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Here are the best Wi-Fi hotspots you can get right now
Are you looking for a way to stay connected on the go? You might want to look into the best Wi-Fi hotspots available right now. There are many options, so finding the right one can be daunting. We’ve curated a list of our favorites. First, let’s talk about why mobile hotspots are convenient.
Why buy a Wi-Fi hotspot?
Wi-Fi hotspots connect to cellular services and share an internet connection with your devices. These units create a Wi-Fi network; you can connect to them as you would with any other Wi-Fi router. The main difference, of course, is that these are mobile. You can take them anywhere your carrier offers service.
Why not just use your smartphone’s hotspot feature? Using smartphones as hotspots has made dedicated mobile hotspots much less prevalent. But owning a Wi-Fi hotspot has advantages over simply turning your smartphone’s hotspot feature on.
Portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices can usually connect to more devices at a time. Battery life is another issue, as a smartphone’s hotspot feature can drain your battery quickly. A dedicated hotspot is designed to do just one task — provide web access. It’s better suited for this and generally provides improved battery performance.
The best mobile hotspots
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best mobile hotspots as new devices launch.
NETGEAR Nighthawk M6 Pro Wi-Fi 6E
NETGEAR Nighthawk hotspots have become industry favorites, and for good reason. These are competent devices under the brand’s performance gaming branding. And NETGEAR really hit the ball out of the park with the Nighthawk M6 Pro.
For starters, the version we recommend supports Wi-Fi 6E and can handle up to 32 devices at once. This even beats plenty of conventional home routers. It also takes advantage of 5G data, a touchscreen, fast charging, and a 5,040mAh battery. It even has a LAN port with 2.5GB Ethernet support, just in case you want to connect to it physically or use it as a modem for an even better router.
The only bad news is that it’s currently only available for AT&T subscribers in the USA. AT&T also offers the M6 for those who want to save some money. It still supported 5G and Wi-Fi 6. If you want an unlocked alternative, there’s an unrestricted version of the NETGEAR Nighthawk M6.
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1
If you don’t care much for 5G and want to save some cash, NETGEAR also has the Nighthawk M1, which is nearly as impressive as its successors. We might argue it looks cooler too!
While it has no 5G support, it takes advantage of 4G LTE for pretty fast speeds. The Wi-Fi network can support speeds of up to 1Gbps, and you can connect up to 20 devices simultaneously. If that’s not enough, you can also use it as a modem for another router, as it comes with a physical LAN port. The 5,040mAh battery will probably last longer, as 4G LTE sucks up less juice than 5G.
Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L
The battery life of this mobile hotspot can last up to 24 hours. This is thanks to its 4,400mAh battery unit, which is quite large considering all this device does is share data via Wi-Fi. Even better, the battery is removable, so you can get yourself multiple batteries to keep a connection for days. It also has quick charge technology for when it’s time to juice up.
The Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L works in over 200 countries and supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Other features include a screen with plan info, the ability to connect with up to 15 devices, and even file-sharing capabilities.
This also happens to be one of the more affordable hotspots from Verizon. And while there are cheaper alternatives, this one offers the most bang-per-buck possible.
Verizon Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW
The Verizon MiFi M2100 5G UW is the latest and greatest from Inseego. Like NETGEAR’s top offering, it features Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support. It’s also cheaper at around $400, but you make some sacrifices.
This device has no Ethernet port, for example. You can still connect up to 30 devices to this device, which is a massive benefit to people who need to use many devices on the go. You’ll also get an intuitive touchscreen and management via a smartphone app. Not to mention battery life is estimated to last for up to 24 hours of active usage.
NETGEAR AirCard 797
Want something unlocked and simpler? Take a look at the NETGEAR AirCard 797. It comes factory unlocked, and you can pop any GSM SIM card in it. The unit supports 4G LTE speeds of up to 400Mbps down. It can connect with up to 15 devices, and its 2,930mAh battery should last 11 hours.
The most significant advantage is its design. This hotspot is much slimmer and smaller than most hotspots in this list. Especially once you start looking at the more advanced ones. You can throw this hotspot in your shirt pocket and forget about it.
Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G
Those looking for the best hotspot T-Mobile or Verizon have to offer should consider the Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G. As the name entails, you’ll get 5G connectivity. Additionally, the device has Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and can provide internet to up to 32 devices simultaneously. It also offers a 1Gbps Ethernet port for more stable connections, which 5G tops off at. The battery size is large at 5,050mAh.
JEXtream RG2100 5G Mobile Hotspot
Those who want to pay less for an excellent 5G mobile hotspot from T-Mobile also have the JEXtream RG2100. The name may be odd, but the device is pretty capable.
It has a 5,000mAh battery, USB-C connectivity, and 5G support. It even supports Wi-Fi 6 and can connect with up to 20 devices simultaneously. It’s a no-hassle, simple hotspot, and its price is not as inaccessible as the Inseego option.
GlocalMe Numen Air
The GlocalMe Numen Air is, in our opinion, the best-looking option in this list of the best mobile hotspots. It’s portable, sleek, and pretty capable. For starters, it offers global 5G speeds, supporting data transfers of up to 2.5Gbps. Its Wi-Fi 5 system can handle up to 16 devices. In addition, the battery is pretty good at 5,400mAh.
You can order a plan straight from GlocalMe. Additionally, the device has a SIM card slot if you want to get your own plan.
The reason why we didn’t place the CAT Q10 higher in this list of the best mobile hotspots is because it’s not readily available in the USA, and many other markets. If you can get your hands on it, though, it is definitely one of the top contenders in this category.
Mobile hotspots aren’t known for being resistant, but this one goes above and beyond with an IP68 certification and MIL-SPEC-810H. It can really handle torture, making it the best bet if you worry about breaking the device, or if you’re taking it to many places.
Additionally, it has 5G and Wi-Fi 6 support. The 5,300mAh battery can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. You can connect up to 32 devices to it. And it even supports Quick Charge 2.0 fast charging.
For most people, 4G LTE speeds are more than good enough. Of course, results will vary depending on your carrier, location, and other factors. Verizon claims its 4G LTE network can handle speeds of around 5Mbps to 12Mbps, with peak speeds reaching up to 50Mbps. The company also states its 5G Ultra Wideband network can handle nearly 1Gbps. This is arguably overkill, but some heavy users might require such speeds.
Some of these hotspots also work as portable batteries that can juice your devices up. This might be convenient in a pinch, but we don’t recommend extensively using hotspots as battery packs. These devices tend to have small batteries, and you might be wasting energy you could use for going online for longer. Getting a dedicated portable battery pack may be a better idea, and you can also use that to charge your hotspot.
Some of the more expensive devices on this list feature Wi-Fi 6. This newer standard can handle faster speeds, more device connections, and better performers overall. The new standard is also better optimized for IoT smart devices. Going for Wi-Fi 6 is only necessary if you plan to replace your traditional router with a hotspot, or if you genuinely need powerful mobile performance. That said, having it is suitable for future-proofing yourself. Just don’t pick a hotspot only for its Wi-Fi 6 compatibility. Learn more about Wi-Fi 6 here.
This is an excellent feature for those who want proper mobile data performance. A wired data connection provides optimal speeds and a much faster ping. This is why you’ll usually see an Ethernet port only on the higher-end hotspots, which can also take advantage of faster 5G speeds.
Additionally, the Ethernet port will benefit those who want to use mobile hotspots as modems and completely replace their traditional internet services. You can use it to provide internet to a more robust home router and spread the internet connection to the rest of your home.
Is a Wi-Fi hotspot not enough? We have guides for finding the best internet providers in the USA and the best mesh routers available. These should ensure a solid internet connection, even if it’s only at home.