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The standard routers you can buy won’t come with parental control features, which keep your children safe from harmful content. Parental control routers have useful timer features limiting how long someone can use the internet, and you can still rely on them for high-speed web browsing when needed.
If you’re in the market for reliable parental control routers, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll review a selection of the best choices available.
While you might not think that gaming routers are the best pick for child-friendly internet browsing, this ASUS AX6000 router is designed for dense and demanding environments. It’s not just strong but comes packed with features that are usually locked behind paywalls. What’s more, this router can achieve incredible speeds. The AX6000 comes with next-generation Wi-Fi, called 802.11ax. However, it’s also backward compatible with older standards such as 802.11ac/n/g/b/a, so you’ll never have to worry about incompatibility. The 802.11ax OFDMA fully utilizes the bandwidth and allows more devices to connect to it while maintaining a lower latency. This next-generation Wi-Fi also has a more extended range, around 80% better than the older 802.11ac technology. 802.11ac can reach speeds of 2,600Mbps, but 802.11ax is capable of 6,000Mbps – a 230% increase. The 4×4 dual-band setup divides the speed into two bands. 2.4Ghz gets 1,148Mbps, while the 5Ghz band gets 4,804Mbps. If that’s not enough speed, you can always connect an Ethernet cable to one of the eight LAN ports. While this is designed for LAN parties, your children can still take advantage of the ports without having to fight for smooth connections. When your children want to play games, they can take advantage of the included Adaptive QoS and WTFast features. The former is designed to prioritize game packets and smooth out the signal. WTFast, on the other hand, will locate the shortest possible signal path between your device and the game server. The feature reduces both ping and lag for a better experience online. The AX6000 comes with a security suite called AiProtection Pro, powered by Trend Micro. It is regularly updated and protects your family from online threats. AiProtection Pro isn’t the most flexible package out there, however. There are no personalized profiles available, but you can still restrict access to harmful content, P2P connections, messaging apps, and more. Setting time limits and schedules for particular devices is also possible. With this in mind, you can easily protect your children online. As the AX6000 is a mesh Wi-Fi system, you can connect other ASUS routers and provide strong signals anywhere in the home. For a powerful router capable of covering the largest homes while still protecting children, the ASUS AX600 is a great choice. The included parental control features are also sufficient, though lacking slightly in flexibility.
For those on a budget, the ASUS AC1200 is an excellent choice. It supports dual bands and can be managed with a smartphone. The included parental control features are also adequate for keeping children safe while browsing online. As 802.11ax routers tend to cost more, the AC1200 comes with the tried and true 802.11ac standard. It may not be as speedy as its newer counterpart, but it’s still sufficient for less intense tasks such as watching 4K content, mid-performance gaming, and video chatting with friends and family. Even with a lower price point, the AC1200 doesn’t disappoint in coverage. It’s fully capable of providing a stable connection to anything within 3,000 square feet. A standard-sized home would be well within the router’s limits. In addition, it can connect to at least 20 devices simultaneously. When family comes over, everyone will still stay connected to the internet. Courtesy of the 802.11ac chipset, the AC1200 can deliver speeds of 867Mbps at 5Ghz while also reaching 2×2 300Mbps at 2.4Ghz bands. For better speeds, you can connect a computer to any of the four Gigabit LAN ports at the back of the router. As with many other modern ASUS routers, you can use a smartphone app or website to control the router’s settings. The ASUSWRT dashboard user interface is designed to be easy to use and manage. Most of the router’s security features are customizable from the app, but we recommend logging in to the website and managing your router there for the complete interface. It only takes a few minutes on either device, and the router will be up and running. While the AC1200 doesn’t come with AiProtection Pro, it still includes some parental controls. You can even enable features such as advanced WPA/WPA2 encryption and guest access. The included parental control restrictions include blocking malicious websites, monitoring online activity, and setting time limits. Uniquely, the AC1200 comes with VPN support. The router will further hide your location when you activate your VPN software. That way, you can browse the internet with extra privacy. The ASUS AC1200 is more than enough for a budget route. It’s not the fastest, but its features are worth every penny. The parental controls are rather basic but sufficient for looser restrictions.
Unlike the two options above, the Gryphon AC3000 Parental Control Router is designed to provide parents with a viable solution to internet security. It’s also a mesh Wi-Fi router, allowing for increased coverage if you have multiple Gryphons. Anyone who wants advanced parental control features can consider it. Mesh Wi-Fi is a system that uses multiple powerful routers to boost the signal. As the multiple routers are all full-power devices, you’re guaranteed faster speeds and a steadier connection than traditional router setups. The Gryphon is compatible with 802.11b/g/n/ac networks. While some might scoff at the older codecs, critics must also account for the Gryphon’s triple bands. It can emit one 2.4Ghz band and two 5Ghz bands at once. With four antennas, it’s no wonder the whole home can be covered with just one router. It’s highly rated for penetrating even thicker walls. The connection will always be strong and consistent with several Gryphons in the house. The connection isn’t just consistent but speedy. The maximum of 3Gbps distributed across three bands is enough to let everyone have a thick slice of the Wi-Fi cake. Everyone can stream or game simultaneously just fine. As a router intended from the ground up to protect the family, the Gryphon comes with several free parental control features. You can create adult or child profiles for multiple users. Even if your child surfs in Incognito Mode, the Gryphon can track browsing history. It also lets you see website ratings. The Gryphon allows for limited screen time, bedtime and homework time restrictions, and even suspending the connection for mealtimes. YouTube can have offensive videos, so the safe search feature can also hide any inappropriate results. Parents can do so quickly and in real-time for individual cases, such as granting website access or time extensions. The Gryphon app lets your child finish a movie before bed with just a few taps. Speaking of the Gryphon app, you can control everything by simply opening the app. It takes no time at all, and with Gryphon Homebound, you can even do so outside of the house. However, along with some advanced features like Advanced Internet Protection, these options require subscription fees. Still, you get free trial periods for both from the purchase. Advanced Internet Protection lasts for a year, while Gryphon Homebound will disappear after three months. The extra security features include malware protection, device scans, daily security updates, ad blockers, and more. All of these serve to increase your family’s safety in the ocean of hackers and computer viruses. Even if the best security features require subscriptions, the Gryphon AC3000 is undoubtedly among the best family-friendly routers available. Its incredible speeds and safety measures are hard to ignore.
For anyone who isn’t a big fan of complicated menus, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 is a great option. This basic router doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, but it’ll serve a family well. It’s especially suitable for medium-sized homes. The Nighthawk R7000 comes with an 802.11ac chipset – a comparatively new network option. It’s faster than older chipsets and allows for two bands at once. Those bands are the standard 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals common in modern routers. With two bands, multiple devices can stream and game at once without significantly impacting performance. The Nighthawk R7000 also has a dynamic Quality of Service feature. It monitors all internet traffic in your home and allocates more speed to prioritized tasks. It does suffer slightly if you own a home larger than 2,000 square feet, but it will be more than sufficient for smaller houses. The Nighthawk R7000 has a total speed of 1,900Mbps across two bands, courtesy of the chipset. It can connect with up to 30 devices simultaneously while its software intelligently manages the connections. This way, overall interference and congestion will be minimized. It comes with a 30-day free trial of NETGEAR Armor to protect everyone using the router, powered by BitDefender. The NETGEAR Armor can detect threats and protect all devices from malware and other dangerous cyber-threats. You can access parental controls from the Circle app. It can set time limits, filter websites, and more. Circle’s Smart Parental Controls have some of the most advanced filtering routers out there. Very little will get past these digital barriers. The Circle app can even lock out children’s devices entirely if needed. However, you’ll likely use the screen time monitoring feature and website filters more often. Advanced features like personalized time limits for individual apps and services require a Circle subscription. For the Ethernet cable enthusiast, there are four LAN ports behind the router, all of which offer Gigabit speeds. There are also two USB ports you can use to share data across the network. With guest Wi-Fi access, you can safely partition the primary network from harm and assign visitors connectivity. Thanks to the app, you can also use the parental controls and other features from different locations. The only requirements are that the device you use is connected to the internet and logged in to access the Nighthawk R7000 router. Anyone with some knowledge of routers can set up everything quickly. They can also control the router from anywhere, making it an excellent choice for families on the move.
This Google Nest Wi-Fi router is somewhat different from our other picks. It’s designed to be part of a smart home, especially one with more Google Nest devices. If you have other products from this family, you’ll find this router integrates very well. The package contains two router units, making it a mesh Wi-Fi system. With both online, you’ll cover up to 4,400 square feet, which is much larger than most homes. You can also get single or triple router packages according to your needs. One router will be the central hub, connected to the modem. The other will function as an extender, and you can add more to the mesh network for extra stability. Each router has two LAN ports, making it a perfect option for a stable connection. However, it won’t allow for a proper LAN party. The parental controls on the Google Nest router are pretty extensive. You can personalize each child’s profile and set schedules for them. Of course, other restrictions such as website rating are also available. The best part of this router being smart home compatible is that you can set up all of these options using your voice. Saying “OK Google, pause the Wi-Fi for Mark” will prompt the router to execute that command. You’ll have to integrate the router and access points with Google Home and Family Controls first, but Google has simplified the process enough that it’s foolproof. For example, after plugging the first router in and connecting it to the Google Home app, the second router only needs to be plugged in. Selecting the option to set up a new point will let you add the second point as part of a mesh network. Thanks to the automatic security updates and an advanced security chip, the Google Nest router is more than capable of keeping you safe online. The settings even let you set up guest networks for those who visit. The default security is WPA3, which is better than the standard WPA2 you see on cheaper or older routers. Security is of great concern, but speed is also an important factor. The Google Nest router comes with 802.11ac chipsets. While not as fast as 802.11ax, it’s tried and true and fast enough for multiple users to watch 4K videos and attend conference calls at once. Overall, the ability to manage parental controls with your voice alone is a selling point for the Google Nest Wi-Fi router. Setup is exceptionally straightforward, and it offers constant internet access without sacrificing speed. If you already own Google Nest appliances, you’ll find this router the logical choice.
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