What’s your go-to method of staying connected while traveling? Is it getting a local sim card? Or just taking advantage of the free WiFi at Starbucks? Instead of relying on spotty WiFi networks and slow wireless connections, why not use a portable hotspot to take your home’s internet with you wherever you go?
Unlike public hotspots, which are open (and often unsecured) WiFi networks found in coffee shops, restaurants and airports, a portable hotspot gets its connection via satellite and is often provided by your wireless network. That means these hotspots are not only more reliable, but they’re also more private. By packing one of these portable hotspots, you’re able to stay connected wherever you go — no matter how remote or how crowded.
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot Router
Able to connect up to 20 devices on the go, the Netgear Nighthawk is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of portable hotspots. The dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz dual concurrent WiFi supports ultra-fast data speeds, and the high-performance 5040 mAH battery can support your myriad connections for hours at a time. You can even set up guest WiFi and password-protect networks. Seriously, when it comes to a portable hotspot, the Nighthawk has it all. Make sure it’s compatible with your mobile carrier before purchasing.
2. Verizon Wireless Jetpack LTE Advanced Mobile Hotspot
This mobile hotspot from Inseego uses Verizon as its network, and it has a small display screen that allows you to easily monitor how much data you’ve used. The battery holds for up to 24 hours, making it a great option for taking on the go. The built-in Auto VPN helps keep you secure.
3. Skyroam Solis Lite Mobile Wifi Hotspot
This option from Skyroam has a brightly colored design that makes it eye-catching to look at, and more importantly, less likely to be forgotten in a hotel room. It has up to 18 hours of battery life, and you can set up WiFi internationally on every (inhabited, sorry Antarctica) continent. Flexible data plans allow you to buy as much coverage as you need.
4. TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
This powerful hotspot is equipped with 300Mbps of WiFi speed on an impressive 2.4GHz band network for blazing-fast speeds. It even comes with a built-in Micro-USB port for extra ease of use. Small enough to fit in your pocket, it’s a great portable router to take with you to school or on vacation. What’s more, the smart pre-encryption function lets you set up SSID and password protection, so you can use it to transfer and/or stream without having to worry about hacks.
5. TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
This tiny travel router offers dual-band AC750 WiFi for lightning-fast connections. The handy micro USB port conveniently lets you charge your devices, and the one-switch design for multiple modes makes it easy to use at home or on the road. All you have to do is connect to an outdoor WISP Access Point and you can enjoy a fast, private connection without all the added baggage that comes with using a public network.
6. GL.iNET Wireless Mini Portable Travel Router
This option allows you to create a secure connection when using public WiFi, and the bright yellow color means you won’t forget to take it with you. It has several modes; you can use it in router mode, repeater mode, AP mode and hotspot mode. Unlike some options, this does not have its own WiFi network. But it’s a great option for travelers staying in hotels and anyone who frequently uses public WiFi.
7. GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
This option looks a lot like a smartphone, but it’s actually a mobile hotspot. It’s about the same size and thickness of a small smartphone, too, so it’ll be easy to tuck into your pocket and take on the go. You can connect up to 10 devices, and this hotspot recharges using a USB-C cable, so you can recharge it using the same cable your smartphone probably uses.
8. TP-Link Wireless Mini USB Adapter
This option is not a true hotspot, but it might still suit your needs. This adapter plugs into your computer’s USB port, allowing you to turn a wired internet connection into a WiFi hotspot. It can help you improve your connection at home or be used as a travel option.
9. ZTE MAX Connect Unlocked Mobile WiFi Hotspot
BEST TRAVEL HOTSPOT
This affordable option has a simple display that indicates factors like the remaining battery and signal strength. It’s a portable option that provides versatile performance for a variety of carriers. It has a dual-band connection and a 2000 mAh battery.
10. Verizon – Ellipsis Jetpack 4G LTE Prepaid Mobile Hotspot
This affordable hotspot is easy to take on the go and has a simple heads up display that shows basic information like battery life and signal strength. It allows you to pre-pay so you can get the amount of data you need. It can take a little time to set up, but once it’s up and running, it’s easy to use.