Nest Wifi vs. Google Wifi: Which should you buy?
Nest Wifi has support for faster connections but for some, it won't be worth the higher price.
Google's upgraded mesh solution
An upgrade to Google Wifi, the Nest Wifi router starts with a router and can be expanded with additional routers or mesh points. With 2,200 square feet of coverage from a single router, this is a great start to a mesh when paired with a couple of Nest Wifi points. The points also have a smart speaker built-in for Google Assistant.
- Better coverage at 2,200 square feet
- Fast AC2200 speeds
- Consistent software updates
- Can mesh with Google Wifi routers
- Larger size
- No Ethernet on Nest Wifi points
Google Wifi has long been one of the best options for a simple and reliable mesh Wi-Fi setup. While lagging behind Nest Wifi in raw performance, the price advantage means you can more cheaply blanket a home with a lot of interference while keeping speeds high enough for most people.
- Compact size
- Ethernet on every node
- Consistent software updates from Google
- Can mesh with Nest Wifi
- AC1200 speeds aren't fast enough for demanding households
- Smaller coverage area
Nest Wifi and Google Wifi are both parts of Google's Nest ecosystem. Nest Wifi offers much greater speed than Google Wifi at AC2200 compared to Google Wifi's AC1200 speeds. Google Wifi is still a great solution for people that don't need that much speed on their network. Nest Wifi is also a great upgrade if you already have a Google Wifi router increasing the speed of the core network while creating an even denser mesh. Google Wifi routers end up being one of the best options to expand your Nest Wifi mesh.
Nest Wifi vs. Google Wifi: Sufficient speed
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Both Nest Wifi and Google Wifi utilize Wi-Fi 5, or 802.11ac, to deliver a fast wireless connection. In most cases, both systems should carry enough speed for typical internet usage, but there's no doubt Nest Wifi will keep up better, especially if you have a gigabit connection. Nest Wifi is AC2200 compared to Google Wifi's AC1200. This mostly comes down to the 4x4 5GHz band, which is essentially double the speed of Google Wifi's 2x2 setup.
Keep in mind, these routers also have to use their Wi-Fi bandwidth to talk to each other, so in the real world, you'll never see the top speed of either connection. Mesh-style Wi-Fi systems aim for consistency and connection quality over pure speed. If you're a heavy network user with network storage or you access files from one computer on another, such as a media server, you'll find the extra bandwidth of the Nest Wifi provides a smoother overall experience. Even so, it's worth considering if you need a mesh system or a better router before buying in.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Nest Wifi||Google Wifi|
|Ethernet||2 (router) 0 (point)||2 each|
|Coverage||2200 sq. ft (router), 1600 sq. ft (point)||1500 sq. ft|
|CPU||quad-core 1.4Ghz||quad-core 710Mhz|
|Smart speaker||no (router) yes (point)||no|
|Colors||snow (router) snow, mist, sand (point)||white|
As far as aesthetics go, Google Wifi only comes in white. The Nest Wifi router is also only available in white. However, Google calls it snow.
The Nest Wifi points are available in snow, mist, and sand colors to better match your home's decor. This is important because the points will likely be featured more prominently than most other mesh Wi-Fi points, thanks to a built-in speaker and microphone.
It's worth keeping in mind that the Nest Wifi points don't have an Ethernet connection, so they can't be used to extend a connection to a wired device, and they can't be connected to the mesh with a wired backhaul. If you want this functionality, you'll need to add another Nest Wifi router or Google Wifi instead.
Nest Wifi vs. Google Wifi: Expanding your coverage
Each Google Wifi is identical and covers approximately 1,500 square feet. The Nest Wifi improved on this figure, with the router covering approximately 2,200 square feet and the point covering 1,600 square feet. You likely won't get any of these numbers in real-world usage due to interference that would affect any router, but the takeaway is that the Nest Wifi system can cover a larger area with fewer units than Google Wifi.
Nest Wifi and Google Wifi are compatible with each other. This means if you have an existing Nest Wifi or Google Wifi network in place, it can be expanded with either product. If you want to upgrade your Google Wifi network to Nest Wifi, you don't need to send your Google Wifi routers to recycling. You can use them to expand your Wi-Fi network to areas with poor coverage, such as a basement or garage.
If you want to add the functionality of the Nest Wifi points to your Google Wifi network, you can, although you'll only get the speed of Google Wifi. Of course, you should place the fastest available router at the center of your network to ensure the best possible speed.
Nest Wifi vs. Google Wifi: A Google Smart home
The Nest Wifi Points come with a speaker and microphones built-in so that you can access Google Assistant. While the speaker isn't Hi-Fi quality, it should be similar to the surprisingly decent Nest Mini. It's a nice addition that each Wi-Fi point also handles the job of a smart speaker. This feature can help you reduce the number of electronics you have set up in each room and wire clutter.
These smart speaker features aren't available in the Nest Wifi routers, but adding a smart speaker with Google Assistant can fill in the gap. You'll need to set it all up in the Google Home app to get all of your points connected and working.
Nest Wifi vs. Google Wifi: Which should you get?
Google Wifi is a great starter mesh system, and we liked it in our review, but several years have passed, and the second-gen updates haven't done enough to make it a compelling buy over Nest Wifi and even some of the other best mesh Wi-Fi systems. Still, Google Wifi is a solid choice for expanding your Nest Wifi mesh thanks to its dual Ethernet ports. When it comes down to it, Nest Wifi is faster, has better expansion capabilities, and covers a greater area than Google Wifi. If you want to make the most of your internet connection, Nest Wifi will get you there with fewer units and better performance.
A faster and more capable router
Nest Wifi is a great fit for those that want the ease and simplicity of Google's Wi-Fi solution but need enough speed for a faster internet connection or a large family. You can even expand your smart home with Nest Wifi points with Google smart speakers built-in.
Simple, cheap, and compact
Google Wifi is one of the simplest mesh systems available though its speeds don't quite hold up with faster internet connections. If you don't need a ton of speed but still need a large coverage area, Google Wifi is a solid option.
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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.