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Eero Mesh vs. TP-Link Deco M5: Which should you buy?

eero Mesh WiFi System (gen 3)
eero Mesh WiFi System (gen 3) (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

TP-Link Deco M5 3-pack

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The TP-Link Deco M5 continues to be one of the best values for a mesh network. With a dual-band connection and easy expansion, the Deco M5 is a great option for a simple mesh. You can also expand it with other Deco units.

Great balance

Simple setup
Small size
Fast AC1300 speeds
5,500 square feet of coverage
Two Ethernet ports per unit
Only Dual-band

Eero

Eero 3-pack

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The Eero is a solid mesh system that stays squarely focused on simplicity. Eero isn't the fastest mesh but extra Eero routers or beacons, which are easy to add, make it great for someone that wants a simple and consistent Wi-Fi network.

Eero

Simple and sleek

Simple setup
Small and sleek
Two Ethernet ports per unit
5,000 square feet of coverage
Slower Wi-Fi speed
Expensive
Dual-band

The Deco M5 has very similar specifications to the Eero at a much lower price. The Eero does have some value in its simple and easy to use software for setup and management but likely isn't going to be worth the extra cost for most people. The TP-Link Deco M5 comes out on top thanks to a great balance of features that matter to most people.

The Deco M5 has decently fast Wi-Fi 5 performance and comes in a compact housing. With two Ethernet connections on each unit, it should be possible to cover your entire network with a few Deco M5 routers. The Deco M5 consistently holds onto the lower-priced mesh category thanks to its competitive features.

It's hard to see why Eero is so much more expensive than the TP-Link Deco M5. The Eero base mesh system has similar performance and features and stands apart with its software which does its best to keep things on auto. Eero recommends this set of routers for 350Mbps connections or slower and doesn't promise any more in speed. In truth, this will be enough for most people but if you pay for faster internet, you'll probably want something that can deliver more in the way of speed.

Deco M5Eero
Wi-Fi technology802.11ac
dual-band
802.11ac
dual-band
Wi-Fi speed400Mbps at 2.4Ghz
867Mbps at 5Ghz
N/A
Ethernet2 per unit
1 used for WAN
2 per unit
1 used for WAN
Coverage(3) 5,500 sq ft(3) 5,000 sq ft
SecurityWPA2WPA2

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus

Source: TP-Link (Image credit: Source: TP-Link)

Eero doesn't disclose its speed specifications like most networking companies, preferring to recommend its lower-end Eero only to people with connections slower than 350Mbps. It's probably true that this speed will be enough for people who only stream or browse the internet on Wi-Fi, but if you transfer files on your network or download a lot, you may need something more.

This is one place the TP-Link Deco M5 maintains its lead, with AC1300 speeds offering 867Mbps on the 5Ghz band and 400Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band. Along with dual-band and a strong mesh, you should be able to get much better speeds on local transfers and large downloads. The Deco M5 also matched Eero in gigabit Ethernet ports, which helps to keep speeds high for wired devices as well.

TP-Link Deco M5 with PC

Source: TP-Link (Image credit: Source: TP-Link)

The Eero claims to have 5,000 square feet of coverage while the TP-Link Deco M5 claims 5,500 square feet. In a perfect world, this would be possible but in a real home, you won't see those numbers. Things like thick walls and even appliances can negatively affect your Wi-Fi coverage. The strength of a mesh system is that you can add in more mesh points to overcome a challenging environment.

All of your mesh points will need to be placed within the range of another, which will reduce your overall range. If you want to make the absolute most out of each router, you will need to run an Ethernet cable to the mesh points. This, however, does increase the difficulty of the setup but can allow for much more consistent performance. In the real world, both of these mesh systems will see similar coverage.

Eero Mesh Router

Source: Eero (Image credit: Source: Eero)

Eero is one of our favorite mesh router systems, so it's not only compatible with more of the same router but the rest of the Eero family as well, including previous generation eeros. The Eero Pro (opens in new tab) is the fastest with the greatest range while the Eero Beacon (opens in new tab) is a convenient form factor that plugs directly into the wall. The Beacon even has a nightlight.

The Deco M5 is similarly expandable and is compatible with the rest of the Deco line. The lower-end routers can be great for filling in dead spots in the periphery of the network. The Deco M3W (opens in new tab) plugs directly into the wall for an extra boost. If you need more speed and coverage, it may be worth it to put a Deco M9 Plus (opens in new tab) in the center.

If you mix and match your mesh points with either system, you'll want to be sure that the fastest and most capable routers are nearest to the center of your network. Your mesh will only ever be as fast as the core router, so it's important to set things up properly.

Both systems will need to be set up in an app. Grab the TP-Link Android app (opens in new tab) (also on iOS (opens in new tab)) or the Eero Android app (opens in new tab) (also on iOS (opens in new tab)).

An Eero mesh network will be reliable and, for most people, a fast wireless network for browsing and streaming. There's no question that it works and works well. However, the TP-Link Deco M5 is also a great option. The Deco M5 stands out as great value and a great start to a mesh network thanks to its lower price and comparable features. Most people will find the speed to be completely adequate, especially with current internet speeds, and will find the Deco M5 to be a great fit.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.