Skip to main content

Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi

Google launched its first-generation wireless router in 2016, simply branded as Google Wifi. The set of thick puck-size devices enabled users to blanket their homes in a mesh Wi-Fi network: a more efficient and reliable method of extending wireless internet coverage over the previous repeater-style process. Google Nest Wifi is the successor to the company’s original mesh-capable wireless routers, but what advantages does it bring? In this battle of Google Wifi versus Nest Wifi, we took a look at each system to see which would work best in your home or office.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google’s original first-generation Wifi product is made of plastic and available in a single color — white. Each small puck is 4.1 inches in diameter and stands just 2.7 inches high. In comparison, Google’s Nest Wifi has a bit of variance depending if we are discussing the primary router or the mesh extenders. The Nest Wifi router is a tad bit thinner around the waist at 3.56 inches, but taller at 4.33 inches. The Nest Wifi point (the mesh extender) is slightly smaller at 3.43 inches round and 4.02 inches tall.

From an aesthetic standpoint, Google Wifi maintains a sharper design with a flat top and sharp line cuts on the side. The Nest Wifi unit goes for a smoother, rounder appearance that is more in line with Google’s Home products. Where Google Wifi was only available in the color white; however, with Nest Wifi, while the router itself is still available only in white, the Wifi points are available in white (Snow), light blue (Mist), and light pink (Sand).

Wireless connectivity

Google Wifi
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends

Google Wifi was designed with dual AC1200 2×2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi and TX Beamforming technology; the result is a fast router with a strong signal that can cover up to 1500 square feet with a single unit. Each Wifi unit also sports two Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connectivity, allowing you to plug in wired devices in various spots around your home.

On the other hand, Nest Wifi takes coverage up a notch with the Wifi router base station covering up to 2,200 square feet and each Wifi point covering up to 1,600 square feet. The system’s internal configuration includes AC2200 MU-MINO Wi-Fi technology with 4×4 (5Ghz) and 2×2 (2.4Ghz) antenna configurations. Wifi point units house AC1200 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi technology and a single 2×2 (2.4Ghz/5Ghz) configuration. Only the primary Wifi router offers Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Both Google Wifi systems support a wide array of Wi-Fi standards, including 802.11 a, b, g, n, and ac (Wi-Fi 5), and are — theoretically — equally as fast. The latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, ax, is not available on either product.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to the first-generation Google Wifi product, there aren’t a ton of unique features; the system can be controlled via the Google Wifi app, but that’s about it. Nest Wifi, however, is filled with a few surprises, including a built-in Google Assistant in every Wifi point. While the Wifi router itself is absent of a Google Assistant, each Wifi point (the mesh extenders in the network) features a far-field microphone array and a 40mm speaker driver. Using Nest Wifi points, you can call up Google with the “Hey Google” command and have your questions answered, or start playing the latest tunes from your favorite media service.

Both Google Wifi and Nest Wifi offer smart technology to keep your experience as reliable as possible, including selecting the least congested wireless channel for transmitting and choosing the fastest available band for your devices. Due to the Nest’s implementation of Google Assistant in each Wifi point, its feature set is a bit better.

Price and availability

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google Wifi can be found at participating retailers featuring a price cut. Google Wifi originally appeared for $130 on its launch, but can now be found for $100 — this set includes only one Google Wifi router, with each additional one costing another $100. A single Nest Wifi router can be purchased for $170, with each extra Nest Wifi point costing another $150. Google does offer discounts, such as the Nest Wifi router and two points kit for $350.

While Nest Wifi offers impressive features, there is no denying that you can obtain the first-generation Google Wifi system for a remarkable price.

Nest Wifi is the new kid on the network

Google Nest Wifi Review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Both Google Wifi and Nest Wifi are excellent products, but Nest Wifi pulls ahead with its smaller design, improved range, and Google Assistant integration. However, at the price that Google Wifi has now made itself available, it continues to be an intriguing offer. Additionally, if you are someone who would prefer that Google doesn’t have microphones placed in your home, Google Wifi is the way to go.

For the best of modern mesh Wi-Fi, however, Nest Wifi is your best bet.

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Archambault
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade…
You’re putting your router in the wrong spot. Here’s where to put it instead
The Netgear Nighthawk AXE11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router on a table.

There are lots of ways to boost your Wi-Fi speed, from buying a new router to creating a mesh network. But something that anyone can do, regardless of the hardware they're working with, is make sure the router is in the right place for the best possible speeds. While where you put it might be limited by phone sockets and cable lengths, knowing where to put your router can make a big impact on its performance.

Here are a few tips on router placement to help you make the most of your connection.

Read more
Google Bard vs. ChatGPT: which is the better AI chatbot?
ChatGPT versus Google on smartphones.

Google Bard and ChatGPT are two of the most prominent AI chatbots available in 2023. But which is better? Both offer natural language responses to natural language inputs, using machine learning and millions of data points to craft useful, informative responses. Most of the time. These AI tools aren't perfect yet, but they point to an exciting future of AI assistant search and learning tools that will make information all the more readily available.

As similar as these chatbots are, they also have some distinct differences. Here's how ChatGPT and Google Bard measure up against one another.

Read more
What is Wi-Fi 7: Everything you need to know about 802.11be
Checking a Wi-Fi router and internet connection on a phone.

Wi-Fi 7 is the latest evolution in the 802.11 IEEE standard of wireless networking, and it's the direct sequel to Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. It's faster, offers improved support for a greater number of simultaneous connections, and will be more adaptable, to better maintain low-latency connections. It will be an excellent solution for streaming ultra-high-definition video to multiple devices simultaneously, and may find use in future wireless virtual reality and augmented reality headsets.

There aren't many Wi-Fi 7 devices or routers available just yet, but a soft launch has already begun in China, and that rollout will gather sped in the coming years. To get you ready for the next generation of Wi-Fi technology, here's everything you need to know about Wi-Fi 7.

Read more