Reviews You Can Rely On

Best WiFi Mesh Systems of 2022

We tested WiFi mesh systems from TP-Link, Nest, eero, and more to find the best mesh router for your home
Best WiFi Mesh Systems of 2022
Credit: David Wise

Our Top Picks

By David Wise ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 25, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Boosting your WiFi just got easier. After researching over 50 top WiFi mesh systems available on the market, we bought the 8 most compelling models to test head-to-head and rank to help you find the best. We rated and scored the difficulty installing each system and evaluated the different features and functions they offer. We also made WiFi signal heat maps to compare ranges and looked at each mesh node's physical characteristics. Read on to see which system delivered the best range performance and seamless connection experience, which is the easiest to get up and running, and which option has the most features.

Networking essentials have become a standard in the modern world. If you are considering a WiFi Mesh System then you might also find our review of WiFi Extenders interesting, and our review of powerful single point Wireless Routers too. And, if you're in the early stages of setting up your home office or perhaps you need a product to up your productivity and efficiency, we've reviewed various office-related products to help your search, from printers to keyboards, and many other categories in between. Check out what we've tested and rated as top-notch office products so you can make an informed buying decision.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on March 25, 2022, to include additional information and details to help your decision-making process.


1

Best Overall Mesh System


TP-Link Deco X20


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 5800 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to install
WiFi 6-compatible
Tons of features
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricey

For a top-tier WiFi mesh system to extend the range of your network, the TP-Link Deco X20 is a champ. This mesh system is exceptionally easy to set up, and its companion app offers all the features we could ask for. You can monitor your network status, check the placement of satellite nodes, prioritize specific devices, and set up parental controls to limit network access or block content. The router and nodes are minimal and sleek, with 2 WAN/LAN ports on the back of each for hardwired devices or for setting up wired Ethernet backhaul. This system is also WiFi 6-compatible, making it more future-proof than other routers in this review. It did fairly well in our coverage test, and you should get solid data throughput for streaming or gaming with this AX1800 router. We also like that this system is expandable with additional nodes and compatible with other TP-Link Deco models if you need additional coverage.

This system is on the expensive side, a factor to consider if you aren't planning on using any of its advanced features or aren't likely to get a whole lot of WiFi 6-capable devices anytime soon. We also noticed a slightly larger area of moderate coverage in our signal-to-noise ratio maps than other options with its 5 GHz network. Still, you could remedy this by tweaking node placement or adding additional points. Overall, this contender is one of the best available options, especially for anyone looking to extend their WiFi coverage and exercise more control over their network.

wifi mesh system - best overall mesh system
If you are looking for the best, we think this router is hard to beat.
Credit: David Wise

2

An All-Around Fantastic Option


Google Nest Wifi Router


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 6600 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
High maximum throughput
Great coverage
Great for Google-based smart homes
REASONS TO AVOID
Very expensive
More difficult to set up

If you are looking for a premium WiFi mesh system — particularly if you have a Google-based smart home — then we think the Google Nest WiFi Router system is a great option. Compatible with both Google WiFi and Google Nest Points, you can mix and match to get the perfect network for your needs and the layout of your home. We tested using a trio of Google Nest Routers and saw some of the best coverage in our signal-to-noise ratio maps, in line with their impressively high claimed coverage area. These AC2200 models should also have enough data throughput for most users, allowing you to get the most of the bandwidth you pay for. The routers are sleek and discreet enough to blend into the background, with each node having a pair of gigabit ports for any hardwired connection or wired backhaul. You also have plenty of features in the Google Home app, allowing you to optimize your network, blacklist devices, or filter content — even allowing you voice control over your network using the Google Assistant.

This WiFi mesh system is pricey, costing considerably more than many other options. We also found it a little taxing to set up, especially if you don't already have a Google Smart Home set up. You'll need to download the Home app, login or create an account, set up your home, and then go through the process of adding each router by adding a device and scanning a QR code on the base when prompted. Despite these somewhat minor flaws, we wholeheartedly recommend this system to anyone who wants the best and doesn't mind paying top dollar.

wifi mesh system - an all-around fantastic option
The Nest router is a top-tier mesh system, albeit a pricey one.
Credit: David Wise

3

Best Bang for the Buck


TP-Link Deco M5


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 5500 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Great value
Easy to use
Sleek and compact
REASONS TO AVOID
Lower maximum throughput than top-tier models

Shopping for a mesh router system, but the premium models' price tags are giving you pause? Enter the TP-Link Deco M5 mesh system. These mesh routers were some of the absolute easiest to set up, especially with the Deco app walking you through the process with a series of guided prompts, including satellite node layout. Once plugged in, the app automatically detects a node and quickly adds it to the network, providing appropriate app permissions. The Deco app is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing you to block or prioritize specific devices, manage parental controls, and check network health. We also like the low-profile and modern look of the Deco M5 routers themselves, allowing you to discreetly hide them or make a subtle style statement. Each router also has 2 LAN ports for setting up a wired backhaul connection or a hardwired connection to certain devices.

We found very little to fault with the Deco M5. This system is rated for AC1300, capping your maximum data transfer rate just slightly sooner than the top-tier models. However, most people are more likely to be capped by their internet service provider (ISP) before reaching their router's top speed unless they pay for premium bandwidth or fiber. We also noticed the signal-to-noise ratio for this router dropped a bit in more areas in our tests, though it still maintained what should be more than enough signal strength for a high-quality connection in the bulk of the test area. We strongly think this is a great mesh system for most people looking to extend their coverage area without breaking the bank and who might not need all the premium features and advanced functions of the costlier models.

wifi mesh system - best bang for the buck
We think the Deco M5 is a great bargain option.
Credit: David Wise

4

Best on a Tight Budget


TP-Link Deco M3


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 4500 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: No
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Simple to set up
REASONS TO AVOID
Wall-mounted extenders
More gaps in coverage in our test

If you are shopping with a restricted budget and want to expand the coverage of your WiFi network, and that's it, then we recommend the TP-Link Deco M3 with Extenders WiFi mesh system. This router costs a whole lot less than the top models and didn't perform too much worse. It's effortless to set up, especially with the Deco app that smoothly guides you through the primary router's connections to your modem and the initial configuration of your network. Once completed, you plug in the wall-mounted extenders, and the app adds them to your network. You even have the option of prioritizing devices, establishing parental controls on both content and access time, and can set up Amazon's Alexa to give you voice control over your network.

We did notice some larger areas of lower signal strength in our mapping tests with this system. The extenders can be harder to hide given their bigger size, and they plug directly into an outlet rather than a power adapter and cable. These extenders also lack any gigabit ports, so you only have a single opportunity for a hardwired connection on the primary router and can't set up a system with a wired backhaul. Despite these downsides, we think this is a great option for anyone shopping with limited funds and looking to extend their WiFi coverage area quickly and easily.

wifi mesh system - best on a tight budget
This is an inexpensive and easy to install option but does omit a few features.
Credit: David Wise

5

Another Value Option


TP-Link Deco S4


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 5500 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to set up
Fairly inexpensive
Plenty of features
REASONS TO AVOID
Average maximum data throughput
Larger units

We think the TP-Link Deco S4 is another good choice if you want an affordable, all-around solid WiFi mesh system. This system is quick and easy to get up and running, and it has an impressive array of features. The TP-Link Deco app guides you through the physical connections and initial configuration with helpful diagrams and prompts. Once you set up the network, you can place parental controls, enable a guest network, prioritize bandwidth for certain devices, and link control of your network to your Amazon Alexa smart home. This router system also displayed excellent coverage in our signal mapping tests.

This router's design is slightly less stylish than some other options. The units are considerably larger, measuring two or three times taller than some competitors. The Deco S4 also only has an average maximum throughput with its AC1200 rating. All in all, we think this middle-of-the-road router is decent, wallet-friendly, and worth checking out.

wifi mesh system - the s4 is another good option if you are shopping on a budget.
The S4 is another good option if you are shopping on a budget.
Credit: David Wise

6

Solid Performance, but Subscription-Based Features


Amazon eero Wifi System


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 5000 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Compact routers
Good coverage
REASONS TO AVOID
Subscription required for many features
The app can be a little less intuitive

The Amazon eero WiFi System did well in most of our tests and definitely will increase the overall coverage of your network compared to a single point source. It's straightforward to set up and install, flawlessly integrates into an Amazon Alexa-based smart home, and it lets you mix and match with other eero products to create the optimal network. The actual units are sleek and compact, with a pair of gigabit Ethernet ports on the back for hardwired connections or wired backhaul if your house is wired with CAT5.

We did find some flaws with this system: the need to pay for a subscription to eeroSecure or eeroSecure+ to use features, whereas other options already include complimentary access. We also found the app a little more challenging to navigate than others in the lineup. This option might be attractive to those who want a router that connects with their Amazon smart home or favors creating profiles for each person on your network. However, if that's not the case, we suggest checking out other contenders.

wifi mesh system - the eero is an alright mesh system in our minds but we weren't fans...
The eero is an alright mesh system in our minds but we weren't fans of the subscription-based features.
Credit: Laura Casner

7

Bargain Option for Google Smart Homes


Google Wifi System


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 4500 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Seamless Google Smart Home compatibility
Good coverage
REASONS TO AVOID
Initial set up can take a bit more time
Still fairly pricey

If the price of the award-winning Google Nest WiFi Router is a bit outside your budget, but you still want a product that will seamlessly connect to your Google Smart Home, take a look at the Google WiFi System. The system includes three small routers that offer solid coverage and desirable features, including setting parental controls, a guest network, and the ability to pause access for individual devices. You can also use a mix of Google Nest Routers and Google Nest Points with the Google Mesh Routers, allowing you to upgrade later and retain compatibility.

While this WiFi mesh system is less expensive than the Nest Router, it's still far from the cheapest among the competition. It's a bargain for a Google router, though not necessarily the best deal overall. We also found that this router was a little more challenging to set up, as you need to set up an entire Google smart home before setting up your network. Also, there aren't too many options for prioritizing devices; it only allows you to set a single device to priority access. Though not our favorite of the bunch, it performs well, particularly if you are looking for a Google router for your Google smart home.

wifi mesh system - the google mesh is a cheaper option if you are looking for a google...
The Google Mesh is a cheaper option if you are looking for a Google router.
Credit: David Wise

8

A Mediocre Mesh Router


Meshforce Whole Home Wifi Suite


Claimed Coverage for 3 Units: 6000 sq. ft. | Wired Backhaul: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive claimed range
Relatively inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
Harder to set up
The app can be confusing

At the back of our lineup is the Meshforce Whole Home WiFi Suite, a contender that couldn't compete with the top-tier products. Still, this router offers a solid range and has average maximum data throughput, as well as most of the features you might want. It claims that it can support up to 60 devices and has Smart QoS, parental controls, a guest network, and is capable of wired backhaul or hardwired connections with two ports on the back of each node.

The installation process for the Meshforce M3S took longer since you must connect to the network with the default SSID and password, then go through the initial configuration in the app. We also found the app to be substantially less intuitive to use, and it doesn't integrate with either Alexa or Google Home. We also had to reset this router more frequently during our testing. This option is relatively inexpensive, but we weren't huge fans, mainly because our lineup includes comparable and affordable products that considerably surpassed this option.

wifi mesh system - overall, we weren't overly thrilled with the m3s.
Overall, we weren't overly thrilled with the M3S.
Credit: David Wise

Why You Should Trust Us


Leading our WiFi mesh system review is David Wise, a team member who has reviewed networking devices and smart home products, in the past, giving him a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of consumer electronics. He also brings his formal training as a mechanical engineer, focusing on electromechanical and robotic systems, to the review with the design of our testing protocol and the interpretation of results.

We've reviewed various office products over the years, providing us with extensive knowledge, familiarity, and experience. For this review, we researched over 50 top WiFi mesh systems available on the market before purchasing the 8 most compelling models to test head-to-head and rank.

Our tests cover four weighted rating metrics:
  • Range
  • Ease of Installation
  • Features
  • Physical Characteristics

We consider range important among the test metrics, which we tested by creating WiFi heat maps of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of each system installed in a traditional split-level home using NetSpot network mapping software. These maps allowed us to compare the signal strength and range between the competition and against the claims of a product's manufacturer. At GearLab, we stand behind our hands-on testing philosophy, and this is a prime example as our efforts, like creating WiFi heat maps, provide beneficial details that you wouldn't otherwise capture.

A coverage map of just the main node of the S4.
A coverage map of just the main node of the S4.
We tested all the top routers so you don't have to.
We tested all the top routers so you don't have to.
A map showing all three nodes of the S4 enabled.
A map showing all three nodes of the S4 enabled.

Analysis and Test Results


To capture all aspects of a WiFi mesh system's performance, we created four different test metrics: Range, Ease of Installation, Features, and Physical Characteristics. We highlighted standout performances for each metric in the sections below and any products that we found particularly lackluster.

Range


For our range metric, we looked at the claimed coverage for three units and the expandability of the network. We made heat maps of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of each router installed in a typical split-level home using NetSpot network mapping software. Using this software, we mapped the SNR throughout the house at a series of points, with the software interpolating data between measured areas.

wifi mesh system - an example of the sampling points required to make one of our maps...
An example of the sampling points required to make one of our maps. Red denotes the highest signal strength and blue is the weakest.

We looked at the coverage maps of both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks and combined coverage. Looking at these maps, more dB's are better, with the scale going from blue to red, where red indicates the strongest signal to noise ratio and blue is around the bare minimum to establish a connection. The small WiFi symbols denote the location of the access points. For reference, an SNR of around 20 dB is about the minimum for basic browsing, with 25-40+ dB best for high-speed streaming or large downloads. We also compared the coverage with just a single router operating compared to the mesh network and were impressed with the increased coverage for all of these products.

The Nest router's coverage when only looking at the main node.
The Nest router's coverage when only looking at the main node.
The Nest Router's coverage with all 3 points active.
The Nest Router's coverage with all 3 points active.

Overall, we were the most impressed with the Google Nest Router and the TP-Link Deco X20 when it came to coverage. The Nest Router and the Deco X20 have the largest claimed coverage areas for three units at 6600 sq. ft. and 5800 sq. ft., respectively. You can also create hybrid systems with these routers, with the Nest compatible with both Nest Points and Google Mesh routers and the Deco X20 expandable with other Deco units. These managed to cover the bulk of the house with 5 GHz coverage that topped out the chart.

A map showing the coverage of the 5 GHz. network with 3 Nest routers.
A map showing the coverage of the 5 GHz. network with 3 Nest routers.
The covered areas of the 5 GHz. network of three of the Deco X20...
The covered areas of the 5 GHz. network of three of the Deco X20 nodes.

When looking at combined coverage with the 2.4 GHz network, this further reduced the zones with only moderate coverage.

wifi mesh system - the x20 network covered the bulk of the house when looking at both...
The X20 network covered the bulk of the house when looking at both its 2.4 GHz. and the 5 GHz. networks.

The TP-Link Deco S4 only claims a covered area of 5500 sq. ft., but actually did quite well, matching the X20 and the Google Nest Router when it came to 5 GHz coverage. This router system is also compatible with other Deco models.

wifi mesh system - the deco s4 impressed us with its expansive 5 ghz. coverage with...
The Deco S4 impressed us with its expansive 5 GHz. coverage with three nodes enabled.

The Meshforce M3S system also has an impressive coverage claim of 6000 sq. ft. and did back that up with its performance in our mapping test. The combined coverage map showed just shy of 55 dB of SNR throughout most of the house.

wifi mesh system - looking at both networks, the m3s appears to have decent coverage.
Looking at both networks, the M3S appears to have decent coverage.

However, this considerably dropped when we isolated the 5 GHz network, with a few areas showing SNR as low as 20dB. These did have better coverage with the 2.4 GHz network but could be problematic if you were looking to put a streaming device or anything else that would benefit from the faster 5 GHz speeds in those areas.

wifi mesh system - we weren't too impressed with the performance of the meshforce's 5...
We weren't too impressed with the performance of the Meshforce's 5 GHz. coverage compared to the rest.

Ease of Installation


For this metric, we compared and rated the steps for the physical installation process, the initial network configuration, and the user-friendliness of the companion app. Overall, we found the TP-Link models — the M3, Deco M5, Deco X20, and the Deco S4 — to be the quickest and easiest to set up. These contenders use the Deco app, which is dedicated solely to setting up and managing your network with these routers. We found this made the app much simpler and more intuitive to use than the models that relied on an app that runs a whole smart home to set up, like the Google Nest or Google WiFi systems.

The Deco app guides you through the process with a series of prompts.
The Deco app guides you through the process with a series of prompts.
It's very easy to add additional Deco units once the first is...
It's very easy to add additional Deco units once the first is installed, making it a breeze to set up this mesh system.

Once you set up the initial node, adding additional nodes is very easy. The app gives you ideas about potential placements and can usually automatically detect the routers after you plug them in and they have time to turn on. You can also check your arrangement and ensure it's good once the nodes are connected. However, we usually had to update the firmware with the TP-Link models before they were good to go.

The Deco app even changes icons depending on the model you are...
The Deco app even changes icons depending on the model you are installing.
We like that this app guides you through the placement of the nodes...
We like that this app guides you through the placement of the nodes depending on the type of home you have.

We think the Amazon eero WiFi System is the next easiest to set up. It follows a very similar process to the TP-Link routers, with guided prompts walking you through the process. Like the TP-Link model, each eero node has two ports on the back, with your main router node having one of those taken up for the connection to your mode. We experienced one hiccup with the app during installation, forcing us to restart the process before successfully getting all three nodes connected. We also thought the app was just a bit less intuitive to find things, but all in all, the process was fairly painless.

The eero app also makes it easy to set up this mesh system.
The eero app also makes it easy to set up this mesh system.
The eero seamlessly connects to your Alexa smart home.
The eero seamlessly connects to your Alexa smart home.

Finishing at the back of the group, the Meshforce M3S was our least favorite to set up. You need to plug in this router, connect using the factory default SSID and password on the router's base, and start the initial configuration using the MyMesh app. This app just seemed to be a bit clunky to us and took us about twice as long as the TP-Link X20 or the Deco M5

Features


Next, we rated and compared the different features and functions available to you with these mesh systems, looking at things like smart home integration, guest networks, QoS/device prioritization, wired backhaul, parental controls, and internet standards.

In general, we found the TP-Link routers — the Deco M5, Deco X20, and Deco S4 to be top contenders for features. These are AC1300, AX1800, and AC1200, respectively, and all three of these routers have MU-MIMO and beamforming. Even better, the X20 is an orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) router, as it is WiFi-6 compatible. These routers all have the option for wired backhaul, allowing you to connect nodes via Ethernet cable, and have the option for a guest network.

wifi mesh system - each of the deco s4's have a pair of ethernet ports for wired...
Each of the Deco S4's have a pair of ethernet ports for wired backhaul or hardwired connections.
Credit: David Wise

They also allow you to prioritize or blacklist certain devices and set up parental controls to limit specific content or schedule internet access. You can also connect these with your Amazon Alexa smart home and link it with Google Assistant for some basic controls.

The AC1200 TP-Link Deco M3 has just about all the features of the other Deco models except for wired backhaul. The plug-in extenders lack Ethernet ports, rendering this impossible. These Deco routers also support WPS — handy if you have a printer or other devices that can only connect to your network in that way.

The Google Mesh WiFi and the Google Nest Router both have the option for parental controls and a guest network, but we didn't like their QoS quite as much. You only have the option to set a single device as a priority device for a set time, rather than establishing permanent priority for a streaming box or work computer like you can with the TP-Link routers. These routers also can be set up in a wired backhaul configuration and seamlessly integrate with your Google smart home, but Alexa users are out of luck if you want voice control over your network. These routers also are not WPS-capable out of security concerns.

The Amazon eero mesh router has plenty of features, like extensive parental controls, a guest network, and a device blacklist, but you'll need to pay for a subscription to eeroSecure or eeroSecure+ to make the most of them. We also didn't find an option to set priority access for certain devices, but you can use wired backhaul with these routers and integrate them with Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit.

wifi mesh system - the eero system has a decent number of features and looks pretty...
The eero system has a decent number of features and looks pretty good in our opinion.
Credit: David Wise

Physical Characteristics


Fortunately, WiFi mesh systems design has improved quite a bit regarding looks. These products look considerably sleeker and more stylish among your home decor than the typical black plastic rectangle with multiple protruding antennas. For this metric, we looked at the physical size of the main router and satellite nodes and the appearance of the components when it came to determining scores.

Of all the routers we tested, we like the TP-Link Deco M5, Google WiFi System, and Amazon eero WiFi System the most in this regard. The Deco M5 is one of the smallest options overall. All three nodes are identical, measuring around 4.7" across and are only 1.3" tall. These circular pucks have a very modern look that can be discreet and blend into the background easily. The Google WiFi and the Amazon eero are just a bit bigger, and all three of these routers have a pair of Auto-sensing WAN/LAN ports on the back.

wifi mesh system - each eero node has a pair of wan/lan ports on the back.
Each eero node has a pair of WAN/LAN ports on the back.
Credit: David Wise

The Google Nest Router, TP-Link Deco X20, and Meshforce M3S are next in our eyes when it comes to appearance. These three products all have identical main routers and nodes, with all three having a relatively modern and sleek look. The Meshforce M3S is angular, while the Nest and the Deco X20 are cylindrical.

wifi mesh system - the google mesh router is sleek and compact.
The Google Mesh router is sleek and compact.
Credit: David Wise

All three are roughly 4"x4"x4", have a pair of Ethernet ports, and we don't think they would be too much trouble to tuck out of sight. The Meshforce routers also have keyhole slots on the back to mount them to a wall.

The TP-Link Deco S4 is next for looks, being about twice the height of the X20 or the Google Nest. We also don't think it looks quite as nice as some other WiFi mesh systems.

wifi mesh system - the deco s4 is quite a bit bigger than some of the others.
The Deco S4 is quite a bit bigger than some of the others.
Credit: David Wise

The TP-Link Deco M3 follows this WiFi mesh system. The main router for this system looks almost identical to an S4, but the two satellite nodes are decently sized boxes that plug straight into an outlet. We felt this made them just a bit less discreet, and the two extender nodes both lack any Ethernet ports, making wired backhaul or hardwired connections impossible.

wifi mesh system - the extenders for the m3 are quite bulky.
The extenders for the M3 are quite bulky.
Credit: David Wise

Conclusion


Having spotty WiFi coverage can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you're working remotely from your home office, gaming, or streaming. We hope this has been a helpful comparison of all the top WiFi mesh systems currently available and has been beneficial for your quest for a better network. All of these routers will increase the useable area of your WiFi network. Still, suppose you are trying to get the fastest internet possible. In that case, it's also worth checking with your ISP about upgrading your service or updating your modem, as even the best router can't improve on a bottleneck caused by your modem or provider.

David Wise

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