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Best mesh Wi-Fi routers 2021: the best wireless mesh routers for large homes

Included in this guide:

Wireless mesh routers on a pink surface against a red background
The best mesh WiFi routers offer a solid, unified WiFi network no matter where you are. (Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Look to the future and invest in one of the best mesh Wi-Fi routers available. That way, your network can reach every nook and cranny of your home or office. This new solution to network coverage is particularly great for covering large areas or handling a large number of connected devices. And, if you’re rocking an older router, they make more sense than adding a Wi-Fi extender.

What makes these systems special is their unique design. Instead of one router covering your whole space, you get a main one along with several satellite units so you can place them all around whatever area you want inside your network. That way, you eliminate weak or dead spots and make sure you have a continuous signal, perfect for those who have a large office or home all sharing bandwidth. They’re also perfect for those using multiple devices at a time and many of these router systems support Wi-Fi 6.

We’ve gathered our top picks of the best mesh systems here, starting with the Google Nest Wifi. We’ve carefully handpicked each of these so you know you’re getting a great router. There is no better way to upgrade your network. And, take a look at our price comparison tool so you can find the best deal while you’re at it.

The Google Nest Wifi in blue and white against an off-white background

The Google Nest Wifi combines Google Home and Wi-Fi in the same product. (Image credit: Google)

1. Google Nest Wifi

Google Wifi and Home together at long last

Specifications
Speed: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz/5 GHz simultaneous dual-band
Connectivity: Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: Advanced security chip, Nest Wifi point with Google Assistant, privacy control
Reasons to buy
+Excellent design+Smart speaker(s) included+Even simpler controls
Reasons to avoid
-No major performance gains-Not worth replacing existing mesh

What’s better than the best mesh router? Well, a mesh router with a smart speaker, that’s what. Especially if you’re a smart home fiend, you will appreciate the pure genius of this upgrade in Google’s Wifi line. The Google Nest Wifi kicks things up a notch, taking Google Wifi’s incredible yet simple design and performance then merges it with the convenience of a smart speaker so you’ve got a two-in-one device in an even sleeker and more attractive package. And, if you’re tired of the color white, this one also comes in Mist and Sand colors. As far as the best mesh Wi-Fi routers go, the original Google Wifi is still the one to beat. This one just gives it that extra oomph.

Read the full review: Google Nest Wifi

The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) against a white background

The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is what to get if you want top-of-the-range performance for streaming video, gaming and other online activities. (Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

Wi-Fi 6 meets mesh routers

Specifications
Speed: 802.11ax 4804Mbps down
Connectivity: 2.5 Gigabit Wan, 3 x Gigabit LAN, Gigabit Wan, USB 3.1
Included mesh nodes: 2
Features: MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro
Reasons to buy
+Great Wi-Fi performance+Good security features
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to two routers

With the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), Asus has managed to introduce Wi-Fi 6 to that other cutting-edge tech in connectivity; mesh routers. While it is among the more expensive options out there and limits you to two mesh routers, the Asus ZenWifi AX offers blazing fast speeds as well as plenty of flexibility in its setup – such as the option to set up one or two networks using the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. With excellent security features to boot, this is a fantastic choice if you’re looking at the best mesh Wi-Fi systems.

Read the full review: Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

Netgear Orbi Pro WiFi 6 against a white background

Get the Netgear Orbi Pro WiFi 6 if you want superb WiFi performance over a remarkably large area even with the basic kit. (Image credit: Netgear)

3. Netgear Orbi Pro WiFi 6

Superb Wi-Fi performance

Specifications
Speed: 802.11b/g/n/ax 2.4GHz 2,400Mbps, 802.11a/n/ac/ax 5GHz 2,400Mbps, 802.11a/n/ac/ax 5GHz 1,200Mbps
Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit or 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet WAN or LAN port, 2 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, Link Aggregation Mode4 optional; 2 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
Included mesh nodes: up to 4
Features: Insight App, 4 SSID wireless networks, up to 4X more devices than with WiFi 5
Reasons to buy
+Easy to deploy+6Gbps backhaul
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Hardly inconspicuous

Sprawling mansions and big companies have demanding network coverage needs that only the best mesh Wi-Fi systems can meet, which is why such routers as the Netgear Orbi Pro WiFi 6 exist. This is a powerful piece of kit, even at its most basic configuration, delivering superb Wi-Fi connection over a remarkably large area. If you want the most powerful mesh Wi-Fi, you’ve found it. However, it also comes at a lofty price that most households shouldn’t spend. Invest, but only if it makes technical sense.

Read the full review: Netgear Orbi Pro WiFi 6

Three Linksys Velop WiFi 6 AX4200 units against a white background

Competitively priced, the Linksys Velop WiFi 6 AX4200 provides admirable performance and ease of use. (Image credit: Linksys)

4. Linksys Velop WiFi 6 AX4200

Smart design and speedy performance

Specifications
Speed: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax 2.4 GHz/5 GHz
Connectivity: 3 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x Gigabit WAN, 1 x USB 3.0
Features: 4x4 MU-MIMO, Next-Gen OFDMA Technology, Tri-Band Dynamic Backhaul
Reasons to buy
+Impressive Wi-Fi 6 performance+4x Ethernet and 1x USB ports
Reasons to avoid
-Defaults to single, merged network

The Linksys Velop WiFi 6 AX4200 is proof that Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems can be affordable and accessible, giving big households on a budget an excellent option that still delivers admirable performance and ease of use. If you want to improve your home network’s speed and connectivity, this state of the art mesh system is an ideal solution. That’s especially if you’re ready to future-proof your network with Wi-Fi 6 technology. Those who aren’t as computer savvy will also appreciate that easy-to-use Linksys app.

Read the full review: Linksys Velop WiFi 6 AX4200

Two Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 units against a white background

The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 is a fast, reliable mesh Wi-Fi system that's absolutely state-of-the-art. (Image credit: Netgear)

5. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6

Netgear brings Wi-Fi 6 to its Orbi mesh range

Specifications
Speed: WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) tri-band with 1x 2.4GHz (1200Mbps), 2x 5GHz (2400Mbps)
Connectivity: 2.5Gbps WAN, 4x Gigabit Ethernet; satellite - 4x Gigabit Ethernet
Features: Beamforming implicit and explicit for 2.4GHz/5GHz bands
Reasons to buy
+Excellent Wi-Fi range and speed+Simple set-up, and easy-to-use app
Reasons to avoid
-Seriously expensive-Little support for Wi-Fi 6 right now

If you’re ready to jump on the Wi-Fi 6 bandwagon, the Orbi WiFi 6 is your best bet when it comes to getting the best mesh Wi-Fi systems. It’s not by any means a casual purchase, with its steep price tag, but if you’re looking to upgrade to a faster and more reliable router to cover a massive space – like your countryside mansion, perhaps, or your crowded smart home – then this one’s absolutely worth the money. Plus, it’s easy and straightforward to setup, making it great for people who don’t have too much experience with Wi-Fi networks.

Read the full review: Netgear Orbi WiFi 6

Three Netgear Nighthawk MK83 units against a white background

The Netgear Nighthawk MK83 delivers excellent connectivity. (Image credit: Netgear)

6. Netgear Nighthawk MK83

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi 6 mesh system

Specifications
Speed: Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), tri-band 2.4GHz + 5GHz + 5GHz
Connectivity: 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports (1WAN + 3LAN) on router, 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports satellite
Features: Bitdefender VPN
Reasons to buy
+Strong performance on 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands+Covers areas up to 6,750 sq.ft
Reasons to avoid
-Nighthawk app is pretty basic

Although there are opportunities for improvement here – that Nighthawk app is disappointingly sparse and demands additional subscriptions for extra vital features – the Nighthawk MK83 still delivers excellent connectivity for two- to three-bedroom homes. It’s capable of covering 6,750 sq.ft with its three-piece kit and offers Wi-Fi 6 for more efficiently transmitting data to lots of devices all at the same time. This is just what you need for a multi-room, multi-device smart household, especially if you have some cash to spare.

Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk MK83

The tri-band Netgear Orbi Whole Home Mesh WiFi System against a white background

The tri-band Orbi Whole Home AC1200 offers solid performance at a reasonable price. (Image credit: Netgear)

7. Netgear Orbi Whole Home Mesh WiFi System

Fast, affordable, tri-band mesh Wi-Fi

Specifications
Speed: IEEE 802.11ac dual-band with 1x 2.4GHz (400Mbps), 1x 5GHz (866Mbps)
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
Features: Beamforming implicit and explicit for 2.4GHz/5GHz bands
Reasons to buy
+Affordable dual-band mesh Wi-Fi system+Good performance
Reasons to avoid
-Free parental controls are limited-Only one Ethernet port for wired connections

The tri-band Orbi Whole Home AC1200 offers solid performance at a reasonable price, and will be a good choice for most small and medium-size homes that need to improve their Wi-Fi coverage. It’s simple to set-up and use for newcomers, although Netgear’s decision to use Disney’s subscription-based Circle service for parental controls is discouraging, considering that rival routers and mesh systems have often provided better parental controls for free. The lack of Ethernet ports for wired connections as well as more advanced features in the Orbi app might turn off experienced users as well.

The TP-Link Deco M5 on a dark table

The TP-Link Deco M5 is an affordable way to spread Wi-Fi throughout your home. 

The affordable Wi-Fi Mesh option

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Incredible value +Easy to configure
Reasons to avoid
-Slower than compeition

If you’re looking for a way to spread Wi-Fi throughout your home without having to spend a lot of dough, then look into the TP-Link Deco M5. It’s not as speedy as some of the other best mesh Wi-Fi routers on this list, but if you’re not too concerned about getting the maximum theoretical throughput, which you probably won’t be able to take full advantage of anyway, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Setup, similar to the other devices here, is a breeze, even if you’re not tech-savvy. The TP-Link Deco M5 is among the best wireless mesh routers for those who don’t want to get too technical.

Read the full review: TP-Link Deco M5

The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD on a gray table in front of a window

The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD is one of the simplest routers we’ve ever set up.

9. Ubiquiti Amplifi HD

Style backed by power

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Modern aesthetic+Extremely powerful
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If you love Apple’s design philosophy, enjoy having attractive gadgets set up around your home and have more than enough extra money sitting around, then the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD is the perfect mesh router for you. You’ll find a lot to love with this device, especially if you live in a large house and can take advantage of the full power that this mesh Wi-Fi setup provides, as it’s capable of a very large amount of throughput. You might find that the value diminishes quite a bit when you live in a smaller space however, since there are more affordable alternatives on hand for small to medium homes. The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD may be pricey, but you’re paying for a piece of tech that both exudes style and a ton of substance. That’s more than enough to justify the price tag, making this a great addition to the best wireless mesh routers list.

Read the full review: Ubiquiti Amplifi HD

The Linksys Velop system on a dark surface against a gray background

The Linksys Velop is easy to configure and delivers great wireless speeds over a wide area.

10. Linksys Velop

Paying for simplicity

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Simple r +Simple setup
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive 

While it’s expensive and not quite as powerful as the other Wi-Fi mesh routers on this list, there’s something to be said about the simplicity that the Linksys Velop offers. It might come with a heftier price than the competition, but the Velop will appeal to people who need to create a Wi-Fi network and want to avoid setting it up. More tech-savvy users will most likely look elsewhere – why spend money when you can do the work yourself for free? However, for most users, the Linksys Velop is among the best wireless mesh routers because of the convenience it offers from the start. It’s also completely 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 

How we test mesh Wi-Fi routers

We test every mesh Wi-Fi router that lands on our desk before we can recommend it to you. Much like with any peripheral or device we test, we check everything from its design and features to its performance. 

We take a look at its design, of course, because if you’re going to have several routers spread around your space, they should blend in with your home or office aesthetics. We also check its ports and any extra features it might have – like the ability to create a guest network and set up family controls – as well as ease of initial setup and use.

Then we move on to its performance. We check its range and strength of coverage as well as perform the Ookla speed test and our file download test, jotting down any information we collect. Naturally, we also test it against our everyday network usage to give you a glimpse on its real-world performance.

We then take everything we’ve learned and measure all that against its price tag to see if it’s a great value to consumers.

Jackie Thomas

Jackie Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's US computing editor. She is fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but she just happens to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop her a line on Twitter or through email.