Looking for the best wireless routers of 2016 to meet every need and budget? Have you heard a lot about popular firmware enhancements like DD-WRT and wondering what benefits you can experience from this powerful and simple upgrade?
Tired of buffering or having to reset your router a few times a day just to get it to work? Or maybe you are in the market for the best dual band router or upgrading to Wireless-AC for your current network setup? Look no further, you have found an expert list of the best wireless routers available in 2016.
Wireless router technology seems to be leaping forward at a breakneck pace, so we have decided it was time for an update to our list of the Best Wireless Routers, a yearly tradition as you can see from last year’s Fastest & Best Performing DD-WRT Wireless Routers.
Our list of the best wireless routers of 2016 mixes our top devices based on in the field experience, months of testing, and their interaction with premium alternative router DD-WRT firmware and various streaming players like Roku and AppleTV, as well as the top gaming consoles like Xbox 360/ Xbox One, PS3/PS4 & Wii/WiiU.
What is DD-WRT Firmware?
DD-WRT is an open-source router firmware upgrade project created for maximizing router features and usage potential. DD-WRT is used by many networking-savvy users to enhance wireless router stability, privacy, and (most importantly) network security, while making previously unavailable networking functions the norm. Basically, DD-WRT unlocks expensive features usually limited to high-end business routers and runs them right on popular consumer models. But to get these advanced features, you need to to have a DD-WRT installed router.
DD-WRT is extremely reactive to bugs like the Heartbleed and future online terrors. The DD-WRT site itself is an incredibly helpful resource for anyone with an interest in getting the most out of your router, setting up features like a static IP address or allocating bandwidth management. Being open-source, these firmwares are community vetted by users looking to maximize their router’s functionality and security.
Additionally, DD-WRT has a slew of VPN & non-VPN related features to meet the common and niche needs of every user. For a more complete list of DD-WRT features, we recommend you review our full Intro to DD-WRT FAQ.
Feature Upgrades of DD-WRT Firmware
Why Choose a DD-WRT FlashRouter?
FlashRouters takes high-powered consumer grade hardware with stock firmware and, by adding improved firmware, turns a $50-$400 wireless router into something worth double or triple its value. Don’t stand for the vanilla, boring, under-performing, easily hackable wireless routers you buy directly at a Best Buy or on Amazon (something every manufacturer from Netgear to Asus to Linksys to D-link has dealt with in the past year). Router manufacturers have little incentive to add business-level, advanced features to consumer grade routers as they often price this type of functionality at upwards of $1000.
Flashing a router with DD-WRT can be a frustrating task for some, involving a lot of research, trial and error, and a complex process that can easily lead to making a router unusable. If one tries to do this on their own, it is very possible that they can find themselves with a dead router or a “brick” that would completely void his or her warranty. That is where FlashRouters comes in.
Experienced Open-Source Firmware Support
FlashRouters specializes in testing, upgrading, and supporting DD-WRT firmware upgraded routers worldwide. Our team only selects the top-performing routers, with the best variation of DD-WRT firmware for users’ needs, and delivers them right to your door. Any FlashRouter includes a minimum of 3 months expert tech support via e-mail and chat as well as remote Teamviewer sessions to walk your through your basic Internet and VPN setup tasks.
Total Network VPN Integration
Trying to watch Netflix US on an Apple TV in Australia? Blocked out games on MLB.tv on your Roku? Using a router flashed with DD-WRT will also allow for you to use your VPN service to change your IP address on all your devices with a single setup!
Our team is supports 50+ VPN Providers and is the preferred router seller for some of the top VPN providers around like IPVanish – a tier 1 only provider that owns all their own servers, ExpressVPN with premium speeds for users in Asia, the low cost PrivateInternetAccess, HideMyAss who offers the most IP addresses, and VPN & SmartDNS innovator Overplay.
No Need To Change Your Current Setup
Using one of the top routers of 2016 does not mean you will need to replace your current router setup. Using our popular Dual Router Setup for a dedicated VPN connection, a FlashRouter can work side-by-side with any current router, ISP router/modem, or ADSL router/modem right out of the box.
Customized Plug and Play Pre-configuration
Every router is customized individually by our technicians based on user request to make sure you get the right router, premium performance, and advanced features right out of the box. Custom setup/troubleshooting guides are also included.
Well that’s enough explanation, now on to the good stuff. Below we have categorized some of the best wireless routers to utilize everything explained above. A pair of new Asus routers are so powerfully loved here in the FlashRouters office, that we just couldn’t choose a favorite. We think you’ll love them too.
Top Wireless Routers of 2016
Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 DD-WRT ($499.99)
What Makes the RT-AC88U a Winner?
If you want to talk about killer hardware, this is THE device. The Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 DD-WRT FlashRouter is simply one of the finest routers we’ve ever seen, due in no small part to its processing power, its RAM/Flash memory, its versatility, and its just utterly gorgeous design.
And let’s not forget the wireless speeds you’ll experience with this beauty: 3100 Mbps from two high-speed bands (2100 + 1000 Mbps) flying into your many Internet-capable devices at ungodly rates with the help of 4 tremendously powerful external antennas. If you’re looking at all of those 4K streaming TVs and thinking you just don’t have the processing power to support it, then the Asus RT-AC88U DD-WRT FlashRouter is just waiting to help you.
Premium Asus RT-AC88U DD-WRT Features
- Broadcom 1.4 GHZ (1400 MHZ) Dual Core processor
- Exclusive 8 Port Gigabit DD-WRT Router
- 4 massively powerful external antennas
- Best-In-Class RAM/Flash memory in a wireless router
Asus RT-AC88U Recommended For: Gamers and users looking to stream 4K video.
Special Offer: Use the coupon code “best2016″ through 09/30/2016 and get an extra $10 off any FlashRouter priced over $99!
Asus RT-AC5300 DD-WRT ($599.99)
What Makes The Asus AC5300 a Top Choice?
Briefly forgetting that this is straight-up the coolest router you, we, or anyone else has ever seen, the Asus AC5300 DD-WRT is just an absolute networking monster. Offering three bands of disorienting speeds adding up to 5300 Mbps (1000+2165+2165 Mbps), this is, to start with, the fastest router we’ve ever seen.
So returning to how it looks…want to know what makes it look so cool? That’d be the 8 (!), count ’em, 8 supremely strong external antennas – 4 devoted to transmitting, 4 devoted to receiving. So if you’re a gamer, a potential 4K streamer, or if you just want the most flat-out powerful wireless network, capable of handling a host of devices all at the same time while showing off to everyone about how awesome your router looks, this is a no-brainer.
Premium AC5300 DD-WRT Features
- Wireless-AC5300 Gigabit WiFi
- 1.4 GHz Broadcom Processor
- 8 Powerful External Antennas
- DD-WRT Firmware Installed
AC5300 DD-WRT Recommended For: Gamers and users looking to stream 4K video.
More Popular DD-WRT Wireless-AC Routers
Top-notch gaming with a whole crew of fellow gamers is at the tip of your fingers. With the help of the Linksys WRT1900ACS and its absurdly efficient 1.6 GHz Marvell Processor, streaming, gaming, long-distance video calls, and so much more become a standard, hassle-free wireless activity. And it’s got speed to burn as well.
Premium WRT1900ACS DD-WRT Features
- 1.6 GHz Marvell Processor
- Dual Band AC1900 Mbps
- OpenVPN & PPTP Client Ready
Linksys WRT1900ACS Recommended For: Approximately 10 users looking for high quality video streaming and gaming on up to 15 connected devices. Ideal for wireless connections in medium-sized homes and small businesses.
Netgear Nighthawk R8000 X6 DD-WRT ($399.99)
The Netgear R8000 was the top DD-WRT WiFi router of 2015. A premium dual-band 802.11AC router, the R8000 boasts a sleek design similar to an alien spacecraft. Boasting 6 external antennas (a DD-WRT first with tri-band wireless) meaning 3 segmented wireless bands for created dedicated streaming networks, and a high-end 1 GHz processor, the R8000 is a future-proofing networking workhorse ready to take your network by storm.
The R8000 also offers a networked USB 3.0 port for enhanced backup speeds and network sharing via network attached storage devices. Using those sharp looking and compact six powerful external antennas, the Netgear R8000 is among the best wireless routers for anyone looking to get the most out of their Internet connection, and also among the best routers of 2016 for gaming.
Premium R8000 DD-WRT Features
- 1 GHz (1000 MHz) Processor vs 300-800 MHz on others
- Wireless-AC Up to 3200 Mbps vs 300-1750 on most other wireless routers
- USB 3.0 port vs. USB 2.0 or none on many other wireless routers
- 6 powerful external antennas
What Made the Netgear R8000 the Best VPN Router of the 2015?
For VPN, the most important router factor is often processing power, as this is the resource most taxed with the constant encryption and decryption of your data inside your network. The Netgear R8000 DD-WRT offers the max wireless transmission capabilities at 3200 Mbps, the most external antennas at 6, and matches the most robust processors for the best overall networking experience around.
Netgear R8000 DD-WRT Recommended For: Users looking to future-proof & get premium Wireless-AC router support.
Special Offer: Use the coupon code “best2016″ through 09/30/2016 and get an extra $10 off any FlashRouter!
Best Budget Wireless-AC Routers
Asus RT-AC56U AC1200 DD-WRT FlashRouter ($249.99)
Sick of inconsistent streaming performance? Buffering? Skips? Say goodbye to all of them when you get this Asus Wireless-AC device on your side. The Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT is one of our low-key powerhouses, rising above network interference and delivering fast, consistently excellent performance. Best of all, it’s one of the few Wireless-AC devices you can find at such a low price. Transform your wireless network into a dynamo without breaking the bank with the Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter.
Premium RT-AC56U DD-WRT Features
- Wireless-AC1200 Mbps
- 800 MHz Broadcom Processor
- OpenVPN & PPTP Router
- DD-WRT Firmware Installed
Best Wireless-AC Model Under $300
Feeling nostalgic for those famous old blue routers but want WiFi performance that leaves even some of the best modern routers in the dust? Meet the Linksys WRT1200AC, and get ready to be wowed as its 1.3 GHz Dual-Core Marvell ARM CPU processor readily handles any amount of traffic that you want to throw at it. Classic design. Futuristic performance.
Linksys WRT1200AC Recommended For: 7-10 users looking for high quality video streaming and gaming on 10-12 connected devices. Ideal for wireless connections in medium-sized homes.
More Top DD-WRT Wireless Routers Contenders
We’d be remiss to mention a few other contenders as the race for best wireless router of 2016 is always a close one.
Netgear Nighthawk R7000 DD-WRT ($349.99)
The Netgear Nighthawk was the top router of 2014 and matches its compatriot the R8000 on many specs. The Nighthawk also boasts a 1 GHz processor and USB 3.0 with 3 external antennas (versus the R8000’s 6) and speeds of up to AC1900 (vs. AC3200). The R7000 has been our site DD-WRT bestseller many times. It is also our top choice if you are looking for a wired-only workhorse.
Premium R7000 DD-WRT Features
- 1 GHz (1000 MHz) Processor vs 300-800 MHz on others
- Wireless-AC Up to 1900 Mbps vs 300-1750 on most other wireless routers
- USB 3.0 port vs. USB 2.0 or none on most other wireless routers
- 3 powerful external antennas
Netgear R7000 DD-WRT Recommended For: Users looking for a high-end processor at a $100+ savings from the R8000 and high-end VPN performance.
Asus RT-AC87U DD-WRT ($399.99) – Asus has always been a favorite of real router lovers, and those Asus fans have a champion. Pictured above, the Asus RT-AC87U offers speeds of up to 2400 Mbps from four powerful antennas with a 1 GHZ Broadcom processor as well.
Best Wireless-N DD-WRT Routers
TP-LINK WDR3600 DD-WRT ($169.99) – Just like the Archer C9, TP-Link makes an excellent router at a significant discount. This model offers dual band N600 speeds while adding external antennas, and offers a 560 GHz Atheros processor.
All Time DD-WRT Classic
Asus RT-N16 DD-WRT ($179.99)
The Asus RT-N16 is a classic router in the field of DD-WRT, with a great reputation for reliability and performance. The Asus RT-N16 is the perfect router for any home or small office, and one of the most popular routers to be flashed with DD-WRT firmware, due mostly in part to the Asus RT-N16’s massive 128/32 MB RAM/Flash Memory.
Asus RT-N16 DD-WRT Recommended For: Users with primarily gigabit wired needs.
Added DD-WRT Router Benefits from FlashRouter
As bandwidth-hungry activities like streaming video and music services such as Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer continue to fill the home, the importance of having a high-performance network centerpiece is a must. A powerful wireless router allows Hulu, Crackle, Spotify, Pandora and other new streaming options arriving seemingly every day to perform at their peak, while prepping your network for new and exciting Internet services coming down the pike.
VPN Service Provider Plug n Play: Already using one of the 60+ VPN Providers we support? Just select it from the VPN Provider List when making a purchase so we can configure your upgraded router accordingly and include a customized setup guide. Don’t see your provider listed? Select “Other” and type in your provider. We will gladly test it if we haven’t already, or notify you if we have any issues.
Don’t need any VPN setup or support? Please select none. VPN setup is not required at all, it is just a courtesy service that we offer to our customers. We added this much-requested feature by customer request to help avoid confusion on options for different wireless routers. Many IT professionals use DD-WRT routers as a means of a more secure and customizable wireless router for home and small office environments around the world.
DD-WRT & VPN Support Plans: FlashRouters now offers advanced DD-WRT Support Plans. Different routers come with slightly different plans. Users looking for support for their own devices or routers can visit the support plan center to see what the different plans cover, from assisting you in flashing your own device, to remote VPN setup options.
Knowledge Base & Help Desk: FlashRouters also offers a DD-WRT & VPN Knowledge Base and support desk to better handle the many requests and inquiries we receive.
Have a question? Send it our way!
Still not sure? Have additional questions? Looking for a recommendation on the best router or VPN for you and your setup? Send it over. Our DD-WRT specialists are ready to answer your questions and help you choose the right device.
We hope you enjoyed our best DD-WRT routers of 2016 list. Save this page as it will be frequently updated throughout the year!
Don’t forget to use the coupon code “best2016″ through 09/30/2016 and save $10 off any FlashRouter!