Installing the DD-WRT firmware can improve your connection, offer better VPN support, allow you to customize QoS, and increase network security. However, not all the routers are compatible with it and finding one can be tough. That’s why I’ve made this list of 7 best DD-WRT supported wireless routers.
You shall browse the internet, open multiple tabs, and find the routers that support DD-WRT or you can trust this guide and pick the best-rated DD-WRT compatible routers from this list. The former requires a research oriented mind-set and consumes huge time, the latter saves you huge time and gets you the best options.
This article will answer your questions and guide you in making an informed decision. I looked into devices that fulfill the basic requirements for installing dd-wrt and offer multiple features with the potential to be exploited.
- 7 Best DD-WRT Routers in 2021
- 1. Best For Gaming: Linksys WRT32XB
- 2. Best Port Arrangement: NETGEAR R7800-100NAS
- 3. Best With VPN Support: TP-Link Archer AC3200
- 4. Best Under 150: D-Link DIR-882-US
- 5. Best For Office Use: MOTOROLA MR2600
- 6. Best With Parental Controls: TP-Link Archer A7
- 7. Cheapest Option: NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 - AC1750
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
7 Best DD-WRT Routers in 2021
After a comparative analysis of over 30 routers in the market space with no dearth of products from Netgear, D-Link, Asus, TP-Link, I have narrowed down on 7 devices that fit best for specific scenarios.
Ranging from dedicated premium gaming routers to all-around performers, I delved into routers that provide a balance of utility, price, and features for households/ small enterprises (value-for-money options) and the budget options that tend to basic requirements.
1. Best For Gaming: Linksys WRT32XB
The Linksys WRT32XB comes with a Killer prioritization engine that gives higher priority to gaming activities and reduces latency during gaming.
Complement your Alienware or gaming PC with this Linksys router and get an improved twitch streaming performance. With support to open-source firmware, dd-wrt opens up the higher potential of the router.
Conditional to higher internet speed from ISP, the router can deliver peak speeds of 600mbps in 2.5GHz and 2600mbps in 5GHz frequency. It can cover large surface areas up to 2000 sq ft while supporting over 20 devices.
The Linksys dd-wrt router weighs close to 2.07 lbs with a sleek-looking black matte design. The device owes its powerful performance to a dual-core processor clocking at 1.8GHz, complemented by a RAM of 512MB and storage memory of 256MB.
The router has 4 short, yet powerful antennas re-inforced with MU-MIMO and beamforming. The array of one WAN port, four LAN ports, one USB 3.0 port, and an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port primes this device for high-wired gigabit connections and shared network storage devices/printers.
The WRTXB doesn’t come with support for mobile applications. The Web GUI guides through the installation but gives limited control over the router settings. The lack of parental controls or other advanced settings makes the dd-wrt firmware more appealing.
If you are looking for a dedicated gaming router to reduce your gaming latency and improve your gaming experience, the Linksys WRT32XB can be a viable solution. But the DFS, tri-stream 160MHz potential, and open-source readiness make this more appealing for its premium price.
- 1.8GHz dual-core processor
- Killer Prioritization Engine
- Open-source ready
- Tri-stream 160Hhz
- Lack of mobile application support
2. Best Port Arrangement: NETGEAR R7800-100NAS
In R7800, Netgear gives a gaming router capable of covering large homes and offers a stable internet connection to multiple devices. With the tweaks coming through dd-wrt firmware, the potential of the router improves bridging the gap between its utility and price.
The router is geared to deliver high-speed internet scaling up to 800mbps and 1733mbps on 2.5GHz and 5GHz frequency respectively. With extensive coverage of 2500 sq ft, the router can support up to 45 devices.
At 1.85 lbs, the Netgear router is neither lightweight nor heavy. With a glossy design, the black body has a bulky presence. It houses a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, an operating memory of 512MB, and storage of 128MB.
You can find 4 external antennas attached to the backside of the router. The router’s large footprints enable it to accommodate one WAN port, four LAN ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and one eSata port. It gives ample avenues for keeping your gaming console, desktops, tv connected. The network storage devices, printers, and external dongles get their room in the router.
Netgear Nighthawk application keeps the installations simple but doesn’t offer extensive controls of the web GUI. With parental controls, you can block websites using URLs, keywords with a schedule.
The support of 160 MHz channels, beamforming, 4×4 MU-MIMO, and its dedicated eSATA port, makes it a probable solution as a gaming router for large homes or as a workhorse for small-medium home-office setup.
- 160MHz channel support
- 1.7GHz dual-core processor
- Dynamic QoS
- Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA port
- 15 Channel DFS
- Limited Genie Mobile application
3. Best With VPN Support: TP-Link Archer AC3200
The Archer C3200 from TP-Link is powered by a dual-core processor clocking at 880 MHz, featuring support for WiFi 5 Multi-user – MIMO, and the latest encryption standards of WPA 3 to keep your internet connection secure.
With some support from ISP, high speeds of 600mbps in 2.4GHz and 1300mbps in 5GHz come within the purview of the router. The users can stream HD media from firestick, play online games and attend business meetings on up to 25 devices, spread across a surface area of 2500 sq ft.
Weighing close to 3 lbs, the Archer sports a highly ventilated black design. The casing accommodates a dual-core processor clocking at 1GHz with three offload co-processors, 256MB operating memory, and storage memory of 128MB.
The router comes with 6 foldable external antennas branching out of the lateral sides. With one WAN port, four LAN ports, one USB 3.0 port, and one USB 2.0 port, high-speed wired connections, sharing printers and network drives within the home network becomes easier.
TP-Link brings one of the most modern, simplistic user-interface designs in mobile applications and the web GUI. Users can easily install the router, irrespective of the platform.
The parental control accessed through the web-interface gives the ability to control the content visited by devices in the home network. You can add multiple devices with time schedules. The interface allows users to adjust bandwidth for devices to optimize the network and enable security options to protect the network from cyber-attacks.
Archer C3200 is a workable solution for large households or small enterprises looking for a tri-band VPN router to accommodate more devices simultaneously.
- Dual-core and 3 offload processor
- Airtime Fairness
- VPN support
- Bandwidth control QoS
- Non-adjustable antennas
- Low storage
4. Best Under 150: D-Link DIR-882-US
The D-Link DIR-882-US brings a lot of advanced features at a very affordable price Powered by a dual-core processor, the router comes with two USB ports, 4×4 spatial streams, and the potential of tapping into high-speed internet with dd-wrt firmware.
Technologies like MU-MIMO and Beamforming, the DIR-882 can deliver high-speed internet to multiple devices. It can scale up to 800mbps on 2.4GHz and 1733mbps on 5GHz, respectively. Its coverage can extend up to 1800 sq ft, supporting up to 15 devices.
At 1.25 lbs, this sub-$150 router looks sleek, sans the four large antennas. The LED lights are hardly noticeable, making its presence less conspicuous. The 128MB operating memory and 16MB storage memory act as a limiting factor in data-intensive activities, but it does carry enough space for the dd-wrt firmware and further updates.
The router comes with 4 large dual-band antennas. The D-Link router has 4 Ethernet ports and 1 WAN port offering room for gigabit-wired connections. The USB 3.0 & USB 2.0 port enables sharing network-attached storage devices and printers.
The QRS mobile application and D-Link Web GUI sport a simplistic design that ensures quick setup and management. The smart connect technology maintains stable connectivity to the device by switching between frequencies.
The web GUI allows you to filter websites, create schedules for internet access, enable device priority, setup VPN, customize and configure security settings.
The support of 160MHz channels brings a high-speed potential to the router. With support to shared NAS/printers and other technologies, the DIR-882 makes a convincing case as the perfect router for small/medium-sized or home-office environments.
- Advanced SmartBeam
- 160MHz Channel support
- QoS priority for devices
- Dual-core processor
- Intuitive user-interface
- Low operating/storage memory
5. Best For Office Use: MOTOROLA MR2600
If you can find enough patience to manage your router through the web interface, the MR2600 from Motorola delivers high-speed internet with Smart QoS, decent NAS performance, and multiple security features.
The routers can deliver high-speed internet up to 800mbps on 2.5GHz, 1733mbps on 5GHz frequency. With a coverage area of 2000 sq ft, the routing device can support over 20 devices easily for the 200 Mbps internet plan.
At 1.1 pounds, the Motorola router is lightweight. Sporting a black chequered design, nothing looks out of place except the USB port in the front. The black casing finds room for a dual-core processor, RAM of 128MB, and storage memory of 16MB, which gives just enough room for dd-wrt firmware.
The 4 adjustable antennas, reinforced with MU-MIMO and beamforming can disperse stable WiFi signals across a large surface area. It comes with four LAN ports, one WAN port, and one USB 3.0 port, ensuring high-speed wired bandwidth for TVs, gaming consoles, and desktops.
The MR2600 is solely managed by the web-based GUI. Lack of mobile application removes the possibility of remote monitoring for parents with kids/teens at home. The installation and router management happens through the web interface.
The web interface allows users to create customized URL filters, set up internet access schedules, and add customized parental control rules for multiple devices. You can set up guest networks and protect your devices in your home network from security threats.
If not for the lack of mobile application support, the Motorola MR2600 will find itself in smaller homes with kids. It offers an affordable solution for working professionals sharing an internet connection under the same roof.
- Dual-core processor
- Adjustable/Removable Antennas
- Beamforming (Both Implicit & Explicit)
- DLNA media sharing
- Lack of mobile application support
6. Best With Parental Controls: TP-Link Archer A7
The TP-Link Archer A7 doesn’t boast advanced technology as MU-MIMO or Beamforming. It offers QoS, parental controls, high-speed internet with extended coverage in a very limited budget, with the potential to be increased by the dd-wrt firmware.
The router can achieve speeds of up to 450mbps in 2.4GHz and 1300mbps in 5GHz, conditional to the internet connection offered by the ISP. With extended coverage of 2500 sq ft, TP-link claims the routing device can support up to 50 devices simultaneously.
At 0.90 lbs, the router is easy on the hands as it is on the wallet. Two thin grooves divide the shiny black casing into three equally sized rectangles with the indicators lining up on the front part and the port antennas on the third part. The router has an operating memory of 128MB and a storage of 16MB fulfilling minimal requirements for a dd-wrt firmware.
The Archer A7 has 3 antennas towering from its rear end. The TP-Link device has four ethernet ports, one Gigabit WAN port, and a USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 port will be ideal for sharing printers than network storage devices, owing to its data-transfer rates.
The tether mobile application supports both iOS and Android-based devices, offering an intuitive, user-friendly interface on both platforms. Owing to the interface, the users can cruise through the initial setup within a few minutes.
With parental controls, you can create multiple profiles, add multiple devices, customize blacklist/whitelist with keywords/URL and restrict/allow the internet with time schedules. You can also monitor your child’s internet usage, prioritize devices, and protect the network from intrusions.
If you are looking for a budget solution to manage your network, protect your children from undue exposure, and monitor the internet activity, TP-Link Archer A7 can be the right router for you with its potential furthered by the dd-wrt firmware.
- VPN support
- Parental and access control
- TP-Link Mesh compatible
- QoS by device
- Alexa compatible
- Limited control over settings
- No USB 3.0 port
7. Cheapest Option: NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 - AC1750
The Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 offers the right balance of utility with features like Beamforming plus, parental controls, Armor Cybersecurity, VPN support that keeps your devices connected to a secure, high-speed internet.
The router can achieve high-speeds of 450mbps in 2.5GHz, 1300mbps in 5GHz, depending on the limits placed by your ISP. With coverage of 1500 sq ft, offering support of up to 25 devices, the R6700 is the right choice for smaller-mediums homes.
The device weighs approximately 1.6 lbs, placing itself midway between heavy and lightweight routers. It sports a black textured design with air vents on the sides. The 128MB of flash storage suffices to accommodate the dd-wrt firmware, and a RAM of 256MB plays a vital role in HD streaming, WiFi calling and online gaming.
The rear end of the router accommodates 3 antennas and the collection of ports and power i/o. This sub-$100 wireless device comes with one WAN port, four LAN ports, and a USB 3.0 port at the front. A small household has ample avenues for 1-gigabit wired connections for your gaming console, smart tv, or your work desktop.
Nighthawk mobile application allows you to control your home network, even while you are away from home. The setup wizard guides through the installation with minimal input from the user’s end. The Web GUI opens up to advanced settings.
By setting online time limits, creating a bedtime schedule, and controlling the exposure on applications, you get more control over your kid’s internet consumption. NETGEAR Armor protects the devices in the network from viruses, malware, and intrusions.
Enabled by dual-core processors, the R6700 brings a plethora of features with the potential tweaks of dd-wrt, makes this an excellent value for money option for any small-medium household with students and working professionals.
- Fast Network Storage
- Cloud Storage
- VPN Support
- Easy Voice controls
- Limited mobile functionality
- Front side USB placement
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, DD-WRT routers are available in the market. There are multiple vendors offering routers installed with DD-WRT firmware. They are available at a premium over the price of the router. The service providers offer a warranty, maintenance, and support to flash routers as a part of their package.
Depending on the company and its policy, installing an unsupported or changing the firmware can void its warranty. While there are companies that promote open-source-ready routers available in the market, the users should install DD-WRT firmware with caution or through an authorized service provider to avoid bricking the router.
Yes, there are multiple open-source and custom firmware projects that target wireless routers. There are various versions of OpenWRT projects like LEDE, DD-WRT, Gargoyle, etc., each of them trying to improve a different aspect of the router. Other popular firmware projects are HyperWRT, Tomato, FreeBSD, Zeroshell, VyOS, etc.
The router’s functionality is limited by regulators. Installing a DD-WRT router opens the potential of the router. Improved IPv6 functionality, overclocking/improved performance, Customizable QoS, Blocking Ads, support for VPNs is amongst the few advantages of having a DD-WRT installed router.
Overclocking unlocks the hardware potential, but it could cause damage to components. Flashing comes with the risk of voiding the manufacturer warranty. Any missteps in installing DD-WRT firmware can completely brick your router, making it useless. Ensure the benefits of installing a DD-WRT firmware outweighs the loss. Be ready to lose the comfort of user-friendly management applications.
Yes, it is possible. The dd-wrt interface provides options for selected models to revert to the router’s original firmware. Trying to downgrade the router software runs the risk of bricking the router. I recommend exercising utmost caution and following instructions carefully, or let an expert take care of the downgrade.
Requirements and personal choices are the essential factors in deciding the right dd-wrt routing device. The analysis considers multiple scenarios and aims at finding the best fit for an assumed requirement.
- The Linksys WRT32XB is a premium option, but a go-to option if you are looking for a dedicated gaming router.
- Netgear R7800 is a dd-wrt compatible router with high potential and easily caters to a medium household with multiple devices.
- The TP-Link Archer A7 and MOTOROLA MR2600 offer value for money routers with a higher potential unlocked by the dd-wrt firmware.