10 Best Cable Modems of 2017

If you have been looking for the perfect cable modem, your search is over because here are the best cable modems available today!

  • March 09, 2017

Initially, investing in a new cable modem might appear to be an expensive affair. Down the line, using a cable modem will provide users with huge savings. Monthly home internet plans are quite pricey and buying an Internet modem makes sense because in the long term, you do not have to pay for the monthly plans and this is where you make huge savings. There is also no need to continue paying the monthly equipment charge because you can purchase your cable modem and still get better Internet. However, it is not just about the money because you get better equipment than what you rent from the company after you buy your modem. When you move anywhere, you can take the cable modem with you and avoid the inconvenience of returning the leased equipment.

You need a good cable modem to get rid of the congestion on your home network because you do not want to deal with slow Internet speeds. You will never experience these problems with a cable modem. The chances are that you are probably paying for Internet services that your rented modem is unable to handle. If you pay for 100 Mbps for example and your rented modem can only handle 50 Mbps, you are losing out on the 50 Mbps. Knowing why some modems can handle certain speed and other cannot is essential. You will not get this type of information from the cable company. The review below will help you determine which cable modem is right for you.

1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Product at a glance:

  1. Suitable for almost all cable internet providers
  2. Fast enough and you need not worry about bottlenecks on your network
  3. Quite robust and durable and will serve users for years to come
  4. A well-designed housing provides it with great operating temperatures helping its lifespan and your utility bill
  5. Excellent quality at an affordable cost

The Arris Motorola SB6141 is the best modem available on the market today because of its high compatibility and excellent performance. There are not too many cable modems in the market for users to choose from as compared to wireless routers. Nonetheless, not many modems can match up to the Arris Motorola SB6141 because it provides users with excellent equivalence, performance benchmarks, and design when compared to its competitors. The speeds of the modem are sufficiently fast, and users should not be apprehensive about it becoming an impediment to their home network.

Regarding performance, the Arris Motorola SB6141 has a comprehensive range of compatibility because it can work with about ten cable internet providers in the US. Moreover, it is compatible with the four largest cable companies in the US namely Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, and Cox. You can have a smooth upgrade to the Arris Motorola SB6141, and in future, should you decide to change your internet service providers, you can still keep on using this modem. The Arris Motorola SB6141 has eight downstream data channels and contains four upstream data channels. The download speeds are 343 Mbps, and the download streams are 131 Mbps, not many internet speeds are as fast.

The design of the Arris Motorola SB6141 is very impressive as well. Its housing is robust, scratch-resistant and durable. It has been made using solid plastic that can withstand the test of time, and routine wear and tear will not be visible on the cable modem. The housing acts as a protective covering to the circuit board, and this is where you find the processor of the cable modem as well as other essential peripherals. The device also has sufficient ventilation. It was able to get to complete functionality in less than 36 seconds from an unpowered state. Compared to other cable modems in its category, this is a little slower although it is certainly not the slowest. The speeds of Netgear and CM400 and the Zoom 5341J are much faster, but this does not invalidate the fact that the Arris Motorola SB6141 is still the best modem available on the market today. The Arris Motorola SB6141 also does very well in temperature tests. It is efficient with power and works well in low temperature, meaning that its life expectancy will be enhanced.

The Arris Motorola SB6141 also has a gigabit Ethernet port meaning that it can communicate with a wireless router. It does not have a power button and has no reset button, but not many modems have these. As a result, you have to unplug the modem and then plug it back in when you need to restart it. Having no button can be a slight source of irritation, but the modem is still worth it. When you buy the Arris Motorola SB6141, you will get 24/7 live support, and it carries a two-year warranty.

2. Arris Motorola SB6121

Product at a glance:

  1. Works with most cable internet providers
  2. Has great average operating temperature giving it a longer lease of life and uses power well
  3. Supports a Gigabit Ethernet connection between computer and cable modem giving you a faster Ethernet connection
  4. Has a slim upright design that’s quite convenient for desktop placement and does not occupy much space
  5. Can use up to 8 channels of downstream for a max speed of about 343 Mbps. Which is faster than most cable modems

The Arris Motorola SB6121 is a first-rate cable modem that will work for most people. The fact that it is compatible with all but one of the major cable internet providers in the US is a significant advantage. It also has a spectacular performance and conforms to the standards that I would consider when trying to find the best cable modems. In all aspects, this modem is quite similar to another product by Motorola, the Arris Motorola SB6141, which we have reviewed above. The one significant difference is that the SB6121 contains 4 x 4 channel bonding as contrasted to the SB6141 designed with 8 x 4 channel bonding. Like the SB6141, the SB6121 is compatible the four top cable companies in the US namely Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, and Cox. The cable modem has download speeds of 72 Mbps and upload speeds of 31 Mbps. The speed is sufficiently fast for most people because most use internets speed that doesn't surpass 100 Mbps. Its operating temperature is also impressive 87.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is one of the lowest. It handles power well, and by running as cool as possible, it enjoys a longer lifespan.

Since the SB6121 has 4 x 4 channel bonding, it provides you with four channels for uploading and four when you are downloading. The SB6141 has double the download speed when compared to the SB6121. There is not of much significance unless your internet connection is above 100 Mbps. The Arris Motorola SB6121 cable modem also provides for a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and this means that you get faster computer connections. Like its sibling, the Arris Motorola SB6121 does not have a reset button, and neither does it have a power button, and you must plug and unplug it. Having no buttons is not much of a problem but still would have been a chic solution. When you buy the Arris Motorola SB6121, you will get 24/7 live support, and it carries a two-year warranty. Because of superior download capacity, the SB6121 is edged out by the SB6141. This cable modem is equipment that you can take with you when you move and will last for years to come. These are factors that you should consider when buying the Arris Motorola SB6121 cable modem.

3. Netgear CM400

Product at a glance:

  1. Operates under comparably lower temperature
  2. Very strong and durable cable modem with fast upload and download speeds
  3. Good Internet compatibility
  4. Has a Gigabit Ethernet port with auto-sensing technology meaning that the cable modem will not be the bottleneck on your home network

The Netgear CM400 is versatile although it is not the best cable modem around. It will function with most cable internet providers and will ensure that you have fast internet speeds. It has excellent performance, high ISP compatibility, and a modest design, making it good but not better than the Arris Motorola SB6141 and the Arris Motorola SB6121. Some features are excellent with this cable modem but also other features that are not quite commendable.

The Netgear CM400's high compatibility with most cable internet providers is one of its positives. It is an easy cable modem to set up and can work with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox or Charter, as well as many other providers. If you invest in this cable modem, you can still use it in future even if you choose to move because of its high compatibility with most cable internet providers. The cable modems operate with download speeds of 343 Mbps and upload speeds of 131 Mbps. It can handle any fast speed that you get from cable internet providers. This modem also has the lowest housing temperatures at 87.7 degrees Fahrenheit. It is comparatively calm when running and this is a good thing. What this means is that the cable modem will have better durability when compared to other cable modems. It is also very high on power efficiency.

This modem also has no power button meaning that it must be unplugged to be powered down for an extended duration. It does contain a reset button which is convenient for troubleshooting issues with your internet connection. It also has the gigabit Ethernet port, and this guarantees that the Netgear CM400 will not be a hindrance to your home network. This cable modem has a one year warranty. This cable modem might not be the best in the market, but it is big on performance and compatibility. It is a device that will function effectively for most people.

4. D-Link DCM-301

Product at a glance:

  1. Boots up very fast
  2. Will give you access to very fast download and upload speeds
  3. Very simple installation process, all you have to do is plug it and it will work
  4. Very compact modem with solid green LED that let you know the unit is on and connected

The D-Link's DCM-301 is an exceptional cable modem which will provide users with super-fast download and upload speeds. Compared to the cable modems that top the list of the best cable modems, the DCM-301 does not work in compatibility with many cable internet providers. The DCM-301 is very stable in performance because it has the fastest boot-up times. For people that find that this cable modem is compatible with their internet provider, the DCM-301 would be an excellent option. One major disadvantage is that it does not have some features that you will find with the top cable modems.

People who get their Internet services from Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Cox will be pleased that the DCM-301 is compatible with these ISPs. However, the cable modem is not supported by Charter although it also functions on Bright House Networks, Suddenlink Communications, and RCN. If you have an ISP provider with an adequately fast plan, you will get remarkable download and upload speeds from the DCM-301 cable modem. With download speeds of 343 Mbps and upload speeds of 131 Mbps, you need not worry about network congestion. Its boot-up time is what is very impressive because, in less than 30 seconds, it gets from an unpowered state to a state of full functionality. No other cable modem has recorded such a phenomenal boot-up time.

The cable modem also has great operating temperatures at 93 degrees Fahrenheit although its housing is not as cool as the top cable modems. It is not the hottest either although the ideal situation would be for any electronic apparatus for it to be cooler. For people that use subscribe to Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Cox for their ISP, the D-Link DCM-301 cable modem will work just fine. The cable modem is also very effective for people that have a high-tier ISP plan because this is where the cable modem achieves very high speeds. The one issue that disadvantages the DCM-301 is compatibility. It is, therefore, advisable for users to determine if this cable modem is on the compatibility list of their ISP service provider. The cable modem has top speeds and an impressive boot-time and is a fantastic choice for many people.

5. Zoom 5341J

Product at a glance:

  1. Has a power and reset button
  2. Works with most of the major cable internet providers
  3. Has great overall performance and an excellent design making it a good option for your home network
  4. One of the quickest modems that goes from an unpowered state to full functionality at 29.8 seconds on average

The Zoom 5341J is a fantastic cable modem that will work ideally for most people. It also collaborates with the primary ISP service providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox and is compatible with most of the other dominant cable internet providers. It performs quite well, complies with standards, and has an exceptional design. The Zoom 5341J is for that reason a workable alternative for your home network. Certain shortcomings must get deliberated upon with a major factor being that it can run hotter than most cable modems.

The Zoom 5341J is not as generally agreeable as the top cable modems are, but it still works with the top cable internet providers, namely Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox. Zoom 5341J can also function with Bright House Networks, RCN and Cable One. The Zoom 5341J has 8 X 4 channel bonding, and its download speeds stand at 343 Mbps, with upload speeds of 131 Mbps. Nonetheless, because of network congestion and overhead, such speeds are not experienced in reality. The Zoom 5341J is still remarkable because it can work with internet plans that have a 250 Mbps download dimensions competently. It is one of the fastest cable modems available in the market and will move from its unpowered nature to a full operational quality in less than 30 seconds. Only the Arris Motorola SB6183 is faster, with the slowest cable modem getting to full functionality after about 46 seconds.

The biggest problem with the Zoom 5341J is the fact that it will run hot and is the hottest cable modem at over 97 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is not severely hot, it is a validation of the fact that the cable modem does not deal with drawing electricity effectively. What this means is that the gadget might also not be as durable as expected. One good thing that the Zoom 5341J has going for it is the on and off knob which can result in huge savings on your utility bill. The device also has a reset button, and this will come in handy when you have to troubleshoot any issue with the network.

6. Arris Motorola SB6183

Product at a glance:

  1. Able to handle very high Internet speeds
  2. Able to bond up to sixteen downstream channels and four upstream channels giving the cable modem great download speeds
  3. Compatible with four of the largest cable network providers and many others
  4. One of the fastest modem that goes from an unpowered state to full functionality at 29.6 seconds on average

There is not much difference between the Arris Motorola SB6183 and the Arris Motorola SB6141 apart from their designs and their effectiveness. The SB6183's has 16 x 4 channel bonding, and this means that it will give you exceptional download speeds. The cable modem is also enjoying compatibility with most cable internet providers although the best cable modems still beat it in the compatibility department. It will operate with Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Cox although Charter has not listed it as one of the cable modems that is compatible with the ISP Company. The Arris Motorola SB6141 will also work with Bright House Networks, RCN and Cable One.

The Arris Motorola SB6141 has 16 channels for downloads meaning that it will give you optimum download speeds of 686 Mbps. While this is quite splendid, such speed can only be accessed if your ISP provides you with high tiers of service. If setup accordingly, the SB6183 can provide users with speeds of over 500 Mbps. The Arris Motorola SB6183 has a very impressive performance at nearly all levels. Its ability to move from an unpowered state to full functionality very fast is notable, and it is one of the fastest in this category.

Its Achilles Heel is in the fact that it runs hotter in comparison to any other cable modem that listed in this review. When an electronic gadget is running hot, it is usually an indication that it will not last long. The fact that it is not compatible with many cable internet providers is also a negative for the gadget. The Arris Motorola SB6183 is therefore not a cable modem that most people would fancy.

7. Cisco DPC3010

Product at a glance:

  1. Great design that enhances airflow for cooling
  2. Compatible with major US Cable Providers
  3. Downstream data rates in excess of 320 Mbps and upstream data rates up to 120 Mbps which is 8 times faster than regular cable modems
  4. High-speed USB connectivity
  5. One year warranty

The Cisco DPC3010 is quite an okay modem that unfortunately falls into the category of good but not excellent in any specific categories. It is a great modem that unfortunately has no compatibility with the majority of the major cable network providers. It contains an 8 x 4 channel bonding meaning that with this cable modem, you get very fast Internet access. It is a splendid Internet modem, but not everyone will be enthusiastic about it. If you are a Charter or Cox subscriber, you will enjoy the entire effectiveness of the Cisco DPC3010 cable modem. This cable modem also functions with numerous smaller cable internet providers, such as Mediacom Cable, Suddenlink Communications, and RCN.

The Cisco DPC3010 is a cost-effective solution for providing users with high-speed internet despite the fact that it is limited in compatibility. With up to 343 Mbps download and 120Mbps upload speeds, this cable modem also has an Ethernet port for connections to your computer. It also has a reset button that you can use when you need to maintain the cable modem. The design of Cisco DPC3010 is quite impressive and gives it an aesthetic appeal. But, unfortunately, it is hotter compared to other devices. The modem sells with a one year manufacturer's warranty. There is no problem with this modem at all apart from the fact that it is not as compatible as other cable modems.

8. Netgear CM500

Product at a glance:

  1. Contains 16 x 4 channel bonding, which translates to very high download speeds
  2. Ideal for streaming HD Videos. Also ideal for faster downloads and for high-speed online gaming
  3. Has a Gigabit port for faster downloads
  4. Great compact design that provides the cable modem easy storage and durability
  5. Elegant, featuring a black plastic case, with a glossy finish and soft, rounded corners

The Netgear CM500 is an excellent cable modem that can perform but is regrettably remains restricted to a comparatively small amount of users. The CM500 is a more capable version of the CM400, and Netgear ranks third on this ten best cable modem review. Netgear cab provides users with very fast download speed, but this improved version of Netgear has some unlikeable compromises. One major factor about the improved Netgear version is that it is not compatible with a good number of cable internet providers, which remains as a major handicap for the cable modem. What this means is that it is a splendid cable modem, but only a few people can use it. The cable modem can only operate with one of the four largest cable internet providers in the US, namely Comcast. Comcast has a huge subscriber list, but even so, a lack of compatibility is a disadvantage to its subscribers. When people change location and move into a new state, they might be forced to buy another cable modem because it is highly likely that the CM500 might not work with your new provider. The CM500 also works with RCN and Cable One., which are part of the ten largest subscribers in the United States.

Considering that the Netgear has a 16 x 4 channel bonding, you can opt to use it if your internet service provider gives you 500 Mbps internet or more. Its download speed stands at about 686Mbps. In reality, you will not be getting this much speeds due to network congestion and overhead, but the CM500 is capable of effectively managing any speed tier that your internet provider supplies to you. The CM500 has a one year warranty, and this is acceptable for most cable modems. The CM500 is a stable and compact Internet modem which sadly does not have a comprehensive spectrum of internet provider compatibility. The factors above hinder it from emerging as one of the best cable modems. Anyone that has Comcast, RCN, or Cable One as their provider can opt to work with the CM500. People who like the speeds that this cable modem can supply will love using the device.

9. Netgear CMD31T

Product at a glance:

  1. Maintains cool temperature levels when functioning
  2. Comparatively easy to set up
  3. Will function with many major cable Internet service providers
  4. Comes with a stand and is able to function horizontally or vertically
  5. An Ethernet cable and power adaptor is also included
  6. Very small and light giving users the advantage of portability

The Netgear CMD31T is a modest cable modem that will function as long as your ISP can work with it. Netgear has some cable modems, and the CMD31T is not efficient as other two models from the Company. CMD31T is okay for the ideal people, and its best features are its cool operating temperature as well as its live support chat system. The chat system is very beneficial when users need assistance. The CMD31Tdoes does not have the fast speeds that other cable modems we have reviewed posses. It will not work with most of the cable Internet providers because, in the top four, it only functions with Cox. It is not available on the compatibility list of Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Charter although it can operate with other smaller operators. If you choose to get your cable connection from Bright House Networks, Suddenlink Communications or RCN, you should think about getting the CMD31T cable modem.

The CMD31T has one of the best cooling operating temperatures at 92.6 degrees Fahrenheit and will remain even much cooler at 89.4 degrees. This modem stays cooler than its counterparts making it very efficient with the power it consumes. What this means that it is a modem that is easy on the pockets as far as your utility bill is concerned. Its download and upload speeds are not better than most modems on this review because it has a 4 x 4 channel bonding. Other modems generally have 8 x 4 channel bonding and even 6 x 4 channels bonding for a few modems. Its download speeds stand at 172 Mbps, and this is quite small in comparison to cable modems with 8 x 4 channels. Not many people have access to very fast Cable Internet connections and the CMD31T will probably work just fine for them. The only major drawback with the Netgear CMD31T is that it can only operate with four of the largest cable Internet service providers in the United States.

10. Linksys DPC3008

Product at a glance:

  1. The design of this cable modem is solid and it is properly ventilated
  2. Gives users the advantage of being able to mount the device on a wall thus keeping it out of the way
  3. Great download speed of up to 340Mbps and upload speeds of up to 120Mbps
  4. Gigabit Ethernet port for faster network connections

Despite the fact that the Linksys DPC3008 cable modem is impressive on performance and has an excellent design, its primary drawback is that it can only operate on Comcast's network. If you don't get your cable Internet from Comcast, there is no reason for you to consider the Linksys DPC3008. This is an unfortunate fact because the cable modem is very sound equipment that is well ventilated and has a great design. It is a sturdy piece of hardware that has certain features that no other cable modem has.

The Linksys DPC3008 cable modem can be wall mounted, and this helps it to stay out of the way. It also has 8 x 4 channel bonding meaning that it will provide users with fast internet access at speeds of 343 Mbps. Of course with network overhead and congestion, you don't get these speeds in reality even when you are using the very best cable modems. The Linksys DPC3008 device will nonetheless be able to handle function with Internet services as fast as 250 Mbps without any difficulty. It has upload speeds that are similar with most cable modems at 131 Mbps.

The Linksys DPC3008 has just about everything going well for it except for the fact that it is limited in practicality because it can only function with Comcast. It can only function with one in the ten largest cable Internet providers in the United States. Comcast, of course, is an ideal choice for many people and covers the bulk of the population of the United States. For this reason, you could still choose to buy the Linksys DPC3008, but if you have to move, you might be forced to buy or rent another Internet modem.

There is a sufficient amount of assistance in the way of documentation on the Linksys website for users. Should you experience complications that you are unable to handle using the documentation, you can get in touch with Linksys support through email. But this is not very good because there are times when your cable modem has a problem that requires immediate attention. If you are unable to call your internet provider at such times, you will be left stranded. The fact that Linksys DPC3008 has limited compatibility and only offers email support are factors to consider before buying the cable modem. For those people who get subscribed to Comcast, this can be a great option because it is fast, highly efficient, and has a great design.

Verdict

The Arris Motorola SB6141 is the best available cable modem in the market. It can work with four major cable Internet providers and has 8 x 4 channel bonding. It is not with its insufficiencies because it does not have the power button or the reset button and you have to plug and unplug the gadget. It works great concerning maintaining a cooler temperature and despite its minor insufficiencies; it is still the best cable modem available in the market. There is also the Arris Motorola SB6121. The device looks exactly like its sibling and is very much similar to the SB6141 in specs and performance.

However, the SB6121 is distinct from the SB6141 because it has 4 x 4 channel bonding. As a result, it has limited download and upload speeds. Netgear comes close to the two cable modems above although it easily would have been the best cable modem in its CM400 version which has compatibility across all cable Internet providers. The CM400 is not as robust in design as the SB6141 although it has an equally good boot time and does well with temperatures.

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