Xfinity vs. Spectrum
The Bottom Line
Choose Xfinity for wide availability and some of the fastest speeds on the market. With service in forty states and speeds up to 2 gigs in select areas, it’s hard to argue against Xfinity. If speed is what you need, Xfinity has it and then some.
Choose Spectrum for a good customer experience and unlimited data. Spectrum offers respectable speeds for the price, but where it really shines is in the simple package choices and good customer service. Spectrum also offers unlimited data at no additional charge—that’s perfect for heavy streamers.
Comparing Xfinity and Spectrum
Type of Service
$24.99–$299.95 per month*
15 Mbps–2 Gbps
Start at $11.00 per month
Starts at $60.00
Type of Service
$44.99 per month†
Up to 100 Mbps
Included in package price
$49.95; waived with Triple Play bundle
Data effective 9/24/18. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *For the first 12 or 24 months. May require a 1- or 2-year agreement. † For the first 12 months.
Packages & Pricing
Xfinity and Spectrum could not be more different when it comes to package offerings. While Xfinity has a plan for every budget and need, Spectrum takes the simple route with just a single offering. Which path is the right one? Let’s find out.
|Performance Starter||$29.99 per month*||15 Mbps|
|Performance Plus||$39.99 per month*||60 Mbps|
|Performance Pro||$54.99 per month*||150 Mbps|
|Blast! Pro||$69.99 per month*||250 Mbps|
|Gigabit||$89.99 per month*||1 Gbps|
|Gigabit Pro||$299.95 per month||2 Gbps|
|Price||$29.99 per month*|
|Price||$39.99 per month*|
|Price||$54.99 per month*|
|Price||$69.99 per month*|
|Price||$89.99 per month*|
|Price||$299.95 per month|
Data effective 9/24/18. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
Xfinity offers a wide variety of internet packages. These plans run the full range from your basic 15 Mbps starter package to the ridiculously fast (and equally expensive) Gigabit Pro.
Each package is clearly differentiated and makes sense in the lineup, and the pricing is reasonable for what you get. Our big gripe with Xfinity is inconsistency in packages among different locations. Prices, available plans, and speeds often vary widely from place to place. While this is normal behavior for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Xfinity is even more all over the map than some of the others.
If you want to add TV or phone service, Xfinity has plenty of bundling options available. The cream of the crop is the Premier XF Triple Play, which gets you 400 Mbps internet, 260+ channels, and unlimited nationwide calling. You’ll also get HBO®, STARZ®, CINEMAX®, and SHOWTIME® included at no additional charge, which is quite valuable on its own.
|Spectrum Internet||$44.99 per month for 12 months||100 Mbps|
|Price||$44.99 per month for 12 months|
Spectrum keeps it about as simple as possible when it comes to plan choices—there’s one plan with one speed. The speed you get may vary slightly depending on where you live, but it’s pretty consistent overall.
Compared to Xfinity, the price is competitive—while Xfinity can be cheaper or more expensive depending on the package you choose, the two providers are pretty much on par when it comes to what you pay for similar speeds.
Spectrum bundles are also priced well. Our pick for best value is the $109.97 per month Silver Triple Play. This bundle includes Spectrum Internet as well as 175+ HD channels and unlimited nationwide calling. You’ll also get HBO®, CINEMAX®, and SHOWTIME® included at no additional charge.
If you want to pay more and get faster speeds, Xfinity gives you that option. Spectrum doesn’t.
Xfinity offers a range of options, from the slower (but cheaper) 15 Mbps Performance Starter plan all the way up to the 2,000 Mbps Gigabit Pro plan.
That said, the speed Spectrum offers is probably more than enough for most households. But if you’re looking for a package that’s either slower or faster than the norm, Xfinity is where you’ll find it.
Both Xfinity and Spectrum use coaxial cables to transmit data, TV, and phone signals. Cable internet tends to be fast, reliable, and easily accessible, and both Xfinity and Spectrum live up to that reputation.
Here’s an area where Spectrum really pulls ahead. Spectrum offers unlimited data. Period. End of story. No fine print. There’s no cap, there’s no fee for additional use, and there’s no add-on subscription to worry about. If your household uses a ton of data and can live with Spectrum’s average speed, this almost makes it a no-brainer.
Xfinity gives users 1 TB of data each month. That’s still a lot, and most will never reach that cap. But if you do happen to hit it, you’ll pay $10.00 for each additional 50 GB used. Xfinity also gives the option of purchasing unlimited data for an extra $50.00 per month with any plan, which could be better than paying for overages if you consistently exceed the cap by more than 250 GB.
There’s one big difference between the way Xfinity and Spectrum approach equipment: Xfinity charges you an additional fee and Spectrum doesn’t. Both providers allow you to use your own modem or router if you prefer. And since they’re cable providers, there are plenty of options to choose from.
When should you use the equipment provided by your ISP?
For most people, it makes sense to stick with what the provider gives you. This is especially true if the rental price is already included in your package, like with Spectrum. There are several benefits to sticking with ISP-provided equipment:
- You’ll get guaranteed compatibility with your service, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally buying the wrong product.
- You’ll get easier tech support if something goes wrong since your provider is familiar with the equipment.
When should you purchase your own equipment?
On the other hand, sometimes the ISP-provided modem or router just doesn’t get the job done, or you don’t want to pay the rental fee for years to come. Here are some reasons to consider picking up your own router:
- You need more Wi-Fi coverage. If you live in a larger-than-average home, you might need more range from your router.
- You have a lot of devices online at once. If your network is especially crowded, try a router with special tech like beamforming to get the signal to your devices and prioritize traffic.
- You need more speed. If you need to maximize your wireless speed for streaming or gaming, purchasing your own router is probably the best way to do that.
How do Xfinity and Spectrum stack up when it comes to using them in the real world? Pretty well, it turns out. Customer reviews of both Xfinity and Spectrum point toward a positive experience.
|Provider||Installation Fee||Type of Installation||Spectrum|
|Xfinity||Starts at $60.00||Self-install or professional||View Xfinity Plans|
|Spectrum||Varies with package choice||Self-install or professional||View Spectrum Plans|
|Installation Fee||Starts at $60.00|
|Type of Installation||Self-install or professional|
|Spectrum||View Xfinity Plans|
|Installation Fee||Varies with package choice|
|Type of Installation||Self-install or professional|
|Spectrum||View Spectrum Plans|
How a provider treats its customers can be just as important as how fast its internet is or how many channels it offers. Our 2018 Customer Satisfaction Survey ranks providers in a number of categories to find out which ones provide the best customer experience.
Both Xfinity and Spectrum sit toward the top of the list, in fifth and sixth places, with Xfinity slightly beating Spectrum. Xfinity scores especially well in speed and reliability, while Spectrum does best in the installation and tech support categories.
We’d expect both providers to offer a pleasant experience overall. You really can’t go wrong with either when it comes to customer service.
Both Xfinity and Spectrum offer access to a large hotspot network when you sign up for service. Xfinity takes it a step further by including a hotspot in every router it provides. This allows guests to sign into the Xfinity Wi-Fi network and be online in a snap—just as long as they are also Xfinity customers and have access to the hotspot network.
Internet Security Features
Both providers also offer internet security as part of your service. Xfinity partners with Norton Internet Security to protect up to five devices at no extra charge, and you can upgrade to a higher-tier product for an additional cost. Spectrum provides security software for up to ten computers.
Xfinity and Spectrum both offer mobile apps for managing your accounts and services.
Compared to many provider apps, these apps actually have pretty decent ratings. In any case, while these apps might not be the most exciting things in the world, they’re always convenient to have.
Availability and Coverage
Both Xfinity and Spectrum offer coverage across the country, with the highest availability on the East Coast and Great Lakes region. Xfinity offers coverage in forty states total, while Spectrum claims availability in twenty-nine. Overall, Spectrum coverage tends to be more clustered in certain areas, while Xfinity is a bit more spread out.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Xfinity and Spectrum
We’ve highlighted the important stuff in the chart below, but explore our 2018’s Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction survey for more details and scores.
- Fast speeds
- Wide availability
- Contract-free options
- High scores of reliability
- Unlimited data option costs extra
- Limited availability on fastest plans
- Wide availability
- Included equipment
- Simplified package choices
- Unlimited data
- Little variety in packages
- Not as fast as Xfinity
FAQs about Xfinity and Spectrum
What happened to Time Warner Cable/Charter/Bright House?
In 2016, Charter acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks and merged all three brands under the Spectrum roof. There are still a few lingering references to Charter Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, or Bright House floating around, but it shouldn’t be long until everything is smoothed over.
What’s the difference between Comcast and Xfinity?
In practice, there is no difference. Comcast is the company, and Xfinity is the brand it uses for its consumer internet and TV services.
What is gigabit internet?
Gigabit internet is internet service with speeds of 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps). Many providers refer to these plans as “1 Gig” plans. Gigabit speeds are about as fast as they come. For some context, you could download an entire movie in less than two minutes on a gigabit connection.
Both Spectrum and Xfinity offer great service and have great reputations. But, in the end, our verdict boils down to one basic thing: speed.
If speed is the most important factor in your choice, go with Xfinity. Spectrum just can’t match Xfinity’s speed, so it’s really a no-brainer if that’s your top priority.
If speed is not the most important factor, go with Spectrum. Spectrum offers some extra perks—like unlimited data, a simple package selection, and equipment at no additional charge—that make it more enticing for users that don’t need more than 100 Mbps.
Dave is a freelance writer with a passion for tech and how it improves our lives. His work has been published on a variety of sites around the web.