Xfinity vs. Spectrum

Best for speed

Customer rating: 3.5

 

Price: $24.99–$299.99/mo.

Max speed: 50–2,000 Mbps

Internet type: Cable, fiber

Data cap: 1.2 TB, Unlimited

 Contract:  Contract-free and contract-based plans

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Best for availability

Customer rating: 3.6

 

Price: $49.99–$109.99/mo. for 12 mos.

Max speed: Up to 200–1000 Mbps° (wireless speeds may vary)

Internet type: Cable

Data cap: Unlimited

Contract: Month-to-month

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Xfinity and Spectrum are both cable internet providers, so they’re pretty similar. You can’t go wrong with either one, but the biggest dividing line between the two is Xfinity’s data cap. Spectrum doesn’t have data caps by default, but its plans are slightly more expensive. Xfinity’s comparable plans are cheaper, but unlimited data is an additional monthly fee. We’ll dig more into the details of each so you can decide which service is best for your needs.

 

Pros and cons: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

Pros

  • Wide availability
  • Reliable connections

Cons

  • Extra monthly fee for unlimited data
  • Monthly equipment rental

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Simplified list of plans
  • No modem rental fee

Cons

  • Gigabit plan is expensive
  • WiFi is an extra charge

Want to see what plans are available in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

Of the two, Xfinity offers more plans than Spectrum. Xfinity provides faster speeds, surpassing Spectrum’s limit with its Gigabit and Gigabit Pro plans. Spectrum offers just three basic plans to simplify customer choice.

Xfinity plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Performance Starter$25.00–$65.00/mo.*50 Mbps

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Performance Starter Plus$19.99–$49.95/mo.*50 Mbps

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Performance Select$34.99–$77.95/mo.*100 Mbps

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Performance Pro Plus$39.99–$50.00/mo.*200 Mbps

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Blast!$50.00–$59.99/mo.*300–400 Mbps

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Blast! Pro Plus$54.99/mo.*400 Mbps

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Extreme Pro$60.00-$69.99/mo.*600 Mbps

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Extreme Pro Plus$60.00–$69.99/mo.*600 Mbps

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Gigabit$70.00–$79.99/mo.*1,000 Mbps

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Gigabit Pro$299.95/mo.2,000 Mbps

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Xfinity provides a lot of variety to fit your budget. The plan names and pricing will depend on your region, but you should expect to see various tiers to meet your speed requirement. Identical plans offered by Spectrum are slightly more expensive when comparing dollar-per-megabit, but those plans have unlimited data whereas Xfinity’s plans charge an extra $30 per month for the option.

Xfinity’s Blast! is a solid plan with speeds of up to 400 Mbps, suitable for families that constantly stream content or play many online games. Extreme Pro is an excellent sweet spot with up to 800 Mbps if your resident gamer continuously downloads 60 GB updates.

Of the two, Xfinity is the only service that provides fiber internet to homes, but availability is highly limited. The Gigabit Pro plan delivers up to 2,000 Mbps but costs nearly $300 a month. The activation and installation fees are expensive too.

Spectrum plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Spectrum Internet Assist$14.99/mo. for qualifying households**Up to 30 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

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Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo.*Up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

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Spectrum Internet Ultra®$69.99/mo.*Up to 400 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

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Spectrum Internet Gig®$109.99/mo.*Up to 1000 Mbps° (wireless speeds may vary)

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Spectrum keeps the choices simple, and that’s what we like. There’s no confusion about various plans at different prices, all offering the same maximum speed. The drawback is that Spectrum appears to be more expensive than Xfinityat least on the surface, that is.

While the dollar-per-megabit comparison shows Xfinity leads the price war, Xfinity customers must pay an additional $30 per month for unlimited data, whereas Spectrum customers do not. On the flip side, Spectrum customers must pay an extra $5 per month for WiFi connectivity unless they opt to supply their own router.

Want to see what plans are available in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Extra fees: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
Xfinity
  • $14.00/mo.
  • $39.99; Free for self-installation with standard shipping
  • $10.00 late payment fee
  • $10.00/50 GB overage fee
  • $30.00/mo. for unlimited data
  • Spectrum
  • $5.00/mo. for Wi-Fi (no charge with Gigabit plan)
  • $49.99; $9.99 for self-installation
  • $8.95 late payment fee
  • Right now, Xfinity’s installation is cheaper. The Self Install Plus option has a technician deliver your Getting Started kit and verify that all connections to your home are working correctly. If you opt for the Self Install option, you must visit an Xfinity store to get your Getting Started Kit or have it shipped.

    With Xfinity, you can supply your own modem and router, but if you opt for the xFi Gateway, the rental is $14 each month. Spectrum dropped its equipment rental fee completely, but customers can still supply their own modem as long as it appears on Spectrum’s authorized modems list.

    Pro tip:

    Want to use a different router than what Xfinity or Spectrum provides? Check out our guide on the best routers you can buy.

    Outside of the equipment fee, the big difference between the two when it comes to extra fees is Xfinity’s charge for unlimited data. While Xfinity imposes a data cap by default, customers can opt for unlimited data for an additional $30 per month. Spectrum doesn’t charge extra for unlimited data—you won’t even have a data cap.

    Customer ratings: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating
    Xfinity3.53.63.53.73.0
    Spectrum3.63.63.63.73.2

    Both Xfinity and Spectrum saw lower rankings in our annual customer satisfaction survey than the previous year. In fact, Xfinity took a huge tumble in overall customer satisfaction, scoring 3.9 in 2020 and a lower 3.5 in 2021. According to the survey, 42% of Xfinity customers experienced unexpected fees or price hikes. Moreover, fiber customers were more satisfied with Xfinity across the board than its cable customers.

    Spectrum experienced a decline in internet speed satisfaction, scoring 4.1 in 2020 and 3.7 in 2021. Spectrum’s pricing satisfaction remained the same compared to the previous year, with 39% of those surveyed saying they were “somewhat satisfied” with pricing. Internet slowdowns were another issue with Spectrum customers, although 64% of those surveyed said they “never” or “not often” experienced outages.

    Best TV and internet bundles

    PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
    Xfinity Starter Pro Plus Double PlayUp to 400 Mbps140+$94.99/mo. for 12 mos.

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    Xfinity Preferred Pro Plus Double PlayUp to 600 Mbps220+$104.99/mo. for 12 mos.

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    Spectrum Double Play SilverUp to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)175+$119.98/mo. for 12 mos.

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    Spectrum Double Play GoldUp to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)200+$139.98/mo. for 12 mos.

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    The Xfinity Starter Pro Plus Double Play bundle includes a decent download speed and 140 channels for under $100. If you want a little more, the Super+ package bumps the download speed up to 800 Mbps, expands the channel lineup to 245, and adds five premium channels.

    Spectrum’s two bundles are a bit pricier in terms of dollar per channel and megabit but offer premium channels from the start. Spectrum will alter these bundles if customers want faster internet speeds.

    Internet types: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Internet typeDetails
    XfinityFiber, cable

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    SpectrumFiber, cable

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    Xfinity and Spectrum are mainly cable internet providers. Coaxial cable has been around for decades and is installed in most homes. It offers top speeds but can get congested if everyone in your neighborhood is online at the same time. 

    Xfinity’s maximum residential cable speed is 1,200 Mbps, while Spectrum maxes out lower than that on its residential cable plans. If you don’t need a connection faster than a gigabit, then the plans offered by these two companies should suffice.

    Fiber is the backbone of the internet and is faster because data travels at the speed of light. It also offers symmetrical download and upload speeds. Spectrum doesn’t offer fiber to homes (businesses only) while Xfinity offers just one residential fiber plan: its Gigabit Pro topping out at 2,000 Mbps (or 2 Gbps).

    Data caps: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Data CapDetails
    Xfinity1.2 TB; Unlimited for a fee

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    SpectrumUnlimited

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    Spectrum reigns king when it comes to data, as all plans have unlimited data by default. With Xfinity, unlimited data is an added service you’ll have to pay for each month.

    Most of the 39-state Xfinity market locks the data limit to 1.2 TB per month (unless you pay extra, of course). Xfinity has delayed the cap in its 12-state Northeast market until 2022.1

    Xfinity customers who go over their monthly data allotment will see a $10 charge for every 50 GB over until they reach $100 for the month. If you’re worried about going over, Xfinity will give you a one-time courtesy credit the first time you go over.

    Yet unlimited data isn’t out of the question for Xfinity subscribers. Xfinity offers an unlimited data option that costs an additional $30 per month. Unlimited data is not available to Internet Essentials and Internet Essentials Partnership Program subscribers.

    Contracts: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Contract lengthDetails
    Xfinity
  • 1–2 yrs.
  • Month-to-month
  • View Plans

    Spectrum
  • Month-to-month
  • View Plans

    Spectrum does not have contracts. Instead, Spectrum applies a temporary promotional rate upon activation. For example, the up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) plan costs $49.99 per month for 12 months. After that, the monthly cost increases by $25.00. There are no cancellation penalties.

    Xfinity offers both monthly and contracted plans, but you can save a little money each month if you opt for a contract. Like Spectrum, Xfinity’s contract-free plans offer a discounted rate for 12 months. An example of a contracted plan is Performance Pro, which locks the price to $34.99 per month for two years—as long as you sign up for a one-year agreement. The same plan costs $44.99 per month for 12 months without an agreement.

    Installation: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Installation optionsDetails
    Xfinity$39.99; Free for self-installation with standard shipping

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    Spectrum$49.99; $9.99 for self-installation

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    Data as of 05/10/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

    If you’re switching services and don’t need to relocate the modem, the self-installation kits provided by both ISPs are your cheaper option. Take this route if you think you can handle the setup process independently.

    Of the two, Spectrum still performs pro installations while Xfinity’s Self Install Plus option has a technician deliver your Getting Started Kit and verify that all connections to your home are working correctly.

    Availability: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Xfinity has a larger grip on the internet market nationwide than Spectrum does, but its plan naming and pricing are different across regions. Xfinity’s market primarily resides in Maine, Virginia; Washington, DC; Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia (mainly the Atlanta area), Florida, Indiana, and California. A good chunk of the coverage also revolves around specific cities rather than statewide coverage, including Seattle, Portland, Tucson, Las Vegas, Houston, and Chicago.

    Most of Spectrum’s market resides in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, and Maine. There are scattered chunks of coverage in California, Texas, Florida, and several other states. Overall, Spectrum commands a decent market in the Eastern and Central time zones. Its coverage is more regional than what you’ll get with Xfinity.

    Final call: Xfinity vs. Spectrum

    Xfinity and Spectrum compete for the same market: cable internet customers. You can’t go wrong with either one, but Xfinity provides more plan choices and higher download speeds. Spectrum limits its choices with slightly higher prices, but Spectrum does not charge a monthly fee for unlimited data like Xfinity. If you will never download beyond 1.3 TB a month, then Xfinity is your cheaper option. But Spectrum is definitely worth the price if you’re worried about hitting data caps.

    View Xfinity Plans

    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.

    1. Comcast. “We’re Giving Our Northeast Customers More Time.” February 18, 2021. Accessed April 30, 2021.

    Author -

    Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on internet security.

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