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Best mesh Wi-Fi router 2021: Boost the range, speed and coverage of your home Wi-Fi with our top picks

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Boost your home Wi-Fi speeds and kill dead spots with our pick of the best mesh Wi-Fi routers

Fed up with flaky Wi-Fi? Choose one of our best mesh Wi-Fi 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.

READ NEXT: The best wireless routers, from budget to premium

Save on the Linksys Velop

The 3-pack of Linksys Velop from our list below is on sale for the price of £209 and if you are out to buy a mesh system with a wide array of features, such as Alexa integration and easy radio band splitting, this is a good time to strike. Amazon Was £260 Now £209 Buy Now

Currys reduces Tenda Nova MW3 price AGAIN

When Currys reduced the price of the Nova MW3 to £60, we didn't think we'd see it for cheaper this sales season. However, the electronics giant has only gone and knocked another £20 off, bringing it down to £40 - half the original retail price and an absolute steal! Currys Was £70 Now £40 Buy Now


Best mesh Wi-Fi router: At a glance


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.

READ NEXT: The best routers

The best mesh Wi-Fi routers you can buy in 2021

1. BT Whole Home Wi-Fi: Best-value mesh extender system

Price: £150 (twin pack) | Buy now from Amazon

BT’s Whole Home Wi-Fi now comes in a few different flavours: the original, which we have here; the Premium version, which is faster but a lot pricier and the Mini (see below), which is the cheapest but not as fast as the original. The original system is getting on a bit these days but it's still the best value mesh W-Fi system you can buy.

The system acts as a wireless extender system for your existing router, connecting via a simple Gigabit Ethernet cable. This means it doesn’t mess with your network settings, and there’s very little to configure – although the system does offer a guest network facility and simple group-based parental controls. The nodes look a bit odd, standing upright like mini-satellite dishes, but their small footprint means it’s easy to find suitable places for them around the home.

BT claims it will cover an area of 420m², which is on the low side for a three-node network – but it certainly eradicated the not-spots in my home. No matter where I wandered, I got a rock-solid 5GHz connection, with download speeds never dipping below 11.8MB/sec.

The extender-only approach does mean that you’re stuck with your old router: if you were planning to replace it, a different mesh system might make sense. On the upside, it keeps the price almost irresistibly low: if you just want to banish those irritating dead spots with minimal upheaval, it’s an absolute bargain.

Read our full review of BT Whole Home Wi-Fi

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 420m²; Maximum nodes supported: 6; 2.4GHz speed: 800Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 867Mbits/sec (client) + 867Mbits/sec (backhaul); MIMO channels: 4x4 on each band; Ethernet ports: 1 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: No; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: N/A; Client IP reservation: N/A; Port forwarding: N/A; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 2yr

2. BT Mini Whole Home WiFi: The best cheap mesh network

Price: £110 | Buy now from BT

There was a time when mesh Wi-Fi router systems commanded a premium, no matter the level of performance but prices have fallen dramatically in recent times and there's none more reasonably priced than the BT Mini Whole Home WiFi. It's the cheapest three-node system we've ever reviewed.

The low price does mean you have to make some compromises. It's only a dual-band system, which restricts performance compared with the faster, tri-band BT Whole Home system. The Mini's total rated bandwidth of 1,200Mbits/sec is lower, too, and this all goes together to produce performance figures that are roughly half that of the original system.

However, overall performance is still more impressive than the previous cheapest system we've seen – the Tenda Nova MW3. It's also a system that's extremely simple to install and use as it aims to extend, rather than replace, your existing wireless router.

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: Not stated; Maximum nodes supported: 6; 2.4GHz speed: 300Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 867Mbits/sec (client and backhaul); MIMO channels: 4x4; Ethernet ports: 1 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: No; Works with Alexa: No; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: N/A; Client IP reservation: N/A; Port forwarding: N/A; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 2yr

Buy now from BT


3. Tenda Nova MW6: Another great-value mesh router

Price: £140 (triple pack) | Buy now from Amazon

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. 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.

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 560m²; Maximum nodes supported: 10; 2.4GHz speed: 300Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 867Mbits/sec (combined client & backhaul); MIMO channels: 2x2 on each band; Ethernet ports: 2 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: Yes; IPv6: No; Custom IP range: Partial; Client IP reservation: Via port forwarding; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 3yr

4. Asus ZenWiFi AC: Supreme speed and packed with features

Price: £278 (twin pack) | Buy now from Amazon

The Asus ZenWifi AC might be pricey but it's the fastest 802.11ac mesh Wi-Fi system around right now, topping a huge 30MB/sec download speed in every location we tested in. That's thanks in the main to its tri-band setup, which utilises a dedicated 5GHz backhaul channel to ensure transfer speeds between nodes are as high as possible.

And while most mesh systems aim to keep the complexity down, the ZenWiFi gives users access to the same advanced settings as you get on the company's high-end domestic routers. Each node has four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear and a USB socket for sharing printers, storage or 4G adapters. The system has built-in PPTP, OpenVPN and IPSec servers so you can access your home network securely from remote locations, and you get three independent guest networks plus a network-level firewall that lets you block individual ports, URLs and web pages containing keywords.

It is quite pricey for a two-box system but the performance you get is well worth the extra spend. This is mesh Wi-Fi done brilliantly.

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 400m²; 2.4GHz speed: 400Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 867Mbits/sec (client) + 1733Mbits/sec (backhaul); MIMO channels: 2x2 on client bands, 4x4 on backhaul; Ethernet ports: 4 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: Yes; Warranty: 3yr

5. TP-Link X60: Best value Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Price: £373 | Buy now from Amazon

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest, greatest wireless technology promising faster, more stable connections for many more devices than the older 802.11ac standard, but mesh systems based on the tech have as yet been thin on the ground. Of the few that we have tested, the TP-Link X60 is the best value so far, costing around £373 for a three-node pack.

The system is rated for a massive 650m² of coverage and performance is very good, beating the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi system for overall speed and edging in front of even the far more expensive Orbi WiFi 6 for close up speeds. It's a little less impressive at medium and long-range but still very fast overall and performed consistently in all of our tests. Perhaps more impressively, it comes packed with useful features, including built-in antivirus protection for your whole home, intrusion protection, a malicious content filter and category-based web filtering with age-based presets.

It may be expensive, then, but the TP-Link Deco X60 delivers the most coverage we've seen from any mesh system to date and combines that with plenty of features and solid performance as well.

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 650m²; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 2,402Mbits/sec (client) no backhaul; MIMO channels: 2x2 on client bands; Ethernet ports: 2 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; Warranty: 3yr

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

Price: £644 (twin pack) | Buy now from Amazon

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 £644 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.

Read our full review of the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 465m²; Maximum nodes supported: Not stated; 2.4GHz speed: 1,200Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 1,200Mbits/sec (client) + 1,200Mbits/sec (backhaul); MIMO channels: 4x4 on each band; Ethernet ports: 4 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: No; Works with Alexa: No; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 1yr

7. TP-Link Deco X20: Easy to use and affordable

Price: £230 | Buy now from Amazon

Delivering WiFi 6 technology for a mere £230, 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 2x2 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 review of the TP-Link Deco X20 for more details

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: 2x2; 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

8. Linksys Velop: Most fully featured mesh router

Price: £269 (triple pack) | Buy now from Amazon

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.

Read our full review of the Linksys Velop

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 3; Claimed coverage: 560m²; Maximum nodes supported: 6; 2.4GHz speed: 400Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 867Mbits/sec (client) + 867Mbits/sec (backhaul); MIMO channels: Not stated; Ethernet ports: 2 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: No; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty: 3yr

9. Netgear Orbi RBK752: A great all-rounder

Price: £448 | Buy now from Amazon

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.

Read our review of the Netgear Orbi RBK752 for more details

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: 2x2; 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

10. Google Nest Wifi: Most user-friendly mesh system

Price: £189 (twin pack) | Buy now from John Lewis

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.

Read our full review of Google Nest Wifi

Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 210m²; Maximum nodes supported: Not stated; 2.4GHz speed: 400Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 1,733Mbits/sec (combined client and backhaul); MIMO channels: 2x2 on 2.4GHz, 4x4 on 5GHz; Ethernet ports: 1 x GbE on hub; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; Works with Alexa: No, Google Assistant; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: No; Warranty: 1yr

Buy now from John Lewis


11. Netgear Orbi RBK352: Best mid-range mesh

Price: From £226 | Buy now from Amazon

Netgear’s relatively low-cost Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, the Orbi RBK352 is one of the most accessible entries yet into the super-speedy new Wi-Fi standard. Case in point: three nodes will set you back £226, compared to £644 for the high-end Orbi RBK852 system.

The lower price inevitably means some sacrifices are made in performance, but in our experience, it holds up well when tested in various rooms across a house. As we note in our four-star Netgear Orbi RBK352 review, a test laptop switched seamlessly between nodes to keep connection fast and stable, and with download speeds never falling below 20MB/sec, the RBK352 gave us no reason to complain.

With an unobtrusive design and easy-to-use software, the Netgear Orbi RBK352 is relatively simple to set up and control using Netgear’s Orbi app. As with all Wi-Fi 6 gear, it’s backwards compatible with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) clients but it won’t interoperate with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi units.

It ultimately runs the risk of being a halfway house between truly affordable Wi-Fi 5 systems and the full performance of a top-range Wi-Fi 6 mesh, but if you’re looking for a budget-conscious Wi-Fi 6 system, you’ll find the Netgear Orbi RBK352 to be a solid choice.

Key specsNodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 232m²; 2.4GHz speed: 600Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 1,200Mbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2x2; Gigabit Ethernet ports: primary unit - 4, satellite units - 2; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: No; Works with Alexa: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port fowarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty: 1yr