Best Mesh WiFi Systems

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

7 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
138 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best mesh WiFi systems

Last Updated October 2019
By Jaime Vazquez

Traditionally, getting WiFi in your home has meant buying a wireless router, managing it through a clunky web-based interface, and hoping you can put it in a place that’s centralized enough to provide coverage everywhere you need it. And while there are definitely some great wireless routers and extenders out there, there’s a new kid on the home networking block you should meet: mesh networking.

Mesh networking technology takes a more flexible approach to WiFi: each mesh WiFi system includes multiple identical nodes that you place in key locations, with one attached to your modem. Then, when you connect to the internet, the nodes work together to send the data to the one you’re closest to. The best part: it’s all seamless. With a mesh WiFi system, you get one giant WiFi network with multiple access points.

Mesh WiFi systems are also convenient to manage. Most include a smartphone app that’s used for everything from setup to administration. There are plenty of technical reasons why mesh networks are more effective in most homes, but at the end of the day, what matters most to many users is the convenience they offer. Most mesh WiFi systems can be set up in less than 30 minutes.

If you’re tired of dead spots in your home, or if you’re just ready to build the best WiFi network you can, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about finding the best mesh WiFi system.

About the author

Jaime Vazquez has been writing about technology and geeking out with gadgets since 2000. He loves trying the latest electronics so that his readers don't have to, and using his inner cheapskate to find the best bargains.


Jaime Vazquez  |  Writer
Some mesh WiFi systems are made for non-technical users, which is wonderful if you’re not great with computers but still want fast WiFi. Buyers should note, however, these same systems often stay user-friendly by omitting advanced technical features like port forwarding.

Key considerations

The mesh WiFi market started out with only a few big contenders, but by now, most tech manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon, so there are a lot of different systems to compare. To hone in on the right model, start with these questions.

How big is your home?

If your house is 3,000 square feet or less, you’ll only need a mesh WiFi system with two nodes. If it’s between 3,000 and 4,500 square feet, get one with three nodes. If you need to cover more space than that, you can buy a mesh WiFi system with up to six nodes. (If you’re considering getting more than six nodes, a traditional wireless router with separate wireless access points may work better for you.)

Where will you be placing each mesh WiFi node?

You’ll need to connect one node to your modem, but after that, you get to decide where the other nodes go. Nodes can connect both wirelessly and via Ethernet cable. Ideally, each node should go in a spot where you know you need fast internet access.

Do you want a mesh WiFi system that fits in with your home décor?

Mesh WiFi systems aren’t just faster and more convenient — they’re a lot prettier, too. If you want a set that fits with your style, there are a lot of options, but be forewarned: most of them are white.

The leader of the pack

Eero is one of the biggest names in mesh WiFi systems, and the Eero Pro WiFi System is the biggest and best they offer. The smartphone app is easy enough for anyone to get their WiFi up and running in minutes, but it’s also got all the right detailed settings a network admin could ever need. And considering Eero’s track record of legendary product and software support, it’s not surprising that so many other systems seem to be imitating them.

TESTING MESH WIFI SYSTEMS

We spent 6 hours considering 7 mesh WiFi systems before buying our favorite and testing it in the homes of our content team.

Mesh WiFi system features

Every mesh WiFi system can get you fast WiFi, but there are some extra features on some sets that are worth paying more for. Here are the must-haves on our list.

LAN ports

If you have multiple devices that use a ton of data, get a mesh WiFi system where each node has at least two LAN (Ethernet) ports. With multiple Ethernet ports, you can even connect a network switch, so you can create and manage your entire wired network alongside your WiFi network.

Security updates

Mesh WiFi systems are perfect for people who like to “set it and forget it,” but it’s still important to make sure you maintain ongoing security. The best mesh WiFi systems are frequently updated in the background. Dig through user reviews once you have your search narrowed down, and if a model has a bad track record with security updates, don’t buy it.

Parental controls

If you have kids at home, it’s important to keep them safe when they go online. Look for a mesh WiFi system with built-in parental controls to help you manage your kids’ screen time and ensure they don’t end up on websites they’re not supposed to.

DID YOU KNOW?

One of the most convenient features many mesh WiFi systems have is the ability to set up guest access on the fly. Using this feature, you can provide your guests with easy access to your WiFi while keeping all of your existing devices safe.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some mesh WiFi systems offer premium subscription plans with features like advanced parental controls and ad blocking. Before making your purchase, compare each of the options, keeping in mind that for every service a mesh kit offers, there are also third-party options.

Mesh WiFi system prices

Between $100 and $200, you’ll see a lot of mesh nodes being sold individually. You’ll also see underpowered “budget” systems that aren’t fast enough for more than a few devices. If you’re adding on to your existing mesh WiFi system, this will be your price range. If you’re serious about bumping up your WiFi, you’re going to need to spend more.

Between $200 and $400, you will find some solid mesh WiFi systems with only two nodes. If you’ve got an apartment, you don’t need to spend more than this. But if you want a system with advanced features like LAN ports, don’t settle for the systems in this price range.

Between $400 and $600, you’ll see the best values: sets with three nodes from reputable manufacturers with strong support records. If you’re building a mesh WiFi network for multiple users across your home, this is the price range to focus on.

Coverage, coverage, coverage

Google WiFi is the search giant’s take on home WiFi, and boy, do they bring the WiFi! The Google WiFi system focuses on speed above all else, so if you’ve got intense data needs (like online gaming or streaming movies to multiple devices simultaneously), this is a good option. If you want some of the fastest mesh WiFi hardware available, consider this product.

Tips

  • If you have kids, set up your mesh WiFi system’s parental controls before you do anything else. Parental controls can be easy to forget about, but they’re pretty important if you have minors in your home. Most mesh WiFi systems come with basic parental controls, although some offer them as a paid service alongside additional features like virus protection.

  • Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few specific mesh WiFi systems, go to your smartphone’s app store and read user reviews of the associated apps for each system you’re considering. User reviews will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of each system’s app, so read them closely, and consider the app experience before you make your final decision.

  • If you have concerns about internet data privacy, sign up for a VPN service. Many mesh WiFi systems are made by manufacturers who also specialize in collecting and tracking user data. While that’s nothing new, it can be a tough pill to swallow for privacy advocates. A third-party VPN service will route your traffic through their servers and prevent other parties from seeing and collecting your traffic data.
EXPERT TIP

Most mesh WiFi system nodes are about the same dimensions as a streaming box (five inches high, five inches wide, under two inches tall). Some mesh WiFi systems are much larger, though, so be sure to read the fine print to make sure you know what you’re getting.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

TP-Link is fast becoming one of our favorite brands in tech. They’re ultra affordable while still keeping up with evolving standards. Their Deco Mesh WiFi System is the brand’s first foray into mesh networking, and not surprisingly, it delivers a killer feature set at a fraction of what competitors cost.

For larger homes, we recommend the ASUS Home WiFi system. It’ll cover your whole home (and most of your immediate neighbors’ homes) in WiFi, and it’s fast enough for handling a whole family’s worth of devices. ASUS’s mesh WiFi system also has excellent parental controls that allow you to schedule your family’s internet usage.

Many of the most popular mesh WiFi systems work with wall mounts so you can easily place each node on a wall or a ceiling for maximum signal coverage. Just remember that you’ll still need to plug each node into the wall, so you’ll need to choose mounting spaces that can reach a power outlet.

FAQ

Q. How are mesh WiFi systems different from traditional WiFi routers and extenders?

A. Mesh WiFi system nodes work together to get data from the modem to your devices in the fewest steps, and they collectively work together as one WiFi network. In contrast, with a wireless router, you typically have to set up a second network when you add extenders, or you have to manually manage your WiFi networks on each device. Mesh WiFi systems are more expensive and typically better for apartments and houses. Wireless routers are better for online gaming and are more scalable in large environments.

Q. Is it possible to have too many nodes in a mesh WiFi system?

A. Yes. Most mesh WiFi systems don’t recommend using more than six nodes. In most cases, three is more than enough.

Q. Does every node in a mesh WiFi system need to be hardwired to my network?

A. No. Mesh WiFi nodes can also wirelessly connect to one another. In most cases, using a hard-wired connection will result in faster WiFi speeds overall, but they’re still plenty fast when they’re wireless.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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