Best 5G Hotspots of 2021

See the best options on this hot new 5G tech.

  • Best overall
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    • Most generous data plan
    • Widest 5G availability
    • Cheapest price of all major 5G hotspots
    • Price: $336.00
  • Best for Verizon customers
    Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW
    Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW
    • Gigabit speeds in some areas
    • Compatibility with both 5G and 4G
    • Great streaming quality
    • Price: $399.99
  • Best for AT&T customers
    Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro
    Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro
    • Support for the most mobile devices
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Excellent data plan
    • Price: $509.99

5G is still pretty new, but already the major cellular companies have released hotspots that work over a 5G connection. They’re more expensive than a 4G hotspot, but they’re also much more powerful and versatile, connecting a lot more devices and maintaining strong speeds with Wi-Fi 6. And unlike a cell phone hotspot, they hold up great for classrooms, offices, and groups that need reliable Wi-Fi while traveling.

We took a deep-dive into the best 5G hotspots available right now, so keep reading for what you need to know about speeds, specs, and prices.

Pro tip:

If you need a quick and cheap hotspotting option, try using your cell phone’s hotspot. All you need is a phone that has hotspot capabilities and a cellular plan with hotspot data.

Our pick: Which 5G hotspot is best?

T-Mobile’s Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 is the best 5G hotspot you can get. Powerful and easy to use, it can connect up to 30 devices, making it perfect for groups, offices, and classrooms. It uses Wi-Fi 6 to maintain a solid connection while lots of devices are connected at the same time. It comes at a reasonable price—cheaper than both Verizon and AT&T’s 5G hotspots. And M2000’s data plan options are superb, the best option being 100 GB for $50 per month.

The M2000 truly cannot be beat.

Pro tip:

T-Mobile also has an excellent home internet service that’s based on 5G, in case you’re looking for a more permanent Wi-Fi setup for your home or office. We have all the details on our T-Mobile 5G guide.

The 4 best 5G hotspots

Best 5G hotspots

Best forHotspotImagePrice# of devices it can connectDisplay
Get it
Best overallT-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
$336.00
302.4" touchscreenView on T-Mobile

Best for Verizon customers
Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UWInseego MiFi M2100 5G UW
$399.99
302.4" touchscreenView on Verizon

Best for AT&T customers
NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot ProNighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro$509.99322.4" touchscreenView on AT&T
Best unlocked 5G hotspotNETGEAR Nighthawk M5 5G Wi-Fi 6 Mobile Routerproduct pic of a NETGEAR 5G hotspot$699.99322.4" touchscreenView on NETGEAR

What should you look for in a 5G hotspot?

This sounds kind of obvious, but you should look for a 5G hotspot that gives you adequate access to a 5G network. Some 5G networks are smaller than others, so go for the biggest network you can find in your area. You also want a 5G hotspot that can support at least 30 devices, comes with Wi-Fi 6 capability, and gives you enough data for the month.

We get into the nitty-gritty about 5G hotspots farther down on this page, so head to our specs and features section for a more detailed analysis of what makes the best 5G hotspots worthwhile.

Pro tip:

Wait, so what’s the difference between 4G and 5G? They’re both wireless communications systems—but 5G is faster and more efficient. It gives you much better speeds on a cell phone and also works as a home internet option.

Is a 5G hotspot better than a phone’s hotspot?

Yes, a 5G hotspot is much better than a cell phone’s hotspot—even a 5G cell phone’s hotspot—because it’s faster, more powerful, and supports many more users.

A 5G hotspot connects a lot more devices—as many as 30 and sometimes more, compared to 5 or 10 on a phone. 5G hotspots also typically have Wi-Fi 6, the latest wireless technology standard, which improves the hotspot’s performance even when it’s connected to multiple devices. And 5G speeds are much faster than 4G, so a 5G hotspot will deliver much better speeds than on an old phone.

A cell phone simply doesn’t have these advanced capabilities. A 5G phone will give you faster speeds and better performance overall, but the hotspot function will still drain its battery, and it won’t be able to connect as many devices.

Though a cell phone’s hotspot is great to use temporarily, a 5G hotspot is better equipped to handle long-term use and multiple users. Since it has faster speeds and connects more devices, it’s particularly effective for groups. Offices and schools can keep 5G hotspots on hand in case students need it in a classroom or employees need internet while traveling to a conference.

You can’t really do the same with a cell phone because the signal won’t be as strong and the hotspot will drain the phone’s battery.

Pro tip:

Don’t forget—you can often get free Wi-Fi from public hotspots in restaurants, cafes, and municipal facilities.

The speeds won’t be nearly as fast as a 5G hotspot, and you’ll also need to be a lot more careful about network security. But a public hotspot is a more convenient option in some cases.

Is a 5G hotspot better than a 4G hotspot?

5G hotspots cost more than 4G hotspots, but the price is worth it because they’re faster, more efficient, and connect a lot more devices. Most 4G hotspots can connect only 15 to 20 devices, and they don’t always have Wi-Fi 6—so if you’re investing in a new hotspot, you may as well spring for 5G.

If you need something cheaper, though, a 4G hotspot is still a great option. We highlight a lot of quality 4G hotspots in our best hotspots guide.

HSI badge most affordable

Best overall—T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Best overall
T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Price: $336

  • Connection: 5G, 4G LTE, dual-band, Wi-Fi 6
  • Ports: USB-C
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon SDx55
  • Connects up to 30 devices

T-Mobile’s Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 is the obvious pick out of the few 5G hotspots available these days. It comes at the lowest price out of all the major 5G hotspots. It also connects up to 30 devices—way more than what you can do on a phone or 4G hotspot. And it uses Wi-Fi 6 (the latest wireless standard) to maintain a strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal for multiple users.

The M2000 also comes with settings for guest networks, MAC filtering, and a security firewall—all of which you can adjust by logging in to the device from your browser. All in all, it’s an excellent piece of hardware from the leading provider in 5G speeds and availability.

The main drawback to this hotspot is that it’s kind of hard to get. You can’t order the MiFi M2000 online directly from T-Mobile or Amazon. Instead, you have to call T-Mobile’s customer service department. When I tried ordering the hotspot, I had to go through a lot of rigamarole to convince the customer service agent that I wanted the hotspot only without a T-Mobile phone plan. They also asked for a copy of my driver’s license.

Pros

  • Cheapest 5G hotspot
  • Biggest 5G network accessibility
  • Compatibility for up to 30 devices

Cons

  • No unlocked version for non–T-Mobile customers
  • Frustrating ordering process
  • Limited millimeter-wave speeds

Best for Verizon customers—Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW

Best for Verizon customers
Inseego MiFi M2100 5G UW

Price: $399.99

  • Connection: 5G, 4G LTE, dual-band, Wi-Fi 6
  • Ports: USB-C
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon SDx55
  • Connects up to 30 devices

Verizon’s flagship 5G hotspot is basically a sister version of T-Mobile’s 5G hotspot—other than the name, the two appear to be identical. Like T-Mobile’s device, the M2100 can connect up to 30 devices and has Wi-Fi 6 to bolster its connection. It also has a touchscreen and web interface to manage a range of security functions.

The advantage that the M2100 has over T-Mobile’s M2000 is that Verizon has a much faster network—at least in some places. While T-Mobile’s 5G network averages out at 118.7 Mbps speeds, Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G regularly hits speeds of 618 Mbps.1, 2 The catch is that Verizon’s millimeter-wave footprint is still extremely small, mostly limited to densely populated urban centers, airports, and sports stadiums. And Verizon’s standalone data plans are pricey, starting at $75 per month for 15 GB of 5G/4G LTE data.

Still, the M2100 is a great device for Verizon customers who want to add a hotspot onto a plan they have already. And it will deliver solid speeds on a 4G LTE network when 5G isn’t available.

Pros

  • Fastest speeds
  • Excellent performance even with lots of devices connected

Cons

  • Limited 5G coverage
  • Low battery life

Pro tip:

If you need an internet setup for everyday use at home, definitely consider Verizon’s 5G Home Internet service. It’s not portable like a hotspot, but it comes with unlimited data and delivers superb speeds over a 5G network.

Best for AT&T customers—NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro

Best for AT&T customers
Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro

Price: $509.99

  • Connection: 5G, 4G LTE, dual-band, Wi-Fi 6
  • Ports: USB-C, gigabit Ethernet
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon SDx55
  • Connects up to 30 devices

The NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro lets you connect 32 devices, instead of just 30 as you can with the other 5G hotspots we highlight on this page. Also, unlike the other hotspots, the Nighthawk has a gigabit Ethernet port, which lets you plug in your computer directly for a faster connection.

Does that justify the unwieldy price tag? We’re not so sure. This beast costs well over $100 more than its competitors, even though it has mostly the same features—including a Snapdragon SDx55 chipset, Wi-Fi 6 support, and a 2.4-inch touchscreen.

Pros

  • Connectivity for 32 devices
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for wired tethering

Cons

  • Extremely high price
  • Limited 5G accessibility

Pro tip:

AT&T’s 5G network has been growing rapidly over the past year. Read more about AT&T’s 5G mobile service.

Best unlocked 5G hotspot—NETGEAR Nighthawk M5 5G Wi-Fi 6 Mobile Router

Best for T-Mobile, AT&T, and some virtual network customers
product pic of a NETGEAR 5G hotspot

Price: $699.99

  • Connection: 5G (sub–6 GHz and C-band), 4G LTE, dual-band, Wi-Fi 6
  • Ports: USB-C, gigabit Ethernet
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon X55
  • Connects up to 32 devices

This is probably the most versatile 5G hotspot you can find these days—but it’s also the most expensive, costing twice the price of T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s flagship 5G hotspots. It’s technically unlocked, albeit with some caveats. It “works best” over AT&T and T-Mobile networks, according to NETGEAR’s website, and also works on some mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which use those carriers to offer cheaper plans and prepaid deals.

The Nighthawk M5 also appears to be the only 5G hotspot right now with C-band capability. C-band is a late-coming 5G frequency spectrum that’s expected to make a big splash in 2022, vaulting wireless speeds far past 4G levels while offering greater accessibility than 5G millimeter-wave (which is super fast but extremely limited in availability).

All in all, we’d say this one is worth keeping an eye on, though maybe it’s better to wait until prices go down in 2022 before making the investment.

Pros

  • Compatibility with T-Mobile, AT&T, and MVNOs on those carriers’ networks
  • C-band connectivity

Cons

  • Prohibitively expensive price for most people
  • No millimeter-wave 5G connectivity

5G hotspot specs and features

Since 5G is so new, there aren’t a lot of 5G hotspots to choose from. The ones you can get right now come with more or less the same features, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SDX55 chipset, a 2.4-inch touchscreen, and Wi-Fi 6 capability. There’s also room to connect up to 30 devices (or 32 in the case of AT&T’s Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro).

But there are some key differences you want to watch out for when you’re deciding which 5G hotspot is right for you.

How big is the 5G network?

ProviderAvailability (% of phone time 5G users spend on 5G)Get it
T-Mobile
T-Mobile
34.7%View Plans
AT&T
AT&T
16.4%View Plans
Verizon
Verizon
9.7%View Plans

Data from Opensignal’s 5G User Experience Report—October 2021.

Some cellular companies have larger 5G networks than others—T-Mobile is at the top, followed by AT&T, and then Verizon. If you’re looking for the widest 5G coverage possible, then you’ll want to stick with T-Mobile’s 5G hotspot.

As you can see in the table above, T-Mobile’s 5G users have the most access to 5G service. You still won’t be on 5G all the time, since the networks are still being built up and they’re not always available. But with T-Mobile you have the best chance of experiencing 5G’s excellent speeds and lower latency, which will really come in handy as you connect multiple devices on a hotspot.

How much data do you get?

Cellular companies tend to charge a lot for a small amount of internet data, so hotspots aren’t usually the best option for a permanent home internet setup—you’ll save more money by signing up for a fiber, cable, or DSL internet package.

Still, the massive rise in demand for more data and faster internet over the past year means the times are a-changin’. Although they’re still not ideal for home use, T-Mobile and AT&T both offer excellent 5G hotspot data plans: T-Mobile gives you 100 GB of data for a monthly fee of $50 (although that plan isn’t always available), while AT&T offers the same amount of data for $55 per month.

Those are pretty much the best deals you can get for a standalone data plan, but here’s hoping more plans with more data become a thing as 5G availability expands in the coming years.

Pro tip:

It can be a challenge to find an affordable data plan to use for your hotspot. But there are options—take a look at our recommendations for the best hotspot data plans to find lots of data at a good price.

Our verdict

You really can’t beat T-Mobile’s Inseego 5G MiFi M2000. It’s the cheapest of the 5G hotspots but still delivers the same features and high performance, using Wi-Fi 6 support to keep your connection strong.

T-Mobile also has the largest 5G network, so you’ll have the best chance of tapping into excellent 5G speeds while you’re using it. And you can get a service plan with lots of data for a reasonable monthly fee.

View Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Sources

  1. Francesco Rizzato, Opensignal, “5G User Experience Report,” October 2021. Accessed November 9, 2021.
  2. Francesco Rizzato, Opensignal, “Quantifying the Mm-Wave 5G Experience in the US,” July 13, 2021. Accessed November 9, 2021.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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