Best Portable WiFi Router

As mobile phones started improving throughout the years, they delivered more features which you could use. At one point, you weren’t just limited to texting or calling someone, finally, mail services started working. In this sense, you could feel kind of lost and disconnected with the world if you didn’t have a phone when traveling.

The same can be said now for the internet. If you’re going on a short trip or on a bit longer holiday, you may feel like you’re cut off from the world. But you shouldn’t be prevented from having access to a good WiFi signal or no signal at all. With the best portable WIFI router, you improve your internet connection when traveling.

GL.iNet GL-MT300N

In the tech world, portability is often used properly. We can see that with the following example, the GL-MT300N mini WIFI router that Is smaller than your smartphone. Not only that it is small, it is quite powerful too.

With this mini router, you can make your own secure and private connection to a public network. For additional security, you can even use already installed VPN clients that hide your IP.

Features

  • Compact and lightweight as it only weighs 39 grams
  • Can convert any public network into your own private connection
  • Powered by either a USB connection or directly to a power source
  • Offers two ethernet connections for LAN purposes and hardware-based security
  • Comes with a USB cable, manual, and a one-year warranty

Pros

  • VPN and TOR services are already included in the hardware if you want more security
  • You can make your own home network even if you are connected to a public hotspot
  • Portable and pocket-friendly, it is so small, you will have trouble finding it
  • Can be powered both with power banks and with an adapter

Cons

  • Download and upload speeds are limited
  • User interface only shows VPN options
  • Some customers reported that their connection was unstable

HooToo TripMate Elite

The HooToo TripMate Elite is one of the most popular mini-WIFI routers on the market. You can create your own secure and private WIFI network with this device. There is even an ability to stream videos, photos, and other media onto your smart devices. It has an integrated power bank which can charge most phones up to two times.

Features

  • Turns any public WIFI network into your own private one
  • Contains an improved chipset called MTK7620 which allows greater speeds
  • Has a USB hub comprising out of 4 USB ports
  • A 6000mAh power bank is integrated into the router and can charge your phone
  • Router is charged directly into a power outlet

Pros

  • You can charge both your router and smart devices at the same time in the outlet
  • The power bank makes it even more versatile for frequent travelers
  • Media such as videos can be streamed onto multiple smart devices
  • Doesn’t limit your download speeds since the chipset had a modern upgrade

Cons

  • Can’t work on 5GHz frequency connections
  • Doesn’t have an 802.11ac security parameter
  • Limited only to USB connections, doesn’t have microSD inputs

Edimax BR-6258n

This portable WIFI router from Edimax will push a compact design to its extremes. It is one of the smallest routers available and it weighs less than an ounce.

It contains both WAN and LAN ports even at this size, which grants you greater flexibility. Even wired connections can be converted into a private WIFI network with this device. It supports modern security standards and protocols while using a low amount of power.

Features

  • Supports 802.11b/g and 802.11n internet protocols
  • The router can convert anything into a wireless device once connected to LAN ports
  • Supports most of the newest security standards
  • Uses low amounts of power and can be completely wireless just with a USB port powered connection

Pros

  • Won’t heat up and throttle as it is green and uses low amounts of power
  • One of the smallest portable WiFi routers on the market
  • Even with its size it has two LAN ports for wired connections
  • Download and upload speeds are not throttled

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well with most streaming media like Netflix
  • The user interface of the device isn’t that well made
  • Some customers complained about the stability of the USB power cable

Comparison

The best portable WIFI router models are becoming more advanced through the years. They get to support faster speeds, start supporting VPN services and some even started offering streaming. But the main key point of all these devices is portability and secure connections that will leave you with privacy.

Since it is marketed towards people who travel a lot and need a private connection, portability is the feature most desirable. These three models were quite remarkable, but there were still some negative sides that put us off. The HooToo TripMate Elite was the best one given by its features. It didn’t only restrict itself as a router, it offers you a lot of features which may come in handy if you travel.

You can use it as a power bank for your phone and you can even stream media from it onto other devices. We do dislike that it doesn’t have the ability to use MicroSD cards. But its main features still out best GLiNet’s VPN services and the smallest size available from Edimax.

Verdict

If you plan on traveling and just can’t survive without a stable internet connection, then the best portable WIFI router will do its job. They are quite compact and some even tend to be pocket-sized. Some models might even scare you off since you might have troubles with losing it. But for the chance of having not only a stable, but a private connection, it is worth it.

All of the devices reviewed by us were really great. Some were far better when it comes down to download speeds while other had superior security options. In the end, we recommend the HooToo TripMate Elite as the ultimate option. Its versatility and ability to offer high download speeds is really something that you should look for.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Hi, I would like to know how does a miniWifi router differ from a normal router? It is much smaller in size, but does it function differently? Also, how many phones can be connected to the router at a time? I think the HooToo TripMate Elite looks good and it is the most preferred option. I will definitely look into that one.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for that question. The traditional router you have in your home is probably quite large. You obviously don’t want to take them traveling. These mifi routers are small, some small enough to fit in your jeans pocket.

      The way they work depends on the type of MiFi router you choose. Some work solely on SIM cards, some pick up a WiFi signal, enhance it and turn it into a secure connection. Others just work on LAN cables and then there are those that have a combination of one or more of what I mentioned above.

      My personal favorite is the Huawei as it offers LAN and SIM options. (That and I can easily acquire one where I live)

  2. These days a portable WIFI router is so essential for those of us who travel and can’t do without the internet. I travel quite a bit and I always want to have access to a wireless network. In July I felt like a fish out of water because the place where I stayed did not have a stable internet connection. My first two days were good, but following that I couldn’t connect for the remainder of my stay. I realized that I need to travel with a portable router, so I bought the Apple Airport Express. I am hoping it will work well. Do you think this one is as good as the ones you have reviewed? I wish I had seen this post before I made my purchase.

    1. I love apple products Carol, can’t believe I haven’t stumbled across this one yet. I have had a quick look and it looks really good. All Apple products are of course great quality. What I did see it that you are very reliant on already having an internet connection and access to a ethernet cable. Which is excellent in hotels where some rooms might not have the best WiFi connection but they do offer a LAN cable.
      If you are going to places where there is no internet at all, this one will not help as far as I can tell from first glance. But other than that it looks really good. It all depends on what you will need it for.

  3. Great range of portable wifi router shared here. I am definitely looking for a wifi router and of course a portable one for my next trip. Because its difficult to ensure everyone in my family get access to the internet world whenever we are traveling. Would definitely consider one of these products with the help of the pros & cons for each product.

    1. Awesome, enjoy your travels!

  4. Hi Linda!
    Very interesting post and content regarding the portable routers.
    I am at the moment utilizing the TPLink M7300, needed just the basic features it gives but works well with the 4g LTE!
    In the case this one fails me which one would you mostly recommend out of the above listed?
    Are you usinf one of them already?

    1. Thank you Thomas, glad you found it interesting. 

      Out of the ones listed I would recommend the HooToo Trip Mate Elite. 

      I’m going for something a little more advanced. I really want a sim card option and an ethernet connection. Just because I find that a lot of hotels do offer ethernet connection in rooms (old school to hook up laptops) but the WiFi is terrible or non existent in the rooms. In order not to waste my precious data on my prepaid cards or local plan, this is a huge requirement for me. So I will be ordering the Huawei E5885LS-93A (unboxing video and full review will follow soon)

       

  5. Hi ,

    this appears to be a good solution for me mainly because during my travel even though I have roaming on my phone it consumes my cell phone battery so fast! With this one I could at least enjoy using my phone for longer. I personally liked the ”GL.iNet GL-MT300N” nice style color and light.

    1. Yes, that would totally help your phone’s battery live a little bit longer. Though searching and connecting to the WiFi might be battery consuming as well. Probably still less than roaming. Not to mention the costs you could save by not having roaming charges.

  6. This was super-informative, Linda. As a somewhat frequent traveler, I’m always worried about security when connecting to public WiFi networks. I really like that most of these can turn a public network into a private one. If you were to make a choice between the HooToo TripMate Elite or the GL.iNet GL-MT300N, which would you go with?

    I really like that both of those help with privacy. That’s a huge selling point for me.

    Thanks again for this post, and I look forward to reading more here at WIFI On Tour.

    1. Thanks Jason! My vote goes to the HooToo TripMate Elite, I love the fact that it’s also a power bank. My phone tends to die on me at the most inconvenient times!

  7. Hello is there any place you can go to get internet and pay as you go or do you have to go thru a major internet company? I love your site I need wifi but it does no good without internet first correct?! I just wanted to make sure I understood your device.

    1. Exactly Kimberly, you do need internet. Either an existing WiFi connection or a 3G/4G pay as you go or plan. Depending on where you are in the world, you can get prepaid data sims or a monthly plan.
      You’ll want to check your local mobile providers for this.

  8. Hi Linda!

    I’m actually planning on going on several trips during this year and I think one of these little guys would suit me great!

    I haven’t looked much into this yet, but I guess with these you’re comparing I can have an idea about what to expect.

    Do you think the HooToo TripMate Elite would allow to upload short YouTube videos, or it is just too much too ask? 🙂

    Thanks a lot for the review. It clears out many questions I had. Cheers!

    1. I think it would allow to upload short videos most definitely, however it may take a little bit longer than you are used to as upload speeds of these devices vary.

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