In this article, we will look at the best OpenWrt routers to buy in 2023. If you intend on purchasing a new router, I’d really consider looking at the differences between OpenWrt and pfSense as you might find that pfSense is a better fit.
With that said, if you want to purchase a device and flash the OpenWrt firmware on it, the options below are some of the best OpenWrt routers that you can purchase.
Just keep in mind that only one of the WiFi routers below comes with OpenWrt installed, meaning that the devices below are compatible with OpenWrt, but you will have to flash the OS onto them.
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What is OpenWrt?
OpenWrt is an open-source firmware (operating system) based on Linux. OpenWrt is known for it’s customization and ability to be installed on various devices (even existing routers).
One of the best selling points for OpenWrt is that it provides a fully writable filesystem so that you can install various different types of packages. This is important to highlight because OpenWrt can be installed on existing routers, which is why we’ll be looking at the best OpenWrt routers below.
By purchasing one of these devices, you can flash the OpenWrt firmware on it, and have an incredibly powerful device firewall and LAN/WiFi router (2.4Ghz/5Ghz).
Best OpenWrt Routers to Buy
We will look at the best OpenWrt routers below, but these are not the only options available. If you’d like to check compatibility, there’s a great page here that explains what is/isn’t supported.
I also want to point out a few things before looking at the best OpenWrt routers:
- OpenWrt is what will run on the device as the operating system, so the “features” that they normally advertise are generally irrelevant. Since they’re packaged with the OS and the OS will be the same across all devices (OpenWrt), the “features” will be the same.
- The hardware specs are the important comparison point, as a better processor or more antennas (for wireless range) can actually have a noticeable impact.
- There is extremely minimal support for WiFi 6 with OpenWrt right now, but there are a few options that will be highlighted below.
TAKTIKAL OpenWrt Router
The TAKTIKAL OpenWrt Router might be the best overall option for OpenWrt since it comes with OpenWrt pre-installed. Additionally, this router supports a wide range of connectivity options, including 5G/4G LTE.
If you’re not interested in flashing OpenWrt onto the device and simply want to purchase a device that has OpenWrt installed, this is the one.
The Linksys WRT3200ACM is a dual-band Gigabit router, and is one of the best routers for OpenWrt in 2023. It offers four Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast and stable wired connections, as well as one USB 3.0 and one eSATA port for file sharing and external storage connectivity. This router can also have the OpenWrt firmware flashedf on it extremely easily.
The Linksys EA8450 is a WiFi 6 device that covers 2,500 square feet and up to 25 devices.
The biggest benefit of this device compared to others is that it supports WiFi 6 (with great multiple-device support) and works well with OpenWrt.
- 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)
The NETGEAR WAX206 is a WiFi 6 router that has support for a 2.5GbE WAN. This means that if your ISP provides you with network speeds greater than 1Gbps (1000Mbps), the only way to get full speeds is with a 2.5GbE NIC.
This is a great option for users in this category.
- 802.11ax (WiFi 6)
The NETGEAR XR500 is marketed towards gamers but is a great option for people who are interested in using OpenWrt.
With four ethernet ports and wireless speeds up to 2.6 Gbps, this is a great option for OpenWrt.
- 802.11ac (WiFi 5)
The Linksys EA9200 supports tri-band WiFi technology and wireless speeds up to 3.2 Gbps.
This device comes with a 1 GHz dual-core CPU that works extremely well with OpenWrt.
- 802.11ac (WiFi 5)
The Linksys EA8100 is one of the best budget options to install OpenWrt on as it covers up to 1,800 square feet and fifteen devices. If you’re interested in a more powerful device, the Linksys EA9200 above is a better overall device, but this is a great budget option for OpenWrt.
- 802.11ac (WiFi 5)
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
This article looked at the best OpenWrt routers. All of the options above are great, but if you’re looking for the most future-proof device, you should go with a WiFi 6 router. WiFi 6 is a better overall product than WiFi 5 and will allow for better overall speeds. With that said, WiFi 5 still provides great overall coverage and is an awesome budget option at this point in time.
Thanks for checking out the article on the best OpenWrt routers. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments!