Best mesh routers for 2021

Whether you’re working from home, streaming or gaming, having a dependable home Wi-Fi network is essential. But what if your router falls well short of covering your entire home with a fast, reliable wireless connection? That can be an issue if you’re living in a multistory home and trying to stream upstairs, or working out of a back office that’s several rooms away from where your router sits. Fortunately, you can decimate dead zones like those and spread a fast and reliable Wi-Fi signal throughout your entire home by using a mesh system that pairs a router with range-extending satellite devices. A mesh system augments your traditional router and ensures that using more than one connected device at a time won’t slow down your connection — this is especially important if you rely on a smart home device or three.

With hardware like that spread strategically throughout your home, a good mesh network setup will automatically “route” your connection as you move through the place, steering you between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands within a single, unified Wi-Fi network. It’ll also decide when to route your connection through a satellite mesh point and when to send your connection straight to the main router. That’s better than what you’ll get from a simple range extender and it makes for a close-to-seamless home network, with more consistent internet speed in each room.

The rub is that mesh Wi-Fi systems are much more expensive than range extenders and typically more expensive than traditional, stand-alone routers, too. Further, you may need more than one mesh point or mesh node to create the ideal mesh networking conditions. That said, we’ve also seen lots of new mesh competition hitting the market in recent years and that’s driven prices down significantly. Though we’d recommend aiming a bit higher, you can even find basic, entry-level mesh systems for as little as $20 per device .

Some of the best mesh Wi-Fi models include systems from Eero , which popularized mesh networking before being bought by Amazon in 2019 , as well as the latest setups from Netgear Orbi and Google Nest . Mesh systems like those regularly sold for as much as $400 or even $500 a few years ago, but now all of these manufacturers and others offer multipoint mesh router systems — including the main router and the satellite devices, or nodes — that cost less than $300, if not less than $200.

We’ve still got lots of routers and mesh systems we’d like to try out — including a growing number that use Wi-Fi 6 technology promising better performance and faster speeds. More mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6E , which means they can access a newly unlocked mass of bandwidth in the 6GHz band , should be arriving in the coming months, too.

Expect regular updates to this post as new Wi-Fi mesh routers like those make it to market. For now, here are the top mesh routers we’d recommend right now for anyone ready to make the […]

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