Comcast is one of the largest home Internet service providers in the United States. Their Xfinity service has been scrutinized for a number of questionable practices, including the implementation of universal data caps and invasive network management.
But one of the longest-running rackets of the ISP oligarchy is home equipment rentals. Comcast scares their customers out of buying their own equipment by warning that you are on your own if your equipment grows outdated or has a defect.
The truth of this is that modems have all been on the same Docsis 3.0 standard since 2006, and will likely stay this way for the foreseeable future.
And on top of that, they are inexpensive. Even if you do suffer catastrophic failure, getting a new modem is still cheaper than another year of rental fees.
The average cost of renting a modem is $10 a month, or $120 a year. The average cost of buying a modem? $70. You’ll be saving hundreds in fees, and will likely be upgrading your network signal strength as well.
As for setting it up, all you have to do is plug it in to your coaxial port, power it on, and you are good to go. And to get rid of your rented modem, all you need to do is call Comcast and tell them you want to drop off your rented modem at the nearest Service Center.
Sound easy? It is. The only reason you would have a hard time finding a compatible device is because Comcast hides their list of compatible retail equipment from website visitors who do not already have a Comcast account.
Don’t fret, as we’ve already researched and selected the ten best modems for any Comcast Internet package.
Just keep in mind that if you don’t already have your own router, you will need one too, preferably an AC router.
You can also save a bit of money by purchasing a modem/router combo unit instead, though they usually aren’t as effective as individual units.
There are plenty of different options for you to choose, but however you go about it, buy your networking equipment so you have one less monthly fee to worry about.
1. Arris SURFboard SB6183 Cable Modem
When you search for Comcast-approved networking gear, Arris’s equipment is always at the top of the list. Not only do they manufacture the most Comcast-compatible modems out there, but they also make the most popular one: the SURFboard SB6183.
The SB6183 is a standalone modem that pairs with a WiFi router to provide download speeds of up to 686 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 131 Mbps. It has one gigabit ethernet port on its color-coded backplate.
Like most modems, the SB6183 has convenient status LEDs which make for simple troubleshooting. But you will be even more glad to have the massive support network of thousands of other people who have used and set up this router before.
Even though Comcast clearly holds a portion of Arris stock, not all Arris modems are currently well-received. Around the beginning of 2017, Comcast declared the popular Arris SURFboard SB6141 to be an EOL (end of life) product, and is no longer supported.
Comcast’s list of supported products is always changing without notice, but with the diligent research done by us and our readers, we’ll do our best to keep this list up to date.
Price: $79.97 (20 percent off MSRP)
2. Netgear CM700 Cable Modem
Networking mogul Netgear offers a line of premium modems that are just slightly less celebrated than Arris’. However, Netgear has always had the upper hand when it comes to aerodynamics.
That’s because Netgear is behind the stealth bomber-inspired Nighthawk router. It is regarded as one of the best routers around, and the CM700 is its angular modem equivalent.
The CM700 comes in a well-ventilated black case that helps regulate modem chip temperatures and keep this device from drawing too much attention.
Its max download and upload speeds both top out at a whopping 1.4 Gbps. It has 32 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels, which help it outspeed most of the competition.
But as I’ve already mentioned, a modem won’t reach its max download speed if you don’t pay for the bandwidth to do so. If you don’t subscribe to Xfinity’s Blast or Xfinity Extreme Internet plans, you probably won’t see a difference between the CM700 and Netgear’s lower end CM400 modem.
Still, there are plenty of setups where the extra downstreaming capabilities will be appreciated, especially where gaming is involved. So if you want to do ensure you’re doing networking right, start with the CM700.
Price: $89.99 (31 percent off MSRP)
3. Arris Residential Gateway with Telephony Adapter TG862G-CT
When it comes to the price value of Arris equipment, their TG862G-CT is pretty far from the top of the pack. Still, this modem needs a special mention is because this is one of the only retail modems that supports Comcast Voice, the telephone service featured in their popular Comcast Triple Play package.
The modem options for Comcast users are severely limited by the Triple Play, as only this, the inferior TM822G, and an unreleased Asus modem adhere to the necessary eMTA standards.
That said, the Triple Play package is a solid deal on services, and the Residential Gateway can make it work on your terms. This modem is capable of download speeds up to 320 Mbps, and actually includes an N-band WiFi router to send your home network wireless through your home.
The embedded router is fairly bottom-tier in terms of performance, which means that you would have to use a wireless range extender if you wanted to upgrade its wireless signal.
You could also connect a second router to this device via one of its four ethernet ports, but I would reserve this setup for only if you already have an extra AC router laying around unused.
Thankfully, the TG862G-CT has a USB 2.0 port for including network-attached storage, and can support two simultaneous voice lines, so it isn’t totally bare bones.
Even with the higher price of this unit, you will still be saving money by making the switch from a rented unit, especially if you’ve already signed a multiple year contract with your ISP.
4. Linksys CM3008 Cable Modem
Linksys is one of the best recognized names in networking, and their CM3008 cable modem is the newest addition to their networking lineup.
This modem is the successor to the DPC3008, which was their best-selling model when they were still owned by Cisco.
It sets itself apart with an Intel Puma 5 chipset, which is apparently the secret behind their higher speeds of 340Mbps down and 120Mbps up.
It has a lone ethernet port, a small and compact casing, and a plug-and-play setup. Aside from that, there isn’t much more that you can ask for out of a modem.
Price: $45.00 (36 percent off MSRP)
5. Asus CM-16 Cable Modem
The CM-16 modem from Asus is a relatively new addition to the list of Comcast-approved equipment, and it has the specs and performance to match top picks like the SB1683.
Its max downstream is a solid 686 Mbps, and its max upstream is 131 Mbps. Its sleek blue LED array keeps you informed if any issues occur. It has a single gigabit ethernet port to connect to a router.
It’s not that modems aren’t universally compatible with routers of other brands, but networking companies are notorious for denouncing certain hardware combinations as incompatible. Smart shoppers should choose their routers carefully.
Price: $83.21 (8 percent off MSRP)
6. Zoom 5370 Cable Modem
The Zoom 5370 modem doesn’t look like anything fancy, nor does it need to in order to perform well as a modem. In terms of price value, the Zoom stands out against established choices like the Arris SB6183 with its larger configuration of downstream channels.
The Zoom 5370 offers max download speed of 686 Mbps, which is more than double the speed Arris’ modem of the same price.
It also has the same two year warranty. It only has one ethernet port, but this will only matter if you need to set up two routers.
My even cheaper Zoom 5345 has lasted me more than six years across many different network configurations, and gave me the right performance level for my sadly basic Internet package.
7. TP-Link TC-7610-E Cable Modem
TP-Link’s TC-7610-E is a low-priced modem that boasts the ability to support all Comcast packages up to their Extreme 150 plan. For under $50, this modem can get you a standard 343 Mbps down, 143 Mbps up.
Despite being just a bit bulkier than the Arris SB6183, the TP-Link equivalent has almost identical specs, while being about $20 cheaper. And the brand is just as well known within the networking world.
The TC-7610-E claims to be an important network safeguard, but after trying up and down to evaluate this statement, I have no idea what TP-Link is trying to tell us about their modem’s role in Internet safety.
What they should say is that this modem is an efficient plug-and-play box that simply works. It will be on you to ensure that whichever router you hook up to this modem has its default password and SSID changed, which is essential for securing your home WiFi network.
Price: $39.99 (43 percent off MSRP)
8. D-Link DCM-301 Cable Modem
D-Link is a company that has abstained from jerking their customers around and releasing constant “updated versions” of the same product over and over again. This certainly cannot be said about some other companies on this list.
Instead, their DCM-301 has been their go-to budget modem over the last couple of years. It is built on the same standard specs as other units offering speeds of 343 Mbps down, and 150 Mbps up.
Like all modems, the DCM-301 is backwards compatible with other DOCSIS standards, like 2.0 and 1.1. If you are on Comcast, it is highly unlikely that you are on anything but DOCSIS 3.0, but you never know when you live out in the countryside.
This modem is compact and thoroughly ventilated, which means it should silently disappear into the corner of your room while you enjoy flawless Internet service. All in all, the D-Link is a solid pick.
9. Motorola MB7420 Cable Modem
Though Motorola was formerly the manufacturer for Arris brand modems, the company is now exclusively manufacturing their own brand of modems, including the MB7420.
This is a fairly high-end modem that outperforms many of the above modems in download and upload speeds, but all said and done, might be overkill if you just need a basic hookup.
This modem offers a full band capture digital tuner, upgraded power handling to protect against power surges, and improved heat sinks, all of which give it an edge over the competition.
It sports a mid-tier max speed of 686 Mbps down, and 150 Mbps up. It has a single ethernet port, which makes this yet another simple modem to set up.
It comes in white or black, which makes it easier to blend in with your decor, and is about the average size for a modem unit. Just plug it into a nearby coaxial port, and you are good to go.
Price: $89.90 (31 percent off MSRP)
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10. SMC Networks D3CM1604 Modem
A no-name manufacturer like SMC Networks may seem like a questionable choice against the most trusted names in networking. Yet, their D3CM1604 modem has proven its worth as a powerful budget modem that works with all major cable services.
This small and boxy modem delivers 640 Mbps downstream and 120 Mbps upstream at a competitive price. This the bargain hunter little reason to consider other brands.
Just note that SMC does not have the same customer support resources as larger manufacturers, so this modem is best left to those who are comfortable setting up their Internet without help. You do, however, still get a standard two year warranty.