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What Nest Wifi combo should I buy?

Nest Wifi blending in
Nest Wifi blending in (Image credit: Google)

Best answer: If you live in an apartment under 2,200 square feet, one Nest Wifi router should be enough. For most houses up to 3,800 square feet, a Nest Wifi router and point should be sufficient with the option to add more points later.

A faster mesh from Google

The Nest Wifi isn't Google's first or even second venture into home networking equipment. The Nest Wifi router is a continuation of what Google started with the Google Wifi line, offering a simple and straightforward approach to mesh networking. These routers have received a speed upgrade, up to 4x4 AC2200 speeds over Google Wifi at 2x2 AC1200. Basically, you'll be able to connect more devices at once without dropping speed.

Screenshot of Nest options on Google Store

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Nest Wifi consists of two products: the router and the point. The router has a larger coverage area than the points at 2,200 square feet vs. just 1,600 on the points. Every Nest mesh setup will need at least one router in the center to deliver an internet connection.

More than Wi-Fi

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

The Nest Wifi points aren't just simple mesh points thanks to microphones and a speaker that Google describes as having "360-degree sound with 40mm driver." The description isn't particularly impressive, but Google uses the same description for the Nest Mini smart speaker, which manages to pump out some surprisingly decent audio. It's not a Hi-Fi stereo, but it's great as a smart assistant or for some background music.

The Nest router isn't equipped with a speaker, so something like Nest Mini (opens in new tab) or any Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker can be added to the same room to restore that functionality. You'll need to set it all up in the Google Home app (opens in new tab) (also available on iOS (opens in new tab)) to get all of your points connected and working.

Google Wifi compatibility

If you built a mesh network with Google Wifi, don't worry: Nest Wifi retains compatibility with those routers. If you plan to upgrade your Wi-Fi setup, you should connect the Nest router directly to your modem since it will be faster than Google Wifi. The Google Wifi units are still useful for bringing Wi-Fi to remote areas where speed isn't the first concern. If you just want another mesh point with a smart speaker built-in, you can simply add a point.

The combo breakdown

Staying in the Nest line, you have several options for building your home network. Many people use Wi-Fi exclusively for their internet connection. For these people, starting with a Nest Wifi router and adding in Nest Wifi points as needed will likely be the smartest approach. The points are about $20 cheaper than the routers and offer smart speaker functionality.

It's worth keeping in mind that the points don't have as much coverage at 1,600 square feet, so if you want to build the strongest mesh possible, the 2,200 square feet of coverage offered by the routers is much more compelling. You can get two Nest Wifi routers (opens in new tab) for a price and coverage just above the router plus point. You also get the benefit of having two gigabit Ethernet ports on the router, which makes it an excellent choice for a gaming room or a home office that needs wired connectivity.

Nest Wifi routerNest Wifi router and pointNest Wifi router 2-packNest Wifi router and 2 points
coverage2,200 sq ft3,800 sq ft4,400 sq ft5,400 sq ft
routers1121
points0102
Wired connectivity1 device1 device3 devices1 device

Of course, the beauty of a mesh system is that you can expand it as your needs grow or if you find dead spots in coverage. You can save a lot of money by getting the right pack right away with one of these combos, but it's nothing to lose sleep over since you can buy one at a time and can now choose between the Nest Wifi router, point, and Google Wifi to fill in those rough spots.

If you need to add more coverage, you have a few options.

Nest Wifi routerNest Wifi pointGoogle Wifi
Additional coverage2,200 sq ft1,600 sq ft1,200 sq ft
Wi-Fi speedAC2200AC1200AC1200
Ethernet ports202
DimensionsDiameter: 3.56 in
Height: 4.33 in
Diameter: 3.43 in
Height: 4.02 in
Diameter: 4.1 in
Height: 2.7 in

How many do you need?

As with most mesh systems, you can add more mesh points as needed if you find areas in your home with a weak signal, or you need to overpower Wi-Fi defeating elements like brick or concrete walls. For most apartments or small homes, a single router (opens in new tab) will likely be enough for Wi-Fi coverage. For most houses, the Nest Wifi router and point (opens in new tab) makes the most sense. If you have a very large home or a home with a basement, you may want to get two points right off the bat or stick to routers instead of points.

The bottom line is that each home is different, but Nest Wifi has a fit for all of them. If you're not sure, buy a little more than you'll need. Since mesh systems don't require your devices to switch to different networks, a denser setup will only serve to strengthen the quality of your connection.

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.