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?”

Here’s how to get to a reasonably accurate prediction for your location. We’ll start with numbers, do some more numbers, do a little educated guessing, and end up with a conservative estimate of how much a given spot will earn.

The Global Average

Starting at the top, the global daily average for a Helium Hotspot that’s online is .091 HNT/day. How did I get that? Math.

I took the share of HNT we Hotspots get monthly (26%), added in the unused HNT from Network Data Transfer, removed the Hotspots that are offline, and came up with a reasonable global average. Just in case you missed it above:

The Global Average For A Helium Hotspot is .091 HNT/day As Of March 6th, 2022.

So, is that YOU will get? On average, probably. Of course, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably above average. In that case, how do we make a reasonable guess for how much YOU will make, in YOUR location. Lemme show ya:

Here’s how I’d do it: Take the Global Average as my start point, see if my Regional Average is higher or lower, take a look at local res 8 hexes, decide whether or not my deployment will be above or below average, and make an educated guess off of that.

If you want help with that, try either of the Helium Courses on this site, or you can join the Gristle Crüe and jump in on weekly calls where you and a bunch of other folks into Helium can learn from me and each other on how to crush it in Helium.

Here are all my sources for this info:

  • Number of Hotspots, DC burned, HNT Price: Helium Explorer
  • Percentage of Hotspots Online: DeWi ETL
  • Number of HNT Distributed Per Month, PoC & Network Data Transfer Percentages: Helium Docs

Here are the resources used in the video:

I’ll finish up with what Helium USED to be like. This was post was initially written in mid-March of 2021. I’m leaving it up mostly for historical purposes (and so some of the older comments make sense.) Rock on!


LEGACY STUFF – READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT HELIUM WAS LIKE IN MAY OF 2021

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 7 day cycle. 24 hour, even 48 hour 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!

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

  1. In your article about maximizing your hotspot you mentioned that we shouldn’t use more than 5 feet of cable. If that is impossible, what is the max length we should run if we’re using LMR400 cabling? I have a few spots that will be very high and very difficult to get to after initial install (renting a boom lift) and want to run about 50 feet of cable down to about 15 feet above ground where the hotspot will be. I hate to go through all this just to find out that 50 feet of cabling is too much. Also, I can’t seem to find much information on “terminating” LMR400 wire. With regular coax I have my own tools and can run my own cabling from a spool of it. Can I do the same with LMR400? Thanks in advance, and great articles to read, best yet.

  2. Hey Mark,
    I need to re-word that “5′ rule”. It’s a good idea to keep cable as short as possible, but it’s not a game-ender if you have to make a long run. That’s what low loss cable is for. One of the highest earning hotspots out there uses 60′ of LMR400, although that is definitely the exception, not the rule. :).

    100′ is probably the max length, but you’re going to lose a fair amount over that length, so you’ll need to offset that with antenna selection (beyond the scope of this article & comment) and elevation.

    To terminate LMR400 you’ll probably spend about $300 in new tools, then there’s the cost of the cable & the connectors. You’re probably better off just getting USACoax to build you custom lengths.

    Here are the recommended tools from that linked video on how to terminate:

    CCT-02 cutting tool – $45
    CST-400 prep tool – $100
    CT-300/400 crimp tool – $150
    Biodegradable silicon lubricant

  3. I use 12′ of LMR-400 on a 5dBi Nearson antenna and earn roughly 20HNT per day with roughly 8-10 recent witnesses. My Antenna is around 24′ off the ground and on a hill with a good line of sight. I used USA Coax to get 10′ and 2′ LMR-400 cables connected by a lightning arrestor. There isn’t really a hotspot that should be witnessing mine that isn’t. To me, height and line of sight are the main factor. Having said that, I could have settled on only 5′ of cable, but was concerned about making the mast top-heavy with the enclosure and hotspot mounted near the top. Wondering if you’ve had any trouble with wind on that super high mast in San Diego? I’m planning on setting up 3 outdoor antennas in a rural area so that they can witness each other and provide coverage to a small city of around 50,000 people. I’d like to shorten the coax, but am concerned about the top heaviness. Any tips?

  4. Robert, agree 100% re height & line of sight; those (and correct density) are what determine the majority of earnings. Connections are a distant fourth.

    I guyed that pole on the mountaintop; the weather station that’s also on there has recorded 58 mph gusts, and all appears to be good.

  5. Pingback: The Top 5 Mistakes to avoid with your Helium Hotspot | One man's search

  6. The three words for location names should be tied into the Awesome global mapping system “what3words” which is also catching on really quick. The three words identify a unique grid location on the world where people are now using it for deliveries (pizza, drone etc) and is far more precise than a traditional zip code.
    For instance, my location in the world is “straddled.spinning.myself”. Combining Helium addresses with what3words is very logical to me.

  7. I understand the 300m hotspot separation but . . I intend installing on the roof of my 5flr condo building and we’re on an escarpment in my city . So I’m wondering if I could place two hotspots ( one each on the east & west ends of the roof which is about 100m long) using two flat panel antennas backed with metal sheeting and directed 180deg opposite each other. I’m hoping this will allow me to reach the max number of hotspots in my city (Calgary, AB, Canada) and optimize my earnings. Comments ?

  8. Hi Robert, you’ll clip your own earnings by having 2 in the same hex 8, plus you may run into black box rules designed to combat gaming. Better with an omni up on a pole on the roof.

  9. Hey Nik
    Just ordered an indoor one for my apartment. Looked on the map and saw I am in a red zone with one about a half mile away. I live in Los Angeles. How will this effect my potential earnings?

  10. Hi Tucker,
    Being in the red zone will clip your and their earnings, and you won’t be able to witness/earn from each other. If you can find another spot outside of the red zone (assuming you’re talking about Helium.Place) you’ll double your earning potential.

  11. Hey! I’m considering getting some hotspots, I really love the concept and all of that… But I realized that two things might limit my earnings.

    1. I live far from the closest active hotspots (we’re talking 325km away, they’re in the capital, and I’m not)
    2. There are mountains cutting my line of sight from the closest “medium” city (no hotspots there either, but I could set up one there as well, the distance from my home hotspot and the one in the city would be ~13km)

    Would you say this would still be worth it, or should I just drop it and move on?

  12. Hi Knut,
    Probably not worth it to set up a bunch of lone wolf hotspots. If you can manage a deployment where 3 or 4 hotspots can communicate and provide useful coverage, that’ll be a much better option.

  13. Hey Nik, thanks for the write-up. Very good stuff. I’m still doing my research but leaning on the Nebra Outdoor and just pre-order now. Based on your other write-up, this would be a good way to go.

    Checked the coverage map around me and there seem to be a good amount of hotspots nearby. I’m in City of Miami proper, in a house, closer to the more densely populated areas, and the downtown and financial districts where there are high-rises.

    Still reading up, but I see one hotspot that’s about 4 blocks from me, has a good amount of witnesses, and respectable earnings potential. But I see others that are not so great. I’m going to walk by there tonight to see if I can scope the aerial. I also checked helium.place and there’s about 15 hotspots in the sweet spot outside the 350m radius. Seems like it could be pretty lucrative based on the earnings of this one hotspot 4 blocks away, but the earnings of the others pale by comparison. What’s driving the difference?

    I’d like to start with one, but we have an investment property about 2.5 miles away from our primary residence that I could expand to. I have a second investment property, but that’s about 12 miles away and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hotspots out there.

  14. Jorge, the uneven earnings are probably due to what I call a “Canyons & Crags” strategy, where one hotspot can see many others that can’t all see each other. The one that can see many gets earnings “focused” on it.

  15. Interesting. Thanks for the insight. I walked around last night and could not see an aerial anywhere on that house, so I started wondering if the location assertion was correct or maybe your C&C strategy explains it. This hotspot is approx 397m from my location. And has witnesses as far as 2km out. I’m very curious about it and I wonder if I could benefit by having this hotspot right outside the invalid witness zone.

    https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/11HDX56zJiVUxXWMrrXbtAbaNoSEP16TgN4jTdbY3wHBpCo9PtJ

    I also walked by another four that are all clustered, around 800m from my location. They look to be on the roofs of a commercial structure.

    All considered, seems like a good scenario to move forward with a Nebra outdoor and see where it goes. Thanks for letting me bounce ideas and would appreciate your comments on the above.

  16. Hey NIK, I live in a rural town of 1500 that has none of these. The next town over has 3hotspots . which is about 15miles away. if buy 3 or 4 of these and place them throughout town will it even be worth the time and money?

  17. Probably. Look for sets of 3 that are isolated and check out earnings. Last time I did that it was 60 HNT/miner/month with a 3 set. Not amazing, but not bad either.

  18. Pingback: Helium, Explained (ELI5) - One Man's Search

  19. I live in a county that has only 1 green dot, 15 miles from me. Is this worth me getting into?
    Thank you

  20. Hey Nik,

    Couple of questions. First let me say thanks for your help and this page, lots of good info and a LOT to read so please forgive me if I am asking questions that you have covered elsewhere.

    I live in a third world country, who would use my hotspots? Do I have to advertise? Where does the “money” come from?

    There is a city in this country (where I have friends) and it has three hotspots. Would placing 3 of my own hotspots in that city (new total of 6 hotspots not in any RedZones) be better or worse than installing 3 hotspots (no others in the entire city) in my city assuming the same population density?

    What is the ideal spacing of hotspots on level ground?

    Thanks

  21. Hi James, anyone who wanted to use IoT data could use your hotspots. Tracking, environmental variables, inventory management, etc. You’d earn HNT from the data that gets passed. You’d probably be better off adding 3 hotspots to the city that already has them. Ideal spacing on level ground is probably just meeting res 8 hex requirements, say, 600m-1km apart. Depends on a ton of variables, but that’d be where I’d start.

  22. Thanks for responding so quickly Nik,

    As you mentioned in one of your posts, if I keep reading I will find answers, which I did, like the 600-1000 meters apart which I found. However your answer of placing hotspots in the other city surprised me.

    Another question which unfortunately wont really help your USA readers but may be important to those like me, living in 3rd world countries. In the USA, network speeds are in the 50-100Mbps range, however down here a basic internet connection could be as low as 3Mbps (of course there are faster, mine is 50 down/5 up) but is there a minimum required internet connection speed for a Helium Hotspot?

    James

  23. Hey Nik,

    Great info! Hoping to get your thoughts. I have a couple of Bobcats and am about a week in. With one of them, I am about 36ft up in an apartment. I am seeing 15 average witnesses but earning less than 1 HNT per day. I have a 9dbi coming witch I hope will help. Any thoughts on why such low earnings?

    Thanks. Tom

  24. Hi Tom, probably due to a few factors, mostly around density and the amount of “unique” coverage you’re providing. Have you run any RF sims over on Helium Vision? The 9 dBi may decrease valid witnesses. Have you looked at the Challenge Receipt Analysis dashboard to see if your witnesses are invalid?

  25. Thanks Nik. I have run some rf scenarios and it looked pretty good.

    Just ran the Challenge receipt dashboard and showed “no results” for all categories.

    Chilly Carrot Cuckoo

    Tom

  26. Looks like you’re getting scaled at .5 and providing what I think of as “one-way non-useful coverage”, which is a bummer, because you’re actually expanding the network. It happens when you have something out on the edge of a network that’s only communicating to hotspots that all already see each other, and not “connecting” two large regions. I have a similar hotspot that I’ve got to move.

  27. SEAN O CONNELL

    How do I solve the hotspot `being relayed` issue using wifi ? Would Ethernet solve it and does this decrease my earnings.

  28. Hey Nik,

    I live in a 3 acre farm land far away from the city. I have decided to purchase 20 helium miners and place it 300m apart from one another. Would this work in my favor?

  29. You’re going to need more than 3 acres to place them all 300m apart, plus you’ll need to have it’s own separate connection to the internet. Think about adding value to the network vs just providing non-useful coverage.

  30. SEAN O CONNELL

    Hi Nik, which is more useful in earning HNT – Lora end node coverage or witness proof of coverage ?

  31. Hi Nik,
    I am looking to buy a couple of these…I have no nodes in my area (Suffolk, VA). I am going to try buying two and putting one in my FIL’s house, about 5 miles away and see what happens. If I can make money with it, I might see if I can clue some other folks in the area in to this to get some nodes built out-will just two nodes manage to get anything?
    Also, what do you think of building out nodes in the country? I have a lot of friends about 15 miles outside of town with several hundred acres…we could build out nodes in that area, as well-I’m just not sure if nodes out in the country serve any kind of purpose. It is just a few miles from Franklin/Petersburg/Suffolk, so-maybe?

  32. Hi James, typically you want your hotspot to be able to see at least 4 other hotspots. That being said, having 2 is 10x better than having 1.

    As far as building out in rural areas, that can work well although you have to be pretty careful about distance and line of sight for pure earnings purposes. Over the long run, hotspots that are placed with an eye towards growing WUPU coverage will do the best.

  33. Hello I live in a town of 12000 with no miners. Wad looking at placing 5 to 7 around town close enough they could see each other but not closer then 800m. Would that enough to get cash back on miners in a couple months? Thanks

  34. Hello I was looking at placing 5 to 7 in my area. There are no others there could I make my money back on the miners in a couple months? Thanks

  35. Hi Michael, it depends on what the price of HNT is when you get them, and how many miners are on the network. It’s pretty reasonable (though NOT a guarantee!) that they’ll pay off within a few months if they’re all optimally placed.

  36. Hey, i live in Dubai..i checked the helium map and i noticed that nearest hotspot is 12 Km away from my appartment..and i think im alone in the city where all the miners are in downtown dubai (14km far ) so how much i could probably make a month ?? Is it woth it?

  37. Hi Nic, with the closest miners 14 km away I wouldn’t expect top tier earnings, but it may surprise you. As far as how much per month, I don’t think anyone can give any kind of accurate answer. Your best bet is to look for other miners with the same position as yours and see how they’re doing, then average that out. Helium seems to pay off faster than damn near any other project I’ve seen, but it’s not as fast today (July 19th, 2021) as it was even a month ago.

  38. hi nick
    im from pakistan
    there are only two hotspots near my city which are almost 80km away from my city
    would it be worth in my city for hnt mining

  39. Hi Zaid, probably not worth it with just one. You *might* hit them, but you’re better off putting up at least 2 (and better, 5) yourself.

  40. Hi,
    I am still trying to wrap my head around how it works but, am I correct in assuming that if nobody uses the WiFi provided, you don’t earn anything ??
    Im just wondering as the closest to me is 25km distance and I was considering setting up 4-6 units in my town where there is nothing going on. (population of roughly 9000).
    Any comments/advice would be appreciated.

    Cheers

  41. Nope, earnings are only partly based on the data you processed. To be clear, you’re not providing “WiFi”, you’re providing a different type of coverage (IoT coverage via LoRa). You’ll earn the most by your hotspots “talking” to other hotspots, proving that they are where they say they are. 4-6 units is a good number to earn optimally as long as they have good spacing and Line of Sight to each other.

  42. Hi Nik,

    With respect to earnings I ran across two USA hotspots that have me thoroughly confused…

    sneaky-golden orca……. 40 witnesses and only 3 HNT for a month

    and

    sharp-grape-grasshopper…..zero witness and 67 HNT for a month.

    Obviously it happens, but could you offer an explanation as to why?

    Jim

  43. I’m at the bottom of a hill my Bobcat Miner is 20 Meters up on my roof with a 8dbi antenna .
    I’m showing two hotspots nearby, will I be able to witness them if its showing them near by on the Coverage Map data?
    Its is also showing that I sent Data I transferred a data packet.
    my hot spot is.
    Restless Rosewood Cat

    I hope I’m not a lone wolf.

  44. Hi Buster, nope, it can take time to witness. Remember, you’ve got to witness a beacon from another hotspot. Hotspots can beacon once a day and sometimes much less, so if you only have a few nearby you may have to wait a few days to build up your witness list.

  45. Good news that you’re transferring data packets; you’re a useful part of the network! Witnessing other hotspots is a function of line of sight; if your antenna can “see” their antenna, you’ll witness ’em.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top