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Best cable modem for Xfinity in 2022

Want to get an Xfinity package, but unsure of the right cable modem for you? Don’t panic – we’ve lined up five of the best.

Updated: Aug 19, 2022 2:54 pm
Best cable modem for Xfinity in 2022

Xfinity is a popular internet and phone service provider, with packages that can put you on the cutting edge of connectivity.

But to get the most out of it, you need a cable modem that can handle – and process – the speeds, the data density, and the multi-service nature of the company’s packages.

That’s where the best cable modems come in. We’re a generation on from traditional cable modems. The products on our list here are not your daddy’s modems. They can handle mind-boggling amounts of data at speeds that wouldn’t have been conceivable 20, 10, or even 5 years ago – that’s the rate of progress in the modem market. In particular, the five modems we’ve lined up stand pretty far apart from the rest of the market, and each leads its field as the best modem for a particular Xfinity service.

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Best cable modem for Xfinity: things to consider

When looking at the best cable modems for Xfinity as you experience it, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Download speed 

Bottom line, the download speed is more or less what determines the ‘class’ of cable router you have. That’s because each Xfinity package or service has minimum and ideal operating download speeds. It’s useless trying to run a Gigabit package on a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, for instance – it’s simply not doing to give you the speed that will be able to make the most of the package. You might still conceivably be able to buy a chronically underpowered cable modem for the Xfinity package you have, but you’d be better advised to simply set fire to your money and punch yourself in the face – the effect will be about the same.  

Flexibility 

If you want to get the most out of your cable modem, the question becomes whether you want one that dedicated delivers you the download speeds you need, or one that does a little dance, makes a little love, and gets down to all sorts of multi-functional fun, bringing in phone packages to your data and so on. How flexible do you need your cable modem to be? 

Price/speed balance 

We know you can get every ounce of download speed you need to run Xfinity’s Gigabit package from a cable modem. But is it actually worth going all in and buying a modem that can do that? Especially as they’re sometimes eye-wateringly expensive. This is an evolution of our simple download speed consideration – this takes in the practical balance between speed and price, and asks exactly how much you have to spend to get the service level you really need from your cable modem.

How we choose

When it comes to choosing the best cable modems for Xfinity, the process is a little different than normal. We’re not so much comparing like for like and declaring an outright winner. Because Xfinity has a whole range of packages, there’s room in the world for several winners – best for the Gigabit package, best for Extreme Pro, best for Performance Starter level, and so on. That means all the cable modems on our list are the best in their individual ‘class,’ with the possibility of some contention between the Nighthawk and the Surfboard S33. 

But those we’ve chosen have each been compared and contrasted with others in their class before battling their way to the title of ‘Best for…’ their particular Xfinity package.

Best cable modem for Xfinity: in-depth review

01
Editor’s Pick
Netgear Nighthawk Cable Modem CM1200

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem CM1200

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem CM1200

Cable Provider Compatibility

All Major Cable Providers and Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, COX

Cable Internet Plan Speed Compatibility

Up to 2Gbps

Gigabit Ethernet Ports

4 x 1G (with multi-gig port aggregation)

Modem Technology

DOCSIS 3.1, 32×8 Channel Bonding, OFDM 2×2

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Plenty of download speed to deal with Xfinity’s highest level package
  • 4x 1 Gigabit ethernet connector ports for wired connection
  • 32×8 channel bonding gives you extra upload and download speed
  • Using the latest DOCSIS 3.1 protocol opens up more potential
Cons
  • The cost could make some people wince, especially when it comes to channel bonding

One of the two big daddies on our list, the Netgear Nighthawk is perfectly suited for the Xfinity Gigabit package. In fact, it has significant room to cope with any future expansions to the Gigabit package, as it will currently happily download up to 2,000Mbps, compared to the Gigabit package’s 1,200.
If you want to add a voice service in, you’ll need to pay slightly more for the Nighthawk with voice option, but there’s every indication it would be worth doing, as it stops you needing an additional package or supplier to deal with your voice service.

With 4x 1 Gigabit ethernet connector ports, you can have rapid wired connectivity to a range of devices, including your computer, games console, separate wi-fi router, and the like.

Using the latest DOCSIS 3.1 protocol, you can get some of the fastest download speeds around on the Netgear Nighthawk, and it also comes with 32×8 channel bonding. Channel bonding is a method of crunching more data in uploads and downloads per second, which means the Netgear Nighthawk has its speeds artificially boosted in addition to being naturally fast.


02
Enthusiast Pick
ARRIS Surfboard SB8200

ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem

ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem

Best for cable internet speed plans

Up to 2 Gbps

Downstream x Upstream Channels

32 x 8

DOCSIS 3.1 Advanced Technology

Yes

Gigabit Ethernet Ports

2

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Uncomplicated delivery of enough download speed to match the Blast! level of Xfinity package
  • Now available in a DOCSIS 3.1 version (at a cost) for faster downloads
  • 2x 1 Gigabit ethernet ports allow for some pieces of technology to be wired up for charging or use
Cons
  • DOCSIS 3.1 by no means standard on this model
  • Service delivery gets complicated when – as here – you need two IP addresses to make the most of it

If you don’t need to run a small intercontinental nuclear war from your den, you can more than happily get away with using the ARRIS Surfboard SB8200. Mostly sold on the DOCSIS 3.0 protocol (though now including an upgraded 3.1 option if you want to access those higher download speeds), you’ll easily have enough download speed on the standard version to run the Blast! Or Blast! Pro Plus plans, while costing you a lot less than the likes of the Nighthawk or the other Surfboard in our list, the S33.

That said, the new DOCSIS 3.1 version is a way of punching through to the higher download speeds without necessarily paying built-in higher download speed prices.

It comes with 2x 1 Gigabit ethernet ports, for wiring up connections to your absolutely favorite technology.

Crushingly though, you won’t be able to access a cable digital voice service through this modem, and things can quickly get technical when you have to have two separate IP addresses to make the most of the Surfboard.


03
Mid Range Pick
Motorola MB8600

Motorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

Motorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

Downstream speeds

up to 3.8 Gbps

Upstream speeds

Up to 1 Gbps

DOCSIS Channel Bonding

DOCSIS 3.1 plus 32×8 DOCSIS 3.0

Works With Any WiFi Router That Has an Ethernet WAN port

Yes

4
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • 1,000Mbps download speeds
  • Built-in security against denial-of-service attacks
  • Active queue management helps strip out some internet lag
  • A lot of modem for not that much cash
Cons
  • A single ethernet port limits the user’s wired options

The Motorola MB8600 has the feeling of a cable modem built for great things – specifically the Gigabit package from Xfinity. It’s slick, has a download speed of 1,000Mbps – more than enough for the Xfinity Extreme Pro package – and is compatible with a large range of wi-fi routers.

The Motorola MB8600 also has a built-in security system to prevent denial-of-service attacks – the special bane of gamer lives – so it brings an added incentive for that audience.
In addition, it screens out some natural internet latency with its active queue management system, meaning it can frequently feel faster than its actual 1,000Mbps download speed – a bonus if you’re streaming data-heavy movies or live action gameplay.

Where it falls down is in only having a single dedicated ethernet port. That can make it look weak compared with some of the game-changers in the market.


04
Best Value
Netgear CM400

Netgear Cable Modem CM400

Netgear Cable Modem CM400

Capacity

DOCSIS 3.0

Download and upload speed

Up to 340 Mbps

Memory storage capacity

64.0 MB

3.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Easy to connect and leave alone while it works
  • Good enough for the Xfinity Performance Starter level package
  • Delivers HD video quality and some channel bonding to boost download speed
  • Price – you get a lot of good elements for a smaller price point
Cons
  • DOCSIS 3.0 means you’ll never get cutting-edge speeds or gameplay from the CM400

An honest-to-goodness old-fashioned workhorse of a cable modem, still stubbornly running DOCSIS 3.0, rather than 3.1, the CM400 is a minimum-stress cable modem that will still deliver Xfinity Performance Starter level performance.

While you won’t get 4K Ultra HD video out of the CM400, you’ll still get standard HD out of it, which is probably just fine unless you have specific gaming requirements or have 4K eyeballs.

Even at DOCSIS 3.0, the CM400 will give you some channel bonding to boost its downloading and data-crunching speeds, albeit we’re talking about 8×4, rather than the likes of 32×8. The huge upside of the CM400 of course is that because of its older protocols, you’re not paying the cutting-edge price of some other cable modems for the service you get.


Budget Pick
ARRIS Surfboard S33

ARRIS Surfboard S33 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gigabit Cable Modem

ARRIS Surfboard S33 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi Gigabit Cable Modem

Frequency Band Class

Tri-Band

Best for cable internet speed plans

Up to 2 Gbps

Downstream x Upstream Channels

32 x 8

1-Gigabit Ethernet Ports

1

/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Slick performance at the maximum level demanded by Xfinity – with room to spare
  • DOCSIS 3.1 allows for the highest speed downloads and uploads
  • 32×8 channel bonding for impressive data streamlining
Cons
  • The price is uncommonly like being mugged

The ARRIS Surfboard S33 is an alternative to the Netgear Nighthawk, inasmuch as it’s more than capable of coping with and delivering Xfinity’s Gigabit package without stopping to catch its breath.

Making use of both DOCSIS 3.1 and 32×8 channel bonding, the Surfboard S33 is among the fastest cable modems on the market, and will give you access to those speeds however your Xfinity package is configured.

The only fly in the S33’s ointment is the price point – though this is expected to go down to a more friendly level over time. If you want a full-service cable modem though, you’re either looking at the Netgear Nighthawk, or the ARRIS Surfboard S33.

Cable modem FAQs

What is the best cable modem for Xfinity?

The NETGEAR Nighthawk cable modem CM1200 is one of the best cable modems on the market – a fine choice for Xfinity.

It offers plenty of download speed, 4 x 1GB ethernet connections, and uses the latest DOCSIS 3.1 protocol.

Are cable modems expensive?

There are a bunch of cable modems in today’s market, many of which reside across the spectrum of pricing.

On average, cable modems are considered reasonably priced. However, some are much more expensive than others, falling firmly in the expensive bracket.


Final word

There’s a perfect cable modem out there for every level of Xfinity package.

Finding the right one for you should be significantly easier after reading this piece, but always keep in mind the degree of power and sophistication you actually need in a cable modem – and never knowingly pay for performance you don’t need and won’t use.

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