Best cable modems in 2024 – our top picks
If you’re looking for the best cable modem, you’ve come to the right place.
Many internet service providers (ISPs) charge a monthly leasing fee for cable modems – sometimes as high as $15 – and that can stack up after a while (not all ISPs have this fee, though). Buying your own compatible modem is a great way to eliminate this unneeded cost. Within a year, you will start recovering the cost of the modem.
These days, you can find cable modems with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 standard, which is around 10 times faster than 3.0. However, modems with DOCSIS 3.0 are still popular in the market and are a great choice for routers with WiFi 5. On top of that, cable modems also feature Gigabit Ethernet ports, but some also come with multi-gig ports for high-speed internet plans.
With so many modems to choose from, you can end up making the wrong decision. This is where we come in with our list of the best cable modems currently available in the market. These modems have been selected on the basis of their features, performance, compatibility, and other notable aspects that make them worth getting.
So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best cable modems.
Products at a Glance
How we picked
For this list of the best cable modems, we took a look at several modems, compared them, and chose the ones that offered the best value for money. We also made sure not to include modems that are meant for a single specific ISP. In addition, we’re constantly exploring the market for new modems, so make sure to check back here soon for more options!
Best cable modems in 2024 – our top picks
- Offers fastest transfer rates
- 2.5G Ethernet port
- DOCSIS 3.1
- Only one Ethernet port
- Overkill if not used with a high speed plan
If you want the best cable modem that ticks all the boxes of a premium device, we’d recommend the Netgear Nighthawk CM2000. This is a solid choice for those with high-speed plans, and you can pair it with one of the best Netgear Nighthawk routers for top-tier performance.
To begin with, the CM2000 is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, which is 10 times faster than the previous 3.0 standard. On top of that, it comes with a 32 x 8 channel bonding, thanks to which you can expect to see great download and upload speeds.
For wired connections, the router features a 2.5G Ethernet Port, which can be used to connect your wired devices, including routers. As far as compatibility is concerned, it works with major cable providers like Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum. In addition, it supports cable plans up to 2.5 Gbps.
- Great for WiFi 5 routers
- Does not come with the latest DOCSIS 3.1
If you’re looking for the best budget cable modem, then you should check the ARRIS Surfboard SB6183. While this may not be one of the most powerful modems in the market, it still delivers great performance for its price range.
Unlike our top pick, this one is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, meaning it is not meant for routers with WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E. Instead, it is a great choice for routers that come with an older WiFi standard, like WiFi 5. On top of that, it features a 16 x 4 channel bonding, and you can expect to get up to 686 Mbps download speed and 131 Mbps upload speed. This will, however, depend on the cable plan you have.
When it comes to compatibility, the SB6183 works with major ISPs such as Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, Mediacom, and Suddenlink. Overall, it is a great choice for people on a budget. In fact, it is one of the best Gigabit modems.
- 32 x 8 channel bonding
- Supports cable plans up to 1 Gbps
- DOCSIS 3.1
- Only one Ethernet port
- Not multi-gig port
If you’re after a mid-range modem that can work well with your gigabit internet plan but does not come with a premium price tag, you’d want to check out the Netgear CM1000.
For starters, the Netgear CM1000 is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. It provides 32 downstream channels along with 8 upstream channels. On top of that, it features 2 OFDM downstream channels paired with 2 OFDM upstream channels. Although the transfer rates of this modem are limited to 1 Gbps, the improvement will be quite noticeable for someone who is upgrading from an 8×4-channel cable modem.
The CM1000 is compatible with Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum, and it comes with one Gigabit Ethernet port. This port can be used to connect devices such as PCs, consoles, or routers. However, it is important to note that it is not compatible with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, DISH, or any bundled voice service.
Overall, the Netgear CM1000 is a powerful modem, and we think it deserves to be one of the best DOCSIS 3.1 modems.
- Support up to 2.5 Gbps
- Widely compatible
- Easy set up
- Overkill if used with a slow internet plan
For top-tier performance, the S33 comes with the latest DOCSIS standard, 3.1. This makes it a great choice for mesh routers with WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E technologies. On top of that, it also provides better security compared to the previous standard, something that will protect your devices from online threats.
The S33 comes with two Ethernet ports (one Gigabit and one multi-gig). These will help you connect your devices directly to the modem for a fast and seamless wired connection. When it comes to compatibility, it works with cable providers, including Cox, Xfinity, Spectrum, Suddenlink, and Mediacom. It also supports cable plans of up to 2.5 Gbps, and you can benefit greatly from the multi-gig port if you have a high-speed plan.
Overall, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 is the best modem for mesh systems.
How to pick the best cable modem
Selecting the right modem isn’t about picking up the one with the highest price tag. Instead, there are several factors to consider before making a final purchase.
Supported cable providers
Make sure to check the compatibility of your modem before getting it, as some are limited to specific ISPs. DOCSIS 3.0-based modems usually support most of the major ISPs like Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and Cablevision and should work very well without any issues. However, if you are willing to buy a DOCSIS 3.1-based modem, then make sure that your modem officially supports your ISP.
DOCSIS 3.0, the current most common implementation for the cable service internet, offers speeds up to 1 Gbps downstream and 200 Mbps upstream. DOCSIS 3.1 is the improved version of DOCSIS 3.0 and offers ten times the transfer rates of DOCSIS 3.0. And in both situations, these upper limits are rarely actually met. So, if you have a high-speed plan or are using a WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E router, you’d want to opt for a modem with DOCSIS 3.1
Number of ports
Ideally, you’d want to go with a modem that has at least two Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections. This way, you can connect your router and another device easily to the modem. However, some modems, even ones with a high price tag, come with a single Ethernet port. So, take this into consideration while choosing a modem.
Modems that come with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 standard and are packed with extra features come with a hefty price tag. These offer top-tier performance and are ideal for routers with the latest WiFi standards. However, if you’re tight on a budget, you can opt for modems with DOCSIS 3.0. However, these are not recommended for WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E routers, as they are meant for older standards. Typically, such routers are listed for under $100.
Does a better cable modem make a difference?
Like any tech, really, if you’re willing to part with the cash, a better model will provide you with better performance. This is shared with cable modems, and if you opt for either a better device or simply an updated version of the one you currently own, you will get improved internet speeds. What a better cable modem doesn’t do is improve the speeds given to you by your ISP, so if you’re hitting your limit already, maybe pay for a higher package from your supplier.
Do cable modems get outdated?
Most modems will last for 2-3 years, whilst higher quality modems can last for 5-8 years. Tech of this ilk can’t be perfect, and even though cable modems as a whole are reliable bits of kit, there are always times when they can falter.
We think that the Netgear Nighthawk CM2000 is the best cable modem you can get from the market today. It features the latest DOCSIS 3.1 standard for top-tier performance and comes with a 2.5G Ethernet port for fast, stable wired connections. On top of that, it has a 32 x 8 channel bonding and supports cable plans up to 2.5 Gbps.