Renting Vs. Buying Your Cable Modem

The internet is a fantastic thing, isn’t it? We all need it; we all use it. So are you looking to cut off some of the cost of your internet by buying your cable modem? What if it costs you more in the long run? It’s important to know what to expect when making a decision.

Renting Vs Buying Your Cable Modem
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We went ahead and researched for you, providing all the tools necessary to decide on renting vs. buying your cable modem. In this article, we’ll go over:

  • What you can expect when buying your cable modem
  • What you can expect when renting your cable modem


While the most important thing to know when purchasing a modem for your internet is to know which one is the right fit for your internet service, this article focuses on cable modems, so that’s what we’ll cover for now.

Why You Should Consider Buying Your Cable Modem

Take a look at your internet or WiFi bill, and run through all the costs that add up before your summary for monthly expenditures.

Your modem may be adding anywhere between $8 to $15 a month in extra fees if you’re renting. When you buy, you’ll be ridding yourself of this additional fee, and your modem may eventually pay for itself and save you money.

In addition to the modem itself, you may be renting a wireless router. This article focuses on the modem only, but this is something to consider when looking over things in your bill and whether or not you could stand to buy both yourself.

Finally, the modem itself may cost you a pretty penny when you buy it initially, but don’t let this be a deterrent! The ability to pick and choose what kind of tech or brand you want to use will allow you to personalize your internet experience and possibly improve your internet performance.

Drawbacks to Examine

While it isn’t too difficult if you know where to look for help, you will have to install your modem if you decide to buy. If you’re even slightly technology savvy, this shouldn’t be an issue at all, but if you don’t believe that installation is something you could do, keep that in mind when debating buying vs. renting your cable modem.

Self-installation may be a pro rather than a con if you’re tech-savvy, especially since your ISP may have you pay for the technician to install anything they want you to rent anyways.

In addition to self-installation, you won’t have access to help from your internet service provider if you have issues with the modem. They can only assist if you use one of theirs, though some providers will allow you to buy one of their modems outright instead of renting, which may mitigate this problem entirely.

Finally, you may have to upgrade it yourself eventually. Tech is constantly updating and evolving, and using outdated modems and routers will cause your internet to slow down if it gets too clogged in an old device. With this, you may also have limited customer support if your warranty expires after a certain amount of time.

In Short
  • It’s a one-time charge
  • A long-term investment
  • It saves you money monthly
  • You decide what brand or style you want
  • Self-installation (Not a con if you’re slightly tech-savvy)
  • Repair and troubleshooting is your responsibility
  • Potential limited customer support if replacing or repairing


While it’s true that internet service providers make a killing from renting you equipment for a service you’re already buying from them, it has its own set of benefits.

Why You Might Want to Rent

One of the first reasons you may want to rent your modem is if you think you won’t be staying with your service provider for very long or if you might be moving.

Every ISP is different regarding the modems or routers their service is compatible with; you need to be sure you’re staying with them to buy one that fits. If you want a different provider soon or you’re moving, renting the modem will save you a chunk of change later down the line if your next provider ends up not being compatible with the one you’ve already bought for a few hundred dollars.

Another benefit is customer service. When something goes wrong, or you need new or updated equipment, your internet service provider will take care of it! You’re guaranteed not only updates or upgrades but compatibility with your internet!

Lastly, they install it for you. While this can be a pro, it can also be a con because installation techs may cost about as much as if you’d simply bought the modem yourself and installed it alone.

Drawbacks to Examine

The first and most common reason people prefer to buy over rent is that it costs more money in the long run. You’re paying monthly for a device that gives you the internet you have already paid for, and quite a few people object to this being an additional cost.

In addition, you have to take the modem that the ISP gives you, whether it’s of good quality or not. You don’t have much in the way of customization options, and the cheaper-end modems can end up causing internet lag.

In Short


  • You have customer service included with the modem
  • Guaranteed compatibility with the internet service
  • Worth doing if you plan to change ISP’s or move soon
  • They install it for you (Can be a con if the cost of installation is very high anyway)


  • It costs a lot more in the long run
  • Usually standard or sub-par equipment options, no customization

The Decision is Yours

When debating renting vs. buying your cable modem, it’s critical to consider your long-term vs. short-term costs or goals, how long you plan to be with your current ISP, and if the potential cons are worth your time.

What may be best for some would be more trouble for another; every situation is unique, and doing a thorough examination of what you need will help in your final decision.

Interesting related article: “What does Telecommunications mean?