Best Overall Gigabit Modem

NETGEAR CM1000

Best Gigabit Modem

Most Powerful Gigabit Modem

ARRIS SURFboard SB8200

Most Powerful Gigabit Modem

Best Gigabit Modem/Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S

 

Best Gigabit Modem Router Combo

 

Get the speed you need with a gigabit modem.

 If you’re looking at gigabit internet plans for the first time or just looking for a new modem for your existing plan, you might be feeling stuck. There aren’t many gigabit modems on the market, and the terminology can be confusing. Well, we made it less confusing. We rounded up three great gigabit modems that cover a variety of needs and budgets. You’re welcome.

The Top DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Modems

ModelApproved ProvidersGigabit Ethernet PortsSpeedPriceGet It
Best OverallNETGEAR CM1000Cox, Xfinity, Mediacom1Up to 1 Gbps$$
Most PowerfulARRIS SURFboard SB8200Cox, Xfinity, RCN, Spectrum*2Up to 5 Gbps$$$
Best Modem/Router ComboNETGEAR Nighthawk X4SCox, Xfinity4Up to 6 Gbps$$$$
Best Overall
ModelNETGEAR CM1000
Approved ProvidersCox, Xfinity, Mediacom
Gigabit Ethernet Ports1
SpeedUp to 1 Gbps
Price$$
Get It
Most Powerful
ModelARRIS SURFboard SB8200
Approved ProvidersCox, Xfinity, RCN, Spectrum*
Gigabit Ethernet Ports2
SpeedUp to 5 Gbps
Price$$$
Get It
Best Modem/Router Combo
ModelNETGEAR Nighthawk X4S
Approved ProvidersCox, Xfinity
Gigabit Ethernet Ports4
SpeedUp to 6 Gbps
Price$$$$
Get It

*Data current as of 10/18/2018. Prices and features are subject to change.

*Spectrum is currently in the process of approving this modem for use. Double-check with Spectrum before purchasing to make sure it will work with your service.

The Best Gigabit Modems You Can Buy

You want the fastest internet possible—and so do we. There’s no sense in throttling yourself with a modem that can’t keep up with your internet plan. Get every drop of speed your plan promises by checking out our picks below. We’ll also give you some helpful insight on what to look for in a modem in case you want to keep shopping.

NETGEAR CM1000

Best Overall Gigabit Modem

Best Gigabit Modem

The Specs

  • Approved Providers: Xfinity, Cox, Mediacom
  • Gigabit Ethernet Ports: 1
  • Speed: Up to 1 Gbps

Pros

  • Compatibility with several different providers
  • Relatively affordable price
  • Reliable brand

Cons

  • Offers only one gigabit Ethernet port
  • Lacks a built-in router

Our pick for best overall gigabit modem goes to the CM1000 from NETGEAR. This modem works with cable service from Cox, Xfinity, Mediacom, and other cable providers. This is great news if you like to switch internet providers often to get the best deal.

It supports speeds up to 1 Gbps using the DOCSIS 3.1 protocol—that means it’s compatible with older types of networks in addition to gigabit networks, so you’re not limited in your service choice.

The big downside with the CM1000 is that it has only one gigabit Ethernet port, which will likely be used by your wireless router. That means you can’t plug any other devices (like your computer) directly into the modem. Most routers have a couple of Ethernet ports that can make up for this, so it’s not a huge deal but still something to be aware of.

ARRIS SURFboard SB8200

Most Powerful Gigabit Modem

Most Powerful Gigabit Modem

The Specs

  • Approved Providers: Xfinity, Cox, RCN, Spectrum*
  • Gigabit Ethernet Ports: 2
  • Speed: Up to 5 Gbps

*Spectrum is currently in the process of approving this modem for use. Double-check with Spectrum before purchasing to make sure it will work with your service.

Pros

  • Works with several major providers
  • Has two Ethernet ports, so you can add a router and still plug your computer into the modem directly
  • Handles speeds above 1 Gig

Cons

  • More expensive than our top pick
  • Lacks a built-in router

Our pick for the most powerful gigabit modem is the ARRIS SURFboard SB8200. This modem is approved for use with Cox, Xfinity, and RCN, and is pending approval with Spectrum, so you have a choice of several major ISPs for your service. It also features more gigabit Ethernet ports and faster maximum speeds than our overall pick, which makes it a better option for heavy streamers, gamers, and anyone else who needs a lot of power.

The tradeoff for that power is that it tends to be more expensive than the NETGEAR CM1000, and if you don’t have a plan that goes above 1 Gig (few plans do), all that extra power is largely wasted. As a result, we only recommend this model if you already know you need more horsepower than the CM1000 can provide.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S

Best Gigabit Modem/Router Combo

Best Gigabit Modem Router Combo

The Specs

  • Approved Providers: Cox, Xfinity
  • Gigabit Ethernet Ports: 4
  • Speed: Up to 6 Gbps

Pros

  • Modem and router in one box
  • Several Ethernet ports for your devices
  • Plenty of power for faster networks

Cons

  • Only approved on Cox and Xfinity networks
  • Very expensive

Our pick for best DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit modem/router combo on the market is the NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S. This thing is a serious powerhouse. It packs both a gigabit modem and a gigabit router in one box. That means you can say goodbye to purchasing additional equipment! It also has plenty of Ethernet ports that make more than enough room for the essentials, like gaming consoles and streaming boxes.

But . . . it’s not perfect. For one, it has that characteristic spaceship look that all Nighthawk routers seem to have. (If that’s your thing, kudos to you.) It’s also pretty expensive, at nearly double the price of our other two modem picks. Of course, you’re getting both a modem and a router in one, so that’s to be expected, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

And finally, it’s only approved to work on Xfinity and Cox networks. You can try it on others, but no guarantees. That said, it’s still a great combo pick with plenty of power.

What to Look for in a Modem

Provider Compatibility

The first thing to consider when buying a modem is whether it’ll work with your ISP. Cable modems are generally compatible with any cable provider, but since gigabit technology is still fairly new, we recommend either sticking with one that explicitly states compatibility or checking with your provider to get confirmation. You don’t want to end up spending a lot of money on something that won’t work for you.

DOCSIS 3.1 Compatibility

When looking for a gigabit modem, make sure it lists DOCSIS 3.1 compatibility in the specs. DOCSIS 3.1 is the protocol that allows the modem to both achieve gigabit speeds and to work with older protocols. All the modems we’ve chosen are DOCSIS 3.1 modems.

Ethernet Ports

Connecting devices directly to the modem using Ethernet offers a faster and more stable connection than Wi-Fi, at the expense of mobility. If you like to plug devices like gaming consoles and streaming boxes into your modem, make sure your choice has enough ports to support your setup! If it doesn’t, get a router that does. Several of the gigabit modems on the market have only a single Ethernet port, which leaves room for your router and not much else.

Get the most from your internet plan.

If you’re paying for a gig plan from your ISP, you don’t want to waste that pricey speed. Whether you need a great all-rounder, a modem/router combo, or just maximum giggage, one of these picks should serve you well.

Do you have a gigabit modem that you recommend? Let us know in the comments.

Frequently Asked Questions about Modems

What’s the difference between a modem and a router?

Good question! A modem is a device that translates the signal from your Internet Service Provider into something the other devices in your home can understand. A router (or wireless router) takes that translated signal and broadcasts it wirelessly.

Routers give you a Wi-Fi network in your home—but without a modem, there’d be no signal to broadcast.

What is gigabit internet?

Gigabit internet is internet service that has speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). That’s about 1,000 Mbps, or megabits per second.

Gigabit internet is fast. It’s so fast that you could download an entire HD movie in less than two minutes. It’s a total game changer for streamers, downloaders, and households with lots of devices online at once.

Which providers offer gigabit internet?

Several internet providers offer gig speeds now, and more are getting on board all the time. Here are the main gigabit providers currently available:

Availability is still limited to select markets with most of these providers. The easiest way to see what’s available for you is to use our Zip Finder to see internet plans for your area. Just enter your zip code to get started!