Deco M5 is best for you if you want a brilliant router with less power than routers like Eero and Orbi, but at half the cost. Deco’s amazing app is intuitive and smart and gives parental controls and custom configurations.
It only has two bands and the performance varies throughout the day, but Deco M5 is a great choice for most people because of its incredible 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.
Quick Review (TL;DR)
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.