The Best Wireless Travel Routers [October 2020]
WiFi hotspots seem to be everywhere. It’s practically impossible to wander into a coffee shop, restaurant, or hotel without being offered some type of complementary Internet access. Those of us who are constantly on-the-go, however, know just how easy it is to be trapped in an unknown location with no WiFi. Whether you travel frequently for work, enjoy going on outdoor adventures, or simply live in an area with too few Starbucks, facing the prospect of a day without WiFi is a real possibility.
That’s where wireless travel routers come in. Even if you’re doing a lot less traveling lately, having a travel router on hand is a good idea. These handy gadgets allow you to connect your mobile device or laptop to the Internet via a secure connection. They’re often compact, battery powered, and offer additional storage for file sharing—making them the perfect travel accessory for solo and family trips alike. Here’s a list of the top wireless travel routers on the market.
If you’ve waded through endless Internet searches looking for the perfect wireless travel router (we’re sorry you didn’t find us earlier), this high-performance RAVPower Filehub unit probably popped up more than once—and with good reason. For the price, it’s hard to get much better than the RAVPower Filehub.
With endless media streaming, you can easily stream your favorite videos, photos, and music to any connected devices: TVs, media players, smartphones, tablets, etc. The streaming quality is always top-notch, and you never have to worry about the unit getting in the way of your connection or impacting your bandwidth. You can also instantly transform any wired network into a wireless network for the entire family to enjoy with minimal effort, and the Filehub can even bridge an existing wireless network to create your own, secure network.
The Filehub also acts as a portable hard drive when you’re on the go, which any frequent traveler can tell you is invaluable. Instead of lugging around an extra external hard drive, you can use the TripMate to backup photos and videos from your iPhone, Android, iPad, or practically any other mobile device you can think of. Powered by a simple USB cable, this unit is super lightweight and portable (it only weighs 1 ounce) and comes with a USB cable and a 1 year warranty. At less than $30, there’s no reason not to keep this in your backpack at all times, especially when traveling.
- Incredibly cheap
- Powered by USB
- Cannot act as a DNLA server
If you liked our first pick but need something a bit more advanced, RAVpower also makes the FileHub AC750. While it’s almost double the price of the standard FileHub, its expanded feature set has made it a fan-favorite, along with its compact size and its sleek design.
Much like the FileHub, the FileHub AC750 easily works as a wireless router by converting a wired network signal into a wireless one. It can also bridge and extend pre-existing WiFi signals, and you can use it to share an established wireless network quickly and conveniently with others. It also acts as a powerful streaming device—allowing you to share your videos and music with anyone close by (with your permission, of course).
Where the FileHub AC750 stands out, however, is in its storage backup capabilities. This unit allows you to transfer files between SD cards, USB drives, hard disks, and any other devices such as your phone, tablet, or computer, in order to free up much-needed space. And since it can act as an SD card and USB reader, it can wirelessly recognize USB flash drives, hard discs, SDHC, and SDXC cards via the FileHub AC750.
The FileHub AC750 also boasts an upgraded chip and support for DLNA servers, which the standard FileHub doesn’t have. Bottom line, if you have a little more money to spend, and file sharing and storage are important to you when you’re on the go, we suggest picking this guy up.
- SD card support
- Well-known brand
- Supports DNLA
- More expensive
Although none of the wireless travel routers that follow made the Top 2 spots on our list, they still deserve a notable mention. And for some potential buyers they may even be more desirable. Take, for instance, this TP-LINK N300. If it were priced a little lower and were a tad less bulky, we may have ranked it higher. TP-LINK is pretty much a household name (in tech-loving households, that is), and this unit lives up to its expectations. This N300 device is well-priced, pocket-sized, and supremely portable.
You can quickly create a powerful wireless network to share with family and friends, and can stream videos, games, and audio through its WiFi signal at a respectable 300Mbps on a 2.4GHz band. It’s also seamlessly compatible with Chromecast (for all of you Chrome lovers) and features a micro-USB power port that allows you to power external devices via an external adapter. A pre-encryption function sets initial SSID and password protection, and you also get an industry-leading 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support. Plus: it’s super cute.
- Solid brand with support
- 2 year warranty
- Doesn't use USB-C
Next up we have the TRENDnet TEW-817DTR AC750 Travel Router, with a heavy emphasis on “travel.” This compact device comes with interchangeable power plugs (North America, Europe, and the UK), which makes it perfect for frequent international travelers. It’s easy to connect multiple devices to the network, and the unit features 433 Mbps WiFi AC and 300 Mbps WiFi N bands that support Router, Wireless ISP (WISP), Access Point, and Repeater modes. Much like most of the other devices on our list, streaming video and audio on your devices using an easily established WiFi connection is a breeze, and your signal is pre-encrypted. Our one qualm with the AC750 was that streaming super high-definition video was a bit subpar, yet for the international traveler who is mostly interested in working with files and watching the occasional show on Netflix, the AC750 should do quite well.
- Fast internet
- Encrypted connections
- Expensive compared to our top pick
Ah TP-Link, how we love you. This AC750 unit is quite impressive. It’s incredibly small and light, and offers a sleek and stylish design. It also offers dual-band AC750 WiFi, which is undeniably strong, efficient, and fast—perfect for streaming on the go between multiple attached systems. There’s also a single switch that allows you to toggle between multiple modes, and flexible power options: A micro USB port offering connections to an adapter, portable charger, or laptop. And as with all TP-Link systems, you’ll have award-winning access to some of the best customer service around and an industry leading 2-year warranty with unlimited 24/7 technical support.
- Small and light
- Good design
- No USB-C support
Finally, we introduce to you the GL.iNet GL-MT300A Mini Travel Router. This alien-looking device has a 2dbi external antenna and offers 300Mbps of high performance data transfer, 128MB RAM, an Open VPN, and converter capabilities. Possibly the best thing about this unit is its range, which is greatly expanded when you attach the included antennas. It’s only 1.4 ounces, and instantly connects all your devices when switching to a new WiFi network. It also avoids inputting a new password on each of your devices one-by-one, which can take up time. Powered by any laptop USB, power banks, or 5V DC adapters, this little blue gadget offers 28MB RAM, 16MB Flash ROM, dual Ethernet ports, and UART for the storage-minded.
- Solid range
- Good connectors
- Very expensive