When you go abroad, getting online is best to be avoided. After all, roaming charges are as expensive as they get, making the entire rigmarole of getting online uneconomical. Aside from that, using laptops usually means finding Wi-Fi networks which could be potentially dodgy. Plus, buying local SIM cards during the long haul is not worth it. This is where the best portable wifi for traveling with laptops and other devices, which are also known as hotspots, comes in. Bringing security and convenience to the table like never before, portable wifi works off 2G, 3G, 4G, and now even 5G mobile phone networks, which are literally everywhere. Thanks to these devices, you can now harness these local mobile phone networks and create a WiFi network for your personal use, whether it’s for the ‘Gram or for work. So, you no longer need to scour for patchy or unsecured public Wifi!
These best portable WiFi hotspots for laptops and phones keep you connected to the internet even in the remotest of places, all thanks to a secure and fast connection. What’s more, they allow you to have complete access to all your online applications as well as stay in touch with family and friends back home. If that wasn’t enough, you can even stream your favorite shows, never missing out on a new episode, as well as play your favorite online games to pass the time. And of course, they’re a godsend for digital nomads who are required to work while they’re on the go. To that end, here are the 13 best portable WiFi for traveling.
How To Choose The Best Portable WiFi for Traveling?
On-the-go devices have changed and transformed the way we travel, whether it’s Best Portable Chargers For Travel, the Best Wireless Mouse for Travel, or portable Wifi devices for traveling. There are several factors you need to keep in mind when it comes to selecting the best portable Wifi hotspot devices. So, what are they? Read on.
Battery life is important when it comes to a portable Wifi device – after all, you’re going to continuously need internet and you don’t want to run out of battery when you’re in the middle of nowhere. The best bit is that most good portable wifi devices have batteries that last around 10 hours at the very least. That said, you don’t need to worry if you’re traveling somewhere with easy access to electricity, so you can charge your device overnight. But, looking at the battery life is important if you’re going that has patchy electricity too.
Weight, size, and display
The best portable WiFi hotspots are small enough to be carried around everywhere with you. After all, if it’s heavy or needs to be lugged around, then what’s the point of the portable Wifi for traveling? Go for models that are lightweight and slimline. In fact, many excellent models are cleverly compact and even smaller than your smartphone.
These portable Wifi devices for traveling might be small, but they are still mighty useful and most of them even have in-built displays. This is very useful for determining the signal strength of the Wifi, how much data you have left, and the remaining battery life as well. The best ones might even offer bonus features such as touchscreen modes or SMS messages.
Perhaps the most important factor is the Wifi support itself. Since some mobile internet providers are better as compared to others, the coverage and support you receive from WiFi hotspots could also vary. For example, a 2.4GHz bandwidth offers more coverage at an extended range but tends to transmit the data at slower speeds. On the other hand, a 5GHz bandwidth might provide a smaller range, but transmits data at much faster speeds.
Finally, some of the best portable Wifi hotspots even come with the ability to read microSD memory cards, which is very useful for storing and accessing files from laptops. What’s more, you can even share the stored files with trusted people who’re using the same network and want them to access the same.
Is portable Wi-Fi better or a dongle?
Essentially, portable mobile hotspots have the same cellular network as your smartphones. So, you can either get a data-only plan for them, or you can add them as a separate device on your shared data plan. Dongles, on the other hand, are akin to USD flash drives and come straight from a carrier. You stick it into a USB slot on your laptop, and you’re still going to need a separate data plan as it is. These might be cheaper to invest in than portable Wifi, but where the portable Wifi devices score over dongles is that dongles might require special software. What’s more, their setup can be annoyingly slow and might include a ton of technical hurdles. Also, portable Wifi helps you track internet usage, can be used by multiple devices at once, and has a much longer battery life as compared to a dongle.
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot
Amongst the best portable Wifi for traveling is the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot. If you need maximum download speeds of a whopping 1 GB/second, then you need this Netgear hotspot in your life. Although we admit that 5G might dominate one day in the future, it’s not an option right now. So, for the time being, this 4G option makes so much sense. This one boasts pretty advanced hotspot hardware such as a 2.4-inch LCD panel and LTE CAT16 tech for fast download speeds. What’s more, it even has a microSD card slot so that you can sharing files between as many as 20 connected devices! Above all, it’s the monster of a 5,040 mAh battery that takes the cake, resulting in a superb battery life of 24 hours!
- Huge battery life.
- 4G speeds.
- MicroSD slot for sharing files between 20 devices.
Macaroon Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
If you’re a frequent flyer who only uses phones, then get the Macaroon Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot, one of the best portable Wifi hotspots. eschews local SIM cards completely and offers online data deals using built-in software. Designed to perfection by Hong Kong-based Macaroon, this one is a hybrid all-in-one that does away with local SIM cards and features a nifty in-built software that offers online data deals. The cloud SIM tech works via a smartphone app, selling global data deals no matter where you are in the world. You can even use this standard-issue hotspot hardware with third-party SIMs. Moreover, it boasts a battery life of 3,000mAh that lasts up to 12 hours, Finally, it can be used by up to as many as 10 connections or devices.
- Long battery life.
- Includes 1 GB of in-built global data.
- Very lightweight.
- Only works via a smartphone app.
TP-LINK M7350 Hotspot
Are you looking for a portable Wifi for traveling for basic access? Then you won’t need anything more than the TP-LINK M7350 Hotspot. This back-to-basics mobile WiFi hotspot suits anyone who wants to access basic 3G/4G networks for themselves or two persons. Despite having a relatively small 2,000 mAh battery, the device can be used for WiFi networks by up to 10 devices. What’s more, it lasts as many as 8 hours and has a great little LCD display that lets you know how much battery is left, what the signal strength is, and how much data has been used. While you’ll have to sort the SIM cards out on your own, the device even has a tpMiFi app that allows you to set data limits. Furthermore, it also allows sharing videos, music, and photos via the micro SD card slot and even control which devices can access the WiFi.
- MicroSD card slot for sharing files.
- tpMiFi app for controlling data and access.
- Small battery.
Original Huawei Mobile WiFi
5G ready? Check. Good battery life? Check. Allows connecting to more than 20 devices? Well, actually this one allows you to connect to as many as 32 devices! Behold the Original Huawei Mobile WiFi, one of the best portable Wifi hotspots for laptops and smartphones hands-down. For friends and families traveling in a huge group, this is just what you need to stay connected on your holiday. The world’s very first LTE CAT16 mobile hotspot, this Hauwei unit is unlocked, which means that you can use any SIM card inside – Verizon, AT&T, you name it. What’s more, you can also use any local or global SIM, since the device is both 4G and 5G-ready, with download speeds of up to 1 GB/second. The in-built 3,000 mAh battery doubles as a power bank, with the device connecting to up to 32 devices via NFC tap.
- Works as a portable power bank.
- Can connect to up to 32 devices.
- No data included.
The Skyroam Solis is the most versatile portable Wifi for traveling. This lightweight all-rounder offers pay-as-you-go data plans, thus proving to be a blessing for frequent travelers. If you fancy continuous global Wifi no matter where you go, then this is the device for you. This nifty orange puck-like device offers 4G Wifi in more than 130 countries thanks to its patented vSIM (virtual SIM) technology that automatically connects to local carriers no matter which part of the country you’re in. What’s more, the data plan is paid online and pay-as-you-go. So, an unlimited monthly subscription costs $99, while those for 20, 10, 5 days, and a day costs $180, $90, $45, and $9 respectively.
The powerful 6,000 mAh battery lasts for 16-20 hours and doubles as a handy power bank for tablets and phones. Plus, it’s easy to operate and works for up to 5 devices at maximum speeds of 150 MB/second. Finally, it easily recharges via USB-C.
- USB-C charging, which is used by most smartphones nowadays.
- Works as a portable power bank.
- Includes a free one-day pass.
- Only 5 connections.
Amongst the best portable Wifi for laptops hotspots that are also good value for money is the Alcatel Linkzone. This unlocked device weighs just 85 grams, making it one of the lightest portable wifi devices for traveling. In fact, its size is smaller than a deck of cards, allowing you to even slide it into your jeans pockets. The device delivers 802.11b/g/n Wifi connectivity and can connect to up to 15 devices. This is thanks to the nifty GSM networks, even though it only works on a bandwidth of 2.4 GHz. What’s more, the hotspot boasts a 1,800 mAh battery, which provides about 6 hours of rigorous use and is even smaller than other hotspots. It might not have a display, but it does have a micro SD card feature that allows you to share files over the network easily.
- Micro SD card space for file sharing.
- Very lightweight.
- Can connect up to 15 devices.
- No display.
- Works only on 2.4 GHz.
GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
Available in four colors of black, gray, white, and gold, the GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is yet another excellent portable Wifi for traveling. It’s a rather good-looking touchscreen hotspot that’s around the size of an iPhone 11 Pro. If you don’t want the hassle of contracts or having to add devices to your current data plan, then simply go for the GlocalMe hotspot. Not only does it come with 1 GB of 4G LTE data, but also it works in more than 100 countries! What’s unique about the device is that it has Google Maps and Tripadvisor apps in-built for navigation and obtaining useful travel tips.
Moreover, the hotspot offers a whopping 15 hours of battery life and supports fast charging of other devices via the in-built USB-C port. Besides supporting five devices, the brand also allows you to download a free app that can track your data usage too.
- 15 hours of battery life.
- In-built Google Maps and TripAdvisor.
- Comes with 1Gb of 4g LTE data.
- Supports only five devices.
NETGEAR Orbi Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router
Are you on a work-cation somewhere in the mountains or off-the-grid in some bucolic hamlet? Then one of the best portable Wifi hotspots for laptops for you is the NETGEAR Orbi Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router. It’s perfect for areas that aren’t wired to receive internet connections via traditional means. To begin with, it’s the first tri-band mesh system that employs a 4G LTE connection. This basically means that it uses a mobile network SIM card from brands such as T-Mobile and AT&T to bring you a wireless connection. Furthermore, this device delivers amazing speeds of up to 1.2 GB/second and its signals extend up to 2,000 square feet! So, no matter the size of your abode for your work-vacation, this Netgear device is primed to handle it.
- Excellent speeds of 1.2 GB/second.
- Uses a mobile network for an internet connection.
- Perfect for larger areas.
- Very expensive.
NETGEAR AirCard 797 (AC797) Mobile Hotspot
There’s yet another gem from Netgear on this list – this time it’s the NETGEAR AirCard 797 (AC797) Mobile Hotspot, yet another excellent portable Wifi for traveling. Compatible with T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon networks, this nifty device is an unlocked mobile hotspot that delivers internet at lightning speeds to a whopping 32 simultaneous connections! It’s the highest number of supporting devices on this list alongside the Original Huawei Mobile WiFi. Speeds reach up to 400 MB/second, and the device is also password-protected, ensuring that no one mooches off of you. Measuring just half an inch in thickness and 4-inches long, the hotspot is very portable and even has an LCD display. So, you can see the signal strength, monitor data usage, and even adjust network settings. Rounding up the features is the 2,930 mAh rechargeable battery, which gives 11 hours of use.
- 11 hours of use.
- Compatible with all major mobile networks.
- Supports 32 connections.
- Slightly pricey.
Verizon Wireless Jetpack 8800L 4G LTE Advanced Mobile Hotspot
The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 8800L 4G LTE Advanced Mobile Hotspot is another of the famous best portable Wifi for laptops hotspots. This top-notch and high-quality portable Wi-Fi hotspot boasts intuitive touchscreen controls, robust LTE connectivity, and a monstrous 4,440 mAh battery. So, it can offer mobile internet for up to 24 hours continuously without the battery running out. What’s more, the battery is removable, allowing you to purchase extra for some additional juice. Moreover, you can connect to up to 15 devices on the 802.11b/g/n network, which works on both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz signals. Since it employs WPA2 encryption, it even has a great “guest” option, allowing you to keep your main password private too. Finally, it even doubles as a portable battery for charging other devices.
- Works as a portable charger too.
- Employs WPA2 encryption for security.
- Offers 24 hours of internet continuously.
- The touchscreen can be better.
The Huawei E5885 is yet another great portable Wifi for traveling. Despite being a low-cost model, this one doesn’t have a small battery that’ll go kaput in a few hours. Rather, the incredible 6,400 mAh battery will give you an internet connection continuously for at least a day, if not more. It’s also amongst the faster mobile hotspots you can buy, thanks to download speeds of up to 300 MB/second and the LTE Cat6 support. Besides 3G/HSPA+ coverage everywhere, the device also offers connections for up to 32 devices at the same time. So, if you’re in a group, then this device is a real lifesaver, especially when it comes to staying in touch or looking up maps. Finally, the device also doubles as a portable power bank and comes with a small hand strap that doubles as a micro-USB cable.
- Protection from liquid and dust.
- Doubles as a Wifi extender and portable battery.
- Good global coverage.
- Not the highest speeds on this list.
Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot
Another Huawei product makes it to the list of best portable Wifi hotspots for laptops – this time it’s the Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot. There’s a lot to like about this device, starting with the fact that it’s affordable while having most of the features of portable wifi for laptops. Secondly, it offers 4G/LTE support in most of the countries across the world, and at least a 3G connection in the Americas. So, if you’re a frequent international traveler, then this is a solid budget choice. If that wasn’t enough, it offers up to 6 hours of continuous internet at good top speeds of 150 MB/second, which is reasonable for a budget-priced device. Plus, you can connect up to 10 devices without major slowdowns. The interface might not be the slickest, but it’s a great basic device you need.
- Lightweight and small.
- Reasonably priced.
- Good global coverage and speeds.
- Short battery life.
Topping the list of the best portable Wifi for traveling is yet another Huawei gem, the Huawei E5787! Despite its diminutive appearance, the device boasts up to 10 hours of battery life. Plus, it even doubles as a portable charger or power bank! However, its best feature is the speed of 300 MB/second thanks to the LTE Cat6 support, making this amongst the fastest mobile hotspots that don’t cost a lot. What’s more, this portable Wifi allows connecting up to 10 devices, including smartphones and laptops simultaneously. What’s great is that the sleek and slim device even fits easily in a pocket, while the slick touchscreen interface allows you to read important information about battery life and data usage, and make adjustments accordingly. Finally, the device even has the ability to switch between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks in crowded areas for a better connection.
- Lightweight and small.
- Slick touchscreen interface,
- Dual Wifi bands.
- Good global coverage.
- None, really.