If you have cable Internet, chances are that you rent a modem/router from your ISP for a monthly fee. With ISPs increasing their rental fees on a whim, many consumers are avoiding the recurring fee and buying their own wireless routers. A router that costs $100 starts paying for itself in little over a year, after that you stand to save from $10-$12 per month for as long as the device stays alive.
That said, it’s not always best to own a router. It mainly depends on your living conditions and how tech-savvy are you. If unfavorable, owning a router might end up costing you more money than renting one. There are pros and cons to both renting and owning. Let’s take a look at what each option means and when it’s better to prefer one over the other.
Renting a Router
Renting a router can come in handy in many ways. Right off the bat, you don’t have to worry about the setup as the ISP does it for you. When you run into any problem, you’ll get free tech support and best of all you get a free replacement router when the tech becomes outdated. You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues, since the ISP will provide you with compatible hardware. For instance, you’ll get a compatible WiFi router for Charter Spectrum, when you opt to rent one from them.
On the flip-side, renting a router becomes more expensive than owning one in the long run. Rental hardware is usually of very low quality and can easily break. Last but not the least, rental prices are subject to change and there is nothing you can do about it.
Owning a router
When you opt to own a router, although it costs you more upfront, it saves you money in the long run. You don’t have to worry about getting low-quality hardware that ends up failing on you more often, you can just go ahead and have your pick from the best of the best. When you decide to switch ISPs, you won’t have to get rid of your existing setup, rather just have the new provider plug into your existing router and get surfing.
On the other hand, the installation of your own modem can be tricky and even if you manage to get it set up on your own, you won’t get any tech support when you run into any problems, since many ISP’s don’t support custom setups.
Should you Buy or Rent?
If you have both the options, the choice ultimately comes down to two preferences. Would you like to save time or do you want to save money? In order to make the final decision, consider these questions:
- Do I have the technical proficiency to install the router on my own?
- Am I going to live in the same area for over a year?
- Are the routers that my ISP rents good enough?
- Is it worth spending more than a couple of hours to save some money?
- Does my ISP even allow me to use a custom router?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, it is probably better for you to buy a wireless router, otherwise you can consider renting one.