Finding the best wireless router for Charter Spectrum does not have to be complicated. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” WiFi router out there, there are enough options to find the best router for Spectrum.
Despite Spectrum continually encouraging customers to rent a wireless modem router from them, you are better off buying your own router, because you will:
Better performance means that your router will actually have the capacity to handle the internet speed and capacity that you need for your household. An ideal Spectrum compatible router will be able to fully utilize the speeds you are getting from Spectrum.
Rental modems and routers are simply a scam. The monthly cost of renting a router will, in many cases, exceed what you would have spent buying a router within a year.
Benefits Of Having Your Own Spectrum Compatible Router
Better Performance & Faster WiFi Speed
Getting your own Spectrum compatible router means that you will be able to find a router that actually accommodates the performance that you require.
The basic rental router from Spectrum cannot take into account what your network needs for performance. It has no idea how much you game online or stream.
When you buy your own best router for Spectrum, you can look for the high speeds, going over a Gig, which will help you do anything that you want to online.
Eliminate Rental Fees
We don’t know anyone who likes paying monthly fees for anything, let alone the internet. Spectrum offers you a rental router for $5 a month.
For most people, this is about the cost of a cup of coffee. But $5 a month turns into $60 a year. Why would you pay $60 for a router that you still don’t get to own and that only has mediocre features? You should not have to.
Extended Wireless Coverage
Think about the size of your network in physical dimensions. Maybe you live in an apartment or a one-story house with a basic layout and the router that you can get from Spectrum is adequate.
But for a lot of people, a rental router does not provide the level of coverage that you truly need. Instead, you can buy a router that is made to take on your home network’s size and dimensions, eliminating the risk of dead spots.
Better Network Security & More Features
A rental router might come with some features, but chances are that they will not be the features that you truly need. If you need more security, such as a VPN or firewall, you will want a router that comes equipped with them.
You also might want more efficient features, such as MU-MIMO or 4K streaming, neither of which you will find with a basic router. When you buy your own, you can get one that meets your network’s needs.
Router vs Modem Router Combo For Spectrum
Why You Should Get A Separate Spectrum Router:
- More Customization and control is possible, with less dealings with your ISP
- Not out of action if one gadget conks off and better performance
- Cheaper to upgrade one gadget
Why You Should Get A Modem Router Combo:
- Cheaper than buying separate modem and router
- Easier Setup
- Fewer worries of updates as ISP will directly control the firmware and software
8 Best Routers For Spectrum (2020)
1. Netgear R7000
Router - Editor's Choice
2. Motorola MG7550
Modem Router Combo - Editor's Choice
3. Netgear RAX120
4. TP-Link Archer A7
5. Synology RT2600
6. Motorola MR2600
7. Google Mesh WiFi
8. Netgear XR700
1. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 WiFi Router
Best Router For Spectrum (Editor's Choice)
Our choice for the best router for Spectrum internet is the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. In reality, this is a high performing router that can reach the square footage of the average home without any trouble while giving you the speeds that you should be able to expect from the best router out there.
Looking at the router’s design, the Nighthawk R7000 sits horizontally. This router comes with three high-gain antennas that can be positioned in whichever direction you need the strongest signal.
The design of the router is a little on the bulky side, but it does have some great venting down the sides, which will help to keep it cooler than other horizontal routers on the market.
This router has a USB 3.0 port as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports. It also connects to the OpenVPN Connect App, so you can have remote access to the router in order to see what’s going on in your network even when you cannot be there.
Finally, the R7000 uses Amazon Alexa voice controls in the event that you have any Amazon devices in your home, which is easy to set up and help you operate your network more efficiently, if you already use Amazon devices.
The Nighthawk R7000 has a 1 GHz dual-core processor as in addition to a Beamforming+ feature that adds more power to your antennas. This should extend the overall reach of your router, which is nice for later homes. You should be able to get up to 1800 square feet in coverage, covering most homes. It will also allow up to 30 connected devices at a time.
The router also features the ReadySHARE Vault that provides an automatic backup to your USB 3.0 port. Another feature that you can get with this router is the dynamic QoS, so you can prioritize which devices should get the best bandwidth.
The security features available to the R7000 are excellent. It supports WPA2 wireless security protocols, has guest WiFi access, a firewall, a VPN, and DoS. The Netgear Armor will protect your network from malware and viruses, but unfortunately, it requires a paid monthly subscription in order to make use of it.
2. Motorola MG7550 Modem Router
Best Modem Router Combo For Spectrum
This is the perfect option if you are looking to save space in your home and save money in the long run as well.
Being a modem router combo means that you only have to shop around for one gadget instead of two, which makes it a huge money and time saver.
With the many unique features installed in the MG7550, this Motorola modem router remains as one of the best WiFi routers for Spectrum in 2020.
The easy installation, simple set up and ready to use features makes this a favorite at BlueGadgetTooth.
If you think that being a two-in-one means that some features have to sacrificed, or that it won’t perform as well as many routers on the market, think again.
Having 16x4 channels really helped in increasing our internet speeds and we noticed we were getting more than what we paid Charter Spectrum for. Streaming HD videos while transferring heavy data files were no longer a problem!
This is great for people who want to ‘unclutter’ their living space. Being ‘All-in-one’ helps in saving space and also makes it easier for those who are undecided on what modem or router to buy.
This does come with all the features you would want in a modem or router, so you can set your mind at ease. Whether you are browsing the internet, watching HD videos on Netflix, transferring heavy data or even playing an online game - this can handle it all and more. This is a product built for today and designed for tomorrow.
3. Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 WiFi Router
If you need a router that is even more high performance than the R7000, we suggest the Netgear Nighthawk RAX120.
This is a Wi-Fi 6 router, so it does use the latest internet technology available. This is also backward compatible, so it will still work with older devices that use the old standards.
Let’s look at the design of the RAX120. The most interesting design feature of the RAX120 is that it has two fins instead of the more traditional external moveable antennas that you would find with most routers.
The antennas themselves are concealed within the fins. They are still high-gain antennas, but you cannot move them to point in specific directions, which might annoy some users, but do not be fooled.
The fins make this a powerful router, though it is also really big and impossible to hide. It will also overheat, so do not try to conceal the router in a cupboard.
The Nighthawk RAX120 also comes with not just one USB 3.0 port, but two USB 3.0 ports. This is impressive since most routers do not have USB 3.0 ports. The router even has a 2.5/5G Ethernet port. All of this connectivity capability will allow you to connect any device that you want to have a direct connection. That can supply you with uninterrupted coverage for the devices that really need it.
Let’s move onto the performance of the RAX120. This device easily can reach up to 6 Gbps in speed, which is amazing, though the amount of speeds that you will actually be able to get will depend a lot on the speed package that you have through Spectrum. At the very least, it should be able to make the most of the speeds that you are getting.
The RAX120 has 12 simultaneous streams, which has more capacity to support many WiFi devices at the same time, which will keep your network running smoothly without any trouble, regardless of how many devices are on and streaming at the same time. It also comes with Beamforming+ to get that extended range that you need and MU-MIMO technology to allow multi-user streaming or gaming.
4. TP-Link Archer A7 Wireless Router
Even if you are working within a budget, you should still be able to get a router that will work well with Spectrum internet.
For a budget-friendly router, we suggest the TP-Link Archer A7. This is a good performing router, though it might not have all of the same features as a more expensive router would.
The Archer A7 has a horizontal design with three high performance antennas to give your signal an added boost. The antennas are adjustable as well, so you can move them where you want them to point. You will want to make sure that the router is kept in a well-ventilated area, so that the router does not overheat.
This router has 4 x 1-Gigabit ports, which will allow devices to be plugged into the router directly rather than wirelessly.
This is best for the devices that cannot suffer a break in connection for any reason, giving them a direct link to the router. The USB port that it comes with is like a media Server and will allow you to share your USB drive content.
Finally, the Archer A7 works with Amazon Alexa, so if you use any Amazon devices, the router will be able to use its voice control. This is especially nice for the guest Wi-Fi.
The Archer A7 is a dual band router, where the 2.4 GHz band gives you 450 Mbps while the 5 GHz provides 1,300 Mbps, but the two works together to give you decent download speeds. The router can reach speeds up to 1750 Mbps, providing 3X faster Wi-Fi than other traditional routers do.
The Archer A7 can reach up to 2,500 square feet in range, which is decent considering the fact that this is a budget-friendly router. It also offers 4K HD streaming capabilities, which is great for online streaming of any kind. The Archer A7 router comes with QoS technology with bandwidth prioritization, giving your devices all of the bandwidth they need.
On the topic of devices, the TP-Link Archer A7 can support up to 50 devices, which is incredibly surprising since it is considered a budget-friendly option. Regardless, it can handle the demands of the average modern home. Using its powerful CPU, the Archer A7 will be able to handle just about anything that you throw at it.
5. Synology RT2600ac WiFi Router
If you are looking for the most advanced security that you can get from a Spectrum router, take a look at the Synology RT2600ac.
This router comes with reliable performance features as well as high security features, making this a great choice if you need power as well as protection.
Starting with the design of the Synology RT2600ac, it sits horizontally with a black casing. It has four high-gain antennas that can be moved to the direction that needs the strongest signal possible.
Typically horizontal routers run the risk of overheating, but this router does not, because it rests at an angle that helps with overall ventilation. Regardless, it is still a good idea to keep it in a well-ventilated location as well, but the angle definitely helps to make it easier on you.
The RT2600ac also comes with one USB 2.0 port and five Ethernet ports to give you connectivity for the devices that really need it. The operating system uses the Synology Router Manager for setup, which can be nice.
Unfortunately, the manager it is not user-friendly, so you really need to be confident in your technological skills before you decide that this is the best choice of router for you.
Moving onto its performance, the RT2600ac has a lot of great features, including a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, which will give you excellent overall performance capabilities. The range of the router is up to 3000 square feet, which means that it should cover the average home size without any kind of trouble.
The security features are what really make this router important, so let’s move onto looking at them.
To start with, the router is regularly updated with the latest security protocols, keeping the latest malware or cyber threats out of your network. Additionally, you get intrusion protection, denial-of-service protection, and a reliable firewall management system to further keep outsiders locked out.
It also has a comprehensive VPN server that offers an easy setup, smooth connectivity, and secure access. This is nice if you are using this router for your small business and you need a router that has a flexible schedule ability and work style adjustments.
6. Motorola MR2600 Wireless Router
For Multiple Devices
Released in 2018, the Motorola MR2600 is a well built, high-speed intelligent router that can handle WiFi noise from your neighbours as well as increased signal strength, even when your device is far away from the router.
We’ll be honest. The MR2600 doesn’t reach the advertised speeds of a combined 2600Mbps, but it does a pretty darn good job! We loved the budget friendly price point as well as the design. The no nonsense design, practical black colour and features all combine to make this seem more of a high end router than what you get it for.
The set up process for this router was fairly simple, and it took the bluegadgettooth team all of three minutes to get it running with the Basic Setup tool. This is a router that has all the features you would expect from a model released this year.
If you are confused on the purpose and functions of certain features, the advanced router settings bring up a small information bubble when you hover your cursor over the options.
The range on this Motorola router far outperforms our old router. The 2.4GHz band could reach far beyond what our old routers could reach, and our team could successfully connect to the network even from the back yard.
The 5GHz band could cover our entire 200 sq. ft house with no dead spots, and the speeds reached close to what we were paying our ISP for.
We connected 37 devices to the network and didn’t see any drops in the speed at all. It has many features that really boost your network’s strength – from the Beamforming Technology, the 4 external large antennas, MU-MIMO and Smart QoS – that ensure you have better w=WiFi distribution through your home.
The menu functions on the MR2600 are not as advanced as we would like, but it is great for users who don’t want too complicated settings. We love the WiFi on-off switch for people who want the option to switch it off when they travel.
This is a great router for a large household or for a family with multiple devices that need to be connected to the network. It can handle WiFi noise and interference from various household gadgets as well.
7. Google Mesh Router System
The best extended coverage router for Charter Spectrum internet is the Google Mesh WiFi System. You will not be disappointed by this system at all.
To begin with, the design of the Google WiFi System has no external antennas, so it is easier to conceal, especially since it has white casings rather than black.
It is also physically smaller than a regular router and can be placed in nooks and smaller locations. This can be really beneficial if you would like to add on points to extend your coverage further.
The system comes with three separate WiFi points, which are there to eliminate dead spots throughout your network.
You can always purchase additional points if you need to extend your coverage even further, making this ideal for large spaces or awkward spaces, but the three that you start out with will already have a pretty good reach. If you are concerned whether this can reach multiple stories, remember that the reach is extended with multiple access points.
Using the points that come with the Google WiFi system, you can get a minimum coverage of 1,500 square feet per point without dead spots.
The reach can be extended even further if the points are all configured correctly, giving you coverage up to 4,500 square feet. It will need to be configured right to get across more than one story.
Since each of the three points has its own LAN port as well as being a WiFi point, so you gain two Gigabit Ethernet ports in each point. The Google router system has network assist technology giving you a strong signal from point to point, which will extend when you add more points.
There is also a simple app that can help you set up your system and adjust the settings. You can also do it to prioritize your devices and see what is connected.
8. Netgear Nighthawk Pro XR700 Router
For the gamers out there who have Spectrum internet, you should take a look at the Netgear Nighthawk Pro XR700. This router is amazing sine it is literally made for gaming. It should be able to meet all of your needs.
Looking at the design of the XR700, you will find four high-gain antennas, which will help you extend the reach of your router throughout your network.
It is a little bulky for a router and it takes up a lot of space, making it difficult to put on a desk. You will need to have a dedicated location to accommodate it, but the payout from the router in performance is worth it.
The best part about the design of the XR700 is that it was designed by gamers for gamers, so all of the important features that you would dream of in a router can be found here. That includes the red accents that set it apart from the other more basic looking routers.
This router will not disappoint you. The XR700 can reach speeds up to 7.2 Gbps, using its 1.7GHz quad-core processor, which is amazingly powerful. This is provided that your Spectrum package supports those speeds, but regardless, it will allow for the best speeds possible.
This router has the lowest ping that you can get, which is important for any online game that you might be playing. As you already know, every millisecond counts. The XR700 is built to help you come out on top with connectivity.
This router also has geo-filtering to help your router connect to the closest servers and players, giving you efficient response time and allowing you to dominate on the battlefield. You also can monitor your network and game ping in real time.
Combine this fact with the advanced QoS and you are able to see what is hogging your bandwidth and adjust accordingly to put the best bandwidth toward your gaming console.
Choosing The Best Router For Spectrum
To start looking for the right Spectrum router for you, there are several considerations that you have to keep in mind.
Every modem or router is going to have its own specs, including its WiFi standards, real-life speed, whether it is dual-band, and its range. Deciding which features matter the most to you can be the hard part.
After the 802.11ac standard came out in 2013, it has held the crown for the fastest theoretical speeds that you can get from a wireless router, boasting at least three times the speed of the 802.11n.
Even though the speed is theoretical and you might not achieve it, still your new router for Spectrum should be 802.11ac. In addition, having the ability for it is the best idea in order to future proof your home network. Also, the router should be on the list of Spectrum compatible routers.
The real speed that you will get from a 802.11ac standard can depend on your router’s antennae as well as the amount of interference that you will have between the router and the device it is connected to, as well as the amount of neighbours you have on the same signal.
Your Router Should Be Dual-Band Or More:
Some routers offer dual-band or tri-band connections. Dual-band means you can connect to either the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band, giving the router the ability to handle more devices.
Tri-band has an extra 5GHz band. If you can, you should at least get a dual-band router to get the best speeds and least traffic.
Charter Spectrum WiFi Fee
Something that Spectrum customers should be wary of is the additional Charter Spectrum WiFi fee. Charter had advertised that they would no longer be charging monthly rental fees and instead they would send customers a modem for free. But, there’s a catch.
If you agree to use their “free” modem, you will then be charged a $5 monthly “WiFi fee” for using their service as well as a $9.99 setup fee. There are a couple of deceptions in there, the first being that you could just use your own modem with WiFi capabilities to bypass the whole thing. The second is that they do not disclose the fees prior to you agreeing to it.
When you compare the actual cost vs. the monthly charges, you will find that it works out cheaper to just get your own brand new wireless router for Charter Spectrum Internet.
Spectrum Compatible Routers For 2020
Buying your own router that is not what is sold or given to you by Charter Spectrum is the way to go without a doubt. But committing to buying your own router is only half the battle. There is still the question as to whether your router is on the list of Spectrum approved routers.
The Commonly Spectrum Approved Routers Include:
There are plenty of other types of routers on the market that will claim to be universal, but you cannot always be certain if you cannot verify it elsewhere.
We reviewed these routers to give you a jumping off point that can help you find a router that not only works for you, but will work with your internet.
The last thing that you would want to do is go and accept the “free” router that is given to you by Charter.
Not only will it not have all of the capabilities that you would like to get from your router, including security and prioritization, but you will be charged a monthly fee because you accepted it.
Instead, choose from one of the reliable routers that we have reviewed for you and you will have more control over your internet use while still dodging excessive fees.
Factors To Consider When Buying A New Spectrum Router
Number Of Connected Devices
When you are looking at buying a new Spectrum router, you will need to first consider how many devices that you have connected to your network.
Take into account computers, televisions, tablets, smartphones, and game consoles. Some routers can really only handle one streaming device at a time.
You should get one that can handle all of your devices. Smart homes especially have a high quantity of devices and will need a router that can accommodate them.
Your Internet Speed Package
You might be looking at a router that claims to reach speeds up to 7 Gbps. But if your Spectrum speed package is only 100 Mbps, you are never going to get the speeds your router can handle.
There is no reason to spend the extra money for a router that has extra speeds that your internet can’t get close to. Likewise, don’t get a low speed router if your internet package is high speed.
What You Do Online
Probably the most important factor to consider when looking for a router for Spectrum is to think about what you are doing online. I
f your network is mostly made up of users who browse social media, you do not need a high performance router.
Meanwhile, if you have several devices streaming content at the same time, you will want a router that knows how to manage multiple streaming devices across your bandwidth.
How to Install a Spectrum Router
Step 1: Disconnect any Ethernet cables that connect your computer to the modem before installing your Spectrum router. Unplug your modem and then plug it back until it turns on.
Step 2: Connect your router to your modem via an Ethernet cable, with one end connected to your modem and the other to the internet port located at the back of your router.
Step 3: Use the power cable to connect your WiFi router to the electrical outlet.
Step 4: Check that your router is fully powered on. The light should flash green to show that the router is ready to use. Ensure that your router’s Power on button is on the ‘ON’ position.
Step 5: Connect a device to your wireless network by going to the Settings on your device. Locate your networks’ name (SSID) – this is also located at the back of your router.
Step 6: Enter the password which is also given at the back of your router.
You are now ready to connect to your wireless network. After activating it, we recommend changing the name and password to something more familiar to you.
Alternatively, you can directly connect your computer to the router via an Ethernet cable for a more secure wired connection. You can then change the login name and password to something more suitable for you.
How To Install a Spectrum Modem Router Combo
Step 1: Connect the power cable to your Spectrum modem router combo and plug it in to a power outlet.
Step 2: Using a coax cable, attach one end to the ‘CABLE IN’ port of your gateway and the other to a cable outlet and ensure that the connection is secure.
Step 3: Wait for your gateway to be activated. It could take up to 10 minutes.
Step 4: The led lights on your combo unit should light up to signal that all is well.
Step 5: Connect to your wireless network from any device. Search for your network (SSID) name – the name and password should be given at the back of your combo unit. You can also connect your device via an Ethernet cable. Plug in one end to the Ethernet port of your device and the other into an open port on your modem router combo unit. The port should light up once the connection is successful.
Step 6: Your temporary internet connection should be established and you can now change your network details.
Don't End Up With An Outdated Charter Spectrum Router
Not only this, but no ISP, least of all Charter Spectrum, will invest a huge chunk of their capital in the latest wireless routers for your home.
More often than not, consumers end up with old routers that cannot deliver on the speeds you pay for, and they do have limitations set on them. When you buy a new wireless router for Charter Spectrum Internet, you get one that suits your needs exactly, and if not, you can always tweak it a little to suit your family’s specific internet needs.
If you’re paying for a Charter wireless router, you may as well get one that fits your internet requirements best.
Get What You Are Paying For
Another reason for buying your own router unit is the several allegations that Charter Spectrum blocks certain routers’ MAC addresses.
This is not new news, especially with major ISPs, and there are ways to circumvent that, but if you’re not tech savvy, you may find yourself at a disadvantage.
The average user will have more than one device and it is not feasible to connect your device directly to the modem to get the speeds you pay for. This does push users to purchase or rent sanctioned routers which will probably do the same job an old router lying about your house can do.
The Netgear R7000 is our Editor’s Choice for best router for Spectrum because it has a simple set up process, attractive price range as well as a variety of features that make being connected a breeze.
However, if you’re not too keen on dealing with two separate devices, you can opt for a modem router combo that could save space and money for your home. BlueGadgetTooth recommends the Motorola MG7550, which comes neatly packaged with all the features you could want for your home.
Choosing the best wireless router for Spectrum should not be a hassle – but we understand that it can get confusing, as new models are released constantly.
There are various factors on which you should base your selection process – like your household internet usage, the size of your home, the area you live in, the amount of connected devices and your budget.