2020’s Best Modem/Router Combos

Modems and routers are necessary devices that bring the internet into our homes. But they can also take up a lot of space and can be a hassle to set up. A modem/router combo puts both devices into a single unit, cutting down on clutter and assembly time. If that sounds like digital heaven to you, you’re in the right place.

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

Best overall
≈ $170600 MbpsAC1900Xfinity, CoxBuy now
ARRIS SURFboard SBG7580AC

Best for speed
≈ $140300+ MbpsAC1750Xfinity, Cox, SpectrumBuy now
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000

Best for gaming
≈ $165400 MbpsAC1900Xfinity, Cox, SpectrumBuy now
NETGEAR C3700

Best budget option
≈ $9550 MbpsN450Xfinity, Cox, SpectrumBuy now
Motorola MD1600

Best DSL modem/router
≈ $130100 MbpsAC1600CenturyLink, FrontierBuy now
Modem/routersMotorola MG7700 

Best overall
Price*≈ $170
Recommended to work
with internet plans up to
600 Mbps
Wi-Fi standardAC1900
Compatible providersXfinity, Cox
Buy now
Modem/routersARRIS SURFboard SBG7580AC

Best for speed
Price*≈ $140
Recommended to work
with internet plans up to
300+ Mbps
Wi-Fi standardAC1750
Compatible providersXfinity, Cox, Spectrum
Buy now
Modem/routersNETGEAR Nighthawk C7000

Best for gaming
Price*≈ $165
Recommended to work
with internet plans up to
400 Mbps
Wi-Fi standardAC1900
Compatible providersXfinity, Cox, Spectrum
Buy now
Modem/routersNETGEAR C3700

Best budget option
Price*≈ $95
Recommended to work
with internet plans up to
50 Mbps
Wi-Fi standardN450
Compatible providersXfinity, Cox, Spectrum
Buy now
Modem/routersMotorola MD1600

Best DSL modem/router
Price*≈ $130
Recommended to work
with internet plans up to
100 Mbps
Wi-Fi standardAC1600
Compatible providersCenturyLink, Frontier
Buy now

*All prices and information current at time of writing from Amazon.com. Data current as of 02/06/2020. Prices subject to change.

 

Motorola MG7700

Best overall

  • Price: $170
  • 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 SBG7580AC

Best for speed

  • Price: $180
  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 300+ 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 more than 300 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 AC1750 Wi-Fi.

This particular model does come with a caveat. Some users report issues with latency and dropped connections. It seems the Intel chip used in the modem/router can go bad and cause these problems. While overall reviews are still very positive, it’s something to be aware of.

Pros

  • Excellent Wi-Fi speeds
  • Compatibility with most common providers
  • Built-in McAfee internet protection

Cons

  • Higher price tag
  • Some complaints of faulty hardware

NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000

Best for gaming

  • Price: $165
  • 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

  • Price: $95
  • Recommended for internet speeds up to: 50 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 good performance using multiple devices. Plus, it comes with the NETGEAR Genie app for easy management of your wireless networks.

The biggest downsides of this model are speed and connectivity. The C3700 does not support fast internet speeds . For a lot of folks, 50 Mbps plenty—maybe even more than enough. If you have a faster plan, though, you’ll be limited by this modem/router. It also comes with just two Ethernet ports, so you’ll have to rely on Wi-Fi more than with the other routers we’ve covered.

All that said, this is still a great 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

  • Price: $130
  • 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
 
 

What to look for in a modem/router combo

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.

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

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.

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