There’s no need to keep your router and modem relegated to separate devices. A modem router combo combines both the ability to receive internet and broadcast it to all your wireless devices in a single low form factor device and it makes it easier to troubleshoot issues and generally manage your internet settings.
That makes a cable modem router combo a great choice for gamers and professionals, but it can also be a solid choice for just about everyone. Whether you’re looking to buy your first combo modem router or simply cut out the research process, we have you covered. We’ve identified the most serious modem router models on the market in 2021, and we’ll also offer some advice on making the shopping process easier.
- 10 Best Modem Router Combos
- 1. NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6250
- 2. NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6220
- 3. Motorola MG8702 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem + Wi-Fi Router
- 4. ARRIS SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem & Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router
- 5. TP-Link Archer CR1900 Wi-Fi Cable Modem
- 6. NETGEAR Orbi Built-in-Modem Whole Home Mesh WiFi System
- 7. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
- 8. NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C7000
- 9. TP-LINK Archer CR700 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band
- 10. MOTOROLA MG7540 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
- Modem Router Combos Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Modem Router Combos
1. NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6250
A Reliable Standard for Home and Office
You can always count on NETGEAR to provide you with steady quality performance, and their C6250 earns a place on our best-of list thanks to its workhorse performance in the mid-budget range. This router-modem combo is compatible with every major internet service provider.
This modem even comes with a USB cord for connecting devices without full ethernet support built-in. Scaled as it is for the needs of either homes or small businesses, NETGEAR has had the good sense to include some solid parental controls, and it uses NETGEAR's proprietary BeamForm technology for better distance.
2. NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6220
Powerful Performance for a Modest Price
This modem router from NETGEAR offers speed, connectivity, and wide coverage all for a modest price. Promising speeds of up to 1200 Mbps and coverage for a space up to 1200 sq. ft. in size and up to 20 connected devices, this is a combo unit that doesn't pull any punches.
With certification for most major internet service providers, this speedy and affordable unit can certainly suit the needs of just about any household or small business.
3. Motorola MG8702 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem + Wi-Fi Router
Efficiently Navigates High Traffic
The Motorola MG8702 isn't the cheapest modem with WiFi capabilities, but it is an investment that will pay off for years to come. With internet speeds appropriate for small businesses, and it can even use a digital tuner to automatically find the best channels with the lowest traffic, ensuring that you get the highest level of performance even during peak usage hours.
Rounding out the package is the presence of Beamforming technology - a choice that makes it one of the best choices of modem router combo for a small to mid-sized office using cable internet.
4. ARRIS SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem & Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router
An Investment in the Future
The ARRIS SURFboard comes with a fair asking price but offers features that make it pretty well future-proofed and equipped to offer you some of the best speed and performance in the here and now. But just because it's relatively sophisticated doesn't mean that it's going to be hard to configure.
The SURFboard Manager app allows you to control some pretty advanced settings right through a phone or a tablet, and the fact that it uses a 16 x 4 format means that you can split your internet speeds among eight different bandwidth channels for more efficient and stable performance in larger homes or offices.
5. TP-Link Archer CR1900 Wi-Fi Cable Modem
Double Processor for Optimal Performance
The processing power of the TP-Link Archer CR1900 is some of the best around. Two separate CPUs are packed into this compact modem and router model. In practice, that means internet speeds capable of comfortably handling 4K streaming and modern multiplayer gaming without hiccups. And you'll have both 24 downstream and 8 upstream channels to work with when you're running multiple internet operations at the same time.
This is a modem and router that really benefits from more complex networks too. No matter how complicated things get, you can use the compatible and free TP-Link Tether app for monitoring and configuration.
6. NETGEAR Orbi Built-in-Modem Whole Home Mesh WiFi System
The NETGEAR Orbi doesn't come with a cheap price tag, but you won't find more thorough modems with routers built in anywhere. Together, the modem and separate extender sport a design that evokes the playfulness of Apple products and offers some of the best coverage for larger homes and offices that we've ever seen.
The internet speeds here top 2 full gigabytes a second, and this modem router gives you consistent coverage for up to 4,000 square feet of space. Powering all of this is a 710MHz quad-core processor and the support for tri-band connection technology.
7. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
If you're looking for a modem and router best buy and don't want to worry about the hassle of figuring out compatibility with your ISP, we have nothing but glowing recommendations for the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190. Almost all of the major internet providers are certified for use with this device, and it even offers some impressive security features thanks to the onboard McAfee Secure Whole Home Internet functionality built-in. Everything from security to access to internet speed testing can be evaluated using the easy-to-navigate and fully-featured mobile app.
8. NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C7000
NETGEAR returns with yet another powerhouse of a combo unit. Although somewhat on the expensive side, the C700 offers top speeds of up to 1900 Mbps and coverage for spaces up to 1800 sq. ft. in size. With support for up to 30 connected devices and a slew of key ports, this is a modem router combo ideal for the home or small businesses.
9. TP-LINK Archer CR700 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band
The Archer CR700 isn't the fastest way to get a wireless internet connection in your home, but it is one of the most effective ways to set up a home network. Even with its modest max speeds, this model will seat the needs of most average consumers, and it packs in beamforming technology that significantly boosts its range in larger homes. And even if you've never set up an internet device before, you don't need to be scared here. You can mostly just plug it in and count on it to work, and it works with the automated installation of some ISPs.
10. MOTOROLA MG7540 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
You can be confident that your private information will be a little safer with the Motorola MG7540. A dedicated firewall and Broadcom chipset provide a higher level of protection against DDoS attacks, while the ability to operate on DFS channels provides it with the means to better direct your internet than most other devices on the market can. It also supports Beamforming technology so it can be used as it should in larger spaces. The actual design here is compact and not ostentatious, and it's designed to sit out of the way without a tangle of cords.
Modem Router Combos Buyer’s Guide
Replacing the modem and the router you get from your cable internet provider is one of the best ways to save money in the long term. You earn back a lot on your investment, and quickly. And the best way to make the most of your space, budget, and sanity is to replace the cable company’s routers and modems with routers with modems built-in.
But just because a combination cable modem router offers better performance than those products separately doesn’t mean that any given modem with a router is going to be the best choice for you. There’s a decent range of features to consider here, and some of them will likely not even fit your lifestyle, but our guide can help translate the words that follow each review into real and actionable understanding.
Speaking of things that can get in the way of you using your best router cable modem, let’s talk cable internet service providers. Modern ISPs are territorial, regional, and often tangled under different corporate umbrellas, and not every device you want to get is going to work with your provider.
Fortunately, most cable modem manufacturers understand this complication and provide a certification process for cable modem router models that they don’t own. Your best option is to get a model that’s been certified by your internet provider, but even then, things can be a little complicated. Sometimes even with certification, you can’t get the best speeds or the best features like parental controls with listed providers. So if you’re worried about a product meeting the grade in your home, you’ll want to get a closer look at the fine print with your provider.
On the other hand, just because a model has been certified by an ISP doesn’t mean that it won’t work with them. Certification means stress testing products in a controlled environment, and ISPs don’t necessarily want to spend money just so customers can get internet in their home with someone else’s equipment. If you really want a combo model, a somewhat deeper dig online can help you understand how well the modem combo you want most will actually work in your home.
How fast can your device actually go? Fortunately, combination devices are going to be one of the best options if you want to squeeze the best performance out of your dollar. That’s because you know that the separate components are going to complement each other best.
Keep in mind that top internet speeds are rated in optimal conditions, and they’re naturally going to be restricted by your provider, your internet plan, and the other devices in your home. In other words, any download speeds you see listed are going to be apportioned out to different devices.
Downstream and Upstream Channels
Speaking of speeds, downstream and upstream channels can have just as much of an impact as the raw speed performance numbers. The first number listed tells you how many channels can be used to download data, while the latter tells you how many channels can be used to upload data. Since the former is far more common, almost all models are going to come with more downstream than upstream channels. After all, most internet users aren’t sending huge amounts of data to the internet all at once.
In any case, eight downstream channels represents the standard for a bargain-basement budget model, while 32 downstream channels represents some blindingly fast performance that can keep pace even in mid-sized offices. A model with 16 downstream channels represents the middle of the road, and is our recommendation for more conventional households.
The most important ports to consider when looking to set up a wireless network is the number of ethernet ports. While most users won’t care too much about making sure all their devices are connected directly to the device, it’s easily the best way to get the fastest internet speeds possible. For gamers and businesses, having that level of reliability can be a godsend.
USB ports aren’t quite as essential, and there are a decent number of models that don’t even have them at all, but they can be incredibly useful in the right circumstances. For one, they can be attached to printers, allowing for easy wireless printing, faxing, or scanning from any connected device. But even more useful is the ability to attach a hard drive using the USB port. The cloud is great, but having local access to your important documents, photos, and videos can be a huge benefit, especially when the internet goes down.
All but the most basic models are going to come with an interface that allows you to better configure your internet. What’s available will vary depending on the make and the model, but some of the more common ones can be really useful. Priority of service is great for prioritizing resource-heavy tasks like gaming, while the ability to set up guest networks has a lot of useful applications for both businesses and individuals. Many even come with advanced security settings.
If more advanced features matter to you, you may want to pay closer attention to the advanced functions that a model offers. But you’ll also want to pay attention to what the interface actually looks like. Device and speed monitoring is something that many customers will use on a regular basis, and the navigation on some devices is simply leagues better than others. You may prefer to give the compatible app or web portal a test drive before deciding on one model in particular.
In the battle between a separate router and modem vs. a router-modem combo, the latter is almost always going to win. We’ve presented you with 10 of the best models and all of the information you need to translate the specs into understandable English, but we aren’t done just yet. We’ll make sure that this best-of list stays updated with the best new models, and we have a ton of guides and reviews that can help you if these choices aren’t best suited to your situation.If you liked our article on modem router combos, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.