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5 Best DD-WRT Routers of 2016

Despite, enormous advances in the world of internet connected devices and technology, routers have improved considerably little. Due to this, commercial routers are somewhat limited in what they allow you to achieve, so we have bought you this list of the best DD-WRT routers available.

Best DD-WRT Routers

What is a DD-WRT router?

DD-WRT is open source firmware that you can install on your router, to replace the one provided by the manufacturer. In essence, this is similar to installing a different operating system on your computer. And since DD-WRT provides a lot more functionality you are able to do more with your router.

Since you’re already here, you likely already know about DD-WRT, and while we cover some essential areas at the end of this article, we recommend a visit to our brand new DD-WRT Super Guide, which covers every aspect of DD-WRT that you might want to know about, and more.

 

Best DD-WRT Routers

Asus RT-AC5300

(Amazon: $399.99, FlashRouters: $599.99)

Asus AC5300

The Asus RT-AC5300 is the mothership of wireless routers. While the AC88U is slightly beefier when it comes to technical specifications, when it comes to wireless connectivity, the AC5300 wins every time. This is in part thanks to the eight external antennas, which are set up in a four-transmit, four-receive (4T4R) configuration. This helps avoid collisions and thereby increase transfer rates. The router also allows you to set up two real 5GHz networks.

The router is also loaded up with unique MU-MIMO technology (Multi User – Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology and specialized gaming technology to reinforce further the amazing wireless technology.

On the whole, if you’re looking to deck out your home or office with a router that will support your 4K video streaming, and endless wireless devices, then this Asus is the best DD-WRT router for you!

Asus RT-AC5300 Technical Specifications

CPU: 1400MHz dual-core
Ram: 256MB
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 8 External
USB: USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Transfer Rates: 1000Mbps 2.4GHz, 2x 2167Mbps 5GHz

Amazon »   FlashRouters »


Asus RT-AC88U

(Amazon: $299.99, FlashRouters: $499.99)

Asus AC88U

While the AC5300 is an excellent option, if you’re looking for something that allows for more workload and wired connections, then the AC88U is the router for you. It has twice the Ram, Flash and gigabit ports (at eight), but this does come at the price of a slightly weaker wireless network. This makes the router a lot more ideal for small offices where everyone is sitting close to each other and can use an ethernet cable, but not necessarily for spaces that require better coverage and are more spread out.

Unsurprisingly, it’s easily capable of streaming 4K media to your devices (including movies of course), has game acceleration and with DD-WRT installed you can achieve a lot more with it. It also has three USB ports, compared to the traditional two, as you’re likely to need them. On the whole, if you’re looking to run a lot of applications and processes (e.g. VPN Client, Transmission, Printer, NAS, FTP) and prefer the stability of wired connections, then this is the top DD-WRT router to choose.

Asus RT-AC88U Technical Specifications

CPU: 1400MHz dual-core
Ram: 512MB
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 4 External
USB: USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Transfer Rates: 1000Mbps 2.4GHz, 2167Mbps 5GHz

Amazon »   FlashRouters »


Netgear R7000

(Amazon: $249.99, FlashRouters: $349.99)

Netgear R7000

The Netgear R7000 was last year’s winner, but due to superb routers being recently every year, it has dropped down to third place. This, however, doesn’t mean it’s a bad router, far from it.

The R7000 is capable of streaming videos, improving your online gaming and much more. While it lacks the power and transfer rates of the above two, they all support DD-WRT MEGA builds so you can achieve the same level of functionality. If you are interested in running DD-WRT on your Netgear router, you should also visit MyOpenRouter, the open source Netgear community.

Netgear R7000 Technical Specifications

CPU: 1000MHz dual-core
Ram: 256MB
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 3 External
USB: USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Transfer Rates: 600Mbps 2.4GHz, 1300Mbps 5GHz

Amazon »   FlashRouters »


Asus RT-AC56U

(Amazon: $101.99, FlashRouters: $249.99)

Asus AC56U

The RT-AC56U is a very popular router for home use. Asus have achieved a slick design, allowing it to be tucked into a corner, without impacting its performance too much.

The company has also included 2 USB modules in the router, thereby enabling you to connect your hard-drive for efficient sharing between family and colleagues. If you’re looking for a low price router with plenty of punch, then this is an excellent solution. Read our Definitive DD-WRT guide to find out just how much can be done with this DD-WRT router (and any other DD-WRT router for that matter).

Asus RT-AC56U Technical Specifications

CPU: 800MHz dual-core
Ram: 256MB
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 3 Internal
USB: USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Transfer Rates: 300Mbps 2.4GHz, 867Mbps 5GHz

Amazon »   FlashRouters »


Netgear AC1450

(Amazon: $109.99, FlashRouters: $199)

Netgear AC1450

The Netgear AC1450 is an often overlooked contender in the home router market. In many ways, it’s similar to the Asus AC56U above, with specs being nearly identical or even better in some respects.

With it being cheaper than the above, it’s also another great option for medium sized homes. Due to the small form factor, we did find the wireless range to be slightly worse, but on the whole, it’s a decent router with plenty of specs for the average Joe.

Netgear AC1450 Technical Specifications

CPU: 800MHz dual-core
Ram: 256MB
Flash: 128MB
Antennas: 3 Internal
USB: USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Transfer Rates:  450Mbps 2.4GHz, 975Mbps 5GHz

Amazon »   FlashRouters »


Advantages of DD-WRT Routers

While default router firmware has been improving, installing DD-WRT on your router gives it the full functionality of a business-grade router without the cost. A full list of the many advantages would be too long for this article, but here are some of the most useful:

  • Advanced Quality of Service (QoS) controls– lets you change bandwidth allocation settings for different networks, and usually provides UPnP media streaming
  • Network storage (NAS) – external hard disks and USB flash drives can be plugged into DD-WRT flashed routers that are equipped with USB ports for use with network drives
  • Network printers – printers can also be connected to a USB port for access from anywhere on the network
  • DNS caching– speeds up hostname lookup to improve connection speeds to favorite websites
  • Wireless bridging– turns the router into a Wi-Fi repeater to extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal
  • Advanced performance graphs– DD-WRT lets you analyse your network performance and bandwidth use with detailed charts and statistics
  • Kai Daemon –this feature provides network tunnelling for the PC, Xbox and other consoles to the open source Xlink  Kai game platform
  • Adjust antenna power– to increase wireless range
  • VPN– DD-WRT can route the signals from all connected devices through a VPN service. This is particularly useful when you want to connect devices such as games consoles, Kindle Fire tablets, mobile phones, AppleTV and Roku, which don’t have built-in VPN clients.

Flashed DD-WRT Router Providers

While DD-WRT routers are a great thing to have, it can be troublesome to obtain them. Yes, it is possible to do it yourself, however, it can raise the following issues:

  • Even though they have a dd-wrt routers database page, this is often out of date, and finding the latest stable build can be problematic
  • Flashing in most cases is very easy, but in some instances, it can be extremely problematic
  • Should you mess up, your router could be bricked i.e. it will be utterly useless for anything
  • Unless you’ve done some coding and programming before, you could run into problems with adjusting settings

Therefore, if you’re hesitant about setting up DD-WRT, we’d recommend looking at the below two flashed router providers. Not only will they provide you with a DD-WRT flashed router, but can also help you customise its settings. If you’re only interested in getting a DD-WRT router, and will do the setting up yourself, then a lot of providers are now selling DD-WRT routers themselves on Amazon. Bare in mind, that choosing one of the below two DD-WRT routers providers is going to be considerably more experience but if you require a lot of help and support then they definitely pay off in the long run.

When it comes to DD-WRT routers and support, FlashRouters is king. They provide excellent support, a large selection of routers, significant expertise and a very modest hardware and satisfaction guarantee. They also have an individual support plan, so that if you already have a DD-WRT router, you can just pay them to get one-on-one help on achieving the perfect settings for you.

On the other hand, while SabaiOS provides a much smaller selection they do better in other areas. For example, they have longer guarantees, and also provide Tomato and SabaiOS flashed routers.

Configuring VPN on DD-WRT

As our branding reveals, we’re big fans of VPNs here and enjoy them for both privacy and streaming purposes.

All DD-WRT routers support VPN using the PPTP protocol. However, this isn’t very secure, and OpenVPN is always recommended when possible. While  OpenVPN is only compatible with some builds, all of the DD-WRT routers we have selected are. General guides are available on the DD-WRT website for setting up PPTP and OpenVPN.
Some providers, such as ibVPN, also sell routers flashed with DD-WRT and preconfigured to their VPN service, while third-party router sellers, such as FlashRouters, specialise in supplying routers preconfigured to popular VPN providers.

Top DD-WRT Routers Conclusion

In conclusion, have listed the best dd-wrt routers in our opinion, and hope you will find one that suits your needs. With over 2000 supported devices, this list can in no way be considered as definitive or all-encompassing. While we think that the above five poses a great range for all needs, if you none of them catch your eyes, then have a look at the supported dd-wrt routers page or visit the FlashRouters page.

We hope you enjoyed this list, which surprisingly it doesn’t feature any TP-Link or Linksys routers, it should still provide you with plenty of value. We’d love to know what router and set-up you chose to go with so let us know in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions you may have.


Peter Selmeczy I am an engineer by trade and tech geek by night, who's passionate about sharing his knowledge with the people. Find me on Google+.

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23 responses to “5 Best DD-WRT Routers of 2016

  1. Hi,

    I have a few questions.

    1. My router does not support OpenVPN, however it supports IPSec, L2TP and PPTP. Are any of these suitably secure?

    2. My router supports both VPN clients and VPN servers. I understand the client option is appropriate if I want to secure my connection whilst I am in the house, and that the server option is appropriate if I want to connect to my home network whilst I am elsewhere. If I set up my router as a VPN server, will I be able to connect to a shared disk that is attached to my router via a USB?

    3. One of the advantages of running a VPN on a computer is that it will notify you when the connection drops out. As such, you can stop what you’re doing to prevent a leak and also use a kill-switch. What happens if the connection drops out when you’re connected to a VPN via your router? Don’t you end up flashing your IP around the internet without knowing?

    1. Hi Alex,

      1. Please PPTP vs L2TP vs OpenVPN vs SSTP vs IKEv2 for a full discussion on this topic. TL:DR – L2TP/IPSec is more than secure enough for most purposes, but is unlikely to stop the NSA. PPTP should be avoided at all costs.

      2. Yes (probably).

      3. This can be a problem, although some routers allow you to specify that all traffic must be routed through the VPN (in effect making a firewall-based kill switch). If using DD-WRT it is possible to create a kill switch.

  2. Dear All,
    Firstly i am a complete novice and need some information please.
    I live in France and my house router is a live box, i seem to understand that these are impossible to deceive with a new VPN, what i am trying to do is, purchase a router with DD-WRT installed and a UK VPN so that i can stream Amazon prime and catch up TV on my Sky+ box.
    My Live box is hard wired in a down stairs room and my TV and PS3 are in a different room so these have to be served using wi-fi. Is there someone out there reading this who can advise me on what router to purchase,I guess from the UK so it has a UK VPN? and then how to attach it to my live box and finally for my SKY+ box and PS3 to be able to stream UK based programs. I thank you all in advance, please remember laymans terms as i am not a geek. Also if the VPN or the router works with the installed VPN do i need to subscribe to a VPN provider as well?

    1. Hi Damian,

      – I know of no reason why you can’t use a VPN with your LiveBox router.
      – A VPN router is indeed an ideal way to connect your TV and PS3 so they appear to be in the UK
      – You need a VPN company that runs VPN servers located in the UK. It need not be a UK company (in fact, on privacy grounds I strongly recommend avoiding UK VPN companies like the plague).
      – It’s a little pricey, but the recently reviewed ExpressVPN Router would match your needs perfectly and works with all major UK services (although I have not tested it with Sky+). You can always take advantage of ExpessVPN’s no quibble 30-day money back guarantee to test that it works for the services you wish to access using its software VPN client.

  3. Hi, i live in France and i just install HMA VPN on my laptop. Now i want to use it with my playstation 3 and 4 but online PSN don’t work with a virtual router like Connectivity 2016.
    Do you have any advice about witch kind of router i have to buy and be sur that i can play online without NAT trouble or anything else ?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sebastien,

      The main you need to worry about when choosing a VPN router is processing power. VPN connections (and especially OpenVPN) need a beefy processor/generous memory in order to not slow down your internet connection. The recently reviewed ExpressVPN Linksys WRT1200AC Router is an excellent option.

  4. Hi, I’m looking for a DD-WRT router that I can use to access netflix in mexico. Do I need a VPN service or will the router alone take care of this?

    1. Hi Rob,

      – You can setup a DD-WRT router to act as a VPN sever that you can then “dial-into”. If your router is geographically located in the US, this is a great solution for accessing Netflix. You do not need a VPN service for this.
      – If you are based in Mexico, on the other hand, then you will need to pay for a VPN service that runs VPN servers located in the US.

  5. i have a netgear ex6200 which is running ddwrt. it is the cheapest most powerful consumer device i could find that does a suitable task for what you want it to do. it preformed even better when changing the stock antennas. in canada they are often on sale within the 100$ range. it has 700mw power output. 800mhz dual core. 128megs ram. small flash of 8mb. has usb and 4 and also 5th gigabit port for wan lan. i have used it now for about a year. other products might be faster or better. i know mine works well for me and it was a good costeffective value in my application. its 2.4ghz and 5ghz. works with everything i have with out issue.

  6. Can these routers function as l2tp vpn servers? Apple removed pptp from ios 10 so I need a different kind of vpn server at home. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ikomarad,

      Yes, all DD-WRT routers can function as PPTP servers. Do note, however, that PPTP is very insecure, so I recommend using OpenVPN instead.

      1. The poster originally asked if l2tp is possible, not pptp, which is not an option anymore for him since it has been removed from ios 10

        1. Hi gizero,

          Oops! You are absolutely right! My bad. It is possible to setup L2TP VPN on a DD-WRT router, although no encryption will be used as IPSec is not supported. I do not think is possible to configure a DD-WRT router as an L2TP VPN server.

  7. Trendnet TEW-828DRU for $200 really should be on this list. It’s nearly identical specs to ASUS 88u for ~$100 less.

    It looks to me like the value AC router to run DD-WRT this year.

  8. With regards the Asus RT-AC5300, it is not listed in the DD-WRT router database. Can you confirm this is supported?

  9. This article has clearly inaccurate information. Especially regarding the RT-AC88U(AC3100).
    1) It has 128MB flash, not 256MB.
    2) It has 2 USB ports total, not 3. One USB 2.0, and one USB 3.0.
    3) It has 4 Gigabit LAN ports, not 8.

    1. Hi Ez

      Yep sorry we made a small mistake and points 1 and 2 are correct. However, it does have 8 Gigabit LAN ports.

      Thanks
      Peter

  10. I am confused. Your article in your newsletter was entitled “5 best DD-WRT VPN PROVIDERS”, but that is not what the article is about – it’s about ROUTERS.

    What about the vpn providers that work with DD-WRT ?

    Thank you

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