It seems like the internet is all around us and accessible everywhere you turn. Due to this explosion in technological advancements and the popularity of the internet, it can also have negative effects due to inappropriate content that children can access online.
The best way to protect your kids online is by purchasing a parental control router. We’ve done the hard part for you, researching and testing in-depth to bring you the best parental control routers on the market today.
While just about any modern router can perform basic internet filtering, parental control models go much further, allowing you to select access by category, age-appropriateness, and more. Not only can you control website access, but access to apps of your choosing.
Moreover, you can control usage timeframes, limiting internet access to after they've finished homework, or shutting off completely during bedtime, etc. This isn’t a feature of every model, but certain ones also let you set a maximum usage allotment for specific apps and devices.
Parental Control Routers Compared
5,000 square feet
3,000 square feet
3,000 square feet
1,500 square feet
2,500 square feet
Choosing Your Parental Control Router
Integrated vs. Add-On Router
Each have their benefits. Add-ons will typically provide more precise parental controls, though they must be connected to the main router (which must be compatible) and can be easily unplugged if your child knows this. You can also go for a high-quality router which already comes with these features and can simplify things.
As briefly mentioned above, the add-on router must be compatible with your main router if you choose to go this path.
While some of the most advanced features require a subscription, there are a few solid selections that still offer a variety of controls without one. Try to determine the features you need/want, and what you feel comfortable with spending.
Parental Control Features/Programs
In the most basic sense, content filtering blocks access to certain websites. However, more advanced models will let you block content depending on the age of the person using the internet.
A large amount of time is spent on apps on smartphones, tablets, etc. so web filtering shouldn’t be the only line of defense. App filtering will let you block or control access to certain apps.
It’s not realistic to think you’ll be able to know and block every “inappropriate” site from your children. Dynamic filtering saves the day, letting you block a website based on the type of content that’s on it. For example, if it detects a site that has a lot of violence, and you have it set up to block this type of material, they won't be allowed access to the website in question.
Monitoring Internet Activity Tools
This feature lets you see exactly which sites your child(ren) have visited to get a better insight as to what their internet activities are.
Age Appropriate Solutions
Consider the age of your child(ren) and their internet habits. If they vary widely in age, or you have younger children where you need a router that will "grow" with them, look for age-appropriate filtering categories. After all, filtering content by things that aren’t “kid” appropriate isn’t going to apply the same way to a 15-year-old as a 3-year-old.
Protecting you from viruses and malware.
Scheduled Access/Screen Time Controls
This function lets you set specific times when your kids can and can't access the internet or individual sites/apps.
This is perfect if you have more than one child or more than one device as it lets you set personalized profiles, so you don’t have to set up every device individually.
You probably won’t have to manage content/website settings too often, but when it comes to screen time and scheduling, you may want to change them at a moment’s notice.
Ethernet vs. Wireless AC
Ethernet routers need to be plugged into the main router. This means they can easily become unplugged by children if they know how they work. Wireless options do not require plugins and will work as long as they’re connected through the network.
Coverage Area & Quality
You must measure your home's square footage if you don’t already know the size. This is to ensure your parental control router can cover every device used by your children and that the quality of connection is strong.
Price & Warranty
Make sure that the price of the router fits well into your budget. We are positive there is at least one model on our guide that will do so, however, by going up in price you’ll typically see a longer lifespan, better connection, and more advanced features.
You can take the warranty as the manufacturer’s way of saying how long they expect their router to last. Longer warranties can also save you quite a bit of money and hassle.
6 Best Parental Control Routers Reviewed
1. NETGEAR Orbi
- Ultra-performance Mesh WiFi network blankets...
- Eliminates WiFi dead zones and buffering -...
- The most award-winning Mesh WiFi system on...
- Maintains speed even as more devices use your...
Best Parental Control Router
5,000 square feet
3 ethernet ports (Satellite comes with 4)
Data Transfer Rate
6000 Mb per second
Regularly considered to be the best home router with parental controls, Netgear’s Orbi is quite different from its previous products.
First off, the design deviates from their typical all-black models to a clean white aesthetic with a blue LED ring at the top to indicate connection status. This makes it great to place on a table, desk, etc. without worrying about it being an "eyesore."
As their first fully-mesh system, it’s one of the most reliable and consistent offerings we’ve had the pleasure of using. With a coverage area of a whopping 5,000 square feet, even the biggest homes and most complicated layouts can receive full service without worrying about dead spots.
It offers tri-band Wi-Fi support, so you don't have to worry about fighting for bandwidth with your other devices or other in your home. Every device deserves to receive max performance, and that’s exactly what the Orbi does.
However, it’s the NETGEAR router parental controls that really won us over, though we loved the other features as well. The company has partnered with both Circle and Disney to let you set things like time schedules, filter out inappropriate websites on your kids’ devices, and also use intelligent filters which let through the safe stuff while keeping out the rest.
Moreover, you’re even able to use them in conjunction with 3rd-party apps to give your children a kind of reward with additional screen time if they complete chores, do their homework, etc.
For entire-family protection, the router comes with NETGEAR Armor multi-layer security software, which keeps all connected devices safe from viruses, malware, and the potential threat of data theft.
2. GRYPHON AC3000
- The Gryphon Tower: Does so much more than...
- Competitively Fast Mesh WiFi Internet: MESH...
- Protect your peace of mind: A Gryphon parent...
- Un-Matched Advanced Internet Protection: This...
Best Mesh Router with Parental Controls
3,000 square feet
1 WAN/ 1 Gbps LAN
Data Transfer Rate
If you read just about any wireless router parental control review, you’re bound to see the GRYPHON AC3000 charting it. As one of the best mesh routers with parental controls, you can expect seamless coverage over an area up to 3,000 square feet.
It’s one of the easiest routers to install and makes management simple with their handy mobile app, so even if you're not particularly tech-savvy, you'll have no issue operating it to your needs.
With a unique, modern, eye-catching design, you will feel comfortable letting the router be placed out in the open as it is both compact and complementary to any type of home décor. Included are three Gigabit LAN ports on the rear, a WAN port, a power jack, and a reset button.
For super-fast performance, you 6 high-powered antennas and a 3Gbps speed that makes it ideal for heavy streaming, gaming, downloading or transferring large files, and much more.
Moreover, it features 4x4 MU-MIMO Antenna Beamforming. To ensure satisfactory performance for each of your devices, the model also supports tri-band abilities and automatic band steering for maximum efficiency.
As we’re talking about parental control routers, we have to fill you in on the well-rounded restrictions you can put in place. The free smartphone app allows you to manage content filtering, see you child(ren)’s browsing history, set times where they can and cannot use certain apps or websites, limit screen time, enable “safe” YouTube, and so much more.
While it’s a bit of an investment, we felt it more than worth it when you consider the exceptional performance, design, and capabilities built into the AC3000.
3. Synology RT2600ac
- 1.7GHz Dual-core processor for fast,...
- Powerful 4x4 802.11ac wave 2 radios with...
- Smart Connect for seamless transition between...
- Hardware accelerated Layer 7 traffic control...
Best Wi-Fi Router with Parental Control App
3,000 square feet
USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 1, SD card reader x 1 (SDXC, SDHC), Gigabit x 4 LAN; Gigabit x 1 WAN
Data Transfer Rate
If you’re looking for “blazing-fast Wi-Fi with up to 2.53Gbps combined wireless bandwidth” and a “powerful wireless router for homes and small offices seeking to control and secure their network," then you're in the right place, as Synology explains.
The Synology RT2600ac does precisely that. With a robust set of features, you won’t be lacking in anything with this router.
The router is your average size, coming with 4 removable and adjustable antennas, along with 4 gigabit LAN ports, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a WAN port, and an SD card slot! This definitely makes it one of the most future-proof routers out there. Coming with a 2-year warranty, you don’t have to worry about it failing you, either.
With technologies like beamforming, band steering, and MU-MIMO data streaming, you’ll receive the most efficient internet experience without the lagging. Coming with 8 free apps, you’re able to download and share files, protect your home network, receive reports and analysis, and more.
Our personal favorite is the Traffic Control feature, which lets you manage your internet’s bandwidth.
Parental monitoring tools are fully-fledged, letting you set up your network to ensure your kids never see inappropriate content on the internet while blocking countless potentially harmful sites. You can also set up customizable profiles for each child. This best Wi-Fi router with parental controls is top-notch in both design and technology.
4. Linksys EA7300
- Provides up to 1,500 square feet of Wi-Fi...
- Works with existing modem, simple setup...
- Enjoy 4K HD streaming, gaming and more in...
- Dual band Wi-Fi speeds up to 1.7 Gbps (2.4...
Best Budget Model with Parental Control
1,500 square feet
4 x LAN / Ethernet Gigabit ports
Data Transfer Rate
Are you on a budget but still want one of the best parental control routers on the market today? Finding an affordable router that still comes with supreme features can occasionally be tough, but we can assure you the Linksys EA7300 offers both.
Appearance is sleek and all-black, though it is slightly bulkier than the others we’ve covered on our guide. However, we appreciated the straightforward setup process, which even the most technologically inept can complete with ease.
We will say that you’ll get less coverage with this model than the others above on the list, but 1,500 square feet for over 10 wireless devices is nothing to balk at.
Dual band Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1.7 Gbps makes 4k HD streaming, gaming, etc. more fun than ever before as you don’t have to worry about glitching and pausing. MU-MIMO technology gives you 3 separate networks to effectively distribute your connections as needed.
Parental controls let you restrict access to inappropriate content and sites, control their screen time, and even block certain devices from accessing the internet or specific apps. We really enjoyed the separate guest network feature, too.
All you have to do is share the network password with them through text or email, and you're all set! To make adjustments and manage your network, you have all the tools you need right there on your smartphone, thanks to the free app.
5. Asus AC1900
- Dual band with the latest 802; 11 AC 3x3...
- 1 GigaHertz dual core CPU enables smart...
- Effortless router setup with the ASUSWRT web...
- Monitor and manage your network with ease...
Best ASUS Router with Parental Controls
n/a (Large Homes)
1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x WAN, 4 x LAN
Data Transfer Rate
Next up, we have the best ASUS Router with Parental Controls: the Asus AC1900. This router is perfect if you want something high-quality but don’t need all the top-notch features that sometimes come with them.
On the rear, you’ll find four Gigabit LAN ports, along with a WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 3.0 port. The USBs support external USB ports, of course, but also printers and broadband devices to further add to the flexibility of this parental control Wi-Fi router.
As far as looks go, this model is neither here nor there. You can tell they made an effort to make the all-black interface a bit more stylish, but you still have these 3 huge antennas sticking out of the top. With that being said, it won’t take too much room in the corner of an office or living room and keep it out of the way.
Overall, we found the ac1900 easy to set up, though we would have liked to have it automatically check if there’s a firmware update available. The home page of the interface is straightforward to navigate and just makes sense to check the status and details of your network effortlessly.
AiMesh is a new feature that can connect multiple ASUS routers to form a network that adequately covers the entire home. You can also use this to make the most of your existing hardware. It even supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant!
Ideal for large homes, Asus doesn’t give us an exact square footage of coverage, but from our experience and others, it seems like somewhere around 1,500 square feet is the consensus. This would be better suited towards large homes that are of a single level, however.
To keep your network and personal data safe, you have the company’s AiProtection, which offers protection against outside threats.
6. NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200
- Fast WIFI Performance: Get up to 2500 sq ft...
- Recommended Up to 45 Devised: Reliably stream...
- WIRED ETHERNET PORTS: Plug in computers, game...
- Loaded with Advanced Technology: Designed...
Best Smart Parental Control Wi-Fi Router
2,500 square feet
2 x USB 3.0, 1 x WAN, 6 x LAN, 1 x LAN SFP+
Data Transfer Rate
Our world is progressing in technology at incredible speeds, making equally fast internet speeds a necessity.
“Supporting the new 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard, the Netgear X10 can deliver unprecedently fast wireless speeds. It also features ultra-fast wired connections for high-end servers," says CNET.
They pretty much said it all, but if you want the fastest speeds out there, then this is the model for you. Tri-band up to combined wireless speeds of 7.2 Gbps is very impressive and allows you to seamlessly stream 4K videos, game, browse online, send and receive large files, and so much more.
Thanks to 6 x 1-gigabit ethernet ports, along with 1 x 10G SFP+ port, you can easily plug in external devices like laptops, game consoles, printers, and just about anything else you need a speedy connection to.
Beamforming+ and MU-MIMO ensure that you get excellent coverage up to 2,500 square feet and that your devices are all managed efficiently to never leave them fighting for bandwidth. Not only that, but you have Dynamic QoS, Amazon Alexa capabilities, among other modern features.
The Netgear router parental controls are very well-rounded, allowing you to pause device internet access, view history/usage, filter websites, set online screen time, and much more.
Also Recommended: Best Gaming Routers for PS4
How to Effectively Use a Parental Control Router
Before you can use the controls, you first have to set them up! Obtain access to your router’s settings. Most modern-day models will come with a free app to download on your smartphone or tablet to easily and quickly adjust settings to your liking. However, to dig deep into the possibilities, you’ll want to open up your laptop.
Startup your web browser and type in your network's IP address. The default should be 192.168.1.1, though if yours ends up being different, simply right-click on the internet icon, and you’ll be able to find it under "Details" or "Settings." If you’re operating a Mac, simply click the "Wi-Fi" icon, then scroll down to "Open Network Preferences."
Once you have your IP address typed in, you need your login info. If you can’t remember it, go into the router app and change it. At this point, you’ll see the options for multiple parental controls. Let’s go through each, as most routers operate very similarly in this regard.
1. Limit Internet Time
This feature is excellent if you can never seem to get your kids away from the screen long enough to do chores or their homework. You’ll see a setting for scheduling, where you can adjust it to turn off at the timing of your choosing, as well as the day.
More advanced routers let you schedule for specific devices, so you can choose your kid’s tablet, for example, to turn off at 9 p.m. during the weekdays. This won’t affect any other devices you haven’t selected to apply.
2. Restrict Particular Sites
This setting is great because you can block off sites of your choosing by selecting specific URLs. Some even have the option to create custom filters by content types and what to avoid.
3. Pause Wi-Fi
This is great for when you’re having full family get-togethers and want to keep everyone attentive. Maybe just set it up during dinnertime or until homework is finished – it’s all up to you.
Most of the more modern routers have apps which allow you to pause Wi-Fi at the tap of the screen, while others can integrate with voice controls, so all you have to say is "pause the kids' Wi-Fi" (or something to that effect).
Other Ways to Boost Parental Controls
These further protect your home, personal information, family, and network from online threats and potential hacks. If your parental controls that came with your router didn’t pick up and block the threat, firewalls usually are an active last line of defense. It essentially creates a virtual barrier between what goes on in your home's network and the outside world.
Look at DD-WRT: it is a firmware made to boost your router's performance and features to make it more efficient and customizable. FreshTomato is another which we love for its user-friendly and intuitive interface, which lets you monitor bandwidth, control access, configure LEDs, and so much more.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Do parental control routers need regular maintenance?
Yes – every router does. You should regularly reboot them and make sure that the software and hardware are operating optimally. You should make sure to check if firmware updates are available frequently, as well.
Are wired or wireless routers better?
Ethernet can boost your network speed on a wired router though overall, there isn’t much of a difference in speed between the two. However, in terms of safety, wired is better as wireless communication can be intercepted. Installation, in contrast, is generally simpler with wireless routers.
What are the best parental control apps?
Net Nanny is one of our favorites, with an intuitive design, great web filters, and customization. Norton Family is a great alternative, with the ability to be used on unlimited devices.
What are the best brands of routers with parental controls?
NETGEAR is definitely the leader in parental controls, though Asus, Xfinity, and AT&T have also been known to provide custom options that parents and guardians love.
Now that you know just about everything you could ever want to about the best parental control routers, do you know which model you’ll use to protect your family and network? If not, allow us to reiterate how much we loved the Netgear Orbi.
It’s compact and attractive, with modern capabilities, ultra-fast speeds, and tough protection and prevention. We hope that no matter which one you choose, it perfectly suits your home and needs.
Holly Curell is a US-based freelance writer & editor extraordinaire. With over a decade of writing technical manuals, blog articles, & even company communications, Holly has a passion for providing value to readers on everything she knows about tech-related topics. When she’s not writing, Holly enjoys reading, hiking, wine, & wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Holly is currently based out of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Ken & their three children.