Buying vs. Renting Internet Modem: What is Better and Why?


Are you currently renting your internet modem from your service provider?

Do you know that you can save hundreds of dollars every year by simply purchasing your own modem?

That is right.

The rental fees charged by service providers has increased by 33% in recent years, which is why we strongly recommend users to invest in a modem of their own.

However, buying an internet modem is not always the best solution.

Depending on your location and situation, setting up and maintaining the home network yourself might get more expensive.

In this guide, we will help you understand what is better for you, buying the modem or renting it from your ISP.

So, without further ado, let’s get started:

Why do service providers offer internet modems on rent?

First of all, you need to understand the fact that modem rentals are a substantial source of revenue for internet companies.

Secondly, if you are renting the modem and wish to cancel your subscription, you will have to return the equipment promptly.

Failure to do so will result in a penalty, and guess what? Service providers love it when you make such mistakes because, by the end of the day, they are making loads of money in the shape of late payments.

Thirdly, internet providers recover the full amount of the equipment from you during the first year of the service.

After the first year, they are simply making a profit. And lastly, leased equipment is usually made of low-quality materials and does not deliver ultra-fast download speeds.

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Nevertheless, the aforementioned points do not apply to all internet companies. Many providers do not require you to pay any rent at all.

For instance, Charter Spectrum offers a free internet modem, which is included in all the packages.

Plus, Spectrum Internet Prices are highly competitive and reasonable when you compare them with other providers in the market.

Is it better to buy your own equipment?

Here are some pros and cons that would help you decipher which option is better for you.

Pros and Cons of Renting an Internet Modem
Free Technical SupportMore Expensive in the Long-Run
Company Sponsored SetupLow-Quality Hardware
Free Replacement of EquipmentRental Prices Might Increase
Pros and Cons of Buying an Internet Modem
Monetary Savings in the Long-RunHigh Upfront Cost
Choice of Better Performing ModemsNo Technical Assistance
Easier to Switch ProvidersInstallation Might Be Tricky

The question, whether to buy an internet modem or to rent one, ultimately comes down to two crucial factors, time vs. money.

So, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I practically skilled to install a modem?
  • Am I going to live in the same area for more than one year?
  • Am I unhappy with the current modem that is rented by my ISP?
  • Can I afford to spend a few hours of my time on troubleshooting the modem myself to save around $150/year?
  • Is my internet service compatible with other modems?
  • Does my provider allow customers to purchase and use their own modems?

If the answer to all these questions is ‘Yes’, then you should definitely go ahead and buy your equipment.

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In case, the upfront cost of purchasing an internet modem is stopping you from getting one, then you can search for used equipment, which can be found on Amazon at significantly lower rates.

How to buy the right internet modem?

Buying a modem is an investment and therefore, it should work at least last for 24 months before you feel the need for upgrading to a better version.

Ideally, only two factors matter when purchasing an internet modem: ISP Requirements and DOCSIS Standards.

Figuring out the first one is easy. Simply log on to your provider’s website and check out the list of compatible providers.

Most providers have a comprehensive list of recommended modems models and specifications. However, if you cannot find the list, call their helpline and confirm with them before making the purchase.

The second aspect is a little complicated.

DOCSIS is an international telecommunications standard that allows data transfer through cable networks.

The specifications of DOCSIS are associated with a rating and each version has its own capacity of delivering internet speeds. Here is a quick overview of DOCSIS evolution over the years:

DOCSIS VersionMaximum Download SpeedsMaximum Upload Speeds
DOCSIS 1.040 Mbps10 Mbps
DOCSIS 1.140 Mbps10 Mbps
DOCSIS 2.040 Mbps30 Mbps
DOCSIS 3.01.2 Gbps200 Mbps
DOCSIS 3.110 Gbps1 Gbps
DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex10 Gbps10 Gbps

The most recent specification is DOCSIS 3.1, which is a good investment if you have subscribed to high-speed internet and want to make the most out of your connection.

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So, purchase your modem today and take full advantage of your internet connection.

Buy A Wireless Modem for Your Home/Office

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