April 2021

Modem Rankings Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Modem rankings posted by key online experts, as of April 2021.

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Modems.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Modems, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for April 2021 ranking

We ranked Motorola MB8600 #1 in April 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Motorola MB8600 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Lifewire

Best for Gigabit Internet

Pros
DOCSIS 3.1 Support
Low latency
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports

Cons
No support for bundled voice services
Additional Ethernet ports are hidden

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Wirecutter

For gigabit internet plans

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HighSpeedInternet

Best overall

Pros
Four gigabit Ethernet ports
Excellent Broadcom chipset

Cons
Bulky design
Limited compatibility with providers

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Reviews.org

Best high-speed cable modem

Pros
Ultra-fast speeds
2-year warranty
Decent compatibility

Cons
Pricier than slower models

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Popular Mechanics

Pros
Great ventilation
2-year warranty

Cons
A bit pricey

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We ranked Motorola MB7621 #2 in April 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Motorola MB7621 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Lifewire

Best Value

Pros
Affordable
Compact design
Easy setup

Cons
No voice capabilities

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Wirecutter

The best modem for most people

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The Strategist

Best cable modem for faster download speeds

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Popular Mechanics

High speed

Pros
Easy setup
Fast speeds

Cons
Large footprint

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We ranked Netgear CM500 #3 in April 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Lifewire

Best Budget

Pros
Easy setup
Good compatibility
Great speed for price

Cons
Gets hot

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Wirecutter

For plans up to 300 Mbps

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Tom's Guide

Best alternative cable modem

Pros
Solid performance
Good compatibility
Often cheaper than comparable modems

Cons
One-year warrant shorter than rivals
Indicator lights are hard to see

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The Strategist

Best cable modem for streaming video on multiple devices

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Popular Mechanics

Sleek design

Pros
Nice design

Cons
Can overheat

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We ranked Arris SURFboard SB6190 #4 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Arris SURFboard SB6190 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Lifewire

Best Overall

Pros
Impressive speeds
Great for HD movies and gaming
Convenient LED indicator lights

Cons
Coaxial connection placement isn't ideal

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BestCovery

Best Top Pick

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The Strategist

Best cable modem for gamers

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We ranked Netgear CM600 #5 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Netgear CM600 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

Same speeds,shorter warranty

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Reviews.org

Best for most

Pros
Compatible with all major cable providers
Fast enough for most households
Relatively affordable

Cons
Not optimal for super-fast internet connections

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Tom's Guide

Best cable modem for high-speed service

Pros
Reliable performance
Lower price than other high-speed modems
Compatible with many ISPs

Cons
One-year warranty
Tall footprint

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We ranked Arris SURFboard SB8200 #6 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Lifewire

Best Compact

Pros
DOCSIS 3.1 Support
Compact design
Two Gigabit Ethernet ports with link aggregation

Cons
Pricey
Awkward coaxial connection placement

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HighSpeedInternet

Best value

Pros
No more Puma 6 chipset
Multiple color options

Cons
Fewer Ethernet ports
Limited compatibility with cable providers

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The Strategist

Best Docsis 3.1 cable modem

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We ranked Motorola MB7420 #7 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Motorola MB7420 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
BestCovery

Best Runner Up

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Tom's Guide

The best cable modem you can buy

Pros
Two-year warranty
Reliable performance
Compatible with most internet providers

Cons
Not as compact as some modems

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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 #8 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Lifewire

Best Performance

Pros
DOCSIS 3.1 Support
Four Gigabit Ethernet Ports
802.3ad Link Aggregation

Cons
Pricey
No voice features

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HighSpeedInternet

Best look

Pros
Slick, unobtrusive appearance
Easy setup
Lots of Ethernet ports

Cons
Costs more for average features

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We ranked Netgear Nighthawk C7100V #9 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Strategist

Best long-range cable modem and router

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Popular Mechanics

Router-modem combo

Pros
Included phone lines

Cons
Very expensive

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We ranked Arris SURFboard SB6183 #10 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Modems” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A top cable modem if you can find it

Pros
Dependable
Two-year warranty
Compatible with most internet providers
Visible status lights

Cons
Awkward placement of coaxial cable

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Popular Mechanics

Best value

Pros
Affordable

Cons
Not attractive, if that’s a concern

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