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Spectrum Compatible Modems

Maximize your Spectrum Internet performance with our cable modem picks.

Best for Spectrum Internet® plan

NETGEAR CM400

Price: $36.49
Channels: 8x4
DOCSIS standard: DOCSIS 3.0

Best for Spectrum Internet® Ultra plan

Motorola MB7621

Price: $77.00
Channels: 24x8
DOCSIS standard: DOCSIS 3.0

Best for Spectrum Internet® Gig plan

ARRIS S33

Price: $169.00
Channels: 32x8
DOCSIS standard: DOCSIS 3.1

Best Spectrum Wi-Fi router/modem combo

ARRIS SBG7400AC2

Price: $158.00
Channels: 24x8
DOCSIS standard: DOCSIS 3.0

Amazon.com prices as of 1/15/21 10:44 MST. Read full disclaimer.

The bottom line

Modems: they’re not just the screeching devices that your dial-up internet connection needed back in the ‘90s (zoomers, ask your parents if you don’t get this reference).

The NETGEAR CM400, Motorola MB7621, and ARRIS S33 modems offer value and specifications that will help you get the fastest download speeds from your Spectrum internet plan. The ARRIS SBG7400AC2 combines strong modem performance with user-friendly Wi-Fi router features like a WPS button that most wireless router/modem combo devices leave out.

Best Spectrum-compatible modems

Best Spectrum-compatible modems summary

Modem
NETGEAR CM400
Motorola MB7621
ARRIS S33
ARRIS SBG7400AC2
Recommended Spectrum plan Price* Channels DOCSIS Standard
Spectrum Internet (Up to 100 Mbps) $36.49 8×4 3.0 View on Amazon
Spectrum Internet Ultra (Up to 400 Mbps) $77.98 24×8 3.0 View on Amazon
Spectrum Internet Gig (Up to 940 Mbps) $169.99 32×8 3.1 View on Amazon
Spectrum Internet/Internet Ultra (Up to 400 Mbps) $147.00 24×8 3.0 View on Amazon

*Amazon.com Price; $10.00 (as of 6/17/19 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.

Spectrum is one of the few providers that doesn’t charge a modem rental fee, but you’ll get more current hardware by purchasing a modem.

By owning your modem, you’ll be able to keep it and avoid the hardware return process if you ever downgrade Spectrum plans or move to another cable internet provider. Customers can also rent a Spectrum router for a $5 monthly fee.

We’ve evaluated our modem recommendations to match up with Spectrum’s up to 100 Mbps Internet, 400 Mbps Internet Ultra, and 940 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) Internet Gig packages.

To get the most out of your Spectrum Internet, you’ll need a modem that corresponds with your Spectrum Internet plan. If you’re not sure what Spectrum internet tier you’re subscribed to, check your bill or log into Spectrum.

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Best modem for Spectrum Internet plan: NETGEAR CM400

Price: $36.49*
Channels: 8×4
DOCSIS Standard: DOCSIS 3.0

*Amazon.com price (as of 1/15/21 1:14 MST). Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Low price tag
  • Slim profile

Cons

  • Limited upgradability
  • Short warranty

The Spectrum Internet plan is built for customers who need the basics, and the NETGEAR CM400 matches up with this need perfectly. The CM400 is one of the most affordable Spectrum-compatible modems on the market and at only 1.8 inches wide, it can easily fit under a desk or into a shelf.

But because the CM400 is rated for Spectrum’s 100 Mbps Internet package, the modem will limit your download speeds if you decide to change to a faster internet tier. NETGEAR also offers only a one-year warranty for the CM400.

CableTV.com also recommends: Motorola MB7220

The Motorola MB7220 was our runner-up behind the CM400 because of its cost, but the Spectrum-approved modem still comes with identical specifications and a physical on/off button for easy rebooting.

View on Amazon

Best modem for Spectrum Internet Ultra plan: Motorola MB7621

Price: $77.98*
Channels: 24×8
DOCSIS Standard: DOCSIS 3.0

*Amazon.com price (as of 1/15/21 1:14 MST). Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • 24×8 channel support
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • Larger compared to typical modems

With DOCSIS 3.0 and a 24×8 channel setup, the Motorola MB7621 will help you consistently hit Spectrum Internet Ultra’s 400 Mbps download speeds and keeps you up-to-date in case of future Spectrum updates. Modems are generally built to withstand long-term use, but Motorola still offers a lengthy two-year warranty that gives you extra insurance in case of hardware issues.

The MB7621 also includes a physical on/off button that makes reboots easy and keeps you from crawling under the desk every time your internet needs a reset. But at 7.25 inches deep, the MB7621 can take up slightly more space than most modems.

CableTV.com also recommends: NETGEAR CM600

The NETGEAR CM600 is slightly pricier than the MB7621 and has a shorter one-year warranty, which makes it our runner-up model. But you’ll still get the same specifications like 24×8 channel and DOCSIS 3.0 support, along with a physical on/off button.

View on Amazon

Best modem for Spectrum Internet Gig plan: ARRIS S33

Price: $169.99
Channels: 32×8
DOCSIS Standard: DOCSIS 3.1

*Amazon.com price (as of 1/15/21 1:14 MST). Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Gigabit-capable 32×8 and DOCSIS 3.1 support
  • Stylish design
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • No on/off button

Along with instant support for Spectrum Internet Gig, the ARRIS S33 features a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port and a secondary 1 Gbps Ethernet port. Most home users won’t need the second port, but if you’re technically fluent or a business owner, it can be used for complex networking applications like port bonding.

The S33 comes in a slick smart home speaker-like design that makes it less of an eyesore than most cable modems. But at the S33’s premium price point, we would have liked to see a physical on/off button to make rebooting and maintenance easy.

CableTV.com also recommends: Motorola MB8600

On specifications and price, the MB8600 stands neck and neck with the S33. Although the Motorola’s 1 Gbps Ethernet support made it our runner-up versus the S33’s 2.5 Gbps support, the modem still features four total Ethernet ports for port bonding and multiple IP addresses.

View on Amazon

Best modem/Wi-Fi router combo for Spectrum: ARRIS SBG7400AC2

Price: $147.00
Channels: 24×8
DOCSIS Standard: DOCSIS 3.0

*Amazon.com price (as of 1/15/21 1:14 MST). Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Has a user-friendly design

Cons

  • Lacks a power button
  • Has an inconvenient front-facing USB port

Generally, modem/Wi-Fi router combo devices offer convenience but lack strong hardware features and Wi-Fi performance. But if space is your biggest concern, and you don’t need a high-end Wi-Fi network setup, the ARRIS SBG7400AC2 can be a strong fit for your home with features that make your Wi-Fi network easier to use.

Along with current generation Wi-Fi features like dual-band support, the front of the combo modem/router includes a USB port for adding network-accessible storage and a WPS button to easily connect wireless devices. The ARRIS also works with Spectrum’s Internet and Internet Ultra plans, which gives you flexibility if you need to upgrade your internet package in the future.

However, the ARRIS lacks a power button for quick reboots if your cable modem is having connectivity problems. The front-facing USB port is also a minor inconvenience, since traditional rear-facing USB ports simplify cable management by keeping your thumb drive or hard drive out of view.

What to look for in Spectrum-compatible modems

Modems act as the bridge between Spectrum’s network and your home, which makes it important to get a model with the right specifications. We’ll cover the basics for Spectrum subscribers, but check out CableTV.com’s cable modem buyers guide to learn more about modems.

Download speeds

When you’re modem shopping, you’ll see manufacturers tout download speeds of “up to” any given number.

Think of these numbers like your car engine — your car engine might technically reach 140 miles per hour, but you’ll never hit those speeds on the road. In practice, real-world modem performance gets capped by factors like network traffic and provider policies.

For consistent internet speeds, ignore the marketing number and just make sure your modem isn’t faster or slower than your Spectrum plan.

If you have a 400 Mbps Spectrum Internet Ultra package with a 100 Mbps modem, your modem will cap downloads at 100 Mbps. If you’re paying for a 100 Mbps Spectrum internet package with a 1 Gbps modem, you’ll still get 100 Mbps download speeds and have modem performance that’ll be unused.

Channels

Channel bonding refers to the number of download and upload channels available on your modem.

For instance, a 16×4 modem has 16 downstream and 4 upstream channels that act like pipelines to the internet. On paper, more channels translates to faster maximum upload and download speeds, but real-world internet performance depends on provider and network factors.

The chart below shows our minimum recommendations for modem channels based on your Spectrum plan.

Spectrum plan
Spectrum Internet
Spectrum Internet Ultra
Spectrum Internet Gig
Minimum modem channels
8×4
24×8
32×8

DOCSIS

DOCSIS, which stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, is a modem hardware standard for data transfer speeds. We recommend using only DOCSIS 3.0 modems for Spectrum Internet or Internet Ultra plans, and DOCSIS 3.1 modems for Spectrum Internet Gig.

If you’re not planning to get Spectrum Internet Gig soon, don’t worry about buying a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. You won’t significantly improve your download speeds, and DOCSIS 3.1 modems are still expensive compared to DOCSIS 3.0 models.

Our final take

Spectrum’s free modem rentals might save you money, but purchasing your own modem offers longer-term value.

With the NETGEAR CM400 on the Spectrum Internet plan, Motorola MB7621 on Spectrum Internet Ultra, ARRIS S33 for Spectrum Internet Gig subscribers, and ARRIS SBG7400AC2 for combo Wi-Fi router/modem users, you’ll have hardware that can support high download speeds and reliably run for years to come.

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Spectrum-compatible modem FAQ

What modem works best with Spectrum?

The best Spectrum Internet modem is a model that’s approved for your Spectrum internet plan. You’ll maximize your potential download speeds by matching a modem to your internet plan.

Modem
NETGEAR CM400
Motorola MB7621
ARRIS S33
ARRIS SBG7400AC2
Recommended Spectrum plan
Spectrum Internet (Up to 100 Mbps) View on Amazon
Spectrum Internet Ultra (Up to 400 Mbps) View on Amazon
Spectrum Internet Gig (Up to 940 Mbps) View on Amazon
Spectrum Internet/Internet Ultra (Up to 400 Mbps) View on Amazon

*Amazon.com Price; $10.00 (as of 6/17/19 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.

What type of modem does Spectrum use?

Spectrum works with modems from manufacturers including ARRIS, Motorola, and NETGEAR. Spectrum’s website has an updated list of approved modems. We’d avoid using any of the modems that Spectrum lists as minimally qualified, because they may provide inconsistent download speeds.

How many modems can you have with Spectrum?

Spectrum doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of modems you can have per address, but you’ll need to pay for a separate subscription for each modem.

For example, you could have one Spectrum Internet Ultra subscription for a household and a separate Spectrum Internet Gig subscription if a family member runs a business from home.

But in most cases, you’ll rarely need multiple modems to solve Spectrum Wi-Fi problems for a house. Common internet problems can be solved by troubleshooting your internet issues or upgrading to a new Wi-Fi router.

Will Spectrum give me a new modem?

If you use a Spectrum-provided free modem, the company will give you a new modem if it changes download speeds or discontinues your prior model.

However, Spectrum will not give you new hardware if you aren’t using its provided modem or Spectrum router. At CableTV.com, we’re always pro-free equipment, but hey, everyone has to draw the line somewhere.

Should I use a Spectrum modem or buy my own?

Spectrum’s cable Internet modems have no rental fee, which makes it convenient if you want to save money. However, buying your own Spectrum-compatible modem gets you access to current and more reliable hardware.

If you leave Spectrum, you could also bring your personal modem to your new provider, depending on the modem’s compatibility.

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