After a month of testing, I determined Eero is the best three-part mesh system overall. However, I recommend Deco M5 for most people because you’ll get a similar app and solid performance for half the price.
I’ll compare and contrast two mesh routers (Eero vs. Deco M5) by evaluating five categories: setup, software, performance, design, and price.
Eero (Gen 2)
- Setup: I’ve installed Eero 3 times, and it is consistently the easiest to install.
- Software: The phone app does everything other mesh systems promise but better.
- Performance: An Eero with two Eero Beacons should cover 4,000 square feet.
- Design: The base is sleek and sits flat on the table, while the Beacons plug directly into the outlet.
- Price: Eero w/ two Beacons is $400.
Best for you if...
You want an excellent mesh system that’s easy for even the most technologically inept people to use. Eero provides excellent speed, coverage, and software, and intuitive design. It's the best in the business, but it comes at a hefty price because most homes need at least one Eero with one Beacon for $300, while bigger houses may need an extra Beacon.
- Setup: I’ve only installed it once, but it was easy.
- Software: The app is brilliant and has one feature that Eero doesn’t: multiple admins.
- Performance: Three Deco M5s should cover 4,000 square feet.
- Design: You get more Ethernet ports. While they look cool, they take up countertop space.
- Price: A set of three Deco M5s is $180.
Best for you if...
You want a brilliant router with slightly less power than Eero, but at half the cost. Deco’s amazing app is intuitive and smart. The parental controls and custom configurations are great. You won't get three bands, and the performance varies throughout the day, but Deco M5 is the best choice for most people because of its incredible value.
- You can only install through the phone app.
- I’ve installed Eero three times. It’s consistently the quickest installation. You can have a three-part system running in 10 minutes.
- Eero guides you through even the most basic steps. It’s a smarter process than other mesh systems.
- Eero’s phone app is terrific, and it’s updated monthly.
- You can send your friends a token or have them scan a QR code to get access to your network in three seconds.
- Eero detects issues and automatically resets itself.
- The firmware updates automatically.
- You can create profiles of people in your household and name and group their devices. Inside of each profile, you can set Internet schedules and allowances or pause the Internet. This is useful for parents who want to control their kids’ access without restricting use for adults. Eero’s user interface and interactions in the app are more intuitive and easy to use than any of the other systems I’ve tested. It’s a smarter approach.
- You shouldn’t need to, but you can prioritize which devices get the most bandwidth. This could be important if you’re trying to upload a video during peak Internet times.
- You can create a guest network and give it its own name and password.
- While Eero is the easiest router to use, they also provide all of the high-tech features and configurations for the nerds (like reservations, port forwarding, thread support, DNS settings, and MIMO support).
- Eero offers an optional subscription service called Eero Plus for $10/month that gives you better security, a free VPN, and 1Password.
- You can ask Alexa to find your phone, pause a person’s Internet, or put your kid in a timeout by turning off their Internet for a certain period. With Amazon’s purchase of Eero, expect Alexa integration to get even tighter.
- To get a good baseline to see how powerful each router was, I tested one Eero against just one Deco M5 in my 1,200 square foot home and backyard. Eero averaged 105/mbps in ten testing spots, while Deco averaged 70/mbps. This means an Eero is more powerful than a Deco.
- Eero (not Beacon) has three wireless bands so this gives your network more flexibility.
- Adding more Eeros to your setup doesn’t decrease speed as it would with most mesh systems. You can start with a small configuration and add more as needed.
- Eero does better when compared to other routers in longer houses and those with more than two stories.
- Based on my tests, one Eero with Eero Beacon should cover 2,500 square feet.
- I haven’t experienced any cutouts in my year using Eero.
- Eero (base): You’ll need at least one of these. They are beautiful, sleek and sit flat on the table.
- Eero Beacon: They plug in directly to the outlet without a cord, so you don’t need to waste counter space. You can add as many as your house needs. During the night, Beacons turn into a nightlight. Unfortunately, there are no ports on the Beacon routers.
- Eero is priced as a premium product. The kit most will need is the 1 Eero + 2 Eero Beacons for $400 (more than double Deco’s price). Eero is at least $50 more expensive compared to other reliable mesh systems (Orbi, Velop, Google WiFi). I’m fine with the price, but it isn’t the best value.
- Deco’s installation process was one of the easiest I’ve experienced with mesh systems. Each step has an illustrated graphics and the app holds your hand the entire time.
- The only way to install Deco is through the phone app.
- I wasn’t expecting Deco M5 to have a terrific app based on my experience with other TP-Link devices, but the Deco app is fantastic and operates separately from TP-Link.
- You can add admin managers and give them access the network settings. It’s nice that both parents could manage a network, for instance. Eero doesn’t have this feature.
- Deco’s parental controls are awesome.
- You can give your kids set quotas. For instance, you can limit John’s Internet to two hours on weekdays, and set different rules for weekends.
- You can set a “bedtime” where certain devices won’t function after the set time.
- You can create a guest network with a name and password and choose which band it goes on.
- You can’t group devices on your network and link them to someone’s name like you can on Eero.
- You can prioritize individual devices. For instance, if you’re trying to download a movie on your iPad, you can give it the majority of your Internet resources.
- Or, you can prioritize the type of content that’s most important to your network and give that activity priority. Deco has four main categories of content: gaming, streaming, surfing, and chatting.
- You can ask Alexa to turn on your guest network, turn off the router lights, or prioritize a specific device.
- There’s built-in Antivirus software that can be enabled if you want it. It’s a cool idea, but I didn’t enable it on my network because I don’t have kids to worry about and I don’t trust its content filters.
- Just like Eero, it’s an intuitive app that’s great for tech novices, but there are lots of nerdy features too!
- While the app is great, TP-Link routers have shown vulnerabilities in the past that you should keep an eye on.
- While one Eero outperforms one Deco, that’s not relevant when talking about a mesh network. How did three Deco routers do compared to three Eeros (one Eero base and two Beacons) in my 1,200 square foot home, plus backyard?
- When tested just after resetting the router and modem, both performed similarly. Both had around 110/mbps averages in my 10 testing spots.
- During my random speed checks throughout a day, Eero was consistently faster. It’s possible that this variance is an anomaly, but I eliminated possible interfering variables like the time of day and other people simultaneously using the network.
- Deco was my main router for a month and didn’t have any cutouts. That’s a rarity with mesh systems, especially with affordable models, like Deco.
- Deco only uses two bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), while there’s a third band on the base Eero that can work as a backhaul when serving 5GHz clients.
- The three-piece Deco has 5,500 square foot coverage listed, but that isn’t accurate or honest. I’d put it closer to 4,000 square feet for three Decos.
- The design is unique with a strange curvy point, but it’s clean and stays out of the way.
- It has the same feel as Google WiFi, but is half the height.
- There isn’t a wall plug-in option, like Eero Beacon. You’ll need bookshelf or countertop space for three routers, but you’ll get four more ethernet ports than you would with Eero’s three-piece set.
- You can find a set of three Deco M5 routers for under $180 on Amazon. While Deco doesn’t bring the consistent speed of Eero, it’s an incredible value considering Luma is in the $150 range and barely functions.