Best mesh routers 2022

Adding a Mesh Router to your home network is an easy way to seriously boost your home or office Wi-Fi performance – but which Mesh router system should you buy?

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The router that your ISP supplied you with your broadband connection undoubtedly offers you Wi-Fi, but in almost every case it's weak Wi-Fi that can struggle a lot, whether you're in a "noisy" Wi-Fi environment, or just in a larger dwelling or work space.

You can buy Wi-Fi extenders to somewhat mitigate these issues in smaller dwelling spaces, but the gold standard way to manage getting better Wi-Fi throughout your home and business is to invest in mesh networking equipment. Mesh network systems are set up between a number of "node" devices – at least two, but most mesh systems can expand out to multiple units if you've got bigger areas to cover – creating an intelligent Wi-Fi network where each node doesn't shift just data, but also network status information to each other node.

What that means is that it's smart enough to know if you're in an area with bad coverage from one node, bringing in coverage from another to smooth over the network issues and ideally give you optimal Wi-Fi coverage, whether you're streaming a Netflix binge, uploading your latest YouTube masterpiece or sending those vital business documents to your boss.

We test mesh network systems in an identical way to provide the best comparative coverage of consumer mesh network systems in Australia, noting not only their baseline network performance but also how easy they are to set up and use. Mesh networks are the gold standard, but that also means that they demand premium prices, so it's worth knowing if they're good value. You can read more about our testing methodology below.

All choices are independently made based on our combined 60+ years of reviewing experience and are not based on commercial relationships. More detail on methodology below.

The best mesh routers for 2022, ranked

  1. D-Link COVR-X1873
  2. Amazon Eero 6 Pro
  3. Google Nest Wi-Fi
  4. Linksys Velop
  5. Netgear Orbi RBK13
  6. Amazon Eero Mesh

D-Link COVR-X1873

Overall mesh router

D-Link COVR-X1873
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great coverage
  • Multiple ethernet ports per node
  • Easy app or browser installed

Cons

  • Setup can be convoluted
  • Large mesh node towers
  • You may not need that many ethernet ports
Why we chose it

If you're buying mesh system, you're doing so because you want both speed and coverage, and this is an area where the D-Link COVR-X1873 is best in class. It's available as either a 2 or 3 node system – that last digit tells you how many nodes you get in the box – with each node capable of talking to the others as well as providing 4-gigabit ethernet ports for any wired network equipment you need.

The D-Link COVR-X1873 aced every network test we threw at it, providing rock-solid performance even in areas where Wi-Fi signals usually fear to tread. There can be a little more work in setup than with other mesh systems, and if you do opt for the 3-port version you're probably going to end up with more ports than you need, but those issues aside, this is an excellent mesh system.

Read our full D-Link COVR-X1873 review.


Amazon Eero 6 Pro

Amazon Eero 6 Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Amazing broadband speeds even at long range
  • Easy to set up
  • Dual gigabit ethernet ports for your wired devices

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not particularly configurable
  • Some network features are blocked behind a subscription paywall
Why we chose it

The Amazon Eero 6 Pro is without a doubt one of the best mesh systems out there. But its let down by just how expensive it is. at $499 for one and $999 for a set of three, we recommended waiting for a sale if you really want to get them.

On the plus side, it does have the best broadband throughput we've ever seen on a mesh system. It's also easy to set up, reliable and offers dual gigabit ethernet ports.

So if you have the budget go for it. Meanwhile we'll be over here crying in Bezos.

Read our full Amazon Eero 6 Pro review.


Google Nest Wi-Fi

Simple setup mesh router

Google Nest Wi-Fi
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Simple setup
  • Good throughput
  • Doubles as Smart Speaker system

Cons

  • No distinct 2.4/5Ghz bands
  • Limited configuration options
  • Only one colour choice in Australia
Why we chose it

Google's Nest Wi-Fi is one of our favourites because it's supremely simple to set up, which is a key criteria for most consumers who really just want Mesh networking because they're sick of those dead zones for Wi-Fi around our house. Throughput on the Google Nest Wi-Fi was very good in our tests, but it gains real benefits by the fact that Google also makes each Nest Wi-Fi point (but not the router) its own smart speaker for Google Assistant purposes. If you're building a smart home it's an easy recommendation because it makes it so much faster to respond to your commands, pretty much no matter where you happen to be.

Read Finder's full Google Nest Wi-Fi review.


Linksys Velop

Fast performance mesh router

Linksys Velop
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Very fast throughput
  • Integrated ethernet ports

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Large physical presence
Why we chose it

Linksys' Velop Mesh Wi-Fi actually has delivered the fastest performance in difficult areas of our test labs, which might make you think it should be in the number one position. Outside Nest Wi-Fi's integrated Google Assistant, the primary reason it doesn't is because it's comparatively quite a bit more expensive. The individual tower points are also a bit larger than most mesh network points, which may not work well with everyone's décor. Velop is more configurable than Google's Nest Wi-Fi, so it might be a better option for you if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty with the nitty-gritty of networking technology, too. If you're running a mixed wired and wireless network there's also appeal here, because each Velop point has its own Ethernet socket for tethered connections.

Read Finder's full Linksys Velop review.


Netgear Orbi RBK13

Affordable mesh router

Netgear Orbi RBK13
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good node design

Cons

  • No ethernet ports on nodes
  • Comparatively middling performance
Why we chose it

The big thing about the Netgear Orbi RBK13 is the price – or lack thereof. It's notably Netgear's more "affordable" Mesh system, offering up 3 nodes for typically just under $300. Netgear does have more powerful Orbi gear in market, and that budget price does involve a few compromises. There's no ethernet ports on the satellite nodes, and performance is only OK, not fast once you place them in harder to reach locations. Still, if you're looking for a low-cost mesh Wi-Fi solution, it's a good place to start.

Read Finder's full Netgear Orbi RBK13 review.


Amazon Eero Mesh

Amazon Eero Mesh
Image: Supplied/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great throughput for a dual-band system
  • Each node has two ethernet ports

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • No browser interface
Why we chose it

Amazon's Eero Mesh is only a dual-band Wi-Fi 5 system, but it's one that impressed us regardless with some of the best performance we've seen from any mesh system, hands down. It also adds value despite its moderate price point by giving you 3 nodes at a price point where many systems only give you two. Each node has dual ethernet ports, so it's easy to integrate with older wired-only devices, too. There are some technical limitations, like a top-end speed of 550Mbps down, so it's not well suited if you're on a gigabit connection, and the lack of a browser interface is annoying if you don't like using smartphone apps to manage your network.

Read Finder's full Amazon Eero Mesh.


Why you can trust our picks

Mesh Network systems work via connecting your home Internet connection – typically NBN, but you could connect up any broadband solution that terminates in a standard Ethernet plug to a Mesh system if you wished to do so – to a system of interconnected nodes that become your home or office's new Wi-Fi network.

While there have been a number of technology solutions to poor Wi-Fi range in the market to date – devices like Wi-Fi extenders or HomePlug style systems – they've typically worked to try to boost the output of your home modem-router, rather than acting as their own network entirely.

The big advantage that Mesh systems have is that they can combine the antenna throughput of multiple nodes – think of it as having multiple radios chattering to each other throughout your premises – with intelligent network monitoring between each node. For some systems, this involves a primary "Internet" node and then satellite nodes that you place where needed, but most systems do work on a fallback provisioning basis, so even if you do have one node knocked out or struggling with heavy use, the others can pick up the slack and communicate to balance the network.

Here's what we considered when choosing the best Mesh network systems, and what you should use as a buying guide:

  • Cost: Mesh Networking isn't cheap by consumer networking standards, and it's important to make sure that you're getting good value for money. If you do live in a smaller apartment Mesh might be overkill, but if you've got a larger space to blanket in Wi-Fi, or known Wi-Fi dead zones, there's little that can touch it – for a price. Bear in mind that "cheaper" Mesh Wi-Fi systems might be old stock that retailers are trying to shift, which means that they might not support the newest Wi-Fi standards, and as a result, could be markedly slower.
  • Speed:This is quite a primary consideration, because that's why you buy a Mesh system in the first place. All Mesh systems we've reviewed have been tested in the same location to ensure consistency not only in node placement but also interference factors, so we could properly and comprehensively stress test each system and assess how well it can really push data around its own network. One feature to look for here is whether each system provides access to dual 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks, or presents a single network to your devices. It's also worth checking if your Mesh system of choice supports its own back-channel for communication between nodes, or relies on the open traffic networks for balancing. Systems that can talk quietly amongst themselves typically manage network loads more efficiently.
  • Design: Old school routers were ugly beasts, and even now a lot of the blinking boxes that ISPs hand out aren't much to look at. That's perhaps OK if there's only one of them in the house, but when you're placing 3 or more nodes around your property, you probably don't want lots of blinking lights or annoying antennae to blight your décor.
  • Extra features: Mesh networking isn't new, and we're seeing a range of extra features bolted onto Mesh gear, such as integration with voice assistants, extra ethernet ports to provide compatibility with tethered devices and included software packages for firewall or internet filtering purposes. Some Mesh systems work on a premise of being very easy to configure, but the flipside there is that compared to a traditional router they may lack some features favoured by the more technically savvy such as network prioritisation or easy access to features such as port forwarding. There's also a new standard, EasyMesh, that promises interoperability between Mesh systems sold by different manufacturers, although to date, actual takeup has been fairly slow.

FAQ


Amazon prices last updated on 21 January, 2022 at 06:02 am
eBay prices last updated on 21 January, 2022 at 04:05 pm

Methodology

8
Wi-fi mesh routers considered
500+
Hours spent testing
5
Best Wi-fi mesh routers ranked
  • We've spent over 500 hours testing and reviewing Wi-fi mesh routers.
  • Our editorial team has a combined 60+ years of experience writing about tech and reviewing the latest devices.
  • The mesh routers on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not based on commercial relationships.

Why you can trust our picks

For each mesh router tested, we carefully consider all factors involved in design, setup and ongoing usage of each mesh router system.. For design, we look at how well a given mesh node is likely to fit into everyday home décor. Unlike traditional routers that often ship with the idea that you'll drop them into a corner and ignore their blinking lights, mesh router nodes should be able to be placed anywhere in any home without creating too much visual distraction. Are there lots of blinking lights, odd colours or weird design choices that won't fit into an ordinary home's décor? Whether other design features, such as easy to access power or reset control or additional ethernet ports is also considered when evaluating mesh router design.

Next we weigh up all aspects of installation. Most consumers buy mesh router systems to easily enhance their home wi-fi, so when we consider installation and setup issues, we're comparing how simple it is to make that first installation, but also how simple it is to add or remove nodes if your network situation changes. Simplicity is great for a stress-free life, but we also balance that against how easy it is to configure more advanced network features if desired by an end user. Some interfaces deliberately block complex network concepts, while others make them simpler to understand.

We then test the performance including range, stability, voice integration and ability to handle "dead zones". All of our mesh network tests are conducted in the same suburban Sydney home; this allows us to test them in a real-world environment, but also to ensure that each system is under identical conditions – or as close as we can manage. The reasons for poor Wi-Fi signal and throughput issues can be complex and unique to a given location, so your experience may vary. However, by keeping our test environment as a standard, we can at least measure the likely differences between each system.

For our tests, each system is set up and used for at least a week to allow the mesh system to set itself up, apply any updates and watch for any hiccups in performance. We then test the performance of both signal and data throughput, measuring RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) from three fixed locations throughout our test home, and also data throughput (ping, download and upload) using Finder's Broadband Speed Test.

Price is also a consideration in the final score for any mesh router system, and while this can vary by retailer and time, it's an important metric for measuring value of a system. We use the regular retail price (or price as suggested by the manufacturer at the time of testing) to come up with our evaluations in that case.

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But Finder may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.


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