Standalone WiFi routers are often considered something only tech pros would look at. After all, we get free routers from our ISPs, so why would we need to buy one? But here’s a little secret: most of those free modems/routers from ISPs are not very good, especially if you have a big house with lots of WiFi-connected devices.
Amazon’s eero Pro 6 router tries to solve all those issues that inferior routers usually present: it provides WiFi 6 cover of up to 190 m² (without having to add an extender unit), you can connect more than 75 devices simultaneously, it has some useful monitoring and control features, and – it offers what is probably the easiest setup I’ve ever witnessed on a router.
Of course, it’s not all perfect – with just two physical Ethernet ports on the device, and some features that annoyingly require a monthly subscription, the eero 6 Pro certainly has its downsides. So in this review, I’ll take an in-depth look at its performance, who it’s best suited for – and whether it offers good value for money.
Quick Look – eero Pro 6 Router
What is it: A “Smart Mesh” tri-band WiFi 6 router that offers excellent range and a very simple setup. It doesn’t have a modem, so it needs to connect alongside your ISP’s hub.
Value For Money
- Supports speeds of up to 1 Gigabit and WiFi 6
- Covers up to 190 m² with one unit
- Very simple setup
- TrueMesh technology to easily connect other extender units
- Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
- Some features require a monthly subscription
- Just two Ethernet ports
- More advanced configuration for pro users is missing
Features and Specs
- WiFi Bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz
- WiFi Standards: WiFi 6, IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, AX4200
- Ports: 2 “Auto Sensing” Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Security: WPA3, WPA2 (No WPS)
- Size: 142 x 138 x 48 mm
- Extra Features: Zigbee Smart Home Hub built-in, Works with Alexa, Parental and filtering controls (with an optional subscription), more units can be added to extend WiFi reception
Excellent WiFi 6 router that truly improves WiFi reception around your home, without the need for extra range extenders in many cases. It’s very easy to configure and use, but some of the more advanced parental and protection features, that often come free on similarly priced routers – require a monthly subscription here.
Table of Contents
Who Needs A Standalone Router?
Whenever you subscribe to an internet service provider (ISP) in the UK, you get a router/modem (or “hub” as they’re often called) for free, as part of your subscription.
In most cases, that hub has two functions – it serves as a modem, which is the part that brings the internet into your house via the ISP’s wires, and also as a WiFi router, which spreads the WiFi signal around your home.
These hubs differ in quality, and for some people – they’re certainly sufficient. If you live in a small flat, if you don’t have a lot of devices connected wirelessly to the internet (more than 10, let’s say), if everything is currently working OK – then you might not need to spend the extra money.
But in a lot of more complex situations, your “free” router may not be good enough anymore:
A bigger house with thick walls: If your house is divided across two or more floors, and/or you have particularly thick walls, you might find that your ISP’s router can’t send the WiFi signal far enough – and you’re having trouble connecting to the internet the further you get from the router.
You might not be able to connect at all, or you might suffer from constant disconnections. Or maybe you’ll remain connected to the WiFi, but the speeds will slow down to a crawl, and your Netflix watching will feel like a long, painful buffering session.
More than 10 connected devices: Until a few years ago, most of us had just two or three connected devices at home – a laptop maybe, two mobile phones, and that’s about it.
But now, almost every electrical device in our house wants an internet connection. From phones to tablets and computers, to streaming devices and Smart TVs, voice assistants like Alexa, smart lamps, smart electrical plugs and even your doorbell. The list goes on and on…
And the more WiFi-connected devices you have, the more your router is going to struggle – after all, it has to keep dividing the data between all those devices.
This is where a stand-alone router like the eero 6 Pro comes in: it does a better job of spreading the WiFi signal around your house (yes, you can also buy WiFi range extenders or Powerline Adapters, but with a good router, you might not have to), to a large number of devices.
Plus, it comes with a few extra parental features and security filters that ISP hubs don’t usually offer (though, annoyingly, they have a monthly cost attached on the eero series).
So if you regularly struggle with your WiFi connection at home, or find that certain devices intermittently lose their internet connection – the eero 6 Pro could be the solution.
eero Pro 6 Specs & Features
Eero is an American company that’s been around since 2015, and was bought by Amazon in 2019. They make one thing – wireless routers – so they know what they’re doing.
The eero Pro 6 used to be their most expensive router, until the eero Pro 6E was released recently – but that’s good news, as the eero Pro 6E is currently a bit of an overkill for most UK customers, while the Pro 6 had its price reduced considerably.
The eero Pro 6 is a WiFi 6 router, which means it supports a faster and more stable wireless internet standard (most UK ISP routers only support WiFi 5 for now).
WiFi 6 is backwards compatible, so you won’t have any problems connecting older devices – but to get the full benefit of WiFi 6, your connected devices will need to support it as well.
Many modern smartphones already support WiFi 6, as does the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
The eero 6 Pro uses three bands – two 5GHZ and one 2.4GHz. The common band, 2.4GHz, typically gives a wider range, but is slower and you can potentially get transfer speeds of up to 574Mbps.
The 5GHz frequency is faster – but has a more limited range. On the eero 6 Pro, you can get speeds of up to 2402Mbps (these are all theoretical, however, as they depend on distance, the type of walls, and the devices you’re connecting).
Traditional WiFi Mesh systems consist of two – and often three or more WiFi range extenders that create a big net – or, a mesh – inside your house.
With Mesh extenders, you can use each device as part of a WiFi relay network. So let’s say the first device sits near the second floor (but close enough to the router on the first floor), and that one “throws” the WiFi signal further away, for the SECOND mesh device – that sits near the third floor – to catch.
The eero 6 Pro is Mesh-ready, which means it already creates a Mesh network – so if the router’s own WiFi range still isn’t enough for you, you can buy another unit (there’s a pack that already comes with three units) – to spread the WiFi even farther.
Unlike many other routers that offer cheaper “nodes” as the WiFi extenders, the eero 6 Pro’s three-pack simply gives you three identical routers, so each one of them can serve either as the router – or as another node in the house.
The eero 6 Pro also has a built-in Zigbee hub (which you can also find on some of Amazon’s Echo devices, such as the Echo Studio). This is useful for connecting smart home devices (such as light bulbs, smart plugs, etc.) – as some of them require this kind of hub to communicate with.
eero 6 Pro Advanced Filtering / Parental Controls
Out of the box, you only get very basic filtering and monitoring features on the eero 6 Pro – and for the more advanced features, you need to subscribe to the eero Secure or Secure+ plans.
The eero Secure costs £2.99/month (or £29/year), and offers a more advanced firewall, parental controls and content filtering (so you can block specific websites from any device that connects to the internet in your home, block “inappropriate” content, etc.), block ads, or prevent some devices from connecting to the internet on certain hours (so no internet after dinner, for example).
The eero Secure+ costs £9.99/month or £99/year, and includes all the aforementioned features, along with a few 3rd-party services: the excellent 1Password password manager, Encrypt.me VPN, Malwarebytes antivirus and DDNS for remote network access.
While Secure+ may be a cost-saving bundle for some, the basic Secure plan offers features that are usually included for free on other similarly-priced routers. So while they do work well, it feels a bit like a money grab.
Furthermore, while parental content filtering can be useful in some instances, I tend to turn it off pretty quickly, as it’s always problematic. In this case, two minutes after turning the content filtering on, it blocked a page on the very site you’re reading – my own site – which by no means has any “adult” or “dangerous” content. Naturally, I promptly turned the filtering off.
Setting Up The eero 6 Pro
Routers are complicated and confusing to set up. Wait, strike that – routers USED to be complicated and confusing to set up – but the eero 6 Pro (and a few rivals as well) finally manages to change that – as it provides a super-simple setup process.
In the box, you get the router itself, which is surprisingly small (and has no external aerials whatsoever), one Ethernet cable, and the power cable.
As mentioned, the eero Pro 6 only serves as a router, and not a modem – so you do still have to keep your ISP’s hub – and switch it to MODEM-ONLY mode (check with your ISP on how to do that – it’s usually fairly simple).
Then, you connect the eero to the hub with an Ethernet cable, so it could serve as your new router.
Disappointingly, the eero 6 Pro has just two Ethernet ports – so with one connected to your ISP’s modem, that leaves just one free port.
If you want to connect a powerline adapter, for example – or connect a desktop computer directly with an Ethernet cable, or a streaming device, or any other device that can benefit from a wired connection (more than one, that is) – you’ll have to buy an Ethernet Switch.
The setting up process involves downloading the eero app to your smartphone – your phone will then connect to the eero 6 Pro, and after a few taps – you’re basically done.
During the setup, you’ll choose your WiFi network’s name and password – if you keep the same password you’ve been using so far, your other devices will just seamlessly connect to the “same” network again.
Devices will connect to either the 2.4GHZ band or the 5GHZ band. Some devices (many smart light bulbs, for example) can ONLY work with the 2.4GHZ band. That’s why many routers let you set up two separate networks, if you wish – a 2.4GHZ one and a 5GHZ one, with different names.
The eero 6 Pro does NOT let you create two separate networks. Instead, if you’re having trouble connecting some devices, you can (via the app) turn off the 5GHZ band for 15 minutes – connect your problematic devices to the 2.4GHZ network – and then bring the 5GHZ one back.
It’s a simple solution that will work for most, without the added complication of setting up a separate network – but I would have liked to be given the choice, as many other routers do.
You can also easily create a Guest Network via the app – so if you want to let guests connect to your WiFi without giving them the password to your main network – you can create a separate one with its own name and password (and easily change it or turn it off once the guests finally leave).
eero 6 Pro Performance And Speed
The most important aspects of a router are WiFi speed and range. Right before this test, I was using Virgin Media’s “Hub 3”, which is still their most widely used router (even though Hub 4 and Hub 5 are already out there).
In a semi-detached house with two floors, the Hub 3 usually manages to supply decent performance, with two major issues: bad reception in certain areas (problematic rooms like the bathroom, or the bedroom which is the farthest away from the router), and temporary (but repeating) device disconnections, due to the large number of WiFi-connected devices we have at home.
Once I connected the eero 6 Pro – it solved both of these issues admirably. With my usual tests using the WiFi Analyzer Pro app on my phone, the WiFi signal remained above 95% in almost every room in the house – including on the second floor.
The bathroom, where the WiFi signal strength tended to drop to 30% with Virgin Media’s Hub 3, managed to get a signal strength of 76%, which is quite impressive.
Even better, testing the actual transfer speeds (over broadband, not just inside the house), both with Speedtest.net and Netflix’s own Fast.com speed checker, gave top speeds (of up to 200Mbps in my case) in almost every room – except for the bedroom, where the numbers hovered around 150Mbps.
As mentioned, my other issue with the Virgin Media Hub 3 has been connection dropouts – which is a common problem with older routers.
Occasionally, my broadband would just stop working on some WiFi-connected devices (such as phones and laptops). The device would still be connected to the WiFi network – but there would be no internet.
Once I moved to the eero 6 Pro, those connection issues disappeared completely, even though we have more than 20 devices connected to the internet via the router (according to eero, you can use their router to connect 75+ devices).
After more than a month of using the new router – I haven’t had a single connection drop-out, which is very impressive, and means you won’t have any problems watching multiple Netflix 4K streams on multiple devices at home, while someone is also playing an online game (as long as your broadband speed is also high enough, of course).
As with any router, your mileage may vary, depending on the size of your house and where you position the router – but it will, without a doubt, perform better than your run-of-the-mill ISP router.
Monitoring performance and changing settings on the eero app is quite easy, as the app is very friendly. You can see all the devices that are currently connected to your router (though good luck understanding some of the strange device names), and you even get a notification whenever a new device connects to your WiFi network for the first time, which is a handy way to find out whether your neighbours have tapped into your network.
You can also see your speed and data analytics in the app, learning how much data you downloaded this week/month, for example, and which devices were the biggest data hogs.
However, if you want to see more detailed historical data – that’s annoyingly hidden behind the Secure paywall.
Bottom Line: Is The eero 6 Pro Worth It?
The eero 6 Pro is an excellent little (literally) router. But you first need to decide whether you even need another router.
If you want a better WiFi range, more stable connections, and your ISP’s router is causing problems – then the answer is probably yes.
The eero 6 Pro’s greatest trick is that “it just works” – setting it up takes a couple of seconds, and from that point on, you don’t need to meddle with it at all, which also makes it perfect as a router for your parents.
That being said – the fact that many of its advanced features are hidden behind a monthly subscription, really hurts the value-for-money column.
And, the fact that some of the more advanced technical settings and tweaks that are available on other routers are absent here, is something that may deter tech enthusiasts and tweakers.
But all in all, at its new price level, the eero 6 Pro can be a major upgrade in many houses – without costing an arm and a leg.
Note: The product was supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of it.