Best Routers for Parental Controls

A look at the best routers for parents.

  • Best overall
    Gryphon Smart Mesh Router
    Gryphon Smart Mesh WiFi Router
    • Internet filtering
    • Time management
    • Malware protection
    • Mobile app
    • $199.99
  • Best mesh router
    Synology MR2200ac
    • Internet filtering
    • Time management
    • Mobile App
    • $139.99
  • Best Wi-Fi 6
    TP-Link AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router
    TP-Link AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router
    • Internet filtering
    • Time management
    • Malware Protection
    • $127.85

Great holiday deals on routers with parental controls

TP-Link Archer AX50NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000
Free TP-Link HomeCare subscription
Original price: $149.99
Deal price: $114.95

You save: $22.86

Get the Deal
Free Armor Security
Original price: $189.99
Deal price: $157.99

You save: $32.00

Get the Deal
TP-Link Archer AX50Free TP-Link HomeCare subscription
Original price: $149.99
Deal price: $114.95

You save: $22.86

Get the Deal
NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000Free Armor Security
Original price: $189.99
Deal price: $157.99

You save: $32.00

Get the Deal
TP-Link Archer A7ASUS RT-AX88U
Good for tight budgets
Original price: $79.99
Deal price: $49.99

You save: $30.00

Get the Deal
Free AiProtection Pro
Original price: $349.99
Deal price: $259.99

You save: $90.00

Get the Deal
TP-Link Archer A7Good for tight budgets
Original price: $79.99
Deal price: $49.99

You save: $30.00

Get the Deal
ASUS RT-AX88UFree AiProtection Pro
Original price: $349.99
Deal price: $259.99

You save: $90.00

Get the Deal

Our pick: Which router has the best parental controls?

We chose the Gryphon Smart Mesh WiFi Router due to its wide range of parental control features, network security features, and convenient app controls. It’s also a mesh router, which means that if one router isn’t able to cover your entire home, you can seamlessly link a second router to extend your wireless network signal into every corner of your home.

The 3 best routers for parental controls

Best Routers for Parental Controls

Best forModelImageWi-Fi BandsFeaturesPriceGet it
Best overallGryphon Smart Mesh WiFi RouterTri-band signal
Can be controlled from mobile app$199.99View on Amazon
Best mesh routerSynology MR2200acTri-band signalCan be controlled from mobile app$139.99View on Amazon
Best Wi-Fi 6TP-Link AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 RouterDual-Band signalWi-Fi 6 enabled$127.85View on Amazon

What should you look for in a router for parental controls?

Most modern routers will have some form of parental controls built in, but if you’re looking specifically for a router with parental control features, you want to look for one that gives you a wide range of controls and an easy way to use them. These include the following:

  • Flexible content filters
  • Time management controls
  • Customizable profiles
  • Malware protection
  • Ad Blockers

Security features like malware protection and ad blockers are somewhat tangential to parental controls, but are still helpful in giving your kids a better online experience.

Although robust parental controls might be the primary selling point of a router, it also needs to meet your basic needs for speed and coverage. Mesh routers allow you to increase the range of your network by adding additional routers, while Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices can offer faster speeds and support more devices on your network.

Best overall—Gryphon Smart Mesh WiFi Router

Best overall

Price: $199.99

The specs

  • Internet filtering
  • Time management
  • Malware Protection*
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Mobile app

The Gryphon Smart Mesh WiFi Router gives you all the features that you’d expect in a good parental control system. It allows you to manage individual devices on your network as well as broad categories so that you can pause internet connections to computers and TVs without disconnecting smart home devices like lightbulbs and thermostats.

The Gryphon Smart Mesh WiFi Router also allows you to filter content and manage internet schedules for specific user profiles. This can all be managed from a mobile app, so you don’t have to log into your router’s settings every time you want to give your kids an extra hour of internet time.

 

While the Gryphon Smart Mesh Router uses Wi-Fi 5, it makes up for the lack of some Wi-Fi 6 features with a triband signal, which adds a second 5 GHz frequency channel. An extra frequency channel can be helpful if you have a lot of connected devices in your home (which is especially handy for large families).

Since it’s a mesh router, you can buy multiple routers to extend your signal throughout a large home or fill dead zones—however, its high price tag makes this feature less appealing.

The Gryphon Smart Mesh Router also comes with a number of network security features like ad blocking and malware protection, but these features require a $79-per-year subscription to Gryphon’s Advanced Internet Protection after the first year.

This might be a deal-breaker if security is a major selling point for you. Fortunately, its parental controls don’t require a subscription, so you can keep using it to manage your family’s internet usage without these advanced security features.

Pros

  • Robust parental controls
  • Mobile app
  • Tri-band signal

Cons

  • Wi-Fi 5
  • High device cost
  • Extra subscription costs

Best mesh router—Synology MR2200ac

Best mesh router

Price: $139.99

The specs

  • Internet filtering
  • Time management
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Mobile App

Amazon.com Price (as of 11/19/21 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.

The Synology MR2200ac Router comes with lots of features to help manage your home network. Synology routers come with the Synology Router Manager, which allows you to download free software packages to customize your home network. These packages include the Safe Access package, which gives you tools for time management and content filtering.

While this customizable system requires more steps to set up than most routers, the parental controls can be accessed by a mobile app once they’re up and running. You also have the ability to further customize your router with advanced packages for VPNs, file sharing, and more. This makes the Synology MR2200ac a good choice both for simple home network management and more tech savvy users.

Pros

  • Robust parental controls
  • Mobile app
  • Tri-band signal

Cons

  • Wi-Fi 5

Best Wi-Fi 6 router—TP-Link AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router

Best Wi-fi 6 router

Price: $127.85

 

The specs

  • Internet filtering
  • Time management
  • Malware Protection
  • Dual band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Mobile App

Amazon.com Price (as of 11/19/21 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.

The TP-Link AX3000 gives you parental control features along with all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6. This means faster download speeds over your home network, as well as increased network capacity. This also means that Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices will be able to take full advantage of this router’s features.

The AX3000 comes with a free lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare, which includes parental controls like content filtering and time management, as well as antivirus protection for your whole network.

The AX3000 isn’t a mesh router, so you can’t buy more than one to extend the reach of your wireless network. Fortunately, Wi-Fi 6 can broadcast farther than previous Wi-Fi standards, so you should be able to cover an average home if you put your router in a good location.

Pros

  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Mobile App

Cons

  • No mesh capability

Parental control routers specs and features

If you’re looking for a router with good parental controls, there are a few specific tools that are essential. Content filters allow you to control the kinds of content that your kids are able to access on the internet. Time management tools can help you set internet schedules around bedtimes and schoolwork. Profiles allow you to more easily manage controls across a range of devices for different family members.

Just because two routers both check all the boxes for these features doesn’t mean that they’re equal. The best parental controls are those with the most flexibility, giving parents the power to adjust them to meet their needs. Parental controls should give you the ability to set clear expectations and should facilitate communication between you and your kids, rather than setting up arbitrary obstacles in a one-size-fits-all solution.

Content filters

Content filters are the bread and butter of parental controls, but the term covers a wide range of features. The most basic content filters allow you only to set the level of restriction in a general sense, sort of like movie ratings. Trying to pigeonhole the entire internet like this inevitably means that some content you want to access will be blocked at higher levels of restriction, while some content you don’t want will still be accessible.

More precise content filters give parents the ability to customize what they do and don’t want their children to access. This includes the ability to block sites based on keywords or categories, as well as the ability to specifically whitelist or blacklist sites on an individual basis.

Time management

Most modern routers come with some form of time management tool, which may be as simple as shutting off the entire network after a certain time. Fortunately, most parental controls give you much more flexibility than that.

Good time management tools allow you to set regular schedules throughout the week, while still giving you the flexibility to make changes on the fly. It’s helpful to be able to pause the internet during family activities or award extra time if your kids get their school work done early.

These sorts of systems can benefit greatly from mobile apps so that you can make these changes at the press of a button rather than logging into your router’s settings every time.

User profiles

User profiles help manage wired and wireless devices that access your home network. For example, you can create a profile for your child that sets time limits, content filters, and so on. After that, you assign that profile to your child’s device. 

User profiles are a good way to restrict a child’s access to the internet during school hours or at night when the child should be sleeping. However, profiles only apply to your child’s access to the local network—it doesn’t prevent them from using their device offline or accessing cellular-based internet.

Our verdict

We like the Gryphon Smart Mesh WiFi Router for its robust parental controls and ease of use. It’s a good all-around parental control router that will fit the needs of most people.

If you want a more customizable system that you can add lots of additional features to, you might want to consider the Synology MR2200ac. Finally, if you already own a lot of Wi-Fi 6 devices, consider the TP-Link AX3000 to take advantage of those features.

Parental control routers FAQ

Do all routers have parental controls?

Most modern routers have some kind of parental controls, such as basic time management tools. These can usually be found by logging into your router and accessing its settings.

For more information, check out our guide on how to set up built-in parental controls.

How do I put parental controls on my router?

Most routers come with all of their software pre-installed, so any available parental control software will already be installed when you first set it up.

Some companies, like Synology, do offer additional parental control tools that can be downloaded and set up on your router. To find out if this kind of software is available for your router, check your manufacturer’s website.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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