Best Modem/Router Combos 2021

Expert picks to keep your networking all in one place

Our top pick: Which modem/router combo is best?

We recommend the Motorola MG7700 modem/router combo. It works with most major cable internet providers and can handle internet speeds up to 600 Mbps. Its Wireless Power Boost feature—which expands its signal range—makes it a good option for larger homes.

The 5 best modem/router combos

Best modem/router combo devices

Modem/routersPrice*Recommended to work
with internet plans up to
Wi-Fi standardCompatible providers
Motorola MG7700 

Best overall
$169.99600 MbpsAC1900Xfinity, CoxBuy now
ARRIS SURFboard SBG7600AC2

Best for speed
$199.00600 MbpsAC2350Xfinity, Cox, SpectrumBuy now
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000

Best for gaming
$189.99400 MbpsAC1900Xfinity, Cox, SpectrumBuy now
NETGEAR C3700

Best budget option
$109.99340 MbpsN450Xfinity, Cox, SpectrumBuy now
Motorola MD1600

Best DSL modem/router
$289.99100 MbpsAC1600CenturyLink, FrontierBuy now

What should you look for in a modem/router combo?

The top thing you should check for in a modem/router combo device is compatibility with your internet provider. Most modem/router combos on the market specifically work with cable internet providers like Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum—and very few work with DSL providers like CenturyLink or Frontier.

Every internet provider should have a list of compatible modems and modem/router combos listed on its website. Here’s how to find a compatible device for you internet plan from a few ISPs:

For more recommendations on what to look for in a modem/router combo, check out the specs and features section below.

Motorola MG7700—Best overall

Best overall

$169.99

  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 600 Mbps
  • Ethernet Ports: 4
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Compatible ISPs: Xfinity, Cox

The Motorola MG7700 packs a powerful punch, with support for internet speeds up to 600 Mbps. Four gigabit Ethernet ports let you plug in your devices directly for a faster connection, while dual-band Wi-Fi support and beamforming (a feature that directs your wireless signal in a single direction) provide fast and reliable wireless. If all that sounds like gibberish, don’t worry—all you need to know is that this modem/router combo packs a ton of modern features into one sleek package to maximize your internet speed and reliability.

Even after all that, this cable modem/router packs one more feature that makes it our pick for best overall. Motorola calls it the “Wireless Power Boost,” but we just call it awesome. Basically this tech amplifies the wireless signal and extends its range so you can cover a larger area with a single box. This makes it perfect for larger homes or pretty much any area where you want a strong single no matter where you’re at.

Pros

  • Extended wireless range
  • Strong performance
  • Beamforming technology for more reliable Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Approved for use only with Xfinity and Cox
  • Not the most attractive device

ARRIS SURFboard SBG7600AC2—Best for speed

Best for speed

$199.00

  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 600 Mbps
  • Ethernet Ports: 4
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Compatible ISPs: Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum

If speed is your need, this ARRIS modem/router combo really delivers. With a maximum throughput of up to 600 Mbps, this little fella can handle plenty of internet traffic. Four gigabit Ethernet ports let you plug your devices straight in for optimum speed or you can take advantage of the built-in AC2350 Wi-Fi.

While the SURFboard device can handle internet speeds up to 600 Mbps, different cable internet providers have approved this modem/router for different speed tiers. For example, Xfinity recommends it for speeds up to 600 Mbps, but Cox has lower max speed recommendations—only up to 300 Mbps. So check this device’s compatibility with your internet provider’s speeds.

Pros

  • Excellent Wi-Fi speeds
  • Compatibility with most common providers

Cons

  • Higher price tag

NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000—Best for gaming

Best for gaming

$159.99

  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 400 Mbps
  • Ethernet Ports: 4
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Compatible ISPs: Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum

NETGEAR is known for its powerful routers, and the C7000 is no exception. This futuristic-looking device combines gigabit speeds with useful features to give gamers (or anyone that needs fast internet with minimal latency) an edge.

The 1.6 Ghz processor helps deliver a stronger signal and prioritize traffic for maximum speed. This is especially important when gaming, where lag and network delays can be costly. And beamforming helps the wireless signal travel farther and increases reliability so you don’t have to worry about losing your connection at a critical moment.

Pros

  • Powerful processor to boost gaming performance
  • Beamforming tech for long wireless range and a reliable connection
  • Guest network for keeping your password private

Cons

  • More expensive model
  • Has a love-it-or-hate-it design

NETGEAR C3700—Best budget option

Best budget option

$60.75

  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 340 Mbps
  • Ethernet Ports: 2
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Compatible ISPs: Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum

If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a modem/router, go with this model. Whether you’re on a budget or just don’t need the fancy features, our pick for best budget modem/router is another one from NETGEAR: the C3700.

This box supports all the major US cable providers, and at a lower price than our other picks, it’s a great value. It still supports dual-band Wi-Fi for better traffic management, so even though the maximum speeds are lower, you’ll still see decent performance using multiple devices. Plus, it comes with the NETGEAR Genie app for easy management of your wireless networks.

The biggest downside of this model is connectivity. It comes with just two Ethernet ports, so you’ll have to rely on Wi-Fi more than with the other routers we’ve covered.

That said, this is still a good option. If price is the main concern for you, you can’t go wrong with the NETGEAR C3700.

Pros

  • Comes at an easy-to-swallow price
  • Works with most major cable providers
  • Offers NETGEAR Genie app for managing networks and parental controls

Cons

  • Slower speeds than more expensive models
  • Only two Ethernet ports

Motorola MD1600—Best DSL modem/router

Best DSL modem/router

$410.32

  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 100 Mbps
  • Ethernet Ports: 4
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Compatible ISPs: CenturyLink, Frontier

If you have DSL service, the other modem/router options in this article won’t work for you—you need a DSL-specific device. The MD1600 from Motorola is our pick for best DSL option because of its powerful features and fast speeds.

First off, it’s worth mentioning that this is probably the nicest-looking box we’ve seen, and it’s really a shame other modem/router models aren’t adopting a sleeker look like this. It just looks better on a desk and minimizes any potential for awkward fits.

As for actual networking, the MD1600 can support any DSL speed you have, and it offers four Ethernet ports for your devices if you prefer a direct connection.

Our only other gripe about this unit is the lack of AT&T support. CenturyLink and Frontier customers will get a lot of good use out of it though.

Pros

  • Works with major DSL providers
  • Has a sleek design
  • Offers lots of ports

Cons

  • Supports only a single Wi-Fi band
  • Not supported with AT&T

Modem/router combo specs and features

When shopping for a modem/router combo, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure you get the best experience.

Internet speed support

If you have unusually fast internet, like a gigabit plan, make sure the modem/router you choose can support it. Many routers and modems these days can handle these speeds, but inexpensive models or older stock may not have the necessary protocols.

What happens if your modem/router can’t handle your internet speed? It’ll still work, so you can use it. But modems and routers are rated for a certain maximum speed, and if your plan gives more than your devices can handle, the extra speed is wasted.

Test your current internet speed

Discover how much internet speed you need

Modems vs. routers

To put it simply, the modem takes the signal from your ISP and makes it usable by your devices. The router then takes that signal and turns it into a network. Without a router, you wouldn’t have home network security, network traffic management, or Wi-Fi.

A modem/router combo takes the two devices and puts them in one box for convenience. It saves space and makes the purchase and configuration easier, although that comes at the expense of flexibility and upgradeability.

Combo vs. individual equipment

The main reason to go for a modem/router combo is convenience—both devices are packaged in one enclosure, saving space and making device management that much easier.

The downside of a combined device is the lack of flexibility. If you want a particular router—well, too bad. You’re either stuck with the one that came with your combo unit or you’re buying another router and making half your combo obsolete. The routers in a combo are also typically much less powerful than the best stand-alone routers on the market.

Now, for most people, the convenience of the combined device will very likely outweigh any potential cons. Power users, on the other hand, may want to stick to separate devices to allow for future upgradeability and more powerful wireless routers that can cater to a specific need, like streaming or large homes.

Pro tip:

If you’re interested in separate equipment, check out these detailed guides for more insight:

Our verdict

Overall, we recommend the Motorola MG7700. It’s compatible with major cable internet companies, easy to use, and can handle internet speed packages up to 600 Mbps. It’s a great modem/router combo that keeps all your home networking equipment in one place.

Other recommended modem/router combos

Related content about modems and routers

Modem/router combo FAQ

Do modems affect your internet speed?

Yes and no. A modem can’t make your internet faster than your plan supports. However, if your modem has a maximum speed lower than your internet plan, it will slow your connection down.

For example, say you have a 250 Mbps internet plan. If your modem supports up to 350 Mbps speeds, you’ll see your full plan speed of 250 Mbps, but not more. If your modem supports only 150 Mbps speeds, that will be the maximum speed you’ll see, not 250 Mbps.

What is a combined modem and router?

A modem is a device that translates the signal from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) into something your devices can use. A router then takes that signal and makes it wireless. A combined modem and router simply places the two devices into one unit for convenience.

What is the best router for gaming?

We like the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 and the ASUS AC5300. These routers both provide advanced features to minimize lag and offer plenty of speed. For a more detailed answer, take a look at our roundup of the best routers for online gaming.

What is dual-band Wi-Fi?

Dual-band Wi-Fi is a feature where wireless routers broadcast the signal over two different radio frequencies simultaneously—in this case 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz. Single-band routers use only the 2.4 Ghz frequency. Dual-band Wi-Fi helps provide faster speeds by distributing traffic on two frequencies instead of one.

What is beamforming?

Beamforming is a technology that focuses a wireless signal in a single, specific direction. The benefits of beamforming are faster speeds and greater wireless range.

What are Mbps?

Mbps stands for megabits per second. It’s the unit used to measure internet speed, which is essentially how much data passes through the connection in a second. For some context, eight megabits are equal to one Megabyte (MB), the unit for file sizes. So, to download a 10 MB file in one second, you’d need an 80 Mbps connection.

Pro tip

If you have questions about internet speed, check out our complete guide.

Author -

Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at HighSpeedInternet.com get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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