Spectrum vs. Cox: Which Internet Provider is Best for You?

Spectrum plans offer good value and great perks, while Cox delivers top-notch customer experience.

Best for Flexibility

Customer rating: 3.6

Price: $49.99–$89.99/mo.*

Speed: 200 Mbps–1,000 Mbps

Internet type: Cable

Data cap: None

Contract: None

View Plans

Best for Customer Experience

Customer rating: 3.7

Price: $29.99–$109.99/mo.**

Speed: 25 Mbps–1,000 Mbps

Internet type: Cable

Data cap: 1.25 TB

Contract: 1–2 year contract, month-to-month options

Compare Cox and Spectrum head to head

Spectrum plans come with faster speeds and terrific perks, like month-to-month contracts and no data caps. Cox provides an excellent customer experience and has better ratings than any other cable internet service provider (ISP) according to our annual customer survey.

It’s unlikely that you’d need to choose between Cox and Spectrum because they share almost no coverage area. Comparing these cable ISP giants against one another provides useful context for gauging the quality and value of the services you may be considering. Ultimately, Spectrum’s value, flexible data, and contract policies make it the better choice for most customers.

Pros and cons: Spectrum vs. Cox

Pros:

  • No contracts
  • No data caps
  • More speed for the money
  • Free modem rental

Cons:

  • No low-cost options
  • Few plans to choose from

Pros:

  • Superb customer experience
  • Some budget-friendly plans
  • More plan variety

Cons:

  • Expensive plans and bundles
  • Extra cost for month-to-month contracts
  • Data caps

Want to know if you can get Spectrum or Cox? Find out by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Spectrum vs. Cox

Some Spectrum plans generally offer more speed for the money than Cox and come with awesome perks like month-to-month contracts and no data caps. Cox’s has more variety, including a few budget-friendly options. Unfortunately, both of these ISPs introduce price hikes, typically after the first 12 months.

Spectrum plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Spectrum Internet® *$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 200 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum Internet® Ultra*$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 400 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum Internet® Gig**$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 1000 MbpsView Plans

Spectrum plans offer better value, giving you more speed per dollar. We like the Spectrum Internet plan, which delivers up to 200 Mbps for only $49.99. That’s a good speed for most customers at a decent price. Additionally, Spectrum plans feature unlimited data and month-to-month contracts—two things that cost extra with most providers, including Cox. On the downside, Spectrum price hikes tack on an additional $25 per month after the promotional period (typically 12 months) ends.

Cox plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Cox Internet Starter 25*$29.99/mo25 Mbps
Cox StraightUp Internet**$50.00/mo50 Mbps
Cox Internet Essential 50*$39.99/mo50 Mbps
Cox Internet Preferred 250*$59.99/mo250 Mbps
Cox Internet Ultimate 500*$79.99/mo500 Mbps
Cox Gigablast*$99.99/moUp to 1,000 Mbps

Some Cox plans offer slower speeds compared to similarly priced Spectrum plans, but customers have more plans to choose from. The budget-friendly Cox Internet Starter 25 gets you up and running for only $29.99 per month. However, most customers probably want more speed than that.

Cox Internet Preferred provides 250 Mbps for $59.99—that’s enough speed for most households, but it’s a bit more expensive than Spectrum Internet®, which is $10 per month cheaper for 200 Mbps. Like Spectrum, Cox also introduces price hikes after the promotional period ends, which is typically after 12 months. The rate increases vary per plan but average at about $21 more per month.

Our annual customer satisfaction survey suggests Cox customers are the most satisfied with their services of any cable internet provider, even with less speed per dollar than Spectrum—likely due to excellent customer service.

Cox low-cost internet plans

Cox has two great low-cost internet plans for individuals and families receiving government assistance:

: up to 100 Mbps for individuals receiving government assistance.

: up to 100 Mbps for families with children K-12 receiving government assistance.

HSI badge deals

Deals and promotions: Spectrum vs. Cox

Spectrum
Get Spectrum Internet® up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) for $49.99 per month. That’s a solid speed at a great price.

Get Peacock Premium at no cost for 90 days with Spectrum Internet®. That’s a $4.99/mo. value.
Get the Deal

Get free installation with one of Cox's several TV and internet bundling options.


Want a closer look at deals in your area? Enter your zip code to find out.

Extra fees: Spectrum vs. Cox

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
Spectrum$5.00/mo. (router/WiFi, modem rental is free)Starts at $49.99
($19.99 for self-install)
Late fee: $4.95
Phone payment processing fee: $5.00
Cox$13.00/mo. (Gateway)$100.00
(self-install free)
Late fee: up to $25.00
Early Termination Fee: $10.00/mo.

Spectrum is the clear winner when it comes to additional costs, like equipment rentals and installation fees. Its modem rental is free, and it’s only $5 if you need to rent a router for Wi-Fi. Also, Spectrum’s professional installation fee is half the price of Cox’s. Oddly, Spectrum charges for a self-installation, but if you’re not able to complete the install yourself, it’ll send out a technician at no extra cost.

Customer ratings: Spectrum vs. Cox

Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating
Spectrum3.63.63.63.73.2
Cox3.73.73.83.83.3

Cox performed very well in our annual customer satisfaction survey, scoring higher than any other cable ISP and beating Spectrum in every category. Cox customers were even happier with their prices, which are higher than Spectrum’s.

Cox’s high scores across the board, in tandem with its particularly high customer service rating, show that Cox’s customer experience is good enough to make up for its higher prices and slower speeds.

Best TV and internet bundles

Internet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
Spectrum Select Double Play*Up to 200 Mbps125+$99.98/moView Plans
Cox Internet Preferred 250+ Contour TV Preferred**250 Mbps140+$151.99/mo

Spectrum’s bundles are better for customers who prioritize internet service and are looking for the best value. The Double Play Select is a good choice for your average household, offering a capable 200 Mbps internet speed with a decent channel lineup.

Cox’s bundles tend to include more channels but also slower internet speeds, and they’re significantly more expensive as well.

Internet types: Spectrum vs. Cox

Internet typeDetails
SpectrumCableView Plans
CoxCable

Both Spectrum and Cox are cable ISPs, which means they use coaxial cables to deliver internet services. Cable internet is generally an excellent service with wide availability. It’s much better than DSL and capable of extremely fast, gigabit speeds.

The big drawback with cable internet is its slower upload speed, which is usually only about a tenth of the download speed. Nearly everything we do online is download-intensive, so a slower upload speed isn’t a huge problem for most customers.

Data caps: Spectrum vs. Cox

Data CapOverage feeDetails
SpectrumUnlimitedN/AView Plans
Cox1.25 TB$10/mo., 50 GB over data cap

Spectrum has no data cap. You can download, stream, and browse all you want without worrying about overage fees or running out of data.

While Cox does have a data cap, it’s pretty high at 1.25 TB. That’s more than enough for your average household. But that doesn’t mean you can just forget about your data limit like you can with Spectrum. If you go over, Cox will charge you $10 for every 50 GB you go over, with a max of $100 in overage fees per month. You can still get unlimited data with Cox, but it costs an extra $50 a month.

Contracts: Spectrum vs. Cox

Contract lengthDetails
SpectrumMonth-to-monthView Plans
Cox1-2 years; month-to-month option for $10/month extra

Spectrum wins again with its flexible month-to-month contracts. You can get the same flexible experience with Cox, but it costs more—an extra $10 a month, to be exact. Most Cox plans have a one- or two-year year term agreement.

Installation: Spectrum vs. Cox

Installation optionsDetails
SpectrumStarts at $49.99; self-installation is $19.99View Plans
Cox$100.00; self-installation is free

Spectrum’s install fees are half of Cox’s. Even better, if you try a $19.99 self-installation but end up needing a pro install, Spectrum will waive the $49.99 install fee. Cox offers a free self-install kit as well, but there’s no getting out of the hefty $100 installation fee if you do end up needing a technician to come out.

So on the one hand, Spectrum does charge for self-install but gives you a safety net if you end up needing help. But Cox offers totally free self-install, which is great if you’re confident you can set things up yourself.

Availability: Spectrum vs. Cox

Spectrum and Cox are two of the biggest cable ISPs in the country and have sizable coverage areas spread all over the US. These two ISPs don’t share many coverage areas though, so your chances of having access to both are very slim.

Looking to switch or move your internet service? Check your area’s provider options with our zip code search.

Final call: Spectrum vs. Cox

Spectrum is the better choice for most customers. Spectrum internet plans offer more speed for the money, plus unlimited data and month-to-month contracts. Spectrum really is unique in the flexibility and perks it gives to its customers that, in many ways, provide superior service than other cable ISPs.

But let’s not forget about Cox’s outstanding customer ratings—a good customer experience can go a long way. While Cox may charge you more for technically less, it’s reassuring to know your ISP values your business and is willing to go above and beyond to make your experience a positive one.

You can get fantastic and reliable broadband service from either provider, so it really comes down to what’s available to you and whether you prefer the tangible, direct benefits Spectrum offers or the overall superior experience Cox provides.

View Spectrum Plans

 

Methodology

Our HighSpeedInternet.com editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

Author -

Austin worked as a broadband technician installing and troubleshooting countless home internet networks for some of the largest ISPs in the U.S. He became a freelance writer in 2020 specializing in software guides. After graduating with a BS in technical communication from Arizona State University, he joined the team at HighSpeedInternet.com where he focuses on home network improvement and troubleshooting.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.