Just imagine for a second: you’re sitting in your upstairs bedroom, trying to watch some Netflix, but you keep being interrupted by that dreaded buffering icon – we’ve all been there. If this is something that happens to you often, you have a couple options open to you: you can either pick up some wireless range extenders or one of the best wireless mesh routers.
With the best wireless mesh routers, you just place several nodes in key areas of your home, and you’ll get a strong, unified Wi-Fi network no matter where you are. This is different from the way range extenders work, which just take the Wi-Fi signal from the best wireless routers and repeats it, extending its range. The problem with this approach it requires a separate SSID for the extender, as it’s essentially creating a second network. This is a gigantic pain if you need to set up more than one extender, or if you tend to move around your house a lot.
In the past, though, the best wireless mesh routers required a rigorous knowledge of the ins and outs of wireless networking. Thankfully, those days are over. In 2018, mesh routers like the Google Wifi have made it extremely easy to set up a Wi-Fi network that covers your entire home: just download an app, hit a few buttons and you’re good to go.
However, the best wireless mesh routers can get expensive, and can require some technical know-how in order to figure out what’s best for your home. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. We went ahead and picked out the five best wireless mesh routers we’ve been fortunate enough to test and review. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Google Wifi
The best Wi-Fi Mesh system from the future
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 101.41 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: 47.53 Mbps | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each) | Included mesh nodes: 1-3 | Features: AC1200 2 x 2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi, TX beamforming, Bluetooth Smart ready
We’re not exaggerating when we say the Google Wifi isn’t just the best Wi-Fi mesh router we’ve ever used, but also the best wireless router period. Not only does it have the power to push fast Wi-Fi throughout your home – despite how small it is – but it’s also affordable and easy to set-up at the same time. Seriously, all you have to do to setup Google Wifi is download an app to your smartphone, scan some QR codes and just place the nodes where you want them to go. It couldn’t be easier – Google has mastered the router game, it’s almost unfair.
Read the full review: Google Wifi
2. Netgear Orbi
Expensive, but powerful
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 90.14 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: 93.69 Mbps | Connectivity: 4 x 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN + 3 LAN for Router, 4 LAN for Satellite), 1 x USB 2.0 port | Included mesh nodes: 2-4 | Features: 4GB flash memory, 512MB RAM, AC3000, MU-MIMO ready
If you’ve got the cash for it, the Netgear Orbi might be one of the best Wi-Fi mesh routers on the market today. Instead of something like the Google Wifi, which uses three identical nodes to setup your network, you’ll get one main router, then a collection of nodes to plug into power outlets around your house. And, because of the sheer number of Ethernet ports found on the Orbi, it’s a great choice for anyone who has a lot of devices that need a hardwired connection – making it the best option for anyone who uses their network primarily for gaming.
Read the full review: Netgear Orbi
3. TP-Link Deco M5
The affordable Wi-Fi Mesh option
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 76.69 Mbps | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit ports per Deco M5 unit, 1 x USB Type-C port, Bluetooth 4.2 | Included mesh nodes: 1-3 | Features: Quad-core CPU, MU-MIMO ready, Router-based antivirus, Alexa compatibility
If you’re just looking for a way to spread Wi-Fi throughout your home and want to save a few bucks while you’re at it, you might want to take a look at the TP-Link Deco M5. It may not be as fast as some of the other Wi-Fi mesh routers on this list, but if you’re not necessarily worried about getting the maximum theoretical throughput – which you likely wouldn’t be able to take advantage of anyway – it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Setup, much like the other devices here, is a breeze and is approachable even if you don’t know anything about tech. The TP-Link Deco M5 might be one of the best Wi-Fi mesh routers for anyone intimidated by technology.
Read the full review: TP-Link Deco M5
4. Ubiquiti Amplifi HD
Style backed by power
Speed: 802.11AC 5GHz down: 74.1Mbps | Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN | Mesh nodes: 1 x router, 2 x nodes | Features: Modular network coverage, modern design, LCD touchscreen
If you’re the kind of person that gets into Apple’s design philosophy and you like having chic gadgets set up throughout your home, without paying much attention to the price – the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD will be right up your alley. If you live in a large home, and can take advantage of the full power that this mesh Wi-Fi setup offers, you’ll find a lot to love, as it’s capable of a huge amount of throughput. However, you might find that the value diminishes quite a bit when you live in a small to medium space, as there are more cost-effective methods available, but they don’t look quite as good. The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD may be expensive, but you’re paying for a piece of tech that has both style and substance – we think it’s worth it.
Read the full review: Ubiquiti Amplifi HD
5. Linksys Velop
Paying for simplicity
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 117.46Mbps | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per unit (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each) | Included mesh nodes: 1-3 | Features: Guided setup, Modular, Easy parental controls, Auto-fix
While it’s expensive and not as powerful as the rest of the Wi-Fi mesh routers, there’s something to be said about the simplicity that the Linksys Velop affords. It may be more expensive than the competition, but the Velop will appeal to people who need to set up a Wi-Fi network without the headache of, well, setting it up. More tech-savvy users probably won’t be interested – why spend the money when you can do all the work yourself, right? For most people, though, the Linksys Velop is going to be an excellent choice. It’s also fully modular, so you only have to pick up as many nodes as you actually need – one node will cover up to 2,000 square feet.
Read the full review: Linksys Velop