Best Cable Modems For Spectrum 2020: Top 3 Reviewed
If you are paying a rental fee for Spectrum, you are in need of buying your own modem. In other words, nobody wants an extra charge every month on an internet bill. However, if you are reading this article – the best cable modems for Spectrum, chances are you’ve already taken the right decision and want to get rid of that rental fee.
Finding the a perfect modem for Spectrum, Cox, Comcast, or any other ISPs, is not easy as there are so many options available on the market that claim – they are approved and compatible with Spectrum or your ISP. But they are not, and most of the time, we end up buying the wrong modem.
Don’t worry! I’ll let you know what modems you should buy In 2020. I tested more than 19 modems and made a list of top three out of them.
So here are my best three Spectrum Compatible modems for 2020:
1. Netgear Nighthawk CM1000 – Overall Best For Spectrum Internet
- DOCSIS 3.1 Compatible (OFDM)
- 32x downstream and 8x upstream
- Up to 1Gbps download speeds
- Ports: 1X LAN Ethernet, 1x WAN
- IPv6 Internet Protocol supported
The Netgear CM1000 is DOCSIS 3.1 technology-supported modem. It is one of the fastest modems on the market that supports the major cable providers in the US, including Spectrum. Despite being DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem, it is backward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0. It looks more elegant compared to the previous model CM700, and it is available only in black matte finish with a polyhedron-shaped case. Moreover, it can only be positioned vertically, not horizontally. Therefore, it is not mountable.
On the hardware side, it is equipped with a Broadcom BCM3390 chipset – the chipset that is known for heavy-duty handling tasks, such as 4K HD streaming and multi-user gaming with ease.
Pros & Cons:
- It is compatible with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 and the older DOCSIS 3.0.
- It is Comcast, Cox, and, of course, Spectrum certified modem.
- The design is quite elegant and light-weight; it only weighs 0.84lbs.
- The set up is super easy; it only requires 5 minutes.
- It ensures 4K HD streaming and Multi-user gaming.
- It supports Spectrum cable Internet plans with the maximum speeds up to 1Gbps.
I don’t like:
- It doesn’t include the Link Aggregation feature.
The Netgear Nighthawk CM1000 is my all-time favorite cable modem, especially for Spectrum Internet Service Provider. However, compared to the Motorola Arris SB8200 (the second modem on the list), it doesn’t look that compact to me.
Moreover, I am afraid it is a bit expensive option for the average users. But keeping all its features in mind, I can recommend this modem to people who have high-speed Internet plans up to 1Gbps.
2. ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 – The Runner-up Modem For Spectrum
- DOCSIS 3.1 Compatible (up to 10+ Gbps)
- 32×8 Channel Bonding
- 2xRJ-45 Ethernet Ports
- Internet Protocols IPv4 & IPv6 supported
- A 2-year limited warranty
The Arris Surfboard SB8200 is the second DOCSIS 3.1 compatible modem for spectrum Internet. It features 32×8 channel bonding (32 download QAM + 8 upload Channels). Unlike CM1000, SB8200 has two Rj-45 Ethernet Ports. These unusual-looking two ethernet ports set this modem apart from its competition as they allow you to create two separate home networks from the modem.
When it comes to the design – Like all the previous models – this SB8200 looks the same. Like CM1000, it is also equipped with the same chipset, a Broadcom BCM3390. Arris claims that the modem can go up to 5+ Gbps download speeds, while the two Gigabit Ethernet ports can deliver up to 1Gbps each.
Pros & Cons:
- It is compatible with DOCSIS 3.1 and the older DOCSIS 3.0.
- Unlike the CM1000, it can be mounted on the wall.
- It is simple and quite straightforward to set up and install.
- The Link Aggregation feature is possible through its ports, meaning two separate home networks from the modem.
- It supports Spectrum Internet Plans that offer speed up to 400Mbps.
I don’t like:
- Some features can not be used with Spectrum ISP.
The SB8200 is a premium looking, well-built modem for Spectrum. It is far better than its previous model, SB6190. In other words, Arris is regaining its trust with this model. After CM1000, I can say this modem is the second excellent option for you when it comes to Spectrum Internet Service Provider. Plus, it is less expensive than CM1000.
3. MOTOROLA MB8600 Docsis 3.1– Budget-friendly Option
- Spectrum Compatible, up to 1000Mbps plan
- DOCSIS 3.1 Supported
- 32×8 Channel Bonding
- 1x Gigabit Ethernet Port
- 6Gbps Maximum Download Speed
This is the third Spectrum compatible modem to join DOCSIS 3.1. Plus, a 32×8 Channel bonding ensures the fastest internet throughout your home. Despite being DOCSIS 3.1 compatible, the Motorola MB8600 supports the older DOCSIS 3.0 (SCQAM). Unlike Motorola’s Arris series, this Zoom’s series looks entirely different. Thus MB8600 uses an elliptic-cylindrical plastic case, and it comes in grey matte color along with a glossy black finished bottom section. So the overall design is quite elegant.
On the hardware side, it has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. It is equipped with a robust Broadcom chipset, which allows you to connect multiple devices at the same time.
Pros & Cons:
- The connectivity of the modem is incredible – no signal drop or signal issues.
- It is DOCSIS 3.1 compatible and supports Spectrum’s 1Gbps cable internet plan.
- Like Arris surfboard and Netgear CM1000, it is quite easy to setup. The Web-interface is fully feature-packed.
- The Broadcom Chipset offers advanced security from denial of service attacks.
- It offers a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
I don’t like:
- No issues so far.
Comparatively, the Motorola MB8600 is not as powerful as the above-mentioned Spectrum’s modems. Like Arris Surfboard SB8200, MB8600 also features Link aggregation – it makes it future-proof; however, it is common in 2020. When it comes to pricing, the MB8600 is not that expensive as we see the other two. Moreover, it offers Spectrum Analyzer and handles a Gigabit data plan with ease. So, overall it is worth the money.
Buying Guide: How to buy the best Spectrum Compatible Cable Modem?
The compatibility with your ISP – whether it is Spectrum, Cox, Verizon fios, or any other, you have to make sure that the modem you intend to buy will work with your ISP. However, most popular Internet Service providers, including Spectrum, are DOCSIS 3.0 compatible. You can check here.
Speed (upload & download):
If you are familiar with the modems, chances you’re also aware of their upload & download speeds. It is one of the most important things to consider about modems. These speeds can let us know how powerful they are. However, you might have noticed that download & upload speeds are always different from each other – they can’t be the same because upload speeds are always much slower than the download speeds, depending on the ISPs.
For example, if your ISP – Spectrum, which offers you any high-speed 1Gbps plan, it means your modem should be capable of pulling that much of speed from Spectrum. In simple words, you should never buy an extremely fast modem until you have a high-speed internet plan.
The design of a modem has never been a factor to consider; however, in 2020, we can’t go for a modem that looks weird. Thus, we need to consider the size of a modem. It would be better to have a compact, light-weight modem so that it can easily mix up with other equipment in your home.
First off, the term DOCSIS stands for ‘Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.’ ISPs use various types of protocols in order to provide you internet. Thus, DOCSIS is one of them. Spectrum, Cox, and Comcast are the companies that offer internet service through a coaxial cable. Where DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 are nothing but version numbers.
Most modems these days, especially in 2020, uses DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 protocols. Comparatively, DOCSIS 3.1 compatible modems are faster and a better investment until you have a faster Internet service plan subscribed.
What is the difference between DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 Spectrum modems?
DOCSIS 3.0 was released a decade ago. You can say it is an older version that used to be popular before the arrival of DOCSIS 3.1. Therefore, Major ISPs, in the US, have upgraded to the 3.1 DOCSIS standard. That’s why all the modems listed up above are compatible with DOCSIS 3.1 protocol standard. However, all of them are backward compatible, too, as some internet service providers still don’t support DOCSIS 3.1 except Cox, Spectrum, and Comcast.
What do Spectrum Cable Modems cost?
It depends on the modem you intend to buy. For example, 16×4 channel bonding spectrum compatible modems are cheaper and cost you somewhere between $50 and $70. 24×8 models might cost you around $90 to $120 until you go for refurbished models. However, if you want to buy a DOCSIS 3.1 spectrum modem, you have to pay more than DOCSIS 3.0 for the same channel bonding. The first modem on our list – CM1000 is DOCSIS 3.1 compatible and features 32×8 channel bonding, which costs around $160 to $180.
All the modems for Spectrum Internet listed up above are DOCSIS 3.1 and backward-compatible. The Netgear Nighthawk CM1000 is an excellent investment for those who want a premium quality yet powerful modem in terms of performance, features, and security. It is certified by Spectrum, Cox, and Comcast. Meaning, it is going to be a future-proof option for you.
The Arris Surfboard SB8200 can be an ideal choice for those who want a modem that can handle Ultra-HD streaming and high-performance gaming at the same time as it offers 32×8 channel bonding. Arris also claims that it is capable of delivering twice the speed of the previous model (DOCSIS 3.0).
The third Spectrum approved modem on the list is Motorola’s MB8600. It comes from the same DOCSIS 3.1 family. Like CM1000 and SB8200, it also has 32 Download and eight Upload channels. Comparatively, it lacks some features; thus, it is in the third position.