10 Best Modems for Spectrum: Your Buyer’s Guide (2018)

best modem for spectrum

Time Warner Cable is one of the largest Internet service providers in the United States.

And it is only growing larger with their aggressive attempts to merge with local Internet service providers.

Now that the company has given the green light on a third major merger with AT&T, you are now even more likely to find yourself using a service on the Time Warner network.

Whether you use TWC Ultimate, Spectrum Internet, Bright House, legacy Road Runner, or something entirely new, you are likely to be swindled into renting your networking equipment.

Currently, the average equipment rental fee across these services is $10 per month, but you only need to spend about $70 to buy your own cable modem to keep permanently.

Time Warner makes this easy with an accommodating list of TWC compatible modems. This list is identical no matter which brand of TWC service you get.

All suggested modems are DOCSIS 3.0 modems, which will continue to serve as the cable Internet standard for many years.

So we’ve done the dirty work of researching which ones provide the best combination of performance, features, and value.

Before you get started on the path to modem liberation, you’ll want to verify what tier of Internet speed you’re on. Whether you get Standard, Turbo, Extreme, or Ultimate speed should be a be a key factor in your equipment choice.

Once you select the right modem, simply plug it in and follow these directions from Time Warner’s website.

The total process should take less than five minutes.

As for returning a leased modem, simply bring the unit and power cable to your nearest TWC Equipment Return and Pickup Store. There are no phone calls required.

Just keep in mind that you will also need a router to send your wireless signal through your house, preferably an AC router.

You can also some money by opting for a a modem/router combo unit instead, though they usually aren’t as effective as individual units.

However you go about it, buy one of our picks for best modem for Spectrum, and you’ll have one less monthly fee to worry about.

1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 Cable Modem

surfboard moderm


Of all the networking equipment companies out there, Arris is compatible with the most ISPs by far.

Their SURFboard SB6141 modem is recommended by every major cable provider, and is arguably the best modem for Spectrum and other TWC services.

The SB6141 is a standalone modem that pairs with a WiFi router to provide download speeds of up to 343 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 131 Mbps.

These speeds are well above the advertised 50 Mbps you get from TWC Ultimate Internet, and will allow you to max out your speeds when paired with an equally well-performing router.

It has two ethernet ports, allowing you to connect it to both a router and a wireless bridge if you use one. Like most modems, the SB6141 has convenient status LEDs which make for simple troubleshooting.

Even more valuable is the massive support network of thousands of other people who have used and set up this router before.

It’s not like you’ll need much help, though. Ultimately, the SURFboard’s solid pricing and powerful support network will be what win you over.

Price: $47.77 (52 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Arris SURFboard SB6141 Cable Modem here.

2. Netgear CM400-1AZNAS Cable Modem

netgear cm400


Netgear is yet another highly reputable source for networking equipment. Their entire line of cable modems bear the TWC seal of approval.

This includes major workhorse modems like the CM500 and the CM700, but for residential needs, their entry-level CM400 will suffice.

This relatively compact modem has a removable stand, which allows you to rest it in the corner of the room or mount it on a wall.

It is closely comparable to Arris’ SB6141 in performance, offering a download speed of 340Mbps and an upload speed of 131Mbps.

It only has a single ethernet port to connect to a router, but since the CM400 is currently a little cheaper than the SB6141, it is a great value pick for its speed ratings.

Price: $50.98

Buy the Netgear CM400-1AZNAS Cable Modem here.

3. TP-Link TC-7620 Cable Modem

tp link tc7620


The TP-Link TC-7620 is a little larger and a little pricier than the aforementioned modems. However, this high speed unit employs a bit of future-proofing to ensure you won’t need to upgrade your modem when the next tier of Internet speeds finally emerges.

It goes beyond the standard 8 downstream channels and 4 upstream channels with its 16×4 configuration.

This helps the TC-7620 provide an impressive 680 Mbps download speed and 143 Mbps upload speed.

If your gaming, streaming, or downloading habits call for the extra throughput of more bonded channels, then this is a stellar pick.

Price: $58.99 (34 percent off MSRP)

Buy the TP-Link TC-7620 Cable Modem here.

4. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 Cable Modem

arris surfboard


If we’re talking about future-proof devices, it would be foolish not to revisit Arris and highlight their impressive SURFboard SB6190.

This is the definitive overkill modem, offering up to four times the top download speed of the SB6141.

This modem has a max download speed of 1.4 Gbps, and a max upload speed of 262 Mbps.

Considering that fiber opticconnections are the only kind that even get close to this transfer speed, these ratings are more for peace of mind than actually improving your network speed.

After all, your router or wireless card would likely create a bottle neck even if you could get these kinds of speeds from Time Warner.

Still, having 32 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels is a nice benefit for a house that does a lot of uploading.

The SB6190 also has two ethernet ports for router chaining, plus the same compact case mold as the cheaper SB6141.

If you need the most robust router at the heart of your home network, then by all means, stop your search here.

If you’re looking for the best deal, then use a free utility like Speedtest.net and see what kind of speeds you are really trying to accommodate.

Price: $97.99 (25 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Arris SURFboard SB6141 Cable Modem here.

5. ASUS CM-16 Cable Modem

asus cm16


As is expected from ASUS, their CM-16 modem is without a doubt the coolest looking modem we’ve reviewed. But does it perform like it looks? Kind of, yeah.

The CM-16 supports a downstream of up to 686 Mbps and an upstream of up to 131 Mbps, so its performance is overall pretty excellent. Its price is fairly reasonable for its performance as well.

One feature that gives the CM-16 an edge over its competition is its guaranteed compatibility with top-rated ASUS routers like the RT-AC68U and the RT-AC66U.

That is not to suggest that modems aren’t universally compatible with routers of other brands, but networking companies sometimes include proprietary technologies that can cause hangups from other devices. That’s your warning to shop carefully.

Price: $71.34 (11 percent off MSRP)

Buy the ASUS CM-16 Cable Modem here.

6. Linksys CM3008 Cable Modem

linksys cm3008


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.

The CN3008 achieves solid max transfer speeds of 340Mbps down and 120Mbps up. The modem’s Intel Puma 5 chipset is recognized for delivering excellent speeds.

It is preferred over modems with the newer Puma 6 chipset. Apparently the Puma 6 is still awaiting a firmware update for its known issues, and has earned its manufacturer a lawsuit.

This modem has a lone ethernet port, a small and compact casing, and a plug-and-play setup. Ultimately, there isn’t much more that you can ask for out of this well-priced piece of hardware.

Price: $50.09 (28 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Linksys CM3008 Cable Modem here.

7. SMC Networks D3CM1604 Modem

smc modem


SMC Networks may seem like a no-name manufacturer, but their D3CM1604 modem has made the cut as a potential best modem for Spectrum.

This small and boxy modem delivers 640 Mbps downstream and 120 Mbps upstream at a competitive price, and gives the bargain hunter little reason to consider other brands.

SMC does not have as large of a customer support service as bigger manufacturers, so this modem is best left to those who are moderately comfortable setting up their Internet. You do, however, still get a standard two year warranty.

Price: $45.99

Buy the SMC Networks D3CM1604 Modem here.

8. D-Link DCM-301 Cable Modem

dlink cm301


D-Link is a company that has historically abstained from jerking their customers around and releasing constant updated versions of the same product over and over again. This cannot be said about some other companies on this list.

Instead, their DCM-301 has been their go-to budget modem for 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 TWC it is highly unlikely that you are on anything but the current standard, but you never know when you have an older legacy service like Road Runner.

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.

Price: $34.99 (13 percent off MSRP)

Buy the D-Link DCM-301 Cable Modem here.

9. ZyXEL CDA30360 Cable Modem

zyxel modem


Taiwanese manufacturer ZyXEL has always offered reliable and economical networking gear for those with simple networking needs. Its CDA30360 mode is nothing special, until you consider its fantastic price-to-performance ratio.

With a max download speed of 400 Mbps, the CDA30360 is the best modem for Spectrum under $30.

There is no official figure regarding its upload speed, but that is presumably fast as well.

If you are expecting that this modem will be more difficult to set up because it is a less common brand, that is simply not the case. Cable networking is such a simple setup, that you’ll be able to get the CDA30360 up and running with ease.

Price: $29.95

Buy the ZyXEL CDA30360 Cable Modem here.

10. Motorola MB7420 Cable Modem

motorola mb7420


Though Motorola is now owned by Arris, the company still supports several products under the Motorola name.

This is the MB7420. It 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: $79.99 (38 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Motorola MB7420 Cable Modem here.

See Also

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.



Elizabeth Johnson

I have three laptops, four iPhones, four Xbox’s on a ubee provided by time warner which keeps dropping the internet or won’t allow some devices to join. I also have cable and phone through time warner/spectrum. I use one laptop and phone for my home office from which I work completely online but we are serious Xbox gamers. Which one?

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