The Best Mobile Hotspots for 2022

Use one of these Wi-Fi hotspots instead of phone tethering for stronger connections on the go.

  • Best overall
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    $336.00
    • Most generous data plan
    • Widest 5G availability
  • Best Verizon hotspot
    Verizon Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot
    Verizon Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot
    $199.99
    • Intuitive touchscreen
    • Long-lasting battery
  • Best AT&T hotspot
    NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Mobile Router
    $429.99
    • Lots of features
    • Easy usability
  • Best budget hotspot
    Alcatel LINKZONE 2
    Alcatel LINKZONE
    $69.99
    • Affordable price
    • Powerful battery
  • Best hotspot for international travel
    Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot
    $115.23
    • Compatibility with global data plans
    • Easy setup

Most of us get by fine using our cell phone hotspot to connect a laptop or tablet to Wi-Fi while we’re out and about. But hotspot tethering drains your battery and can only handle a few Wi-Fi devices at a time. A mobile hotspot is better if you regularly need a dependable and portable internet connection.

Mobile hotspots (also called Wi-Fi hotspots) give you Wi-Fi internet access using cellular data. They can connect anywhere from 10 to 30 devices at a time, and they deliver robust 4G LTE and 5G speeds.

While great for portable Wi-Fi, mobile hotspots aren’t a good alternative for home internet, as hotspot data tends to be pricey. But they really come in handy if you travel a lot for work or school, need Wi-Fi for holiday weekends at a vacation home, or have a big overseas trip coming up.

We’ve done a ton of research into hotspots, data plans, and the latest evolutions in hotspot tech to help you find the best device to keep you connected on the go. See our guide below for details on the best hotspots you can buy and what to look for in a quality hotspot device.

Our pick: Which mobile hotspot device is best?

Not everyone needs a 5G hotspot, but T-Mobile’s Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 packs a huge punch for a fair price. It’s well designed and easy to use, has a long-lasting battery, and can connect up to 30 devices at a time.

The device’s Wi-Fi 6 capability means your phone, tablet, or computer gets consistent speeds even when there are a lot of Wi-Fi connections. And T-Mobile has the best hotspot data plans you can get, with affordable rates and additional data available any time you run out.

Most hotspots are locked to service from major cell companies. So if you don’t have T-Mobile, keep reading for other excellent hotspots that work with your provider.

The 7 best mobile hotspot devices

Best hotspot devices

Best forProductPriceConnectivityMax devicesOrder online
Best overallInseego 5G MiFi M2000$336.005G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)30View on T-Mobile
Best Verizon hotspotVerizon Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot$199.994G LTE, 802.11ac15VIew on Verizon
Best AT&T hotspotNETGEAR Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Mobile Router$429.994G LTE, 802.11ac20View on Amazon
Best 5G hotspotNETGEAR Nighthawk M5 5G WiFi 6 Mobile Router$799.005G (mm-wave, C-band), Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)32View on Amazon
Best budget hotspotAlcatel LINKZONE$69.994G LTE, 802.11n16View on Amazon
Best for international travelHuawei E5577Cs-321 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot$115.234G LTE, 802.11n10View on Amazon
Best user friendly optionGlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router$169.994G LTE, 802.11n10View on Amazon

For the most part, you can buy a hotspot directly through your cell carrier. It’s easiest to buy the hotspot and add it as an extra line on your current phone plan. But you can also set up a plan on a different carrier just for the hotspot.

Some of these hotspots are available unlocked, so you can use them with multiple providers. Before ordering, make sure to check with your cell carrier first to ensure your hotspot will work on the plan you have.

Pro Tip:

If you need a hotspot only once in a while, you can save money by sticking with your cell phone’s hotspot. To see how it works, read our instructions on how to set up Wi-Fi tethering on your phone.

What should you look for in a mobile hotspot device?

You should look for a mobile hotspot device that gives you wide and reliable network coverage, has a battery that lasts at least 10 hours (but ideally more), and uses current Wi-Fi standards for a better connection. You should also consider investing in a hotspot that gives you access to affordable data plans—and it’s even better if you can unlock the hotspot to use with multiple providers.

What the best hotspot can do:

  • Works over a large nationwide cellular network (Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T)
  • Has long battery life (10 hours or more)
  • Features current Wi-Fi standards (802.11ac or 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6)
  • Includes affordable data plan options
  • Can be unlocked to use with multiple providers

Take a look at our hotspots specs and features section farther down for more details on what makes a great hotspot shine.

When should you stick with your phone’s hotspot?

You should stick to using your phone’s hotspot if you’re on a budget or only need a hotspot once in a while. You’re also probably fine using a phone hotspot when you connect just one or two devices to hotspot Wi-Fi.

The vast majority of smartphones nowadays have a built-in hotspot function, and a lot of phone plans come with data you can use just for hotspots and tethering. So it’s fairly easy to set up a hotspot on your phone. And if you don’t feel like going through all the trouble, you can always seek out free Wi-Fi at a restaurant, hotel, or public library.

Search your zip code to see what kind of internet you can get in your area.

Best overall—T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Best overall
T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Price: $336.00

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 5G, 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Ports: USB-C
  • Connects up to 30 devices

T-Mobile’s Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 is the most well-rounded hotspot you can get. It comes at the lowest price out of all the major 5G hotspots and connects up to 30 devices—way more than a phone or 4G hotspot can do. Itt uses Wi-Fi 6 (the latest wireless standard) to maintain strong and consistent Wi-Fi signals even when you’re using it with a large group.

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’s interface from your browser. Just as importantly, the hotspot’s data plans are cheap and flexible: T-Mobile’s data options start at just $5 per month, and you can add extra data any time you run out.

Our only issue with the M2000 is that it doesn’t give you the blockbuster 5G speeds available on millimeter-wave and C-band frequencies—it mostly works over the mid-band 5G spectrum. But T-Mobile has the largest 5G network in the United States. A recent report from Opensignal shows it gets the fastest average 5G speeds compared to Verizon and AT&T—so you can still count on getting excellent performance from this little beast.1

Pros:

  • Cheapest 5G hotspot
  • Biggest 5G network coverage

Cons:

  • No millimeter-wave or C-band connectivity
  • No Ethernet port

Pro Tip:

Take our speed test to see how fast your hotspot goes. A 5G hotspot can give you much faster speeds than what you get on most 4G hotspots and cell phones.

Best Verizon hotspot—Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L

Best for Verizon customers
Verizon Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L Hotspot

Price: $199.99

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Connects up to 15 devices
  • Ports: USB-C and TS9 (for antennas)

Weighing in at under half a pound, Verizon’s Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L is compact but sturdily built, with a touchscreen that makes it easy to switch on and adjust configurations. It doesn’t use 5G networks, but it’s way more affordable than 5G hotspots, and it still has the right Wi-Fi standards and components to ensure a fast and reliable connection.

The Jetpack MiFi 8800L connects up to 15 devices, has a powerful battery, and comes with a USB-C port you can use to charge other phones and devices. It also has ports for antennas to get a stronger Wi-Fi signal. And there are some great security settings, including the ability to set up a guest network for friends and other users.

Pros:

  • Intuitive touchscreen
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • No Ethernet port

Best AT&T hotspot—NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Mobile Router

Best for AT&T customers

Price: $429.99

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 4G LTE,
  • Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Connects up to 20 devices
  • Ports: USB-C, Ethernet, and TS9 (for antennas)

At 8.5 ounces, NETGEAR’s M1 4G LTE Mobile Router is chunkier than the Jetpack MiFi 8800L. And it’s not as user friendly since it doesn’t have a touchscreen. But it can get Wi-Fi to more devices and has more ports, including a USB-C port for charging your phone and an Ethernet port that gives your laptop a direct internet connection.

Another big plus with AT&T is that you can get a ton of data. AT&T’s best hotspot service plan hooks it up with 100 GB of data for $90 per month—it’s rare to find hotspot plans that give you so much. To get the plan, look for AT&T’s prepaid hotspot data plan.

Pros:

  • Lots of features
  • Dependable performance

Cons:

  • Awkward controls compared to other hotspots
  • Bulky weight

Pro Tip:

You can buy the Nighthawk M1 unlocked on Amazon, which means you can use it even without an AT&T cellular plan.

Still, make sure to double-check that your provider will actually let you use the Nighthawk M1. Some T-Mobile customers have reported experiencing issues with the carrier blocking the device.

Best 5G hotspot—NETGEAR Nighthawk M5 5G WiFi 6 Mobile Router

Best for 5G

Price: $799.00

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 5G, 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Connects up to 32 devices
  • Ports: USB-C, Ethernet, and TS9 (for antennas)

OK, so $800 is a lot to pay for a hotspot. Most hotspots cost somewhere in the range of $100 to $300, so this is steep. But the Nighthawk M5—which is designed to work primarily over AT&T and T-Mobile networks—seems to be the only mobile hotspot on the market right now with C-band 5G capability. And that makes it the most versatile 5G hotspot around, since millimeter-wave and C-band frequencies make it possible to get speeds of anywhere from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps on a mobile device.

The Nighthawk M5 is formidable in other ways too. It employs Wi-Fi 6 to better manage multiple users and maintain strong speeds. The Ethernet port lets you set up a wired connection between your laptop and the hotspot. You can also use security features like VPN pass-through support and password protection.

Pros:

  • Fastest possible speeds for a hotspot
  • Extra security features

Cons:

  • Extremely high price

Pro Tip:

Not sure what millimeter-wave and C-band mean? See our guide to C-band 5G for details on how different types of 5G get you different speeds.

Best budget hotspot—Alcatel LINKZONE

Best for budgets
Alcatel LINKZONE 2

Price: $69.99

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 4G LTE
  • Wi–Fi standard: Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)
  • Connects up to 16 devices
  • Ports: USB-A, USB-C

The LINKZONE is a basic device that works best for occasional hotspot use and one or two users. Its microchip components aren’t top of the line, so it may not hit the same speeds you could normally get on a phone on T-Mobile’s network. But it still can get you speeds of around 30 Mbps in areas with strong cell service, and the powerful battery reportedly lasts up to 16 hours.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Powerful battery

Cons:

  • Clunky controls
  • Limited speeds

Best for international travel—Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Best for international travel

Price: $115.23

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)
  • Connects up to 10 devices
  • Ports: microSD slot and TS9 ports (for antennas)
  • Network access: 4G LTE in Europe, Southeast and Southern Asia, the Middle East, and Africa; 3G in other locations (doesn’t work in US)

The elaborately-named E5577Cs-321 is a basic unlocked hotspot that gives you data over cellular networks in Europe, most of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Just get a SIM card from an international provider while you’re traveling and the device can get you sweet Wi-Fi.

Some reviews online point out that the device has fairly short battery life (only about four to five hours of use). And its 802.11n Wi-Fi means you aren’t going to get the fastest speeds. But a device like this is your safest bet for international travel because it doesn’t cost too much and works with a wide number of providers. We recommend this any day over a locked hotspot like the Skyroam Solis, which uses its own data plan and doesn’t work as reliably.

Pros:

  • Compatibility with international networks
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Weak battery
  • No US connectivity

Best user-friendly option—GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router

Best user-friendly option

Price: $169.99

Specs:

  • Wireless connection: 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)
  • Connects up to 10 devices
  • Ports: USB-C
  • No SIM card required

The GlocalMe G4 Pro is big and clunky, but it’s very easy to use—it looks a bit like a smartphone with a big touchscreen and pre-installed Google Maps app. You don’t need a SIM card with this hotspot; the device uses so-called CloudSIM technology to get you internet from a range of cellular providers and you get data by paying for GlocalMe’s own data plans.

Those data plans are pretty expensive, unfortunately, but the device works in both the United States and overseas, so it could make for a useful travel hotspot. But mainly we like it because it’s so user friendly and easy to set up.

Pros:

  • Connectivity in the US and overseas
  • Large smartphone-style touchscreen

Cons:

  • Expensive CloudSIM data plans
  • Old Wi-Fi standard

What are the most important hotspot specs and features?

Pick the best cellular carrier, not the best device speeds

Don’t be lured in by promises of über-fast speeds when you’re shopping for a hotspot. A hotspot works over a wireless cellular network, and the speeds you get tend to fluctuate based on a range of factors—so the fastest speeds might only be available at certain times or in limited places.

For that reason, focus on picking a hotspot that works with the best cell carrier for your needs. According to recent reports from Opensignal, T-Mobile delivers the fastest average speeds on both 4G LTE and 5G networks across the United States.1, 2 The reports show that T-Mobile also has the best score for 5G availability and reach. However, Verizon gets the top ranking for reliable 4G coverage, making it a better choice if you need a hotspot to use in rural areas and small towns.

Do you need a 5G hotspot? Not necessarily

5G hotspots pack a lot of punch, and they’re able to get you much faster speeds compared to a 4G LTE hotspot. But they also cost a lot more than your average 4G hotspot, and not all of them are able to access the stupendous gigabit speeds that 5G is known for. Frankly, most people don’t need a 5G hotspot right now—a 4G LTE hotspot still works quite well.

Long battery life makes a hotspot more convenient

The best hotspots work all day long without requiring a recharge. In fact, battery life is one of the biggest advantages that standalone hotspots have over phones, which tend to lose their power much more quickly when the hotspot is activated. Higher-end hotspots tend to hold battery charge for longer, but Alcatel’s bargain-priced LINKZONE hotspot is well known for its removable battery, which can last for up to 16 hours.

An affordable data plan is a must

Since hotspots tend to be locked to specific cellular carriers, you want to do a bit of research into the data plans you can get with the hotspot you want.

T-Mobile’s data plans tend to be thrifty and flexible—you don’t have to pay very much upfront, but you get less data and may need to re-up at some point when you run out.

AT&T offers much larger chunks of data as part of monthly prepaid plans. It costs more, but it makes things easier if you use a hotspot on a regular basis and don’t want to worry as much about exceeding your data allowance.

Verizon also offers plans with a lot of data upfront, but its plans cost more. You can get a hefty discount, though, if you’re also signed up for a qualifying phone plan.

A hotspot isn’t as good as a home internet plan—but 5G internet is

PlanDownload speedPricesPerksOrder online
Verizon 5G Home300–1,000 Mbps$25.00/mo. (for Verizon Unlimited phone plan subscribers) or $50.00/mo. (for nonsubscribers, w/ autopay)*Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for 6 mos., Verizon Stream TV device included, 2–yr. price guarantee
T-Mobile Home Internet35–115 Mbps$50.00/mo.Paramount+ for 12 mos.View Plans
Ultra Home Internet 100 GBUp to 115 Mbps$134.99/mo.N/AView Plans
Starry InternetUp to 200 Mbps$50.00/mo.No extra fees for installation or equipmentView Plans

Cellular companies have ramped up their hotspot options over the past year, but hotspots still aren’t an adequate replacement for home internet—you simply can’t get the same speeds or amount of data from a mobile plan.

But if you are looking for a wireless solution to home internet, consider 5G home internet. Verizon and T-Mobile both offer affordable 5G internet services that give you unlimited data and respectable speeds at a flat monthly rate—no need to worry about contracts or extra fees. (AT&T has no plans to release a 5G internet of its own, but we’d be intrigued if it did!)

5G internet is still pretty new, so it might not work for everybody: you may experience occasional internet disconnects or other bugs. But a plan like those from T-Mobile or Verizon are well worth trying out if you’re looking to get away from traditional fiber or cable internet providers.

Search your zip code to see what kind of internet you can get in your area.

FAQ about mobile hotspot devices

How much does a mobile hotspot cost?

Hotspots cost anywhere from $59 to $400 for the device, plus the cost of a data plan. Good quality 4G LTE hotspots are usually $200 and up and give you just what you need. 5G hotspots cost much more, but there are fewer of them to choose from. And they might not be worth the investment since nationwide 5G networks are still in the early stages of coming together.

How much does a hotspot plan cost per month?

A hotspot plan costs about $50 per month if you want a lot of data and wide network coverage. But hotspot plans range in price depending on what you get—the cheapest plans with the smallest amount of data cost as little as $10 per month, while more sophisticated plans with a lot of data can cost upwards of $90 per month.

Can you use a hotspot with Mint Mobile?

Yes, you can use a hotspot with Mint Mobile . Each of Mint’s unlimited plans gives you 5 GB per month to use on your phone’s mobile hotspot.

Mint Mobile is a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), a cellular company that uses a larger cell carrier’s network. Most MVNOs allow you to use a hotspot as part of your phone plan—just make sure you’re signed up for a plan that gives you hotspot data and you can switch on your phone’s hotspot feature.

Does Visible service include a hotspot?

Yes, every customer who signs up for a Visible phone plan automatically gets the hotspot function included with their service. Visible gives you unlimited hotspot data to use on one device, with max speeds of 5 Mbps.

How do you get a mobile hotspot?

The best way to get a mobile hotspot is to order one online through your cell phone provider. You can also buy them on Amazon, including unlocked models that work with multiple phone companies. If you go that route, just make sure you confirm with your cell phone company that whatever you get has been approved to work with the plan you have.

Disclaimer

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 - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.