Cox vs. Spectrum Internet: Which Is the Best Internet Provider?

From internet speeds to channel lineups, we’ve researched both internet service providers to determine who offers the best value for you.

Best overall

Price: $49.99–$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.*
Download speeds: 300 Mbps–1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)**
Upload speeds: 10 Mbps–35 Mbps

Best for cheap internet

Price: $49.99–$99.99/mo.
Download speeds: 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps
Upload speeds: 3 Mbps–35 Mbps

Cox Communications and Spectrum offer similar internet speeds, but Spectrum’s internet plans cost less per month. And Spectrum includes a free modem and charges only $5 a month for a router, while renting Cox’s Panoramic Wifi Gateway costs $12 a month.

Spectrum also wins out in customer satisfaction, with a higher percentage of its customers reporting they were extremely or very satisfied in our recent customer satisfaction survey.

Spectrum vs. Cox pros and cons

Spectrum

Free internet modem
Higher customer satisfaction
No budget internet options

View Spectrum plans

Cox

Competitive internet speeds
Good entry-level plans
Higher prices

View Cox plans

Compare Spectrum and Cox head to head

Pricing Maximum download speed Maximum upload speed Details
Spectrum $49.99–$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.* 300 Mbps–1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)** 10 Mbps–35 Mbps View Spectrum plans
Cox $49.99–$99.99/mo. 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps 3 Mbps–35 Mbps View Cox plans

Data effective as of post date. Not all offers available in all areas.
‡For 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. term agrmt.

While Cox and Spectrum both charge $49.99 a month for their starting plans, you’ll get more bang for your buck from Spectrum—Spectrum’s starting speed runs thrice as fast as Cox’s.

And if you’re looking for gigabit internet speeds, Spectrum has you covered there too. Its gigabit plan is $10.00 less per month than Cox’s.

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Plans and pricing

Spectrum Internet® plans

Package Price Download speeds Upload speeds up to Details
Spectrum Internet® $49.99/mo. for 12 mos.* Up to 300 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)** 10 Mbps View plan
Spectrum Internet® Ultra
Best plan
$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.* Up to 500 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) ** 20 Mbps View plan
Spectrum Internet® Gig $89.99/mo. for 12 mos.* Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) ** 35 Mbps View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Spectrum is one of the few internet service providers (ISPs) that won’t tie you to a long-term service contract. While Spectrum still has promo price shenanigans with low introductory prices that increase after a year, its no-contracts setup means that you change providers at any time without paying an early termination fee (ETF).

The internet provider doesn’t have a great budget cable internet plan, since its cheapest option is $49.99 per month for the first 12 months. But if you can make Spectrum fit your budget, its three internet plans offer ample internet performance for any household.

With download speeds of up to 300 Mbps, Spectrum Internet® works great for a small household that streams TV, casually plays games, and works from home. Spectrum Internet Gig is also a decent gigabit internet option for top-end internet speeds, it’s cheaper than Cox’s gigabit plan.

Pro tip: Spectrum may offer different internet deals depending on your location, including longer two-year price guarantees and a discount on Spectrum Internet® Ultra.

We’d recommend Spectrum Internet Ultra for larger households. With a maximum download speed of 500 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary), you’ll have enough bandwidth if multiple people want to stream 4K video or play online games. Spectrum Internet Ultra’s faster upload speeds will also help if many people are Zoom-ing at once.

View Spectrum plans

Cox internet plans

Package Price* Download speeds up to Upload speeds up to Details
Internet Essential 100 $49.99/mo.* 100 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
StraightUp Internet $50.00/mo.** 100 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
Internet Preferred 250
Best plan
$59.99/mo.* 250 Mbps 10 Mbps View plan
Internet Ultimate 500 $79.99/mo.* 500 Mbps 10 Mbps View plan
Gigablast $99.99/mo.* 1,000 Mbps 35 Mbps View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* For 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. service. agreement.
**Same price for 3 yrs.

Although Cox’s prices are far from the worst we’ve seen from an internet service provider, it can’t compete with Spectrum’s plans, which all offer faster speeds or lower prices.

But if you have a vendetta against Spectrum, Cox isn’t a terrible alternative. In our customer satisfaction survey, Cox placed in the top five overall. And its Panoramic Wifi Gateway might cost you a pretty penny, but its good equipment.

You’ll get excellent download speeds on Cox’s fastest internet plans, but with higher prices and with one-year service contracts, the ISP doesn’t offer exceptional value or flexibility.

Pro tip: Depending on your location, Cox internet deals can include waived ETFs and monthly discounts.

Internet Preferred 250 is our pick for the best Cox internet plan.

It’s not the best deal compared to Spectrum, which has a cheaper 300 Mbps plan. But at $59.99 per month for 250 Mbps maximum download speeds, Cox’s Internet Preferred 250 can work for families who need only average download and upload speeds.

View Cox plans

Installation

Fee Spectrum Cox
Installation $49.99 Varies by region
Self-installation $9.99 Free
Optional hardware rental $5.00/mo. (WiFi router) $12.00/mo. (combo Wi-Fi router/modem)

Spectrum and Cox’s installation fees aren’t cheap, but they’re also easy to avoid. Both providers offer self-installation kits, although Cox’s are free while Spectrum tacks on an inconvenient $9.99 charge for its self-installation kit.

Cox narrowly gets the win thanks to its free self-install kits. While Spectrum’s free cable modem is a nice add-on, the internet provider’s $9.99 self-installation fee knocked it behind Cox.

You’ll need a router and modem to get online, and each ISP has several hardware options. You can rent a wireless router from Spectrum for $5.00 per month, and the ISP also bundles a free modem. Cox offers its Panoramic Wifi Gateway, which is a combo modem and wireless router, for $12.00 per month. Thankfully, both devices are optional rentals for Cox or Spectrum subscribers.

Generally, we recommend purchasing your own wireless router and cable modem to skip the rental fees. But if you want your ISP to handle your hardware troubleshooting, Spectrum is our pick because of its free modem and cheaper rental costs compared to Cox.

Router or modem shopping?

Check out our Spectrum-compatible modems, Cox-compatible modems, and wireless router guides for our top picks.

Customer satisfaction

In our most recent internet customer satisfaction survey, Spectrum narrowly won out over Cox in our ISP rankings. But neither provider earned top marks on any of our questions, and both ISPs had average scores in areas including internet speeds and service reliability.

Cox customers disliked the ISP’s modem, placing it eighth among our polled providers. Cox and Spectrum customers also widely disliked their ISPs’ prices, placing both companies in the bottom-third of our rankings.

TV bundles

Spectrum plans

Plan Price Channel count
Spectrum TV® Select $49.99/mo. for 12 mo. 125+ channels View plan

Cox plans

Plan Price* Channel count
Cox TV Starter $53.00/mo. 75+ channels View plan
Cox TV Preferred $98.00/mo. 140+ channels View plan
Cox TV Preferred Plus $110.00/mo. 170+ channels View plan
Contour TV Ultimate $138.00/mo. 250+ channels View plan

* For 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. service. agreement.

If you’re interested in bundling TV service with your internet, stick with Spectrum—the ISP offers a strong starting TV package that you can bulk up as you like with affordable à la carte add-ons, including more entertainment, sports, and premium channels.

With Cox, you’ll have to pay $98.00 per month for Cox TV Preferred to get any basic cable channels. Plus, the package doesn’t include popular cable channels like Disney XD, BBC America, or ESPNU. To get these channels, you’ll either have to upgrade to Contour TV Ultimate or purchase channel packs.

Even on Spectrum’s cheapest TV plan, you’ll still get more than 125 basic and local TV channels. If you upgrade to Spectrum’s most expensive TV package, you’ll get more than 200 premium and basic cable channels for the same price as Cox’s entry-level basic cable package.

Bundling Cox vs. Spectrum TV® and cable internet service?

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Final take

Spectrum is the clear winner in the Spectrum vs. Cox battle. Spectrum has faster starting speeds and cheaper gigabit-speed packages. Plus, it has no-contract plans, so you’ve got flexibility if you need to move within the year.

Spectrum vs. Cox FAQ

Is Spectrum better than Cox?

Spectrum offers better internet plans compared to Cox. Most of Cox’s internet plans are expensive or slow compared to Spectrum.

Are Cox and Spectrum the same?

Cox Communications and Spectrum are two different companies.

Is Cox owned by Spectrum?

Cox is not owned by Spectrum. Spectrum is based in Connecticut, while Cox is based in Georgia.

Methodology

Our experts crunched the numbers, rating Cox and Spectrum on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Then we matched up both companies head to head to give a clearer picture of their strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

Disclaimer

Spectrum Internet: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet ® promotion price is $49.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2022 Charter Communications.

Spectrum Internet Ultra: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® Ultra promotion price is $69.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2022 Charter Communications.

Spectrum Internet Gig: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® Gig promotion price is $89.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2022 Charter Communications.

**Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.

Spectrum TV Select: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Select promotion price is $49.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $21.00/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channel and HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2022 Charter Communications.

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