Taking full advantage of your Web connection includes having a capable router. This means that getting a reliable DD-WRT router or a similar alternative is the best way to control your Web connection. After all, this is the best way to get the best possible speeds, filter your Web traffic, and optimize your Web data for activities such as streaming or gaming. However, the problem with DD-WRT routers is that they can be quite expensive - unless you have a trustful guide. With this said, we're dedicating this article to the very best cheap DD-WRT routers, suitable for different budgets and needs.
You can enjoy the numerous benefits of DD-WRT even without spending a lot of money. As you'll see in this article, capable DD-WRT routers can be quite affordable - you just need to know where to look. That's precisely why our editorial team has tackled the challenge of finding cheap DD-WRT routers that will meet different budgets and needs. We have tried to diversify our recommendations so they fit different Web-related needs. So, no matter if you want to stream in HD or 4K, play online games, or just browse the Web, you have come to the right place.
If you keep on reading this guide, you'll find 5 affordable and cheap DD-WRT routers that cater to different groups of users. So, let's jump right in.
1. Linksys WRT54GL
|Features||Linux-based router; Supports WPA2; Four Ethernet ports; Easy parental controls|
|Processor||32bit MIPS processor|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 54Mbps|
|Dimensions||9.75 x 10 x 2.8 inches|
You might be surprised to see a DD-WRT router in this price range, but you need to know that the WRT54GL is the most affordable DD-WRT router right now. As such, it is the perfect product to dive into this technology and see its limits. This is also why this is one of the featured products in our article on DD-WRT routers under $50.
What's interesting to note is that Linksys' WRT54GL launched more than ten years ago - but the company is still producing and selling it. This also means that you should not expect any groundbreaking specs. Perhaps the biggest limitation is that this router supports speeds of up to 54Mbps. That won't get you far in terms of online gaming but should be more than sufficient for HD streaming.
What's also important to be mentioned is that you can freely install custom DD-WRT firmware and check if this technology improves your Web browsing experience. All in all, a perfect choice for those on a strict budget.
- Pros: Unbeatable price; Very easy to set up; Great for basic needs.
- Cons: Very limited download speeds.
2. Linksys N300 (E1200)
|Features||MIMO antenna technology; 4 Ethernet ports; Included Cisco Connect software; Guest network access|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 300Mbps|
|Dimensions||7.43 x 5.97 x 1.23 in|
The N300 (E1200) is one of the most successful routers made by Linksys. It initially launched with a somewhat high price, but as it happens with any type of hardware - it has now reached a price that's quite affordable. This also means that the N300 brings plenty of value, so let's check out what to expect from this router.
First of all, you should know that the N300 (E1200) supports 2.4Ghz connectivity with Web connection speeds of up to 300Mbps. It's really easy to set up thanks to the manufacturer's software called Linksys Connection. You get advanced wireless security built-in, along with parental controls and guest access. Of course, you're also free to install a custom DD-WRT software, which provides you with additional options as well.
- Pros: Nicely designed hardware; Speedy processor; Easy setup; Capable built-in software; 4 Ethernet ports included.
- Cons: Missing 5Ghz connectivity.
3. GL.iNet GL-AR150
|Features||Pocket-friendly; Supports both DD-WRT and Open-WRT; Compatible with OpenVPN out of the box; Dual Ethernet ports|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 150Mbps|
|Dimensions||2.2 x 2.2 x 0.9 in|
If you're just getting started with custom router firmware, you probably want something affordable and with plenty of options. This is precisely why we're recommending this GL.iNet router in this article. The GL-AR150 model is designed to act as a travel router, easily converting any wired connection into a wireless one. However, what's important to be said is that this router is fully compatible with both Open-WRT and DD-WRT, which means that you'll get to play with different options in a big way.
Depending on your needs, there are many possible uses for the GL-AR150 model. It acts as a repeater, USB modem, and can be used for tethering as well. It's powered by Atheros 9331, comes with 128MB of RAM, and 16MB Flash ROM. All in all, it's easy to see why this is one of the best cheap DD-WRT routers - as it brings plenty of value for its price.
- Pros: Small form-factor; Lightweight; Versatile; Full DD-WRT compatibility.
- Cons: Limited bandwidth.
4. Linksys E2500
|Features||Dual-band Wireless-N technology; MIMO antenna ray; Cisco Connect software included|
|Processor||QCA9558 3×3 802.11 a/b/g/n SoC|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 300 + 300Mbps|
|Dimensions||6.85 x 7.44 x 0.91 inches|
The E2500 router proves that you can get a nicely designed DD-WRT router without spending a lot of money. It is designed to be as simple as possible without making any compromises though.
When it comes to the features you can expect, the E2500 is a dual-channel router that supports speeds of up to 300Mbps for each channel. In addition, there are several Ethernet ports included but these are not Gigabit connections (they are 100Mbps each). And finally, this router has 8MB of memory which should be enough to support all of its functions without any disruption.
In case you'd like to take the matter into your hands, the E2500 is supported via custom DD-WRT firmware. You can find nicely explained tutorials online on how to install custom firmware and even improve this router on your own.
- Pros: Excellent Wi-Fi coverage; Very easy to set up; Capable management tools.
- Cons: Missing a 'Bridge' or 'AP' mode.
5. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk
|Features||Advanced QoS; Beamforming support; Free backup software; Parental controls; Airtime Fairness technology; A highly-reputable manufacturer|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 450Mbps + 1,300Mbps|
|Dimensions||11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 in|
The R6700 is one of the best DD-WRT routers under $100, being available for quite some time now. It comes from NETGEAR, one of the most respected manufacturers of network equipment. We recommend this option if you want the best of any DD-WRT router without breaking the bank.
First of all, this is one of the rare dual-band routers under $100. Out of the box, you can count on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz connectivity (1,750Mbps in total) as well as incredibly large coverage. If you don't want to go with DD-WRT, you'll get to use NETGEAR's built-in software which gives you parental controls, beamforming, VPN support, Wi-Fi protected access, and plenty more. All of these actions are powered by a speedy dual-core 1Ghz CPU, which should make even the most demanding users happy.
- Pros: Powerful dual-core CPU; Dual-band support; Plenty of storage and RAM; Fully compatible with DD-WRT.
- Cons: It's recommended to replace the stock firmware.
Frequently Asked Question
Before we let you go, we’d like to provide additional information to help you make the best possible decision. Keep on reading to learn more about what to expect for DD-WRT routers and how to pick the best one.
Can You Get a Decent DD-WRT Router Without Spending a Lot?
Yes, you can absolutely get a decent DD-WRT router without having to spend a lot of money. However, you need to be very careful about which router you pick, based on your needs.
As you can see in this article, one of the best entry-level DD-WRT routers (and one of the most affordable options) would be the GL-AR150 router. It's small and lightweight, and it fully supports both Open-WRT and DD-WRT. And if you have more advanced needs, or if you're a gamer playing online games, we recommend getting Linksys' E2500 router.
What to Expect from Cheap DD-WRT Routers?
When it comes to the most affordable DD-WRT routers, you can expect them to come with certain limitations. Most importantly, many of these are limited in terms of their bandwidth (up to 300Mbps) and their Wi-Fi frequency (2.4Ghz).
In case you have an ultra-fast Web connection and if you need a 5Ghz wireless connection, be prepared to spend a bit more. Our recommendation would be NETGEAR's R6700, as this is the most affordable option that checks all the right boxes.
What's the Cheapest DD-WRT Router right now?
Do Cheap DD-WRT Routers Have Any Limitations?
It all depends on your needs and the maximum speed of your Web connection. For example, Linksys' WRT54GL is limited to 54Mbps. If you have a faster Web connection than this limit, you won't be able to take full advantage of its speed. However, these limitations have become barely noticeable in the last year or so.
Today, affordable DD-WRT routers support from 300Mbps up to 1,000+Mbps speeds, which is more than what many of us need (even in the foreseeable future).
Dear readers, that would be all when it comes to our overview of cheap DD-WRT routers. In case you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below - and we'll do our best to provide a timely manner.