For those that want the best of the best, the Asus AC3100 (RT-AC88U) is a fantastic choice. This wireless router comes with advanced parental controls, and time restriction, and gives you Adaptive QoS, Beamforming, and new MU-MIMO technology.
However, it is a little bit pricey, so if you need something more affordable, the Linksys AC1750 (EA7300) is a good router with decent parental control functionality. Already have a router? Then you should try Router Limits Mini, a small device you connect to your existing router and it gives you total control over the content of your Wi-Fi network.
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Having a good router is a necessity for your home network security. But what about the online security of your kids? Do you know that you can filter web content just with a router?
Yes, with a router that is supporting parental control features, you can manage screen time, filter internet content or track the browsing history of all your kids.
As usual, the market is full of similar products and sometimes it is hard to even for advanced users to decide which wireless router they should buy. Don´t worry, we already did the research, and here is our recommendation for the best parental control routers of 2023.
Best Overall: Asus AC3100 (RT-AC88U)
Earning first place on the list of best wireless routers with parental controls, the Asus AC3100 (RT-AC88U) is a wireless router that rules them all. This is an absolute beast. This router has no issue to cover very large homes with Wi-Fi signals and is packed with tons of useful features.
RT-AC88U by Asus comes with MU-MIMO (Multiple-In, Multiple-Out) technology that gives every device its own full-speed Wi-Fi connection. With this new technology, it doesn’t matter if someone is watching Netflix, another person is streaming YouTube video and someone other is playing online games at the same time.
There is no lagging or buffering any more. These online activities will not be slowing down your home network.
Asus AC3100 comes with other useful features such as Adaptive QoS, Beamforming, traffic analyzer or ASUS router app, but the feature you are looking for is called AiProtection. It improves your online safety and security by combining automatic vulnerability detection, malicious site blocking, and parental controls.
Advanced parental controls. You get a pretty effective way to block pornography or other inappropriate content on your kid´s tablet, laptop, or smartphone. This super-simple method doesn’t require you to install any software on their devices. You can do it all from this router.
However, the Asus AC3100 (RT-AC88U) is a little on the pricey side and isn’t the best choice for someone shopping on a budget, but it is a fantastic option for those that want the best of the best.
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Best Budget: Linksys AC1750 (EA7300)
Buying a router can be expensive, as you can see with our top pick, but if you need good performance for an affordable price, Linksys AC1750 is for you. Honestly, total parental control functionality is a little bit pricey, and routers with this feature arent exactly so affordable as you think, but Linksys AC1750 can be found for a price under $100.
With this dual-band Wi-Fi router, you get relatively fast performance, good Wi-Fi coverage for smaller homes, MU-MIMO feature and smart device prioritization. And it is a wireless router with parental controls and time restrictions.
With the parental controls feature of Linksys AC1750, you are able to restrict access to inappropriate or distracting content, control usage and block specific devices from accessing the internet – all to give a safe internet experience for your kids.
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Best For Smart Home: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000)
The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 is truly built for modern smart homes. With Beamforming and built-in high powered amplifiers and external antennas, the Nighthawk AC1900 is ready to deliver fast, reliable Wi-Fi to every corner of your home. And it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control your home network using voice commands.
It also features Dynamic Quality of Service (QoS) that is an excellent tool allowing your router to set priorities for certain devices or types of traffic. For example, your video streaming or online gaming will not freeze and stutter because somebody is downloading files, watching Netflix or is web browsing in your home at the same time. For a regular router without the QoS feature, all of this has equal priority.
Another awesome feature is the Circle Smart Parental Control. The Circle with Disney app lets you easily manage internet content access and device screen time. You can use the app to set usage time limits, device schedules, filter websites, and more for every connected device in your home.
Yes, you can pause the internet by device or by the user with the press of a button or just setting Bed Time for each family member and their devices.
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Best For Security: GRYPHON – Mesh WiFi Security Control Router
The Gryphon Secure Mesh Router combines strong performance, a one-year anti-malware and antivirus subscription powered by ESET Technology, and extensive parental controls. Extensive is the right word. The Gryphon router is an excellent choice for parents who want to have more control over what their children are doing online.
The parental controls of this router are built around user profiles. They can be created by filling in a name, age group, and a photo. After that, you get access to functions such as web filter, SafeSearch, browsing history or set a bedtime for each device or kid.
What´s more, parents can also restrict access to different apps during a designated Homework Time, which allows parents to schedule a time of day and limit the internet access to websites including Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, Minecraft, Netflix, or Pandora, and let them focus on school work.
In a nutshell, Gryphon Secure Mesh Router combines a high-performance WiFi router with a simple to use the smartphone app, making it easy for parents and families to manage the connected home. A nice bonus is a fact that there are no monthly or annual charges for Gryphon updates or parental control.
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Best For Multiple Devices: Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (R7000P)
The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (R7000P) was the first router to offer Netgear Armor. A cloud-based security solution powered by Bitdefender designed to protect all connected smart home devices such as thermostats, smart locks, light systems and more.
The Nighthawk AC2300 also provides advanced parental controls, powered by Circle With Disney, that allow parents to filter internet access based on age, time or content. Unfortunately, Circle With Disney premium plan requires a subscription for $4.99/month (1st-month free trial).
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Best For Managing Screen Time: Router Limits Mini
The Router Limits Mini is not a router, it is a small device you connect to your existing router and it gives you total control over the content of your home Wi-Fi network.
The installation of the Router Limits Mini is insanely easy. It’s literally plug-and-play. Just plug it into one of the LAN ports of your router and it ready. It will act as a middleman between your internet access and your children’s devices.
As we already mentioned, the Router Limits Mini is not a router, so it won’t improve your Wi-Fi coverage or internet speed, but it will give you total control over your network.
You can filter the web content by categories like social media, games, pornography, sport, etc. Or you can use the popular sites fitter to restrict access to Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and others (including the apps).
With the Router Limits Mini, you can also limit screen time with custom schedules for each device. Control what and when content can be accessed, or turn off access altogether.
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Also Interesting: Circle Home Plus (2nd Gen)
The Circle Home Plus is the 2nd generation of popular internet management tools in the company’s line of which was preceded by the original Circle with Disney. The new full-service solution gets refreshed the design and brings new additional features to get more control over the content of your home Wi-Fi network.
Same as with Router Limits Mini, the Circle Home Plus is not a router, it´s a device you are plugging into your existing router via LAN port.
After you the easy installation is done, you can set content filters that match each family member´s age and interest, set bedtimes, limit the amount of online screen time or pause the internet in your home with a single button. You can even send your kids a reward for extra online time.
The new Circle Home Plus offers tons of useful features for parents, unfortunately, many of them are in the category of premium features, for an additional $9.99 per month. However, if you buy the 2nd generation of Circle Home Plus, it already includes a 1-year membership ($120 value) with access to all premium features.
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Routers With Parental Controls Buying Guide
It´s time to protect your children from online threats. And with wireless routers that come with parental control functionality, you can effectively do it.
What Are Parental Controls?
Parental controls are software and tools that allow parents to set controls on the internet use of their children. Parents can filter the web by blocking inappropriate online content.
There are a variety of ways to do this, but one of the simplest is to configure the parental controls function on your wireless router. If your router has this feature, it will be advertised on the box, in the product description or it will be explained in the manual.
Setting up parental controls on a router is slightly different by brand, but there are a few key ways your router can help keep everyone online safe – it works for every device connected to your network – smartphones, tablets, computers or game consoles.
Content Filtering – The backbone of routers with parental controls is content filtering. With this, you can select specific URLs to block on selected devices in your home network, so you can keep your children away from inappropriate content or websites.
Time Limits – You can schedule the network to turn off at a specific time every day. You can even choose a specific device, and disconnect it from your home network at the time you set.
Pause The Internet – Setting a time limit to your kid’s internet access is pretty useful, but what if you need to disconnect their devices right now. Don’t worry, some routers have a feature where you can pause the entire internet access in your home and give the access back as soon as you’re ready.
What To Do When Your Router Doesn’t Have Parental Controls
If you already have a router, but it doesn’t have this function there is still a way how to protect your kids from specific online content.
There are easy-to-use add-on devices out there to help you. The most common router accessories parents are using (we also mention them in the article) are Router Limits and Circle With Disney. Just connect them to the LAN port of your router and they give you the option to manage your internet access and set rules for multiple connected devices.
What Options Do I Have To Keep The Family Safe?
When it comes to the online safety of your kids, there are more services and software that will help you to manage your home network. Here are a few examples:
- Net Nanny
- Norton Family
- Kaspersky Safe Kids
If you need more information about parental control software, check out PCMag´s comparison – The Best Parental Control Software
Use DD-WRT Or Tomato Firmware To Boost Parental Control
The standard firmware that your router is using determines just about everything the router can do. If you want to get more power and control over your home Wi-Fi network, buying a DD-WRT or Tomato compatible router is a good idea. These devices give you also the possibility to set advanced parental controls, but it is a little more difficult to do it.
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Main photo by Victoria Heath
Nechstar has affiliate partnerships (including Amazon). These do not influence editorial content, though Nechstar may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy. Please note, if we mention a price, discount or a special deal, this was valid at the time of posting the article. Since then, prices have probably changed.