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Top 10 Best Modems of 2018 – Top Options That Pay for Themselves Over Time!

By Dev Gupta / September 20, 2018

In the United States, as well as across the world, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) rent modems to their subscribers. In the majority of cases, these are low-cost modems that can't provide a smooth Web browsing experience. So, buying your own modem solves two important issues. You don't have to rent one, which means that you'll cut down on the monthly cost. Also, let's now forget that buying the best modem according to your needs will provide a reliable Internet connectivity.

To help you pick the right product, we have taken a look at dozens of modems offering different specs aimed at different types of users. Therefore, we will list the top ten best modems you can find on the market today. Make sure to read the following information carefully and pick the best modem you can get.

1. ARRIS SURFboard SB-6141

One of two things works if you are trying to build a network of your own. You are either someone that knows a great deal about networking. Or, you have started learning about it. No matter to which of these groups you belong, you'll find that this model is one of the most versatile as well one of the most budget-friendly modems on the market.

At the moment, cable modems have a distinct advantage over wireless ones as far as speeds are concerned. But the ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 is in a league of its own. The DOCSIS 3.0 technology clubs up to 12 channels, eight downstream and four upstream. This allows the modem to generate a total speed of up to 343 Mbps. Do, if you're using moderately fast cable Internet, this device will fit your needs. Of course, it brings an incredibly wide compatibility with pretty much every popular ISP out there.

2. TP-Link Archer CR-700

A smart option to shop for a modem is to go for a device that is a combination of a modem and a router. The TP-Link Archer CR-700 is a two-in-one device that clubs a Wireless AC router with a heavy duty modem. The amalgamation promises to build you a reliable home network.

The modem in itself is a fantastic one. It revs up 1750 Mbps of Wi-Fi speed with two adjacent frequencies (2.4GHz and 5GHz). You get 450 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz. That gives you a combined speed of 1750 Mbps – which is quite spectacular.

For better throughput, the modem allows bonding of 4 upstream and 16 downstream channels. You also get high-power amplifiers and six internal antennas to cut down interference and boost signal strength. The modem promises you a breezy setup. But do not hesitate the 24/7 tech support team should there be a glitch.

3. Motorola MB-7621

When looking at a bunch of modems, you will see that most of them seem close to identical. There are some standout features here and there but nothing to brag about. Well, one this is sure when it comes to Motorola MB-7621 - it checks all the right boxes, and then some more.

If you take a look at reviews posted by Amazon users, you'll see that many are praising this modem's reliable performance. This isn't as surprising considering this product's specifications. It brings 24 downstream and 4 upstream channels and supports download speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. This means that you are free to use any ISP plan bringing speeds up to 650 Mbps, without any fear of having any problems. On top of this, the Motorola MB-7621 comes with a nice-looking design and sturdy body. With all this said, we'd like to recommend this product as one of the best modems for gaming.

4. Motorola AC1900 Wi-Fi + Modem Combo

A cable modem and a router sitting next to one another is one device too many. That is why we have the Motorola AC1900 WiFi Gigabit modem and router. If you live in an apartment (or house) with limited room, this could just be the one wireless modem you need.

You might complain the Motorola AC1900 is a bit on the pricier side. But it’s also one of the most reliable modems around, offering speeds up to 686 Mbps. There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow you to plug into crazy internet speeds just about any time you want.

Above and beyond the terrific speeds, the modem can broadcast at dual frequency bands of 2.5GHz and 5GHz. In addition, there is a Wireless Power Boost that brings the signal to your device irrespective of where you are inside your home. Another major plus is that the AC1900 is certified to almost every major ISP out there.

5. D-Link DCM-301 Cable Modem

When it comes to today's modems, they are designed the same and have very little variations in design. It is the only speed that differentiates. A large of that depends on the network setup at your place. However, if you are cash-crunched, throw a look at the DCM-301 from D-Link.

The DCM-301 is very affordable compared to other wireless modems. The modem enlists DOCSIS 3.0 which is almost eight times faster than DOCSIS 2.0. It returns you download speeds of up to 320 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

The D-Link DM-301 cable modem also has the potential to give you a full-fledged home network solution. All you need to do is connect it to a cloud router or a storage device attached to the network. If you are fighting the weight of your present modem, you will definitely appreciate the smaller footprint of the DCM-301.

6. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900

So you have penned down fast Internet access as a skill on your job resume? You have assured clients/gamers/bosses that your Internet is the fastest. Be it 4K gaming or HD video streams, the show never stops for you. If this is you, welcome to the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900.

The Nighthawk is a total race hound with support for some of the fastest speeds there is on offer. It revs up to 960 Mbps and supports two bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz). There are 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of the modem and a USB 2.0 port that lets you find your fastest broadcasts and speeds.

Even if you have a large apartment or house, the Nighthawk lets you broadcast WiFi all around the house, thanks to its intuitive design. The modem is suited for the highest internet plans offered by Comcast Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum. However, this might not be the case if your internet use is limited.

7. ARRIS SURFboard SB-6183

You are already reaping gigabit speeds if you have a fiber optic network connection. Or are you? For most of humanity, 1Gbps speeds will never be required. More importantly, such high speeds might not be worth someone’s money in the first place. However, if you are a hardened online gamer or have several internet-intensive people in the house, gigabit internet is a 'yes, please.'

Gigabit internet will also cost more than your average network connection. You may need a fresh ISP. And you can only hope that your local network provider will connect your home with optic cables. If all these happen to be true, go for the ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 modem.

The modem gives you download speeds of about 686 Mbps. Yes, you will need to invest some money in it. But after a while, you might as well forget the last time you saw buffering on a 4K video.

8. NETGEAR CM500-1AZNAS

The CM500-1AZNAS from NETGEAR is a smart and simple device with speed outputs of up to 680 Mbp3.s. Yes, it’s a mean device when it comes to naked speed. For one, the CM500-1AZNAS handles just about any kind of competition. The modem is compatible with the likes of Windows XP and later and typically does well with just about any OS.

In addition, the CM500-1AZNAS modem is compatible with (almost) every cable internet provider in the market. The list includes Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, and Comcast Xfinity among others. However, there is no support for bundled voice services that some people are still using.

If you speak of straight functionality, the cable can handle 16 downloads and 4 uploads – all at the same time. There is also support for 4K and HD video streaming. If you consider all these features, the modem is a total steal at the price point.

9. ASUS CM-16

While routers can come in all shapes and sizes, the same couldn't be said for modems. This is why we wanted to give you one option for the best-designed modem. That would be Asus' CM-16 model.

We can't see this is one of the most powerful products of its kind. However, even advanced users would find it more than sufficient. It has 16 downstream channels and 4 upstream channels. In theory, this means that it's capable of handling download speeds of up to 686 Mbps. According to numerous reports on Amazon, you can use this router if you have a plan that offers up to 400 Mbps - which is more than plenty.

Finally, we'd like to highlight the fact that the Asus CM-16 is a really nice-looking device. It comes in a compact form that won't stand out in your room. There are patterned side panels and a series of LED indicators on the front side. We think you're going to love it.

10. TP-Link TC-7620

The last but not the least of all the options in this article is TP-Link's TC-7620. This modem comes with 16 downstream channels (up to 686 Mbps) and 4 upstream channels (up to 143 Mbps). It's also compatible with all major US-based ISPs. And since it's powered by DOCSIS 3.0, you can take advantage of this product's fast and steady performance.

When it comes to some of the notable reviews published by Amazon users, many are praising this model's easy setup. All you have to do is to connect your new cable modem to the existing Internet cable in your home and launch a Web browser. You'll be greeted by an online activation process which should not take more than a few minutes. Also, you need to know that the TC-7620 works without any problems on Internet plans of up to 300 Mbps.

What Else to Know About Buying a Modem?

As you probably know, ISPs charge a monthly fee for renting routers. This means that buying one for yourself is an investment that can pay off in less than a year. However, how to pick the modem that will serve you for a long time? Let's take a look.

How Did We Find the Best Cable Modems on the Market?

The best modem out there needs to meet a set of certain requirements. First of all, you want a modem that's quality made and that'll last for a long time. Then, you need to pick a modem that supports fast download speeds and that's easy to set up. And finally, we're sure you don't want to spend a fortune on this kind of device.

To help you during your search with on-point examples, we have taken a look at a large range of modems made by different manufacturers. We want this article to be as helpful as possible, and this is why we've tried to come up with a diversified list - suiting different needs and budgets. No matter which product you pick from this list, you can be sure that you won't make a mistake.

What to Look for in a Cable Modem?

An important requirement before buying a modem is to have an active subscription at an ISP of your choice. Then, you supply your own equipment. Based on which ISP you pick and how fast you want your Web connection to be, here's what you need to keep in mind.

Compatibility With ISPs

In this article, we are talking about cable modems. This means that these products are made for cable Internet provided by companies like Comcast, Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox and more. There are different types of Internet connectivity protocols, like DSL, fiber, and satellite. Each of these requires special equipment. This means that a single modem can't work with all of the possible types of Internet connections.

Ethernet Cable

As noted above, our list of the best modems offers products certified by numerous popular cable Internet providers. However, it's always wise to double-check if a router is compatible with your ISP.

Desired Speed & Performance

One of the important aspects of choosing a modem is your current Internet plan. As you can see above, different models allow different download and upload speeds. This means that you need to know how to pick the correct model that can fully use your Web connection.

In general, today's modems support speeds of up to 300 Mbps but there are exceptions, of course. If you plan on upgrading to a faster Web connection in the future, make sure to pick a model that can accommodate that decision.

Consider the Value

The main goal should be to buy a device that will pay off by itself in less than a year. So, buying a modem with a 2-year warranty should always do the trick. Also, make sure that you pick a model that can future-proof your decisions. Perhaps a 16x4 modem is a perfect decision right now, will it serve you equally well in two years - after you upgrade to a costlier plan?

Should You Go for a Modem or Router?

Modems use cables supply the Internet connection to your devices. These are some clear benefits here, where the biggest one is related to performance. Ethernet connections are very reliable and they deliver high speeds. However, maybe you also need to use a Wi-Fi and this is where routers come into play.

If you want to connect a large number of devices to the Web, a router is a way to go. To help you with this, we offer an overview of the best routers right now. Of course, this is where you'll find less and more powerful models. So, take a look at the best gaming routers as well if you need something more powerful.

Final Thoughts

The modem in your house or apartment influences your internet connection in more ways than you can imagine. Whether you are spending $70 or $200 on it, you won’t be buying another modem for a while. So, we encourage you to do more research and read customer reviews on any of the above modems that you choose to buy.

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