These days technological devices seem to be replicating with the fervent intensity of viagra-induced rabbits, and mobile routers are no exception. They can range in size, weight, performance, cost, security, and more.
With so many new gadgets out there, it can be very overwhelming trying to decide which piece of tech would best suit your needs.
That is why we have curated a selection of the best routers that consistently make it in the top 10 lists of tech reviewers across multiple sites.
1. Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router
This router is as badass as the name suggests. It can handle any kind of gaming you throw at it, even the players with blinding fast reaction speeds. It’s an internet-producing powerhouse. Cell signal or wifi – doesn’t matter. But, you better believe these fabulous features are going to cost you.
With 20 network connections available through the Netgear Nighthawk, there is no shortage of space for gamers. Plus, it comes with a whopping max download speed of 1000 Mbps and a max upload speed of 150 Mbps. That is insanely fast! It has a four-band system, so you can easily distribute the streaming demand of all your devices so that it evens out nicely.
The long battery life is another reason why this router gets full points in the “best for gaming” category. With eleven hours of juice in the tank, there is plenty of time to make sure you get to a safe point.
The powerful internet generating capabilities of this router are not only great for gaming. This is the ideal piece of backup for individuals who like to rock board meetings with flashy presentations. It can turn any sketchy complimentary company wifi into reliable, high-speed, secure internet. Your presentation can be amplified even further with the Nighthawk file-sharing capabilities.
Thanks to the built-in USB port, you can seamlessly stream media to all your connected devices.
Unlocked Sim Card Feature
One of our favorite features of this router is that it can come with an unlocked sim card feature. This means that if you are backpacking through Europe, for example, instead of depending on existing wifi networks in hotels and museums, etc., you can just buy a local sim card and plug it into the router.
The sim card will connect to the cellular network of the country you are in, and the router will convert that signal into your own personal wifi bubble.
This feature is also a great resource to have when you are doing a road trip or out camping. Unless you venture deep into the Alaskan outback, chances are you are going to be somewhere that has at least a little bit of cell service. The Nighthawk will take that tiny bit of reception and amplify it into full-blown wifi. No more waiting until you get home to post those epic moments on Instagram!
It Might Overheat
The only thing you have to watch out for when you are bringing this router with you on the road is that it can overheat. So, unless you are walking the streets of Paris in February, you probably don’t want to keep it in your travel bag.
Of course, all these bells and whistles don’t come cheap. The Netgear Nighthawk is one of the most expensive mobile routers on the market. Buying a locked one off of the AT&T website will cost you about $250 before tax – ouch. There is, however, a payment plan option if you are dead set on getting your hands on it.
2. TP-Link TL-WR802N N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
The TL-WR802N is a friend to travelers who like to keep their luggage limited to carry-on items. It’s the best router for students, businessmen, and anyone who has a tendency of often misplacing their tech.
This router won’t allow you to host a LAN party in your hotel room anytime soon, but it will ensure that the wifi you have is strong enough to support Facetime meetings or stream Netflix. The single 2.4Ghz band delivers reliable 300 Mbps wifi in a two-room radius, which is perfect if you need to amplify the signal in your dorm or hotel room.
The compact size makes it incredibly convenient to carry with you wherever you go. It is so small it can fit in the palm of your hand, literally. It can connect to the internet via wifi or an ethernet cable, and it has a simple micro-USB slot for charging.
This is a no fuss, no muss kind of router with a friendly plug-and-play setup. Whether you have back-to-back meetings or classes, this is the best router to take with you for simple, reliable internet.
Is It Suitable for Camping?
When it comes to camping, the TL-WR802N is best for adventurers who embrace the lone wolf philosophy. However, the single band makes it difficult to support many devices at the same time, so expecting it to support streaming for all the boys during the fishing weekend might be a bit of a stretch.
There is also the issue that the TL-WR802N does not have a sim card slot. You would have to find campsites that have wifi or an ethernet connection for the router to be able to connect you to the internet.
Lastly, the price is another reason why it’s the best router for students or anyone on a budget. You can currently get the TP-Link TL-WR802N N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router off of Amazon for around $30. Considering even students probably spend more than that on coffee every month, we think it’s well worth the investment.
The affordable price also offers a little peace of mind. Unlike traveling with a more expensive model, if you accidentally leave this one behind, it won’t cause you to have a mild panic attack.
3. GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel Router
The GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel Router is the best router for work because of its extra security features. If you work with sensitive material or just want to keep “big brother” out of your business, we highly recommend this router.
Remember what happened with Hillary Clinton’s emails? You certainly don’t want to be that!
The dual-band action offers the standard 300Mbps and 433Mbps internet that you find on most mobile routers. But, unlike most routers, this one has three LAN ports. So for gamers who are extra concerned about their connection, this is an ideal solution for super-secure internet.
The LAN ports aren’t the only added security bonus. The GL-AR70S model also offers top-of-the-line encryption via Wireguard VPN software to protect against data leaks and ransom attacks that are becoming more and more common. Everyone is busy these days, and when you are caught up in the moment, it can be easy to forget that the wifi connection you are using is not secure. At least, with this travel router, you can put your mind at ease knowing that the information you exchange is very safe.
Can You Take It on A Vacation?
The lack of a sim card slot and bulky build doesn’t make this ideal to take with you on vacation. But, for those who plan on doing a working holiday, this is the best router for a secure office space away from home. You can easily set it up in an RV and have access to encrypted internet anytime you come across wifi.
This router usually retails for around $75, but you can sometimes find it on sale for $68 or less. The cost might seem a little high considering the mid-range strength of the internet you get. But, we figure it’s better to spend the extra cash rather than risk sending important information across a less secure network.
4. GL.iNet Mudi GL-E750 Portable 4G LTE Router
The GL.iNet Mudi GL-E750 Portable 4G LTE Router is one of our personal favorites. The sleek, stylish, and lightweight design offers all the benefits of your standard mobile router but with the added bonus of secure encryption. It’s hands down one of the best gadgets to have with you when you travel.
Made with people’s convenience in mind, the Mudi box includes adapters for four countries: the US, UK, EU, and Aus.
Roughly the size of a cell phone, it can easily fit into your pocket or travel bag without being an inconvenience. The only ports that are exposed are the larger charging and ethernet ports. The smaller, more fragile ones are protected behind a plastic clip. It has an easy-to-use interface with a clear 1-inch OLED display at the top.
It is the best of both worlds when it comes to security and mobility. The sim card slot allows users to establish a wifi network wherever cell service is accessible with the option of using 300Mbps or 433Mbps internet. Of course, you can also connect to the internet through wifi networks. Either way, your connection will benefit from the same level of protection.
The Mudi uses a brand-new Web UI that allows you to easily set up your personal VPN. Furthermore, you can conceal your identity and browsing information using Tor. These combined security measures mean that your internet activity is protected by encryption and bouncing communication through random relays. When surfing the internet using one of these, it’s hard not to feel like James Bond!
You probably aren’t an international super spy, and the files you have to download when you are working on the road won’t obviously be the complete plans for world domination (we hope). Their size, however, can still be a nuisance.
Thankfully, the Mudi comes equipped with a 128 GB microSD storage card that offers all the extra storage you could want. So maybe you could use those plans for world domination after all?
Suitable for Camping
Once you step off the beaten path and into the arms of mother nature, you will find this router is a wonderful addition to your camping kit.
As we mentioned above, the fact that you can use a sim card in this router is super helpful when it comes to getting wifi in remote places. In addition, it has an eight-hour battery life which is more than enough time to get you back to the tent before you need to recharge. On the off chance you want to live-stream your entire Coachella experience, you can always get a couple of battery packs to keep the Mudi going indefinitely.
You aren’t going to get your hands on 007 level tech gear by being stingy. The GL.iNet Mudi GL-E750 Portable 4G LTE Router will cost you around $200. There are other routers that can offer encryption for less.
So, is the convenience of being able to carry the router with you in your pocket worth the added cost? You bet it is. Just don’t lose it.
5. GL.iNet GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router
The GL.iNet GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router, A.K.A. “White,” is where security meets compatibility. It’s best used to increase the security and signal strength of the wifi in your hotel room.
With a wifi speed of only 150Mbps, the White is one of the slowest routers we have mentioned so far. The reason why it has made it to the top ten is because of the security features it offers. It is very rare to find such a simple router that allows encryption. That, combined with the fact that it is extremely affordable, makes it one of the most sought-after items on the market.
The encryption technology inside the White is the same that the other GL.iNet products use. It also has access to the Gl.iNet Web UI. For individuals who don’t need to set up an encrypted network all the time but like to have the option, just in case, this one is a solid choice!
There’s the added bonus that it is compatible with a USB modem. So, although it doesn’t have a sim card slot, it can still potentially connect to cellular networks if you use the USB modem. It’s another reason why this straightforward router is quite popular.
Not Quite Travel-Friendly
This router has some drawbacks too. The first is that it does not have a battery pack, which means that you would have to find a power source every time you want to use it – not exactly ideal for when you are on the go.
However, given the super compact size of the router, bringing a battery pack with you is not the end of the world.
The second is that it only has one band. It is fine if you are the only one using it, but not a party router by any means. This router is best for intermittent visits to the internet, like when you want to facetime friends on your camping trip.
Most people can forgive the above-mentioned drawbacks when they see the price. Retailing for under $30, the GL.iNet GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router is one hell of a bang for your buck. Plus, if it accidentally falls out of the canoe, it’s no great loss!
6. RAVPower FileHub (RP-WD009) AC750 Wireless Travel Router
The RAVPower FileHub is a unique kind of travel router. If you are the kind of person that takes six pictures of every meal they eat on vacation, then this one is definitely for you! Seriously though, how many pictures of Avocado toast do you need?
The makers of the RAVPower did not waste time trying to impress with high internet speeds or enough bandwidth to support a Comic-Con tour bus. No, what they have done is offer the ability to transfer files off of an SD card onto a USB without the use of a laptop using their Filehub technology.
It is important to note that the router does come with the standard dual bands of 2.4GHz and 5GHZ. However, to supply wifi, it requires an existing wifi network or ethernet connection as it does not have a sim card slot. Pretty average for what we have seen so far.
Suitable for Camping
Now coming back to the aspiring photographers who would be best suited to this router, the compact build of the RAVPower means that it is easily packed away for site-seeing or camping.
Full Storage – Not An Issue
It’s battery-powered, so you can back up files whenever you want. Now, when the photos and videos of your treasured memories max out the storage on your phone, you can pop out the SD card and transfer all the data onto a USB. Then you’re free to start recording again.
The router itself can also act as a battery pack to help bring your tired phone back to life after a heavy day of shooting.
Once you get back to base, you can easily share all your media with family and friends. The RAVPower router easily lets you connect to multiple devices such as smart TVs. So you can treat your family to a slideshow of the highlights of your trip without having to crowd around the laptop.
However, we would suggest having a look through the pictures yourself first before you show them to grandma, just in case!
Walmart sells the RAVPower FileHub (RP-WD009) AC750 Wireless Travel Router for $75. That seems a little high to us, given the limit on the features that it offers. There are cheaper options out there, but then again, this one has proven to be quite popular in customer reviews, especially among photographers.
7. GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini VPN Travel Router
The GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini VPN Travel Router, A.K.A. “Shadow,” is basically the same as its cousin White.
It offers the same VPN security features and access to the GL.iNet Web UI.
It’s also compatible with a USB modem if you want to connect to a cellular network and has the ability to connect to existing wifi or ethernet internet. And, it’s the same price.
So what’s different? Why bother having it on the list?
The internet speed is slightly higher at 300Mbps rather than the 150Mbps that its cousin has. But most importantly, we have included the Shadow on this list because White is often sold out.
Given the popularity of the White, we thought it would be beneficial to offer a slightly better alternative for the same price in case you couldn’t find any stores that have it in stock.
8. Alcatel LINKZONE | Mobile WiFi Hotspot | 4G LTE Router
The LINKZONE is the Jack of all trades when it comes to routers. It does a little bit of everything well. It’s best for the casual traveler who is more interested in staying connected on their vacation than working on the road.
You won’t have to worry about the LINKZONE stretching out the leather of your purse or putting weird creases in your pants. It has an ultra-thin design that makes it easy to slide into any pocket with discrete ease.
It has a seven-hour battery life when it’s in use to keep you connected as you bounce your way through coffee shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Otherwise, you can choose to keep it on standby and only use it when you need it. On standby mode, the battery life can keep the router going for 13 hours.
The 2.4GHz band delivers 150Mbps internet and has the ability to support multiple devices. So while you probably won’t be able to stream a 4K version of Lord of the Rings smoothly, you can definitely keep the gang entertained with games like PokemonGO during the downtime of your trip.
The LINKZONE comes equipped with a sim card slot to keep you connected wherever you roam, which is fantastic given how compact it is. You don’t even have to take it out of your bag to check battery life or signal strength. In addition, the LINK app, available on all Android and iOS devices, lets you easily check and manage the features of the router in real-time.
It is definitely one of the best routers you want to have if you are traveling in areas without Wi-Fi or in foreign countries.
No Need to Make Room for New Pictures
The travel perks just keep on coming because this router is one of the few that includes a sim card slot and an SD card slot. Other tourists will spend precious moments of their vacation going through their phones, deleting pictures to try and make space. Not you! With a 32GB SD card plugged into the router, you can download all the images you want faster than you can say “selfie time.”
Just like its features, the price of the Alcatel LINKZONE | Mobile WiFi Hotspot | 4G LTE Router is decidedly average. It’s currently available on Amazon for around $75. The price may be on the high end for the casual vacationer, but it can satisfy all the basic routing needs you might have.
If you opt to buy a cheaper one and find yourself needing a sim card slot, you may regret not buying the LINKZONE in the first place.
9. HUAWEI 5G Mobile WiFi Pro
Last but certainly not least, we have the Bugatti of routers. This suave piece of futuristic tech can do everything – with bells on.
Chances are, you will never undergo an activity that will come close to maxing out the features of the HUAWEI 5G Mobile WiFi Pro. This is one of the best routers you can buy.
Perfect Choice for Gamers
To all the serious hobby gamers and pro gamers, this is the best mobile router for you. This is the only router in this list that has the ability to connect to 5G and 4G networks. It is equipped with the Balong 5000, a 7 nm 5G multi-mode chipset that is the first in its class.
The download speed under testing conditions with the 5G network is a staggering 1650 Mbps. Even if you have Jedi-like reaction time, this router will make sure your wifi keeps up with you. Since 5G networks are still on the way, you will most likely spend most of your time on 4G networks. The tests for the 4G HUAWEI networks clock the download speed at 867 Mbps. There’s only one mobile router with an internet speed faster than that on this list.
It’s a clever piece of tech that will automatically switch to the optimal network and keep you online at max speed. When you are in the middle of a game, the last thing you want to do is stop to check your settings.
Convenience is the future of technology, and Huawei knows it! The battery they have installed in the 5G has an 8000 mAh capacity. That’s almost three times as much as the iPhone 11. What’s more, is that you can use it as a power bank to charge your phone or other electronics. Because it is built for the future, it offers the standard reverse wired charging and wireless charging. That’s right, a mobile router that doubles as a power bank with wireless charging.
Now your friends can be the ones who spend half an hour in their room trying to find their charging cable!
As the world relies on media content more and more, the demand for high-quality content is also rising. The HUAWEI 5G has a max upload speed of 250Mbps, which means that you can stream 4k media content straight to your audience. Mind blown!
You can easily travel between cities and the countryside without worrying about your connectivity because it comes equipped with a micro sim card slot.
With T-mobile having 53% percent of its nationwide coverage on 5G networks, it’s well worth having a router that can connect to them. Even if your mobile devices aren’t compatible with 5G networks, you will still benefit from ultra-fast 5G internet speed because you are connecting through the router.
The only thing missing in this otherwise flawless piece of technology is the ability to connect a USB for file sharing. However, with the crazy fast upload speeds you have available, it would be just as easy to upload all your files onto an online database such as Google Docs.
Now brace yourselves because here comes the price – $625. Before you scoff your way off this article, remember that the HUAWEI 5G is an investment for the future.
The 5G networks are coming, and unless you have gear that can take full advantage of what they have to offer, you are going to get left behind. Try not to think of it as an expensive piece of tech that you can only take full advantage of sometimes. Instead, think of it as the only mobile router you will ever need.
Our Top Choices
Well, there you have it! Ten of the best portable wireless wifi routers on the market. As you can see, the features that they offer can vary as much as their costs.
Before deciding on which router would be best for you, it is important that you consider your needs carefully. We have done just that and highlighted which routers we think are the best for the four categories we have examined in this review.
Best Mobile Router for Gaming
Our vote for this category is:
The Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router.
The impressive download speed, four-band carrier aggregation, and long battery life push it into first place. So whether you are rocking Uncharted solo or stomping the fam in Mario Kart, this is the best router for gaming.
Best Mobile Router for Travel
Our vote for this category is:
The GL.iNet Mudi GL-E750 Portable 4G LTE Router
Encrypted security, ability to connect on cellular and internet networks, and fast download speeds – what else could you want in a travel router? Be it in the boardroom or on the beach, the Mudi has your back.
Best Mobile Router for Camping/RVing
Our vote for this category is:
The GL.iNet GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router
We all know how easily things can get lost or damaged when you combine tents, fire, and beer. What makes this router the best one for camping and RVing is the fact that it’s light, versatile, and easily replaceable.
Best Value Mobile Router
Our vote for this category is:
The Alcatel LINKZONE | Mobile WiFi Hotspot | 4G LTE Router
Mobility, connectivity, compactness, and storage are what make this router the best value for your money. Unless you’re a CEO or a gamer, this router is probably the one you want.
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