We all worry about what our kids might be looking at online or even how much time they are spending online. This is why it is so important to have the best router for parental controls possible.
Many routers say that they come with parental controls, but ultimately lack in the places that they most need them.
You will need to make sure that your router actually does have all of the security features that you should be able to expect, including content filtering, time limits, and even mobile app control. Here’s what you need to know.
Features To Look For When Buying A New Parental Controls Router
Probably the most important thing that parents concern themselves with when it comes to their children’s online activity is what their children are looking at.
Content filtering is the best way to ensure that they do not read into less than savoury waters. There is a lot of information out there and you will not want your children to see all of it. Best parental controls router must have content filtering.
Imagine being able to have the internet just turn off when you want your kids to go to bed. Or you only want to give your kid an hour of screen time before turning it off for the day.
If these sound like great ideas for you, make sure that you're getting a router with parental controls time limits. Setting time limits for specific devices is the ideal option.
Mobile App Control
Another feature that you should be looking for is the ability to control your app from your smartphone. If you aren’t at home, you should still be able to lock down the internet when you need to in the way that you need to.
Likewise, if you are at home and need to turn it off to get your kids to do their homework, an app is an efficient way to do so.
Finally, you absolutely should have security features with a router. Security features mean that you have a firewall in place to help lock out malware, but you should also have a guest network and VPN.
A guest network allows others to use your internet without getting real access to the controls. Likewise, a VPN provides safe web searching for you. Any good router should come with security features, but make sure to see which ones they have.
10 Best Routers For Parental Controls
1. Netgear R7000
2. Asus RT-AC88U
3. Linksys EA7300
4. Circle Home Plus
5. Gryphon AC3000
6. Cujo AI Smart
7. Koala Safe
8. Netgear R8000
For Multiple Devices
9. Synology RT2600
10. Syfer Router
1. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 WiFi Router
Best Router For Parental Controls (Editor's Choice)
The best router for parental controls is the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. This is a standard router that is easy to operate and comes with all the security that you are looking for.
To begin with, the R7000 is a horizontal router with three high-gain antennas. You can move the antennas toward the devices that need them the most.
This design can be harder to conceal than vertical designs, because it does take up a lot of room, so make sure that you have a dedicated space for it. It allows for Amazon Alexa voice controls as well if that is something you would use.
Looking at its security, you will get the OpenVPN Connect App, which allows you to have access to the network remotely. It supports WPA2 wireless security protocols, has guest WiFi access, a firewall, a VPN, and DoS. The Netgear Armor will protect your network from malware and viruses as well, if you sign up for it.
The R7000 has a dynamic QoS, so you can prioritize which devices should get the best bandwidth, ensuring that the devices that cannot afford to have buffering or signal loss will have a reliable connection.
The R7000 also has a 1 GHz dual-core processor as well as a Beamforming+ feature that adds more power to your antennas, while extending the reach of your network.
You can have up to 30 devices connected at the same time, which is ideal for the average home. The router also features the ReadySHARE Vault that provides an automatic backup to your USB 3.0 port. Beyond the USB 3.0 port, you will get 4 x 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports to hardwire in anything that you need to.
2. Asus RT-AC88U Parental Controls Router
If you are looking for a high performance router that still has the level of parental controls that you are after, we suggest the Asus RT-AC88U. This is a large router that is capable of a lot.
The design of the router is large and it does take up a lot of room. You will need to make sure that it is placed in a well-ventilated area to prevent it from overheating.
It has four high gain antennas that can be directed away from the router in the places you would like them to go.
This router has Asus Protection powered by Trend Micro. This ensures that your online experience is safe and secure.
The system combines automatic vulnerability detection, malicious site blocking, as well as the much-needed parental controls. This will help lock down your network to keep it as safe as possible for everyone who logs on.
The router has high speed bands, with the 5 GHz band reaching speeds up to 2100 Mbps and the 2.4 GHz band gets up to 1000 Mbps. Combined, you get speeds up to 3100 Mbps.
The Smart Connect set up automatically chooses the best band available for you as well, to keep everything running smoothly.
The router can cover up to 5000 square feet as well, making it ideal for larger homes that need coverage. It is not made to be expanded.
With the 8 Gigabit ports, however, you do have a lot of connectivity options with your router. The powerful 1.4 GHz dual-core processor allows for faster USB data transfers and upload speeds up to 1.8 Gaps.
3. Linksys EA7300 Parental Controls Router
For a more budget friendly device that still makes our list of best routers for parental controls, we recommend the Linksys Max-Stream EA7300.
This is a more basic router, but still should get the job done.
The Max-Stream EA7300 has a pretty standard router design. It has a black casing, sits horizontally, and has three antennas.
The antennas can be moved around so that they point in the directions that you need them to. The antennas also have exceptional range, and broadcast a robust, reliable signal.
The router works with your existing modem and has a simple set up using the Linksys App. You also are able to set boundaries with parental controls that can give you peace of mind.
The app will restrict access to inappropriate content, control usage, and block specific devices. The guest network allows you to share your router with guests without sacrificing your security.
Performance-wise, the Max-Stream allows 4K HD streaming, gaming, and higher quality without any buffering. You do get streaming up to 1,500 square feet of WiFi coverage, which is about right for the average home.
It has device prioritization as well that will allow you to overcome bandwidth limitations and avoid lag by putting the devices that need the most bandwidth first.
The dual-bands that come with the router provides speeds up to 1.7 Gbps. Combined with the MU-MIMO technology, you should get the level of coverage at the speeds that you would like to have.
It does have a dual-core processor that has extremely fast data transfer speeds for all of your devices. The processor helps optimize wireless speeds for faster performance.
4. Circle Home Plus Parental Controls
If you are looking for an add-on device to help with your parental controls in addition to working with your existing modem and router, we suggest you take a look at the Circle Home Plus. This is a more unique device that does not look like a standard router.
The design of the Circle Home Plus is unique and attractive. You would not even know that it was able to boost your router’s signal and add-onto your existing network based solely on its appearance. It is a small white cube that is easy to conceal.
The settings on this device are really what make it so great. You can use it to customize profiles, adjusting individual family member’s settings to give the most appropriate online access.
This is important when it comes to locking down internet access for your children. The features here include time limits, bedtime, scheduling a shut off time, content filters, as well as usage monitoring to see how much time is spent online from each profile.
The performance of this device is a little big difficult to rate since it mostly just jumps on board with your existing devices and network.
This means that it will work with your existing modem and router so it does not have speeds within itself.
It does have a 1 GB Ethernet port that you can connect a device to that will still work with the rest of your network.
The purpose of this device is to add more content filtering, monitor internet usage, and to allow you to control how your children interact with the internet.
5. Gryphon AC3000 Mesh WiFi Router
If you are looking for a router that has great parental controls, but can also reach much further, we recommend the Gryphon AC3000.
While this is a router, it is a little bit different from other routers that you might have seen.
While the standard look for a router includes a black casing, the Gryphon router is different. It is tall and white, making it easier to blend in with your home and not as much of an eyesore.
The router has six high-powered internal antennas that should be able to reach anywhere within your network.
The Gryphon router works with an easy smartphone app that filters content, sets screen allowed time, and even allows you to set times of day that it will be available to get onto.
It does not allow you to block specific access, however, so keep that in mind when it comes to parental controls. While they are good and reliable, they might be more limited than other routers.
The impressive coverage of the Gryphon reaches up to 3,000 square feet with just one router. But this router also works like a mesh system, which means that you can add extra points to further increase the size of your coverage if you needed to.
The more Gryphons you have, the further your coverage will able to go, which is great for large networks.
The throughput for the Gryphon router is up to 3 Gbps, utilizing its simultaneous tri-band radios. It also uses 4x4 MU-MIMO technology as well as antenna Beamforming, which improves the overall coverage, so it can handle multiple streaming devices at the same time.
6. Cujo AI Smart Security Firewall
Some networks require a little more security than other networks do. In this case, we recommend the Cujo AI for better parental controls and security.
The design of the Cujo AI is, put simply, adorable. It is a small white device that has two curved lines that make it look like it is happy to see you. The design is meant to be appealing and work well in spaces that have children.
The design also includes a 1 GB Ethernet port that you can use to plug in any device that you would like to have the direct contact.
While it does work with most systems, the Cujo does not work with Luma or the Google Mesh system. It does work with other mesh systems, so just pay keen attention when you are looking to buy it.
This is not a stand-alone device and does not have its own performance like routers would. Instead, this device offers you 24/7 internet security. It will secure all of the devices connected to your WiFi router.
The algorithms that are in place will bring additional protection from remote access, malware, and phishing, keeping your network locked down.
The purpose of this device is to keep children safe. It does that through malware prevention, enforcing time limits, and filtering content. It is simple to set up and get running and is not meant to slow down your network in any way.
Instead, it will offer an extra layer of protection to keep your children safe from inappropriate content and even cyberbullies and predators. It is a great parental tool for the modern world.
7. KoalaSafe Router For Parental Controls
The final device that we will look at for parental controls is the KoalaSafe wireless router.
This is another device that is in place for the sole purpose of keeping your kids as safe as possible online by creating a separate network for their use.
The KoalaSafe is incredibly small, especially when compared to other devices that we have looked at here. It is incredibly easy to hide and looks nothing like a router or other internet device. It is a small, white box with an image of a koala on the outside.
Beyond its small size, one of the best things about this router is that you can control it from your phone.
That means if you need to shut down the internet for your children quickly, you can just bring up the app on your phone and turn it off. Likewise, you can easily turn it back on again.
The performance cannot be looked at in the same way as other routers, because it is simply not like other routers. It is a wireless 802.11N router that can be controlled by your smartphone or your web app and is made for parental control.
The important thing to remember with this is that it will not work with your existing router. Instead, it will set up a second network that can be entirely dedicated to your kids. You can also block whole categories of internet access, like videos, social media, or anything else that you do not want your children to casually be looking at. You can block the internet by time as well.
8. Netgear Nighthawk R8000
For Multiple Devices
If you are looking for the best parental control router that can easily tackle multiple streaming devices, we suggest the Nighthawk R8000. This Nighthawk line is well-known for its routers and this tri-band one will not disappoint you.
The design of the R8000 takes up quite a bit of room and comes with 6 delicate antennas that can be pointed in the directions that you need the most signal. You also get four high-speed 1G wired connections available that can help you hardwire in your devices directly to the router.
The Nighthawk R8000 uses both Smart Connect and the Circle App. Smart Connect gives you a direct connection to your router’s activity while the Circle App is there to help you manage parental controls.
The R8000 router comes with MU-MIMO technology and supports up to 55 devices. MU-MIMO allows you to stream without interruptions, delays, or signal drops. Having 55 devices supported makes this ideal for smart homes or if you are planning on making your house a smart home.
The R8000 can cover 3,500 square feet in your network. The speeds are what you would expect from a Nighthawk router and with three bands onboard, you get a combined total of 4,000 Mbps, as long as your internet package allows for it. There is heavy-duty streaming with 4K Ultra-HD as well.
9. Synology RT2600ac
Another great router with parental controls is the Synology RT2600ac router. This is a powerful router, even if you are not as familiar with the brand name.
The Synology router has a pretty standard router design. It is black, sits horizontally, and has four antennas. The router also can act like a private cloud server with its advanced file management capabilities.
The Synology router is built with a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor so it is ready to take on whatever job that you want to through at it. It also has Dual-WAN capabilities, which allow for load balancing and failover support. Since it operates at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 104 Fahrenheit, it will not overheat in summer or stop working if it gets cold.
The performance features we really care about with this router are the parental control performance. The router allows you to block thousands of potentially harmful websites. You can also setup customizable profiles for different family members, allowing for a variety of protections.
The router offers bandwidth prioritization to prevent lags as well, so your gaming or streaming will not be stalled. The comprehensive VPN server can also keep you safe without losing any speed in the process. The router itself is regularly updated, keeping you safe from the latest threats.
10. Syfer-Unlimited Smart VPN Router
For an add-on device that can help you with your parental controls, check out Syfer. This is an unlimited smart VPN router that is also a firewall, offering a large amount of protection from malware.
The Syfer device is made to keep things safe, but simple for you. Its design is smaller than a standard router, making it easier to conceal. It is made to plug into your existing modem to provide an extra level of protection to your entire network.
When you buy a Syfer device, you will get one-year of service for free, but after a year of protection, you will need to pay $9.99 a month to keep your protection.
Looking at the performance of the parental controls, the Syfer allows you to click the categories that you would like to block on the network and save it.
The websites that call under that category then cannot be accessed. It also enforces a safe search across all search engines, so there is not a simple workaround if someone tries to bypass the settings.
Even when the Syfer is working, there will not be a slowdown or lag within the network. Everything should continue to run as it normally would, just with extra security measures in place.
How To Set Up Parental Controls On Your Router
The exact setup for parental controls will depend on your router. If your router comes with parental controls, you simply need to log into your router’s settings and configure them to reach the type of filtering that you want.
Another option, if your router does not have parental controls, is to change your router’s DNS server to use OpenDNS. Through OpenDNS you can select different types of websites that you would like to block. Again, this is dependent on your router.
Ideally, you should make sure that you have a high filter level in place with your browser to prevent inappropriate content from getting through.
Generally, we could say that the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 is the ideal choice for the best parental control router. This router will give you high speeds, good range, and help your network in a lot of ways that are beyond the parental controls.
There are more options out there if you like your router and just want more parental control, like the Circle Home Plus.
That device’s entire purpose is to lock down the network. If you still want open browsing elsewhere, you can use the KoalaSafe router to create a separate network for your kids.
The options are endless, but they all result in a better internet experience for your children.