I’ve done calculations for different internet service providers and their equipment rental fees. Based on them, I can confidently say that purchasing your own modem and router is more beneficial than renting it from the ISP.
I shall share my analysis below, meanwhile, you can check out the compatible modems & router recommendations for different ISPs in the US.
Buying vs Renting a Modem & Router
Most of the cable providers charge around $8-15/month for internet equipment. But that doesn’t stop there. Despite paying such huge rentals, most of them provide outdated gateway or devices that can’t work with high-speed plans.
This means if you have 100 Mbps internet speed, your modem/router may only support speeds up to 10 Mbps. So, you won’t be able to experience what you’ve paid for.
On the other hand, buying a modem & router can set you free from the $8-15/month rental, which is around $100-300/year. You can get a good quality modem or modem/router combo for 10-12 months of the rental. But is it actually beneficial?
While testing various approved modems for different ISPs, 9/10 networking experts said “RENTING” sucks. The 1 who said it doesn’t suck doesn’t spend more than 1 month at a single place, he said if it wasn’t for the rental equipment, he might’ve had to carry everything while moving or traveling.
If you want the same modem/router model that was provided by your ISP when you subscribed to the equipment lease, then you won’t spend more than $50-100 to get it which is around 6-7 months of rental.
However, if you want superior quality equipment that works with high-speed or gigabit internet plans, you might have to spend between $150-300.
Your purchase wouldn’t just stop at the modem. If you’re not buying a combo, you’ll have to buy a separate wireless router too!
Advantages of Renting a Modem or Router
- Better technical support (If there are outages in the internet or issues with the modem/router) you shall contact customer support, and you’ll get better service than the ones who’ve bought their own equipment.
- Great for short term (If you don’t spend more than 2 months at a place, you shall consider getting equipment for rental, as you don’t have to carry it when you move.)
- You don’t have to spend $50-150 at once to buy the equipment. (However, you’ll spend double the amount if you continue for a year, and even after that, you’ll have outdated equipment and not own it.)
- You can get a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that can handle the best internet service plans (gigabit) even for the yearly equipment rental you’ll pay for a mediocre modem.
Disadvantages of Renting a Modem or Router
- Outdated equipment that’s not capable of handling fast internet plans.
- Rental is high, you can buy a cheap modem/router combo for 3 months rental and a good quality model by paying 6 months of rental fee at once.
- Despite paying a high rental for the lease, you don’t get the promised speeds according to your plan because of capability issues.
- Even after paying rent for more than a year, you don’t own the equipment, so you’ll continue paying rent till you use the services (According to research, subscriber sticks to the ISP for 6-7 years.) So basically, you shall spend almost $120/year ($840 for 7 years.)
Advantages of Buying a Modem/Router
- The average ROI for a good quality modem or modem/router combo is 10-12 months. (In 10-12 months of rental for the lease, you’ll be able to own it.)
- No more paying rent.
- You get high-quality equipment that allows you to use the internet at its fullest possible speed (according to your plan.)
- No more slow speed or internet issues unless there’s an internet outage.
Disadvantages of BUYING over Renting
Yes, buying internet equipment has a few disadvantages too. They are:
- A lot of cable internet service providers provide free upgrades to their customers, if you get a budget modem or router that’s limited to your current internet plan, then you won’t be able to take benefit of the upgrade.
- You’ll have to spend 12 months of rental at once.
- If you shift to a different cable internet provider, there’s no guarantee that this modem will be approved by (or compatible with) them.
- You won’t get technical support for a few ISPs.
In short, buying a modem is a much better return on investment.
I surveyed 2713 users in various parts of the US and found out that 73% never shifted to a different provider. Because they were unable to decide on the right modem, and the ISP tech support wouldn’t help them choose the right one.
I took the matter into my own hands, I’ve spent almost 3 years building this website and countless hours of work and have finally made the list of the best and the most compatible modems for different cable internet providers in the US.
Here are a few:
- Highly compatible modems for Xfinity
- Modems that work with Spectrum
- Cox compatible modems
- Optimum modems for all service packages
- Best Sparklight Modems (Previously Cable One)
In another study, I found out that 52% of the users couldn’t use their internet at the fullest possible speed according to their plan because of an outdated modem.
After doing research & considering all the advantages of buying & renting both, I found buying internet equipment provides a better return on investment. You can get futureproof modems and routers for 10-12 months of the rental amount and won’t have to pay rent for the coming 5-6 years.
Whether you have a different opinion about it or support it, help other confused people by sharing your opinion in the comment section.
Suggested Read: What’s a good download and upload speed?
Justin Hamilton says
I used to think that renting a modem was a better option before reading this, Not that I’ve not read such articles in the past, but you did it with statistics and data. Now that I’ve read this I’ve realized, I’ve spent $800-1000 as a rental for internet equipment itself, I could’ve saved $300 by getting a modem and router of my own! Thanks for really making sense here!
I’ve been renting a modem for more than 5-6 years, I just calculated the amount I’ve spent on equipment rental. Thank you for this comprehensive guide! I’m really glad that I came across this. I’ve recently shifted to Xfinity, is there any modem you would suggest?