If you do a lot of traveling, then you will be more than familiar with how frustrating public and hotel WiFi can be. Well, there’s a solution to this, a compact version of your home router called a travel router.
Instead of having to repeat the connection process for all your devices, simply connect your travel router once. There are also added security benefits, along with some having extra features such as file sharing.
Therefore, we decided to review the very best travel routers currently on the market so that you can purchase with confidence and enjoy the many benefits while on the road.
- 1 Top 6 Best Travel Routers Reviews
- 1.1 1 RAVPower RP-WD009 – Best Multipurpose Travel Router
- 1.2 2 TP-Link TL-WR902AC – Most Reliable Travel Router
- 1.3 3 GL.iNET Slate – Most Secure Travel Router
- 1.4 4 HooToo Filehub – Most Powerful Travel Router
- 1.5 5 Netgear AC797-100NAS – Best Hotspot Travel Router
- 1.6 6 GL.iNET Shadow – Best VPN Compatible Travel Router
- 2 Best Travel Routers Buying Guide
- 3 What are the Best Travel Routers?
Top 6 Best Travel Routers Reviews
1 RAVPower RP-WD009 – Best Multipurpose Travel Router
This device from RAVPower can do many things besides being a travel router. It is a portable battery, a card reader, and a media server. Not bad for something about the same size as a regular old power bank.
This little black box is great for bringing on your travels and measures only 4.4 x 3 x 1 inches (11.3 x 7.6 x 2.5 centimeters). It also only weighs seven ounces (199 grams). That’s including a built-in 6,700mHa battery. This makes it one of the best lightweight travel routers you can find.
Making networks your own…
There are two different options when it comes to creating a WiFi network. You can either turn a wired network into a WiFi hotspot or take an existing WiFi network and rebroadcast it as your own.
Using the rebroadcasting feature, you are limited to the 2.4GHz network, which provides slower but still usable speeds. Broadcasting a wired connection allows for 5GHz access, and speeds are then dramatically increased.
Streaming on the go…
Located on the side of the device is an SD card slot, along with a USB port. The USB port can be used to either charge a device or connect stored media. That media can then be accessed and streamed to any device, just like your own personal Netflix. As a result, this is one of the best media streaming travel routers you can buy.
Accessing most of the device’s settings can be done in one of two ways. Either using the web portal via a PC or by installing the App on either an Android or iOS device. This is where you can complete file transfers.
- A multi-function device including router, power bank, and media server.
- Great for families on road trips, especially for streaming movies.
- File sharing allows you to leave your laptop at home.
- No support for 5GHz wireless connections, only wired.
- The web portal needs to be updated as it looks and feels dated.
2 TP-Link TL-WR902AC – Most Reliable Travel Router
When it comes to networking solutions, one of the most reliable names in the business is TP-Link. They provide many businesses with professional-grade equipment to keep them running smoothly. Now you can carry a piece of their tech in your pocket.
Imagine a regular home router that has gone through a shrink ray. It is certainly an attractive device, with its rounded corners along with the attractive white and gray color scheme. It not only looks great, but it has some great features too. Meaning, it is one of the best compact travel routers available.
Travel and home…
While out and about, you can use this device to create a WiFi network from a wired connection, like ones often found in hotel rooms. The other option is to rebroadcast your network from an existing WiFi signal.
While at home, the device can be used as a range extender for your existing network. You can even set up client mode if you have a home business. Therefore it’s one of the best home use travel routers too. And it can even act as a backup if needed.
Sharing is caring…
Thanks to the multi-function USB port on the device, you can share files and media throughout your network. This does require the use of a PC and is accessed through a web portal, as unfortunately, there’s not currently any App support for this feature.
If your smartphone or tablet is running low on power, you can use the USB port on the router to charge them. This device can certainly come in handy and is something worth making sure you have packed before any trip.
- Strong performance from a reliable company.
- File sharing works very well using the web portal.
- You can charge your smartphone or tablet.
- There’s currently no App support for file sharing.
- No SD card slot, only USB support.
3 GL.iNET Slate – Most Secure Travel Router
This little router from GL.iNET is one of the smallest we’ve seen so far, probably only a bit bigger than a credit card. It is incredible all the capabilities they’ve managed to pack into this little device.
Somehow they’ve squeezed in a dual-band WiFi transmitter, three Ethernet ports, a micro-SD slot, micro-USB for charging, plus a full-sized USB port. Add to that the OpenWRT operating system, one of the most secure out there.
Making complicated easy…
Setting up and configuring OpenWRT is known to be complicated. Luckily GL.iNET has placed its user interface over the top. This makes initial setup and configuration a much more simple process, getting you underway quickly.
Once configured, there are four options to access the internet. Use a wired connection, as a WiFi repeater, inserting a USB modem, or by tethering. Each of these options is capable of providing a fast and secure connection almost anywhere. So, you are getting one of the best easy to use travel routers on the market.
Staying safe and secure…
If you’re a regular traveler, then you’ll know how useful using a VPN can be. With compatibility for over 30 commercial VPN providers, you can enjoy a secure connection and maintain access to geographically limited content anywhere.
Also, Cloudflare is pre-configured for DNS over TLS to increase privacy and prevent eavesdropping. This previously only used to be possible with professional modification of your router. The Slate has it ready to go and already built-in, meaning this is one of the best privacy travel routers on the market.
- A small and convenient size for traveling.
- Multiple internet connectivity options.
- Secure VPN and Cloudflare DNS protection built-in.
- Total bandwidth is low if using multiple devices.
- Might be over complicated for basic users.
4 HooToo Filehub – Most Powerful Travel Router
Another device that can provide more than just one function in a small and convenient package. The HooToo Filehub is not only a travel router; it is also a powerful power bank and a media streamer.
While the device is small, because of the large battery, it is not as light as some of the other competitors. Measuring 1.7 x 1.7 x 3.7 inches (4 x 4 x 9.5 centimeters) and weighing 8.8 ounces (250 grams) it’s still extremely portable.
WiFi almost anywhere…
No matter if you’re at home or traveling, this device can certainly assist with networking requirements. If at home, you can connect to your existing WiFi network and use it as a range extender. Perfect for streaming music into the backyard or balcony.
While on the road, you can either connect to a wired connection or rebroadcast an existing WiFi signal as your own. While the admin page for configuring your connections isn’t too pretty, it functions well and is easy to navigate when setting up your configurations.
Keep the power flowing…
The built-in rechargeable battery is a huge 10,400mHa. That’s enough to completely recharge most smartphones three times or a tablet once. We always forget to charge something, usually the GoPro, so having a backup power supply is certainly handy.
Another useful feature we enjoyed is the file and data transfer plus streaming capabilities. Connecting a USB storage device enables you to stream or transfer the contents quickly and easily to any device on the network.
- Sturdy and strong build.
- Can be easily tossed in a bag.
- Huge 10,400mHa built-in rechargeable battery.
- Performs all its functions well.
- Speed drops are greater than other devices.
- No micro-SD card slot.
5 Netgear AC797-100NAS – Best Hotspot Travel Router
These devices have been around a little longer and were originally known as portable hotspots. Netgear still produces these great little gadgets, and they are certainly handy for accessing the internet while on the go.
Rather than relying on a wired or existing WiFi connection, a SIM card is required for this mobile router. The 4G signal is then converted into a WiFi network that can have multiple devices connected to it.
Ready when you are…
As long as you have a 4G signal, then you can enjoy a fast and stable internet connection. Up to 15 devices can be connected simultaneously to your secured network, rather than relying on unsecured public networks.
With speeds of up to 400Mbps possible, it is easy to enjoy HD video streaming, gaming, video calls, and web browsing. Any provider, apart from Sprint in the USA, can supply a SIM card and plan for getting started.
Play all day…
A built-in rechargeable 2,930mHa battery provides up to 11 hours of use off a single charge. By plugging the device in at night, you can easily get a full day of productive internet access for both work and play.
In the center of the device is a large 1.8-inch color display. This gives you information such as data usage, signal strength, and network management information. Keep on top of how much data is being used to avoid any unexpected large bills.
- Use your secured network instead of a public one.
- Full-day use from a single charge.
- The color screen displays useful information.
- SIM card and data usage must be paid for.
- No media streaming or file-sharing available from this device.
6 GL.iNET Shadow – Best VPN Compatible Travel Router
The final item in our review of the best travel routers is a second product from GL.iNET. And even though they are a little more advanced, there’s plenty on offer. People that have a basic understanding of network functions will enjoy many advantages.
This small and powerful travel router is perfect for digital nomads or world travelers. Supporting OpenVPN clients opens up a world of possibilities to globetrotters, giving them access to home sites that are normally geo-blocked.
World of possibilities…
Just like the Slate, there are four ways to make an internet connection. Cable, repeater, USB modem, or tethering. Once created, there are then four options for creating access via Router mode, repeater mode, AP mode, or hotspot mode.
Because the Shadow is smaller than the Slate, you do lose a few features. There are only two LAN ports instead of three. There is also no SD card slot for data streaming, sharing, or transferring between devices.
Dive a little deeper…
Having OpenWRT as the operating system allows you to customize the router using over 2,000 software packages. Combining this with OpenVPN support gives additional privacy and security by encrypting your traffic.
While this router might not be for everyone, the levels of customization and security offered is fantastic. It is small and lightweight and can easily be packed into your luggage, ready to get around those pesky hotel room limitations.
- Tiny design and extremely lightweight.
- Multiple internet access options.
- OpenVPN support is great for added security.
- Complicated to configure for basic users.
- No file streaming, sharing, or transfer function.
Best Travel Routers Buying Guide
You may not even have realized how many of these amazing devices were available. If you have ever had to travel either on the road or around the globe, we’re sure you’ve experienced internet frustrations.
Packing one of these inexpensive and convenient devices into your bag can make life much easier. But which one is best for you? We have created this useful buying guide to help you choose which of these great products will perfectly suit your needs.
What type of travel?
The areas you will be traveling to will determine which device will work best for you. If you know there won’t be an existing internet connection, then you might need the Netgear AC797-100NAS that creates its network via a SIM card.
If you will be staying in a hotel, or know there will be public WiFi, then any of the other devices will work. The two GL.iNET devices are dedicated routers and offer more in the way of security and network customization, but are also for more advanced users.
The RAVPower, TP-Link, and HooToo all have large built-in rechargeable batteries that can be used to top up other devices. If you don’t already own a power bank, this can be very handy. They also offer file streaming, sharing, and transfer.
The GL.iNET Slate offers file streaming, sharing, and transfer. However, it requires an external power source. For traveling families, we would recommend any of the multi-function devices, as you can never predict what you will need or when.
For the professional user, we would recommend the GL.iNET Slate as the customization and power packed into its small size is incredible. If you still can’t decide, though, hang around. Next, we reveal our recommendation for the best travel router and why.
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What are the Best Travel Routers?
To choose the best travel router, we have considered the following. The product must be built well, have high performance, offer useful features, and be of great value.
The product we believe covers all these areas best is the…
It has a solid build and can easily be tossed in a bag. The router and file transfer performance is fantastic, and it is simple to set up and use. Providing a power boost from its battery is also incredibly convenient. For this price, you can’t go wrong.
Until next time, work smarter, not just harder.