In the time of the smart home, it became abundantly clear that our traditional wireless connections weren’t made to handle all that they need, and the mesh router was developed as a way to combat this.
Two of the leading options for mesh systems come from Google, with their Nest WiFi and Google WiFi products.
Which is best, Nest Wifi or Google WiFi?
These mesh routers are both popular options with something unique to offer. Google’s entry is more affordable and suitable for homes that don’t have high-speed requirements, and Nest is more powerful and capable, but also more expensive, so you’ll have to think about what features matter most to your smart home.
To help you get to their differences and similarities so you can come up with a final selection, we’ve compared the Google Wifi vs Nest Wifi on all fronts.
We’ll look at price, power, and performance, as well as anything else you need to know to make the right decision and bring some efficiency back to your home’s wireless network.
- 1 What Does a Mesh Router Do?
- 2 What Are Google WiFi and Nest WiFi?
- 3 How These Mesh Router Systems Are Similar
- 4 Which Mesh Is Best For Your Smart Home?
- 5 The Time to Invest in Mesh
- 6 Related Questions
What Does a Mesh Router Do?
A mesh router was designed to replace traditional routers as it was found their signals couldn’t reach as far or effectively as new technologies needed.
Whether the property was too large or there were too many devices trying to access a single-point router, the router of yesterday wasn’t capable.
With the introduction of a mesh router system in the home, you’re able to broadcast various WiFi signals from different places in the home through their access points.
There’s one key point that operates as the router, and then the other access points use the main signal and broadcast it around the property. This means fewer dead spots, faster speeds, and the capability to provide reliable internet to all of your devices.
What Are Google WiFi and Nest WiFi?
Google WiFi and Nest WiFi are two options for mesh router systems, with the ultimate goal and execution of improving your home’s internet coverage, speeds, and connectivity.
Both of these systems fall under the Google brand but have some differences, with the Nest becoming the future flagship model for the company and the Google version being slowly discontinued.
The Google WiFi was released in 2016 and at this time, was the only offering that the brand had for a mesh router. When they released the follow-up in 2019, they called it the Nest WiFi, as they’d begun the transition to this brand name instead, although both devices are still popular and capable today.
With the Google WiFi system still in operation, you have a more affordable and simple way to improve your home’s WiFi. However, the newer Nest WiFi is seen as the more powerful contender, so it all depends on a home’s requirements as to which of these router systems would suit them better.
How These Mesh Router Systems Are Similar
The best way to tell how different these mesh routers are is to look at their similarities.
With this list, you can see that they both have a lot to offer the modern smart home, and are each capable of expanding your home’s WiFi network and keeping all of your important devices online and connected.
Perhaps the most important factor when dealing with wireless is how fast you can get the speeds, but this also depends on your home’s internet network.
The Nest WiFi comes out on top here with its AC2200 compared to the AC1200 that the Google WiFi uses. However, they might be different in this factor, but they both utilize 802.11ac or WiFi 5 to operate, which makes them fast and reliable.
Homes with a greater need for coverage will probably prefer the Nest WiFi option as its router can cover around 2,200 square feet and each point 1,600 square feet, even if most people won’t ever use it to this extent.
The Google WiFi can only cover 1,500 square feet which is still pretty good but not up to the standards of the Nest, so think about your home’s size and where you’ll need points to get the right coverage.
As both of these devices fall under the Google brand, it’s not surprising to discover that they’re compatible with each other. If you already own a Nest WiFi, you can use a Google WiFi product to expand it further, and vice versa.
If you have a Google WiFi and want to upgrade, there’s no need to get rid of it, as you can join it onto the Nest network and use it as another access point.
One thing you can always rely on when it comes to Google is their commitment to constant software updates.
This is illustrated in both the Google WiFi and the Nest WiFi and their ongoing strive for perfection and user-friendliness with a never-ending list of updates available for users.
No matter the router you choose, as long as it comes from Google, you can be certain it’s always going to have the latest and greatest software.
You can control either of these devices with a dedicated app, but to get all of the features, you’ll need both of them.
As confusing as this is, Google is trying to come up with a solution, and is hoping to phase out the Google WiFi app by June 2021 and have asked everyone to transition to Google Home instead.
From here, you can control both the Nest and Google mesh routers and with pretty good functionality and user-friendliness, so app-wise they’re the same.
Google WiFi vs Nest WiFi Differences
The differences between Google and Nest mesh routers are where you start to see their unique capabilities, and you’ll likely get a sense of which one is best for your home.
Here are some of the key ways that these systems differ and what these distinctions mean for your home network.
The Nest WiFi’s points don’t have an Ethernet connection so you won’t be able to connect to the mesh with a wired cable, nor will you be able to use it to connect to a wired device.
However, the Google WiFi does have this capability and features both a WAN and LAN ethernet port on each of its devices, and either can be used as a router or access point.
This might appeal to certain users who like both options, so before choosing either, plan the layout of your home and what connectivity requirements you have so you know which is best.
There is a huge discrepancy in price between these two devices, with the Google WiFi router costing less than $200 and the Nest being around $250.
When first released, the Google was less than $100 but as it’s been phased out, the cost has increased. You’ll also have to pay extra for the access points for either router so the final cost ends up a lot more when choosing Nest.
If you don’t have the additional requirements that Nest targets, it’s probably a waste of money to go with the more expensive option.
With any technology, it’s important to look at the future possibilities to see what a product is worth. As Google starts to phase out their mesh router and instead focus on the Nest system, it’s clear that Nest has more reliability in the future.
If you’re planning on getting an entirely new system, it’s smarter to go with the one that will last longer, even if the two products are compatible with each other.
Size and Appearance
The Google WiFi is the more compact option and easier to hide away or store discreetly, with the Nest being noticeably larger. The Google uses a blue LED light and the Nest a more subtle look, as well as rounding off the edges.
Color-wise, the Google WiFi-only comes in one option which is snow, whereas the Nest’s access points can be purchased in a few different ones. This gives you an option to match your mesh routers to your home décor if you’re this way inclined.
To add even more functionality to your mesh router system, Nest has added a smart speaker as standard in all of the additional access points you purchase, but not on the router itself.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t have this function built it, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on what you’re after. The quality of Nest’s speaker isn’t that impressive either and could be compared to a Nest Mini, so you still might have to upgrade after all.
Which Mesh Is Best For Your Smart Home?
There’s a lot to unpack with each of these mesh routers, but ultimately, you’ll be able to see which one matches your home’s needs.
It’s obvious that the Nest has more up-to-date features and boasts things like greater power and speed, as well as wider coverage around the home, so if you want all of the frills, this is the way to go.
However, the Google WiFi system still has lots to offer and it’s all packaged up for a much cheaper price. Although slightly older, this mesh router still does a great job of spreading wireless through the home and can keep all of your devices powered up, provided you don’t have any excessive requirements.
Both Google WiFi and Nest have great compatibility, are easy to use, and will make an obvious difference in the speed and coverage of your home’s internet.
The finer details are for you to decide on though, but it’s clear that they each have earned well-deserved titles as top-rated mesh networking solutions.
The Time to Invest in Mesh
If you’ve been trying to run a smart home without a mesh system in place, you’re probably frustrated by the limitations of your existing network setup.
Both Google WiFi and Nest WiFi offer an easy way to expand speeds and reach, and there are loads of other noteworthy mesh routers on the market that can suit your needs as well.
A mesh router is just one way you can improve your home’s connectivity and make it more suited to a smart setup.
If you have further questions about what you can do to boost the capabilities of your smart devices, you’re not alone, so read on to see our answers and get a hand making your home more productive.
Do Too Many Devices Slow WiFi?
When there are too many devices trying to use the internet network at home, they will likely slow the connection down.
Adding other access points by using a mesh router system can help with this issue and ensure each of the devices can share a connection point with fewer devices doing the same.
How Fast Should My Internet Be for a Smart Home?
If you want to start using smart devices at home, a general rule of thumb is to add around 5 Mbps for every ten devices, but this depends on your existing network plan and the devices that are already using it.
Additionally, if you want to add smart cameras to your home, these require another 5 Mbps as well.
Do Smart Plugs Use a Lot of WiFi?
A smart plug generally doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth to operate when compared to other smart products, but this rate also depends on the device connected to it and how much automation it requires.
However, a smart plug does still use electricity even when the device is powered off as they have to stay connected to the household wireless network in case a command is made.