Boost your home Wi-Fi speeds and kill dead spots with our pick of the best mesh Wi-Fi routers, including Prime Day deals
Fed up with flaky Wi-Fi? Choose one of our best mesh Wi-Fi systems and you will 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 will know what features to look out for. Read on to find the mesh networking system that will wash away your wireless blues.
Best Mesh Wi-Fi router 2024: At a glance
|Mercusys Halo H80X (~£80)
|Check price at Amazon
|Linksys Atlas Pro 6 (~£340)
|Check price at Amazon
|TP-Link Deco X20 (~£180)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best affordable Wi-Fi 6E system
|TP-Link Deco XE75 (~£370)
|Check price at Amazon
|Fastest, money no object
|Orbi RBKE693 (~£1700)
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose 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 set this into modem mode, allowing the mesh system to handle router duties.
Alternatively, you can use your mesh kit in 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?
Depending on your needs, you may not need to invest in the fastest, most expensive kit you can find. Even a low-cost Wi-Fi 5 mesh system should be fast enough to deliver a connection of 40Mbits/sec or more around your home, which is plenty for working, browsing the web and even streaming 4K video.
However, the average internet speed in the UK is going up and up. It may make sense to pick a Wi-Fi 6 mesh kit that can handle the full speed of your current internet connection, with headroom to grow if you upgrade to faster broadband in a couple of years. Systems that incorporate Wi-Fi 6E are faster still but are far too expensive for most homes, while Wi-Fi 7 is still in its infancy and is likely to remain that way for some time.
Having said that, if you do go for the fastest system your budget allows for, it will also mean data will be able to travel around your local network faster, so (for example) you will 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 will 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.
How we test mesh Wi-Fi routers
We test mesh Wi-Fi systems by setting them up just as you would in a regular home. The primary unit is connected directly to an incoming fibre broadband line, while the second is located according to the manufacturer’s recommendations – normally one or two rooms away. If there’s a third node, this will be placed in another room, creating either a star or daisy-chain topology.
We work through the configuration process, using the mobile management app if one is provided. We note how quick and easy it is, and ensure that the mesh units are all running the latest firmware, with a strong connection to one another.
For performance testing, we connect a NAS appliance to the main mesh unit via Ethernet, and then wirelessly connect to the mesh network from a laptop equipped with an Intel Wi-Fi 6E network card, with support for 2×2 MIMO. We take this laptop to various rooms in the home, copy a series of files to and from the NAS system, and measure read and write speeds to discover the peak performance the mesh system is able to deliver, at different ranges and via different access points.
We also measure the power consumption of each unit and try out any additional features, such as USB connectivity, parental controls, or integrated network security functions. Finally, we weigh performance and features against price to come up with an overall rating for each mesh system.
READ NEXT: The best routers
The best mesh Wi-Fi routers you can buy in 2024
1. Mercusys Halo H80X: Best-value Wi-Fi 6 mesh
Price: £100 (two nodes) | Check price at Amazon
The Halo H80X is a fantastic debut from TP-Link’s value-oriented Mercusys brand – a full-featured Wi-Fi 6 mesh system for an irresistible price.
It isn’t quite the fastest mesh around. It doesn’t support the newest 6GHz technology – you need a Wi-Fi 6E system for that. It’s also a dual-band system with no dedicated backhaul radio, which means its wireless capacity has to be shared between your devices and internal mesh traffic.
Even so, with high-bandwidth 160MHz channels and 2×2 MU-MIMO, the Halo H80X can deliver very strong performance; we measured download speeds as fast as 80MB/sec at short range. No matter where we roamed around the house the connection never dropped below 35MB/sec and, for the biggest homes, you can get a three-node system for just £40 more.
The feature set is decent, too. Each Halo unit has three gigabit Ethernet ports and the accompanying mobile app lets you prioritise specific clients, filter websites by category and set time limits and schedules for kids’ devices. Everything most people need is here, with performance to spare, so why pay more?
Read our full Mercusys Halo H80X review
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 460m²; Maximum nodes supported: Not stated; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 2,402Mbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×2 on each band; Ethernet ports: 3 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: No; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 3yr
2. Linksys Atlas Pro 6: Best mesh system for combined speed and value
Price when reviewed: £340 (three nodes) | Check price at Amazon
For the latest, greatest technology and Wi-Fi performance, you normally have to pay a top dollar but the Linksys Atlas Pro 6 balances performance against price better than most, with support for Wi-Fi 6 and rated speeds of 600Mbits/sec over 2.4GHz networks and 4.8Gbits/sec total over 5GHz.
The catch is that this is only a dual-band system, where rival products are tri-band, and this means there’s no dedicated backhaul link for network traffic between nodes. However, this didn’t hold the Atlas Pro 6 back as it has with other similar systems in the past. Indeed, in our speed tests (at the time we published the review), it placed third for overall download rates of all the systems we’ve tested, only lagging behind products costing significantly more.
Other things we liked about the system include the fact that there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports on each unit and that these are located on the rear rather than on the base of the units, making them easier to access. There are basic parental controls here, too, however we didn’t like the way the web interface was laid out.
Despite the niggles, though, if you want bang for your mesh Wi-Fi buck, there aren’t many systems better than the Atlas Pro 6. It’s super speedy and doesn’t cost the Earth.
Read our full Linksys Atlas Pro 6 review
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 753m²; 2.4GHz speed: 600Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 4.8Gbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×4 on each band; Ethernet ports: 4 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: No; IPv6: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty: 1yr
3. Asus ZenWiFi XD5: The best mid-range mesh Wi-Fi router
Price: £195 | Check price at Amazon
Pay a little more for a mesh system such as the Asus ZenWiFi XD5 and you can expect not only excellent performance and range, but also a much wider selection of features.
It is crammed with tools that give you fine control over your home network, whether you use the app or the web portal, and it includes both parental controls and network security for free where other systems charge a fee.
It isn’t the fastest of meshes at close range, but performance is fine over longer distances, and as an overall package, it really hits the nail on the head. At a price of around £200 you can’t do any better than this.
Read our full Asus ZenWiFi XD5 review
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 325m²; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 2.4Gbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×2 on each band; Ethernet ports: 2 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty: 1yr
4. TP-Link Deco X20: Easy to use and affordable
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Amazon
Delivering WiFi 6 technology for a mere £180, TP-Link’s Deco X20 is a great-value mesh system that still delivers respectable performance. In our tests, it sustained a solid mid-level performance, not blowing away the competition but never falling to the back of the pack either.
The Deco X20 is a dual-band system supporting 2×2 MIMO, which helps to keep the costs down, but since WiFi 6 is designed to share bandwidth more efficiently across multiple connections, this shouldn’t be a huge problem.
The system’s strength lies in its ease of use – everything is managed via the excellent TP-Link Tether app – and its unusually broad selection of features. Not only do you get decent Wi-Fi coverage with the Deco X20 but it also comes with baked-in parental controls and antivirus protection for the whole of your network.
Physical connectivity is a tad limited. Each node has only a pair of network ports, there’s no USB sharing, or even a WPS button. For the price, though, the TP-Link Deco X20 is a great system with plenty of features and fast enough speeds for daily life.
Read our full TP-Link Deco X20 review
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 372m²; Maximum nodes supported: Not stated; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 1,201Mbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×2; Ethernet ports: 2 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 2yr
5. TP-Link Deco XE75: Most affordable Wi-Fi 6E mesh
Price: £340 (3 nodes) | Check price at Amazon
You can pay a huge amount for a Wi-Fi 6E mesh, but TP-Link’s Deco XE75 brings you 6GHz wireless networking for little more than many regular Wi-Fi 6 systems.
The cost saving is partly achieved by not using a dedicated backhaul channel. Instead, the XE75 shares its 6GHz connection between clients and mesh units; a smart compromise, since this is likely to be the least congested band. Our tests confirmed that the XE75 still has bags of bandwidth, with top download speeds exceeding 80MB/sec over both Wi-Fi 6E and standard Wi-Fi 6 connections.
Software support is another strength: TP-Link’s free HomeShield service provides basic network security and parental controls, and you can upgrade to HomeShield Pro for more advanced features. There’s integration with smart home devices, too, so you can control lights and sockets from the same app that manages your home network.
There’s no denying that you’ll get higher speeds and a more expansive feature set from Netgear’s Orbi RBKE963 system but that’s a phenomenally expensive mesh. The Deco XE75 provides a satisfying high-end experience for a much more sensible price.
Read our full TP-Link Deco XE75 review
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 510m²; Maximum nodes supported: 10; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 2,402Mbits/sec; 6GHz speed: 2,402Mbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×2 on each band; Ethernet ports: 3 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 2yr
6. Netgear Orbi RBK752: A premium all-rounder that delivers the goods
Price when reviewed: £604 | Check price at Novatech
Netgear’s Orbi RBK752 is a premium tri-band mesh Wi-Fi system tri-band that delivers excellent coverage and wireless throughput across the board. It performed impeccably in all our tests, reaching the fastest speeds in the same room as the router, and results showed barely any drop-off in performance across the rest of the locations in our house.
The strides in speeds achieved come at the expense of some features, though. The hub of the system comes with only three Gigabit Ethernet sockets while the satellites have a mere two each, and there are no USB ports to be found anywhere, so connection options are fairly limited compared to other mesh systems on this list.
While it may not be the best in terms of features, and is certainly lacking in connectivity, the Orbi RBK752’s performance more than compensates.
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 372m²; Maximum nodes supported: Not stated; 2.4GHz speed: 600Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 1,200Mbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×2; Ethernet ports: 3 x GbE (router), 2 x GbE (satellite); Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: No; Works with Alexa: Yes; IPv6: Not stated; Custom IP range: Not stated; Client IP reservation: Not stated; Port forwarding: Not stated; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 1yr
7. Netgear Orbi RBKE963: The fastest mesh router but it’s expensive
Price when reviewed: £1,700 | Check price at Amazon
If you want the very best performance, and money is no object, then look no further than the Orbi WiFi 6E system. It’s the only mesh we’ve come across so far to utilise the very latest in Wi-Fi technology, which adds support for connections on an extra 6GHz frequency range, and it’s the speediest mesh networking system we’ve ever tested.
Netgear rates the system at 1.2Gbits/sec over 2.4GHz and 2.4Gbits/sec on each of the 5GHz and 6GHz bands, plus there’s a dedicated backhaul connection rated at 4.8Gbits/sec making this the first quad-band mesh system we’ve seen.
In our tests, its speeds leave most other mesh systems in the dust with average download speeds approaching 90Mbits/sec across all the locations in our home over 6GHz. The catch is that to experience these speeds the connecting device also needs to support Wi-Fi 6E and these are thin on the ground right now, making this a rather pricey luxury.
Read our full Netgear Orbi RBKE963 review
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 830m²; Maximum nodes supported: 6; 2.4GHz speed: 1.2Gbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 2.4Gbits/sec (client) + 4.8Gbits/sec (backhaul); 6GHz speed: 2.4GHz; MIMO channels: 4×4 on each band; Ethernet ports: 1 x 10GbE, 1 x 2.5GbE, 3 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty: 1yr