How Much HNT Will My Hotspot Earn?

One of the most frequently asked questions in all of the Helium space is: “How much will I earn?”
As always the answer is two part: 1. It depends. 2. It’ll change & go down over time.

This post was written in May of 2021. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers apply to that May 2021 timeframe. Yes, it was a different time.

BUT… after going through the stats I can give you 3 general numbers that may apply. They’re at the bottom for those of you who like to read and just-can’t-wait.

Oh, the other question you’ll have is along the line of: If I only have XX hotspots in my city, and I own them all, how much can I expect to earn? There are many caveats to this, mostly centering around how many of those hotspots can “see” each other. One SUPER important thing to note from these examples is that most hotspots owners do a poor job of deployment, earning on average 2 HNT/day. An optimized hotspot with good placement should earn at least 8 HNT/day. If you’d like help with doing a much better job, consider hiring me to help you maximize your earnings.

I’ll give you a few real world examples of 7 day earnings. (data here, as of May 9th, 2021).

  • Flagstaff, AZ – 6 hotspots – 79.52 HNT
  • Jerome, AZ – 6 hotspots – 97.91 HNT
  • Midland, TX – 4 hotspots – 57.3 HNT
  • College Station, TX – 4 hotspots – 68.25 HNT
  • Charlottesville, VA – 4 hotspots – 46.15 HNT
  • Erie, PA – 4 hotspots – 25.89 HNT
  • Elfrida, AZ – 3 hotspots – 57.98 HNT
  • Arizona, TX – 2 hotspots – 24.67 HNT
  • Columbus, GA – 2 hotspots, 42.50 HNT
  • Three Rivers, MI – 2 hotspots – 14.26 HNT

For those of you who want to see how I come up with averages and be able to do it themselves, here’s a 10 minute video that uses Sitebot. Sitebot used to be a superb resource, but has degraded and is no longer good for this. Still, I’ll leave this up so you can see the thought process.

This will show you how much HNT you should expect to earn on average, and you’ll learn how to easily refine that number for yourself, in your city.

Before we move on, let me set some expectations. This post was originally written in mid-March of 2021. We only had 22k hotspots on the network at the time. 3 weeks later (April 5th) we had 25k. That number will continue to go up, probably to 200k by the end of the summer of 2021. Within a few weeks of it being written, all the hard numbers in this post will be wrong. Still, you can use the method in the video to calculate what the numbers *should* be for the next few weeks for you.

First, I’ll knock out my assumptions:

I’ll assume that you are NOT going to plug in your hotspot at Mom’s house and walk away. If you do that, you should expect to earn less than .1 HNT a day.

I’ll assume that you’re willing to spend money, time, and effort to optimize your hotspot placement. As in, more time than your friends and family think is “reasonable”.

As I learned long ago from Shawn Alladio (one of only two humans to ever ride a jetski over a 100′ wave) if you want to do awesome things you should be unreasonable. Be like Shawn. She’s rad.

I’ll assume that you understand the general intent of Helium. Psst, it’s to provide as much useful coverage as possible for IoT devices running on the Helium network.

Finally, I’ll assume you’re not contemplating a “lone wolf” placement, which is one where there is no possible way for another hotspot to connect with you via radio signal.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s start high. Like, way high. The top earning hotspot in the world (as of March 14th, 2021) is Rough Chili Bird, in Springdale, Arkansas. Before I tell you how much HNT they’re earning, let’s define “top earning.”

Basically, no Helium data for earnings is useful at anything less than a 30 day cycle. 24 hour, 48 hour, even 7 day stats are just too variable to be useful. As an example, here are the daily earnings for a reasonably high performing hotspot.

As you can see, they vary wildly day by day, and if you constantly fiddle with it in order to improve, you’ll be responding to noise, not signal.

Helium is all about signal.

Back to the world’s highest earning hotspot, Rough Chili Bird.

The Bird earned 2,850 HNT over the last 30 days. Yeah, that’s a lot. At current HNT prices well, people work a lot harder for a lot less money per month.

Second place is Docile Bone Pony over in Cambridge MA, earning 1,787 HNT in the last 30 days. No, I don’t make these names up, and neither do the hotspot owners. They’re randomly assigned.

Here’s the top 10 earners, pulled off of Sitebot.

So that’s the MOST you’re likely to make. You probably won’t make that much. I went through a few cities (including my own, America’s Finest City) to give you some averages.

For your average hotspot, you’re looking at right around 8 HNT/day.

I got that by going through and weeding out all the hotspots making less than 1 HNT/day. If they’re doing that, it’s pretty obvious they’re not in this to crush, and that’s my goal. CRUSH.

I was curious about the crushers, so I went through the top 1,000 Hotspots in the USA and found the average was more than twice as high; about 23 HNT/day. You can reasonably expect that if you optimize density, elevation, and antenna, in that order.

I went through a few example cities (San Diego, Seattle, London, and Berlin) and then I looked for the answer to the second most popular question I get asked, which is:

“I live in a small city and could buy 5–10 hotspots right now. Should I do it? How much will I make?”

The stats are in the video, here’s the boring stuff for those of us who read.

San Diego has 142 hotspots earning more than 1 HNT/day. The average hotspot earns 9 HNT/day, and the top earner pulled in 1,334 in the last 30 days.

Seattle has 90 hotspots earning more than 1 HNT/day. The average hotspot earns 8 HNT/day, and the top earner pulled in 706 in the last 30 days.

Seattle Helium Hotspot Earnings

London has 188 hotspots earning more than 1 HNT/day. The average hotspot earns 8 HNT/day, and the top earner pulled in 1,266 in the last 30 days.

Berlin has 134 hotspots earning more than 1 HNT/day. The average hotspot earns 12 HNT/day, and the top earner pulled in 1,617 in the last 30 days.

Berlin Helium Hotspot top earner

Finally, I found a small cluster of hotspots that is typical of any small deployment in a city. It was on the south side of Cypress, in Limassol. While there are 10 hotspots deployed there, only 5 have been running for 30 days or more. Those 5 average 16 HNT/day, but the top earner only pulled in 592 in the last 30 days.

Helium Hotspots in Limassol, Cypress

This should help you get a rough idea of how much you’ll make. For more on Helium Hotspot Optimization you can read my guide over here.

If you’d like a different take on earnings with an orientation toward what might happen in the future as the network grows, check out Steve’s article over on DeWi.

Best of luck with your deployments, let’s grow this network together and CRUSH! If you’d like help with a Helium deployment, from a single hotspot to an entire ecosystem, consider hiring me.

None of this is investment advice. Keep reading and learning. You could lose everything. I hope you don’t. I hope you win so big that you track me down and plant a big wet kiss on my cheek and slip a QR code with 10 BTC into my pocket because you just have that much to spare. Here’s to your success!

85 thoughts on “How Much HNT Will My Hotspot Earn?”

  1. How Likely would I be able to put a hotspot on a cell tower, and where would I go to find out more info.

  2. Hi Frank, at the base of most cell towers (or on the fence around cell tower sites) is contact info for the tower owner. Start there. You’re usually better off looking up local WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) and working with them. The big cell tower companies aren’t really set up to do business with individuals, but WISPs are usually Mom ‘n Pop shops that’ll work with you.

  3. Hi Nik,

    I’ve read a few of your articles now and I’ll just lead off by saying thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’m waiting on pre-ordered miners and simply trying to work out as many issues before I even see them delivered. I live in a relatively rural area with a small town 7 miles away and pockets of small subdivisions about 1-2 miles apart from each other. Flat terrain but lots of tall trees surrounding neighborhoods. I plan to place an additional set up at a family members house via roof top antenna. However, I’m worried about how tall I can realistically make the antenna. The home is surrounded by tall trees, approximately 70 feet tall. This property is maybe 3 miles from my home LoS. Is it worth placing a setup there based on trees? I plan to have a roof top antenna at my home, 2 story home. I’ve ordered 5.8 dbi antennas for my planned roof top rigs. I do have friends in most of the surrounding neighborhoods (1-4 miles away range) and plan to sweet talk setups at their properties as well. *Most of those have minimal tree issues.

  4. Hi David, LoRa at 915 will go through 60-100m of dense brush, maybe more in the US with our higher output. I think you’ll be fine over the short distances you’re talking about, but getting your antennas high will be key.

  5. Jonathan Libbrecht

    Hello, I have received my sensecap miner a few days ago, but I have a question. I suppose that the numbers you are using here are not relevant anymore, because with an average of 8HNT/day, you would be looking at 9600 dollars a month. But what would be a good average daily number to be aiming for? (Just so you know, I am from Europe). At the moment, my choises to place the miner are:
    1. in a crowded city with already 10 other miners in my hexagon.
    2. around 10km (6 miles) from a big city without many miners closeby.
    3. around 2km (1.3 miles) from a normal sized city but with a forest of around 150m between me and the city. Sadly, the trees are just to high to go above them.
    (p.s. I am currently using a 6dBi antenna)
    Where would you recommend me to place my miner?
    I really want to thank you for your time!

  6. Hi Jonathan, yes, those numbers are long out of date. Globally, the average hotspot earns .2 HNT/day (as of 26Nov2021).
    None of those are good options. I’d look for other, better locations where you have better density close by.

  7. Hi Nik,
    First of all, great posts, here and on other boards.
    I live at the edge of town out on the edge of burbs. Lot of miners 1-2 per hex through 15 miles of burbs to the north (and more in the downtown beyond that). To the south, none. Farmers. I.e. west, nw, n,ne and east have miners. Sw, s, se nada.
    I just got my antenna and was going to head the roof to get a little higher up. I picked up a high drive because it’s flat and I want to pickup for miles. 2 questions, a) what can I do if anything with my dynamics of all the other hotspots on 1 side and b) is it worth getting up on the roof and putting the antenna up there (vs inside)?
    Thanks sir..let me know I’d you have unix or hadoop questions and I’ll return the favor 🙂

  8. I’d put an omni directional up and get it as high as possible. Now I’ve got to go Google hadoop. 😉

  9. Hi Nik

    Great post. Thank you for sharing.

    Tart Maroon Ant here…just started but trying to leverage all I can. Ok seeing .17/day right now and just swapping to a 5.8db antenna in the roof yesterday. Is there anything else I should be doing to critique these numbers? I’m at the highest point in elevation around and there are some getting .34-.49 close by with similar setup and signal(which is .6).

    Any recommendations would be helpful.

    Thanks

  10. Be patient. Once you lock in a location & get it high and gather 7 days of earnings data, that’s going to be what you’ll get unless you make a change.

  11. Thank Nik

    Is there a way to improve transmit scale? I’m showing .60 currently.

    Also internet speed wise I have the best 800mbps(getting 295 wired and 80-130 wireless). Does that make a different? Would I help to add a repeater upstairs to improve the signal up there?

    Thanks again

  12. Hello Mike, glamorous stone wasp here. I just deployed a nebra indoor hotspot with a 12dbi antenna I installed on the roof. House is on a hill in a densely populated city. So far my 2 day total is .6 HNT. There are 5 other hotspots in my hex. Should I do anything different. Thank you!

  13. Shuayb Magan Barre

    Hi Nik
    Thank you for the information and as myself I want to buy some helium miners and I will buy the course soon. I have one question can the miners work any part of the world ex Africa etc, especially undeveloped country
    Thank in advance

  14. Hey Nik, I am halfway between San Diego and LA in Southern California. I’ve been watching and reading so many mixed reviews.
    The internet full of amazing knowledge, but its hard to find the truth. Where can I find legit numbers as far as expectations go? Also, if signal strength is what matters most, how do I go about learning how to optimize signal strength? I looked at the map, and it doesn’t look like anyone is in my hex. There is 2 in the adjacent HEX. Any advice is much appreciated.

  15. Hi John, I’d start with the reading through the blog. As far as expectations, typically you’ll earn the average of your closest 10 hotspots, unless you do something extraordinary. Check out the Helium Basic Course, that’ll give you a bunch of good info in about an hour.

  16. Hi, I’m in a suburban area no hex’s around but I should be able to set up 3 next to each other. Another 1 mile away. Do I need people to actually run a app to mine HNT?

    Can u run two miners next to each other?

    Thanks
    Brian

  17. Hi Brian, short answer: You can, but they won’t earn well. You usually want at least 1,000 meters between miners. If you want to learn everything you need to know about Helium in just under an hour, I’d recommend enrolling in the Helium Basic Course.

  18. So Nik if there is a suburban area and no hex’s are around but I have 4 miners can I put them 300-1,000 meters apart and be able to get more HNT ? How much HNT should I be getting ?

  19. Hi Arlinson,
    That *could* be a good start; how far away are the nearest miners outside the 4 you’re thinking of deploying, and how many are there (roughly)?

  20. Hi, I am up 10 stories in a condo no obstructions overlooking hundreds of hotspots my earnings in November were .54 daily now it’s dropped 2.28 I have an eight DBI antenna what do you think the problem is

  21. Hi Doug, it’s likely that the area is just getting overcrowded. Probably not an antenna issue, though you can go with a lower gain and see what happens. I wouldn’t expect a drastic change there. Most of your earnings are a derivative of your location.

  22. Hi Nik,

    I have a bobcat 300 with an 8dbi rak antenna about 11m high. I’m getting over 100 total witness on average over the past 5 days, 0.62 transmit scale, earnings around 12hnt per month. My question is, I see a guy 2 hexes over (smooth teal ostrich), same transmit scale, running a rakwireless, at 1.2dbi, claiming 0 meters (via explorer) and he’s getting over 17hnt in the last 30 days. He only has 75 witnesses over last 5 days. How is he getting that much with such a setup?

  23. Hey MRon, earnings are a function of location, and a 1.2/0 assertion just means they haven’t updated their details in the app yet. 2 hexes is 1,600-3,000 meters away, which can provide a significantly different coverage. After the max witness number (18) is met, earnings are a function of the quality of the witnesses, not the quantity.

  24. Thank you for all the info. I just bought 3 bobcats and putting them up with in a rural area. Closest other miners are about 20km away. What do you think 3 miners bouncing signals just off each other will make in a day. I am still setting things up as we speak. Can you tell me why one miner gets the normal 3 to 4 challenger rewards a day but the other only see 1 maybe 2 “challenger” rewards. Could this be internet connection related? I am Hooked to Ethernet but I can’t figure out why one isn’t getting the “challenger” as I thought this was supposed to happen roughly 3 to 4 times a day. Sync status is usually at -1. Internet is only 4mps download. However just down the road the internet is maybe 7mps and that machine is working fine. Just wondering what is cutting out my machine from getting it’s “challenger” rewards.

  25. Hi Eric, your hotspot should challenge 1-4 times/day. Interesting that the slower connection of the two isn’t challenging as much. Any way to make it faster?

  26. My hotspot has been online for 4 months but earning next to nothing, tried 3 different antennas, and I can see multiple hotspots near me, but only witnessed one, and they are in the same hex.

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