What is the Best Router Modem Combos To Buy In 2020?
When it comes to connecting to the internet and creating a Wi-Fi network at home, you basically have two main options. The first option is to purchase a separate modem and router, and the other is to simply buy a router modem combo.
For many, the simplicity of a router modem combo wins out, and this is also true if you rent your internet hardware from your internet service provider (ISP). With that said, not all hardware can last forever, so it may be time to upgrade your device, or purchase your own instead of renting. So, what are the best router modem combos?
There isn’t an easy answer. In fact, the “best” for you may mean something entirely different to someone else with different internet and networking needs. Even so, there are definitely some excellent choices for each type of user.
Below, you’ll find our picks for four of the best router modem combos, with plenty of variety in terms of features, performance, and budget. We’ve also included plenty of buying advice after the products that will help you make an informed purchase decision for your next router modem combo.
Let’s start with our top pick overall, and go from there.
Top 5 BEST ROUTER MODEM COMBOS On The Market
What is the Best Router Modem Combos? Keep reading to find out!
Last update on 2021-01-27 PST - Details
1. Motorola MG7550 AC1900 Modem and Router Combo - Best Router Modem Combo
Last update on 2021-01-27 PST - Details
The Motorola MG7550 AC1900 Modem and Router Combo may not be the flashiest device you’ll come across, but it has all the best traits one could ask for from a moderately-priced router modem combo: speed, ease of use, and helpful bonus features.
The MG7550 AC1900 Modem and Router Combo is compatible with most any ISP, and delivers some impressive speeds, reaching a maximum download speed of 686 Mbps, which is good enough for the vast majority of demanding internet users. The device also utilizes DOCSIS 3.0, making it up to date with current standards.
The router modem uses a 16x4 channel configuration for downstream/upstream, and comes with dual-band frequencies for added versatility with your connections. If you want to increase your router coverage, the device includes a Power Boost feature that will broadcast Wi-Fi to the legal limit for residential units.
Further adding to its already impressive features, the MG7550 AC1900 Modem and Router Combo has four ethernet ports, FirewallDFs for added security, and a built-in Denial of Service protector. If you’re looking for the best combination of speed, range, and price, this is the first router modem combo you should consider.
2. Netgear AC1750 - Best Router Modem Combo Under $100
Are you looking to get the most performance for a router modem combo without going over the $100 mark? The Netgear AC1750 WiFi Cable Modem C6300 Router Combo from Amazon Renewed is a great way to do so. Since this is an Amazon Renewed product, you're getting a like-new device at a used price.
This device has a maximum speed of 680 Mbps, and is compatible with every major ISP. It also utilizes DOCSIS 3.0, so it’s able to take advantage of modern speed protocols and data transfers.
Lime most router modem combos in its class, the AC1750 WiFi Cable Modem C6300 Router Combo uses a 16x4 channel setup to deliver and transfer data, with the option of dual-band frequencies for matching frequencies to certain devices.
On the backside, you’ll find an impressive four ethernet ports to go with the cable bundle included with this particular listing. Further adding to the port connectability is an additional USB 2.0 port. The router combo also includes the Netgear genie app that allows you to easily change settings and configurations.
This Amazon Renewed listing offers an excellent opportunity to own a very powerful modem router combo for a steeply discounted price. If the specs are up to your standards, the AC1750 WiFi Cable Modem C6300 Router Combo is a great investment.
3. Netgear Nighthawk - Best Router Modem Combo for Gaming and Streaming
Last update on 2021-01-27 PST - Details
For those looking for the ultimate in performance for high demanding devices such as video game consoles and PC games, the Netgear Nighthawk AC3200 C7800 Router and Modem Combo offers and astounding amount of power and wireless range coverage that can certainly meet the needs of today’s bandwidth-intensive gaming and media streaming.
This flat laying device works with most ISPs, and delivers an amazing maximum download speed of 2,000 Mbps. Not only does this max speed exceed most ISP’s current upper-tier internet packages, it also uses DOCSIS 3.1, so it’s built for future speed upgrades as well.
The router component is just as impressive, providing coverage for up to 3,000 square foot homes with ease — for up to 45 separate devices. The router also enables a channel configuration of 32x8, which is double the amount of most router modem combos.
The Netgear Nighthawk AC3200 C7800 Router and Modem Combo adds in four ethernet ports and a high-speed USB 3.0, along with parental controls, and multiple security options.
The Netgear Nighthawk AC3200 C7800 Router and Modem Combo may come at a steep price, but if you have high speed and bandwidth demands and a larger home, this is the ideal device to serve every need.
4. Motorola MG7315 - Best Budget Router Modem Combo
Last update on 2021-01-27 PST - Details
Not everyone has the budget to spend a lot of money on a router combo. If you’re tired of renting your router modem and want an affordable unit to help you save money, the Motorola MG7315 N450 Modem Router Combo offers adequate speed and performance that is likely better than what you’re using now.
The MG7315 N450 Modem Router Combo works with most any ISP, and has a maximum download speed of 343 Mbps, which should be more than enough for those with basic internet needs, such as browsing the web and streaming shows.
The unit uses DOCSIS 3.0, and has a channel configuration of 8x4 on a single-band frequency of 2.4 GHz. On the back, you’ll find an impressive total of four ethernet ports, which can help offset any speed issues if you connect your media device or computer directly to it.
Like our top pick (the MG7550 AC1900 Modem and Router Combo), this unit includes Power Boost, which can instantly increase the Wi-Fi range to the legal limit, making it ideal for most any size of home or office. You also get integrated security features, including a chipset that blocks Denial of Service attacks.
If your main priority is to quit renting a router modem from your ISP, and want the most affordable unit that can still offer good performance, the Motorola MG7315 N450 Modem Router Combo is the best choice by far.
With the option to use a separate router and combo, some may wonder why anyone would want to go with a combo unit instead. There’s definitely nothing wrong with using separate devices nothing wrong with using a separate router and modem, but the combo does offer some distinct advantages for most.
The first advantage is the overall cost. Buying a separate router and modem can often be nearly twice to what you’d pay for a router modem combo with similar levels of performance. Keeping everything in one device is a great way to cut your costs.
Using a router modem also helps to save space. With separate routers and modems, you first have to connect the router to the source of the internet, and then run a cable from the modem to a router that’s placed elsewhere. Router modem combos avoid the need to connect separate devices, are usually upright, and have a thin profile.
The simplicity of router modem combos is another aspect worth mentioning. Since everything is contained in one device, the unit is essentially plug-and-play hardware with easy installation and operation. Simply connect the router modem combo to your internet connection, turn it on, and input the necessary passwords in your devices to get access to Wi-Fi.
Overall, a router modem combo is the easiest way to set up internet in your home, and often the cheapest way as well.
Most internet users are first exposed to router modem combos from their ISP, since these companies often rent out units to their customers, just as they do with cable boxes and sometimes phone equipment.
While renting the router modem unit may be the more convenient approach at first, you’re basically throwing your money away each month. Paying $15 a month may seem like a fairly cheap rental fee, but after one year, you’ve paid $180 — more than enough to buy a decent router modem combo of your own.
By making an upfront investment with your own purchase, you are saving money down the road.
Buying your own router modem is about more than just money, however. When purchasing your own unit, you have more say over the performance and features. This allows you to find a product that is perfectly suited to your own needs, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of renting.
Have you already made your own purchase or a router modem combo at some point? Great! However, while you may have bought a decent unit previously, there’s a chance it may not be keeping up with your needs, or available internet speeds from your ISP. In this case, it may be time to upgrade.
For example, your ISP may now be offering faster speeds, or higher speeds at a lower price. If you have a lower speed plan, or want to make the jump up to a better internet package, your router modem combo may not be able to take advantage of the speeds.
Check your router modem’s maximum download speed, and then compare it to your ISP’s packages. If the router modem’s max download is below the maximum speed plan offered, it’s time for an upgrade.
Another scenario where you may need to upgrade is if the router component is no longer able to provide a strong enough wireless signal in your home. This could be due to having more devices connected since you first installed the unit, or moving to a larger home.
This would be a good time to upgrade. However, you can also choose to connect a separate router to your current router modem combo, and run the original unit in what’s known as Bridge Mode, which only uses the modem component. This obviously requires purchasing a new router, but if your modem is powerful, this is an easier (and cheaper) option.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Router Modem
n order to ensure you make the best buying decision, you should know what questions to ask that address the most important aspects beforehand.
Is the Router Modem Combo Compatible with Your ISP?
The first thing you will always need to check before buying your next router modem combo is its compatibility with your ISP. Although most major brands are compatible with most every ISP, there are sometimes a few exceptions, whether it’s due to the device itself, or the ISP’s current technology.
You will also want to be sure you’re buying the right type. Router modem combos exist for DSL and satellite internet as well, so if you have a non-cable internet, you’ll have to buy a router that works with it.
Since the majority of today’s internet users have cable internet, all four of the products in this guide are for cable internet. However, sites like Amazon have a large selection of router modem combos for other internet connection types.
What Are Your Speed Needs?
This is definitely one of the most important factors to go over beforehand. The speed of your connection is first determined by your ISP, which likely has several different speed and data packages available. These packages are often described with numbers indicating how fast they can download and upload.
If you or someone in your home plays video games online, faster speed packages can ensure smoother gameplay, and less download times. The same is true with HD streaming in regards to shows and movies. Faster speeds = better quality, better media player app response, and no buffering.
Speed is also crucial for those who routinely deal with large files that need to be downloaded or uploaded. The faster your connection, the less time it takes.
The bottom line is this: Start with choosing your ideal internet package that offers the speeds you’re needing, and then find a router modem combo that can accomodate those speeds. If the speeds on your internet plan exceed the maximum capabilities of the router modem, you won’t be able to experience those speeds.
How Big is Your Home?
The router component of a router modem combo can obviously create a wireless network and broadcast the signal, but not all routers are created equal. Lower-powered routers can only provide ample coverage to smaller buildings and homes, so if you stray too far from where it’s connected, you may have a very weak signal.
On the other hand, if your home has a lot of walls and/or floors for the Wi-Fi signal to travel through, the signal strength is just as important. If you have a larger home, or anticipate having several wireless devices connected at all times, you should opt for router modem combos with a more powerful signal.
In this case, it’s also best to go with a device that has dual-band frequencies, so you can choose a frequency that works best for your location or device type.
For instance, a 5 GHz signal is faster but will only be suitable for devices that remain closer to the router modem unit. 2.4 GHz signals are not as powerful, but can go through more walls and floors without having the signal strength affected, making the signal best for phones and tablets.
Do You Want to Directly Connect Devices to Your Router Modem?
Even if you mostly rely on Wi-Fi connections for your computer and devices, there are still plenty of different hardware and devices you can connect directly to your router modem combo. This not only delivers faster speeds to whatever is connected, but also saves Wi-Fi resources that would otherwise go to devices connected wirelessly.
Many streaming media players and video game consoles can connect via USB or ethernet ports to ensure high-quality streaming and no buffering. You can also connect media storage devices that can be shared on your network, or simply connect a computer directly to the modem if desired.
If you plan on connecting devices to your router modem, make sure you buy a device that not only has enough ports for your needs, but also the right type to match your devices.
Do You Need to Control Access to Content?
Many current router modem combos have built-in parental controls that allow you to restrict or limit certain websites and content through the actual router, often via software or even a smartphone app.
This can often be a much easier way of controlling content access, since you can do it from the internet source rather than setting restrictions on an individual computer or device. Also, if a router modem combo has parental content controls, there’s a good chance it will have more security features and settings as well, which is a welcome bonus.
What About Extra Features?
Router modem combos aren’t exactly known for being full of added features, but there are some worth mentioning.
The most common added feature you’ll see with these devices is an app that lets you control and change various performance specifications. These can sometimes allow you to prioritize certain data for the devices that need it, such as a streaming media device on your television.
Some router modem combos will also come with built-in security protocols that add an extra layer of protection to your internet connection, and may also be able to prevent certain data packets from even making into your home.
You may also encounter router modem combos that have boosters for the Wi-Fi signal, which can definitely come in handy.
Should any of these features make or break your buying decision? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to opt for units that have some added features.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
Obviously your overall budget is going to play a big part in which product you eventually go with. While it’s certainly fine to limit your choices based off of price, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are trying to stay under a certain dollar amount.
First off, if you are currently renting a modem router combo from your ISP, practically any router modem combo is going to offer you savings in the long run. Whether you go with a router modem combo that’s $100, or one that’s $250, you’re still going to end up saving money eventually since you’re no longer paying a rental fee.
Another thing to note is that more expensive router modem combos are typically built to last for years, and accommodate upgrades to your internet plan and data speeds as your ISP improves them over time. If you go with a more expensive router modem that offers more speed capacity than what your ISP currently offers, there’s a good chance it will pay off in the future when your ISP offers new plans with faster speeds.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with buying a cheaper router, but you can almost always buy a higher priced device knowing that it is likely a better investment.
Router modem combos are key to determining the overall performance of your internet and Wi-Fi connections. By taking a little time to understand the terminology and assessing your own internet needs, you can ensure you end up with the purchase that not only delivers the speed and performance you need, but also saves you from wasting money on a rental each month.