Mesh router on table
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What to Look For in a Mesh Router in 2022

Mesh routers are an excellent way to solve your network’s patchy or slow connectivity issues. As mesh networking kits have grown in popularity, an overwhelming number of options have landed on the market. But if you keep a few essential points in mind while shopping, you’ll find a solid mesh router for your home.

Coverage

One of the first things to look for in a mesh router is coverage, as you’re likely upgrading because your single router can’t send Wi-Fi throughout your home. Every manufacturer mentions a range that its mesh router can cover.

While this range represents a best-case scenario and likely won’t have quite that far of a reach, it can give you a decent idea about what to expect.

If you’re unsure about the coverage, you can always start with a two-pack mesh networking kit and add more nodes if needed.

Speed

You will also have to keep in mind the speeds offered by mesh routers to ensure they’re enough for your internet connection, particularly if you have a high-speed connection.

Plus, it’s a good idea to pick a router with a dedicated backhaul band if you have a 300Mbps or faster connection unless your home is wired with Ethernet.

The different nodes of a mesh kit use the backhaul band to communicate with each other. Without a dedicated band, the internet speeds offered by the satellite nodes are considerably lower than the router (the primary node).

Price

Of course, price is another major factor to consider. While many mesh kits, particularly those with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, are pretty pricey, you’ll also find several affordable, mid-range mesh routers on the market.

Beyond these factors, it all comes down to which features you want.

RELATED: 6 Mesh Router Placement Mistakes to Avoid

Best Mesh Router Overall: ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

ASUS ZenWifi on purple background
ASUS

Pros

  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Dedicated 5GHz band for wireless backhaul
  • Multi-gig WAN port
  • Fast and reliable performance

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No multi-gig LAN port

The ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is a premium tri-band mesh router that offers speedy performance and excellent range. It’s perfect if you have gigabit internet or are planning to upgrade soon. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it for sub-gigabit connections, but it’ll just be overkill.

Its Wi-Fi 6 support makes the router future-proof, and the tri-band build ensures it gets a dedicated wireless backhaul on one of the 5GHz bands. Of course, wired backhaul is also possible if your home is wired with Ethernet.

The 5,500 square feet of coverage offered by its two-pack will be enough for most consumers. But if you have a bigger home or want to expand coverage into the yard, you can pick one or more additional units and add them to your network.

Speaking of adding more units, one key highlight of the ZenWiFi router is its compatibility with the company’s AiMesh technology, which allows it to pair with other AiMesh routers. So, if you have an older ASUS router with AiMesh, you can connect it to the mesh router and expand coverage.

Unlike many other mesh routers, the XT8 offers free access to its anti-malware solution and parental controls. The Quality of Service (QoS) option is also present to prioritize gaming, video conferencing, and other critical traffic.

Additionally, it’s a great choice if you prefer a wired connection for specific devices, as you get three gigabit Ethernet ports on each ZenWiFi node. Plus, there’s a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port for networked storage or a printer.

Finally, although it’s a relatively big router, its sleek and classy design ensures it won’t look out of place in your home.

Best Mesh Router Overall

ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

It's hard to go wrong with the ZenWiFi AX (XT8) if you want a solid mesh router to bring super-fast internet to every corner of your home.

Best Budget Mesh Router: TP-Link Deco X20

TP-Link Deco system on light grey background
TP-Link

Pros

  • Easy to install and user-friendly app
  • Great value for money
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Free access to parental controls and anti-malware protection

Cons

  • No dedicated band for backhaul
  • Only two Ethernet ports per node
  • No USB port

The TP-Link Deco X20 offers all the benefits of a mesh router without a premium price tag. Its two-pack is perfect for average home size, thanks to a 4,000 square feet coverage area. And the Wi-Fi 6 support ensures the router is not only future-proof but also capable of tackling dozens of devices.

You can set the whole system up in a matter of minutes using the company’s smartphone app, which is easy to use and allows you to manage the network. For example, you can use it to check the status of the network, tweak the QoS option, change device priority, and much more.

Although Deco X20’s performance isn’t comparable to the ZenWiFi XT8, it still provides respectable speeds. Plus, TP-Link’s HomeCare functions, which include parental controls and anti-malware protection, are free for life.

As it’s a dual-band router, you only get one 5GHz band. So the backhaul traffic has to compete with the regular internet traffic, resulting in worse speeds via the satellite nodes. But fortunately for you, the wired backhaul option is available if you want to wire your home.

Unfortunately, there are no multi-gig LAN or USB ports, but that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make for the router’s affordability.

Best Budget Mesh Router

TP-Link Deco X20

You don't have to break the bank for TP-Link's Deco X20. This affordable mesh router supports Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and is quite easy to set up.

Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router: ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 on orange background
ASUS

Pros

  • Tri-band support with a dedicated 5GHz band for backhaul
  • Fast and reliable performance
  • Dual-WAN support

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No muti-gig LAN port

In addition to being our pick for the best mesh router overall, the ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) takes the crown for the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router. This is because it has the most well-rounded feature set among almost all Wi-Fi 6 routers currently on the market.

Being a tri-band router, the XT8 comes with two 5GHz bands, one of which the system uses as a dedicated backhaul band. Thanks to 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 support and 160MHz channel width on this band, it delivers a strong wireless backhaul with super-fast connectivity even via the satellite nodes.

You will also get extensive Wi-Fi coverage with this ASUS mesh router, and depending on your coverage requirements, you can pick from a two-pack or three-pack.

The router also features a good port selection. For example, you get a multi-gig WAN port, three gigabit LAN ports, and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port. Plus, as there’s support for dual-WAN, you can convert one of the LAN ports or the USB port into a WAN port for a secondary internet connection for load balancing or high availability.

Another advantage of getting the XT8 is free access to the company’s anti-malware solution and parental controls, features many manufacturers are putting behind a subscription.

All-in-all, the ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is a fantastic option for anyone looking to get a Wi-Fi 6 mesh router.

Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router

ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

Get all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 and solid performance from this ASUS mesh router that is an all-around great option.

Best Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router: ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12

ASUS ZenWiFi Pro on pink background
ASUS

Pros

  • Dual multi-gig ports
  • Stylish design
  • Fantastic performance

Cons

  • Lacks a dedicated wireless band for backhaul
  • Expensive
  • No USB port

One of the biggest differences between Wi-Fi 6E and older Wi-Fi versions is the new 6GHz band, which has over twice the bandwidth provided by the 5GHz band. With this band, compatible devices essentially get a fast lane for internet connectivity.

If you live on the cutting-edge of technology or have access to Wi-Fi 6E devices, the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is the mesh router to get.

The ASUS mesh router delivers exceptional performance, and its two-pack can cover up to 6,000 square feet of area. As a result, if you have a gigabit or faster internet connection, the ET12 will deliver super-fast connectivity throughout the house without breaking a sweat.

The router looks great and has two gigabit LAN ports, one 2.5 gigabit WAN port, and a 2.5 gigabit LAN port. The installation process is easy, and ASUS provides a robust web interface alongside its nifty smartphone app. Plus, like all ASUS mesh routers, you can access the company’s anti-malware protection, parental controls, AiMesh technology, and QoS option on the ET12.

Unfortunately, the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12 makes the most sense with a wired backhaul. Its performance suffers with a wireless backhaul due to signal loss and the lack of a dedicated band for backhaul. It’s also considerably expensive, making it out of reach for many consumers.

Best Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router

ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12

The ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is a powerful mesh system that can keep you at the bleeding edge of networking technology.

Best Mesh Router for Gaming: Amazon Eero Pro 6

Pros

  • Low latency
  • Can prioritize gaming traffic
  • Compact
  • Dedicated band for wireless backhaul
  • Easy setup and slick app

Cons

  • Parental controls and security solution require a paid subscription
  • Only two Ethernet ports
  • Expensive

If you are a competitive gamer, latency is critical, which is why we recommend the Amazon Eero Pro 6, as it is one of the lowest latency mesh routers on the market.

This Amazon router comes with an Optimize for Conferencing and Gaming feature, as a part of Eero Labs, which can prioritize gaming and VoIP traffic for better performance. This feature works similarly to the QoS option on other routers.

Like other Eero routers, the Eero Pro 6 is easy to set up and is perfect for someone who doesn’t like to tinker with the router settings beyond the initial setup. It also has Wi-Fi 6 support and three bands, including an extra 5GHz band for wireless backhaul. Additionally, the mesh router’s stylish and low-profile nodes can cover up to 2,000 square feet each and provide good internet speeds throughout the home.

Each of the Eero Pro 6 nodes has two Ethernet ports you can use to get wired connectivity to your gaming console or PC. One of these ports can also be used for a wired backhaul. A couple more Ethernet ports would make this router more enticing.

One potential downside to the Amazon router is the lack of free parental controls or anti-malware protection. Instead, you’ll have to shell out money for the company’s Eero Secure or Eero Secure+ plans to get these features.

Best Mesh Router for Gaming

Amazon Eero Pro 6

Although not directly marketed to gamers, the Eero Pro 6 includes several features to enhance your gaming experience. It's also effortless to set up and maintain.

Best Mesh Router for Large Homes: Netgear Orbi RBK753

Netgear Orbi on grey background
Netgear

Pros

  • Great coverage and reliable Wi-Fi performance
  • Relatively affordable
  • Wi-Fi 6 support

Cons

  • No USB port
  • Online protection and parental controls require a paid subscription

The Netgear Orbi RBK753 is an excellent option to spread Wi-Fi across a large property as it can cover up to 7,500 square feet. If you need even more coverage, you can always add another node for an additional 2,500 square feet.

It may not be the fastest mesh router on the market, but it delivers reliable performance considering its relatively affordable pricing. In addition, you’ll get a strong Wi-Fi signal across your property, and there won’t be any dead spots.

Like many of our recommendations, it supports Wi-Fi 6 for faster connectivity and has a dedicated 5GHz band for wireless backhaul. You can also use one of the two gigabit LAN ports on RBK753 nodes for a wired backhaul.

This Orbi mesh router doesn’t offer many Wi-Fi settings. But that isn’t necessarily bad, especially if you want something that can be set up once and forgotten. You’ll also have to pay for online protection and parental control features.

The RBK753 is a solid choice for any sub-gigabit connection you need to transmit across a large home. But if you have a gigabit or faster connection, the Netgear Orbi RBKE963 is a better option.

It’s considerably more expensive but is one of the fastest mesh routers you can find on the market. It supports Wi-Fi 6E and is excellent for up to 9,000 square feet of area.

Best Mesh Router for Large Homes

Netgear Orbi RBK753

The Netgear Orbi RBK753 is a great choice for blanketing large houses with reliable wireless connectivity. This Wi-Fi 6 mesh router delivers excellent value for its price tag.

Profile Photo for Gaurav Shukla Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla is a technology journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting and writing about consumer technology. His work has appeared in Android Police, XDA Developers, and NDTV Gadgets 360.
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