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Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Which mesh router should yous buy?

(Image credit: Google)

Comparing Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi is a great place to start if you’re looking for ane of the
best mesh Wi-Fi systems

Google isn’t just a major force on the internet and how we utilise information technology but is likewise a large thespian in how people get connected to brainstorm with. The company first introduced one of the earliest mainstream mesh Wi-Fi systems dorsum in 2016, offering quick and convenient setup with app-based controls.

The original
Google Wifi
was one of our favorite mesh routers of 2016 but then in 2019, Google released a new mesh Wi-Fi package under the Nest brand proper name. The Google
Nest Wifi
mesh kit took things up a notch, improving upon the original in well-nigh every way, including past calculation smart features we wish more companies would prefer.

Nevertheless though, the original Google Wifi model didn’t disappear. Instead, Google updated information technology in 2020 by giving it a lower price while retaining the hardware and operation we loved in the original Google Wifi. Both Google Wifi and Nest Wifi are still beingness sold but the similarities in their hardware ways that the only substantial difference is price.

This leaves shoppers looking for a mesh Wi-Fi arrangement wondering which is better. For those comparison the original Google Wifi to the newer Nest WiFi, we’ve got the lowdown on which of these award-winning mesh networking kits could be all-time for y’all.

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Specs

Google Wifi Nest Wifi
Price $99 (unmarried), $199 (3 units) $169 (unmarried), $269 (with i access point), $349 (2 access points)
Release date 2016 2019
Wi-Fi spec 802.11ac/Dual Band 802.11ac/Dual Band
802.11ac Type AC1200 MU-MIMO AC2200 (router)
Number of Antennas/Removable 4/No 4/No
Ports 2x 1Gbps LAN, USB-C for ability (Router) 2x 1Gbps LAN, power; (Extension) None
Processor Quad-core 710MHz Quad-core 1.4GHz
Retentiveness/Storage 512MB/4GB (Router) 1GB/4GB; (Extension) 768MB/512MB
Wi-Fi Flake Qualcomm IPQ4019 Qualcomm QCS 400
Dimensions 4.1 ten 4.1 x inches (Router) 4.three x 4.3 ten three.6 inches ; (Extension) 4.0 x iv.0 x 3.4 inches
Color options Snow Mist, Sand, Snow

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Price and availability

On the Google Store, you can find Google Wifi listed for a very affordable $99 for single units and $199 for a trio of interchangeable units. If you demand two or four or 5 points for your Google Wifi arrangement, you’ll need to add together them individually.

The relaunch of Google Wifi in 2020 brought minor technical changes along with the lower starting toll. The hardware was largely identical, but the power connector was inverse from USB-C to a standard barrel connector, and the Google “G” logo was changed from a unproblematic sticker on the device to a alphabetic character molded into the plastic of the housing.

The older models tin still exist plant on Amazon, selling for dissimilar prices than the 2020 version sold directly by Google.

The Nest Wifi, on the other hand, is sold as either a unmarried router, or in packs of ii or three, bundling a single router with ane or ii points, respectively. A single router sells for $169 alone, or $269 when bundled with a single Wifi betoken, or $349 for two points. Private Wifi points can also be purchased for $149 each.

Google recommends adding no more than five points to a single network, for a total of half-dozen units (one router + 5 points). According to Google: “Adding more may exist detrimental to Wi-Fi performance.”

Hither’s the best part. If yous already ain a Google Wifi unit and want to upgrade to the newer Nest Wifi, the older Google Wifi points volition work with the newer Nest hardware, giving you additional expansion units for fifty-fifty more coverage area. The performance may not be equally skilful on the older devices, but it’s a unproblematic way to upgrade for less.

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Blueprint

The biggest obvious alter from 2016 to now is in the physical design. The original Google Wifi mesh organization has a collection of interchangeable units called points, all identical and capable of connecting with each other to create a seamless mesh network.

I Google Wifi signal connects to your modem and serves as the central unit, while the rest act as your mesh extensions throughout the firm — but it doesn’t matter which ane you choose to exist the key unit of measurement.

Google WiFi

(Image credit: Google)

With a white plastic body, a cylindrical pattern and distinctive LED stripe around the center of each Wi-Fi point, the Google Wifi design manages to feel a little dated, even though it was introduced only 6 years ago.

Nest Wifi in Pink

(Image credit: Google)

The newer Nest Wifi updates the pattern of the mesh kit, retaining the cylindrical look but softening it with rounded corners, removing the stylized LED indicator stripe and adding color options beyond plain white.

The biggest blueprint change Nest Wifi introduced is a shift away from interchangeable points to a system that uses a designated central router unit of measurement and designated mesh points throughout the firm. The router and points differ slightly in both look and features and are not interchangeable the way the Google Wifi points are.

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Features

The original Google Wifi offered plenty of avant-garde features for its time, with unproblematic mesh networking and 802.11ac connectivity that was top-of-the-line when the system was introduced.

Ethernet Ports

(Image credit: Google)

Each Google Wifi point is equipped with a pair of Ethernet ports, letting yous connect your cablevision modem to the central unit or attach other devices to the extended mesh network through the various points effectually the business firm.

Merely the real standout feature back in 2016 was the ease of setup. Using the Google Wifi App (since changed to the the Google Home app), you lot could set up each Google Wifi device simply past scanning a QR lawmaking on the base of operations of the unit of measurement, with setup taking roughly five minutes per unit.

When it initially launched, the Google Wifi mesh kit was also notable for its early smart-home capabilities, which included IFTTT functionality.

When Google introduced Nest Wifi in 2020, information technology updated this feature ready with a number of new functions.

Smart-home features were a major focus, every bit the Nest name might suggest. In addition to app-based network direction, Nest Wifi works with the entire Nest family of products, plus major brands such every bit Philips Hue, Tile trackers, GE, TP-Link, and Kasa. From smart locks to smart lights and plugs, your whole house full of connected devices should be compatible with the Nest Wifi organization.

But the biggest feature change to come up with Nest Wifi was integrated smart-speaker technology, putting a Google Habitation smart speaker into every expansion indicate. It’s a clever move on Google’s role, offering a uncomplicated path to putting smart-speaker engineering into multiple rooms of a home without requiring an extra device aslope a satellite mesh unit. (Check out the
all-time Google Dwelling speakers
to see our picks for standalone smart speakers.)

Similar smart-speaker technology has been offered on other mesh products — the
Netgear Orbi Voice
came out a full year before the Nest Wifi and TP-Link announced an Alexa-equipped mesh system during
CES 2021
— but only Google has thought to practise and so in its flagship mesh-networking equipment.

Google Nest WiFi Lifestyle

(Image credit: Google)

In addition to letting yous control certain router features with phonation commands, Nest Wifi as well gives you the selection of asking nigh the weather condition, playing music or decision-making the diverse connected devices in your home.

You lot tin use the multiple Google Dwelling-equipped Wifi points as an intercom arrangement betwixt rooms and even play music that follows you from room to room.

The only area where we failed to come across the expected advancement was in Wi-Fi standards, with the Nest Wifi notwithstanding using 802.11ac (retroactively renamed Wi-Fi v) instead of the newer Wi-Fi vi (802.11ax) protocol.

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Operation

The biggest differences between the Google and Nest versions of Google’s mesh system are in operation and range, with the newer Nest Wifi offer faster throughput and larger coverage areas beyond the board.

The Google Wifi offered maximum throughput of 464.4 Mbps, still fairly impressive for an affordable mesh Wi-Fi organisation. But the Nest Wifi stepped that up substantially, with a peak throughput of 653.2Mbps. That even tops some of the Wi-Fi half-dozen models on our
best mesh routers

The Nest Wifi too offers better range, translating into larger coverage areas with the same number of units. Where a unmarried Google Wifi unit of measurement covered 1,500 square feet, the Nest Wifi router covers 2,200 foursquare feet. Calculation a 2d or third unit only increases expanded range farther, every bit indicated in the chart below.

Google Wifi Nest Wifi
Single router Up to 1500 sq ft Up to 2200 sq ft
2-pack Up to 3000 sq ft Up to 3800 sq ft
3-pack Upward to 4500 sq ft Up to 5400 sq ft

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Security

Since the first Google Wifi was released, Google has built security features into its mesh Wi-Fi products.

The 2016 Google Wifi boasts an Infineon Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that encrypts network traffic and verifies firmware installations to protect the unabridged network at the router level. Y’all tin can as well pause the net connection to one or all devices in the abode.

But the Google Wifi lacks any built-in malware protections and doesn’t offer whatsoever substantial parental controls, such as content filtering or deeper admission controls.

The Nest Wifi, on the other hand, adds precisely the sort of features that the Google Wifi was missing. It keeps the TPM-based encryption, and upgrades to the WPA 3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security protocol, which later was added to the 2020 version of Google Wifi.

The Nest Wifi also gets some better parental controls. The ability to pause Wi-Fi admission is enhanced with the ability to schedule cyberspace time-outs or ready routines to disconnect the kid’due south devices for scheduled events like homework or bedtime. Parents can also filter content by site, applying Google SafeSearch to cake millions of inappropriate adult websites.

The best role? These parental controls can be accessed right from your smartphone or through Google Banana — including the Google Dwelling house app congenital into the Nest Wifi points throughout the business firm.

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Which is best for you?

When you get correct downwards to it, both the Google Wifi and Nest Wifi are highly capable mesh systems, with decent features and reasonable prices. But if yous desire the all-time mesh Wi-Fi kit you can get right at present, the Nest Wifi is the clear winner.

The Nest Wifi offers a much more comprehensive feature set, including broader smart-home compatibility and powerful parental controls. The Nest offers better range and faster operation. And the inclusion of Google Home in every Nest Wifi point is a no-brainer for anyone looking to add a great smart speaker to one or more rooms in the business firm.

That said, the Google Wifi is still a smart pick for budget shoppers, and while the feature set isn’t as rich, the performance is still quite good, especially if range is less of a concern.

If you don’t care about Google Home, or if you’re already an Alexa household, then the lack of smart speaker in the Google Wifi isn’t even making it to your pros/cons list.

The Nest Wifi is the latest and greatest, to exist sure, only in that location’south still plenty of reason to become Google Wifi.

Brian Westover is currently Atomic number 82 Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, nevertheless, he was Senior Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he led the site’s Boob tube coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI He besides put his calculating cognition to proficient employ past reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and too led our router and habitation networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom’southward Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.