We’ve been flashing routers with Tomato firmware for months now, and we just can’t seem to stop talking about it, and for good reason; this open-sourced replacement firmware improves the quality of performance on any router it graces by leaps and bounds!
So now that we’ve properly introduced Tomato firmware and highlighted a few of the more noteworthy routers that feature Tomato firmware individually, we figured it was time to just cut to the chase and make a list of our out-and-out favorites. This isn’t too imply that any Tomato router that doesn’t make the list is somehow unworthy, but we found the items on this particularly worthy of special mention. Anyway, enough disclaiming: let’s get into it!
Popular Features of Tomato Firmware
Of course, we wouldn’t be FlashRouters if we didn’t properly explain what it is we’re talking about here, so how’s about a quick refresher about what exactly makes Tomato firmware the big name it is in the open-source firmware community?
Tomato is a Linux-based, open-source firmware dynamo and a perfect replacement for stock firmware that comes with your average router. If you’re looking to increase your wireless coverage, have a better handle on how your bandwidth is allocated, add access restrictions or users (i.e. limit the kids Internet/gaming activity), or just have absolute control over your network security and privacy options, then Tomato firmware is the ideal choice.
Tomato firmware offers advanced QoS (Quality of Service) which means you can prioritize which of your online activities receives the most bandwidth. Tired of having your online gaming or streaming services stall or freeze in the middle of high-intensity moments or scenes? Then get a router flashed with Tomato firmware and make those activities priority number one. Are you worried about the security of your online information across multiple devices? Using a router flashed with Tomato firmware allows you to use one VPN account to cover all of your bases; no need for multiple subscriptions to utilize the same VPN on your iPad, iPhone, laptop, and desktop!
OpenVPN Advantage of Tomato Firmware: For many VPN providers – particularly HideMyAss, IPVanish, PrivateInternetAccess – Tomato is the only consistent option for creating a constant OpenVPN connection to your favorite VPN services in comparison to DD-WRT
And, of course, you can tweak your settings to get more out of your wireless signal with Tomato. Use Tomato’s tremendous versatility to boost your WiFi transmission signal and the distance of your coverage! And that’s not all…
- Advanced Wireless modes: Access Point (AP), wireless client station (STA), wireless Ethernet (WET) bridge, simultaneous AP and WDS (aka wireless repeating).
- Easy to set up WDS (wireless distribution system).
- A user-friendly router interface: Ajax-based GUI (Graphical User Interface).
- Improved Network Stability & Network Status Information.
- Known bug fixes in Broadcom-based Linksys & Asus firmware.
- Informative Bandwidth graphing/statistics: real-time, daily, monthly.
- OpenVPN & PPTP VPN client/server connectivity.
- Advanced access restrictions capabilities for increased network security: Limit who does what and when on your Internet connection.
- DHCP server: Using DNSmasq with dynamic and static DHCP leases.
Now that’s a mouthful! Hopefully you’re all on board with this firmware now, so let’s get to the best-in-show!
The Best Overall Tomato Router – Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight
We basically have to force ourselves to not rant and rave about the RT-N66U too much, so happy are we with it’s unmatchable performance power. We’ve called it “our pride and joy”. “the grandaddy of them all”, “the monolithic beast that towers over the competition”, and that’s when we’re controlling ourselves.
Yes, the Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight router truly offers something that no other router can match. It’s a dual-band gem, and it’s Asus first N900 router, which means it can run concurrent transmissions of 450 Mbps on each band!
The Asus RT-N66U includes three powerful detachable antennas for the best wireless performance, 4 gigabit Ethernet ports for top-notch wired performance, and 2 integrated USB ports. It also comes equipped with a 600 Mhz Broadcom processor, which happens to run about 25% faster than other similarly priced devices. And then to make this beast truly perform, we flash it with Tomato firmware, and it’s off to the races.
Though there have been complaints from the Dark KNight Asus RT-N66U users about the reliability of the Asus firmware, that problem is handled by a FlashRouters technician long before our devices ever reach you. Having stock firmware is very similar to having a stock engine in a race car. Yes, it will work but if you want to win the race you better get the best equipment (Tomato firmware) with the best garage guys & mechanics on hand (our open-source configuration & tech specialists).
Once upgraded with Tomato firmware, you’re ensuring a a wireless network that is remarkably easy to boost and generally manage, an unimaginable amount of control over your security options, and the ability to choose the way and amount your bandwidth is allocated. Tomato firmware nips those Asus firmware problems right in the bud, and that’s why the Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Tomato router stands ominously over its competitors, knowing that nothing can challenge it.
Recommended for: Users looking for the best wireless performances for their high bandwidth activities like streaming Netflix and other most popular streaming internet services through SmartTVs, Laptops, AppleTVs, Rokus, & iPads. Having streaming issues with your outdated router and ready to make the best overall network upgrade? Then the Asus RT-N66U is the way to go!
The Future of Tomato - Asus RT-AC66U Wirless-AC1750
Just added as Tomato supported, the Asus RT-AC66U has become the first next-gen wireless device to be supported. While the RT-N66U is the go to for the largest amount of users, those looking for the same hardware specs while adding Wireless-AC support for the next evolution in wireless connectivity can step up with the RT-AC66U Tomato Router.
If you are looking for the most powerful and fastest Tomato WiFi Router, then the RT-AC66U is perfect for you!
The Reigning Favorite – Linksys E4200 Tomato Router
Suffice to say, the Linksys E4200 Tomato router is every bit the powerhouse that the DD-WRT version is.
You can marvel at the way the Tomato firmware allows you to enjoy Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, online gaming, etc. uninterrupted by freezes or stalls, or perhaps you can appreciate some of the Linksys E4200′s pre-flash specs such as its dual-band access points that help you minimize interference from other nearby wireless networks.
And we haven’t even gotten into the 8 (count ‘em, 8!) internal antennas and tremendous signal speed of up to 750 Mbps! So head over to our Wifi superstore and find out what so many of our customers already have; that the linksys E4200 Tomato is a knockout of a router available at an unbeatable price!
Not convinced? Read our full breakdown of the Linksys E4200 Tomato Router.
The Tweaker Classic – Asus RT-N16 Tomato Router
Possibly the best single-band router available, the Asus RT-N16 Tomato router is an all-around beauty to behold. For sheer adaptability and dependability at a reasonable price, there are few ways to top this one.
Before you even consider the advantages of flashing Tomato firmware onto this device, the Asus RT-N16 Tomato Router offers 2 network USB ports and 128 MB of RAM 32 MB of Flash Memory, which is over four times the amount of memory on your standard router.
In addition, the RT-N16 comes with three external antennae that are both powerful and easy to upgrade, giving them even stronger capacity for receiving and sending signals.
The Asus RT-N16 even offers wireless transfer speeds up to 300Mbps, making it a perfect device for streaming media. With the benefits of the Tomato upgrade, this already excellent router changes into a full-on home-network centerpiece. Monitor and adjust your bandwidth allocations to make your Netflix or gaming experience utterly pristine.
Create a secure tunnel for all of your devices by taking advantage of the OpenVPN, PPTP or L2TP connectivity that Tomato provides. Encrypt your personal and private data with high grade AES encryption for confidential e-mails or to conceal viewing habits, P2P downloads and sensitive data from Internet Service Providers, government agencies, identity thieves and hackers.
Recommended for: Users looking primarily for top notch wired performance and network management.
More Top Tomato Firmware Contenders
The Budget Dual Band & Gigabit Option – Linksys E3200 Tomato Router
Best Tomato Router Under $100 – Linksys E2500 Tomato Router
That’s a look at the top Tomato routers of 2013 for now. To get the latest Tomato Router & VPN Service Provider info, product updates, and limited-time specials, follow us on Twitter @flashrouters or like us on Facebook.