So you decided to get a TP-LINK Deco Mesh WiFi and as you browse through – you realize that there are quite a few models to choose from. What are the differences between Deco M5 and M9? What about Deco M4 and E4? What is the hybrid powerline model?

In this specific post, we will be listing down which Deco unit you should get based on specific factors such as:

  1. Bandwidth Plan
  2. WiFi Coverage based on House Size
  3. Wireless Network Technology
  4. Deco Series Hardware Specification

Full Side by Side Deco Series Comparison

We’ve uploaded a full specification side by side image comparison below, you can click on the image to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

For those who’d like a simplified version, do scroll down and read our table instead.

Comparison of Deco Series Based on Usage

As the table is too long for comparison, we’ve separated them into two separate tables for easier to digest, the first one is based on usage (bandwidth vs house size vs network technology) while the latter is all about hardware specification.

ModelRecommend house size & structureMax. WiFi BandwidthWireless Technology
DECO X60 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 4200-5600sq.ft1GbpsAX3000 (WiFi 6)
DECO X20 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 3400-4600sq.ft800MbpsAX1800 (WiFi 6)
DECO M9 PLUS 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 3900-5200sq.ft700MbpsAC2200
DECO M9 PLUS 2 PACKSingle / Double storey 2700-3600sq.ft700MbpsAC2200
DECO M5 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 3300-4400sq.ft500MbpsAC1300
DECO M5 2 PACKSingle / Double storey 2200-3000sq.ft500MbpsAC1300
DECO M4 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 3300-4400sq.ft400MbpsAC1200
DECO M4 2 PACKSingle / Double storey 2200-3000sq.ft400MbpsAC1200
DECO M3 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 2100-2800sq.ft300MbpsAC1200
DECO E4 3 PACKSingle / Double / Triple storey 2400-3200sq.100MbpsAC1200
DECO E4 2 PACKSingle / Double storey 1600sq.ft-2200sq.ft100MbpsAC1200
DECO E3 2 PACKSingle / Double storey 1400-1900sq.ft100MbpsAC1200

Deco Series Hardware Specification

This section is dedicated for hardware geeks that wants detail comparison, it has listed CPU, RAM, Signal Rate & Ethernet Ports.

Important notes:

  1. Most Deco series comes with Gigabit Ports except Deco E4 & E3.
  2. TP-LINK Home Care is only available in mid and high-end series such as Deco M5, M9 Plus, X20 & X60.
  3. Only latest series such as Deco X20 & X60 comes with WPA3 Encryption, others are still using WPA2
ModelSignal RateCPURAMEthernet
DECO X60 3 PACK2402 Mbps (5 GHz), 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz)Qualcomm 1Ghz Quad-Core CPU512MB6 (each node 2 ports)
DECO X20 3 PACK1201 Mbps (5 GHz), 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz)Qualcomm 1Ghz Quad-Core CPU512MB6 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M9 PLUS 3 PACK867 Mbps at 5 GHz (1), 867 Mbps at 5 GHz (2), 400 Mbps at 2.4 GHz

Qualcomm 717MHz Quad-Core CPU512MB6 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M9 PLUS 2 PACK867 Mbps at 5 GHz (1), 867 Mbps at 5 GHz (2), 400 Mbps at 2.4 GHz

Qualcomm 717MHz Quad-Core CPU512MB4 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M5 3 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 400 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 638MHz Quad-Core CPU256MB6 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M5 2 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 400 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 638MHz Quad-Core CPU256MB4 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M4 3 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 750MHz Quad-Core CPU128MB6 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M4 2 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 750MHz Quad-Core CPU128MB4 (each node 2 ports)
DECO M3 3 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 750MHz Quad-Core CPU128MB2 (on M4R node only)
DECO E4 3 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 750MHz Quad-Core CPU128MB6 (each node 2 ports)
DECO E4 2 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 750MHz Quad-Core CPU128MB4 (each node 2 ports)
DECO E3 2 PACK867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHzQualcomm 750MHz Quad-Core CPU128MB2 (on E4R node only)
Can we mix and match Deco series models and use together?

Yes you can. All Deco series are compatible with one another, just make sure that you are using the highest specs node as your main node for maximum performance e.g. mix M5 + E4, M5 must be the main node.

After reading the specifications, you might ask – so I live in a 3-story house, should I get 2 packs or 3 packs?

As a generic guideline, it is often better to place 1 unit on each floor to maximize your WiFi coverage and performance.

A very layman explanation for the non-techies – more mesh wifi nodes will allow “stronger” frequency broadcast (especially 5Ghz), and as more nodes are added towards the network, you can seamlessly connect into 5Ghz and thus, maximizing performance with better coverage.

Should I get WiFi 6 or non-WiFi 6? Does it help?

It depends on your scenario – if you’re tight in budget, then the WiFi standard doesn’t matter as your main criteria would be looking at price.

The reason why people opt for WiFi 6 is for better bandwidth management – for instance if you are building a smart home with countless smart devices from your light bulbs to your smart wear – WiFi 6 will be able to handle these loads extremely well.

As WiFi 6 will be the mainstream networking tech in the near future, getting one of these will also future proof your network, after all, it’s a one-time investment for the long term.

What is the TP-LINK Homecare all about?

This is a collaboration between TP-LINK and Trend Micro to provide network-level protection.

We are seeing the rise of cases where people suffer financial losses due to phone being hacked, or someone being stalked via their own webcam.

These are all cases where TP-LINK Homecare tries to prevent and scrutinize based on network-level protection. Read more about it here.

Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for the detailed review. Currently I’m considering to buy either M4 or M5. Are you sure they are all equipped with Quad Core CPU? I believe M5 it is, but I’m not sure about M4. And wich one will give best performance? I don’t need antivirus, qos, etc, just need best raw performance. Please advise.

    1. Hi there,

      Just go for M4 if what M5 offer in Homecare not important to you.

      Based on the info we have – yes, both are quad core (albeit not listed officially). What we advise people to focus on is what the model promised to do – based on bandwidth, issues and etc, instead of focusing on hardware itself as performance is based on combination of hardware and software (firmware in this case).

  2. Hi,
    Can you please advise if the 2 storey house is longish and the main has to be placed on one end, what is the best configuration and which lowest end model would you recommend? (Price sensitive but would like the stuff to work as well). Currently, dead spot is at the other end and room upstairs. Stairs is in the middle.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi there,

      Cna you let us know your house size, current bandwidth plan & current router model? It will give us better idea on what to suggest.

  3. Hi, May i get to know if using Deco M5 as access point, Unit one connect to main TMunifi router while Unit two connect to switch which later on split into 3 computers, will this work like lan cable connect link to the main TMunifi router with different individual ip address of each computer? Thank you

  4. Hi,
    I am desperate for help.

    I have a 2 story apartment with relatively thick walls. Its 3 old combined apartments so there are no ethernet ports and each works on a different electrical circuit (cannot use PowerLine). I currently have an AirPort Extreme + AirPort Express and have never been able to get solid wifi upstairs (tried adding extra express and TP link extender). I get 200mbps from Spectrum.

    I want to switch to Mesh and TP-Link is by far the most affordable.

    Which model would you suggest? I was thinking the M3 because I do not have any smart home devices and there are not many devices utilizing the internet (Usually 2 computers, 2 smart phones, Apple TV, Smart TV, Printer). I just want a reliable connection that wont drop. Thank you in advance I know this is a long post!

    1. Hi Spencer,

      Can you advise us on your house size, each floor size and how many rooms That will help us to provide a better suggestion.

  5. HI,
    I wanted to have advice on which should I buy.

    I live in a 3 story house, have a unifi router located at the 1st floor, a tp-link wifi extender RE 305 at the second floor. Good connection but budget wise which is better? The DecoE3 (2Pack) or the DecoM5 (1Pack)

  6. Hi,

    I’m contemplating between X20 or M9+. While one is Wifi6 and the other WiFi5, I understand that back haul is important vs the WiFi. Can you clarify?

    Thanks.

    1. Hey there,

      Both models also support Ethernet backhaul however only Deco M9 Plus support wireless backhaul. Deco X20 will have better wireless speed, especially to WiFi 6 devices.

      So it’s up to you – what’s your current bandwidth package and router model?

  7. Hi.. what is the best deco for unifi lite (streamyx)? All the tp link mesh can use for unifi lite? If one day my area had coverage for higher unifi plan, which deco is suitable so that i dont need to buy the new one.

    1. Hi Ahmad,

      All Deco can connect to any router. You may consider those support higher bandwidth like M4 (300Mbps), M5 (500Mbps) so it still can support if you next time upgrade to higher bandwidth plan.

  8. Hi, currently I am using Deco M5 with 500mbps internet. the Wifi Signal received by the secondary unit is about 300mbps.

    now, i plan to addon with X60, as the main unit, with such setup, will my client unit(Deco M5) receive the max bandwidth which is more or less around 500Mbps?

    1. Hi Ong,

      We can’t guarantee what is the final speed that you can get, but for sure it will be better compared to your current setup.

      Mesh WiFi theory is just very simple. Stronger connect between each node = better speed
      And More nodes = stronger connection.

  9. I live in a 3-storey superlink house, around 4000 sqft. Currently on Unifi 300Mbps but may upgrade in the future. Would you recommend the X20, M9 Plus, or something other than these two? Thanks!

    1. Hey Bron, can I know what router are you currently using and issues faced? We can provide better suggestion based on the issue faced.

      X20 and M9 Plus are more than enough for 300Mbps, best go for 3 packs (one each floor).

  10. Hi, if i understand it correctly, on a 100mbps broadband with 3 stories building and using wireless backhaul, (taking into consideration most devices can’t support wifi 6 yet) M9plus should perform better in terms of speed and latency compared to X20, is that right? even on the furthest node?

    1. Hi Josh,

      Yes, any ISP package 500-800mbps will need wireless backhaul and strong penetrating WiFi, Deco M9 Plus is always the best choice. Another alternative you can look at is Asus CT8.

  11. I’ve got 3 E4 Decos, but considering adding another to get out to the garage, is there any advantage in getting one of the more expensive ones to add to the mesh of stick with the same model

    1. Hi Steve,

      Only Deco M5 is available in single unit, what you can do is to use Deco M5 as the main node (directly connected to your router / modem), while the remaining three E4 as nodes.

      You will get better performance and coverage.

    1. Hi Wilson,

      If you’re not looking to upgrade your ISP plan anytime soon, then getting E4 would suffice. M4 can support up to 300Mbps which is more of a future proof at additional RM100-200*.

      So it depends on you as most mesh models support 100Mbps bandwidth.

  12. Hi, I’m deciding over X20 and M9 Plus. I see that M9 plus has 5Ghz (1) and 5Ghz (2) and 2.4Ghz. Does it mean that M9 has tri-band and backhaul while X20 doesn’t have tri-band and backhaul? In that case, If I don’t have any WIFI-6 device, M9 is running faster than X20? Thanks!

    1. Hi Zee,

      Deco M0 Plus supports wireless backhaul but not X20. “Faster” is relative to your device compatibility and bandwidth package.

      Long story short, for 500Mbps or lower, we’d suggest to go for Deco M9 Plus.

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