The 6 Best Modems for Gaming

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The 6 Best Modems for Gaming

Key Points

  • Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Modem for Gaming is the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200. 
  • It’s important to know that not every modem is built for gaming, but many modems can still deliver solid gaming performance. 
  • Before purchasing any modem for gaming, make sure it’s compatible with your ISP or internet service provider. 

When it comes to playing PC and console games online with friends, family, or a bunch of strangers, you need speed and plenty of it. This is why choosing the right modem for gaming is such an important decision.

Just as gaming requires either a powerful PC or a dedicated gaming console, a gaming modem can require its own set of features for the best possible gameplay. While a router is definitely an important piece of the gaming puzzle, it’s the gaming modem that helps deal with ISP data transmission and can make or break an online gaming experience. Let’s take a look at the best modems for gaming you can purchase today. 

#1 Best Overall: NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200

#1 Best Overall
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200
  • Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity certified
  • Replaces your cable modem so you can save money on rental feels
  • Four gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Works with any Wi-Fi router
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11/27/2023 06:37 pm GMT

When it comes to the absolute best gaming modem available, the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200 is the go-to choice. 

The CM1200 is packed with features and estimates its purchase alone can save you upwards of $168 a year in modem fees by no longer renting from your ISP. As of July 2023, the CM1200 is certified to work for speeds up to 1 Gbps with Spectrum and Cox, while Xfinity speeds can exceed 800 Mbps.

The CM1200 can also connect with nearly any Wi-Fi router available through any of its four-gigabit ethernet ports. What this means is that you will be able to support all of your internet-connected devices as well as a gaming console or PC. 

Engineered with 32×8 channel bonding, OFDM 2×2, and DOCSIS 3.1, these terms may not be familiar, but rest assured they mean the CM1200 has the latest technology. With these technologies, the CM1200 can support up to 2 Gbps, which is more than enough speed for gaming and simultaneous 4K streaming. If you are looking for the most reliable speeds and consistent connection strength, the Nighthawk CM1200 is hard to ignore. 

Provides outstanding speedDoes not support all internet service providers
Has the latest features for supporting ISPs

Check out the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200 on Amazon today.

Best Runner-Up: ARRIS SURFboard S33

Best Runner-Up
ARRIS Surfboard S33
  • Compatible with Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity, and more
  • Approved for cable internet speed plans up to 2.5-Gbps
  • Save up to $168 in cable modem rental fees
  • Includes DOCSIS 3.1 technology
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11/27/2023 06:37 pm GMT

In a battle for the top spot as the best gaming modem available, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 does a fantastic job of giving you all of the speed you need. 

Right away, the S33 stands tall with its support for DOCSIS 3.1 modem technology, or the same technology used by cable internet providers. Providing better security and reducing lag while gaming,  having this technology is critical to having the best gaming experience. Thanks to this technology, the S33 is compatible with Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity, and other cable providers that can support internet speeds up to 2.5 Gbps. 

Even though the S33 isn’t advertised as a gaming modem, it offers all of the technology you need including 32×8 channel bonding. By including channel bonding technology, the SURFboard S33 can maximize the speed of your uploads and downloads across your internet connection. 

Most importantly, the S33 is future-proofed so even as internet speeds get faster and online gaming gets more demanding, the S33 is ready to do battle with its gigabit ethernet port and 2.5 Gbps Ethernet connection. Best of all, setup with the SURFboard S33 is a breeze and it can quickly connect to any Wi-Fi router for networking. 

Support ISPs speeds up to 2.5 GbpsNot specifically built for gaming
Eliminates rental fees from the cable companyOnly has two Ethernet ports

Take a look at the ARRIS SURFboard S33 on Amazon.

Best Budget-Friendly: NETGEAR Cable Modem CM600

Best Budget-Friendly
NETGEAR Cable Modem CM600
  • Compatible with Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, and more
  • Supports speeds up to 500Mbps
  • DOCSIS 3.0 technology included
  • Ideal for streaming 4K UHD content
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11/27/2023 07:32 am GMT

On the budget end of the best modems for gaming available today, the NETGEAR Cable Modem CM600 stands out with its sub-$150 price tag. 

Compatible with Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, and other ISPs, the CM600 is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to keep modem costs down. To help ensure a more budget-friendly price tag, the CM600 only provides speeds up to 500 Mbps with 24×8 channel bonding.

Even if the CM600 doesn’t include the latest channel bonding tech (32×8), it still offers plenty of speed for most people and more than enough speed for online gaming. The inclusion of DOCSIS 3.0 built-in technology also helps ensure the CM600 will maintain a consistent and strong signal. 

As a NETGEAR product, gaming is top of mind, but so is 4K streaming, which is very much a reality with the CM600 as well. 

Setting up the CM600 should take no more than five minutes, and that includes plugging it in and connecting it to your Wi-Fi router. Once connected to your home router, the CM600 will help expand your internet signal across an apartment or home. 

Works with the majority of top-tier cable service providersOnly provides internet speeds up to 500 Mbps
Budget-friendly price tagDoes not include DOCSIS 3.1 technology

Check out the NETGEAR Cable Modem CM600 on Amazon.

Best Modem/Router Combo: Motorola MG8733

Best Modem/Router Combo
Motorola MT8733
  • Delivers ultra-fast speeds up to 2.5Gbs
  • Includes DOCSIS 3.1 technology
  • Three 1 gig ethernet ports plus one 2.5 gigabit ethernet port
  • Ultra-fast AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 performance
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11/27/2023 06:37 pm GMT

When you want the absolute best technology for your modem, router, and gaming, the Motorola MG8733 is the definitive go-to choice. 

Certified to work with Xfinity internet and voice services, the MG8733 is compatible with the Xfinity Triple Play system. This means the MG8733 can potentially hit its theoretical top speed of 2.5 Gbps thanks to support for DOCSIS 3.1 technology. The combination modem and router from Motorola includes one 2.5 Gbps gigabit ethernet port and three 1GB ethernet ports.

Where Motorola really shines is that it can simultaneously stream, game, and video conference with up to 100 devices without skipping a beat. 

Standing in as a router, the Motorola MG8733 includes super fast AX6000 Wi-Fi performance (aka Wi-Fi 6) for future-proofed connectivity and faster speeds. Using this technology, you can even support two phone lines working simultaneously on your Xfinity account. As part of your Xfinity connection, the MG8733 also supports caller ID, conference calling, and call forwarding. 

Combo router/modem for one single devicePricey for a router/modem
Supports all Xfinity features including Triple PlayOnly Xfinity supports all features

Take a look at the Motorola MG8733 on Amazon today.

Best Value: NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000

Best Value
NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000
  • Supports cable internet speed tiers up to 1000Mbps
  • Save up to $120 per year on cable modem rental fees
  • Compatible with Xfinity, Cox, Mediacom Cable, and more
  • Easy installation
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11/27/2023 06:37 pm GMT

When you need a gaming modem that offers the latest technology without costing a fortune, the NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000 is a fantastic value. 

The CM1000 stands out right away thanks to its ability to support all cable internet speed tiers up to 1 Gbps. This speed is available thanks to the inclusion of DOCSIS 3.1, which is the latest technology for a cable modem and enables speeds up to 10 times faster than previous DOCSIS technology. 

With the CM1000, you can also say hello to approximately $120 in recouped fees you are not paying to your ISP for renting a modem. The modem itself is compatible with Xfinity, Cox, Mediacom Cable, and other internet service providers. 

With support for DOCSIS 3.1, you can fully expect to have outstanding gaming performance with high speeds and a reliable connection. This is good news for online multiplayer or even downloading new games as soon as they release. When you’re ready to take a break from gaming, the CM1000 will deliver the same rock-solid performance whenever you want to surf or stream on your computer or other devices. 

Excellent performance up to 1 GbpsOnly provides speed up to 1 Gbps
Compatible with multiple ISPsOnly Xfinity customers receive additional features

Check out the NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000 on Amazon.

Best Premium Option: NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000

Best Premium Option
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000
  • Best for cable provider plans up to 2.5Gbps
  • Compatible with all major internet providers including Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum
  • Works best with Wi-Fi 6-compatible routers
  • Includes DOCSIS 3.1 technology and 32x8 channel bonding
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 06:37 pm GMT

As soon as you decide you want a gaming modem that can deliver the fastest speeds with support for multiple cable internet providers, the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000 is the answer. 

Designed to be very fast, the CM2000 immediately delivers support for multi-gig speeds up to 2.5 Gbps. To achieve this speed, the CM2000 connects to Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum, all of which support the fast speeds the CM2000 can manage.

No matter which Wi-Fi router you have, expect support for Wi-Fi 6 as well as the Orbi Mesh system for full home coverage as part of your CM2000 purchase. The inclusion of mesh support is important and can help cover your entire home with the fastest possible speeds to achieve more reliable online gaming. 

The rear of the CM2000 offers a single ethernet port for 2.5 Gbps speeds, which means you only need one cable running to a router if you choose to go wireless. Selecting the CM2000 as your new modem is likely to save you around $168 in rental fees as you never need to pay for a modem from your ISP again. Just as soon as you return your rented modem, you can set up the Nighthawk CM2000 in under five minutes. 

Super fast speeds for gamingOnly includes one Ethernet port
Can be paired with a mesh Wi-Fi systemLimited ISP compatibility

Check out the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000 on Amazon.

Selective focus at router. Internet router on working table with blurred computer at the background. Fast and high speed internet connection from fiber line with LAN cable connection.
When choosing a gaming modem, you want to look out for features like top speeds, channel bonding, and DOCSIS technology.

©Teerasan Phutthigorn/Shutterstock.com

What to Know Before Buying a Modem for Gaming 

When you are looking at purchasing a gaming modem, there are a few important things you want to consider.

First and foremost is the top speed of the modem you are looking to purchase. Ideally, you want to get a top speed that is faster than your ISP can deliver today as you want to be future-proofed. This usually means deciding between a 1 Gbps or a 2.5 Gbps top speed. Realistically, most people only need 1 Gbps, but if you have the means to purchase one of the options above with a 2.5Gbps top speed, you are future-proofed. 

You also want to look at other features that might be available on your modem such as support for Xfinity’s Triple Play in the case of the Motorola MG8733. Other features like support for a mesh Wi-Fi system as in the case of the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000 can be influential in helping you decide which modem is right for you. 

The final consideration when looking at a gaming modem is what the device is best used for. The SURFboard S33 isn’t specifically designed for gaming but still works great for a reliable connection. On the other hand, the Motorola MG8733 is specifically designed to support multiple gaming devices online at the same time, which gives it a leg up over the competition.  

Using a Modem for Gaming: What It’s Like

When you are looking at a gaming modem, you should know that any modern modem will suffice. However, the modems on this list do a great job at reducing latency and lowering the ping, which makes them ideal choices for use as gaming modems. 

No matter which modem you choose, the last thing you want is a modem that cannot keep up with gameplay, so choosing any option on this list is the best way to go. It really doesn’t matter if you are looking to get into competitive esports or just playing online with friends, having a solid connection is important. 

Choosing the right gaming modem can truly make or break your gaming experience. Ideally, you want to select a gaming modem with the latest technology. If you have features like 32×8 channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.1, you can fully expect your gaming modem to be ready to play at all hours of the day.

Summary Table

Best OverallNETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200
Runner-UpARRIS SURFboard S33
Best Budget-FriendlyNETGEAR CM600
Best Modem/Router ComboMotorola MG8733
Best ValueNETGEAR CM1000
Best Premium OptionNETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one modem for gaming?

The number one gaming modem you can buy today is the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200. 

How often do you need to upgrade your modem?

Realistically, you should only upgrade your modem when you feel as if performance is really suffering. 

What is the ideal internet speed for online gaming?

According to Xfinity, any speed over 20 Mbps is usually good enough for online gaming, and anything below that puts you in a potential zone for lag. 

Should you consider a modem/router combo?

Ideally, you are likely to spend as much separately on both a modem and router as you would a combination of the two. 

Are all modems built for gaming compatible with all ISPs?

For the most part, Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox tend to support third-party gaming modems while competitor ISPs stick with their own hardware. 

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