Here are our top picks for the best cable modem and router combo devices for 2023. If you want to save money on monthly rental fees but don’t want the hassle of owning separate modem and router, read on.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Cable Modem and Router Combo
Choosing a cable modem and router combo device comes down to the following key factors:
- Is it compatible with your Internet Service Provider (ISP)?
- Does it have a DOCSIS 3.0 or DOCSIS 3.1 modem?
- Does it have a WiFi 5 or WiFi 6 router and what is the coverage area?
Is your modem compatible with your ISP?
It goes without saying but the first thing you should check is whether the cable modem and router combo device is compatible with your ISP. Unlike routers which would work with all ISPs, cable modems and combo devices need to be supported and certified by your ISP. Here are the links to check your device’s compatibility for the major ISPs in the US:
Also note that your ISP may throttle the speed on certain modems so pay attention to the speed that they’re certified for with your ISP.
DOCSIS 3.0 vs DOCSIS 3.1
Whenyou look at the product descriptionof cable modems, they all mention DOCSIS. What is DOCSIS and why does it matter? DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) is a technology standard that enables cable operators to provide Internet service over cable television networks. DOCSIS 3.0 was released in 2006 and the newer DOCSIS 3.1 was released in 2013. The table below summarizes the differences between the various DOCSIS standards:
A DOCSIS 3.0 modem can provide download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (gigabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 200 Mbps (megabits per second). A DOCSIS 3.1 modem on the other hand, can deliver even faster speeds, with download speeds up to 10 Gbps and upload speeds up to 2 Gbps.
So, should you choose a DOCSIS 3.0 modem or a DOCSIS 3.1 modem for a 1 Gbps speed Internet plan? While both DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 can provide those speeds, DOCSIS 3.1 is more efficient and reliable, especially in congested networks and can support faster upload speeds. It also has better support for newer technologies such as IPv6, which is becoming increasingly important as the number of Internet-connected devices continues to grow.
If you’re not experiencing any issues with your current Internet connection, and you don’t have a lot of devices connected to your network, then sticking with DOCSIS 3.0 might be just fine. On the other hand, if you’re a heavy Internet user, with multiple devices and users connected to your network, and you’re experiencing slow speeds or network congestion, then it’s probably worth considering a DOCSIS 3.1 modem instead.
WiFi 5 vs WiFi 6
WiFi 6 routers are more powerful than WiFi 5 routers. This allows for faster speeds over a wider range. Another big improvement is how WiFi 6 allows more devices to connect to your router without a decrease in performance. In 2023, we’d recommend that you go for a WiFi 6 router unless you’re price sensitive. They definitely provide a noticeable improvement to the user experience.
The Best Cable Modem and Router Combos in 2023
Now that we’ve taken a look at the key factors when choosing a modem router combo device, here are our top Cable Modem and Router combo device picks for 2023.
Motorola MT8733: The Top Contender
If you’re on the lookout for a cable modem router combo that can handle speeds up to 1 Gbps, then the Motorola MT8733 is definitely worth considering. In fact, it can support cable Internet speeds up to 2.33 Gbps. The Motorola MT8733 pairs a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem with an AX6000 router. It is approved by Comcast Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum, which means you’re unlikely to face any compatibility issues.
The MT8733 has four Ethernet ports – one 2.5 Gbps port and three 1 Gbps ports. You can connect devices like your Smart TV, gaming console, or Apple TV using the Ethernet ports and also enjoy super-fast and smooth WiFi with the WiFi 6 router.
NETGEAR CAX80: For the Power Users
If you’re an Xfinity, Spectrum, or Cox user and consider yourself a power user, the Netgear Nighthawk CAX80 might just be the right cable modem and router combo device for you. Like the Motorola MT8733 we discussed earlier, the Netgear CAX80 combines a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem with an AX6000 WiFi 6 router. The Netgear CAX80 can support Internet speed plans up to 2.5 Gbps and has a range of up to 3,000 square feet.
It has one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port, four 1 Gbps Ethernet ports and one USB 3.0 port so that you can give fast wired connections to devices such as your desktop computer, gaming consoles, printers and storage drives.
NETGEAR Orbi CBK752: The Whole Home Wi-Fi Solution
The NETGEAR Orbi CBK752 pairs a built-in DOCSIS 3.1 modem with the latest Wifi 6 router technology. Unlike the other devices on this list, the NETGEAR Orbi CBK752 is a two-unit cable modem router combo. It is designed to provide strong Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home, with the satellite extender covering up to 5,000 square feet.
The NETGEAR Orbi CBK752 is compatible with the major cable Internet providers in the US like COX, Spectrum and Xfinity. For Xfinity customers, it is important to note that the Orbi is only certified for up to 800 Mbps while it is certified for up to 1 Gbps with COX and Spectrum.
The main unit has four Ethernet ports, and each satellite has two as well. That’s really cool because the satellite units allow devices without Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, ensuring that all your devices have a strong signal wherever you are in your home.
ARRIS G36: A Reliable Name You Can Trust
The Arris Surfboard G36 is an excellent modem and router combo that can handle fast connections of up to 2.37 Gbps. It is compatible with all major U.S. cable internet providers – Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity and is approved for cable Internet speed plans up to 2.5 Gbps. Check your Internet Service Provider (ISP) website to confirm compatibility.
The ARRIS G36 has a WiFi coverage range of 2,500 square feet which is enough for a medium sized home. If you have a bigger home, you will need to get a range extender or look at mesh router options like the Orbi instead.
The Arris Surfboard G36 has one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port and four 1 Gbps Ethernet ports. The ARRIS G36 doesn’t have a phone jack so you would need another model for Comcast Triple Play.
ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300: Fast and Affordable
Unlike the other options above, the ARRIS Surfboard SBG8300 pairs a DOCSIS 3.1 modem with an AC2350 Wi-Fi router. This article gives a more in-depth explanation of the differences between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6.
While the router of the surfboard SBG8300 is weaker than the other gateway devices mentioned above, it comes at a much more affordable price. That said, the AC2350 Dual-Band Wi-Fi router should be enough to cover an average-sized home for around 2,500 square feet.
The SURFboard SBG8300 is compatible with the major U.S. cable Internet providers including Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity. It’s approved for cable internet speed plans up to 1 Gbps. You will need to check with your Internet Service Provider for the compatibility and what speed it is certified for.
Consider whether your ISP supports your chosen combo device, the speed of your Internet plan, the number of devices you want to connect, and the size of your home. In 2023, we recommend selecting a combo device that pairs a DOCSIS 3.1 modem with an AX router. For homes bigger than 4,000 square feet, you might want to consider a mesh router like the Orbi CBK752.