What is Flashrouters?
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.
Wh are Flashrouters?
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, the 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 specialize in VPN optimizing 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 in helping customers optimize the through-put, Wifi and VPN speed through ideal firmware settings.
Flashrouters Customer Support
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 10 am and 5 pm EST weekdays, but it is possible to receive support outside of these hours if previously discussed. We tested it 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 Flashrouters
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 are very good in our opinion.
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.