FlashRouters Review Summary
On the whole FlashRouters is one of the best providers of flashed routers on the market. Their routers, which come with a choice of Tomato or DD-WRT, help you obtain the best out of your router – whether it’s old or new. Read our full FlashRouters review below, to find out more about their great service.
If you’re unsure as to what a flashed router is, then have a look at the fantastic video below.
Pricing & Plans
FlashRouters sells 15-20 different types of routers from 4 of the main manufacturers: Linksys, Netgear, Asus and TP-Link. The models they sell vary from low-end examples such as the Linksys E1200 ($89.95) to full powerhouse routers like the Netgear R8000 ($429.95). These prices are similar, and in some cases lower, than what other flashed router providers are charging. For this price, you also get their fantastic support, which we outline later on in this post. It is more expensive than if you bought the router on its own and then flashed it yourself, but you could end up with a number of problems. Again, we will discuss this further on.
For the price, you also get a 7-day faulty router cover, a 90-day hardware warranty, and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee all for free. If you wish to, you can also add additional warranty and support time, either when checking out or in the future. That is a lot more than you would get if you purchased your router from your local IT shop! Also, if you buy a refurbished version, you will be provided with a discount which ranges from $30-$70, depending on make and model.
Should you already have a router you wish to install DD-WRT or Tomato on, you are also able to purchase a support plan that will help with the flashing and VPN installation process. Depending on which plan you opt to go for, you will also receive up to a year of support. Before purchasing this, make sure they support your VPN provider, but with a growing list of 53 (and 4 Smart DNS providers), the answer is most likely a resounding yes.
They also sell some media streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, and Boxee. If this is the only item you’d like to purchase, then you’re better off buying it somewhere else.
To pay for your router, you can use any traditional credit card types as well as PayPal. It would be nice to see support for BitCoin as well, like the VPN providers they support, but it’s non-essential.
As their name suggests, FlashRouters is a company that specializes in flashing custom firmware onto routers. While, there are a number of different types of firmware available online, they only focus on the most popular two: DD-WRT and Tomato. They are based in New Jersey, USA which is great for all North American and Canadian customers, but will mean slightly more expensive shipping for customers in other places around the world.
As mentioned the company primarily sells flashed routers but also has media devices on offer. They mainly specialise in VPN optimising routers and have solid relationships with all the main VPN providers to be able to solve their customers’ needs. They have also invested a considerable amount of time into helping customers optimise the through-put, Wifi and VPN speeds through ideal firmware settings.
Security & Privacy
Since FlashRouters only provide the physical routers, the security you obtain by running VPN on these, purely depend on the VPN provider you choose. To help you out with this, we have created a 5 Best list around the topic.
The FlashRouters website is clearly laid and easy to navigate. In their top navigation menu, you can easily find all the products and support services, while in their footer lies more in-depth information relating to their service. While it does look slightly old-school, there is nothing wrong with that, it would be nice to see a slightly fresher and modern design.
They also run a blog that is kept up to date with tips and tricks, the best devices to use, recommend VPN providers and information about various streaming news.
All of their social networks (Twitter, Facebook and Google) are kept up to date with the latest news. It’s refreshing to see that these aren’t mirror copies of each other and they also share various security and streaming news from favorite news websites.
FlashRouters has extensive support mechanisms: email, ticket, live chat, remote desktop, knowledge base and phone. While none of these are 24/7, it’s nice to see such a significant range. We had a chance to test out all of them apart from phone, as it is only toll-free from the US and Canada.
Their live chat, email and ticket systems were usually quick to reply and they were able to help us with most things that we were stuck on. For complex issues, where they need access to your desktop you will need most likely need remote support.
Their remote desktop support is available between 10am and 5pm EST weekdays, but it is possible to receive support outside of these hours if previously discussed. We tested it a multiple times and found that it is absolutely fantastic. Not only was the staff extremely friendly but also very knowledgeable and helpful. We did ask a question that they weren’t able to answer immediately, but they researched it for us and gave us a solution within a day.
The knowledge base was a letdown, half of it was related to service closure times and the other half to very basic technical questions. We would have liked to see it populated with guides on optimizing speeds, installing add-ons, configuring set-ups, sharing devices and printers, and generally more in-depth.
Ordering from them was extremely easy. All you need to do is select the product, enter the shipping information and pay. You can also select add-ons, customizations for your VPN provider and enter any other special setup requests. US deliveries will take 2-3 business days, while international customers will need to wait around a week for their product. Such a short lead time for flashing, configuration, testing and shipping is very good in our opinion.
FlashRouters: DD-WRT and Tomato
We received our flashed router, running on Tomato firmware. Within the box, there was also a manual on how to set up and optimize our settings. We were also able to talk to support and get some optimisation tips that were more specific to our use case. Within the introductory pack, there was also a guide on how to setup of your router so that you can appear to be using devices from different countries (i.e. your phone in your home country and your laptop connected to the Netherlands via a VPN).
After we done our testing on the Tomato firmware, support was also able to remote flash our router with DD-WRT.
While we like the feel and performance that both firmware provider, we do prefer Tomato as it’s better optimized for VPN. Clearly the big advantage of both is that they allow for a larger range of settings: Quality of Service, UPnP, VPN Client and Server, better logging, better optimisation, and the list goes on.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
We tested the pure speeds of our internet connection through Ethernet and WiFi, and in both cases found no loss from our 30/3 Mbps pure speeds. If you have faster internet, then it should have very little problem with these as well.
As you can read in our R7000 review we also tested VPN on our router. We obtained no speed loss for this either, but our research shows that VPN download speeds will top out at around 42Mbps.
Clearly, IP, Speed, and DNS leak tests will depend on the provider you have chosen. We recommend looking at the aforementioned list to find the right one for you.
We had the chance to test the Netgear R7000 (full review here) and found it to be all round superb. We also received an AC66U from them previously. From our experience of both of these, we believe that FlashRouters provides quality product with high attention to detail.
During our FlashRouters review, we had the chance to test their remote desktop support, which you can also buy separately, as mentioned in pricing. The main reason for this is that if you already have a router and want Tomato or DD-WRT on it, but are unsure of doing it yourself. We also gave them a test on this aspect, and got them to set up one of our old Asus routers to run Tomato instead of the stock firmware. They were also able to help us optimize this.
Therefore, if you already have a router but want some help on setting up, optimizing and general improvements, then we highly recommend getting one of their support packages.
FlashRouters Review Conclusion
- Best support we’ve seen so far
- Great technology
- Wide range of products
We weren’t so sure about
- Knowledge base is very bare
- Slightly expensive
If you want a Flashed Router then look no further. FlashRouters can either sell you one that is already fully set up, or they can help you customize your existing one. While some services are lacking, and they are slightly expensive, on the whole we found their packages to be jam packed with value.