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It's no secret that we think cord cutting alternatives have cable beat in every possible department. Saying goodbye to cable is a no-brainer when you can say hello to the huge content libraries available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Instant Video. With a little ingenuity, cord cutters can even replace appointment viewing programs like live sports. And yes, that includes NFL football.

But, of course, there is one thing that cord cutters do have to worry about. When you're plugged into cable, your programs will run smoothly and without interruption (well, maybe not if you're a Comcast customer). But when you're a cord cutter, you rely on your internet connection to keep things streaming smoothly. Determining how many Mbps you want to pay for is the easy part, but what about your modem? If you have an underperforming modem, you may not be getting the full internet speeds that you're paying for. And, of course, a modem that breaks down completely will end your streaming instantly.

None of that is fun, which is why we're here to help you get the best cable modem for your money. We've pored over reviews, user feedback, and the work done by other respected sites (like CNET and The Wirecutter) to compile a super-list of the best modems around. We've updated our 2015 list a bit for 2016, and we'll be back again every year to make sure that this list is always up to date.

1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6141

ARRIS SURFboard SB6141Price:

Download: up to 343 Mbps
Upload: up to 131 Mbps
Supports: DOCSIS 3.0, IPv4; IPv6
Providers: Comcast/Xfinity, Cox, Charter, Time Warner, Mediacom, Bright House

Reviews and User Feedback

The SURFboard is a popular pick because it's highly compatible. It's able to handle the highest bandwidth options from nearly all of the major ISPs in the United States (sorry, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse subscribers, but you are the two groups ones who are out of luck). Amazon users are pretty fired up about it, too – it has 4.4 stars out of 5, with 71% of users giving it full marks. It's the top-selling modem on Amazon, as well as the most wished-for. On top of all that, it's The Wirecutter's favorite modem. The SURFboard SB6141 is almost certainly more than enough for your needs, but if you're a power user with a bigger budget, keep scrolling and meet the SB6141's big brother!

2. ARRIS SURFboard SB6183

ARRIS SURFboard SB6183Price:

Download: 686 Mbps
Upload: 131 Mbps
Supports: DOCSIS 3.0, IPv4; IPv6
Providers: Comcast/Xfinity, Cox, Charter, Time Warner, Mediacom, Bright House

Reviews and User Feedback

This is the higher-end version of the SB6141, and it's a favorite of internet power users. It's not hard to see why – just look at that download speed! The higher-end SURFboard has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon and was the top pick on a r/cordcutters discussion on this very topic. It's also the top-rated modem on Google shopping. You can't go wrong with the SURFboard family of modems – just make sure that you check for compatibility (like its cheaper cousin, the SB6183 won't get along with FiOS or U-verse). The Wirecutter liked this one, too.

3. D-Link DCM 301

D-Link DCM 301Price:

Download: up to 343Mbps
Upload: up to 150Mbps
Supports: DOCSIS 3.0; IPv6
Providers: Comcast/Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, and more

Reviews and User Feedback

The DCM 301 has a 4.5/5 rating on Amazon, and it's earned good reviews on all major dealer sites. The consistent sentiment in the reviews is that the DCM is faster than their ISP-provided modem. ¢€œWhen I switch to this modem my ping went up majorly from average of 33ms to 11ms,¢€ Dale C. explained over on NewEgg. Good for you, Dale!

4. Linksys DPC3008-CC


Download: up to 340 Mbps
Upload: up to 120 Mbps
Supports: DOCSIS 3.0, 2.0 and 1.1; IPv6
Providers: Comcast only

Reviews and User Feedback

This Linksys model is useless to a lot of you, but it's favorite of Comcast users. Despite only being good for one provider, it's a bestseller on Amazon with an average rating of 4.0/5 stars. It isn't quite as versatile as some of the others on this list, but it gets the job done reliably and for a good price.



Download: 340 Mbps
Upload: 131Mbps
Supports: DOCSIS 3.0,
Providers: Cablevision, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Comcast/Xfinity, and more

Reviews and User Feedback

The NETGEAR CM400's 3.2/5 rating on Amazon is the lowest for any modem on this list, but it's worth noting that cheaper modems get hit with more uninformed reviews on big sites like Amazon. It does better on sites like NewEgg (4 out of 5 stars) and in professional reviews. The WireCutter has noted that it matches the more expensive modems in Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter compatibility. Your faithful blogger (that's me) has also used this one, and I've never had any issues.

6. Zoom 5341

Zoom 5341Price:

Download: up to 343 Mbps
Upload: up to 143 Mbps
Supports: DOCSIS 3.0, 2.0, and 1.1; IPv6; IPv4
Providers: Comcast/Xfinity, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Cable ONE, and others

Reviews and User Feedback

The Zoom boasts a healthy 4.5 stars on Amazon, and it's garnered praise all over the internet. Reddit user creamersrealm calls it ¢€œrock solid.¢€ Yep, we're out there checking in on you cord cutters on Reddit. You teach us as much as we teach you!

A Final Word About Modems: Don't Be Intimidated

If you're new to modem shopping, don't worry too much about all of the numbers we threw around up there. When you get right down to it, most modems are pretty simple devices. All of the ones above support the same standard (DOCSIS 3.0) and are therefore pretty similar. What we've done is select the ones that are most reliable, the best deals for your money, and best-loved by cord cutters and power users. That's all.

When you're ready to go modem shopping, all you'll really need is to find the one that works with your internet service provider (ISP). We've listed the latest compatibility information for all of our picks above, but you'll want to check your ISP's website for their ¢€œrecommended¢€ list just in case. Here's an example from Time Warner Cable. Your ISP will have its own version; just search for it on their website.

Disagree With Us?

If you've had a great experience with a modem that didn't make this list, we'd love to hear from you! Just leave your suggestions in the comments.

3 thoughts on “The Best Cable Modems

  1. Avatar Cooper says:

    Thanks, Stephen, good article about modems! Now, how about an article on routers, and maybe a discussion about the actual functions and shortcomings of each device? I bet that would help a lot of people out there.

  2. Avatar Cooper says:

    Never mind!!! I was just browsing your site and found the article on routers, and my TP Link Archer C7 was on it!

  3. Avatar Lisa says:

    Please explain the reason that a separate modem and router is better and recommended placement of them. We cut the cord in less than a month and have an Arris surfboard combo but have always had dead spaces. Thanks for your great advice and articles!

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