If you are a Spectrum user, you will want to have the best modem for Spectrum possible.
Spectrum might tell you that this is the modem that is supplied by Spectrum, but the truth is, you will be better off buying your own Spectrum compatible modem.
Spectrum likes to advertise that they loan you a modem for free, but there are so many hidden fees in there that nothing is really for free. Instead, you will be stuck with a generic modem that will never be able to satisfy all of your network’s needs.
Save yourself the trouble and buy your own Spectrum approved modem.
Benefits Of Having Your Own Spectrum Compatible Modem
Save On Rental Fees
Compared to other ISPs, Spectrum’s rental fees for modems are cheap. In fact, they don’t charge for the use of their modem at all, but charge $5 a month to use the built-in router.
But, that adds up to $60 a year or $120 for two years and you still do not get to keep the modem. If you are paying for a device, you should be able to own it.
Any rental modem is going to be limited and not have all of the performance features that a modern user needs. If you would like to be able to heavily stream or game online, you will need the best modem for Spectrum that is capable of handling these features.
If you want the best performance possible, you should definitely buy your own modem instead of settling for the mediocre options that Spectrum will give you with their modem.
No two networks are identical and require different features to have the most efficiency possible.
A network that only browses online might be able to use the modem supplied by Spectrum, but if you want more security, better packet latency, and more choices, you will be much better off buying your own modem that meets your needs as well as your wants.
The Difference Between Cable Modem vs. Modem Router Combo
If you are debating whether to get a modem or a modem/router combo unit, there are pros to both. There is not a right answer to which one is perfect for you, since it really is based on your needs on what you expect from your modem.
Pros For Separate Units:
- More customizable to your needs
- Update the firmware easier
- You don’t have to replace both units if one becomes obsolete
Pros For Combo Units:
- Easier to set up
- They take up less space
Likewise, there cons to both types of modems, which is why you need to think about which type is best for you.
10 Best Modems For Spectrum (2021)
1. Motorola MB7621
2. Motorola MG7550
Modem Router Combo
3. Netgear CM1200
4. Netgear CM500
5. Arris SB6190
6. TP-Link TC7620
7. Motorola MB7420
8. Motorola MB8600
9. Netgear C7800
10. Arris SBG10
1. Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem
Best Modem For Spectrum (Editor's Choice)
Our choice for the best modem for Spectrum internet is the Motorola MB7621. This is a cable modem that will work with any of the major cable providers and is efficient and well-designed.
The Motorola MB7621 has the classic Motorola appearance as it is an upright tower design with a lot of venting abilities to keep itself as cool as possible. The compact design makes it easy to conceal, so it will not take
The modem has a one Gigabit Ethernet port to connect your modem to a computer or television, or a wireless router. It does not have a telephone jack for voice calls, so just keep that in might if you were hoping to use that someday.
The MB7621 has excellent speeds, reaching up to 650 Mbps. This makes it a great choice for networks that have a lot of high-speed streaming going, whether you are gaming or streaming movies online.
It will even allow you to stream more than one thing at a time, if you have more than one person or device that need to simultaneously.
Setup for this modem is also very quick and efficient, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting online. It uses a quick start guide to make it easier than ever before.
It is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, so not as future proof as a DOCSIS 3.1 modem would be, but will still get the job done well. It also used the Broadcom chipset rather than the Puma chipset, so there are no security concerns that way.
2. Motorola MG7550 Modem Router
Modem Router Combo
If you are looking for a modem that comes with a built-in router for Spectrum, we suggest the Motorola MG7550. This is another homerun product from Motorola, bringing with it all of the reliability and power that you expect.
Like the other tower modems that we have in our reviews, the MG7550 is a tower designed tower, which makes it easier to hide or find a home for while still allowing the device to stay as cool as possible.
The MG7550 also has four 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to provide you with wired connections to Windows and Mac computers, HDTVS, gaming consoles, or any other device that you would like to have hard-wired to your modem.
Having a modem and router in the same device will save you money and space in the long run, making this a great option for anyone who wants a wireless router.
The performance from the MG7550 is decent. The built-in router is dual-band, so you do get both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands to work with. This will let you put your streaming devices on the 5 GHz band and your browsing devices on the 2.4 GHz band, allowing your network to run smoothly without interruption.
The device also comes with Motorola’s Power Boost which is designed to increase the strength and range of the wireless signal. This can matter a lot if you have a lot of walls or space in your home and needed a modem that can try to work through that. It also has Beamforming technology which can really help you hone in one specific devices.
3. Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 Modem
For a high performance Spectrum compatible modem, we suggest the Netgear Nighthawk CM1200.
The Nighthawk line has so many powerful and reliable modems and routers, that it should come as no surprise that this model is also exceptional.
The CM1200 is a slim and sleek modem. It can stand vertically or just as easily be laid flat, allowing the choice to be up to you.
It is black and will be very easily to conceal if that is something that you prefer. It comes with two 1 Gigabit ports and one 2 Gigabit port to give you the fastest wired internet speeds possible.
Since this device is just a modem, there is no built-in router. But that does not mean you would be stuck without a router. It will work with any WiFi router, in the event that you should like to add one onto your network.
The performance of this modem is outstanding. It can easily work with Spectrum accounts that have up to two Gigabits of speed, so you should be able to use up every bit of speed that you get from your internet package. This modem was made for speed and will deliver it to you beyond your imagination.
The setup of the modem is also relatively simple and should only take a few minutes to achieve. You might need to call Netgear if you wind up in any trouble from this to get them to ensure that the modem is compatible and that you have successfully installed.
4. Netgear CM500 Modem For Spectrum
Another good modem for Spectrum that works well if you are on a budget is the Netgear CM500.
This cable modem is affordable, but that does not mean that it is not made of great quality or doesn’t have adequate speeds. It might not have bells and whistles, but this modem does its job well.
The CM500 modem is a tower design with a base that looks like two feet. This gives it more support to stand up than a lot of other modems. It also will have a longer lifespan than modems that are horizontal as it is able to keep itself cool better.
This modem also comes with one Gigabit Ethernet port to connect the modem directly to your computer or to a wireless router.
It works with just about any router as well, so you still can get wireless connectivity. It does not come with some of the other features found in pricier modems, but it still will connect you to the internet.
Looking at the modem’s performance, the CM500 works with plans with speeds up to 300 Mbps, making it not the fastest modem out there, but it is certainly enough speed to carry on with average network activity. It is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem as well with 16x4 channel bonding.
The CM500 modem is also easy to set up and should take just a matter of minutes to get up and going. You just need to connect the coaxial cable to the wall and the modem and plug in the Ethernet cable from the modem to your computer and you will be all set.
5. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 Cable Modem
Another great modem that works with Spectrum cable internet is the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190.
This is another pretty basic modem that will get the job done without all of the bells and whistles. It is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, which is the latest release in the DOCSIS platforms.
This modem is a little bit bulkier in its design than some of the others that we have reviewed. It might make it slightly harder to conceal, but it also makes it seem sturdier, as if it would be much harder to break than some of the more delicate modems out there.
It does not come with a VoIP telephone adapter, but it does have a Gigabit Ethernet port to connect to your computer or to a router. It should easily work with any router that you decide to plug into it.
The SURFboard SB6190 works well for speeds up to 400 Mbps, making it a little faster than the average modem.
At 400 Mbps, you should be able to stream without any trouble. In fact, this modem is ideal for UHD movie streaming, gaming, and it easily allows more than one device to stream at the same time.
This modem is also easy to set up and should be good to go in a matter of minutes. It will self-activate with your network, requiring no effort on your part. Since this is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, it is also future-proof, giving you the ability to support higher speeds when they come out without needing a new modem.
6. TP-Link TC7650 Modem For Spectrum
For a slightly different modem, we suggest taking a look at the TP-Link TC7650. This modem is faster than some of the others that we have reviewed on here and is a great choice for 4K streaming or online gaming.
The appearance of the TC 7650 is a little bit different than the other routers. It has more fans and venting than a lot of the other modems out there, working to keep the modem as cool as possible. Its slim design makes it easy to conceal, so finding a place for it will not be any trouble.
The TC 7650 has a dual-core processor to keep the network up and running smoothly, even if you have a lot of different devices connected at the same time. It does easily allow you to have smart TVs, consoles, or other devices all at the same time without any trouble.
The TC 7650 modem has some great speeds, working with plans up to 500 Mbps. It has incredible download speeds with channel bonding of up to 24 downstream and 8 upstream channels.
This will keep you going as fast as you need to go. It works really well if you are watching 4K movies or if you are online gaming. If your speeds are not reaching what you are paying for, be sure to call Spectrum.
It is a DOCS 3.0 modem, so it has a good amount of speed, though it is not as future proof as the DOCSIS 3.1 modems are. It does support download speeds up to 1 Gbps for 4K streaming as well. It has a hassle-free setup as well and can be activated online or over the phone.
7. Motorola MB7420 Cable Modem
Another Spectrum compatible modem that we will review is the Motorola MB7420. This is another great modem from Motorola that will not disappoint you at all.
It is high speed and works well for online streaming. It is really the best modem for just about anyone.
Like most Motorola modems are, the MB7420 has a tower design. This is ideal for a device as it allows better airflow to throughout the modem, allowing the components to stay cooler. It will increase the longevity of the modem, preventing you from needing to replace it anytime soon. Tower designs are also easier to conceal or find a spot for.
This cable modem also has a Gigabit Ethernet port to allow you to connect to a TV, computer, game system, or router. This modem does not come with a built-in router so it will need to be purchased separately if you want one. It also has power-surge circuits and rugged lightning to keep it protected.
Looking at the performance of the MB7420, it comes with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. This offers speeds up to 686 Mbps as well, which should keep you up and running at the speeds you want.
It is recommended for internet speeds up to 300 Mbps, since the download portion of its speeds is just over 300 Mbps, to give you an idea of where your Spectrum speeds will need to be.
The modem is simple to set up, since it only needs to be plugged into a power outlet, have a coax cable to connect to Spectrum, and an Ethernet cable to hook the modem to your computer. You should be up and going in a matter of minutes using the Quick Start guide.
8. Motorola MB8600 Cable Modem
DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
We have found that the perfect DOCSIS 3.1 modem for Spectrum is the Motorola MB8600.
It is important to know that this is only a modem, there is no built-in router with this unit. If you would like a router, you will need to purchase one separately and connect it to the modem.
Looking at its design, the MB8600 is a class Motorola design. It is a tower with vents down the sides to help keep the modem as cool as possible.
This design is also slim enough that you should be able to easily find a location to put it without it getting in the way.
The only real downside with this modem is that it only has Ethernet port to plug into. That means that if you want to use a router, the plug will need to be dedicated to that and you will need to make sure that the router you get has plenty of Ethernet ports to use.
When you look at the performance for this modem, you will see that it has some of the fastest speeds that you can expect from a cable modem.
This is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, so it has the speeds that you need. The modem has DOCSIS 3.0 32 x 8 capabilities as well, ensuring that your older devices will still have no trouble with the newest technology.
You will get up to 6,000 Mbps download speeds with this modem as well, but it really depends on the speed package that you are paying for with Spectrum. You will never get more speeds than you are paying for, no matter how powerful your modem is.
9. Netgear C7800 Modem Router
DOCSIS 3.1 Modem Router Combo
If you would like to get a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that comes with a router built-in, we recommend the Netgear Nighthawk C7800.
The design of the Netgear Nighthawk C7800 is large and a bit on the bulky side. It is going to take up a lot of room no matter where you put it at. It also has a big risk of overheating, because it is large and does not have good ventilation.
That is why you must keep this device in a well-ventilated space and not try to hide it in a cupboard. That is tricky, because it really does take up a lot of room.
The C7800 comes with not just one, but two USB 3.0 ports. That will make it easy to share files and data across your network. The device also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports to use, so you can directly plug in any device that needs a reliable connection.
The C7800 can reach speeds up to 2 Gbps, which is incredibly fast. The actual speeds that you get will depend on the speed package that you have with Spectrum, naturally, but you will still make the most out of the speeds that you do have. It is incredibly fast.
Also, you can connect up to 45 devices to the C7800. This is perfect for most modern homes that have a lot of wireless devices to connect. You will also get up to 3,000 square feet in coverage, covering most homes without any trouble.
10. ARRIS SURFboard SBG10
The ARRIS SURFboard SBG10 is another excellent choice for a Spectrum certified modem. This modems with a ton of different features and will offer you high levels of performance.
Let’s start with its design. The SBG10 is surprisingly compact and lightweight. There are not too many modems out there that will meet that kind of criteria. It weighs only 1.96 pounds. It is also made to not overheat and will be able to easily fit in a lot of difference places.
This modem comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports. These ports allow you to directly connect any device to the gateway, ensuring that you will not suffer any interruptions along the airwaves.
When we look at the device’s performance, you will see right away that this is really best for Spectrum internet plans with speeds up to 300 Mbps.
That isn’t to say that you can’t have a little more speed than that, but the modem is capable of speeds up to 686 Mbps. It is not going to take on the fastest internet plans that are out there.
It is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, which is in the process of being phased out for DOCSIS 3.1, but this will still get the job done for you.
The only real downside that we found with this device had to do with its setup. The setup is not intuitive and there is a learning curve to make sure that it is setup correctly. If you are patient and computer savvy, this shouldn’t be an issue at all. But, if you need a lot of assistance, you might want to find a more user-friendly modem.
How To Install Your Own Spectrum Approved Modem
Once you have your new modem, you will need to get it setup. Here’s how.
- If you have an existing modem that you are getting rid of, unplug the modem from the outlet and swap the coax connection between the old modem and the outlet to plug the new one in.
- Plug in your coax cable into the outlet in the wall and connect the other end of it to your modem.
- Plug the power cord into your modem and then into the electrical outlet.
- The lights should be on now. Make sure to wait until there is an online status light on the front of the modem.
- Plug the modem into your computer or a router.
- Either call Spectrum or visit their website to be walked through the self-install steps with a Spectrum agent. Spectrum needs to know about the new modem.
Factors To Consider When Looking For The Best Cable Modem For Spectrum
Before all else, you should make sure that the modem that you are looking at is compatible with Spectrum internet. If you find a modem is not compatible, it is never going to work for you.
Modems are not as versatile as routers are when it comes to compatibility, so you will need to make sure that the modem you choose to use for Spectrum is a cable modem, ideally one that states that it will work with Spectrum explicitly.
If your modem should work with Spectrum, but isn’t working, the first thing to do is to contact Spectrum and see what is going on.
Upload and Download Speeds
Advertised speeds are nice and all, but often they are a combined speed rather than the speed you actually want to know about.
When it comes to streaming or gaming, it is the download speed that really matters, not a combined possible speed. Upload streams do matter as well, it is really the download speeds that you should focus on.
Often when you have a good download speed, the upload speed will also be decent anyway. When a modem states a speed, check to see whether it is talking about combined speeds or download speeds.
Security should always be a factor when looking for a Spectrum supported modem. There are so many different forms of malware out in the world that it can seem all too easy to get a virus or have something malicious get into your network. Your first line of defence is really your modem.
Part of this would have to do with the type of chipset that your modem has, as Puma chipsets have been revealed to have some major security issues. Otherwise, see what kind of firewall your modem might have to keep the network protected.
The amount of Ethernet ports should be another consideration when it comes to choosing the best modem for Spectrum internet. Most modems will come with only one Ethernet port, which is enough to connect your modem to a computer or router, but nothing else.
When you have two Ethernet ports, you can hook up a router while also connecting your modem to a television or a gaming console, or even a computer. If you are not going to have a lot of streaming on your network, the amount of ports might not matter as much.
DOCSIS 3.0 vs. DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
Cable modems are normally labelled with either DOCSIS 3.0 or DOCSIS 3.1. Anything lower should simply be ignored. The DOCSIS 3.0 has at least four channels to increase the flow of traffic throughout your network.
The DOCSIS 3.1 protocol increased the size of the channels, so it can easily carry larger amounts of data at one time.
DOCSIS 3.1 modems are future-proof, so that they should be able to handle faster speeds when they become available. DOCSIS 3.0 are limited by what is available, so it technology improves, they will become obsolete, where the DOCSIS 3.1 modems will not. DOCSIS 3.0 are still perfectly adequate for today’s needs.
Typically DOCSIS 3.1 modems have enhanced security features as well as reduced packet latency and use less power than the DOCSIS 3.0 modems do. The packet latency is important for anyone who games and needs improved voice quality for VoIP calls.
Once you have decided that you really need to buy your own modem for your Spectrum internet, you need to buy the best modem for Spectrum possible. Our choice is the Motorola MB7621 modem, because it comes with all of the speeds and security features that the average network needs.
If you need a modem that offers higher performance options, the Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 is a better choice since it can handle those needs. If you prefer a built-in router with your modem, you should use the Motorola MG7550.
Regardless of the modem you choose, most anything will be better than what Spectrum offers.