After a couple of months of testing, I determined Eero (non-Pro) is the better mesh system because of its flawless setup and dead simple app. Google Wifi performs similarly and gives you more control, but the setup is more difficult.
Want to learn how I reached this conclusion? Read on to see the detailed breakdown of user-friendliness, design, and performance that informed my overall impression.TL;DR? Skip to the conclusion
Installation: Eero (non-Pro)
Eero’s installation process is smarter than other mesh systems because it assumes you know nothing and holds your hand the entire time. Eero tells you which cords to unplug and when and where to plug them in. It sounds silly to explain simple steps, but fewer problems occur because of the process.
I’ve installed Eero six times. My technologically-challenged parents could get a network running in under ten minutes without struggles. My latest installation took less than five minutes.
Installation: Google Wifi
Google Wifi jumps into the process without telling you when to plug it in the router. Then, the app doesn’t instruct you to unplug your modem until there’s an issue, and in most cases, there will be. Because Google Wifi’s loading times are long, sometimes you’re not sure if it’s making progress on the configuration or it’s broken.
I’ve installed Google Wifi six times. In my latest install, it took 15 minutes to get the network running. For half of my installations, the app wouldn’t recognize the routers properly so I had to perform troubleshooting steps.
To save yourself time, unplug your modem, then connect the modem and router via Ethernet. After you’ve plugged both devices into a power outlet, scan the QR code on the bottom of Google Wifi and open the Google Wifi app.
Software: Eero (non-Pro)
Summary: The Eero phone app is easy enough for anyone of any technical skill level. It’s fast loading, easy to navigate, has advanced features, and you can group devices into different profiles to create scheduled access for kids.
- Eero’s new phone app prioritizes family profiles and devices instead of bandwidth, which should have more mainstream appeal.
- While Eero is the easiest router to use, you also get all of the high-tech features and configurations for the nerds (like reservations, port forwarding, thread support, DNS settings, and MU-MIMO support).
- You can create profiles of people in your household in order to name and group their devices. Inside of each profile, you can set schedules and allowances or pause the internet on-demand. 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 easier to use than any of the other systems I’ve tested.
- You can create a guest network and give it its own name and password.
- You can send your friends a token or have them scan a QR code to get access to your network in three seconds.
- The firmware updates automatically and the system can be reset, in about a minute, with a tap of the button.
- It takes about a minute to restart the network from the app.
- 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.
- Eero is one of the few systems to support HomeKit. When you add Eero to the Apple Home app, it builds a firewall between your network and your smart devices. If one of your smart devices becomes compromised, it won’t be able to take down your entire network.
- There’s an interface that displays your devices in order of real-time bandwidth usage, which is great for troubleshooting.
- The “Activity” tab displays how much bandwidth your devices are using in the current week.
- Unfortunately, you’ll need to pay $3/month to view your daily or monthly cumulative bandwidth usage numbers.
- You can’t give other household members admin access. If you want Eero on two phones, you need to use the same account.
- Eero offers an optional subscription service called Eero Secure for $3/month that gives you better security, ad-blocking, content filtering, and you can see how devices are using your network, but most of these features are free on Google Wifi.
Software: Google Wifi
Summary: The Google Wifi app is intuitive and has an excellent layout. Google Wifi lists your devices in order real-time bandwidth usage and tracks cumulative bandwidth over a set periods. Another unique feature: Google provides SafeSearch parental filtering for free, while Eero charges $3/month.
Features shared with Eero:
- With “Family WiFi” you name and rename your devices, then create groups and create scheduled internet access, or manually pause a group of devices. It’s not as smooth as Eero, but it has the same features.
- You can check the connection of individual devices to your router, which could help diagnose buffer issues.
- It takes just a few minutes to restart the network from the app.
- You can enable IPv6, manage DHCP IP reservations, play with DNS settings, and manage ports.
- You can create a guest network with a new name.
- Google’s Family WiFi includes SafeSearch filtering for free, while it’s $3/month with the Eero Secure plan. It blocks millions of adult sites from the profiles that have it enabled.
- You can see the real-time stats for each device and how much each device is downloading (per 5 seconds, hour, day, and month).
- There’s an excellent interface to see your cumulative bandwidth usage, which may be huge if your ISP has a cap on your usage.
- You can add household members’ Google accounts and make them admins of your network.
- You need to use a Google account.
- The radios aren’t MU-MIMO.
- Google doesn’t play nice with VPNs.
- Most users are reporting WiFi calling through phone carriers isn’t working with Google Wifi.
- Google Wifi is four years old and since its successor (Nest Wifi) uses the Google Home app, it seems inevitable that the Google Wifi app will eventually stop getting updated.
Speed & Stability: Eero (non-Pro)
Summary: Eero’s hardware internals are almost identical to Google Wifi, but Eero is typically more stable and offers more consistent speeds. Neither system will set performance records because they’re slow compared to Orbi RBK50 and Eero Pro, but they have plenty of power for most people.
Single router testing:
- I averaged 93Mbps with one Eero (non-Pro) router.
- Eero (non-Pro) and Google Wifi have the same theoretical bandwidth and similar hardware, including the AC1200 2×2 radios.
Mesh router testing:
- I averaged 94Mbps with two Eero (non-Pro) routers. Eero says this configuration should cover 3,000 square feet according to Eero.
- I averaged 97Mbps with three Eero (non-Pro) routers. Eero says this configuration should cover up to 5,000 square feet according to Eero.
- My testing methods have plenty of flaws, but you can read about them here.
- Eero (non-Pro) is a dual-band router, just like Google Wifi. It has less room for communication between the nodes and your devices compared to Orbi RBK50 and Eero Pro because it has one fewer band, which results in slower speeds. (See The Verdict below to learn more about Eero Pro.)
- You can’t prioritize which devices get the most bandwidth like Google Wifi, but Eero has a feature called Optimize for Conferencing and Gaming that helps to automatically prioritize devices without killing access to other devices.
- Band Steering tries to push devices that support 5GHz to that channel to increase performance.
- Eero thrives with stability. The network never cuts out and when your device switches to a new node. You won’t notice it as you do with most other mesh systems.
Personal experience: I spent hours recording my download speeds for my posts and used the internet all day, but I didn’t notice a speed difference from any Google, Eero, or Orbi sets. The only noticeable thing is cutouts. I haven’t experienced any cutouts in my two years of using any Eero product.
Speed & Stability: Google Wifi
Summary: Google Wifi and Eero don’t differ much in performance. Google Wifi reached the higher end of my speed potential more frequently, but the speeds had a higher variance compared to Eero. During random speed check-ins, Google Wifi was almost always slower than Eero.
Single router testing:
- I averaged 90Mbps with one Google Wifi.
- Google Wifi has the same internal specs as Eero.
Mesh router testing:
- I averaged 87Mbps with two Google Wifi routers. Google says this configuration should cover up to 3,000 square feet.
- I averaged 97Mbps with three Google Wifi routers. Google says this configuration should cover up to 4,500 square feet.
- When the Eero and Google systems had three nodes, I got identical speeds. When the systems operated with two nodes, Eero outperformed Google, but this was more of a fluke than anything conclusive.
- My testing methods have plenty of flaws, but you can read about them here.
- Google Wifi is a dual-band system, just like Eero (non-Pro).
- While Google and Eero perform almost identically, they have different methods of getting there. During the tests, Google had higher speeds (more tests at 117Mbps), but there was greater variance in speeds. While Eero never hit my max speed, it was more consistent with less variance.
- During random speed check-ins, Google Wifi consistently scored lower than Eero. I can’t nail down a specific reason, but I saw the same thing with Nest Wifi.
- Eero automatically prioritizes devices that are streaming or conferencing, but Google Wifi gives you manual control. You can prioritize a device for a set period of time (one, two, or four hours).
- During experiments, I put Google Wifi on the window sill and it was barely able to function while Eero did just fine. Either way, you shouldn’t put a router next to a wall or window if you can avoid it.
Personal experience: I had Google Wifi at my house for two years. For the first year, I used it as a solo router system and it worked flawlessly. When I wanted coverage in my backyard too, I set up two more nodes to create mesh system and it worked well.
Practicality: Eero (non-Pro)
Eero (non-Pro) has a glossy white finish and it’s shaped like a cupcake. It’s shorter than Google Wifi, but it attracts more fingerprints.
The standard Eero three-pack has five available ports (one is used for your modem). The Ethernet ports are auto-sensing and interchangeable, whereas Google Wifi has a port designated for the modem.
Practicality: Google Wifi
Google Wifi points are small, unobtrusive, and they come in a matte white finish. You can put these anywhere in your house without them being a distraction. I prefer the matte finish compared to Eero’s glossy finish because it attracts fewer fingerprints.
The standard Google Wifi three-pack has five ports to plug-in accessories. You’ll get a built-in nightlight where you can schedule it to come on and control the brightness.
Which is best for you?
Get Eero (non-Pro) if you want the easiest-to-use mesh system. Due to the user-friendly app, people with zero tech skills can get a Eero system running without any hiccups. Eero makes optimizations for you. The overall network is smoother and does a better job of device switching.Check Amazon’s Price
Get Google Wifi if you want more control. You can prioritize devices or easily troubleshoot issues with the real-time bandwidth usage interface. Eero and Google have great parental features, but Google has free content filtering, while Eero charges $3/month.Check Amazon’s Price
Choosing the right configuration
Your configuration will depend on your home’s size and layout. More nodes don’t always result in a stronger network. In smaller houses, it’s possible you’ll run into signal overlap, which will hurt your performance.
With that being said, I still recommended the Eero three-pack and Google Wifi three-pack to everyone because three nodes are about the same price as two. If your house size is between the two or three node range, try the system with two nodes first. If you get the desired results with two, you can sell the third node or give it to a friend.
What about the older siblings?
Eero Pro has faster and stronger radios compared to Eero. It’s a tri-band router system, which gives extra room for devices and node communication. I saw an average of 16% faster speeds with Eero Pro compared to Eero in my testing (on my 117Mbps network).
A set of three Eero Pros or Eero Pro with two Beacons are something to consider if you want the best of the best or have gigabit internet speeds, but the regular Eero is a better bet for most people because these speed differences won’t be seen in day to day life.
I wanted to love Nest Wifi two-pack, but I ran into lots of stability issues during my testing. On the spec sheet, Nest Wifi offers twice the theoretical bandwidth speed as Google Wifi and has 25% more range.
Nest Wifi matches Eero Pro in pure speed, but Nest’s internet dropped out and/or hovered around 10Mbps more than a dozen times in my three weeks of testing. With future firmware updates, things should get smoothed out, but I don’t recommend Nest Wifi right now.