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Buying vs. Renting a Modem and Router — Which Is Best?

We break down the cost, features, and more to help decide whether it’s best to buy your own equipment or rent from your ISP.

Everyone wants fast Internet speeds, but not all Internet service providers (ISPs) offer the same packages. Many ISPs, including Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox, offer their own equipment that you can rent for a monthly fee, but in most cases, you can also buy your own modem or router.

Let’s talk about which option is best.

Should I Buy My Own Modem and Router?

If you want the fastest WiFi speeds available and more control over your home network’s Internet connection, the cost of buying a new modem and router is worth the upfront cost.

Buying vs. Renting: Running the Numbers


Buying a new DSL or cable modem and router can cost anywhere from $50-$350 each. Or, instead of buying a separate modem and router, you can actually purchase a modem router combo for $300-$500.

The downside of buying is that your equipment will go through normal wear and tear, meaning you will eventually have to pay to replace both items. Most modems and routers are generally replaced about every three or four years.


Depending on the ISP you choose, renting can cost up to an extra $120-$300/year in equipment fees on your Internet bill.

In the long run, if you don’t buy the top-dollar, premium equipment, buying a modem and router is a more affordable option for high-speed Internet.

Do I Need an Expensive Modem or Router?

Buying your own equipment doesn’t have to be expensive, as you can easily buy your own modem or router from an online retailer such as Amazon.

Modems and routers are equipped to handle a certain amount of bandwidth, meaning you should check your Internet plan’s maximum Mbps download speeds before making a purchase. There’s no point in buying a super high-end device that you don’t even have the speeds to match!

Buying Your Own Modem

If you decide to buy your own equipment, make sure you buy a compatible modem. Cable Internet modems are categorized by a standard called DOCSIS. This standard is currently in its third generation. With each generation, the speeds become faster.

Some ISPs no longer allow DOCSIS 3.0, which means it is important to find a device that’s capable of DOCSIS 3.1.

If you aren't sure what to buy, make sure to contact your ISP to clarify before spending any money.

Buying Your Own Router

There are many great products on the market that can improve your connectivity.

Some of the benefits of buying your own WiFi router include warranties, potentially higher Internet speed, and you won’t have to rely on your Internet provider’s tech support if something goes wrong.

If you’re unsure which router is right for you, refer to our list of approved equipment for Spectrum, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Optimum, and more.

Find the Internet Service that Fits Your Needs with SmartMove

Do you want the best Internet access for your money? Whether you want to rent your modem and router or buy your own, SmartMove can find the provider that fits your needs and budget.

We find the providers in your area, ensuring you have access to all the latest deals and coverage options, giving you a simplified way to connect for less.

Don’t overpay for equipment rental fees. SmartMove will find the package that has exactly what you need. Call now!

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