New Alpha Released A new version of Tech Lockdown has entered early access.

Parent's Guide to Choosing a Router with Parental Control Support

techlockdown logo
Tech Lockdown Team
Updated April 14, 2024

If you're considering buying a new router, one of the most important features that parents should consider are the parental control options available. 

In this article, we'll explain which features parents should look out for when choosing a router for their home. We'll also take it a step further, and instead of simply provided you with a list of routers, this guide will help parents decide which features they want.

What Kinds of Features Should Parents Look for When Choosing a Router?

There are many features that parents might find useful for parental controls on a router, including:

  • Internet Shutdown/Bedtime.
  • Content Filtering against Adult or Malicious websites.
  • Maintain your own website Blocklist.
  • Enforce Safe Search for Browsers.
  • A Dashboard where you can easily manage settings.

Unfortunately, choosing a router just for its parental control features has some drawbacks, the biggest of which is cost. Buying a specialized device that's marketed as a "parental control" router usually means that you are either paying a lot of money up front, paying for a subscription, or both. 

A much better option is to instead use a router that allows you to customize your internet settings, so you can use any parental control service. Many routers let you use parental control filters, even if they aren't marketed as a "parental control" router (which might mean you don't need to upgrade!). 

Some parental control services can also be installed on devices separately in addition to your router, which means that filtering is enabled even when away from home.

This can be a far more customizable (and cheaper) option than getting a router that's one strength is parental controls.

How Do We Choose Routers?

When recommending routers for parents, we look for the features that let you connect to a parental control service. Many routers already have these features.

Here's what we looked for:

1) Can You Manually Specify IPv4 DNS Addresses?

A parental control service will typically provide you with two IP addresses:

In order to connect to a parental control service, you will need to be able to change the DNS settings on your router. We made sure we factored this into our selection.

2) Can You Change IPv6 DNS?

In addition to connecting to IPv4 DNS, some parental control services will allow you to connect with an IPv6 address. This is usually a much simpler way to connect.

You will need to enter these addresses into your router as well.

3) Is There a Way to Change More Advanced Settings?

For example, an optional but useful setting we check for is the ability to change Dynamic DNS settings. This can be useful, because sometimes a router's IP address changes from time to time.

Another setting we check for is the ability to set a static IP address (as opposed to the universal default: dynamic IP addresses).

If you're able to either request a static IP address, or use dynamic DNS, your router is compatible with the vast majority of parental control services.

4) Can You Schedule Internet Cutoff Times?

Some routers let you set internet cutoff times, which can pair vary nicely with a parental control service.

Top Routers of 2024 for Enforcing Parental Controls

It might worth double-checking your current router's model online and seeing if you actually need to upgrade. Not all routers allow you to make the changes above, and if that's the case, then you will have to upgrade.

If you need an upgrade that lets you set up your own content filter, these are some of the models that we recommend.

Netgear R6700

The Netgear R6700  router is a solid option if you need something relatively inexpensive that still offers a high degree of customization. This particular router model allows you to link to OpenDNS, however, you can also use other DNS filters without issue. Dynamic DNS and DNS server settings are both customizable.

This model is a very solid option if you are looking for something that's compatible with a wide variety of parental control services, but not too expensive (it's about $90-100, depending on where you buy).

Check out the R6700 on Amazon .

Netgear Nighthawk RAX50

The Nighthawk RAX50 is a bit more expensive than the R6700 model, however, if you need something that is insanely powerful and customizable, then this might your best option.

This router allows you to customize DNS settings, configure Dynamic DNS, and even link to OpenDNS (which is a free parental control/content filter service). This router model is great if you need to use an FTP server, or want to configure a VPN.

In addition to all these features, it's also able to use Netgear's parental control subscription. You can pair the router with " Netgear Smart Parental Controls ", or "Netgear Armor" subscriptions, both of which can add features and security.

Checkout the RAX50 on Amazon .

At about $80 (at the time of writing), the Ax1800 is one of the cheaper options. However, it still provides a decent number of features, although its performance might not be suitable for high-device count networks.

The Archer Ax1800 lets you set up IPv6 settings, in addition to customizing whether you use a static or dynamic IP address.

The DNS settings are customizable on this router, with the ability to both configure Dynamic DNS and manually set DNS servers. 

Tp-Link has its own version of parental controls that you can enforce on this model as well, with the ability to set a content filter and monitor activity on the network by device. You can also set up a VPN, and manage your router settings from an App. 

Check out the Ax1800 on Amazon .

How Do You Set Up Parental Controls on a Home Router?

The first step you should take is to determine if the current router you are using has the features that you need. The easiest way to determine this is to find your routers specs by doing a web search for your router online.

How do you get started?

1) Determine If You Current Router Let's You Connect To a Parental Control Service

The best place to look for information about your router is the internet. You can usually plug in your router's brand and model number, with something like "change dns" on the end. If your router doesn't let you change DNS, then you may be able to use a parental control service.

How do I find my Router's model number?

You can usually find the model number (as well as login instructions) on the back label of the router device.

I don't see how to change DNS settings on my router. What do I need to do to?

Some routers simply do not have the ability to change DNS servers, enable DDNS, or change other network settings. If this is the case with your router, you will have to upgrade your router in order to enable content filtering.

2) Connect Your Router

Once you have confirmed that your router is compatible with filtering and have signed up for a DNS Filter , you can then proceed to connect your filter to your router.

Most filters provide instructions on how to do this. For example, Tech Lockdown has section with instructions for setting it up on a router:

There are two ways to connect to a parental control service:

  • Connect with IPv4
  • Connect with IPv6

We have an in-depth guide that covers how to set up a content filter on your home network that goes into much more detail about how this works.

3) Customize your Filter Settings

In the dashboard for your parental control service, you should be able to customize your Content Policy .

You can use a Content Policy, like the one we provide at Tech Lockdown, to block categories, apps, and websites on your home network.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy a router marketed for parental controls?

We don't recommend it. It's better to have the flexibility to use many different parental control services than just being locked into a single brand or subscription.

How hard is it to set up parental controls?

It depends on which router you have. The brands that we recommend above are relatively straightforward to set up. The most frustrating part of this process is figuring out if your current router supports this option, or if you'll need to upgrade.