Buying your own internet equipment is an easy way to make your cable bill shrink. Typically ISPs charges you between $6 and $11 to rent their modem or gateway, but you can find much better options that will cost you a lot less in the long-run, and modems aren’t super expensive either, as pricing typically starts at only $60. There are plenty of options to choose from, but I’ve done the research and narrowed the field down to my top picks from brands that have been in the game for ages. However, you’ll have to double check that a particular modem is compatible with your ISP before you buy any of the modems I’ve listed below.
TL;DR: These are the best cable modems
- Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
- Arris Surfboard SB6183-RB
- Motorola Model MB8600
- TP-Link TC-7620
Best Modem for Apartment Buildings – Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
If you’re looking to save some space, but don’t want to sacrifice killer performance look no further than the Nighthawk AC1900 from Netgear. The 24×8 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem/router combo supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, 802.11ac signals and modem speeds up to 960Mbps. The Nighthawk series is known for its ability to cut through congested Wi-Fi environments thanks to brawny internal hardware and signal trickery, and that’s the case with the AC1900 too. The 1.6GHz processor should keep even your most demanding traffic flowing properly, even if you’re blanketed in everyone else’s Wi-Fi at an apartment building.
Best Modem Value – Arris Surfboard SB6183-RB
Don’t let this modem’s low price ($40) fool you: the refurbished Arris Surfboard SB6183 can handle your ISP’s higher speeds extremely well. The 16×4 cable modem works with a raft of providers including Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and more. Additionally, the device is rated for download speeds up to 686Mbps on 16 download channels and supports both IPv4 and IPv6 internet standards. If you’re still reeling from the price of upgrading your internet package, this Surfboard is hard to beat.
Best Modem for Ultra-Fast Connections – Motorola Model MB8600
Having the fastest internet on the block doesn’t mean much if your modem can’t take full advantage of it. That’s where the MB8600 from Motorola comes in. It’s a DOCSIS 3.1 model and offers 32×8 channels for blazing fast downloads. It’ll also play nicely with any mesh networks you have set up (including Google Wi-Fi), while Motorola boasts its Active Queue Management software will “greatly enhance” your online gaming experience. Best of all? Its reserved design and hidden antenna means the modem doesn’t look like a grounded stealth fighter.
Best No-Frills Modem – TP-Link TC-7620
With TP-Link’s TC-7620, the modem could pay for itself in as little as six months depending on what your ISP charges in rental fees. There aren’t a lot of thrills here, but $60 gets you a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with 16×4 channels and a device that can handle 680Mbps download rates with up to 143Mbps uploads. Just think: With the $10 you’ll save each month, you could subscribe to a new streaming service, or finally upgrade to 4K Netflix.
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