While you can rent a router or gateway from your internet service provider, this comes at a premium, and you never get to own your router. For some people, this is fine. For example, people who move house often and have to change internet service providers might be better off renting a router since they won’t use it forever. But for people who have hunkered down and found a place to call home, owning a router might enable you to get better deals on your internet by allowing you to switch ISPs whenever your current contract runs out, seamlessly.
But finding a router to buy is more in-depth than it might seem. Not all routers are made equal—some aren’t even compatible with all ISPs! So, ensuring that the router you’re purchasing is compatible with your ISP is crucial. If your ISP is Spectrum, you might have to ensure your router is compatible. Here are our choices for the best routers for Spectrum users in 2023!
- Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk C7000
- Best Budget: TP-Link AX3000
- Best for Gamers: ASUS AX6000
- Best for Large Houses: Netgear Nighthawk CAX80
- Best Compatibility: Netgear C6250
Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo C7000
- Save monthly rental fees: Model C7000 replaces your cable modem and Wi-Fi router, saving you up to 168 dollars/year in equipment rental fees.
- Speeds by carrier: Xfinity (up to 800Mbps), Cox (up to 500Mbps), Spectrum (up to 400Mbps).
- Fast Wi-Fi performance: Get up to 1800 square feet wireless coverage and 30 devices connected with AC1900 speed (up to 1900 Mbps).
- Versatile connections: 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports give you fast wired connections to your computer, printer, game box, storage drive, and other devices.
- Modem technology: Engineered with 32x8 channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.1.
The Netgear Nighthawk has several different iterations. Two different Nighthawk models made our list this year. However, only one can be the best overall, and our choice for best overall goes to the Netgear Nighthawk C7000.
The Nighthawk C7000 might not be the most powerful router. Still, it’s a perfect marriage of power and price, making it our favorite for the best router for Spectrum users. In addition, it’s got the highest-rated Spectrum speeds, with up to 400 Mbps available to Spectrum users and 800 Mbps in total.
Now it might not use its full bandwidth for Spectrum, but Spectrum plans start at just 300 Mbps. So, this router will be perfect for you unless you’re looking at the top-of-the-line Spectrum plans. Of course, if you’re looking at the higher-tier Spectrum plans, you’ll need to invest in a top-of-the-line premium router to go with them. Ideally, gaming routers are best for the top plans at Spectrum, as they allow the highest possible internet speeds. But be warned; they come at a premium.
Best Budget: TP-Link AX3000
If you’re looking for a budget router compatible with Spectrum’s services, look no further than theTP-Link AX3000. This router is competitively priced, especially for a router that can handle gigabit speeds. It supports speeds up to 2042 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
This router also has an expanded range for large homes with its four external antennae that allow it to project its signal and connect to devices at a further range. These antennae use beamforming technology to produce stable and secure Wi-Fi throughout your home, even at long range.
The TP-Link AX3000 is also compatible with Alexa. It also features a smart-wake-up ability, allowing the router to wake your devices at the right time to save battery by keeping them in sleep mode at night.
Check out the TP-Link AX3000 on Amazon.
Best for Gamers: ASUS AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Cable Modem Wireless Router Combo (CM-AX6000)
- Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) supports OFDMA and MU-MIMO
- Dual-band with 160MHz bandwidth
- DOCSIS 3.1 cable gateway
- Speeds up to 6000Mbps
- 4 WAN/LAN ports and an embedded antenna
- Passive cooling with no fans for less noise
Gamers need exceptional technology to support their gaming. So a fast router-modem combo can be a crucial part of a gamer’s arsenal, especially if they’re fond of online games like League of Legends and Final Fantasy XIV.
The ASUS AX6000 features speeds up to 6000 Mbps, making it the fastest possible router on this list. Of course, you’ll need an advanced Spectrum plan with Gigabit speeds to access those higher speeds. However, you don’t even get the option to use Gigabit internet with most other options on this list.
Internally, the router features a DOCSIS 3.1 Wi-Fi 6 antenna, the industry’s smallest and most compact antenna, and passive, fan-less cooling that ensures a quiet runtime with no bottlenecking or throttling from heat.
Check out the ASUS AX6000 on Amazon.
Best for Large Houses: NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem with Built-in Wi-Fi 6 Router (CAX80)
If you have a big house, you might run into issues with your router being unable to reach certain parts of your house. While you could invest in an extender kit to situate a collection of routers throughout your home to expand your Wi-Fi range, you could also grab a router with a more powerful signal.
The Netgear Nighthawk CAX80 features a massive range of 3000 square feet, making it the most potent signal on this list. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a house this router can’t cover.
It’s also extremely fast, with speeds comparable to the ASUS AX6000, featuring compatibility up to 6 Gbps. This means that no matter what you’re doing, it will be buttery smooth with negligible latency.
Check out the Netgear Nighthawk CAX80 on Amazon.
Best for Compatibility: NETGEAR Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo C6250
- COMPATIBLE WITH ALL MAJOR CABLE INTERNET PROVIDERS: Including certification by Xfinity by Comcast, COX, and Spectrum. NOT compatible with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, DISH and...
- SAVE MONTHLY RENTAL FEES: Model C6250 replaces your cable modem and WiFi router saving you up to $168/yr in equipment rental fees.
- SPEEDS BY CARRIER: Spectrum (up to 300Mbps), Xfinity (up to 300Mbps), Cox (up to 250Mbps).
- FAST WiFi PERFORMANCE: Get up to 1500 sq ft wireless coverage and 25 devices connected with AC1600 speed (up to 1600 Mbps).
- VERSATILE CONNECTIONS: 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 USB port give you fast wired connections to your computer, printer, game box, storage drive, and other devices.
Suppose you switch ISPs every year or two to keep yourself paying the lowest possible costs for your internet service. In that case, you’ll want a router compatible with as many ISPs as possible. The Netgear C6250 is compatible with all major cable service providers, including being certified by Comcast Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum.
It’s worth noting that this router is not compatible with DSL, Verizon, AT&T, or DirectTV. It also cannot run bundled voice services. However, you can’t find a better router for those who are diehard cable internet fans!
Check out the Netgear C6250 on Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Router
Many factors go into choosing the best router for your use case. You’ll want to look at the speed of the router, its usable range, and its architecture to determine which router will work best for you. Let’s take a look at these factors in-depth.
Speed is one of the most critical factors you’ll want to consider when purchasing a router. You’ll need to dig into the specifications to ensure your buying router has the speeds you want. You’ll also need to determine whether the listed speeds are relevant to your ISP.
For instance, the Nighthawk C7000 has theoretical maximum speeds of 800 Mbps but only 400 Mbps when using Spectrum internet. It’s also worth remembering that these speeds they give are theoretical maximums. Your internet speed will vary and probably won’t reach these maximum speeds.
Additionally, the speed isn’t limited to one device. A normal home has multiple devices, maybe phones, tablets, and TVs, connected to the router, as well as computers and laptops. The culmination of these devices is what’s going to test your theoretical maximum speed, not a single device.
Your router will also be bound to its wireless standard while operating. The wireless standard it uses will determine what ISPs and services the router are compatible with. Wireless standards are given alphanumeric names like 802.11a, 802.11b, etc. Most routers are compatible with multiple wireless standards, but not all of them are.
The two most recent standards are 802.11n and 802.11ac. While some households can skate by with the 802.11n router, you’ll want to look for a router with the more current 802.11ac standard. 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g are all considered outdated and should be avoided.
While you may not be able to see it from the outside, all routers are outfitted with antennae that allow them to project and receive signals. While most routers have one antenna, you can find routers with upwards of four antennae on the market nowadays.
Routers with more antennae have more channels that can be used to connect with devices. However, the number of antennae on a router isn’t necessarily crucial to its speed and functionality. So you don’t have to put a significant amount of consideration into the number of antennae your router has.
Frequency channels are less of a problem than they used to be, as it’s now standard for routers to come with both a 5 GHz and a 2.4 GHz band. However, you can still find some older routers that have only a 2.4 GHz band.
This issue is mostly only going to arise with older routers. So, if you’re looking at exceptionally cheap routers, you’ll want to make sure the router you’re buying has up-to-date bands and includes the 5 GHz bands.
Wi-Fi routers also have security protocols that are built into the router. These security protocols prevent hackers from gaining access to your router and any data transmitted. The three main types of security protocols are WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
WEP and WPA routers are considered outdated. WEP routers are the most outdated. Any hacker worth their salt can access your data with a flick of their wrist if it uses WEP as its security protocol. WPA is slightly better than WEP but is still outdated. You will want to buy a router with WPA2 security to ensure that your data is safely transmitted and your router remains untouched.
Best Routers for Spectrum Users: What to Know Before You Buy
The biggest thing you’ll want to look for when buying a router is compatibility with your ISP. Not all routers are compatible with all ISPs. So, ensure the router you’re buying is compatible with Spectrum if that’s your ISP.
You may also find routers with outdated protocols in connection or security. Avoid purchasing any outdated routers since these will put your data security at risk of being retrieved by hackers. In addition, an obsolete router cannot adequately protect your internet browsing and network data. So, splurging on a router with updated security and connection protocols is advised.
Additionally, ensure you have all the necessary parts to use your router. For example, routers without a modem will need a separate modem installation to access the internet. So, do your research as to the architecture of your new router to ensure a seamless switch.
Best Routers for Spectrum Users: What It’s Like to Use
Your experience with your new router will vary based on your selected router. However, most people who buy new routers experience more stable and faster internet than they had with the stock router you rent from your ISP.
However, you will need to install your new router. This installation may involve power tools or other specialized gear that you need. However, as long as your router and modem are working, they should be relatively easy to install simply by following the instructions included.
Finding the perfect home router and modem can be a chore, but you’ll never want to look back once you’ve installed your own router. Once you’ve experienced the smooth browsing that comes with a higher-end router, it’s hard to return to the janky stock routers you rent from your ISP. So, it makes sense that people are increasingly replacing their stock routers with more powerful models. If you found your match-made-in-heaven on our list, we encourage you to share it and leave a comment, so we know we’ve been helpful!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Casezy idea/Shutterstock.com.