A DSL modem lets you stay connected with the outside world by connecting WiFi routers and computers to the internet. As such, a DSL modem is an essential device for residential internet access.
Our tech expert found these 5 great options for DSL subscribers, including our top pick, the NETGEAR High-Speed Broadband DSL Modem, which stands out because of its fast speeds and compatibility with a number of different service providers.
If you’re looking to complete your home network, don’t forget to pick up a router or WiFi range extender.
Our Tech Expert’s Top 5 DSL Modems
Here are the top picks from our tech expert. Compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Rating||Wireless||LAN ports||VDSL compatible||Lightning protection|
|Best Overall||NETGEAR High-Speed Broadband DSL Modem||1|
|Best Budget Buy||ZyXEL P660HN-51R Adsl/ Adsl2+ Wi-Fi Router with Built-in Modem||4|
|Best Modem Router Combo||CenturyLink Prism Modem Router||4||[no|
|Best Wireless DSL Modem||Actiontec GT784WNV DSL Wireless N Modem||4|
|Best Basic DSL Modem||TP-Link ADSL2+ Modem||1|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy a DSL Modem
- DSL subscribers – The type of internet subscription you have will dictate the type of modem you need. DSL subscribers will need a DSL-specific modem.
- Budget-conscious folks – If you want to avoid the ongoing monthly rental fee associated with renting a modem from your ISP, purchasing your own modem is a smart move.
- Those wanting an all-in-one solution – There are many DSL modem/router combos available, which make setting up a home networking solution easier than ever before. If you want the simplicity of an all-in-one solution, upgrading your current DSL modem to a modem/router combo may be a good option.
Who Should Not Buy a DSL Modem
- Cable subscribers – As mentioned previously, the type of service you have will affect the type of modem you require, which means that cable subscribers will have no use for a DSL modem.
Here are some tips and best practices to consider when purchasing a DSL modem. Be sure to do adequate research on the product you are considering purchasing to look for must-have features and any additional options that meet your needs. You can also ask your friends, family, or DSL service provider if they have any recommendations on DSL modems for your home.
- Check the ports – The more LAN ports your modem has, the more devices you’ll be able to directly connect to it. This allows those devices to have a faster connection.
- Look for DSL types – Today’s DSL modems are largely ADSL models, or asymmetric DSL modems, which means the upload and download speeds are not the same.1 This is fine as download speeds are typically much faster than upload speeds. There are also DSL modems that handle VDSL, or very high bit-rate DSL.2
- Lightning protection is a big plus – Look for a DSL modem that offers lightning protection. This feature allows you to avoid damage to your modem in the event of a thunderstorm.
- Consider provider compatibility – You want to ensure that whatever modem you purchase is compatible with your service provider, so be sure to read the fine print or contact your ISP if you’re unsure about a particular device.3
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $100 and $200
For most DSL modems, you can expect to pay between $100-$200 and still get a quality product. Your DSL provider may offer a monthly rental for their own modem, but if you want to eliminate this ongoing monthly fee, purchasing your own DSL modem is recommended. However, the best of the bunch will cost you upwards of $300.
The Best DSL Modems: Full Reviews
The NETGEAR High-Speed Broadband DSL Modem offers fast speeds and is compatible with a number of different service providers including Verizon and Frontier. It is suitable for use with VDSL and ADSL connections.
This modem boasts easy CD-less setup and installation and features auto-detection for universal support. It comes complete with an ethernet cable, RJ-11 cable, and DSL phone filter.
- Phone filter, ethernet, and RJ-11 cable included
- Auto-detection for universal support
- Broadband high-speed DSL modem
- Compatible with VDSL, VDSL2, ADSL, ADSL2, and ADSL2+
- Some reviewers report connection problems
- Warranty and support is limited
The ZyXEL P660HN-51R Adsl/ Adsl2+ WiFi Router with Built-in Modem is an ADSL2+ modem and router in one. It’s compatible with most ADSL, ADSL2, and ADSL2+ internet services including CenturyLink, Verizon, AT&T, and many others. However, it’s not compatible with bonded ADSL, VDSL, cable, or fiber-based internet providers, so be sure to check with your provider to ensure compatibility before purchasing.
With a built-in setup wizard and auto-detect functionality that automatically detects your internet provider’s required DSL settings, this ADSL modem is easy to configure. It’s WiFi compatible with a 4-port switch to provide internet anywhere throughout your home without the need for a second box.
- Modem and router in one
- Easy configuration with built-in setup wizard
- Easy to add additional access points for increased coverage
- Not compatible with bonded ADSL, VDSL, fiber, or cable internet
- Some users say tech support isn’t responsive
The CenturyLink Prism Modem Router is compatible with VDSL, ADSL, ADSL2+, and Prism TV connections, and will auto-detect CenturyLink network setting configurations for ease of setup. It supports speeds of up to 300 Mbps and also acts as a wireless N router.
It offers a secure WLAN setup for added protection and is ideal for heavy internet users. It comes complete with 2T x 2R antennas which provide improved speed, reduced dead zones, and extended coverage.
- Includes 2T x 2R antennas
- Automatic setting detection
- Up to 300 Mbps
- IPv6 enabled
- Some users have difficulty with setup
- Considered end of life
The Actiontec GT784WNV DSL Wireless N Modem is a solid choice for those looking for a wireless network solution for their home. It offers 802.11bgn connectivity and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7 operating systems.
It boasts a data transfer rate of up to 300 Mbps and includes four LAN ports. It is compatible with Verizon’s DSL service and comes complete with a high-grade firewall, parental controls, and a variety of protections and encryptions.
- Dual antenna
- Firewall and parental controls included
- Built-in 802.11n technology
- MIMO smart antenna
- Compatible with 1 provider
- Some users say it needs rebooting frequently
The TP-Link ADSL2+ Modem is a solid choice for those who just need a basic DSL modem to get their internet up and running. It offers download speeds of up to 24 Mbps and comes complete with one phone line port and one 10/100M ethernet port.
The built-in firewall helps to protect against internet attacks, while the 6KV lightning protection helps to prevent damage caused by thunderstorms.
- Up to 24 Mbps
- Web-based interface for ease of configuration
- ADSL2+ compatible
- Includes an ethernet cable and external splitter
- Only 1 LAN port
- Some reviewers had difficulty with configuration
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a DSL modem and how does it work?
What are some trusted brands of DSL modems?
Is there a difference between a DSL modem and a cable modem?
Is DSL fast enough for Netflix?
Tech Pro Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Techopedia. Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL). Updated April 30, 2018. Accessed August 9, 2021.
- Gartner. Very High-speed Digital Subscriber Lines (VDSL). Gartner.com. Accessed August 9, 2021.
- Linksys. Does Your Modem Match Your Broadband Service? Linksys.com. Accessed August 9, 2021.
- Geek Squad. Cable vs. DSL. Bestbuy.com. Accessed August 9, 2021.
- Netflix. Internet connection speed recommendations. Netflix.com. Accessed August 9, 2021.