Wi-Fi hotspots offer a convenient way to keep your laptop, tablet, and all other connected devices online without draining your smartphone’s battery and data plan.
Even though you can buy any of the devices outright for their full price, you can buy most of them on low monthly installments with a qualifying data plan. (Note that this option isn’t available for our unlocked and pay-as-you-go picks.)
A standalone Wi-Fi hotspot requires a data plan from the carrier of your choice, and plan prices vary depending on the amount of data you choose. That is, unless you choose a pay-as-you-go hotspot.
If you only plan to use the hotspot for web browsing and staying on top of your work email, there’s no need to spend a whole lot on data. But if you plan to connect multiple devices to the Wi-Fi hotspot, or stream video, consider a plan with more data in order to avoid potential overages. Or, if you don’t want to spend the money on a Wi-Fi hotspot, consider using your iPhone or Android smartphone instead. If you choose that route, just be sure you have the right plan for it, so you don’t incur any unexpected extra charges.