The Nest WiFi Pro is Google’s latest Wi-Fi system which brings Wi-Fi 6E, Thread and Matter support to control your smart home devices and more to the search giant’s mesh router.
After introducing its first mesh router system back in 2016, the company debuted its followup to Google Wifi in 2019 with the release of Nest Wifi. Google’s Nest Wifi earned the top spot on our list of the best mesh routers and the company’s new Nest Wifi Pro looks to take things up a notch with plenty of new features and functionality.
At $399.99 for a three pack, $299.99 for a two pack or $199.99 for a single router, Nest Wifi Pro is slightly more expensive than its predecessor. There are also more colors this time around and Google is offering the Nest Wifi Pro in four, natural earth tones: Snow, Linen, Fog and Lemongrass. Likewise, these new devices have a high-gloss finish compared to the softer matte finish of the Nest Wifi.
So what are you getting for your money and is it worth upgrading from one of the best Wi-Fi routers? If you already have Nest Wifi, does it make sense to upgrade to the Nest Wifi Pro? Here are the reasons to buy and skip the Nest Wifi Pro. Also check out our Google Wifi vs Nest Wifi comparison for more info on Google’s past mesh routers and the one problem with mesh routers is worth reading as well if you’re considering upgrading to a mesh router for the first time.
Reasons to buy Google Nest WiFi Pro
The addition of Wi-Fi 6E is the biggest upgrade with the new Nest WiFi Pro. Its predecessor only had Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) which meant that you were limited to using the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The Nest Wifi Pro adds an additional 6GHz radio band that provides a faster and more reliable internet connection. Google also went ahead and skipped Wi-Fi 6 and went right to 6E. You can learn more about the differences between the two in our Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 6E comparison.
In our review of the Nest Wifi, it was only able to move 653.2 Mbps at a distance of five feet which is still an increase from Google WiFi’s 464.3 Mbps. With Wi-Fi 6E on board though, the Nest Wifi Pro can provide a maximum combined speed of up to 5.4 Gbps by using all three radio bands at the same time. Another great thing about Wi-Fi 6E is that Google’s Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro as well as the upcoming Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro can take full advantage of the faster speeds offered by this new wireless standard.
Extensive coverage with room to expand
Like Nest Wifi, each Nest Wifi Pro unit can cover up to 2,200 square feet of your home with Wi-Fi. Opting for the two-pack brings this up to 4,400 square feet and the three pack can cover up to 6,600 square feet. If you live in a smaller home or apartment, you can always buy additional Nest Wifi Pro units to cover even more space if you move into larger digs.
One thing that sets Google’s mesh routers apart from the competition is the fact that you can have up to five units on the same network to cover up to 11,000 square feet. The search giant doesn’t recommend exceeding five units to avoid causing wireless interference. Still though, you won’t need one of the best wireless extenders as both Nest Wifi and Nest Wifi Pro can easily cover even the largest homes with a strong Wi-Fi signal.
Supports up to 300 connected devices
While the original Nest Wifi could support up to 200 connected devices, the Nest Wifi Pro can handle up to 300 connected devices. This may seem like a lot at first but if you’re building a smart home filled with smart light bulbs, smart speakers and other connected devices, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can reach the limits of a traditional router. With the Nest Wifi Pro though, you’ll have more than enough capacity for all of the best smart home devices.
Nest Wifi Pro is also smart enough to prioritize devices and the inclusion of MU-MIMO allows each unit to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously.
For those with children, the Nest Wifi Pro includes free, built-in parental control software so that you can put your kids on a set Wi-Fi schedule. Using the new redesigned Google Home app, you can restrict access during dinner time or bedtime from the app’s Family Wi-Fi settings menu.
At the same time, you can also block unsafe content on the web using Google’s SafeSearch technology. This is another plus for both the Nest Wifi and Nest Wifi Pro as Netgear charges a subscription to set time limits and daily bedtimes on its Orbi mesh routers.
Matter and Thread support
In addition to being able to handle up to 300 connected devices, Google is also adding Matter support to the Nest Wifi Pro. While this feature won’t be available at launch, it will make adding new Matter-enabled devices to your smart home easier and faster.
According to a new blog post from Google, Nest Wifi Pro also has a built-in Thread border router. Not only does this allow you to connect Threat smart devices to your home network but it also can help you save energy thanks to Thread’s low power mesh.
Reasons to skip Google Nest Wifi Pro
Unlike a traditional Wi-Fi router that can be tucked into a corner and hidden from sight, mesh routers need to be spread throughout your whole home to give you the best wireless coverage possible. While the Nest Wifi had a softer matte finish, the glossy finish of the Nest Wifi Pro will likely make the units stand out more.
Although this one is fairly subjective, you will want a mesh router system that blends in well with your existing home decor. Also, the Nest Wifi Pro doesn’t have any built-in mounting hardware, so you won’t be able to put these units on the wall or ceiling. Each unit does appear to have a rubber bottom like on the base of the Google Nest Mini which means they won’t move around if placed on a kitchen counter or on a bookshelf.
Lack of Ethernet ports
The Nest Wifi Pro’s Wi-Fi will be much faster than its predecessor but the device still only ships with one Ethernet port. This won’t be a problem for everyone but many smart home devices (such as some of the best outdoor security cameras like the Eufy Edge Security System) ship with a hub that needs to be hardwired to your router. While a cheap Ethernet switch can solve this problem, it will take up space and can detract from the Nest Wifi Pro’s minimalist aesthetic. If you want a mesh router with all of the bells and whistles and plenty of Ethernet ports, consider the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E (RBKE963) instead.
Limited to gigabit internet
Even though gigabit internet has only recently become available for many in the U.S., some home internet providers now offer multi-gig plans. If you have a multi-gig internet plan from Google Fiber, AT&T, Verizon or Xfinity, the Nest Wifi Pro won’t be able to take full advantage of the speed you’re paying for. This is because Google’s latest mesh router will ship with two gigabit Ethernet ports and no multi-gig ports. If you want a mesh router with a 2.5G Ethernet port, consider the Orbi one mentioned above, though the new TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro is a solid, more budget friendly alternative.
Not backward compatible
One of the best parts about upgrading from Google Wifi to Nest Wifi was the fact that you could still use your older devices. With Nest Wifi, you could use your existing Google Wifi units as satellites to expand your mesh network even further. According to an FAQ section on the Nest Wifi Pro page on Google’s Store, “Nest Wifi Pro is not compatible with previous generations of Nest or Google Wifi routers or points”.
As such, you won’t be able to add your old devices to your new mesh network which actually makes it the perfect opportunity to switch to a different mesh ecosystem. For instance, if you already own some of the best Alexa speakers, you may want consider switching to Amazon’s eero line of mesh routers as 4th and 5th Gen Echo Dot devices can act as mesh extenders to add 1,000 square feet of coverage to your home network.
Even though Wi-Fi 6E is the latest wireless standard, Wi-Fi 7 is set to arrive early next year with even faster speeds. In fact, Wi-Fi 7 has a potential maximum data rate of almost 5.8 Gbps which is more than twice as fast as Wi-Fi 6E. In terms of responsiveness, over a wireless connection, Wi-Fi 7 will feel almost as fast as using Ethernet.
If you already have Nest WiFi or your existing router is fairly new, it might be worth waiting to upgrade. Unfortunately for those heavily invested in Google’s ecosystem, you’ll likely have to wait until the follow up to the Nest Wifi Pro is released. Given the amount of time between the release of Google Wifi and Nest Wifi, this could take up to three years though.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.