Since the first consumer-grade Wi-Fi system — the original Eero — debuted in early 2015, there have been so many others on the market, giving those living in large houses plenty of options. Below is the list of what I consider the best Wi-Fi 5 mesh systems. Among other things, they all must have an overall rating of 7/10 or higher.
By the way, the concept of mesh Wi-Fi system, where multiple hardware units work together to deliver a unified wireless network for a large area, is probably the most significant legacy of the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) standard.
As the world moves to Wi-Fi 6, it’s actually a great time to invest in a fully mature Wi-Fi standard. At the very least, you’ll see why you shouldn’t ditch your Wi-Fi 5 devices yet, not in many years.
Dong’s note: This is a frequently updated post.
Best Wi-Fi 5 Mesh Systems: The list
This list includes mesh Wi-Fi systems I’ve reviewed on Dong Knows Tech that I’d use for myself — and I’ve been using at least a few. I put these in the order I evaluated them with the latest on top. The number in front of their name is just numerical and not meant to be the ranking.
Scroll down to the bottom to see all systems’ performance in numbers. Also, if you think a standalone router is enough for your situation, check out this list of the best Wi-Fi 5 routers instead.
10. UniFi BeaconHD (Plus the UDM): A flexible home mesh for savvy users
Combining the two gives you a powerful UniFi mesh system that is both easy to use via a mobile app and super comprehensive via the web user interface.
Ubiquiti Unifi Access Point BeaconHD's Rating
Reliable Wi-Fi coverage and performance
Super-easy to set up and manage via the UniFi mobile app
Beautiful status light
Bulky without a pass-through power socket
Can only fit in a single or two-outlet wall face-plate
No network ports, no dedicated backhaul band
Only works with UniFi controllers
Firmware update requires the web interface
9. Asus RT-AX92U: A Wi-Fi 5 mesh by two Wi-Fi 6 routers
No, I’m not mistaken. The Asus RT-AX92U is an odd case. As a standalone solution, it’s a Wi-Fi 6 router. But if you buy a 2-pack, it will work as a Wi-Fi 5 solution. That’s because, in this case, its sole Wi-Fi 6 band (5GHz-2) will function as the backhaul — by default, it’s not available to clients.
That said, if you want a Wi-Fi 5 system that has a super strong wireless link between the hardware unit, the RT-AX92U is a great choice.
ASUS RT-AX92U's Rating
Compact design, tri-band specs
Good performance, large coverage
Excellent set of features, including online protection, WTFast VPN for gamers, and system-wide Guest network when working as a mesh
Link Aggregation and Dual-WAN support, wall-mountable
Wi-Fi 6 available only on one of the 5GHz bands
No Multi-Gig port
8. Asus ZenWiFi AC CT8: The official AiMesh system that rocks
Since early 2018, AiMesh has been the most popular feature from Asus that turns two or more supported routers into a mesh system. The ZenWiFi AC CT8 is Asus’s first canned Wi-Fi system built around this feature.
If you’ve been holding up on a mesh system, this is the one to get. It has excellent Wi-Fi coverage and a set of features that beats any of its peers. Alternatively, you can also consider other Asus routers and use them in an AiMesh setup.
Asus ZenWiFi AC CT8's Rating
Significantly improved AiMesh feature
Fast performance, excellent Wi-Fi coverage
Tons of useful features and settings, including free network real-time online protection for life
Fast dedicated backhaul, wired backhaul supported
Helpful mobile app
The web user interface doesn't always work as intended (bugs)
Only 3 LAN ports per router
Not enough setting instructions
Guest networking still has issues
The combo of buggy firmware and auto-update
7. Netgear Orbi RBK13: A Mesh for the budget-minded
The newly-released Orbi RBK13 is the first Netgear Orbi that comes in a set of three units (instead of two.) It’s a low-power dual-band system with modest Wi-Fi specs. But it’s reliable and will work well for those with an average broadband connection.
Netgear Orbi RBK13's Rating
Reliable Wi-Fi, excellent coverage
Relatively affordable, plenty of settings, useful features
Easy to set up, compact design
Environmentally conscientious packaging
Middling Wi-Fi specs, low Wi-Fi throughputs
No dedicated or wired backhaul option
6. Ubiquiti Labs AmpliFI HD: The totally cool mesh
The AmpliFi HD was first introduced in 2017, but I didn’t get a chance to review it until late 2019. And it turned out to be quite a novelty — imagine how more so it was at launch! The mesh’s router unit has a useful display that gives you lots of information at a glance. It’s also reliable and easy to use. In return, there’s not much you can do with it in terms of settings and features.
Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD's Rating
Ridiculously easy to set up
Fast and reliable performance
Useful VPN for mobile users
Well-designed mobile app
Limited number of settings and features
No wired backhaul
Vendor login required for remote administration
Bulky mesh points
5. Synology Mesh: A custom professional mesh you can always count on
Synology introduced a mesh add-on feature via a firmware update and the introduction of the MR2200ac router. It’s a similar feature to Asus’s AiMesh.
Synology Mesh is not as diverse as that of AiMesh — it includes only two router models — but, therefore, is more reliable. It also has a more professional interface.
Synology Wi-Fi Mesh System's Rating
Fast, reliable, and large Wi-Fi coverage
Advanced interface with high-quality add-on features
Highly-customizable network settings
Effective Parental Controls and online protection
Advanced Guest network
Limited hardware options
Few network ports
Not available as a package (you need to get two or more units)
4. Asus Lyra Trio: An ideal mesh system for a wired home
As far as I know, the Asus Lyra Trio is the only mesh system on the market that uses three 3×3 routers. For this reason, it’s a perfect mesh for a home that’s already wired with network cables.
Via wired backhaul, the Lyra Trio will deliver the fastest Wi-Fi 5 speeds among canned mesh systems, even though it also works well in a wireless setup.
Asus Lyra Trio's Rating
Fast, reliable performance, excellent Wi-Fi range
Generous feature set and robust web-interface
Easy setup, helpful mobile app
Built-in security, no privacy risks
Ability to work as an extension of an existing network via the access point mode, or as part of an AiMesh system
Setup, firmware updates, and configurations can be a pain
Minimal Wi-Fi settings
Not able to block secure (HTTPS) websites
3. Netgear Orbi Voice: How your Wi-Fi can sing, too
Though available as a system named RBV50, the Orbi Voice is just a satellite unit of Netgear’s Orbi ecosystem — it works with any Orbi router. The selling point is it’s also an Alexa-enabled smart speaker with decent sound quality. The fact that recently Netgear has upgraded its firmware to make it work with any router means it’s a quite excellent buy for those needing both Wi-Fi and a smart speaker.
Netgear Orbi Voice's Rating
Mesh Wi-Fi satellite and Alexa smart-speaker all in one
Excellent Wi-Fi coverage and speed, good sound quality
Nice, compact design
Only works with a Netgear Orbi router
Expensive, slightly buggy mobile app
Short delay in Alexa's response
2. Netgear Orbi CBK40: An Easy Mesh for Cable Users
The Orbi CBK40 is Netgear’s only Orbi mesh system for cable users. The router unit, by itself, is a cable gateway. The system works very well for cable customers, as long as they don’t also use cable Internet as their landline phone service.
Netgear Orbi CBK40's Rating
Easy to setup
Built-in fast cable modem
Middling Wi-Fi specs
No WAN port, no telephony capability
1. Linksys Velop Dual-Band: An affordable, reliable mesh
The Linksys Velop Dual-Band is a downgrade to the original Velop by using dual-band routers instead of tri-band. In return, it’s a lot more affordable. Alternatively, you can also consider the Linksys Velop Plug-In.
Linksys Velop Dual-Band's Rating
Compact design, easy to set up and mange
Ability to use network cables as back-haul
Access point (bridge) mode supported
Ability to block Facebook, YouTube, and alike.
A login account with Linksys is required
More expensive than competing systems
No built-in online protection
Best Wi-Fi 5 Mesh Systems: The performance
I tested the performances of these systems at the review time with the latest firmware version available then. The charts below are sorted in the reviewed order — latest on top.
I evaluate all mesh systems’ throughput performance by testing their router and then their satellite, placed some 40 feet (12 m) from the router. For the official scores, I always use the hardware units in the star topology, where each satellite unit has a direct wireless link to the router.
For throughput testing, I place the Wi-Fi client at some 10 feet (3 m) and some 40 feet (12 m) from the broadcaster (router/satellite) for the close- and long-range scores, respectively.