5 Best Spectrum Internet Modems and Routers

We did the research and found the very best modems and routers for maximizing your Spectrum internet service

Best Standalone Modem
Motorola DOCSIS 3.1 - Our pick for best speed
Motorola MB8600
4 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Supports speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
  • pro
    DOCSIS 3.1 with 32x8 channel bonding
  • pro
    Compatible with most ISPs
Best Standalone Router
Product image of TP-Link Archer AX55 Router
TP-Link AX3000 WiFi 6 Router
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Supports speeds up to 2,402 Mbps
  • pro
    Dual-band connection
  • pro
    Wi-Fi 6 technology
Best Modem/Router Combo
The black Netgear Nighthawk C7000 modem for Xfinity internet
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000
4 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Supports speeds up to 1,900 Mbps
  • pro
    DOCSIS 3.0 with 24x8 channel bonding
  • pro
    Built-in Wi-Fi 5 router
Best Budget Option
Free Spectrum Modem + TP-Link AC1750
3.5 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Supports speeds up to 1,750 Mbps
  • pro
    Pairs great with Spectrum’s free modem rental
  • pro
    Wi-Fi 5 technology
Best Upgrade pick
Product image of NETGEAR Orbi AX6000 Mesh System
NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 Cable Modem Router
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Supports speeds up to 4,000+ Mbps
  • pro
    Mesh network covers 5000+ sq. ft
  • pro
    Wi-Fi 6 technology with tr-band connectivity
Easton Smith
Mar 26, 2024
Icon Time To Read9 min read

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Spectrum is one of the best cable internet providers on the market. But the company’s rental equipment isn’t always top-shelf, especially its routers.

You can save money and get better internet performance by investing a little cash into your own modem and router. We’ve done the research and come up with the best modems, routers, and modem/router combo devices for Spectrum customers.

We’ve got devices for every kind of user, whether you’ve got a huge house with tons of devices or you just want a basic set-up for your apartment. We’ve also included a way to get a quality set up for just over $50 (check out the “Budget Pick”)!

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Spectrum internet isn’t bad. But there may be some other internet service providers (ISPs) in your area that offer better deals. You can check out all of the plans available at your address using this sweet zip code tool.

What to look for in a Spectrum modems and routers

By picking up your own modem and router for your Spectrum internet service, you can save money on monthly equipment fees. You can even save on installation fees because you might be able to opt for the cheaper “self-installation” option if you have your own devices.

But there are a few important things to consider before you invest in a cable modem and Wi-Fi router. Let’s take a quick moment to go over some essential features (go ahead and skip to the best modems and routers if you’re already an expert).

  • DOCSIS: This term stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications, which is the technology that your modem uses to transfer data from cables that were originally designed to deliver cable TV. The gold standard is DOCSIS 3.1, but cable internet customers with plans below 1,000 Mbps should be fine with DOCSIS 3.0.
  • Channel bonding: You’ll see this as a number, like 32x8. This is about how many download and upload channels your modem uses. Higher numbers mean more channels and faster speeds.
  • Wi-Fi communication standard: You may have seen a set of numbers and letters on your Wi-Fi router, like 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac. These are different wireless protocols that dictate what devices it can connect to and how fast that connection is. The latest standard is IEEE 802.11be, also called Wi-Fi 7. But most devices still use 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) or older technology.
  • Wi-Fi Bands: If you’ve seen a Wi-Fi network that says “5G” on it, that probably means it’s a 5GHz Wi-Fi band, which can offer faster speeds but has less range. Wi-Fi routers with multiple bands give you the flexibility of connecting to a faster, smaller-range network or a slower, longer-range one.
  • Wi-Fi extenders and mesh systems: If you have a big property, then you probably want to pick up a mesh Wi-Fi router or some kind of Wi-Fi extender. Mesh systems link together several “nodes” to give a larger, faster, and more reliable network.
  • Wi-Fi security: Every Wi-Fi router comes with a security standard that keeps out unwanted devices. There are several security standards, like WPA, WEP, and WPA2. The most recent and secure standard is WPA3.

That’s enough geeking out. Let’s get into the best Spectrum modems and routers!

What are Spectrum’s equipment rental policies?

Spectrum actually gives customers a free modem rental (just don’t break it or you’ll have to buy it!). But the company does charge $5 a month for a Wi-Fi router, unless you’re on the Gig plan. Word on the street is that these routers are not great, either.

You can pay a little bit extra to get Spectrum's whole-home Wi-Fi service. Each Spectrum WiFi Pod costs $3 per month, on top of the regular $5 a month for the router.

Motorola MB8600: Best Standalone Spectrum Modem

4.5 out of 5 stars
bullet Supports speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
bullet Two-year warranty
bullet Compatible with most ISPs (including Spectrum)
$108.90 on Amazon

The best modem for most Spectrum users is the MB8600. This reasonably priced modem comes from well-trusted Motorola, has thousands of positive customer reviews, and can handle whatever you throw at it, whether it's 4K video streaming, hours of Warzone, or just a large household full of people scrolling on their phones.

Motorola MB8600 features

The MB 8600 uses the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology and can easily handle speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. It does not include a Wi-Fi router, but it is compatible with pretty much every router on the market.

While many Spectrum customers may not need this much speed right now, it’s helpful to buy a modem that’s future-proof. You never know when you might upgrade your internet. While you could opt for the slower MB7621 modem, it’s only about $15 cheaper, while only supporting speeds up to 650Mbps.

How fast is your Spectrum internet, really?
Info Box

Most internet customers don’t see the top speeds that their ISP advertises. You can check your actual internet speed with this nifty speed test.

The MB 8600 features active queue management, which can lower the latency of your internet connection. This is important for remote workers who video conference often and for gamers who want to avoid lag like the plague.

Another nice thing about the Motorola MB8600 is that it’s not just compatible with Spectrum. It’s compatible with most of the best cable internet providers, including Comcast Xfinity, Cox, or CableOne. Plus, it comes with a robust 2-year warranty, just in case something does go wrong.

Motorola MB8600 specs and features
Amazon price$108.90
Maximum theoretical download speed1,000 Mbps
DOCSIS version3.1
Channel bonding32x8
Active Queue ManagementYes
Ports4 gigabit ethernet
Wi-Fi router built-in? No
Warranty 2 years

TP-Link AX3000: Best Standalone Spectrum Router

4.5 out of 5 stars
bullet Supports speeds up to 2,402 Mbps
bullet Dual-band connection
bullet Wi-Fi 6 technology
$99.44 on Amazon

If you’ve already got a decent modem (from Spectrum or somewhere else), then the best Wi-Fi router for you is probably the TP-Link AX3000. This router is equipped with the latest Wi-Fi technology, has great range, and gives you dual-band connectivity.

The TP-Link AX3000 will work with all cable modems and can easily handle the bandwidth of large households and home offices. It’s a great investment that should be future-proof for years to come.

TP-Link AX3000 features and compatibility

The TP-Link AX3000 has two different bands—a 2.4 GHz band with longer range and a 5GHz band with faster speeds. The longer-range 2.4 GHz band can handle speeds up to 574 Mbps, while the 5GHz band can basically hit lightspeed (2.4 Gbps!).

With Wi-Fi 6, beamforming, and four adjustable antennas, you and your family should experience a clear, high-speed internet signal all throughout your house.

A couple of nifty little features put TP-Link AX3000 above much of the competition. It has something called “Target Wake Time” that makes the communication between the router and your devices more efficient, thus saving battery life. There’s also a feature called “HomeShield” that gives you increased security with state-of-the-art IoT protection, parental controls, and weekly reports.

While the AX3000 is a high-quality device with excellent customer reviews, there is a 2-year warranty in case anything breaks on the device.

TP-Link AX3000 specs and features
Amazon price$99.44
Bands 2.4 and 5 GHz
Maximum theoretical download speed2,402 Mbps
Wi-Fi TechnologyWi-Fi 6
Ports5 gigabit ethernet
Alexa compatible? Yes
Modem built-in? No
Warranty 2 years

NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000: Best Modem/Router Combo

4.3 out of 5 stars
bullet Speeds up to 1,900 Mbps
bullet Wi-Fi range of 1,800 sq. ft.
bullet Connects to up to 30 devices
$191.80 on Amazon

While some customers might want to buy their modem and router separately, the simplest solution for many customers is to buy a modem/router combo device. The NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 offers the best of both worlds, with powerful DOCSIS 3.0 and Wi-Fi 5 technology, for under $200.

NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 features

NETGEAR’s Nighthawk C7000 is a simple, reliable, and powerful piece of equipment that comes from a trusted company. It uses DOCSIS 3.0 and a dual-band Wi-Fi connection to give you super-fast speeds. Theoretically, you can crank this thing up to 1,900 Mbps download speeds, though we really only recommend it for the cheaper Spectrum plans up to 500 Mbps.

The Nighthawk C7000 has a Wi-Fi range of up to 1,800 square feet, making it big enough for apartments, medium-sized homes, and even bigger homes, if you get a Wi-Fi extender.

This modem/router combo doesn’t come with the fanciest features, like Alexa compatibility or Wi-Fi 7 (check out the NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 Cable Modem Router we’ve featured below if you want to upgrade), but it’s the perfect mix of affordability and power for most families.

NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 specs and features
Amazon price$191.80
DOCSIS version3.0
Channel bonding24x8
Maximum theoretical download speed1,900 Mbps
Ports4 gigabit ethernet + 1 USB 2.0
Wi-Fi router built-in? Yes
Bands2.4 and 5 GHz
Wi-Fi TechnologyWi-Fi 6
Alexa compatible? No
Warranty1 year
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If you’re investing in a new modem or router, it’s nice to get one that will last you for years to come, even if you switch to a new, faster internet provider. Speaking of new providers, you can see what other internet plans are available in your area with this zip checker!

Free Spectrum Modem + TP-Link AC1750: Best Budget Option

3.5 out of 5 stars
bullet Dual-band connectivity
bullet Simple, powerful, and cheap
$55.44 on Amazon for router

One of the cool things about Spectrum internet is that the company gives you a free modem rental. The consensus among customers and experts is that Spectrum’s modems are actually pretty decent devices. Plus, the company can help you troubleshoot your modem if it's their own, but not if it’s one you’ve bought.

However, Spectrum charges $5 a month for a Wi-Fi router and these routers are usually not that great. So, if you’re trying to maximize your Spectrum Internet set-up on a budget, we suggest taking the free modem but then spending $50 on the TP-Link AC1750 router.

TP-Link AC1750 features

The TP-Link isn’t a fancy device, but it is a very reliable and affordable workhorse that will be perfect for most small- to medium-sized households. It comes with Wi-Fi 5 technology that can easily handle speeds up to 500 Mbps. There are tons of ports on this thing, so you can run a direct connection to your device or plug in extra networked devices.

With three external antennas, you’ll get decent coverage from the TP-Link AC1750. It won’t be as impressive as the mesh system we’ll talk about shortly, but it will definitely cover a couple of floors in an average-sized house.

This router may not be the most future-proof device, but it should stay in compliance with major standards for at least the duration of its two year warranty. Two years of fast, reliable internet for $50? That’s not a bad deal, and we’ll bet this router will last a lot longer than that.

TP-Link AC1750 specs and features
Amazon price$55.44
Bands 2.4 and 5 GHz
Maximum theoretical download speed1750 Mbps
Wi-Fi TechnologyWi-Fi 5
Ports5 gigabit ethernet + 1 WAN + 1 USB
Alexa compatible? Yes
Modem built-in? No
Warranty 2 years

NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 + Extender: Best Upgrade pick

4.5 out of 5 stars
bullet Speeds up to 4,000+ Mbps
bullet Covers 5,000 sq. ft
bullet Tri-band connectivity
$399.99 on Amazon

If you’ve got a big property, a very online family, a serious gaming career, or you just want superior internet for your whole house, you may need a mesh Wi-Fi system. Mesh systems employ several different router nodes that are linked together, to give you a seamless and super-fast wireless network that can span thousands upon thousands of square feet.

Our pick for the best mesh system for Spectrum internet customers is the NETGEAR Orbi Wi-Fi 6. We’ve included a single extender in this package, but you can buy the system without it (or with more extenders for a bigger home).

NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 features

There’s a lot to love about the Orbi Wi-Fi 6, but let's start with the basics. This device uses DOCSIS 3.1 and Wi-Fi 6 technology, meaning it can handle up to 4,000+ Mbps download speeds. That’s probably more speed than you need, but it’s always good to have a little extra capacity.

This system comes with tri-band connectivity, which means you get a 2.4 GHz band, a 5 GHz band, and an additional, 5 GHz dedicated backhaul channel that’s specifically for your mesh system to send information between the different nodes.

The Orbi Wi-Fi 6 even comes with its own app so that you can keep up on your security settings, parental controls, and check your hardware performance. Plus, this modem/router is compatible with pretty much every major cable internet provider, you can take it with you if you decide to switch to Xfinity

NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 Cable Modem Router + Extender specs and features
Amazon price$399.99
DOCSIS version3.1
Channel bonding32x8
Maximum theoretical download speed4,200 Mbps
Ports4 gigabit ethernet
Wi-Fi router built-in? Yes
Bands2.4, 5 GHz + dedicated 5 GHz backhaul
Wi-Fi TechnologyWi-Fi 6
Alexa compatible? Yes
Warranty 1 year

Recap: What’s the best modem and router for Spectrum?

There you have it. Those are our five picks for the best modems and routers for Spectrum internet customers. Hopefully we’ve helped you find the perfect setup for your household. If you’re still not sure which to pick, here’s a quick recap:

  • Best Standalone Modem: The Motorola MB8600 is a powerful and reliable modem that can easily handle download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. It’s the perfect mid-range modem for a great price.
  • Best Standalone Router: Check out the TP-Link AX3000 WiFi 6 Router if you want a powerful Wi-Fi system to match the Motorola MB8600 (or another modem). It uses super-fast, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 technology to handle speeds up to 2,400 Mbps.
  • Best Modem/Router Combo: Simplify your life by getting the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000, which is a powerful modem and router combo device at a convenient price.
  • Best Budget Option: Spectrum’s internet service comes with a free modem rental that’s good enough for most households. But even those on a budget should invest in a router (Spectrum charges $5 a month for subpar routers). We suggest checking out the affordable but powerful TP-Link AC1750.
  • Best Upgrade pick: If you’ve got a big household with a lot of devices going at once, then you should pick up a mesh router. We like the NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 Cable Modem/Router combo system because it offers tri-band connectivity and tons of fancy features, like a companion app.


We begin every review with a serious amount of research and testing. For this particular review, we began by looking at Spectrum’s internet plans, policies, and rental equipment. We then researched devices based on what Spectrum internet customers’ need (specifically looking at high-speed cable modems and routers).

We evaluated the top devices from all of the most trusted brands, like NETGEAR, ARRIS, and Motorola. We made our final recommendations based on a series of criteria, including:

  • Price
  • Maximum speed threshold
  • Wi-Fi technology (for routers)
  • DOCSIS technology (for modems)
  • Warranty length
  • Extra features (processors, active queue management, etc.)

We hope that you’ve found our review helpful and easy-to-read. Please let us know if there are any other considerations you recommend!

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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