Best Modem – For most people, the best cable modem is the Motorola MB7420. It works with a wide variety of internet providers, including Comcast, Spectrum and Cox, and it delivers speeds that will serve the greatest number of people (anyone whose internet plan tops out at 300 Mbps).
Its two-year warranty is twice as long as the warranty for the Netgear CM500, which also performed reliably in our tests. Since the CM500 usually costs less than the MB7420, it’s a worthy alternative for bargain hunters.
ROUND UPback to menu ↑
- Model MB7621 is recommended for actual cable Internet service speeds up to 650 Mbps. Wirecutter rates this “the best modem for most people.” A Full-Band Capture Digital Tuner ensures faster, more reliable Internet.
- This cable modem's 1 Gigabit Ethernet port connects to a WiFi router, computer, HDTV, game station, or streaming video device. Great for use with Whole Home WiFi or Mesh networks like eero, Google WiFi, and Orbi. (This cable modem does not have a built-in wireless router or telephone call capability. The Motorola MG7315, MG7540, MG7550, and MG7700 have a built-in wireless router.)
The Motorola MB7621 is reliable, supports the fastest internet speeds available to the vast majority of Americans, and offers compatibility with just about every non-gigabit plan from every cable internet service provider in the US—including Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum (formerly Time Warner, Charter, and Bright House), Cox, Suddenlink, Sparklight/Cable One, and WOW—which gives you flexibility if you move or switch ISPs.
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. It also includes a two-year warranty.back to menu ↑
- Save monthly rental fees: Model CM500 replaces your cable modem, saving you up to $168/yr in equipment rental fees.
- Speeds by carrier: Spectrum (up to 400Mbps), Xfinity (up to 200Mbps), Cox (up to 150Mbps).
The Netgear CM500 remains one of the best cable modems available, because it’s easy to find at most retailers; you can also find it for a little less than the Motorola MB7420 most of the time, making it a good value. (Modem prices can fluctuate so keep an eye peeled for the best tech deals when shopping for a cable modem.) Anytime you can find a new CM500 for $50 or less, that’s a good buy.
The Netgear CM500 works with the biggest cable providers and supports speeds of up to 300 Mbps, which should be enough for the vast majority of Internet users out there. (If you’ve got a high-speed plan, look for a faster modem.)back to menu ↑
- Compatible with Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, and more. Requires Cable Internet Service
- Not compatible with: Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink
While most homes opt for internet plans that promise speeds of around 100 to 300 Mbps, some people prefer higher-speed service. If your plan promises download speeds that top 300 Mbps, you’ll want a cable modem that can take advantage of that greater performance. Netgear’s CM600 is the best cable modem for those higher speeds, though you’ll pay a little bit more than you would for the CM500.
Netgear’s modem doesn’t use the same Intel Puma 6 chipset that’s been blamed for latency issues with some other high-speed modems, such as the Arris Surfboard SB6190.back to menu ↑
4.ARRIS Surfboard SB6183-RB
- APPROVED with Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner, Brighthouse), Cox and more. If not sure call your cable provider to find out if approved to use. REQUIRES Cable Internet Service. Not compatible with: Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink
- Cable Modem only (no WiFi router). NO support for Cable TELCO options
The Arris Surfboard SB6183 was once our pick for the best cable modem thanks to its solid performance that will satisfy most home internet customers who don’t pay for high-speed service, though this older modem is harder to find these days. (As of this writing, Best Buy is selling 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. The coaxial-cable connector is a little too close to the power connector for my taste, but you’re likely to have to deal with that only when setting up the modem.back to menu ↑
5.NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable
- Compatible with all major cable internet providers with internet speed up to 2Gbps. Currently certified with Spectrum and Cox (up to 1Gbps) and Xfinity (up to 800Mbps). Future speeds with these service providers may change over time. Not compatible with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, DISH and any bundled voice service
- Save monthly rental fees: Model C7800 replaces your cable modem and Wi-Fi router saving you up to $168/year in equipment rental fees
If you have a speed plan of 200 Mbps or below, the Netgear C6200 is the modem/router for you. At only $67.95 on Amazon, the Netgear C6200 is an incredible deal. It is one of the least expensive modem/routers available, yet it barely sacrifices on any of the quality.
If you live in a home larger than 1,200 sq. ft., however, you will likely want to upgrade to a more advanced modem/router. The biggest differences between the Netgear C6200 and higher quality modem/routers are that this device is best for a slower speed plan, has fewer gigabit Ethernet ports and a lower upload/download channel count.back to menu ↑
- Creates a Mesh WiFi network that blankets your home in super fast, seamless WiFi — room to room, wall to wall, floor to floor. Replaces your old router, works with your modem and internet service provider
- Slim profile wall-plug satellite make it super easy to extend your WiFi to any room with a standard electrical outlet, just plug it in and stream with speed
The Netgear Orbi AC2200 is the ideal modem/router for larger households. If you have a mid-tier speed plan (between 300 and 500 Mbps) and need your Wi-Fi to reach all rooms in your home, this is the modem/router for you. The Netgear Orbi AC2200 is $100 cheaper than the Netgear Nighthawk C7800 but can cover a wider distance by 1,000 sq. ft. If you have a smaller household and a plan around 300 Mbps, however, the Arris Surfboard SBG7600AC2 or the Motorola MG 7700 are more cost-efficient options.
The Netgear Orbi AC22000 has nearly 18,000 reviews on Amazon. Its average rating is 4.4 stars with 74% of reviewers rating the device 5 stars. Finally, the Netgear Orbi modem/router’s top ranking categories included “easy to use,” “easy to install,” “user interface.”back to menu ↑
- Top Internet Speeds for all Multi-gigabit Speed Tiers - Wirecutter recommends this model as the best cable modem for people using Gigabit Internet plans. Built-in DOCSIS 3.1 and DOCSIS 3.0 32x8 capabilities give top Internet speeds for all cable Internet services.
- Save Money - Eliminate up to 168 dollars per year in cable modem rental fees (Savings are shown for Comcast Xfinity and vary by cable service provider.) Approved by Comcast Xfinity and Xfinity X1, Cox, and CableOne for all speeds including Comcast Gigabit services and Cox Gigablast. Not compatible with RCN. No cable modem is compatible with fiber optic, DSL, or satellite services, available from Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, and others.)
If you already have a gigabit internet plan and your ISP allows you to use your own modem, the Motorola MB8600 is the best of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems that are widely available right now because of its relatively low price and its two-year warranty.
You’ll need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem to guarantee gigabit speeds from most cable ISPs, and the MB8600 is also compatible with gigabit internet on networks that still use the DOCSIS 3.0 standard; for example, Sparklight/Cable One supports both DOCSIS 3.0 (32×8) and DOCSIS 3.1 modems for its GigaOne service.back to menu ↑
Best Modem – If your internet service features speeds topping 300 Mbps, look to Netgear’s CM600, which is more dependable than its high-speed rivals.
Cable modems are rarely part of the best Black Friday deals, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck paying full price if you buy a modem during the 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.