I have been surveying the state of the art, and after a few major disappointments (like the new starlink router shipping lede-17, and the tp-link eap225 still on openwrt 15, I got kind of discouraged. Is there a list of routers that ship openwrt by default out of the box, and what version? Is there any easy way to tell?
You can pretty much assume that 99.99% of all routers that have firmware based on OpenWrt will be shipping some really old, bad version and it'll also not be pure OpenWrt, but instead some manufacturer-modified one.
I would be extremely surprised, if literally any of them shipped an up-to-date version with very little or no modifications.
So yes, current stable version for turris routers is based on almost? EOL OpenWrt19, but the updates to 21 are already in testing* and it is easy for users to switch between versions. So there are good apples in the 'routers with openwrt' box, not sure however how many... I would be willing to bet that evenroute's iqrouters will also be relative recent....
*) Currently there are regressions regarding the DSA switch that require fixing before moving the stable version over....
Mostly depends on the age of the device and how its maintained. Some older WRT3200ACM / WRT32X shipped with 15.xx even. Then newer devices like the NanoPie R5S actually ships with 22.03-rc1. It varies wildy between devices.
Don't expect any vendor to ship with a recent build in general though, that's why this project is here with consistent releases (provided your device is supported).
GL.inet QCA devices are just QSDK, so they are exactly the same as other vendors.
Maybe they will switch to the new QSKD release that uses 5.4 kernel.
OpenWrt base version doesnt really matter as its usually modified so its barely recognizable and its not like you can use the feeds
Cudy devices don't ship with OpenWRT out of the box but Cudy supplies OpenWRT firmware which installs over OEM - you essentially get to the same point. Because Cudy published the source for their Cudy OpenWRT builds, it was easy for developers to produce native OpenWRT builds for the devices.
With Cudy's OpenWRT installed, you can easily transition to Native OpenwRT and packages. Review the device entries for the various Cudy devices for more details.
There are people who will sell you a router with OpenWRT already installed, but that's a gateway into Native OpenWRT, not something from the manufacturer. That's how I started. It's not at all the same answer, and the routers I have seen tend to be older models. It can still be a good deal. They're selling you a router that works after OpenWRT is installed, essentially selling their skill at doing that initial install.
Barely on-topic, I know, but the initial install process can feel intimidating.
There are some who do sell OpenWrt flashed routers on ebay. But they are usually tech capable folks refurbishing older routers for a 2nd extended life. That isnt a bad thing considering most users just want a router like what they get from an ISP but that they can configure as THEY want. Not as ISP demands (aka unchangeable DNS settings or worse).
A better solution would be OEMs selling properly supported kit like Cudy.
Most users want a plug and go solution with warranty support.