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Eero Pro vs Netgear Orbi: Which should you buy?

Eero Pro Wifi System on a table
Eero Pro Wifi System on a table (Image credit: eero)

Mesh networking technology in the Eero Pro and Netgear Orbi provides reliable whole-home Wi-Fi coverage through a series of nodes that enable seamless roaming. If you want the largest coverage area and highest wireless speeds around without having to navigate a series of complicated features, then go with the Eero Pro. If you want parental controls without a subscription, need more ethernet ports in each room, and don't want to spend a ton of money, then go with the Netgear Orbi system.

More than just the hardware

Netgear Orbi RBK50 app management

Netgear Orbi RBK50 app management (Image credit: Netgear)

Both the Eero Pro and Netgear Orbi are massive upgrades from the traditional, single access point routers of the past. These routers can cover every corner of your home with a strong Wi-Fi signal and provide access to quick and easy controls via their respective apps. These systems also work silently in the background to scan traffic for threats, filter content, and update automatically with the latest security fixes. With these features may come some added expenses, though, so it's important to determine which is the best for your household before purchasing.

Eero Pro WiFi SystemNetgear Orbi RBK50 WiFi System
App managementiOS & AndroidiOS & Android
Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
RadiosTri-bandTri-band
CoverageUp to 6,000 sq. ft.Up to 5,000 sq. ft.
Wi-Fi SpeedsUp to 1 GbpsUp to 500 Mbps
Ethernet SpeedsUp to 1 GbpsUp to 1 Gbps
Ethernet Ports2 per node4 per satellite
Works with Apple HomeKitYesNo
Works with Amazon AlexaYesYes
Works with Google AssistantNoYes
ExpandableYesYes
Processor700 MHZ Quad-Core710 MHZ Quad-Core
Memory512mb Ram512mb Ram
Storage4gb flash512mb flash
BluetoothLE 4.2Tri-band
Family ProfilesYes w/Eero SecureYes
Internet PausingYesYes
Ad BlockingYes w/Eero SecureNo
VPNYes w/Eero Secure+No

Despite the Eero Pro having a price tag that is almost double that of the Netgear Orbi, parental controls and advanced security features are all locked behind a subscription. Eero actually offers two different subscription tiers of its Eero Secure service, both of which are affordable but are yet another subscription.

The cheaper $3 a month Eero Secure plan includes the aforementioned parental controls and security scanning but also includes a handy ad-blocking feature, which not only hides nuisances, but may provide a small speed bump. The more expensive $10 a month Eero Secure+ throws in subscriptions to popular apps and services like 1Password, Malware Bytes anti-virus, and encrypt.me VPN.

Netgear also provides subscription services for the Orbi, one that focuses on security, and another that enables even more parental controls via Disney Circle. The $70 a year Netgear Armor (opens in new tab) service scans for potential threats like malware, phishing attempts, and includes anti-virus protection.

Disney Circle Premium (opens in new tab), which costs $5 a month or $50 a year, includes expanded usage history information, scheduling, and a reward system for family members. In either case, the subscription services for both Eero and Netgear provide some pretty nice benefits, although depending on your needs, you may be able to get by without a subscription.

Similar specs, different features

As you can see, both the Eero Pro and the Netgear Orbi offer very similar hardware specs, but some key differences are important to consider. The Eero Pro WiFI System includes an extra node giving it an additional 1,000 square feet of coverage area over the Orbi, and it supports up to 1 Gbps speeds over wireless.

The Eero Pro also includes extra on-board storage that enables additional capabilities such as Apple's HomeKit Secure Router feature that keeps smart home devices safe and secure. However, the Eero Pro lacks parental controls without subscribing to the Eero Secure service, which only adds to its already high price.

If you have a small to medium-sized home and basic internet speeds, then the Netgear Orbi WiFi System may be a better choice due to its lower price and feature set. This system includes two satellites but still has the same number of ethernet ports that the Eero Pro's three nodes include, and it comes with free parental controls via Disney Circle baked right in. Disney Circle allows you to create profiles for each member of your household, enabling content filters, pausing, and usage history, all without a subscription, and all at the router level, not on the device.

Christopher spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit. If you wish to join him on his quest to automate everything, you can follow him on Twitter at @itschrisclose.