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.
Best mesh Wi-Fi router: At a glance
- Best value: BT Whole Home Wi-Fi
- Cheapest three-unit system:BT Mini Whole Home Wi-Fi
- Best for price/performance: Linksys Atlas Pro 6
- Easiest to use: Google Nest Wifi
- Best mid-range mesh system: Orbi RBK352
- Fastest, money no object: Orbi Wi-Fi 6E RBKE693
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.
The best mesh Wi-Fi routers you can buy in 2022
1. BT Whole Home Wi-Fi: The 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.
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: 4×4 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.
Read our full BT Mini Whole Home WiFi review for more details
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: 4×4; 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
3. Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000: The best value WiFi 6 mesh system
Price: £93 | Buy now from AliExpress
Wi-Fi 6 has been around long enough for it to become established technology among wireless routers but when it comes to mesh systems, 802.11ac still rules the roost, especially among budget systems.
That’s what makes this system from Xiaomi so attractive: at under £100 and around £50 per extra node, it’s by far the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 mesh system we’ve ever seen.
A two-node system will cover up to 370 square metres and we found that transfer rates in our testing never dipped below 25MB/sec, not even in the trickier to reach parts of our house. Overall, speeds aren’t quite as quick as pricier systems but reliability is juse fine – easily good enough to service the full speed of a 200Mbits/sec internet line and as many as eight 4K Netflix streams at once.
The catch is that this Xiaomi system isn’t yet officially available in the UK – you’ll have to have it shipped from China via AliExpress and having it serviced or fixed under warranty may well be tricky. However, if you’re willing to take that risk, this system is excellent value for money.
Read our full Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000 review for more details
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 370m²; Maximum nodes supported: 10; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 2.4Gbits/sec (combined client & backhaul); MIMO channels: 2×2 on each band; Ethernet ports: 3 x GbE per node; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: No; Works with Alexa: No; IPv6: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port forwarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty:
3. Linksys Atlas Pro 6: The best mesh system for combined speed and value
Price: £365 (three nodes) | Buy now from 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 for more details
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
4. Netgear Orbi RBK352: The 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.
Read our full Orbi RBK352 review for more details
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 232m²; 2.4GHz speed: 600Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 1,200Mbits/sec; MIMO channels: 2×2; 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
5. 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.
Read our full Tenda Nova MW6 review for more details
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: 2×2 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
6. 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 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.
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
7. TP-Link Deco X90 (AX6600): The fastest Wi-Fi 6 mesh system
Price: £474 | Buy now from Ebuyer
It might not come with the very latest Wi-Fi 6e technology but the TP-Link Deco X90 does deliver on performance and you don’t need connecting devices to support the latest standard to benefit.
It’s a tri-band system with a top speed of 574Mbits/sec over 2.4GHz connections, 4.8Gbits/sec over 5GHz networks and a backhaul link rated at 1.2Gbit/sec and it put in a storming performance in our tests with a peak spead up close that outstrips even the fastest systems we’ve tested.
It is rather expensive for a two-box system, but considering the only faster system is the £1,500 Orbi Wi-Fi 6E you could consider it a bit of a bargain.
Read our full TP-Link Deco X90 review for more details
Key specs – Nodes (as reviewed): 2; Claimed coverage: 4-6 bedroom house; 2.4GHz speed: 574Mbits/sec; 5GHz speed: 4.8Gbits/sec (client) + 1.2Gbits/sec (backhaul); MIMO channels: 4×4; Ethernet ports: 1 x 2.5GbE, 1 x Gigabit per unit; Guest network: Yes; Parental controls: Yes; IPv6: Yes; Custom IP range: Yes; Client IP reservation: Yes; Port fowarding: Yes; 2.4GHz/5GHz band splitting: Yes; Warranty: 2yr
8. 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.
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
9. Orbi WiFi 6E: The fastest mesh router but it’s expensive
Price: £1,500 | Buy now from 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 Orbi WiFi 6E (RBKE693) review for more details
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
Buy now from Amazon
10. Google Nest Wifi: The 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.
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: 2×2 on 2.4GHz, 4×4 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