Smart Home Smackdown: Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi

Overview: Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi

When you are building a smart home one of the most important things you need to pay attention to is the quality, speed and reliability of your wifi network. And unfortunately most users simply down think enough about this crucial piece of the puzzle. Without great wifi your cameras will stutter, your streaming video will buffer and you will have delays in everything from lights turning on and off to voice assistant queries.

Most issues with wifi have to do with poor coverage in your home. Sure, you may have wifi everywhere, but in many cases when the signal is too weak you lose valuable speed and throughput to your devices. This means that if you are just using a single router you are likely limiting your network coverage and speed for certain spots in your house that are further from the router. But all is not lost! We are in the midst of an amazing revolution in router technology that has finally brought the promise of multiple access points to the masses. You see, in the past multiple access points either came with annoying limitations or were intertwined with consumer-grade purchases out of reach for most consumers.

Enter smart wifi mesh networks. This new generation of routers is actually several routers. You generally pick up a pack of 2 to 3 different devices that link with one another in a mesh network and blanket your space in quality wifi signals. Gone are the days of dealing with multiple SSID’s for different access points. All of these home wifi mesh networks streamline the process and result in a simple to use system that just so happens to solve wifi dark areas in your home.

So without further ado, let’s get to the meat of it. There are several consumer wifi mesh network solutions that have come out in recent years. Each brings the same end goal: Good wifi coverage but they each have their pros and cons. But ultimately we want to recommend which one of these mesh networking setups is best for most people who are running a smart home. We are going to compare the Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi mesh network systems in this article and we hope this is helpful for making your choice!

What they can do

As mentioned above, at their core Google WIFI, Eero and Orbi all provide the same function. They all build a reliable mesh network for your house. But what are the main distinguishing features?

Up first is Google Wifi. This system consists of three white pucks that make up the mesh network. One of them is plugged in at your internet source (your modem) and the other two then connect to this main unit to extend your wifi wirelessly. One area where Google really knocked it out of the park is the aesthetics. The system looks great! I wouldn’t mind having one of these pucks on a side table. The subtle blue glow of the puck has a futuristic but design-forward look to it that is very home friendly. Setup on the Google wifi system is almost non-existent thanks to their dead simple Android and iOS app. Sure, it doesn’t have all of the deep tweaky settings of other routers, but it has most of what anyone should need. Plus, this system is aimed at people that don’t want to be digging into router admin menus. The Google wifi system has also been updated regularly by Google, adding some much needed settings and features over time. Each wifi puck is rated to cover about 1,200 square feet so having 3 pucks should cover most houses in wifi. For those of you that are already deep into the Google ecosystem, Google wifi is dead simple and fits in incredibly well with the rest of Google’s smart home offerings.

Next up is Eero. This is probably the closest competitor to Google wifi in both looks and function. Most of the same features are here. Simple, intuitive settings app? Check. White, sleek design? Check. This is the second generation of the Eero mesh networking system. And they have really upped their game this time around. The system is made up of one larger Eero device and two (or more) beacons that are plugged directly into outlets in other rooms. This is actually one of our favorite features of the Eero. The device is so subtle and even has a night light feature on each beacon. The only issue with Eero is the price. It tends to be more than both of its competitors so you will have to make the decision of whether the price is worth it.

Last in our comparison is the Netgear Orbi mesh network system. This one takes a less subtle approach in that each device is identical but probably not something you want just sitting in the middle of your living room. The advantage here is that Orbi’s design usually results in the fastest speeds of the three systems. It also has the most in-depth settings menu of the three. But for many these settings may just be overwhelming. Setup is a bit more cumbersome as well with Orbi and if you need a third unit, it gets prohibitively expensive.

Overall, in terms of general functions, we have to give a tie to the Google wifi and Eero systems due to their excellent performance but also nice subtle living room friendly design.

Winner: Tie between Google Wifi and Eero

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Speed and advanced features

As mentioned above, Orbi’s system outperforms both Eero and Google Wifi in terms of sheer speed. This is because Orbi uses a tri-band system where the other two are only dual-band. This basically means that Orbi reserves one of its bands specifically for communication between its units, not clogging actual data channels with this traffic. It results in noticeably faster transfers of large files and particularly heavy data transmissions. In practice you aren’t likely to experience this different too much but it is worth noting.

The Orbi mesh networking system also has the deepest settings interface. So if you are used to normal router admin settings, Orbi has it all, including quality of service settings. In comparison, Google Wifi limits you to more surface settings on the mobile app alone. You can’t login to the admin console on a PC at all. Because of this, we recommend Orbi for folks that are more advanced networking users that may want to dig into these features.

Winner: Netgear Orbi

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Smart home control

This section is all about smart home control. And it is a bit more cut and dry. Google wifi beats out both the Eero and Netgear’s Orbi due to two things: (1) security and (2) IFTTT integration. Google is simply better at identifying router vulnerabilities and fixing them quickly than both Eero and Orbi. Also, Google has had an IFTTT (If this then that) channel for years since they introduced their OnHub router several years ago. This integration is a game changer for smart home enthusiasts. For example, you can manage presence detection in your home based on which devices are connected to wifi and then trigger something else based on this.

Smart Home Smackdown: Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi

As you can see above, you can do some pretty neat stuff with IFTTT integration with Google Home. Prioritizing the traffic on specific smart home devices is a killer feature that will surely allow you to make your smart home more efficient.

Winner: Google Wifi

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Voice and AI capabilities

This is a similar story to the previous section. Because Google Wifi has a full-featured IFTTT integration, you can trigger all kinds of stuff based on Google Assistant comes on a Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max. This actually works with Amazon Alexa devices as well which makes this even more useful for people with mixed smart home ecosystems. This isn’t trivial either. Prioritizing different devices based on a voice command could be a very useful function for a lot of people.

Winner: Google Wifi

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Design

Design-wise we are torn between the puck design of Google Wifi and the slick plugin style of Eero. But for sheer unobtrusiveness we have to give the win to Eero since you can literally plug it into the wall.

Winner: Eero

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Value

Google Wifi ends up being the most affordable solution of the bunch, especially if you need to purchase a third Orbi unit. And because Google Wifi is already arguably the simplest to use and has great performance we have to give the nod to Google Wifi for value.

Winner: Google Wifi

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Overall Winner

We fully recommend Google Wifi as the mesh network of choice for most smart home owners due to: (1) its strong design choices, (2) its additional smart home integration, (3) strong security and (4) ease of setup. If you are truly looking at bolstering your wifi network performance, consider Google Wifi or any of these competitors. They are all great and will ensure you have a strong network backbone for your growing smart home setup.

Winner: Google Wifi

Google WIFI VS Eero VS Orbi


Where to buy

Google WIFI

  • Product
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Google Wifi system (set of 3) - Router replacement for whole home...

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 2:12 pm

Eero

  • Product
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  • Photos

eero Home WiFi System (1 eero + 2 eero Beacons) - Advanced...

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 2:12 pm

Orbi

  • Product
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NETGEAR Orbi Home Mesh WiFi System (RBK50)

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 2:12 pm
$294.44 $369.99

 

5 Comments
  1. This Google Product Ended My Wifi Problems. I have had this now for about 5 days and these devices have done exactly what they were advertised to do. My home is about 3700 SF and two stories. My modem is not centrally located in the house. In essence, I have one puck attached to the modem at one end of the house upstairs, one centrally located on the main floor and the third on the main floor as well and on the complete opposite end of the where the modem and first puck are located. Setup was a snap with the app. I actually tried to set the third puck at the extreme opposite end of the house and the app prompted me to move closer to puck 1. Only needed to move it about 8 feet closer and I was set. Coverage is phenomenal. My daughter can now roam the house without dropping our wifi signal. This setup is great and a great value. Upload and download speeds tested at 50Mbps and 56Mbps, respectively. I’m told this is not a very customizable system but I’m not one to delve in to the innards of this kind of equipment anyway.

  2. Very pleased with performance, few minor issues. This network was very easy to setup and there are helpful videos and articles online to help you along the way. I really liked how easy it was to setup the network as wired or mesh and the devices just knew what to do after I had them signed into my Google account. My home network is much more stable than it has been in the past with other routers daisy chained to extend the network. There are only 2 things that I don’t like about this system. There is only one LAN port available at the main HUB and other competitors have multiple. This was easily resolved with a $25 Gigabit switch but it was an additional expense I did not want to have. The other is I can only adjust the setting through the app, not through the BIOS. If Google is going to continue limiting to app control then please expand to macOS, Windows, and iOS for iPad but I’d rather just logon to the router through my browser.

  3. Amazing. If you’ve set up any other Google device on your network, you will find that setting up your Wifi is only slightly more detailed. That is, I set my new router up from my phone (which I believe is how they prefer you do it). The app handles just about everything for you and walks you through the things you have to do. It Provides a painless set-up for a guest network and easily provides access for your guests, allows you to set family parameters (including pausing internet service for devices on a schedule or on demand) and prioritize service for individual devices (QOS) at will. It’s pricey, but fun, cool looking and, if you currently have any issues with signal strength, network speed or connectivity, this will cure your ills. Also, the app let’s you test everything, internet speed, mesh speed (how fast the Google hardware is talking to each other) and specific devices.

    PS – Don’t know where the “LoveToShop1965” came from, but I can’t get rid of it. – Verm

  4. Google Wifi – 3-pack. Having a bit of (outdated) IT experience, I purchased this expecting to have to do a fair amount of wrestling to get it connected to my Comcast modem/router. I found that if you know how to install an app on your cell phone and how to read very basic instructions, it is truly plug and play. There were no “network configuration” settings to mess with. The only wrinkle was they don’t mention that you need to make sure your cell phone bluetooth is turned on for the setup app to work. Once the setup is completed you can turn it off again if you want.

    The result is high speed WiFi throughout a 2,500 square foot home with the Comcast router at one end of the house and the streaming video TV at the far end.

    As a side note, after installing the system, I had to temporarily relocate my desk-top PC (without wireless) to another room. I just plugged it into one of the remote Google units and it fired up with no questions asked.

    Refreshing.

  5. Works great, easy to navigate app, manage WiFi device access, grant guest code, & test for accurate upload & download speeds.

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