Best Netgear modem


Always double-check your Netgear modem before purchasing it to make sure it is compatible with your internet service provider (ISP).

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which Netgear modem is best?

When it comes to modems, Netgear offers some high-speed options with download speeds ranging from around 300 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps or above. These modems are capable of playing and streaming intense games online, downloading movies and music and more. With so many options, it can be difficult to decide which Netgear modem is the best. To make things simple, check out our top pick, the NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo.

What to know before you buy a Netgear modem

Modem vs. router

Before purchasing a Netgear modem, make sure that’s what you need. For some people, it can be easy to mix up modems with routers, but these devices serve very different purposes.

A modem is a device that connects your home to the internet. The router is what supplies any wired and wireless devices with the internet they need.

Essentially, the internet service provider (ISP) brings the internet into your home through the modem. Either you or the technician will then connect the modem with the router. Once this happens, your devices will be set up for internet access.

Most modems, including Netgear modems, can last a long time. Routers, meanwhile, don’t usually last as long. If you want to change or improve your internet coverage, or if you want to connect additional devices to a network, you may need to upgrade the router.

Some modern modems have a built-in router, which is convenient for those who don’t want to manage multiple boxes.


Most ISPs have a list of modems that work with their service or router. However, with the advancement of technology comes the elimination of older modems. This can also be an issue with routers since some older models may not be compatible with the current technology. Make sure the Netgear modem, or any other device you choose, is compatible with your ISP before getting it.

Luckily, many Netgear modems are compatible with different routers. That said, these modems don’t always work with ISPs, such as AT&T and Verizon.

Wi-Fi modem

Also known as a gateway, a Wi-Fi modem combines both a router and a modem together. These devices often have ethernet ports to connect additional devices. Usually, though, these modems will give you a Wi-Fi signal that covers your home without the need for a router.

Netgear offers several Wi-Fi modems that are portable and convenient. The downside of these modems is that you may need to replace them more frequently as technology progresses.

What to look for in a quality Netgear modem

Upload and download speed

When it comes to choosing a modem, you need one that’s fast enough for your purposes.  For that, you need to consider upload and download speed.

Download speed refers to how long it takes to download information from a server or device connected to the internet. This can be anything from downloading a movie or a game to images or other files. Most internet service providers offer plans that list their download speed. The larger the number, the faster the download.

Upload speed is the opposite of download speed. It refers to how long it takes to do things such as send emails, conduct video calls or upload documents to another server or device. Again, higher numbers are better.

Typically, the download speed will be higher than the upload speed. Like other modems, most Netgear modems measure speed in Mbps, or megabits per second. For the average user, 50 Mbps download speed is sufficient, though streamers and multi-person households may want something capable of reaching 300 Mbps.

The Netgear modem you choose should be able to handle at least the same download speed of the internet service you have.

Coverage and placement

Most modern modems, routers and combination boxes should provide enough coverage for the entire household, regardless of where they’re placed. Still, there is a slight chance of interference between electronic devices and the Wi-Fi signal.

For the router, place it somewhere free of physical obstacles, especially those made of metal or concrete. Ideally, it will be in a central location for even coverage throughout the home.

As for the modem, the placement shouldn’t matter as much. This is because modems usually connect to the ports that directly send the internet signal. Still, many people choose to place the router and modem together for maximum coverage.

Ethernet ports

An ethernet port can do several things. Typically, though, they connect to an ethernet cord to provide internet directly to a modem or other device. If you want a wired internet connection, choose a modem that has enough ethernet ports to cover all your main devices.

Most Netgear modems have at least one ethernet port. They also often come with a compatible ethernet cord. Some modems, such as those that are Wi-Fi enabled, may come with extra ethernet ports to allow for more wired connections.

How much you can expect to spend on a Netgear modem

The biggest factor when it comes to the price of a Netgear modem is how fast the speeds are. For speeds up to around 400 Mbps, expect to spend between $60-$100. For above 1,000 Mbps, you’re looking at between $150-$400.

Netgear modem FAQ

Why would I want a modem that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi?

A. A separate modem is best if you want to make sure you can easily update the router without having to replace the modem. Since modems tend to last longer before needing an upgrade, a separate router may be ideal.

Is it better to rent a modem from my internet service provider?

A. The advantage of renting a modem is that, if it breaks down, you can usually get a replacement for free. Plus, the modem the ISP offers will be compatible with the service. However, a modem will save you money in the long run, since you have to pay the ISP a monthly rental fee — usually around $10 a month.

What’s the best Netgear modem to buy?

Top Netgear modem

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo

What you need to know: With built-in Wi-Fi, this modem can reach up to 6000 Mbps, making it perfect for large households that need maximum speed.

What you’ll love: This modem covers up to 3,000 square feet and can connect with over 40 devices at once. It comes with four ethernet ports as well. Plus, it can handle 4K streaming and intense online gaming across several devices.

What you should consider: It’s not compatible with certain providers, including AT&T and Verizon.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Netgear modem for the money

NETGEAR Cable Modem CM600

NETGEAR Cable Modem CM600

What you need to know: With speeds up to 400 Mbps, this standard modem is a great choice for anyone who wants to set up a separate Wi-Fi router in their home.

What you’ll love: This modem provides ultra-fast download speeds, which is great for high-speed gaming and streaming across multiple devices. Plus, it is compatible with several cable providers, including Xfinity and Spectrum. It works with almost any Wi-Fi router, too.

What you should consider: The customer service isn’t the best, which can make setting up the device tricky.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000

NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000

What you need to know: Capable of reaching speeds up to 800 Mbps, this powerful modem is a great choice if you want something fast, while still having the option to purchase a separate router.

What you’ll love: It works with nearly any router and comes with a gigabit ethernet port. Plus, it reliably handles HD streaming, gaming and any downloading tasks with ease.

What you should consider: It’s not compatible with all ISPs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.