Best Cable Modems

Get the most of your cable internet. 

Best value cable modem
Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem
Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price:
$178.80 on Amazon
  • pro
    Up to 2.5Gbps download speeds
  • pro
    Affordable (with all the latest tech)
  • con
    Not universally compatible
Best value cable router
NETGEAR AX1800
NETGEAR AX1800
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price
$89.99 on Amazon
  • pro
    Up to 1Gbps download speeds
  • pro
    Wi-Fi 6 technology
  • con
    Requires a separate a modem
Best modem-and-router combo
ARRIS SURFboard G34
ARRIS SURFboard G34
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price
$115 on Amazon
  • pro
    Router and modem together
  • pro
    Wi-Fi 6 and DOCSIS 3.1 technology
  • con
    Pricier than standalone routers or modems
Best budget cable modem
ARRIS SURFboard SB6190
ARRIS SURFboard SB6190
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price:
$64.99 on Amazon*
  • pro
    Much more affordable
  • pro
    Maxes out at 800Gbps
  • con
    Not very future-proof
Best for gaming
NETGEAR CM1100-100NAS Nighthawk
NETGEAR CM1100-100NAS Nighthawk
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price
$179.99 on Amazon
  • pro
    Fastest speeds possible
  • pro
    Low latency connection
  • con
    Expensive

*Amazon.com Price as of 9/12/23 10:15 MST. See full disclaimer.

Tyler Abbott
Nov 03, 2023
Icon Time To Read8 min read

We may earn money when you click our links.

Every cable internet provider tries to convince customers to rent a second-rate modem for $10 (or more) a month. But it makes way more sense to buy a modem outright. You get a better device, and it’s cheaper in the long run.

This cable modem review will lay out the best models for different kinds of users. But first, let’s go over a few things to consider when buying a modem:

  • Modem vs. router: A modem connects to the coaxial cable that comes from your wall. A router connects the modem to other devices, either through Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Sometimes modems and routers are built into a single device. 
  • Compatibility: All of the modems listed here are compatible with most major cable companies, but you should always check with your individual provider to make sure that the modem you want is approved.
  • Speed: Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Cable modems are rated by how many Mbps they can handle. Sometimes modems are also rated by their upstream and downstream channels, which describe how fast information can be downloaded and uploaded through the device.
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Best value cable modem: Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem

Best modem technology for the best price

The fastest cable modem available right now comes from Motorola and can get you up to 2.5Gbps, which is absolutely bonkers. Honestly, before even considering this modem, you should do a quick speed test to make sure you can get internet speeds even close to 2.5Gbps. If you’re paying for gigabit or higher internet speeds and you’re not currently getting that, this modem can be the missing piece to maximize your internet speeds.

Just know that this modem doesn’t come with built-in Wi-Fi—to connect to the internet, you’ll need to connect your device via Ethernet cable. With an Ethernet connection, you can get near 2.5Gbps. But you can easily connect any router with this modem to get a Wi-Fi signal set up. 

Here are the specs for the Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem:

Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem details
Price*$89.99 on Amazon
Download speedsUp to 2.5Gbps
Modem technologyDOCSIS 3.1
Warranty length2 years
More info

*Amazon.com Price as of 9/12/23 10:15 MST. See full disclaimer.

Technically, the DOCSIS 3.1  technology that comes with this modem supports Ethernet bonding to potentially reach download speeds up to 6Gbps (that’s fast enough to download a two-hour HD movie in about four seconds). Eventually the best internet providers will offer 6Gbps internet speeds, and when they do, this modem has the technology to support it. In the meantime, this cable modem also supports DOCSIS 3.0 technology, which means that it can work with slower internet connections too. If you want to buy a modem for your 50Mbps internet now, and think you might upgrade to gigabit speed internet in the future, this Motorola DOCSIS 3.1 modem could be a great investment.

When it comes to compatibility, the Motorola DOCSIS 3.1 isn’t as universally supported as the NETGEAR CM600, but it does work with nearly every major cable company, including Xfinity and Sparklight. The notable exception is RCN. (RCN customers who want DOCSIS 3.1 technology can check out the NETGEAR CM1200.)

Best value cable router: NETGEAR AX1800 WiFi 6 Router

Everything you want from a router in 2023

The NETGEAR AX1800 cable router checks off the essential boxes for a 2023 router: It uses Wi-Fi 6 technology, supports up to 20 connected devices at a time, and can handle data speeds up to 1,000Mbps. But perhaps what’s most impressive about this modem is that it’s compatible with basically any internet service. That compatibility future proofs (or at least, as close as you can get with internet routers) your internet setup in the sense that you could upgrade to fiber internet and keep your same router.

Here are the main specs you need to know about the NETGEAR AX1800 router:

NETGEAR AX1800 details
Price*$89.99 on Amazon
Download speedsUp to 1Gbps
Wi-Fi CoverageUp to 1,500 sq. ft.
Max number of connected devices20 devices
Wi-Fi technologyWi-Fi 6
Warranty length1 year
More info

*Amazon.com Price as of 9/12/23 10:15 MST. See full disclaimer.

On top of everything else, you get four Gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing you to directly connect your video games and streaming devices for maximum speeds. I’ve currently got my gaming PC hooked up to a NETGEAR router with an Ethernet connection and I’m getting much faster speeds than I would get with a Wi-Fi connection. It’s not as fast as connecting directly to a cable modem, but I’m still getting 500Mbps (I can’t complain!). 

All in all, this NETGEAR router is reasonably priced, offers all the modern technology you’d want in 2023 for the best internet speeds, and will be compatible with any internet source (including cable internet, of course).

Best modem-and-router combo: ARRIS SURFboard G34 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem & Wi-Fi 6 Router

Cheaper than buying a modem and router separately

We’ve talked about the best cable modem, and the best cable router, but now let’s talk about getting both things in one. This ARRIS SURFboard model combines your modem and router together, which means you can connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable or with Wi-Fi (normally you would need a separate router and modem). 

Being able to plug in a single device to get both internet connectivity and Wi-Fi networking is awesome. Having that single device work well and last for years is even better.

The ARRIS SURFboard G34 is known for its overall reliability, and it has a two-year warranty to back it up in case something does go wrong.

ARRIS SURFboard G34 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem & Wi-Fi 6 Router details
Price*$115 on Amazon
Download speedsUp to 1Gbps
Modem technologyDOCSIS 3.1
Wi-Fi technologyWi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi CoverageUp to 1,500 sq. ft.
Max number of connected devices20
Warranty length2 years
More info

*Amazon.com Price as of 9/12/23 10:15 MST. See full disclaimer.

From a value standpoint, combining both your router and modem into one device saves you money. I’m no mathematician, but the cost of our best recommended router and modem is definitely more expensive than buying this all-in-one router/modem combo. If you know you want both a modem and a router, this is the way to go.

Wi-Fi 6 and DOCSIS 3.1 are the two most important ingredients in a router and modem, and we’ve got both included here. Both Wi-Fi 6 and DOCSIS 3.1 are the latest and greatest in modem/router technology, which means you should actually get the advertised data speeds from your internet provider (and if you don’t? You should switch).

This ARRIS model works with Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, and other major cable internet providers.

Best budget cable modem: ARRIS SURFboard SB6190

Slightly older, but perfectly serviceable

The ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 makes a lot of sense for folks looking for a cheaper option to get the job done. The main reason why this modem costs way less than other modems is its lack of DOCSIS 3.1 technology–this bad boy uses DOCSIS 3.0 technology. Your max data speeds cap at 800Gbps, which, let’s be honest, is still freaking fast.

ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 Cable Modem details
Price*$64.99 on Amazon
Download speedsUp to 800Gbps
Modem technologyDOCSIS 3.0
Warranty length2 years
More info

*Amazon.com Price as of 9/12/23 10:15 MST. See full disclaimer.

If you’re the type of person who still uses their iPhone 12 without complaints, then I’m willing to bet you’ll like this modem too. It’s not the cutting-edge of modem technology, but it still can get you fast download speeds.

Best-case scenario, you could get 800Gbps (if you have an internet plan that supports it), which means you could install a massive video game file like Starfield in just a few minutes. Very few ISPs actually give you gigabit internet speeds, so you’d likely not notice a huge difference between a brand new modem and this slightly older model.

Is it future-proof? No. But for the next couple of years, this modem will serve you just fine.

This ARRIS model works with Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, and other major cable internet providers.

Best for gaming: NETGEAR CM1100-100NAS Nighthawk DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

Responsive gaming with a direct Ethernet connection

While we all love blaming bad gaming on an internet connection, you won’t have any excuses with a modem like this.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1100-100NAS is a deluxe modem and Wi-Fi router combo that will give you the kind of powerful, seamless connection that you need for modern gaming.

Netgear CM1100-100NAS Nighthawk DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem details
Price*$179.99 on Amazon
Download speedsUp to 2Gbps
Modem technologyDOCSIS 3.1
Warranty length1 year
More info

*Amazon.com Price as of 9/12/23 10:15 MST. See full disclaimer.

Every gamer knows that you want to have a direct Ethernet connection to fuel your gaming, and you can get up to 2.5Gbps download speeds with this modem. You get two Ethernet ports–one for your gaming console of choice, and the other for a router to cast a Wi-Fi signal. Plug your PC, Xbox, or PlayStation into this modem and you’re basically guaranteed to get the fastest speeds possible from your cable internet provider.

This NETGEAR model works with Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, and other major cable internet providers.

Recap: The best cable modems

No internet bottlenecks here

All we’re looking for is a cable modem/router that will help us get the download speeds we pay for. Thankfully, if you use any of the routers or modems recommended in this guide, you can rest assured that you won’t be the problem if you have a slow internet connection.

  • Best value cable modem: The Motorola MB8611 cable modem gives you the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology for a reasonable price and can potentially reach 2.5Gbps, which would be the fastest internet speeds I’ve ever seen.
  • Best value cable router: The NETGEAR AX1800 is our top recommended router for cable internet customers. It comes with Wi-Fi 6 technology which allows you to connect more devices in a wider range, and get faster internet speeds.
  • Best modem-and-router combo: The ARRIS SURFboard G34 combines both your modem and router into one product. You can set up your internet service, cast a wide Wi-Fi net with Wi-Fi 6 technology, and connect directly with an Ethernet cable for even faster speeds.
  • Best budget cable modem: The ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 comes with slightly older modem technology, but you can still get download speeds up to 800Gbps, which is more than enough for most people.
  • Best for gaming: The NETGEAR CM1100-100NAS Nighthawk was made with gamers in mind. Connect your PC, Xbox, or Playstation directly to this modem with an Ethernet cable and enjoy the best speeds your ISP can provide.

 

Methodology

No internet bottlenecks here

At Reviews.org, we follow a specific process to recommend the cable routers and modems. Below is a detailed breakdown of our process:

  1. Thorough Research: We research all of the cable modems and routers in the market. On top of the research, we use other sources, including industry reports and customer reviews. We also try to get hands-on experience with every item we recommend, and in this case, our writer has been using NETGEAR routers and modems for years.
  2. Value Analysis: We determine value by considering cost, Wi-Fi and modem technology, and data speeds.
  3. Recommendation Compilation: Based on our comprehensive analysis, we compile a curated list of the best cable modems and routers.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME. 

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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