Wi-Fi hotspots offer a convenient way to keep your laptop, tablet, and all other connected devices online without draining your smartphone’s battery and data plan.
Even though we’ve listed the full price of the Wi-Fi hotspots on this list, you can buy most of them in low monthly installments with a qualifying data plan. (Note that this option isn’t available for our unlocked and pay-as-you-go picks.)
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Wi-Fi Hotspot
If you want to use a Wi-Fi hotspot on AT&T’s network, we recommend going with this one from Netgear. It’s capable of hosting up to 20 devices via 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, up to the 802.11ac specification.
It’s equipped with a 5,040 maH battery that lasts for a day, and when the hotspot dies, it recharges quickly because it’s compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0. It’s one of the few hotspots that has a built-in Ethernet port, which you can use for offloading your traffic to limit your cellular usage. Like Verizon’s hotspot, it has a USB port for charging other devices, but this one has a full-sized port, compared to Verizon’s micro-USB port, which requires a separate adapter. Its USB port can also be used to connect an external hard drive or thumb drive to share files to connected devices.
T-Mobile Alcatel Linkzone
The Alcatel LINKZONE is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that T-Mobile used to carry, but at the time of publishing, T-Mobile only sells one Wi-Fi hotspot on its website. This device weighs a tad more than 3 ounces, and it’s smaller than a deck of cards, so you can easily slide it into your pocket. It can deliver Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity to up to 15 devices by utilizing T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network. Unfortunately, it only works on a 2.4 GHz band. Other hotspots can output a 5 GHz band, which comes in handy in congested areas like airports.
GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
If you don’t want to fuss with contracts — or add a line to your current data plan — consider this Wi-Fi hotspot from GlocalMe. It’s an attractive-looking, touch-screen hotspot that resembles an iPhone 4, and it’s available in gold or black. It comes with 1 GB of 4G LTE data, and works in over 100 different countries. Uniquely, the device also has a built-in Tripadvisor app for getting travel tips. The hotspot offers 15 hours of battery life and has a built-in USB-C port for fast-charging other devices. It supports up to five simultaneously connected devices. GlocalME allows users to download a free app to track your data usage, and add more data to your line in the event you run out. Their data rates vary based on location, and you can check out pricing here.