The Best Parental Control Routers of 2024

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The best parental control routers make it easy to help your kids stay safe on any device connected to your home Wi-Fi network.

Rather than relying on the safety settings of every gadget in your house, you can use routers with built-in parental control software. You can then apply rules for all the devices on your home network, giving you control over everything your family sees.

Below are the best parental control routers we’ve found on the market.

Best Overall

Synology RT2600ac


The feature-packed Synology RT2600ac offers an excellent wireless range for average-sized homes and great security features. Our product tester noted, “This router is worth a look if you want something that’s easy to set up but hides a lot of hidden potential under the hood.” Best of all, the parental control features you can access via an app are free to use—no need for a subscription.

The RT2600ac is a dual-band Wi-Fi router, which means if you have a mix of older and newer gadgets at home, your family can connect to both wireless channels to avoid connection problems. This technology allows your devices to report their location to your router to send faster and more direct signals for activities like 4K streaming on Netflix, gaming, or video calling. 

Like most routers, the RT2600ac offers a mobile app and a website for setting up and managing the router. The web dashboard arranges all the options in tiles and is easy to use for handling parental controls.

Start by creating individual profiles for your kids to schedule online hours, set time limits, and block inappropriate content based on general categories or specific sites. You can also set up general filtering rules for your entire home network, plus another set for your guest Wi-Fi network.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AC2600 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Value

TP-Link Archer AX50 Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router


If you have a modest-sized home and want to upgrade your router, the TP-Link’s Archer AX50 offers impressive wireless performance. It comes with the latest wireless technology known as Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax. If you like to stay updated with the latest technology, this router offers fast internet access and sophisticated parental controls at a more affordable price than competitors.

The AX50 comes with a free lifetime HomeCare parental controls platform subscription. Through HomeCare, you can create profiles for different family members, assign devices to each profile, and set filters and time limits by users or devices.

For example, you could block your kids from getting online with iPads in the evenings while letting them use the family computer for homework. You can also block sites based on type and age group, and HomeCare monitors all the websites in each category. 

In addition to parental controls, HomeCare offers antivirus protection to guard your home network against malware. While you can set up this router by logging in to the router in a web browser, you’ll need to download the TP-Link Tether app to manage HomeCare features.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: HomeCare, WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX3000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5

Best Mesh

Netgear Orbi Home Wi-Fi System

Netgear Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi System


If you need strong Wi-Fi coverage throughout a large home, you might be interested in a mesh Wi-Fi system, which uses multiple routers to create a network in your house. The Netgear Orbi can cover an area of 5,000 square feet.

Along with fast, whole-house Wi-Fi, the Orbi also supports some advanced parental-control settings that you can manage through an app called My Time that lets you set up profiles for each child, easily pause and restart their connection, and set rules for bedtime.

Several more advanced controls exist, including usage history and setting schedules and time limits for any internet activities, but be warned they require a monthly subscription.

The Netgear Orbi is also a tri-band mesh Wi-Fi system, which means it sends out three different signals to keep all your devices online without any trouble. Older routers use a single band, which can lead to congestion, while dual-band routers add another channel, so there isn’t a bottleneck.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: NETGEAR Armor, WPA2, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AC2200 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4

Lifewire / Jordan Provost

Best for Smart Homes

Google Nest Wi-Fi

Google Nest Wi-Fi (2nd Generation)


If your family already uses Google devices with Google Assistant for voice commands, and you’re looking for a Wi-Fi system for your whole house, Google’s Nest Wi-Fi could be a welcome addition to your home. 

Google Nest Wi-Fi is a mesh Wi-Fi system, meaning it comes with one central router and smaller companion devices or access points, which you can place around your home. These access points extend your wireless network to cover even the largest homes. In addition to adding around 1,500 square feet of wireless coverage, each access point can double as a Google Assistant smart speaker, letting you issue voice commands from anywhere in your home.

Those voice commands work with parental controls, too, so when it’s time for the kids to go to bed or do their homework, you can say, “OK, Google, pause the kids’ Wi-Fi.” Setting up the parental controls in the Google Home app is also straightforward, especially if you’re familiar with Google products.

The app walks you through setting up your family Wi-Fi network, adding your kids’ devices, restricting content by category, and setting schedules for online time.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA3 | Standard/Speed: AC2200 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 2

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

What to Look For in a Parental Control Router

Content and App Filtering

As the name implies, content filtering is a feature that enables your router to block certain things from passing through. Since everything that leaves your home network passes through your router, when a user on your network attempts to go to a filtered address, the router intercepts it and blocks access. 

A good parental control router will let you block traffic based on categories since it’s not realistic for you to figure out every website you want to block; new sites (and threats) are constantly popping up. Instead, the heavy lifting is done by the router manufacturer or a third-party service provider, which maintains massive lists of the sites that fall into each category. This curation allows you to check off boxes to allow appropriate educational and kids’ sites and services or deny access to more adult-themed ones.

Dynamic Filtering

While almost all parental control routers will let you block a website based on its address, some of the best ones also provide the ability to dynamically block websites based on what’s actually on them. So, for example, a website with a lot of explicit language or extreme graphic content would be blocked even if the website address isn’t on the list.

Since even the best parental control services can’t keep up with adding every new website to their lists as soon as they pop up on the internet, dynamic filtering adds an extra layer of protection against those sites that may have otherwise slipped through the cracks. 

Screen Time Controls

A good parental control router isn’t just about what your kids can access but also about when they can access it. Some of the better parental control routers also offer the ability to limit how long your kids can access various sites and services rather than simply letting you set a schedule. 


  • How are parental control routers different from installing parental control software on your kids’ tablets or PCs?

    Parental control routers limit the websites and services your kids can access from any device on your home network. They offer an easy way to keep your kids away from sensitive content without installing parental control software on all their devices. However, a parental control router won’t let you manage screen time by device or what apps your kids can install and use offline. Consider combining a parental control router with features like Digital Well-Being on Android devices or screen time on iPhones and iPads.

  • How do you keep your kids from bypassing parental controls?

    The parental controls you set on your router are only as strong as the administrator password. If you use cable internet, you may also need to lock up your router to prevent a teenager from plugging directly into your cable modem and avoiding any parental controls you set up. Lastly, remember that a parental control router only secures your kids’ activity over your home Wi-Fi network. If your kids have smartphones, you’ll need to use other methods to control what they can access over the cellular network.

  • What happens as my kids get older?

    If you have kids of varying ages, or you want to buy a solution that will grow with your kids, you’ll want to look at something that also provides age-appropriate filtering categories rather than just a generic list of “kids” sites and apps. After all, many sites may be perfectly OK for a teenager that you definitely wouldn’t want your four-year-old accessing.

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