While the top cable modem may not be something you consider often, it is one that should always be on your mind whenever you see your bill. If you buy your own cable modem instead of using whatever device your internet service provider dropped off, you can probably save money on your internet service by eliminating a needless equipment rental fee.
The equipment rental fee is not only ridiculous but also very serious. Some ISPs can charge up to $14 per month for the use of one their modems. Overtime costs may also apply. You’ll be able to pay for the cost of a cable modem with a half-year-long lower internet bill. From then on, you can keep all the money your internet provider would have charged to rent an aging modem.
Which internet speed are you looking for? What internet speeds are sufficient? Here is a look at our tests to determine the best mesh Wi-Fi routers for greater home coverage. Whatever modem you decide to purchase, ensure it’s compatible and meets your requirements.
Which cable modem do you recommend?
For most people, the best cable modem is the Motorola MB7420. This modem works with all internet providers (including Spectrum, Cox and Comcast) and delivers high speeds for most people (anyone who has an internet plan that exceeds 300 Mbps). Two-year warranties are twice the length of those for Netgear’s CM500. They also perform well in our tests. The CM500 is a good alternative to the MB7420 because it usually comes at a lower price.
Netgear’s CM600 provides faster internet speeds than 300 Mbps. It is reliable and more reliable than high-speed competitors.
While cable modems may not be part of Black Friday’s best deals, it doesn’t mean that you will have to pay full price for modems purchased during holidays. We’ve noticed price drops on many of the best cable modems on this list so be sure to shop around for the best price.
What to Avoid
The Arris surfboard SB6183 was our choice for best cable modem. This modem’s strong performance means it will be able to satisfy many home internet customers, even those who aren’t willing to pay extra for fast service. As of the writing, Best Buy has sold the SB6183. If you can track down the SB6183 at a competitive price, its two-year warranty also is a big plus.
At 5.2 x 5 x 2.1 inches, the all-white SB6183 can be tucked unobtrusively next to a router, cable box and whatever other hardware you have on hand. Although the coaxial-cable connector may be a bit too close to power connector, it is likely that you will have to use this only for setting up your modem.
The SB6183 uses a series of small vertical indicator lights. It is very simple and easy to spot. Yellow lighting might be difficult to detect if your modem is directly in sunlight. It’s easy to look at the SB6183 and see if your internet connection is down.
Best Cable Modem Vs. Best Router
These days, makers of home networking gear seem to favor modem-router combinations over standalone cable modems. One hybrid device can handle two functions, so it may seem tempting to get one. Modem-router combination are something we wouldn’t recommend.
Let’s start with some background. The purpose of the modem and router are very different. An internet modem delivers internet connectivity to your house, while best routers connect it wirelessly so all your gadgets (phones, tablets, etc.) can access the Internet. A router is the best option if your current network doesn’t reach the extent you want.
Why keep them separate? A failure of any component in a hybrid device will result in both the loss of a modem or a router. Because routers are able to support new features faster, it’s easier to update individual devices. Modems evolve more slowly, as you can see from the number of older models still available.
How to test the best cable modems
Comcast Performance Pro home internet service tests each modem. We run speed tests on modems to ensure they are downloading at the promised speeds. Then, the modems go through regular networking setups to determine their reliability.
Each modem that we review is connected to our network setup. We can verify the modem’s compatibility with our network setup and get an idea of its dependability. Price is another important factor in modem shopping. Therefore, we monitor retailers to ensure that they offer the most competitive prices for all modems tested.
Image credit to Tom’s guide. We use modems to connect multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones, to test their visibility. The ease of setting up modems is what we focus on. And because the primary reason to get your own cable modem is to save on monthly rental fees for ISP-supplied modems, we heavily weight the length of a modem’s warranty.
“>best modem for most people Compatible with the most ISPs, the MB7621 supports internet plans up to 600 Mbps. This modem is supported by many ISPs, has a two year warranty and can pay for itself within eight months.
Amazon: $90*, Walmart: $80 Best Buy
The Motorola MB7621 supports high internet speed and reliability. It is compatible with almost every US cable internet provider, including Comcast Xfinity and Spectrum. The MB7621 works well for plans up to 600 megabits per second, because it’s a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that can handle 24 downstream channels and eight upstream channels. The warranty is two years.
NetgearCM500 Plans up to 300Mbps This former top pick remains a great choice, as long as your service plans are not faster than 300Mbps.
Walmart $46*, Amazon $43 Amazon Best Buy
According to which survey, the average American internet speed is 180 Mbps. Netgear CM500 if your current plan has speeds in the 180 Mbps range. We do not recommend upgrading to more than 300 Mbps. The CM500 matches the ISP compatibility of the pricier CM600, but its maximum download and upload speeds are lower (300 Mbps on the CM500 versus 600 Mbps on the CM600, though Suddenlink certifies it for 500 Mbps speeds). The reliability of the CM500 is excellent, although it also comes with a 1 year warranty.
We recommend the CM500 16×4 modems, even if you have a plan that would use a slower modem. 8×4 modems are being dropped by ISPs. It would save you very little upfront and mean that your modem will need to be replaced years later.
Amazon Prime $160* $169 Staples
If your internet provider allows you to use your modem with gigabit speeds, then the Motorola MB8600 may be the best DOCSIS 3.1 routers available. For gigabit Internet speeds, you’ll need a DOCSIS 3.1modem. However, most cable ISPs will only allow the MB8600 to work with gigabit networks that use the DOCSIS3.0 standard. Sparklight/Cable One is compatible with both DOCSIS3.0 (32×8) as well as DOCSIS 3.1 modems when it offers its GigaOne services.
If you do not have gigabit Internet service or already know that it is available, don’t buy a gigabit modem. Even though the DOCSIS 3.1 modes are more expensive than other plans, it’s still worth it. Especially since gigabit may be offered over fibre rather than cable. You may be unable to bring your own modem if they offer gigabit services.
The 7 Best Cable Modems Of 2021
For a cost-saving solution, we tested top-rated cable modems. Purchases made through our selected links may result in us receiving commissions.
Most ISPs rent your cable modem. You can buy your own cable modem and, in less than a year, come out ahead. This type of equipment can be difficult to use, but it will save you money.
If that’s something you’d like to try, you should probably just buy the get the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 or, if you pay for a higher speed connection, the ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 . Check that the ISP you wish to use is included on the product pages. This ensures that most ISPs can be found.
It’s small enough to be tucked away just about anywhere, and is also certified by all the major cable providers.
Netgear Nighthawk M2000 Cable Modems are the most efficient.
The 2021 Best Modems to Use for Gigabit Internet
What is the minimum number of Mbps you need?
The megabits per seconds, also known as Mbps, is the key factor to consider when choosing the modem. They can either make or break your internet service. Higher speeds will result in faster internet. A modem may have between 10 and 1,000 Mbps. The more bandwidth (or traffic) you have, then the faster your internet will work. What you do with the internet and how many of them are at your home will determine how much Mbps your modem can handle.
Video games, streaming videos can be downloaded at speeds of up to 5-10Mbps. However large files and video may require as high as 50Mbps. At least a 50 Mbps modem is recommended. However, the majority of modems will handle enough to power multiple users and a heavy router.
Modems are likely to have Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification technology, also known as DOCSIS. It’s the standard preferred for cable providers. It’s fast, reliable, energy-efficient, and more efficient than fiber cable. The most recent version is DOCSIS 3.1. However DOCSIS3.0 provides speeds of up 100 mbps. While there are other means of getting internet from your ISP, DOCSIS is by far the best, and sticking with a 3.0 should be sufficient for most internet users.
Netgear Nighthawk c7100V
Consumer Score: 82% given it 4 stars or greater. The two-in-1 has voice control and phone lines.
The best part about voice control is the ability to make almost everything more enjoyable. However, it would be hard to beat the Nighthawk C7100 if this feature wasn’t available. Although the modem is expensive, it provides incredible speed with an extremely user-friendly package. It’s also an investment because it can handle up to 960 Mbps. Even though you don’t likely need such speed right away, Nighthawk is able to provide it and save you the cost of buying a new modem in future tech developments. Although the Nighthawk is a dual-modem router, its unique features include two phone lines included that work on Comcast. This means the device will only work with Xfinity.
Arris Surfboard SB6183 Customer Score: 84% of users gave it four stars or more. A small, easy-to-use modem for a reasonable price.
It’s a very popular and affordable option, which is evident by the fact that it’s often sold out at retailers. It’s still a great deal for the price, and you will find it on eBay. The modem is compact, and the lights are bright and easy to read.
Tom’s Guide highly praised the Surfboard’s 2 year warranty. It is also praised its 686 Mbps speeds, which are far more expensive than the modem’s warranties.
Consumer Score: 98% of consumers gave it four stars or more. Scores are way higher than its price, and it has a clean, sophisticated look.
While we don’t expect your modem to function as a piece of art, many people are still concerned that it will be an eyesore. This particular model has a sleek and sophisticated look, though the shiny exterior can easily smudge. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have great ventilation. Keep your CM500 in a cool place to prevent heat buildup. Top Ten Reviews concluded that, despite its lower cost, the CM500 was still competitive with premium modems. According to them, the Netgear CM500 “performed exceptionally well on a network that was stressed with simultaneous bandwidth-hogging software, including 3 large file downloads on a PS4 Pro, XBox One, PS4 Pro and 4K Netflix streaming.” While it’s best running at only 300 Mbps or lower, they tested up to 400 Mbps and didn’t have issues.
Centurylink Compatible Modems
This page details which modems should be used with CenturyLink service for the best results and which modes are certified CenturyLink.
Compatibility between modems. Each modem has a special type of internet technology that works in a certain speed range. CenturyLink utilizes different core technologies depending on the speed and location.
This is why it matters. You can’t use CenturyLink modems unless they are compatible with your particular technology and speed.
What We Decided on Our Top Cable Modems
We place extra emphasis on supported speeds, value and reliability. Since customers have different needs for a modem based on their internet speed plan and budget, we included a wide range of options instead of merely choosing the five most advanced modems on the market.
A modem can be ranked as the best in any of these five main categories. Our picks include: the Arris Surfboard SB6183, the Motorola MB7420, the Motorola MB7621, the Motorola MB8600 and the Netgear CM500.
Which Internet Modem Is Best?
- Take our pick. Motorola MB7621. Most people’s best choice for modem. Compatible with many ISPs, the MB7621 supports up to 600 Mbps internet connections.
- Runner-up. Netgear CM600. The same speeds but with shorter warranties
- Budget pick. Netgear CM500. You can get plans as high as 300 Mbps.
- Upgrade choice. Motorola Motorola MBH8600. For gigabit internet plans.
Does Modems Make a Difference?
Speed is directly affected by which modems you connect to your network. … However, if you have a modem that is older than the current tier and you use a high-speed internet connection you will be able to access the Web. You may not get the connection speed you were promised by your ISP.
Is A Modem Or Router Better?
Your modem will give you a reliable, wired Internet connection. The modem will work fine if you have only one device connected to the Internet such as a desktop or laptop. However, if your device is only one, such as a laptop or PC, then you can use the modem.
Are You Better Off Buying Your Own Modem
You can buy your cable modem and upgrade to your provider’s speeds. The best speed and performance are possible with compatible modems for DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1.