We have all felt the pain of a poor Wifi connection while on our travels. The connection is either too weak, insecure, limited, need multiple logins for different devices, and the list is endless.
This is where travel routers come in. Designed to be light and portable a wireless travel router will covert a Wifi or ethernet connection into your own Wifi. You’ll be able to connect all your devices and your friends and families too, to a private and secured connection no matter what is available in the airport or hotel.
Not only do the best travel routers create a private wifi connection they also have extra features and can double up as a power bank, share media files, boost the Wifi range, provide extra security, and become a hotspot, and more. These wireless routers are an incredibly useful device for anyone who moves around a lot.
In this review, we have chosen some of the best travel routers around, and there are a lot to choose from. We compared these portable wifi routers against each other and have highlighted their features, pros, and cons so you can make an informed decision and find the best travel router for you.
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The Huawei E5576-320 Travel Router is a good option if you need a compact but reliable device. It needs a SIM card to work, and then it turns into a mobile hotspot that can be used by up to 16 devices at the same time. With a battery of 1500 mAh, you can use this device for up to six hours at a time, before it needs to be recharged.
The battery life could certainly be improved, but at least you can use this device while it’s charging, so you can just keep it plugged into a power bank. Also, the Huawei router boasts a removable battery. Carrying an additional battery is always an option since it means you can just replace the original one when it runs out of juice, without needing to disconnect from the WiFi.
This travel router supports 3G and 4G mobile bands – it’s compatible with 4G LTE in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but only the 3G will work in the USA, Mexico, and Canada. You get download speeds up to 150Mbps on 4G, and up to 43.2Mbps on the 3G networks. Upload speeds are not that bad either – it’s up to 40Mbps on the 4G network, and up to 5.76Mbps on 3G.
In case you need something for travel in North and South America, you should check out Huawei E5576-508 mobile hotspot, which was made specifically for that market and has better compatibility with mobile phone carriers in the Americas.
The GlocalMe G4 is a different type of travel router. It’s an international 4G LTE mobile hotspot that works in 140+ countries all over the world. You don’t even need a SIM card for this travel router, meaning you don’t have to sign any contract to have WiFi when you’re traveling. It does support SIM cards and you can insert one if you want, but it’s not necessary for the device to work.
The best thing about this travel router is that the WiFi plans are flexible. You can choose from different international and local data plans, and pay as you go, which is extremely convenient for people who are always on the road. Also, when you first start using the GlocalMe G4 mobile hotspot, you get 1GB of global data and 8GB of US data for free.
This travel router lets you share your wireless connection with up to 10 devices, so not only can you connect all your devices to the Internet, but you can also share it with your friends and family without needing to disconnect anything.
This mobile hotspot boasts a touchscreen that’s easy to use, as well as an intuitive user interface. It also doubles as a power bank, so you can also use it to power some other devices. The battery capacity of the router goes up to 3900 mAh, which is enough for some 12 hours of continuous use, but it won’t do much to charge your smartphone.
The GL.iNet GL-MT300N is one of the lightest devices you can get your hands on. At 1.41 ounces, this is the lightest travel router available at the moment, so it’s certainly the best option if you need something ultra-portable. Also, it’s so small that you can easily carry it in the pocket of your pants, which is certainly a plus in my book.
The Mango router supports both WiFi and Ethernet, with two dedicated ethernet ports. It also has a USB 2.0 port for tethering and compatible 3G and 4G modems, as well as a micro USB port for charging. You can use pretty much any adapter to charge the Mango, and you can even just charge it with your laptop for ultimate convenience.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that this travel router boasts download speeds of up to 300 Mbps, which is insane for such a tiny device! It also allows for advanced security encryption, and it even comes with a pre-installed OpenVPN client. Don’t worry if that’s not your preferred virtual private network service because this little guy is compatible with 30+ other VPN services.
Finally, it’s worth noting that you can use this portable router in four different ways. It can work as a standard network router if you plug it into an existing Ethernet network, and it also functions as a WiFi repeater when you connect it to an existing WiFi network.
The other two modes are hotspot and AP – the former requires you to connect the Mango to an existing access point in order to create a private hotspot, and the AP mode transforms a wired into a wireless signal, which is perfect for devices that only support wireless connections.
The TP-Link N300 Wireless Travel Router is the simplest travel router in the review. Simply put, it is just a travel router and doesn’t have any extra’s like file-sharing or being able to be used as a power bank.
Removing the extras makes it light, portable, and capable of getting a speed of up to 300Mbps.
The band connection also provides lag-free streaming. The travel router can be connected to a cable to create a wireless network, to a modem as an AP, used as a repeater, a booster, and as a hotspot.
It’s also compatible with Chromecast or Amazon FireStick so you can watch all your favorite movies on the go too. Being so light, it doesn’t have an inbuilt battery and you’ll need to connect it to a power source through the micro USB port.
This means you can charge it from the wall, your lightweight laptop, or a power bank, giving you Wifi internet connection where ever you are.
The setup for this travel router is incredibly easy and takes under a minute. Once set up it can be connected to by as many devices as you like but its performance does decrease noticeably with multiple devices.
Overall a simple, fast, portable, and easy-to-use router that also comes with 24/7 support and a 2-year warranty.
If you’re into Wifi then you’ll have heard of Netgear. They make some of the best wireless travel routers on the market and have added a load of features to the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 travel router. It is the largest and most expensive router in the review but it does do everything.
The M1 will turn an ethernet connection, modem, wireless network, and your SIM card into a super-fast personal Wifi network anywhere in the world. This is the first router in the review that can create a Wifi internet connection from a 3G or 4G SIM Card.
This means that no matter where in the world you are, you can slot in a local SIM card have Wifi where ever you are. From the beach to the jungle, if there is a 3/4G network available, you’ll be online.
The speed this travel router can deliver is also impressive and it will compete with your home broadband. They have put a four-band Carrier Aggregation and LTE in this router which is what helps it get speeds of up to 1Gbps.
Built into this travel router is a battery that holds up to 20 devices for 24 hours before you need to charge it.
That’s some incredible battery life and it does make the M1 very portable. There is a handy LCD display that shows you the number of devices connected, and internet connection strength, and keeps you up to date with how much data you’re using.
It’s not just a router, however, and it shouldn’t be at $690. It’s also a power bank, provides data sharing and media streaming. It’s also highly configurable to give you exactly the Wifi set up you want where ever you are in the world.
Overall it’s an amazing portable router, it just very expensive and a little bigger than most, but well worth it if it’s in your budget.
The GL.iNET GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router is a great choice for anyone who wants a router that’s super-portable, simple, and just a router.
This little guy weighs just over 1 oz and is compact enough to slip into your pocket or purse with ease. It can create a Wifi network from just about anything except a SIM card. You can connect it to a modem, ethernet cable, existing Wifi internet connection, or tether it to your phone or dongle via USB.
One of the best features of this travel router is its security. Traveling around the world means unsecured networks, but once you plug this baby in, you’re getting a Wifi network with a firewall, instantly.
It comes with Open VPN pre-installed and is compatible with over 20 providers, so where ever you connect, you’ll know you’re secure.
It comes without an internal battery but you can charge it from your laptop’s USB or from a wall socket. It comes with 2 ethernet ports, 64MB of RAM, and 16MB of flash. You can also increase this via USB. It’s also Open Source and programmable so you can have full control over everything.
This is an awesome travel router and for just $27, you can’t go wrong.
The TP Link AC750 Wireless Travel Router gives you the highest speed for your money out of any of the travel routers in the review. It can give up to 733Mbps depending on the wired network and it does it for $40.
This TP-Link wireless router is not only fast but it’s also very versatile in terms of Wifi connectivity. It does everything you’d expect like creating a secure Wifi network from a direct ethernet connection, Wifi connection, modem connection, and a WISP hotspot.
The special bit is that it also works as a range extender and you can connect a device to the router using a wired connection. So if your TV, for example, needs a hardline ethernet cable to connect to the internet, you can run one from the Ac750 directly to it.
As well as being great at Wifi, you can also use it as a power bank and for file sharing. It’s pretty light and compact too making it a great all-rounder. The only downside is that the port layouts are quite annoying and the instructions aren’t clear and could get frustrating.
Overall, this is a fast, versatile travel router from TP Link that’s not going to break the bank. Plus it comes with a 2-year warranty.
If you’re a technical wiz and looking for a travel router that’s versatile and offers you a lot of programmabilities, then the GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel AC Router is a great choice.
This wireless router will create a highly secure Wifi network from a modem, ethernet connection, wifi connection, dongle, and from your phone. It works over a dual-band and it’s pretty fast offering speeds up to 733Mbps.
It comes with 3 ethernet ports to give wired devices internet access. It has a USB port to open up local fire sharing. There is also an SD card slot to provide you with built-in storage space.
It’s programmable and comes pre-installed with OpenVPN and WireGuard to act as a VPN client and server out of the box.
This means your connection will be very secure no matter where you are. It also arrives configured to use Cloudflare’s encrypted DNS servers for additional security. You will have to update it to the latest firmware when you get it though.
Overall a fast, secure, and technical, wireless travel router that’s got a lot of bang for its buck.
Here are some key factors to consider when buying a travel router.
When it comes to portability both the size and weight of a router are important considerations. You’ll want it to slip easily into your carry-on luggage and not take any valuable weight or space. All the travel routers in this review are light and portable but some are much lighter and compact than others.
Another thing to consider is your travel router power source. Some travel routers come without an inbuilt battery making them very light but they will need to be plugged in to use them.
This means having a power bank ready or plugging them into your laptop’s USB port. Wifi travel routers with an inbuilt battery will be easy to carry around but you’ll need to make sure to pack the right charging cables and plug for your trip.
Every router in the review will turn an ethernet, modem, or Wifi connection into your own Wifi connection but not all of them connect to a dongle, phone, or SIM card. There are a few in the review that do connect to all of these, like the ETGEAR Nighthawk M1 or the GL.iNET GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router, so if you’re wanting to use your phone or a Sim card to give you Wifi anywhere, be sure to pick s router that can do it.
In order to keep your connection secure, you want a wireless router that offers WPA2 encryption or has a built-in VPN. All the portable routers in the review provide some security but if you want the maximum, go for one of the ones with a built-in VPN.
Faster portable routers usually mean spending a little more. Think about the speed and the range you’re likely to need on your travels. If you’re going to need to stream HD across 5 devices or have multiple conference calls across multiple devices, you’ll need a wireless router with some solid bandwidth.
If it’s just for you to do some work on, watch a movie, and call home, then you’ll be fine with a lower speed.
Some of the routers in the review are plain routers while others are more multi-tools. Some can also be used as a power source, for file sharing, can have in-built storage, and connect to media streaming. If you want these added benefits, be sure to choose one with them.
Here are our top choices from the review.
The lightest travel router of them all is the GL.iNet Mango at just 1.4 ounces. It’s so small and compact that you can carry it in your pocket, but it still does everything a good router should. With download speeds of up to 300Mbps and a price of just some $30, it’s hard to find flaws in this travel router!
The best travel router is the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1. This is one of the fastest and best multi-use travel routers on the market. It can turn anything into a fast, secure network, even a SIM card. It’s also a power bank, data sharer, and media streamer. You can have up to 20 devices all working from the same router, sharing data, anywhere, even at the beach.
The best travel router on a budget is the GL.iNET GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router. This router is tiny, light, compact, and very secure. It can turn anything into a secured VPN, even your phone’s 4G signal and it’s just $27.