The improvement of device performance of a recycling solar air heater featuring a wire mesh packing was investigated experimentally and theoretically. The application of the wire mesh packing and recycle-effect concept to the present study were proposed aiming to strengthen the convective heat-transfer coefficient due to increased turbulence. Comparisons were made among different designs, including the single-pass, flat-plate double-pass and recycling double-pass wire mesh packed operations. The collector efficiency of the recycling double-pass wire mesh packed solar air heater was much higher than that of the other configurations for various recycle ratios and mass flow rates scenarios. The power consumption increment due to implementing wire mesh in solar air heaters was also discussed considering the economic feasibility. A fairly good agreement between theoretical predictions and experimental measurements was achieved with an analyzed error of 1.07%–9.32%.