Tired of paying your cable internet service provider (ISP) monthly rental fees for that modem? If so, it’s time to buy your own. Yes, you’ll have to fork out a few bucks up front, but paying $10 or more in monthly fees, year after year, adds up.

One of the best investments you can make? Ditching another monthly fee and unlocking the better, faster speeds from your ISP through DOCSIS 3.1 technology. 

In this post, I’ll share the top 5 DOCSIS 3.1 modems compatible with most cable ISPs. I’ll explain why they are the best upgrade choice and share the features, pros, and cons of each model.

These modems are not hard to understand or set up. After you figure out what you need, you’ll find it’s pretty simple. Just make sure your cable ISP is already offering gigabit internet before you purchase.

I’ll wrap up with guidance on making the best purchase.

Top DOCSIS 3.1 Modems

Finding the right modem for your home is important. We have broken down our top picks into categories. Hopefully, there is one that fits your networking needs.

Here are our top picks that we would call “Best Overall” since they encompass all categories.

1. Motorola MB8600 (Best Overall)

Sale
ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
2,703 Reviews
ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
  • 3 products in 1: DOCSIS 3 1 Cable Modem, AC2350 Dual band Wi-Fi, 4 port Gigabit Router (cable digital...
  • Compatible with major U S Cable Internet Providers including CableOne/ Sparkligh, Comcast Xfinity, Cox,...

Next up is my upgrade pick, the ARRIS SURFboard SB8300. It’s pricey, but when you consider the features, it’s easy to see why.

First, it’s a dual modem-router capable of delivering direct speeds up to 4 Gbps (via four 1-gigabit Ethernet ports). It has a quick-connect app for easy WiFi management. You can even voice-manage WiFi settings with Alexa

As for wireless connectivity, the built-in router is equipped with a powerful Wave 2 AC2350 dual-band concurrent wireless antenna.  While this isn’t the latest Wifi 6 protocol, WiFi reception should not be a problem, even in medium to larger-sized homes.

In short, this modem has a ton of potential for future use as cable ISPs ramp up their speed delivery. It’s also a good pick if you have multiple devices or a large, tech-connected family.

The option to connect four wired devices and many more via WiFi at speeds up to 2350 Mbps is a plus.

This is perfect for someone who is app-savvy and prefers voice-activated network options.

Features
  • Built-in dual-band concurrent AC2350 Wave 2 WiFi router
  • Alexa network-enabled for WiFi settings voice commands 
  • iOS and Android-compatible device management app
  • WiFi guest access
  • Preset WiFi security
  • 2 x 2 OFDM 

Pros

  • Simple color-coded design
  • Compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 channels (32 x 8 modem channels)
  • Works with multiple cable ISPs (high compatibility with Xfinity and Cox)
  • Simultaneous HD, 4K and VR streaming on the local network
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Users complain about app performance
  • Lacks multiple LED diagnostic indicators
  • Not compatible with fiber optic, satellite or DSL service
  • No telephone jack

Noteworthy: The device can handle download speeds of up to 10 Gbps, theoretically.

3. NETGEAR CM1000 (Best for Easy Set-Up)

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NETGEAR CM1000 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
7,577 Reviews
NETGEAR CM1000 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
  • Compatible with all major cable internet providers with internet speed up to 1Gbps. Currently certified...
  • Save monthly rental fees: Model CM1000 replaces your cable modem saving you up to dollar 168/year in...

I like the NETGEAR CM1000 for its simplicity. It has an easy, plug-and-play set-up and works with the WiFi router of your choice. This modem is compatible with major cable ISPs such as Xfinity, Cox and Spectrum.

This modem has been around since 2016. Launched as NETGEAR’s first DOCSIS 3.1 modem, it has a good track record of performance. It is known for ease of use and high customer satisfaction.

And, if your cable ISP is still delivering DOCSIS 3.0 signals, this modem is compatible. 

This is a good option for non-tech users who like to watch 4K HD streaming videos and enjoy gaming, but crave simple functionality. 

Features

  • One 1-gigabit Ethernet port
  • 5 LED status lights
  • Coaxial cable connection
  • Windows, Mac and TCP/IP network compatible
  • 2 x 2 OFDM 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 channels (32 x 8 modem channels)
  • Works with multiple cable ISPs (high compatibility with Xfinity)
  • FCC/UL-certified
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • You must pay for tech support
  • No telephone jack
  • Not compatible with fiber optic, satellite or DSL service

Noteworthy: It’s certified by Xfinity and best suited to the Gigabit, Blast, and Extreme plans.

4. NETGEAR Orbi CBR750 (Best Modem-Router Combo)

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NETGEAR Orbi CBR750 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem and WiFi 6 Router Combo
3,886 Reviews
NETGEAR Orbi CBR750 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem and WiFi 6 Router Combo
  • Integrated cable modem and WiFi 6 router provides high-performance WiFi coverage for up to 2,500 sq. ft....
  • DOCSIS 3.1 modem supports Internet plans up to 4Gbps and is compatible with most cable service providers....

There are many options for modem-router combos, but the NETGEAR Orbi is a head-turner. It’s not your standard-looking device. It has a modern appeal that can blend in with any decor.

What’s more exciting is the technology under the hood. It delivers three dedicated WiFi bands on the latest WiFi 6 protocol. This cuts down on network congestion and interference between devices under one roof.

The modem boasts up to 10 Gbps download speeds. Orbi delivers up to 4.2 Gbps for direct-connected devices.

The unit covers up to 3,000 square feet, but if you have a larger home, Netgear offers a pre-configured access point called the Orbi WiFi 6 Satellite that will extend coverage an additional 2,500 square feet.

Orbi uses a mesh technology allowing you to connect 40+ devices and enjoy connectivity inside or outside of your home. The device works with most major cable ISPs, supporting plans of up to 6 Gbps. It’s also backwards compatible to lower speeds.

This device is ideal for the person who doesn’t want to figure out which modem and router have the best compatibility. It has already been done for you. Besides that, it’s a winner in an environment with multiple WiFi users.

Features

  • Four 1-gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1.4 GHz Quad-Core processor
  • Tri-band WiFi 6
  • MU-MIMO
  • Beamforming capable
  • Guest WiFi access
  • VPN capability (with NETGEAR Armor subscription)

Pros

  • 90 days complimentary tech support
  • Built for expansion
  • Works with multiple cable ISPs (high compatibility with Xfinity, Cox and Spectrum)
  • Compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 channels (32 x 8 modem channels)
  • 2021 CES Innovation Award winner

Cons

  • Customer support complaints
  • Device quality and connectivity issues
  • May require frequent reboots (according to reviews)
  • Not compatible with fiber optic, satellite or DSL service

Noteworthy: Comes with 30-day free trial of cybersecurity software (NETGEAR Armor). After the trial you have the option to get an affordable yearly subscription that covers an unlimited number of devices. It also can locate, lock, or wipe data from misplaced or stolen Android and Windows devices.

5. ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 (Best Budget-Friendly Option)

Sale
ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
13,425 Reviews
ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
  • DOCSIS 3 1 Cable Modem best for cable internet speed plans up to 1 Gbps. Note, a 2nd IP address is...
  • 32 downstream x 8 upstream DOCSIS 3 0 bonded channels, 2 downstream x 2 upstream OFDM DOCSIS 3 1 channels

The ARRIS SURFBoard SB8200 delivers cable speeds of up to 2 Gbps affordably. You can choose to connect your device directly to the modem for internet access. If you want to connect multiple devices, you will need a router.

With download speeds up to 10 Gbps, you can have smooth streaming experiences whether catching an HD movie, browsing the web or gaming online with your friends.

This modem is compatible with DOCSIS 3.0, making it flexible to function at lesser speeds. 

Features

  • Two 1-gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Supports IPv4 and IPv6
  • 4 LED status lights
  • Coaxial cable connection
  • Windows, Mac and Linux compatible
  • 2 x 2 OFDM 

Pros

  • 2-year warranty
  • Easy to set up
  • Compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 channels (32 x 8 modem channels)
  • Works with multiple cable ISPs (high compatibility with Xfinity and Cox)
  • Simple color-coded design
  • Built-in energy saving features
  • FCC/UL-certified

Cons

  • No telephone jack
  • Not compatible with fiber optic, satellite or DSL service

Noteworthy: You will need to have two registered IP addresses from your cable ISP to reach 2 Gbps.

Before You Buy Tips

Here are a few tips we thought of that may help you with your purchase.

Check with Your Cable ISP

If your cable ISP isn’t offering gigabit service just yet, be sure to purchase a modem with backwards compatibility to DOCSIS 3.0. If your service is provided by DSL or fiber optics, cable modems will not work.

Ask Questions

To choose the best modem for your needs, answer these questions:

  • Is your cable ISP offering gigabit service?
  • Do you require cable digital voice service?
  • How many devices will your modem need to support?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you prefer a modem or modem-router combo?
  • How many square feet must the device cover?
  • Do you plan to use LAG devices for port bonding?
  • Do you require free technical support?
  • Are you technically-inclined and able to troubleshoot your own device?
  • What is the return policy and warranty?

These are just a few things to consider to help you make the best choice. Let your answer guide you as you compare features of DOCSIS 3.1 modems.

Check Compatibility

Before you purchase, make sure to check compatibility. Also, inquire about a timeframe for a rollout of the DOCSIS 3.1 as a standard. In some cases, cable ISPs will require use of their devices to access the technology.

One of the most important things to know is whether your cable ISP supports a “bring your own modem” environment. If it doesn’t, and you prefer to buy your own modem and router, check for other cable ISPs in your area.

Summary

DOCSIS 3.0 is still the standard for many cable ISPs. As cable companies launch into gigabit internet offerings with increased speeds, having a DOCSIS 3.1 modem is a good investment to cover future speed demands.

Doing research before you make your purchase is essential. Take your time. Hopefully our featured products above have been helpful.