Stylish, low-profile design. Easy to install. Good router throughput performance in testing.
Lacks dedicated band control. Limited parental controls. No Quality of Service (QoS) settings.
- Bottom Line
Eero is a good-looking mesh-based Wi-Fi system that installs in minutes, is easy to manage, and delivers good overall throughput performance.
With their easy installation and whole-house Wi-Fi coverage, Wi-Fi mesh systems are all the rage in the wireless networking market. Eero, founded three years ago, is one of the manufacturers hoping to shove the traditional router aside in favor of a streamlined, cloud-based approach. As with other Wi-Fi systems we've reviewed, including the likes of Google Wifi, Luma, and the Netgear Orbi, the Eero Home Wi-Fi System ($399 for the 3-Pack we tested) emphasizes ease of use and can be managed from your iOS or Android smartphone using a well-designed mobile app. It's a solid choice, though it's no match for our top pick, the Linksys Velop, in terms of range, features, or overall performance.
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Why Get a Wi-Fi Network?
If you have a large home, Wi-Fi systems provide an easy way to install a far-reaching wireless network in your abode without the need for range extenders, access points, or additional wiring. Most systems, including the Linksys Velop, the Luma Home WiFi System, and Eero, utilize satellites and employ mesh technology that allows those satellites (which are actually individual routers) to communicate with one another and with wireless clients throughout your home (the Netgear Orbi, another top pick, is a bit different; it uses a dedicated 5GHz Wi-Fi radio band to communicate with its satellites). The main benefit of a Wi-Fi system is roaming connectivity; each satellite is part of the same network and provides seamless Wi-Fi from one point to another. That means you don't have to worry about logging in to a range extender or an access point as you move from room to room. And unlike a router/range extender or router/access point combination, a Wi-Fi system doesn't require much management or configuring.
The Eero 3-Pack we tested goes for $399, but you can purchase a 2-Pack for $299 or just a single router (which Eero refers to as a box) for $199. The company recommends one box for every 1,000 square feet. By way of comparison, each Luma node also covers 1,000 square feet, while the Linksys Velop and Netgear Orbi nodes each provide 2,000 square feet of coverage.
Design and Setup
The Eero name is a tribute to iconic designer Eero Saarinen, and when you see the product and its packaging, it's clear that some serious thought has gone into its design. The 4.75-inch square router looks like it's fresh off the Apple assembly line, with a high-gloss, white-plastic surface on top and a matte finish around the edge and rounded corners. The box measures 1.34 inches high, has a small LED indicator light at the front, and is stamped with the sleek Eero logo on top. Unlike traditional routers that are large and have several external antennas, the flat profile of Eero easily blends in wherever you place it. Each Eero has a connector for the bundled power adapter, two Ethernet jacks, and a USB 2.0 port, which is currently only used for diagnostics. Under the hood are a 1GHz dual-core CPU, five internal antennas, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of flash storage, and AC1200 Wi-Fi circuitry.
The packaging is no less stylized. The 3-Pack we tested contains a power cord (also stamped with the logo), an Ethernet cable, and three boxes. Installing your first Eero is as easy as sliding the cardboard sleeve off the box and downloading the free Android or iOS app, plugging Eero into a power source, connecting it to your modem using the accompanying Ethernet cable, and then waiting for the indicator light. Once the light blinks blue, you follow the on-screen instructions on your mobile device. Adding more boxes is just as easy; I placed one box in my living room (approximately 30 feet from the main router) and another in my basement (approximately 30 feet from the first box). The entire process took around 10 minutes.
Inside the Eero App
The thoughtfully designed mobile app lets you test your internet speed, and shows you how many devices are connected to the network, along with their IP addresses. But network customization is limited. For example, you can't change security settings or assign network priority (for Quality of Service) to devices like you can with the Linksys Velop, and parental controls are limited to an Internet Pause button and the ability to schedule internet access times for each family member. You can't block websites or filter content like you can with the Amped Wireless Ally Plus and Luma systems. However, you can change passwords, create guest networks, configure Port Forwarding and DHCP settings, and set up Eero to work as a bridge to another network. If you have an Amazon Echo, Dot, or Tap, you can use Alexa voice commands to pause access to the internet and turn off the LED light.
Eero was a solid performer in our throughput tests. Like almost every Wi-Fi system we've tested, Eero uses automatic band steering to provide the best possible performance. As such, these scores are based on the system's band-steering capabilities. In our close-proximity (same-room) test, the main Eero router (the one connected to my modem) delivered 469Mbps, which was a bit faster than the Luma router (457Mbps) and just slightly slower than the routers for Google Wifi (491Mbps) and the Amped Wireless Ally (508Mbps). The Linksys Velop router led with a score of 556Mbps.
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The Eero box in the living room managed 139Mbps in the close-proximity test, and the basement box scored 93.8Mbps. The Luma nodes had a throughput of 106Mbps and 101Mbps, respectively, and the Google Wifi nodes garnered 182Mbps and 111Mbps. The Linksys Velop nodes performed much better, with scores of 328Mbps and 257Mbps, as did the node for the Amped Wireless Ally (326Mbps).
In our 30-foot test, the Eero router's throughput speed of 244Mbps beat the routers for Google Wifi (175Mbps) and Luma (76.1Mbps) handily and was right up there with the Amped Wireless Ally (234Mbps) and the Linksys Velop (236Mbps) routers. The Eero living-room box scored 151Mbps in this test, besting the Google Wifi (141Mbps) and Luma (77.2Mbps) living-room nodes, but not the Amped Wireless Ally (226Mbps) and Linksys Velop (238Mbps) living-room nodes. The Eero basement box's score of 84.6Mbps was a bit faster than the Luma basement node (75Mbps), but trailed the Google Wifi (117Mbps) and Linksys Velop (286Mbps) basement nodes.
The Eero Home Wi-Fi System is a good choice if you're looking for an easy way to blanket your home with Wi-Fi coverage without having to configure range extenders or access points. Installation is quick and painless, and its user-friendly mobile app makes it easy for even the most technically challenged user to schedule access times, pause access to the internet, and create a guest network. That said, its parental controls lack website and content filters, and you can't prioritize network traffic or separate the two radio bands. While throughput performance was generally good in our tests, Eero could not keep pace with our Editors' Choice for Wi-Fi mesh systems, the Linksys Velop. Granted, the Linksys Velop 3-Pack costs $100 more than the Eero 3-Pack, but it covers twice as much area, and the Velop 2-pack, which covers 1,000 feet more than the Eero 3-pack is $50 less at $349. The Velop is the best all-around performer we've seen, and it offers device prioritization and robust parental controls, as well as support for Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming.
Stacey Higginbotham is a freelance writer who has spent the last 15 years covering technology and finance for publications such as Fortune, Gigaom, The Deal, The Bond Buyer and BusinessWeek. Stacey covers the Internet of things, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence. She is particularly excited to discover new ways technology is changing the world. When she's not installing connected gadgets in her home in Austin, Texas, she's likely trying new vegetarian recipes. More »
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