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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: 3.7 / 5
    • Price: $49.99–$89.99/mo.
    • Speed: 300 Mbps–1,000 Mbps*
    • Internet type: Cable
  • Best for Customer Experience
    • Customer rating: 3.6 / 5
    • Price: $49.99–$109.99/mo.
    • Speed: 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps
    • Internet type: Cable

Compare Cox and Spectrum head to head

Spectrum plans come with faster speeds and terrific perks, like free modems and no data caps. Spectrum also performed better than Cox in our annual customer satisfaction survey, in which Spectrum received a higher overall satisfaction score than any other cable ISPs.

Cox customers have the benefits of more plans to choose from and more bundling options.

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
  • Monthly WiFi charge
  • Price hikes after 12 months

Pros:

  • Lots of bundling options
  • More plan variety

Cons:

  • Expensive plans and bundles
  • Extra cost for month-to-month option
  • 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

Spectrum plans generally offer more speed for the money than Cox and come with awesome perks like unlimited data and a free modem. Cox’s has more variety, including more mid-tier 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 300 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)View Plans
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 500 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)View Plans
Spectrum Internet® Gig$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)View Plans

Spectrum plans offer better value, giving you more speed per dollar. We like the Spectrum Internet® plan, which delivers up to 300 Mbps for only $49.99 per month for 12 months. That’s a good speed at a decent price for most customers.

Additionally, Spectrum plans feature unlimited data and a free cable modem—two things that cost extra with most providers, including Cox. On the downside, you’ll see a price increase of up to $25 per month after the first year—which is better than other cable internet providers, like Astound Broadband and Optimum.

Cox plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Cox Internet Essential 100*$49.99/mo.*100 MbpsView Plans
Cox Internet Preferred 250*$59.99/mo.*250 MbpsView Plans
Cox Internet Ultimate 500*$79.99/mo.*500 MbpsView Plans
Cox Gigablast*$109.99/mo.*Up to 1,000 MbpsView Plans

Some Cox plans offer slower speeds compared to similarly priced Spectrum plans, but customers have more plans to choose from. The Cox Internet Essential 100 plan is the most affordable, but 100 Mbps is only enough speed for one or maybe two-person households. At the same price, Spectrum offers three times as much speed.

Cox Internet Preferred provides 250 Mbps for $59.99—that’s enough speed for most households. 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.

Cox low-cost internet plans

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

ConnectAssist package : up to 100 Mbps for individuals receiving government assistance.

Connect2Compete package : up to 100 Mbps for families with children K-12 receiving government assistance.

HSI badge deals

Deals and promotions: Spectrum vs. Cox

Spectrum
Get a free, 12-month trial of Peacock Premium when you sign up for a qualifying internet plan.

Get the Deal
Cox Communications

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


Get the Deal

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. for WiFi (no charge with Internet Gig plan)
  • $3.00/mo. per Spectrum WiFi Pod
  • No charge for modem or gateway
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install

  • $9.99 service activation fee
  • $8.95 late payment fee (after 21 days)
  • $25.00 insufficient funds fee
  • $5.00 phone payment processing fee
  • $9.99 reconnection fee (internet)
  • $4.99 reconnection fee (TV)
  • $19.99 equipment upgrade fee to Internet Gig plan

  • Cox
  • $13.00/mo. (Gateway)
  • $100.00 for pro install
  • Free for self-install
  • Up to $25.00 late fee
  • $10.00 per remaining month early termination fee

  • Spectrum is the clear winner when it comes to equipment and installation costs. You don’t pay a dime to use Spectrum’s cable modem or gateway, but WiFi is a monthly $5 charge whether you use Spectrum’s gateway or its standalone router.

    For installation, Spectrum encourages new customers to use the self-install kit, which includes the activation fee. You can get a professional install if needed, costing you half of what you would pay to Cox.

    Customer ratings: Spectrum vs. Cox

    Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeedPrice
    Spectrum3.73.83.74.03.2
    Cox3.63.63.63.93.1

    Spectrum scored ahead of Cox in every category of our annual customer satisfaction survey. In fact, Spectrum received the highest overall satisfaction score of any cable ISP in the survey. Spectrum also ranked in the top three for speed and reliability among national ISPs.

    Cox didn’t do as well in the survey, but the majority of surveyed Cox customers still reported they were “very satisfied” or “completely satisfied” with their internet service.

    Best TV and internet bundles

    Internet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
    Spectrum Internet (up to 300 Mbps) + TV SelectUp to 300 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)125+$109.98/mo.*View Plans
    Cox Internet Preferred 250+ Contour TV Preferred250 Mbps140+$151.99/mo.View Plans

    Spectrum doesn’t provide the traditional TV and internet bundle at a discount. Instead, you can pair any one of Spectrum’s TV services with any internet service—each one has a discounted price for the first 12 months. The monthly broadcast TV service is an extra charge as is any additional standard and premium channel you add.

    Cox’s bundles tend to include more channels but they’re significantly more expensive.

    Internet types: Spectrum vs. Cox

    Internet typeDetails
    SpectrumCableView Plans
    CoxCableView Plans

    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
    SpectrumNo capN/AView Plans
    Cox1.25 TB$10/mo., 50 GB over data capView Plans

    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
    Spectrum
  • No contract
  • View Plans
    Cox
  • 1-2 year contract
  • $10/month extra for no contract

  • View Plans

    Spectrum doesn’t have the standard annual contract, but you must use the service for at least a month to get the introductory price. You can get the same no-contract experience with Cox, but you pay an extra $10 each month. Most Cox plans have the typical one- or two-year contract if you want the cheaper price.

    Installation: Spectrum vs. Cox

    Installation optionsDetails
    Spectrum
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • View Plans
    Cox
  • $100.00 for pro install
  • Free self-install
  • View Plans

    Spectrum’s pro install fee is half of Cox’s. Even better, if you try a $24.99 self-installation but end up needing a pro install, Spectrum will waive the $59.99 install fee. Cox offers a 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.

    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 a free cable modem. 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.

    Our verdict here doesn’t mean Cox isn’t a good ISP. Cox customers enjoy fast and reliable service from one of the nation’s top cable internet providers. But when comparing the two, Cox’s offerings are just not as remarkable as Spectrum’s.

    You can get fantastic broadband service from either provider, so it really comes down to what’s available to you.

    View Spectrum Plans

     

    View Cox 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.

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