Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers Android Central 2020
Mesh Wi-Fi systems are the networking versions of working smarter, not harder. Compared to a traditional router, Mesh systems use several smaller Wi-Fi routers placed around your home to cover you from multiple angles and dodge things like thick walls that can kill your signal. Whether you want top speed and customizability or simplicity and consistency, there's a mesh system that will work in any home. The Eero hits all of the sweet spots of a Wi-Fi system in a small understated housing that loses obtrusive articulating antennas.
- Best Overall: eero (3-pack)
- Best Value: TP-Link Deco M5 (3-pack)
- Best Range: AmpliFi HD
- Great Security: Nest Wifi
- Most Flexible: Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)
- Tri-band Value: Linksys Velop Tri-band (3-pack)
- Best for gaming: Netgear Nighthawk XRM570
- Best Wi-Fi 6: Netgear Nighthawk MK62
Best Overall: eero
Eero made one of the first consumer mesh Wi-Fi systems and the company keeps making them better with each revision. The current generation has the best blend of advanced networking features of any system available thanks to the small size and compatibility with the wall-plug eero Beacon.
Eero isn't trying to be the fastest router. Its main goal is to offer a solid and reliable connection. To most people, the speeds will be fast enough for all browsing and streaming, including 4K content. There are also two Ethernet ports on each unit if you need it.
If you need a bit more speed, you can go and step up and start with the faster eero Pro. The best part is that all eeros are compatible so you can focus on speed where you need it and keep things compact where you don't need as much.
- Can use an unlimited amount of beacons
- Small and easy to place
- Two Ethernet on each unit
- Great Android and iOS app
- Limited "power-user" settings
- Not as fast as the competition
Small and powerful
Eero creates a great Wi-Fi experience with a simple and stylish appearance and flexible expansion.
Best Value: TP-Link Deco M5
If you want to set up a mesh network that covers the whole house (up to 5,500 square feet) and don't want to break the bank, grab a TP-Link Deco three-pack. You'll get whole-house coverage without ever-changing networks or hopping onto an extender, plus features like prioritizing and parental control. TP-Link also uses adaptive routing to make sure the whole network is as fast as it can be.
From a hardware perspective, you get plenty of speed on Wi-Fi with AC Wi-Fi delivering 400Mbps at 2.4Ghz and 867Mbps at 5Ghz. Two ethernet ports on each help you keep all of your devices connected, even the older ones. Not to mention, it's a smaller size than some, which makes this an easy router to hide in any room's decor.
- They look good
- Native Alexa support
- 1300Mbps Wi-Fi (867Mbps + 400Mbps)
- No native support for Google Assistant
- Limited "power-user" settings
Fast Wi-Fi on the cheap
The TP-Link's Deco M5 mesh offers the most important features in a mesh system for less. It looks good and has great coverage.
Best Range: AmpliFi HD
Mesh wireless systems may be designed to put a Wi-Fi signal just where you need it, but Ubiquiti's AmpliFi HD system can also boast superior range. A kit with a single base station and two satellites can cover 10,000 square feet and that's not an exaggeration — during testing we found that it lived up to the claim.
It's also fully featured with options like family controls and guest access, and the base is configured with four available Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for wired devices like you'd find on a traditional router. You can also set everything up without an account or a smartphone if you'd rather use the web interface. The color display on the front of the router can keep you informed without an app as well. If you travel a lot, the AmpliFi Teleport app allows you to connect to your home network with a secure VPN for no extra cost.
You can also expand the AmpliFi HD system with AmpliFi Instant routers. If you need something with a little more gamer DNA you can check out the Gamer's Edition with a nice black and green color scheme reminding you of the Nvidia software inside that keeps gaming latency low.
- Four open Ethernet ports on the base
- Almost double the range of most mesh Wi-Fi systems
- Smartphone app or account not required for setup
- AmpliFi Teleport is great for travelers
- Compatible with AmpliFi Instant
- Mesh points are large and difficult to place
The AmpliFi HD has great coverage and has a ton of expansion options. Traditional features like LAN ports make it an easy upgrade.
Great Security: Nest Wifi
Nest Wifi starts where Google Wifi left off with a subtle circular design that takes the internal specifications to the next level. The speed gets an upgrade to dual-band AC2200 speeds in the 802.11s standard created for mesh networks with 2,200 square feet of coverage. In a home network, this means that the mesh points can be daisy-chained for the best possible connection.
Google pushed security updates automatically to the routers as well as supporting the newest WPA3 encryption standard. WPA3 has a more authenticating way of authenticating new devices to prevent unauthorized access to the network. It is backward compatible with previous standards to keep working with your older devices.
You can expand your Nest Wifi system with additional Nest Wifi routers, which is the fastest option with the greatest coverage, but you can also connect Nest Wifi points or Google Wifi points in areas that don't need as much speed.
- Each unit has two Ethernet ports
- Can daisy chain units with cabling
- Excellent Google Assistant integration
- Fast security updates
- WPA3 security
- Google collects analytical data
- Most settings require an active internet connection
- Google account required to set up and use
Nest Wifi has a subtle appearance with great performance and features like WPA3 support, frequent updates, and AC2200 Wi-Fi speed.
Most Flexible: Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)
Asus continues its Wi-Fi 6 dominance with the compact and stylish ZenWiFi AX (XT8) mesh system. Adapting the metallic designs featuring a concentric-circle design of other Asus Zen products, the ZenWiFi fits right in with modern interior design. The ZenWiFi AX can deliver speeds up to AX6600 with its tri-band connection, which breaks down to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, 1201Mbps on the lower 5GHz band and 4804Mbps on the higher 5GHz band.
Unlike many mesh systems, Asus lets you choose whether you want a single unified Wi-Fi name for all Wi-Fi bands or want to name them individually. While a single name will be best for many people, as well as much simpler, having the option to force certain devices to use only the faster bands can be useful.
As for expansion, each ZenWiFi unit has three open gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devices and one 2.5Gbps Ethernet input. Asus allows you to connect any of its AiMesh routers together in software to improve coverage including its older Lyra series of mesh routers. The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is a great option for someone that wants speed and flexibility with plenty of room to customize.
- Wi-Fi 6 tech
- AX6600 speeds
- 2.5Gbps network input
- Expand with AiMesh
- Only three Ethernet ports each
Compact Wi-Fi 6 mesh with AiMesh
The ZenWiFi AX from Asus delivers fast Wi-Fi 6 performance with a powerful and flexible mesh solution. Expand with your older Asus router with AiMesh support.
Tri-band Value: Linksys Velop Tri-band
Linksys has been making routers for ages so it's no surprise that it makes some of the best mesh systems around. The Velop Tri-band is a great option for getting your whole home covered with the consistent connection and speed that comes with a tri-band connection. AC2200 speeds are achieved on each node with two 5GHz bands delivering 867Mbps each plus a 2.4GHz band at 400Mbps. This speed will be enough for any streaming up to 4K resolution with plenty left over for other devices.
You also get two Ethernet ports hidden on the bottom of the nodes to keep things looking neat. With a tall but understated matte white design with all ventilation on the rear, these routers should be easy to blend in. Another interesting feature is Linksys Aware, which uses the routers to detect motion in your home as a security feature with no additional equipment. If you find this feature useful outside of the 90 day trial period, it's available for a super low cost per month. Even without that feature, this mesh system is a great value.
- Tri-band connection
- Works with Alexa
- Linksys Aware capable
- Easy to blend in
- Only two Ethernet per unit
- Linksys Aware costs extra
Tri-band and Linksys Aware
The Velop Tri-band adds speed and improves the connection quality without giving up the sleek design or adding external antennas.
Best for Gaming: Netgear Nighthawk XRM570
Netgear's Nighthawk brand has become synonymous with great gaming performance. The XRM570 package brings the fast XR500 router into the mesh world thanks to the EX7700 WiFi Mesh Range Extender. In theory, this extender can be used with pretty much any Nighthawk router but we would recommend sticking with the package or a more advanced Nighthawk router to make sure you have a great experience.
Thanks to this setup, you can keep your primary router with your gaming equipment for the tried and true consistency of a wired connection with four-gigabit Ethernet ports on the main router and two available on the extender. The main router will be able to deliver solid 802.11ac speeds up to 2.6Gbps and the included extender can be used to deliver a stable wireless connection to the rest of the home. The gamer aesthetic is strong with this router, but for me, the angular black plastic looks nice and would blend right in with my TV setup.
- Fast AC Wi-Fi
- Four LAN ports for gaming
- Gamer aesthetic
- Nighthawk prioritization software
- Large footprint
- External antennas
Best for gaming
Low latency for quick scopes
Netgear's brings mesh to one of its gaming routers with a mesh fast mesh point that adds fast Wi-Fi coverage and two LAN ports.
Best Wi-Fi 6: Netgear Nighthawk MK62
The Netgear Nighthawk MK62 wasn't the first Wi-Fi 6 mesh to make it to market but it's one of the smallest examples to date. Housed in a compact black cube and offering a fairly standard 3,000 square feet of coverage with two units, this is Wi-Fi 6 for the masses. The speeds are also in line with something this size at AX1800 from a dual-band connection. These speeds are more than enough for most homes while being able to support many more connections than an older router. This is thanks to Wi-F 6, which can more consistently deliver content to all connected devices.
With only one spare gigabit Ethernet port per unit, you will need to add in another switch if you have a lot of wired connections but if you have made the transition to a wirelessly connected home, you shouldn't have any issues. You get WPA3 security and easy future expansion thanks to Wi-Fi EasyMesh compatibility.
- Wi-Fi 6 tech
- AX1800 speed
- Compact size
- WPA3 security
- Only one Ethernet per unit
Best Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6 for more people
The Nighthawk MK62 makes upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 mesh cheaper and easier thanks to compact nodes, a lower price, and enough speed.
Mesh wireless systems need to do two things right: be reliable and provide coverage everywhere you need it. There's a mesh system for just about any set of needs and all the kits on our list do a great job at both. Sometimes, though, it's the tiny details that decide which product is best for you.
Overall, eero offers the best total package in our opinion. It has enough speed for most average users while keeping its physical footprint small enough to blend in with the decor in any room. eero also has an excellent app that guides you through everything from setting it all up to adding more units or changing the user settings. The time and attention to detail in both the hardware and the app is impressive, and we think anyone in the market for a new WI-Fi setup would love what Eero has to offer.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.
Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
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