Table Of Contents_
With the vast array of high-tech modems available now, finding one for your home or office can be quite a challenge. There are a lot of factors that will go into your selection process, and comparing technical specifications can make things even more confusing. To help you make your choice quicker and easier, we’ve evaluated some of the most popular modems on the market today. We also evaluated some other products and we found the best router around.
After a full week of research and testing several modems of all makes and models, we can say without doubt that TP-Link’s Archer A7 AC1750 is the one that stands out. Already equipped with a reliable wireless gigabit router that can handle multiple devices in a high-tech smart home, its reliable, solid performance does not disappoint. It is also the most cost-effective pick from the pool of devices we’ve examined. Keep reading to understand why we’ve crowned the Archer A7 AC1750 and to know more about the six other products that made our list.
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: The AC1750 tops our list because of its capacity to handle multiple devices, its stable, high-speed performance, its outstanding 2,500 sq. ft. coverage, its parental controls, and its affordable price. It has four Gigabit LAN ports, a USB port, a user-friendly menu, and a powerful CPU, making this modem-router combo a great choice for families with heavy Wi-Fi demands but are on a budget.
The TP-Link AC1750 can help you set up your smart home. You can connect up to 50+ devices with its advanced CPU. It has a QoS software that enables you to prioritize bandwidth allocation across connected devices. Ideal for 4K streaming, the AC1750 provides everyone access to high-speed internet with reduced buffering, even with multiple devices. The AC1750 also includes Alexa integration and parental controls, making it easier for you to operate the device and to monitor your family’s usage. You can create user profiles, filter levels, and set time limits for each member of the family. If you like this device, you might be interested in the best modem router.
The AC1750 also has additional features that make it the best choice for families. It has three high-gain external antennas that provide strong Wi-Fi connection throughout the house. It has four Gigabit Internet LAN ports through which multiple connected wired devices can gain fast internet access. It also has an integrated USB port that functions as a media server and can be used to share USB drive content. Check out our routers section for more choices.
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: Superfast speed powered by 32×8 channels is undoubtedly what sets the NetGear CM700 apart. With a data transfer rate of up to 500 Mbps, it’s among the best choices for those who are subscribed to high-bandwidth internet connections and for those who want the fastest internet speed possible.
If you are paying for a 500 Mbps subscription, you would want to maximize the high bandwidth connection. The NetGear CM700 enables you to do that with its 32×8 channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.0. This device gives you a data transfer rate of 500 Mbps. However, there may be some latency issues or lags if the network is congested.
While it doesn’t have a telephone port and has no built-in router, the CM700 works with any Wi-Fi router. It has one 1G Ethernet port that you can connect to your router or to your computer. This modem is also compatible with all major internet cable providers making it easily one of the best cable modems available. Speaking of Wi-Fi, read best home WiFi.
Another popular option is the Netgear CM500, compatible with Xfinity from Comcast, Spectrum Cox, Cablevision, and more.
Award: Best for Video Streaming
WHY WE LIKE IT: Aside from its streamlined modern look, the C7000 boasts a 24×8 DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding that can handle up to 960 Mbps connection for seamless HD video streaming and gaming. This modem-router combo can accommodate up to 30 devices and is a good choice for those who want to maximize their fast broadband connections.
The NetGear C7000 is a Wi-Fi cable modem router that’s recommended for cable plans up to 400 Mbps. Its high-speed performance is powered by AC1900 and 24×8 DOCSIS 3.0. This means you can get speeds as fast as 1,900 Mbps. However, the C7000 still relies on your internet service provider, so manage your expectations if you’re subscribed to plans with lower bandwidths.
Aside from a powerful CPU and wide-range Wi-Fi, the NetGear C7000 also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB 2.0 port, allowing you to directly connect more devices for faster streaming. While it does not support QoS capabilities, it’s important to note that this is a great all-in-one device. If you need a switch, read about the best network switch.
Award: Best Modem for Gaming
WHY WE LIKE IT: The ARRIS SB6190 is among the fastest modems today. It has 32×8 DOCSIS 3.0 bonded channels that provide 1.4 Gbps download and 262 Mbps upload speeds. This high-speed performance makes it an excellent choice for real-time HD streaming and online gaming.
The ARRIS SB6190 is a versatile modem that is compatible with a vast range of internet service providers. With 32×8 channels bonded with DOCSIS 3.0, it makes fast Ultra-HD video streaming and smooth gaming experience possible. It can easily handle internet speeds of 300 Mbps and above.
One user-friendly feature of this modem is the ARRIS SURFboard Manager app, which helps users control and monitor the modem. Even those who aren’t tech-savvy can easily set up internet access and manage network settings. But aside from this, the SB6190 doesn’t have as many additional features as other modems. You can also check out best mesh routers.
Award: Best Future-Proofed
WHY WE LIKE IT: This DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem provides reliable high-speed internet and is one of the most future-proofed modems on the market today. Permitting a download and an upload speed of 2Gbps each, this modem is already geared for the future’s incredibly fast internet plans. It is best for tech enthusiasts who want a modem that’ll be ready for more speed and link aggregation when these become available.
The ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 allows you to make the most of a high bandwidth connection. This modem offers a Gigabit wireless speed and is equipped with the newest hardware and DOCSIS technology. It has 32×8 channels that provide a maximum download speed of 10 Gbps. It also has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, so you can create two different home networks.
The SB8200 would have been perfect if it had a built-in router. Still, its performance makes the relatively expensive device worth spending for. It can easily stream 4K ultra-HD videos and Virtual Reality games without much buffering. If you are a gamer, read our best router for gaming list.
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Motorola MB7420 is a good buy because it’s an affordable and compact device that packs a lot of useful features such as a GigE Ethernet port and a powerful user interface. This modem is ideal for budget-conscious users who don’t need ultra-fast internet speeds.
Motorola’s MB7420 is among the most affordable modems available today. It works with a wide variety of internet providers, including Spectrum Cox and Comcast and it has 16×4 channels with maximum speeds of 686 Mbps for download and 123 Mbps for upload. It has one GigE Ethernet port that can provide high-speed wired connection to any router or computer. However, the modem is best used only for plans that are up to 300 Mbps.
Aside from its satisfactory performance, it has nifty features that make it convenient to use. These include a color-coded back panel, a user-friendly interface, and installation accessories. Read about the best home router as well.
Award: Best Value
WHY WE LIKE IT: We love the Motorola MG7550 for the strong, reliable connection made by its Wireless Power Boost and AnyBeam beamforming. These features provide reception at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz and raise your signal to the legal limit of FCC. Because it’s capable of handling hundreds of devices, it’s an excellent choice for homes or small offices with multiple users.
The Motorola MG7550 is a high-speed cable modem and gigabit router. The modem is compatible with services up to 300 Mbps. It has 16×4 channels with DOCSIS 3.0. Its Power Boost amplifies the speed and range of the AC1900 dual band Wi-Fi, while its AnyBeam Wi-Fi beamforming focuses signals on wireless devices.
These two technologies provide high-speed access for multiple ethernet and Wi-Fi devices. They make it easy for you to turn your home into a smart one. While it’s more costly than other modems, the Motorola MG7550 is worth the investment. Read about the best AC router and see if it works for you. We have you covered when it comes to computer accessories.
In choosing the best modems, we considered price, performance, security and compatibility. The modems on our list are the ones within their price range that give you the best value for your money. Much like the best gaming mouse on the market today, which can go hand in hand with these, since they’re speed and response time are key, much like the best modems.
In terms of performance, we considered upload and download speeds compatible with at least 300Mbps services, DOCSIS versions, connectivity options, including the number of Ethernet ports, signal strengths capable of covering typical home size, receptions at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and user interfaces that are easy to use.
All the modems on our list also support security features such as WPS, WPA/WPA2 Security Protocol and WEP, TKIP and AES (64/128 bit) Encryption. They are also compatible with multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux and with multiple devices including smartphones, HDTVs, and other smart devices.
The choice between cable modems or DSL modems varies depending on service availability, modem speed, and the user’s home internet subscription plan. DSL service used to have wider coverage, as it’s available anywhere with telephone service. Meanwhile, cable services do not usually reach rural areas, and as such, even the best cable modem wouldn't be suitable. In terms of speed, both services typically offer 30 Mbps speeds, but this depends on the subscription plan you signed up for.
Regarding residential internet in the US, Cable is one of the most common internet providers available. While each Cable company offers different plans and speeds, all cable internet is provided through a coaxial cable. According to industry reports, the DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem has been deployed in around 85% of households and is capable of download speeds faster than 100 Mbps.
DOCSIS stands for “data over cable service internet specification.” A modem with a DOCSIS feature, which is actually an important element you should be on the lookout for, is capable of providing broadband internet. The number that follows the acronym indicates its version. Of course, the most updated version is the most preferable.
A modem/router combo has its pros and cons. With a combo unit, you’ll have less equipment and less cabling to deal with, and you’ll be able to conveniently link all the computers and devices within your home. However, combo units are often more expensive. And if either the modem or the router malfunctions, you’ll have to replace the entire unit.
Lags and connection drops are the worst nightmares for gamers. Thus, the best modems for gaming are those that provide reliable connection and lightning-quick download speeds. With a speed capacity of up to 1.4 Gbps, the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 ranks high among the best choices for hardcore gamers.