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.
Customer rating: 3.6
Speed: 200 Mbps–1,000 Mbps
Internet type: Cable
Data cap: None
Customer rating: 3.7
Speed: 25 Mbps–1,000 Mbps
Internet type: Cable
Data cap: 1.25 TB
Contract: 1–2 year contract, month-to-month options
*Wireless speeds may vary.
**for 12 months with 1-yr. term agreement
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
- No contracts
- No data caps
- More speed for the money
- Free modem rental
- No low-cost options
- Few plans to choose from
- Superb customer experience
- Some budget-friendly plans
- More plan variety
- Expensive plans and bundles
- Extra cost for month-to-month contracts
- Data caps
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
|Spectrum Internet® *||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 200 Mbps||View Plans|
|Spectrum Internet® Ultra*||$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 400 Mbps||View Plans|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig**||$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 1000 Mbps||View Plans|
* Wireless speeds may vary.
** Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® Gig promotion price is $89.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.
** Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.
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
|Cox Internet Starter 25*||$29.99/mo||25 Mbps|
|Cox StraightUp Internet**||$50.00/mo||50 Mbps|
|Cox Internet Essential 50*||$39.99/mo||50 Mbps|
|Cox Internet Preferred 250*||$59.99/mo||250 Mbps|
|Cox Internet Ultimate 500*||$79.99/mo||500 Mbps|
|Cox Gigablast*||$99.99/mo||Up to 1,000 Mbps|
* for 12 months with 1-yr. term agreement
** No term agreement. Same price for 3 yrs.
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.
Get Peacock Premium at no cost for 90 days with Spectrum Internet®. That’s a $4.99/mo. value.
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Extra fees: Spectrum vs. Cox
|Equipment Fee||Installation Fee||Other 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
|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 Rating||Reliability Rating||Customer Service Rating||Speed Rating||Price Rating|
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 speed||TV channels||Price||Details|
|Spectrum Select Double Play*||Up to 200 Mbps||125+||$99.98/mo||View Plans|
|Cox Internet Preferred 250+ Contour TV Preferred**||250 Mbps||140+||$151.99/mo|
*for 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. term agrmt.
**for 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. term agrmt.
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
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 Cap||Overage fee||Details|
|Cox||1.25 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
|Cox||1-2 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
|Spectrum||Starts at $49.99; self-installation is $19.99||View 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.
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
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 Aguirre
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.