Should I buy a Google Wifi router for an apartment?
Best answer: Google Wifi's features are valuable even if you only have a small apartment. The simplified setup, ease of management, and network monitoring tools are all useful even if you only have a single Google Wifi and not multiple units. Plus, you can add an extra unit at any time to improve coverage and speeds.
- Amazon: Google Wifi ($99)
- Amazon: Google Wifi Wall Mount ($9)
Google Wifi is about more than just the mesh network capabilities
Google Wifi is best known for its ability to work with several different units as a mesh network to cover large homes, but many of its benefits can be enjoyed even in a smaller place. Google Wifi is incredibly simple to set up, and its app makes network configuration and monitoring incredibly easy. You can see what's going on with your entire network, manage devices, and diagnose problems all from your phone no matter where you are. You will also get the benefit of the reliability, simplicity, and security of regular automatic firmware updates.
The Google Wifi is also incredibly small — about the size of a large coffee mug — which makes it incredibly easy to find a place for in a small apartment. If you have a cramped entertainment center or an oddly tight area where you need to stash away your router, Google Wifi has a better chance of fitting comfortably than most other routers.
One may be enough, but you probably need two (and a wall mount)
The downside of Google Wifi being designed as a mesh router is that it really doesn't cover that large of a space. Even if your apartment is relatively small, there are several factors at play that could make a single Google Wifi incapable of covering your whole space consistently. If you have an older apartment, multiple floors, a complex layout with lots of walls, or need coverage on the outer edges for smart home devices, a single Google Wifi may not get the job done depending on where your internet connection is positioned in the apartment.
For an apartment larger than one bedroom, or one with a challenging layout or older walls, you're going to want to invest in a second Google Wifi to take advantage of its mesh networking and extend your network footprint. Even if a single Google Wifi technically covers your apartment, a second one will give you better speeds and consistency for all of your devices in all areas. The second Google Wifi connects to the first wirelessly and is all configured automatically, so all of your devices will seamlessly choose which one to use while operating as a single network. If you need three Google Wifi units, buy them as a bundle for $249 instead, saving money over getting three separately.
If you get extra Google Wifi units for more coverage but space in your apartment is at a premium, consider a simple $9 wall mount to "install" the router on a wall outlet so it can be positioned optimally without the hassle of finding a flat surface to put it on.
A great compact router
A Google Wifi is a great router for apartments even if you only use one unit. The simple setup, compact size, and easy app-based management make it appealing for homes of any size. Its coverage isn't great, though, so you'll want to buy two if you have anything larger than a one-bedroom apartment.
A perfect accessory to simplify your Google Wifi install
If you're going to buy a Google Wifi for a small space, you should consider an inexpensive wall mount to make it even easier to manage. The router will hang from a standard outlet, and manage cables so you don't add any clutter or complication to your internet setup.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.