Personal routers can often give you better speed and network control and security. Spectrum is like most internet service providers (ISP) in that they provide a modem (sometimes free), router (also sometimes free, depending on the package), or both with their internet packages for a rental fee. The best routers for Spectrum are compatible with Spectrum’s protocol, have speeds that match your internet package, and include any extra features that you can’t get through a Spectrum router.

Many factors influence a router’s performance in a home or business, from the location of the router to the construction of the building. While Spectrum can provide a router for a fee, you can often get better performance by purchasing one on your own. Our list of the best routers for Spectrum includes the third-party routers that give you more control over your internet and optimize performance for work or play. We’ve provided a shopping guide to help you decide what are the best routers for Spectrum to suit your needs.

Best Overall: TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX6000)
Best Mesh: TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi System (Deco X20)
Best for Gaming: ASUS AX6000 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX88U)
Best Modem Router Combo: NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router
Best Budget: ARRIS SURFBoard SBG10

How We Picked The Best Routers for Spectrum

Routers make a big difference in the security and functionality of your network. The protocol and range should fit the devices and layout of your home. However, layouts and home construction vary a great deal. For that reason, when we picked routers, we looked at features that make a router work well in a number of different situations.

WiFi Standard: The WiFi standard, sometimes called the internet protocol or WiFi protocol, determines the features the router can offer. We included both 802.11ac (WiFi 5) and 802.11ax (WiFi 6) routers because not everyone needs the added speed (and cost) of WiFi 6. If you’re not jumping on the latest and greatest devices as they come out, you can save a few dollars and stick with a WiFi 5 router. 

Speed: We looked at both the theoretical speed, which the manufacturer reports from tests done under ideal conditions, as well as real-time speeds. Our list includes routers within a range of speeds because not everyone has the fastest internet package offered by Spectrum.

Ports: The number of Ethernet and USB ports determines how many devices you can connect directly to the router. Our list includes both routers with numerous ports and connectivity options, along with those with few ports for homes that have relatively few connected devices.

Ease of Installation and Use: User-friendly apps and web consoles can make the setup process fast and simple. We also considered the different ways you can adjust the settings, whether you need to use the app or log in to a website.

QoS, Security, and Parental Controls: These three features let you customize the functionality of the router. Gamers typically prefer more QoS (quality of service) settings, and parents tend to focus on security and parental controls. We considered not just whether or not the router had these options but also how easy they are to use and the depth of control they offered.

The Best Routers for Spectrum: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX6000)

Power and Control. TP-Link 

Why It Made The Cut:Speed and power come together to give you better control over your internet use and protect your family from viruses and questionable content.

— WiFi Standard: WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
— Processor: 1.8 GHz quad-core
— Ethernet Ports: Eight Gigabit LAN ports, one 2.5 Gbps WAN port

— Robust parental controls, malware protection, and QoS
— Easy set up
— Excellent range
— Eight Gigabit LAN ports

— Large footprint
— Limited control through the mobile app

The TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX6000) is a large router that brings a lot of power to your home network, including an excellent set of parental controls and quality of service (QoS) controls. Parental controls are adjusted for each device, so not everyone on the network has to be under the same restrictions. The QoS settings can be controlled by each individual device, but you can also adjust the controls to apply to specific activities. These features let you prioritize streaming or gaming based on your internet use.

The AX6000 also has eight gigabit LAN ports to connect a whole slew of devices, from gaming consoles to office equipment. It doesn’t have a multi-Gigabit LAN port, but that’s not too big of a deal thanks to link aggregation capabilities with the second and third LAN ports.

Besides the great QOS and parental controls, the AX6000 also includes built-in antivirus and band steering so you can determine which devices connect to each band. It also has MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output) so that devices can use bandwidth simultaneously rather than sequentially. That enhances speed, especially if you’ve got people streaming and gaming at the same time. You can use TP-Link’s Tether app to adjust settings, but you’ll get more functionality and access to advanced settings through the web interface.

This is a great router, but it’s also a beast, so you need plenty of space.

Best Mesh: TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi System (Deco X20)

Safe and Secure. TP-Link

Why It Made The Cut: This TP-Link mesh system is much more affordable than the competitors and offers easy installation, robust parental controls, and free anti-malware tools. 

— WiFi Standard: 802.11ax
— Processor: 1 GHz quad-core
— Ethernet Ports: Two Gigabit Ethernet ports per tower/satellite

— Simple set up
— Excellent parental controls
— Free anti-malware tools
— Affordable price

— No USB ports

The TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi System (Deco X20) provides good speeds, but that’s not its standout feature. (Gamers may want to look elsewhere.) The Deco X20 is easy to install and, through TP-Link’s HomeCare Suite, it offers QoS controls to customize and control your bandwidth, along with robust parental controls. This is the mesh WiFi system for a home where you want tight control over what’s accessed and protection from online security threats. The app also gives you access to built-in security software and anti-malware. 

As far as mesh WiFi systems go, it’s definitely on the affordable side, despite the fact that it can cover 5,800 square feet. with three satellites. It also has MU-MIMO to further enhance speeds in multi-user homes. 

The Deco X20 isn’t a budget pick by any means, but you get good coverage and security for the price. However, there are a couple of things you need to think about. First, there are only two Ethernet connections per tower/satellite. If you’ve got a lot of devices to connect, that may not be enough. Additionally, the system does not include any USB ports, which could slow things down if you need to quickly connect to print or do another short job.

Best for Gaming: ASUS AX6000 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX88U)

Fast, Powerful Control. ASUS

Why It Made The Cut: Fast speeds and QoS controls that let you fine-tune your internet usage make sure your network can keep up with your gaming.

— WiFi Standard: 802.11ax
— Processor: 1.8 GHz quad-core
— Ethernet Ports: Eight LAN ports, one WAN port

— Simple installation
— Eight LAN ports
— Robust QoS controls
— Built-in anti-malware software

— Pricey

The ASUS AX6000 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX88U) is the best gaming router because it’s a powerhouse, from the eight LAN ports to the impressive QoS controls. It has a mobile app, but you get more advanced control using the web console. This web console lets you see all of your network connections, USB-connected devices, and network security status. It is through this console that you can adjust the robust QoS settings to improve your gaming performance

The adaptive QoS monitors inbound and outbound traffic and prioritizes it based on either custom settings you adjust yourself or one of five presets. You can prioritize specific devices, like your gaming console over a streaming device or vice versa. You can also use this area of the console to turn MU-MIMO on or off and make adjustments to Beacon Intervals (to adjust time frames between beacon signals) or RADIUS settings, letting you adjust authorization to access the network. Then, there are the eight LAN ports for connecting multiple game consoles or computers. 

While all of those extras are excellent and let you tweak the router to improve your gaming experience, when it comes down to it, this router is fast. If you spend any amount of time online gaming, you’re going to get excellent speeds and low latency. The drawback — the AX6000 is pricey.

Best Modem-Router Combo: NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router

All-in-One Solution. NETGEAR

Why It Made The Cut: The Nighthawk works better than many standalone routers and cuts down on home clutter at the same time. 

— WiFi Standard: 802.11ac
— Processor: 1.5 GHz dual-core
— Ethernet Ports: Four Gigabit LAN ports

— Good range
— Simple installation
— Impressive speeds
— Beamforming

— Doesn’t work with Gigabit plans

The NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router reduces desktop clutter by combining a modem and router into a single device. Like many modem router combos, you lose some extra features to combine these two essential pieces of equipment. For example, there are no QoS settings. It’s also important to point out that this router is WiFi 5. Don’t let that turn you away since most devices still run on this WiFi protocol. However, if you’re looking for something that will future-proof your smart home, this might not be the right model for you.

The Nighthawk is one of the best Netgear routers, thanks to the decent range and simple installation. It also has four LAN ports to connect a good number of devices. You can also use beamforming with the four antennas to strengthen your signal to specific devices. But when it comes down to it, this is a fast modem-router combo. It offers excellent speed for WiFi 5. Where you may run into trouble is if you want to sign up for a Spectrum Gigabit plan. Because it uses WiFi 5, it won’t be able to take advantage of these top plans.

Best Budget: ARRIS SURFBoard SBG10

Well-Rounded. ARRIS

Why It Made The Cut: This affordable modem router combo provides excellent speeds for homes that don’t rely too heavily on connected devices.

— WiFi Standard: 802.11ac
— Processor: DOCSIS 3.0
— Ethernet Ports: Two Gigabit LAN ports

— Simple installation
— Easy-to-use app to manage settings and usage
— Reduces clutter

— Few ports

The  ARRIS SURFBoard SBG10 is the second modem-router combo on our list. It stood out as a budget pick because it combines a modem and router for a price that’s affordable, even if you’re looking for a router alone. It’s also a great choice for homes that do not have a lot of connected devices. The ARRIS offers two Gigabit LAN ports, keeping things basic but connected.

For just over $100, this WiFi 5 Router offers excellent speeds for the average internet user and it’s compatible with Cox, Infinity, and other cable providers. It’s controlled using an ARRIS app that helps with setup and allows users to adjust a few parental controls. While you don’t get over-the-top speeds, this model saves money and space while giving users decent speed and range on a budget.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Routers for Spectrum

Internet Protocol

A router’s internet protocol affects the features and speed the router offers. Currently, the most popular internet protocols are 802.11ac (WiFi 5) and 802.11ax (WiFi 6). The average home gets all the speed, bandwidth, and range it needs from 802.11ac. This internet protocol supports the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands used by most devices today, using the 2.4 GHz band for close range and the 5 GHz band for long range.

An 802.11ac router may have more advanced features like link aggregation to bundle Ethernet connections and strengthen a signal or beamforming, which sends the signal to a specific location rather than sending it out in all directions. They can also have Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) or Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), which improves link capacity and multi-user link capacity. 

WiFi 6 or 802.11ax improves efficiency and speed in a number of different ways. It offers Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), which divides channels into sub-channels to increase the number of connections. That allows these routers to keep speeds fast with multiple devices. These routers are especially helpful for multi-user homes or offices. 

If you see a router with WiFi 6E, the router adds the 6 GHz band into the mix. Think of the 6 GHz band as a big open highway that’s yet to be filled with many devices. If you have any devices with 6E, they face little competition so they provide excellent speeds and range. But don’t splurge on a 6E router unless you already have some devices that can use the 6 GHz band. 

Internet Package

Try to match the router’s speed and capacity to your internet plan. There’s no point in buying a top-of-the-line router that can handle a Gigabit plan if you have an entry-level internet package. To make sure you take full advantage of the speeds you’ve paid for, look for a router that can handle speeds slightly higher than those in your internet package. 

Extra Features

Extra features can include everything from an app that walks you through installation to QoS and parental controls. Gamers and those who enjoy tinkering with their network will probably enjoy a router with robust QoS controls. You can use them to prioritize certain devices over others at different times of the day, for example. Models with built-in antivirus or anti-malware software offer another layer of protection.  


Q: Does any router work with Spectrum?

The router has to be compatible with Spectrum. Manufacturers list compatible internet providers in the router’s product description, but you should also check with Spectrum to make sure that information is up to date. 

Q: Do I need to call Spectrum if I get a new router?

You don’t necessarily need to call Spectrum if you get a new router. You can take care of the set up yourself by following the instructions that come with the router. If you want a new router supplied by Spectrum, that would require calling Spectrum and working with a sales representative.

Q: Does Spectrum charge for a router? 

Spectrum charges a small rental fee for routers except for those who buy a GIG plan, in which case they provide a router. All of their plans include a modem. However, if you want WiFi, you have to have a router, too.

Q: How much does Spectrum charge for a router?

The router fee varies, but it’s usually anywhere between $5 and $10.

Q: Is a Spectrum router good for gaming?

A Spectrum-provided router can be good for gaming if you have the right internet package. However, third-party routers often have more customizable features and extra security features. 

Q: What kind of router do I need for Spectrum?

First, the router should be compatible with Spectrum. The router manufacturer will list the compatible internet providers. You may also need to check with Spectrum if you can’t find information from the manufacturer. Second, the router should support the speeds provided in your Spectrum internet package. For the best performance, choose a model that gets speeds slightly higher than your internet package. Third, pick a router with any extra features that you want, like added security or parental control features. 

Q: Can you plug in a separate router for Spectrum?

You can plug in a separate router for Spectrum. Spectrum considers these “personal routers,” so they do not offer technical support for them. Tech support must come from the router’s manufacturer. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Routers for Spectrum

Best Overall: TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX6000)
Best Mesh: TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi System (Deco X20)
Best for Gaming: ASUS AX6000 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX88U)
Best Modem Router Combo: NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router
Best Budget: ARRIS SURFBoard SBG10

The best routers for Spectrum take advantage of the speeds offered by your Spectrum internet package. For most homes, the TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX6000) has the speed and custom controls to configure your network and suit how you use the internet. It offers fast speeds and easy setup, even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy. If you’ve got a large area to cover, the TP-Link Deco WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi System (Deco X20) can spread out your network, offering excellent coverage and control over who gets on your network and what they do after they’re connected.

Why Trust Us

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Online shopping is hard. Search for any product and you’ll be confronted with dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of choices. Our mission at Futurism, where we cover the latest technology, is to simplify this experience by researching, testing, and continuing to evaluate products so we only recommend choices that are actually worth your time.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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