The Best Wireless Travel Routers [January 2021]
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. Although you probably didn’t do a ton of travelling in 2020, it won’t be long before you’re back on the road, and having a travel router on hand is a great 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.
For years now, we’ve recommended RAVPower’s FileHub series as our favorite travel routers on the market today. Although the original FileHub N300 isn’t available anymore, you aren’t out of luck just yet. The FileHub AC750 takes what we loved about the original gadget, expands its feature set, and introduces a new compact size and sleek design.
As with most travel routers, 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 also boasts an upgraded chip and support for DLNA servers, a new upgrade from the older N300 model.
If you’ve waded through endless Internet searches looking for the perfect wireless travel router (we’re sorry you didn’t find us earlier), you’ve probably ran into RAVPower a few times. We’re sorry to repeat what so many others have said, but if you want the best travel router around, the AC750 is the way to go.
- SD card support
- Well-known brand
- Supports DNLA
- A bit expensive
Although we love RAVPower’s FileHub, it’s far from the only great travel router on the market. For nearly $20 less, TP-Link’s N300 (yes, the same codename as RAVPower’s old unit) is a great runner-up. 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
Time for some honorable mentions. 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