The 5 best DSL modems

Camryn Smith

Aug 23, 2023 — 6 min read

Your modem is what allows you to connect to the internet, so it’s important you choose the best one for your needs. We’ll go over some of the best DSL modems in terms of speed, price and what you’ll use it for.

What is a DSL modem and how does it work?

These days, home and business internet connections can be received via satellite, cellular network, fiber, cable or phone line. A digital subscriber line or DSL is the most common home internet connection form. A DSL internet connection provides internet through copper wires in your phone lines. An essential part of this connection type is a DSL modem and router — but this won’t be the dial-up modem and slow speeds of old dial-up internet. DSL can provide broadband speeds, depending on the provider. 

Why are DSL modems important? They allow data from your internet service provider (ISP) to be sent to the devices that you want to connect. Think of the modem as the translator in this interaction, offering communication between your computer and your ISP to keep information flowing between the two.

DSL modems come in a standalone form, which is great for a wired connection. But if you want to use the internet wirelessly, you will need a modem and router or a DSL modem router combo. A router creates a wireless network that you can connect to with your devices in order to get an internet connection. A DSL modem router combo builds this functionality into a single device. 

How we picked the best DSL modems

Picking out a DSL modem or modem router combo can be a challenge, but you can more easily navigate this task if you know what to look for. In order to help you in your search, we’ve curated a list of the five best DSL modems that cater to different needs. We scoured through many of the most popular, best-selling and most talked about DSL modems on the market in order to select our top recommendations. We used the following factors to generate these recommendations:

  • Supported speeds
  • Price and value
  • Features 
  • Specific customer reviews
  • What it’s best for: budgets, speeds, all-in-one, etc.

While we list out equipment that each support a range of speeds, keep in mind that your DSL connection will likely not support the advertised speed on the equipment since it is a slower internet technology. If you want speeds closer to the speeds these devices can support, you’d be better off choosing a cable or fiber internet connection. 

Best overall DSL modem: ZyXEL C3000Z

ZyXEL C3000Z
  • Dual-band
  • Gigabit speeds
  • 5 Ethernet ports 
  • VDSL2 technology 

The ZyXEL C3000Z is a gigabit modem/router combo that wins our best overall slot. It’s dual-band, has great speeds and has five Ethernet ports that allow you to connect bandwidth-heavy devices directly to increase your speeds. 

This gateway supports VDSL2, (very high-speed digital subscriber line 2). This is a type of high-speed DSL technology that allows for faster data transmissions than its predecessor, VDSL and earlier DSL technologies like asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL, ADSL2).  
The ZyXel C3000Z has 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 60% of customers rating it five stars. Customers like that this gateway is easy to use and has speeds to support their high-speed DSL connections.

Best budget-friendly DSL modem: Netis DL4323

Netis DL4323
  • Solid bang-for-your-buck performance
  • Up to 300 Mbps
  • Smart features for optimizing connection
  • Works with most carriers

If you’re looking for a router that will provide you with a solid internet connection but won’t require you to break the bank, the Netis DL4323 will get the job done. It provides more than adequate connection speeds and uses some smart technology to help route traffic in a way that makes sure you don’t experience slowdowns even with multiple devices connected and in use at the same time.

This router is compatible with most major DSL providers, but you’ll want to make sure that it works with yours before buying. Also, don’t expect the absolute top performance here — it is a budget modem, after all. But you should be able to do things like stream high-definition video and game with no problem with this modem.

Best for fast speeds: TP-Link AC2800 

  • Dual-band
  • VDSL2
  • Speeds up to 2.8 Gbps
  • Remote control capabilities

The TP-Link AC2800 gateway is a dual-band, VDSL2 gateway device. It supports speeds up to 2.8 Gbps and has four Gigabit Ethernet ports that can give you an even faster wired connection. It’s compatible with most DSL providers, has remote control capabilities and is also compatible with fiber and cable connections, just in case you decide to upgrade. 

The TP-Link AC 2800 has 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 62% of customers rating it five stars. Many customers like its range and signal strength. 

Best DSL modem for gamers: NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 D7000

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 D7000
  • Modem Router combo
  • Four Ethernet ports
  • Up to 1300Mbps
  • Dual-core processor for improved performance
  • NETGEAR genie app for managing connections

Netgear has managed to brand itself as the company that can provide high-speed, reliable internet service and the Nighthawk DSL modem router combo does not disappoint. It’s capable of gigabit quality speed, and with the dual-core processor, it is capable of both delivering a stronger signal and prioritizing traffic. That means no buffering for your streaming video and no lag in your gaming just because someone else is connected and browsing the web.

The Nighthawk doubles up as a modem and router, providing a direct, wired connection or a wireless one that should be able to reach most corners of your home thanks to the strong signal. The Netgear genie app gives you additional control over your home Wi-Fi, which is handy for anyone looking to prioritize gaming or media.  

The Nighthawk AC1900 has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon with many customers praising its speed and reliability. 

DSL modem router combo: Actiontec C3000A DSL gateway 

  • Dual-band
  • VDSL2
  • 4 Ethernet ports
  • Gigabit speeds

The Actiontec C3000A is a VDSL2 gateway device that supports gigabit speeds. It’s a reliable choice if you’re looking for a gateway for your high-speed DSL connection because it gives you faster, steadier speeds throughout your home than most DSL modem/routers. 

This gateway is on the pricier side, but remember that it’s a gateway, so you’re getting both your modem and router all in one device. The C3000A has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with many customers praising its strong signal and easy setup process. 

What are the benefits of DSL modem?

A DSL modem is essential for anyone with a DSL internet connection. The modem allows you to connect to the internet that is provided through your phone line. By connecting a device to your DSL modem, you will be able to browse the internet. With a higher speed connection, a modem will allow you to do things like stream video content and play online video games. 

A DSL modem router combo provides additional flexibility by allowing you to connect to the internet wirelessly in your home. This gives you more freedom to move around and connect to the internet even if you are not in the same room as the modem.

DSL modem buying tips

  • Confirm your modem is compatible with your internet service provider
  • Consider how many devices you will have connected
  • Check download speeds to make sure the connection will be fast enough
  • Consider a DSL modem router combo for a wireless internet connection 

Need a faster internet plan?

While your DSL modem is important for providing an internet connection, it can only provide you with speeds and functionality that is available through your ISP. If you need faster internet, consider upgrading your plan or changing service providers if possible.

The bottom line

A DSL modem is a great tool for staying connected, and a DSL modem router combo gives you the benefit of a wireless connection. This device is ideal for everyone from students looking to do their homework online to media lovers who want to stream movies and TV shows to gamers who want to play games without interruptions. Our favorite is the ZyXEL C3000Z, but there are many great choices. Remember that internet speeds are only as good as your internet service provider offers, no matter how good of a router you have, so double-check your current service and consider an upgrade if needed.

DSL modem FAQs

What is a DSL modem?

A DSL modem is a modem that supports a DSL connection. These days, cable or fiber connections are more common so if you still have DSL you’ll need a modem with a DSL connection capabilities. 


Older equipment models will have more speed limitations than newer ones. Speeds with DSL internet are already limited, so you won’t be reaching the same speeds as you would with a cable or fiber connection. Regardless, look for newer modem models so you can get the most out of your DSL connection.  

Yes, a modem will allow you to connect to the internet and a router will enable you to connect your devices. If you don’t find yourself needing to wirelessly connect your devices, you could get away with having just a modem – but you’ll need to connect your devices directly to the equipment if you want to use them. 

Camryn Smith

Written by:

Camryn Smith

Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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