10 Best Modems for Spectrum: Your Buyer’s Guide

best modem for spectrum

As a subsidiary of Charter Communications, Spectrum is part of the largest Internet service providers in the United States. There is a high chance that you are on Spectrum-branded Internet, especially if you grew up with other services like Time Warner, Bright House, or Roadrunner. No matter which name you know, you have surely heard the classic modem rental pitch. Just say no! Here are our picks for the best modems for Spectrum that you can buy to end the monthly rental fee.

What Are the Best Modems for Spectrum in 2019?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • IPv6 compatible
  • 32x8 bonded channels
  • 2-year warranty
Price: $95.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • 8x4 bonded channels
  • IPv6 compatible
  • Easy setup
Price: $59.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • 16x4 bonded channels
  • 2-year warranty
  • IPv6 compatible
Price: $59.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • 16x4 bonded channels
  • Easy setup
  • IPv6 compatible
Price: $73.81 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • IPv6 compatible
  • Easy setup
  • Cheap
Price: $38.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • 16x4 bonded channels
  • IPv6 compatible
  • Easy setup
Price: $39.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • IPv6 compatible
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  • 8x4 bonded channels
Price: $129.28 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • Cheap
  • IPv6 compatible
  • 8x4 bonded channels
Price: $34.60 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • 16x4 bonded channels
  • IPv6 compatible
  • 2-year warranty
Price: $49.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 Cable Modem

    Pros:
    • IPv6 compatible
    • 32x8 bonded channels
    • 2-year warranty
    Cons:
    • No phone adapter
    • No RAM (not super important)
    • Arris makes new modems too fast

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

    Their SURFboard SB6190 modem is recommended by every major cable provider and is arguably the best modem for Spectrum and other TWC services.

    The SB6190 is a standalone modem that pairs with a WiFi router to provide download speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps and upload speeds of up to 262 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 SB6190 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.

  2. 2. Netgear CM400-1AZNAS Cable Modem

    Pros:
    • 32x8 bonded channels
    • IPv6 compatible
    • Easy setup
    Cons:
    • Runs warm
    • Low max upstream
    • No phone adapter

    Netgear is yet another highly reputable source for networking equipment. Their entire line of cable modems bears the TWC seal of approval, though the Netgear CM400-1AZNAS provides the best value for those looking to keep costs low.

    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 fairly average in terms of performance, offering a download speed of 340Mbps and an upload speed of 131Mbps. This is unlikely to impact your Internet speeds unless you pay for top-tier Internet packages. Otherwise, this modem is plenty powerful enough.

    It only has a single ethernet port to connect to a router, but this only matters to those who may want to bridge multiple routers or hardwire some networked devices.

    Those who need that extra functionality can opt for Netgear’s more heavy-duty modems like the CM500 and the CM700, but for residential needs, the entry-level CM400 will suffice.

  3. 4. ASUS CM-16 Cable Modem

    Pros:
    • 16x4 bonded channels
    • Easy setup
    • IPv6 compatible
    Cons:
    • 1-year warranty
    • Difficult interface
    • No phone adapter

    As is expected, Asus’ 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.

  4. 5. Linksys CM3008 Cable Modem

    Pros:
    • IPv6 compatible
    • Easy setup
    • Low price tag
    Cons:
    • Low max upstream
    • Runs warm
    • Reboots slow

    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 than you can ask for out of this well-priced piece of hardware.

  5. 6. SMC Networks D3CM1604 Modem

    Pros:
    • 16x4 bonded channels
    • IPv6 compatible
    • Easy setup
    Cons:
    • Low max upstream
    • So-so support
    • Overly bright LEDs

    Since it doesn’t come from a well-known brand, it is all the more impressive that the SMC Networks D3CM1604 modem has made the cut as a potential best modem for Spectrum on the merit of performance alone.

    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.

  6. 8. ZyXEL CDA30360 Cable Modem

    Pros:
    • Low price tag
    • IPv6 compatible
    • 8x4 bonded channels
    Cons:
    • No phone adapter
    • So-so support
    • Runs warm

    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 ZyXEL CDA30360 is the best modem for Spectrum in its price range.

    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.

  7. 9. Motorola MB7420 Cable Modem

    Pros:
    • 16x4 bonded channels
    • IPv6 compatible
    • 2-year warranty
    Cons:
    • Tricky setup
    • No phone adapter
    • Runs warm

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

    This is the Motorola 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.

More Info

As telecom corporations gain more and more political power, it is our duty as Internet users to fight back against prohibitive fees like pointless modem rentals.

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.

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

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

That's why we did the dirty work of researching which ones provide the best combination of performance, features, and value.

Before you commit to 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 key factor in your equipment choice.

Once you select the right modem, simply plug it in and follow these directions from Spectrum'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 Spectrum 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 modem/router combo unit instead, though they usually aren't as effective as individual units. Ultimately, it's your network, so we support any decision you make as long as you take back control.

See Also

5 Best Cable Modems of 2019

5 Best WiFi Boosters of 2019: Which Is Right for You?

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