing a voice command to an Amazon Echo device.

For example, you might be able to activate or deactivate the guest network, activate WPS or have Alexa read out your wireless passphrase. It might seem gimmicky, but it’s a nice bonus to have.

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