Short of downgrading to a slower plan, one of the best ways to save money on your Comcast Xfinity monthly bill is to consider the purchase of a third-party Comcast-compatible router.
Renting Comcast’s xFi Gateway router-modem combo incurs a non-negligible monthly rental fee of $14, which over the course of a year amounts to a steep $168. Worst of all, you never outright own the device, meaning if you decide to jump ship for a competing cable internet company, you’ll have to send the xFi Gateway back.
By buying a third-party router, you not only own the router, but it ends up paying for itself within 12 to 18 months in most cases, if not sooner for the more budget-oriented options, at which point you start saving and pocket a welcome $14 every month. Additionally, the freedom to choose the specifications and features of your router generally means a device better suited to your needs, and more often than not, one that performs better than Comcast’s stock modem-router.
If you’re ready to swap out the xFi Gateway for something better and cheaper but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best routers for Comcast Xfinity cable internet plans.
How We Picked
Price, design, speeds, features, connectivity, coverage, and Comcast compatibility are the most important factors to consider to choose the best Comcast router. A good router offers a good balance of value and performance suited to your specific Comcast Xfinity plan, and we aimed to seek out options that fit that profile.
For the sake of simplicity and to highlight the very best, we limited our selection to four Comcast-ready routers that cover some of the most common use cases, budgets, and most desirable features.
Read on to find a list of some of the best Comcast routers you can buy right now. You’ll find a section for each pick with all the information to help you make an informed choice, including details about where they fall short. And, finally, there’s a Things to Consider section near the end with valuable factors to remember when shopping for a Comcast-compatible router.
Best Router For Comcast in 2021
Speed up to 1,750 Mbps
1,500 Square foot coverage
Beamforming, Dynamic QoS, Smart Connect
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
No Wi-Fi 6
In our estimation, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 is the best all-around router for most homes wired up to the internet via a Comcast Xfinity plan. It strikes a balance between affordability and a dependable feature-set that should suit most homes, even those with a handful of inhabitants and dozens of devices vying for precious Wi-Fi simultaneously.
A dual-band router, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 runs the Wi-Fi 5 standard and can hit speeds up to 1,750 Mbps (450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz), making it suitable for most Comcast Xfinity plans. In action, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 delivers steady connectivity and reliable signal to wireless devices even stretching to previously hard-to-reach areas. For your wired devices, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a high-speed USB 3.0 port for media sharing.
Wi-Fi coverage pushes 1,500 square feet and can funnel a steady and reliable wireless signal to 25 devices simultaneously, something enabled by the presence of features such as Beamforming +, Dynamic QoS, Airtime Fairness, and Smart Connect, which keep interference to a minimum while maximizing speeds for all connected devices. A powerful 1 GHz dual-core processor and a triplet of amplified exterior antennas help in that respect, too.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 integrates all the security features to monitor and keep your network protected, including NETGEAR’s Armor software, Smart Parental Controls, support for VPNs, guest Wi-Fi access, DoS attack prevention, WPA2 encryption, and more.
The lone negative of the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 is the absence of Wi-Fi 6 support. Still, considering the $80 to $100 asking price, this is entirely reasonable, so it shouldn’t factor too heavily in your assessment of this otherwise stellar piece of home networking equipment. If Wi-Fi 6 is a must-have, check out the TP-Link Archer X21 we cover further down.
Wi-Fi speed up to 3,100 Mbps
MU-MIMO, Adaptive QoS, Smart Connect
5,000 square foot coverage
Eight Gigabit Ethernet ports
No Wi-Fi 6
The Asus RT-AC88U is among the best Comcast-ready routers you can add to your gaming setup to ward off pesky instances of lag, disconnection, and low ping. If your circumstances force you to play online games over Wi-Fi, then the Asus RT-AC88U inches as close as ever to replicating the dependability of a wired connection.
The Asus RT-AC88U delivers a combined 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 dual-band speed of up to 3100 Mbps per second – 2,100 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 1,000 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band – absolutely dwarfing even the fastest plans from Comcast Xfinity.
Theoretical speeds are one thing, but the Asus RT-AC88U backs this up with a host of signal reliability and stability features, including AiRadar Beamforming to focus signal on devices, MU-MIMO to ensure devices benefit from the highest speeds simultaneously, and Adaptive QoS to channel bandwidth to gaming by prioritizing gaming packets and activities to ensure low latency. Wi-Fi coverage extends to a generous 5,000 square feet, making it suitable for larger homes.
For all your wired needs, and let’s face it, serious gaming is best experienced with a direct link to an Ethernet port on a router, the Asus RT-AC88U boasts a highly unusual eight Gigabit Ethernet ports (two of which can be used for Link Aggregation for wired speeds up to 2 Gbps). These should cover even homes decked out with a range of the latest technological gadgetry, gaming PCs, and consoles. In addition, the unit features a USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for blisteringly fast data transfer speeds for media sharing or to connect a device to the network for all to use.
All these great features come at a cost of over $200. While not prohibitive, the sum is more than double what you’d expect to pay for a more modest budget router. Additionally, the Asus RT-AC88U doesn’t include Wi-Fi 6 support.
Speeds up to 1,800 Mbps
Supports up to 40 devices
If finding a Wi-Fi 6 router is a priority, the TP-Link Archer X21 is a top option for Comcast Xfinity plans pushing speeds up to 1 Gbps, and of course, slower plans. The most appealing part of the TP-Link Archer X21 deal is that it offers an avenue to future proof your home network free of the usual premium slapped onto Wi-Fi 6-ready devices.
Priced at roughly $100, it’s an economical way to prepare for the new standard to filter down into most devices in the years ahead and all the speed, capacity, and reduced network congestion it promises. Naturally, the router features full compatibility with previous standards, so it will work with all Wi-Fi 5 or earlier devices you may want to integrate into a home network.
Theoretical speeds on the dual-band TP-Link Archer X21 top out at 1,800 Mbps, 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and 1,200 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. Under the hood, there’s a nippy 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU to handle all and any bandwidth-intensive activities like gaming and 4K media streaming.
The unit itself has four Gigabit Ethernet Ports for your wired devices, one USB 2.0 port for speedy media sharing, and four distinctive columns acting as high-gain antennas, which, when allied to Beamforming, MU-MIMO, and Smart Roaming features, pushes a focused and reliable Wi-Fi signal to even previously weak signal areas with coverage for up to 40 devices simultaneously. The Tether App is also worth a mention, as it dramatically simplifies setting up the TP-Link Archer X21 and managing your network on the fly from both iOS and Android smartphones.
While aesthetics should also be a secondary consideration, we’re big fans of the physical design of the TP-Link Archer X21 with its sharp angles, tasteful vents, and futuristic looks. It’s far more conspicuous than more subdued routers but remains pleasing to the eye in our book.
Speeds up to 1,900 Mbps
1,500 square foot coverage
Supports up to 15 devices
Great asking price
No Wi-Fi 6
Much like the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700, the Linksys EA7500 is a stellar all-around router that’s dependable, packed with great technology, and with speeds catered to the overwhelming majority of homes sourcing their cable internet from Comcast Xfinity. The EA7500’s highlight is its affordability, especially when viewed side by side with some of the pricier options, with very little in terms of compromises.
Using the Wi-Fi 5 standard, the Linksys EA7500 offers dual-band theoretical speeds up to 1,900 Mbps, 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, alongside enough power to channel a reliable signal to 15 devices simultaneously at a range of up to 1,500 square feet. Beamforming and MU-MIMO features, along with three powerful amplified external antennas, do much of the heavy lifting in that respect. In our experience, the Linksys EA7500 delivers consistent Wi-Fi signal throughout the home.
For wired devices, the Linksys EA7500 is no slouch either, with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 handily mounted on the front of the unit for easy device and media sharing. Full Amazon Alexa support is another nice touch. Of course, the router also boasts all the latest security features, including 64/128-bit WEP and WPA2 encryption.
Prices for the Linksys EA7500 gravitate around $100 to $120, depending on the retailer. That’s $20 more than the excellent NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700, but with speeds up to 1,900 Mbps rather than 1750 Mbps. For us, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 inches slightly ahead for offering a broader feature set hence why it’s our top pick. Nevertheless, for pure value, the Linksys EA7500 is still a strong pick for most homes. In line with most Comcast-compatible routers in the $100 price range, the Linksys EA7500 doesn’t incorporate the Wi-Fi 6 standard.
Things To Consider
Chances are your own search for a viable Comcast-compatible router will produce either models sporting the 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 or, possibly, for the latest models, 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 standard. As a baseline, we recommend choosing a router that supports Wi-Fi 5. This will ensure compatibility with the broadest range of devices and great speeds aligned with all but the speediest Comcast Xfinity plans.
Wi-Fi 6 is also a wise way to future-proof your router if you have some cash to spare. The number of phones, PCs, laptops, etc. that support the new standard grows each day, but it’s yet to reach widespread adoption. But there will be an inevitable tipping of the balance in the years ahead, and there’s no harm in planning for this ahead of time by buying a Wi-Fi 6-ready router now. Additionally, routers tend to last for years and if replacing one in a few years simply to get Wi-Fi 6 feels like a hassle, then looking ahead now is a good, if a little pricey way, to plan ahead.
Speed and Coverage
Manufacturers like to prop up their routers’ appeal by advertising their routers’ top speed capabilities. However, these speeds are only theoretical, and there’s no guarantee you’ll benefit from them. Real-world speeds depend on the speed of your plan, the quality and coverage of the Wi-Fi signal, and what speeds your modem can confidently pump out.
Although helpful, we don’t recommend relying on these too much as an indicator of quality. Simply ensure you buy a router with top speeds that exceed those of your specific Comcast Xfinity Plan, and you should be good to go. In most cases, most routers, even budget options, have theoretical speeds that far surpass those of most internet cable plans, including Comcast Xfinity.
While routers are generally viewed in the context of their ability to beam a wireless internet signal to devices throughout the home, it’s also worth noting how many physical ports a model may have, notably Ethernet ports. These come in handy for devices or activities such as a desktop PC dedicated to online gaming necessitating a wired Ethernet connection to avoid the occasional reliability and connection issues of Wi-Fi. A decent router should sport four Ethernet ports giving you plenty of connectivity to play with.
In a similar vein, look out for USB ports if you plan to integrate a shared media drive or device such as a printer into your network. They aren’t quite as universal as Ethernet ports, so it’s worth checking manufacturer listings before buying.
Things To Consider
A strong all-rounder suited to most Comcast Xfinity plans, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 is our uncontested pick for most homes. Affordability meets a desirable set of features and ample theoretical speeds of up to 1,750 Mbps. If in doubt as to what router you should choose, we’d wager the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 will meet most people’s needs and then some.
For those looking for a router with the features and speeds needed for a premium gaming experience, we recommend the Asus RT-AC88U. This router offers massive Wi-Fi coverage along with nippy speeds up to 3,100 Mbps and no less than eight Gigabit Ethernet ports – enough to service all your gaming devices from desktop PCs to smartphones, whether wired or wireless.
If future-proofing your router with support for the Wi-Fi 6 standard is a must, we recommend the TP-Link Archer X21. Wi-Fi 6 at a reasonable price point is the highlight, but the router has other strings to its bow, not least support for up to 40 devices, great technologies, and speeds up to 1,800 Mbps.
Finally, those looking for value should strongly consider the Linksys EA7500. For us, it represents a viable alternative to our top pick, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700: higher speeds, and similar features but at a slightly higher asking price.
With that, we’ll conclude our guide to the best routers for Comcast cable internet plans. Should you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to get in touch by dropping us a message in the comments section below.