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What are the best hotspots, how do they work, and what do they cost?

When you are on the go, it is important to stay connected, but not all hotspots work the same. These are the best hotspots you can buy today based on performance, price, and durability.

Staying connected is critical, whether it is keeping in touch with family or logging in for the work day. You are not always at home or at your desk, so you need something that is portable, something you can take on the go with you. That is where a hotspot comes in.

A hotspot allows you to obtain a wireless internet connection without any of the fussy wires or cables. You have complete freedom of movement with the ability to access an internet connection when there is service nearby. 

Before you hit the road to your next adventure, consider these best hotspots to help get the job done.

Also: The top travel VPNs

Pros & Cons
  • Ultra-fast
  • Reliable performance
  • Touchscreen
  • Pricey
  • Made for Verizon
More Details

Tech Specs: Frequency: 5 GHz | Dimensions: 5.35 x 3.62 x 2.24 inches | Weight: 9.4 ounces | Simultaneous connections: 15

The Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot is our pick for the best hotspot overall, offering dual-band frequencies with a 5Ghz or 2.4 GHz frequency. There is a 2.4-inch color touchscreen display for easy management, making it a simple matter to make adjustments. This hotspot is compatible with both your laptop and smartphone (USB-C included!), and it has the ability to connect to up to 15 different devices for greater versatility. This hotspot will last approximately 24 hours before needing a charge, giving you plenty of time for use.

Pros & Cons
  • Connects up to 30 devices
  • Color touch screen
  • Great battery life
  • No consistent 5G connection
  • Could be cheaper
More Details

Tech Specs: Frequency: 2.4 GHz| Dimensions: 6.46 x 3.31 x 2.09 inches | Weight: 13.1 ounces | Simultaneous connections: 30

If you are a T-Mobile customer, this could very well be the best hotspot for you. Recommended for gaming and for use with your tablet, this hotspot employs a 2.4 GHz frequency with both WiFi and USB connectivity. You can connect up to 30 devices, while a combination of WiFi 6, WPA3 and Enterprise Grade VPN support keep your computers and tablets safe. For greater control, a remote comes included. 

Pros & Cons
  • Antenna ports
  • Lacks mmWave support
  • Decent battery
  • Mediocre WiFi range
  • Very expensive
More Details

Tech Specs: Frequency: 5 GHz| Dimensions: 4.1 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 8.5 ounces | Simultaneous connections: 32

The Netgear Nighthawk M5 is the best hotspot for AT&T users, although it is available for other carriers with the exception of Sprint. This best hotspot provides a 5 GHz radio frequency with a USB connector. This makes it capable of delivering speeds up to seven times faster than the average hotspot while supporting up to a total of 32 devices simultaneously at a 1.8-Gbps speed. For your convenience, a USB-C adapter is included in the box. 

Read the review: Netgear Nighthawk M5 review

Pros & Cons
  • Available in 130+ countries
  • Daily plans available
  • Excellent battery
  • Limited device support
  • Limited charging options
More Details

Tech Specs: Frequency: 5 GHz | Dimensions: 4.8 x 4.8 x 1.73 inches | Weight: 10.2 ounces | Simultaneous connections: 10

If you plan on traveling internationally, the Skyroam Solis Lite is the best hotspot for travel. 

With a dual-band 5 GHz frequency and 4G LTE bandwidth, connections are strong, even when traveling overseas to any one of 135-plus countries. This works with a variety of devices, far more than the average hotspot with compatibility for your smart home and security system. No SIM card is needed to connect to up to 10 devices simultaneously.

Read the review: Orbic Speed 5G UW review

Pros & Cons
  • Unlocked
  • Extra security protocols
  • Has external antenna ports
  • Mediocre speeds
More Details

Tech Specs: Frequency: 5 GHz | Dimensions: 4.17 x 2.52 x 0.59 inches | Weight:  7.4 ounces | Simultaneous connections: 

If you do not have a lot to spend, the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 is a fantastic option for your best hotspot. This model comes unlocked, allowing you to connect via a number of networks like T-Mobile, Sprint, Boost Mobile, and more. Enjoy dual-band 5-GHz frequency with download speeds reaching 150 MBps and upload speeds of up to 50 MBps. If you need help getting set up, check out the user-friendly online interface.

What is the best hotspot?

With great value and 15 generous connections, the Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot is our favorite pick for the best hotspot overall. To see how it compares, this is an overview of the best hotspots. 

Best hotspot



Simultaneous connections

Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot


5 GHz


Inseego 5G MiFi M2000


2.4 GHz


Netgear Nighthawk M5


5 GHz


Orbic Speed 5G UW


5 GHz


ZTE ZMax Connect MF928


5 GHz


Which is the best hotspot for you?

Choosing the best hotspot does not have to be difficult with these expert recommendations.

Choose this best hotspot...

If you are...

Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot

Looking for a reliable, easily portable hotspot

Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

A T-Mobile customer

Netgear Nighthawk M5

An AT&T customer

Orbic Speed 5G UW

A Verizon customer

ZTE ZMax Connect MF928

On a budget

How did we choose these best hotspots?

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best hotspot.

  • Size: Because hotspots are portable devices, we consider the dimensions of each hotspot to ensure that each option is easy to carry on the go.

  • Battery life: We look for hotspots that have an extended battery life for longer use between charges.

  • Display: Most hotspots offer a color or touchscreen option for its display. Look for the signal and battery life indicators to ensure they are available for easy reference.

  • Network: The best hotspots are able to work across a number of cellular networks, whether it is Verizon or AT&T. Be sure to check that your preferred provider is available with the best hotspot for you.

  • Cost: The cost of the best hotspot can vary, depending on the option you choose. We look for affordable models that suit a variety of budgets but still will not break the bank.

What is a hotspot and how does it work?

A hotspot is a portable device that allows you to create a personal Wi-Fi network, so you can connect your phone, laptop, and other devices to the internet while you're on the go. Think of it like a mini Wi-Fi router that you can carry around in your pocket.

First, you need to purchase a hotspot device (also called a mobile hotspot or portable hotspot). Once you have a hotspot, you'll need to activate the mobile hotspot feature on your phone, laptop, or other device, and then connect your device to the hotspot just like you would with any other Wi-Fi network.

Keep in mind that using a mobile hotspot can consume a lot of power and data, so it's important to keep an eye on your usage and turn off the hotspot when you're not using it. Also, if you're using a mobile hotspot on your phone, make sure you have enough battery life to support it.

Do you need a cellular plan with a hotspot?

Now, the big question is: Do you need a cellular plan to use a mobile hotspot? Yes, you do need a cellular plan. Mobile hotspots use the cellular network to connect to the internet, so you'll need to have a data plan that includes hotspot usage. Without a plan, you won't be able to connect to the internet.

Do the best hotspots work in other countries?

The best hotspots work across the U.S. and even in other countries, depending on the model you choose. For example, the Skyroam Solis Lite allows access to more than 135 countries when traveling internationally. 

How much do the best hotspots cost?

The best hotspots range in cost from $50 all the way to $1,000, depending on the model and features that you choose.

Are there alternative best hotspots worth considering?

In our search, we also found these alternative best hotspots that may be worth a second look. 

In need of a new device? Check out our picks for the best computer, the best laptop, and the best tablet!

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