10 Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers (2023): For Large Homes and Small Budgets

The Deco app and web interface are functional with limited options and feel a little clunky to navigate. The app failed to identify many of the devices on my network. I was also disappointed in the lack of an option to run a speed test on the router to see what my ISP delivers. Ultimately, the inclusion of that 6-GHz band won’t make a difference for many people, but this is an affordable way to dip your toe in 6E waters. If you are prepared to spend a bit more, the Deco XE200 ($800 for a 2-pack), listed in other routers we have tested below, is an excellent performer and one of the best Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems you can get. The MSRP is high, but keep an eye out for price drops.

If you are an early adopter desperate to sample the delights of Wi-Fi 7 and don’t mind paying for the privilege, the TP-Link Deco BE85 (7/10, WIRED Review) is likely on your radar. There are very few Wi-Fi 7 devices available today. The BE85 is fully backward compatible with previous Wi-Fi versions, but only devices that support Wi-Fi 7, like the OnePlus 11 5G, can take full advantage of this system. It is precertified, so some Wi-Fi 7 features will come later via firmware updates.

TP-Link has stuck with the vase-like design that marks its Deco range, but these are by far the largest mesh routers it has released, and each has a stylized seven on the front, lest you forget this is a Wi-Fi 7 system. Each router boasts four auto-sensing WAN/LAN Ethernet ports, two 10-Gbps ports (one is an SFP combo), two 2.5-Gbps ports, and a USB 3.0 port. Setup is quick and easy with the Deco app on your phone.

It is a tri-band system, and by default there is one SSID for the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands, a separate SSID for the 6-GHz band (your network name with “-6-GHz” appended), and an optional SSID for multi-link operation (with “-MLO” appended). MLO is a new Wi-Fi 7 feature that allows devices to connect on multiple bands simultaneously. Wi-Fi 7 also enables wider channels (up to 320 MHz from the current high of 160 MHz) and a handful of other improvements, but automated frequency coordination (AFC), which should boost range on the 6-GHz band, is not yet available.

You can expect fast Wi-Fi on any band and excellent coverage from this system (TP-Link says up to 9,000 square feet for a 3-pack). There’s potential for stable, low latency, multi-gigabit speeds if you have Wi-Fi 7 devices. But you may also encounter bugs, since Wi-Fi 7 is still so new. The Deco app is decent, though you only get basic network security and limited parental controls included. You need HomeShield Pro, at $6 per month or $55 for the year, to unlock the full set of options.

Unless you have a large home, multi-gig internet connection, and at least a couple of Wi-Fi 7 devices, you should save your money and buy one of our other recommendations. By the time Wi-Fi 7 rolls out more widely, Wi-Fi 7 routers will have dropped in price. The Deco BE85 is one of very few Wi-Fi 7 options today, but the Eero Max 7 arrives soon, and the Netgear Orbi 970 Series just landed.

You know this mesh system is for gamers because it says so prominently on the side. It also features an LED grid on the front that you can customize (it glows red by default). Gaming routers are commonplace, but this is the first gaming mesh system I have tested. Truth be told, there’s no reason that gamers need a special gaming router. A good router is a good router. But, aside from the look, Asus touts game modes that boost performance and prioritize related traffic. My 2-pack of black routers (they come in white too) was simple to set up, and each sports a 2.5 Gbps WAN port, three 1 gigabit LAN ports, and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port.

The tri-band Asus ROG Rapture GT6 finished near the top of the table in most of my tests. It has a single 2.4-GHz band and two 5-GHz bands (one is used for backhaul unless you connect the routers with an Ethernet cable). While the 2.4-GHz band performance was very good, the 5-GHz results were among the best I have recorded, and this system supports the wider 160-MHz channels and WPA3 for security. You also get AiProtection security software and comprehensive parental controls free for the lifetime of the product. The GT6 has VPN support, too, and you can use it as a VPN server when you are out.

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