Best Mesh Routers of 2021

Mesh routers help spread WiFi throughout even the largest homes. Here are models with the best scores from our testing.

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Illustration of 4 mesh routers placed in a 2 floor house with attic Illustration: Lacey Browne/Consumer Reports, iStock

Your wireless router is the gateway between your home and all the internet has to offer.

It brings Netflix, Spotify, and other widely used streaming services to your devices—from a tablet to a big-screen TV. It also lets you pay bills with the click of a mouse and keep a watchful eye on your property with a video doorbell.

But for many people, especially those in a large home or one with thick brick walls, a router can also be a source of frustration. And that's where a mesh router can help.

A mesh router uses multiple devices—a base station (which plugs into the modem that connects your home to the internet) and additional satellite units (typically one or two)—that work together to spread WiFi throughout your dwelling.

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You might, for example, place the base station in the kitchen and the satellite units in a bedroom, study, or den—pushing the WiFi signal where you need it most.

And while the best mesh routers used to routinely cost around $500, today you can buy reliable models for half of that. In fact, 11 of the 19 options in our ratings now cost $250 or less.

Every year, Consumer Reports tests dozens of wireless routers. We measure how well they perform across a range of criteria, including how fast they transmit data at a variety of distances and how easy they are to set up.

We also incorporate privacy and security into our testing, noting, for example, whether the router allows you to set long, complex passwords and whether it automatically updates the onboard software, protecting you from online threats.

The models featured here are the best mesh routers based on CR's latest testing.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.