A day without the Internet seems to be a global disaster and if your computer doesn’t have any Internet access then it’s definitely a daunting prospect. Fortunately, there is the way out of this terrifying situation, and it is called a USB Wi-Fi adapter. This device allows you to connect your gadgets to the web whenever and wherever you want it. We’ve compiled a list of the best USB WiFi Adapters to help you make the right choice.
Best USB Wireless Adapters
Last update on 2023-03-30 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
Best 5 GHz wireless adapter for gaming
There is a frequent misbelieve that USB Wi-Fi adapters are very slow. What an ignorant thought! Modern adapters can offer you a superb data speed transfer and ASUS USB-AC68 is the one to prove it.
There is a 3-position external antenna as well as a dual internal one. Together these antennas are able to produce a hefty dual-band AC1900 Wi-Fi that guarantees higher throughput and fine coverage both for laptops and desktops.
Note that these antennas are foldable, so it is a great plus for laptops which usually require portable stuff like that. Besides, they provide powerful reception for laptops when open. ASUS USB-AC68 has USB 3.0 jack that offers some additional placement options in order to optimize the desktop coverage.
Except for enhanced 3×4 MIMO design there is also ASUS AirRadar Beamforming. As a result, you get increased Wi-Fi speeds of up to 300% compared to the previous N900 adapters. ASUS AirRadar is aimed at stability. It makes wireless connectivity more powerful and reliable thanks to the Beamforming technology, exclusive ASUS RF fine-tuning as well as high power amplification.
You will be also allotted 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. So, don’t be afraid of bandwidth-intensive tasks together with ASUS USB-AC68, the combined data rate of which is up to 1900 Mbps. Thus, if you have a powerful gaming PC we would advise you to choose this product as one of the best 5 GHz wireless adapters for gaming.
- fast dual-band network connections
- USB 3.0 cradle
- easy setup
- AirRadar Beamforming technology
- short antenna extension cable
Best budget wireless adapter for PC
This tiny wireless adapter is the best product for those who want to save money and get a nice variety of options for a low price. Edimax USB Wi-Fi adapter can offer you 150 Mbps 802.11n Wireless data rate that guarantees the farthest range with the widest coverage. In a word, the speed of 802.11n rate is 6 times higher than of 802.11b. Still, it’s backward compatible with 802.11b/g as well.
We also like its Energy Saving Design for support of smart transmit power control as well as auto-idle state adjustment. Another thing we can’t but mention is that Edimax EW-7811Un is compatible with WMM Standard. It means that you will have a better streaming of real-time data (Skype, Video, Music, etc.).
Speaking of the ports, this wireless adaptor for PC has one 2.0 USB (A type) port and its data rates up to 150 Mbps. As to the frequency band, it varies from 2.4GHz to 2.4835GHz. There is also an internal chip antenna. By the way, this Edimax adapter has EZmax setup wizard and supports several languages.
- Energy Saving Design
- only one 2.0 USB port
TP-Link Archer T4U Plus
Fantastic Performance and Long Range
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense budget-oriented USB Wi-Fi adapter, the TP-Link Archer T4U Plus would definitely fit the bill. For less than $30 you’ll end up with a dual band wireless network adapter for desktop PC, featuring blazing-fast transfer speeds of up to 1267 Megabits Per Second due to AC1300 wireless technology.
The USB Wi-Fi dongle is dual band, i.e. 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for flexible connectivity (400Mpbs on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band), and the 2 high gain antennas offer improved range, as well as signal quality and transmission performance, which is exactly what people require from a Wi-Fi adapter.
You’ll also get a fast USB 3.0 port and an adjustable multi-directional antenna for best reception and flexible desktop design. MU-MIMO technology is also available, and works by providing 2 simultaneous data streams, thus improving both efficiency and output of your home network, and we can safely say that the TP-Link Archer T4U Plus is an excellent choice for web browsing, email, and social media, as well as gaming, HD streaming and large file downloads.
Due to the powerful high gain antennas you’ll benefit from fast speeds and stable wireless connections with almost zero lag, plus strong reception/signal transmission even from farther away or across multiple walls and floors.
Setup is quick and easy, and in terms of security, you’ll get WPA/WPA2 encryption, plus full compatibility for both Windows and Mac users.
- Well built
- Good value for money
- Strong performance
- No drivers required
- Long range
- Some quality control issues reported
Great Wireless Adapter for PCs With Windows OS
This wireless USB adapter will be a perfect choice for PCs with Windows OS. Linksys WUSB6300 is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 as well as all wireless AC 802.11ac routers, extenders and access points provided by Belkin and Linksys. You won’t have any problem with its installation as this Wi-Fi adapter comes with CD setup wizard in case you need any kind of help. Still, we believe you won’t need it as all you have to do to install this adapter is to connect it to the router and get the free Smart Wi-Fi App.
Linksys WUSB6300 has also got a portable design, so it can easily travel together with you hidden somewhere in your bag or even jeans pocket. What is more, thanks to 128-bit encryption all your data will be protected.
Its high speed allows users to enjoy fast and high-quality HD video streaming or browsing. Besides, it is good enough for gaming. This Linksys Wi-Fi adapter can reach up to 867 Mbps on Wireless-AC 5 GHz band and 300 Mbps on Wireless-N 2.4 GHz band.
- great speed
- easy setup
- 128-bit data encryption
- good customer support
- connection drops
- a bit bulky
A Tiny and Easy to Use USB Wi-Fi Adapter
NETGEAR (A6150) is a compact and fairly solid-performing Wi-Fi adapter that offers ease of use and a fast way to add or speed up your PCs Wi-Fi connectivity. Although it isn’t among the most affordable products out there, its combination of familiar (more importantly, reliable) brand and a good list of features, makes this device a very good choice for a wide variety of users.
Its dual-band connectivity and the maximum data transfer speed of 867Mbps in the 5GHz band and 300Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, along with beamforming and 2×2 MU-MIMO technology, but more importantly, it great signal reception is what makes this adapter worth buying.
Yes, this adapter is significantly more expensive than the competition; however, it also provides more reliable and better signal reception, great build quality, good compatibility that allows for its use with Windows, Linux, and other systems, and much more.
Altogether, it presents a very good overall package and a good quality has its price.
- easy setup
- dual-band support
- only one-year warranty
- a bit pricey
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900
Great Wi-Fi USB adapter for the money
Looking for something with a decent speed? NETGAR Nighthawk is one of those best wireless Wi-Fi adapters that have already recommended themselves as fast and effective products. AC1900 Wi-Fi presupposes speeds of up to 600Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz.
This USB Wi-Fi adapter supports such operating systems as Microsoft Windows (7/8/10), Mac OS (X 10.8.3). Still, if your PC has Linux then you’ll need to spend more time installing additional drivers.
There is modern 3×4 MIMO design for better bandwidth capacity. It plays a crucial part when downloading and uploading data to and from a wireless network. Explicit Beamforming and magnetic cradle are included as well.
Add to this 3.0 USB port and you get an adapter with a great performance speed. Keep in mind that a combination of such options will allow you to enjoy online gaming and HD streaming. So, just get a joystick, a racing wheel and enjoy.
- dual-band connectivity
- 3×4 MIMO design
- Beamforming technology
- great speed for gaming
- big size can damage adjacent ports
Panda Wireless PAU09 N600
Wireless adapter with great compatibility
You have Linux on your desktop? Then you know how difficult it’s to find wireless adapter compatible with your OS. Still, there’s a product which doesn’t require any additional drivers to work on Linux operating system. In fact, this only feature can be a decisive factor when choosing a USB Wi-Fi adapter. However, Linux compatibility isn’t the only option Panda Wireless is proud of. There is also dual band connectivity, so you can count on 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11 ac/b/g/n networks.
To be honest, we can regard this wireless adapter to be almost the most highly compatible product on the market. Except for Linux it also supports such OS as 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora and even CentOS. Still, it doesn’t work with Xbox 360, PS3, Blu-Ray or Roku, TV.
What is more, Panda Wireless has WEP 64/128bit, WPA, WPA2 (TKIP+AES) encryption and supports ad-hoc modes. We also appreciate its low power consumption, so you may not worry about your device battery life.
- highly compatible
- dual-band connectivity
- supports ad-hoc modes
- low-power consumption
- connection drops
TP-Link Archer T3U
If you’re looking for a mini Wi-Fi adapter for your PC desktop, or you’re just trying to have better Wi-Fi performance on your laptop, the TP-Link Archer T3U is a solid choice, as it’s, small, smells nice, eats less (battery), and in the same time offers solid performance at a decent price. We’re just kidding a little bit, but this little Wi-Fi adapter really gets the job done with zero drama, and, more than that, offers extensive driver support, i.e. it works well on Windows PCs, Macs and Linux machines alike, being a “jack of all trades, master of all”, provided such thing even exists.
- small and light
- great value for money
- features MU-MIMO technology, 2.4G/5G Dual Band Wireless
- cross-platform compatibility including Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP/Mac OS X 10.9-10.14
- easy to install, solid driver support
- none really at this price
Good Features at Affordable Price
Edup is a relatively unknown company from China, like most of them are nowadays, but don’t let that scare you, as the EP-AC1675 makes for a solid USB 3.0 Wi-Fi adapter with 6dBi Antennas. With a retail price just shy of fifty bucks, the Edup is basically an upgrade to your desktop/laptop Wi-Fi card, and it offers high-speed Wi-Fi of up to 1300Mops over 5GHz, 600Mbps over 2.4GHz for HD video streaming, lag-free online gaming and web surfing.
This comes directly from the manufacturer, hence we cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information, but tested in real life, the Edup EP-AC1675 did not fail to impress. Signal strength and link quality is as solid as it gets even when passing through several walls, which means is fast enough for HD streaming and gaming. Similarly specced brand-builds will cost you twice as much as the Edup, hence if you’re on a tight budget, you may give it a try.
The cord that arrives with the unit is long enough to mount the Wi-Fi adapter on top of the computer for best performance, and the mount itself features nice rubber feet and is quite heavy, so it stays in place nicely, and even includes a solidly-built USB cradle so that you can position the adapter wherever you want.
Installation on Windows 10 is a breeze, but you may encounter some issues on Linux or Mac machines, so be advised. Bottom line, at half the price of the competitor, this is a sound choice.
- Solid performance
- Nice features
- Constant signal strength
- Some driver issues on non-Windows machines
Reliable cheap USB wireless adapter
Net-Dyn tries to combine a reasonable price and quality in their products in order to be not only affordable for a wide authority of customers but also make their life easier and their virtual trips more pleasant.
This wireless adapter has dual-band, so you will be allotted both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz connectivity. By the way, its coverage has more than 90 meters. Such great distance means that you won’t be a prisoner of your Wi-Fi and there is a chance to enjoy net surfing far from your study, bedroom or any other place where you have a router. Apart from this, Net-Dyn AC1200 is compatible with all WLAN routers including WPA, WPA2 and WEP.
Setup is simple and all you need to do before you start using this USB Wi-Fi adapter is to plug it in, install the drivers and that’s all. Net-Dyn adapter is friendly to most of the operating systems, so there won’t be any problems if you have Windows or Mac operating system. Still, Linux owners will have to spend more time installing additional drivers.
- affordable price
- dual-band connectivity
- highly compatible with routers
- no Linux compatibility
BrosTrend 1200Mbps WiFi Adapter
Reliable Adapter With a Good Range
This product has become quite popular in the time since its release. Given its fast 867Mbps Wireless Speed on 5GHz WiFi Band or 300Mbps on 2.4GHz WiFi Band, this WiFi adapter is great for online 4K video watching, gaming, high-quality music playback, or social media sites. With the excellent long-range capacity and the vertically and horizontally extendable WiFi antennas, this adapter is extremely easy to use and adjust based on your needs.
This product offers exceptional stability on your desktop, PC, or laptop, no matter where you are due to the larger size of the adapter with its antenna and USB cradle. This item is likely to work best with routers that can handle AC1700 or AC1900. No matter where you are in your home, your BrosTrend 1200Mbps WiFi Adapter is ready to provide exceptional, uninterrupted coverage.
- Compatible with Windows 10, Windows 7, Linux Mint, Ubuntu, MAC OS X 10.6~10.10
- Long range connectivity with 2 X 5dBi WiFi Antenna
- Comes with USB 3.0 cradle
- Five feet cable extension
- 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Some users experience random disconnects
- Occasionally arrives with only one antenna working
Best secured wireless adapter
And the last but not the least product on our list of best wireless adapters is Trendnet AC1900. It has a high power radio with detachable high gain antennas that increase wireless coverage and make you feel freer when choosing the place for net surfing.
There is fast USB 3.0 as well as USB 2.0 share ports and our favorite one touch network connection with the WPS button. Trendnet AC1900 is pre-encrypted for your convenience and allows the creation of an isolated guest network.
What is more, Trendnet AC1900 creates two concurrent wireless networks – a 1.3 Gigabit Wireless AC network and a 600 Mbps Wireless N network in order to connect common wireless devices. There is also targeted Beamforming and an option of parental control.
- detachable high gain antennas
- 3.0 USB port
- Beamforming technology
- parental control
- needs improvement for Mac OS
- connection drops
Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750 is suppose to be the best for Linux, well if it is, it is certainly not plug and play or out of the box experience.
I am using current Linux Mint (core 4.15.XX), apparently the driver is suppose to be build in, but it did not detect the key.
downloading the driver and following the instruction from the manufacturer did not work (error during make file).
found solution from GitHub.
does the netgear nighthawk ac1900 have the same 100yard range(or more) as the net dyn ac1200?
The range depends on a number of factors including the router. So manufacturers don’t usually mention the exact range.
According to user reviews, Nighthawk ac1900 has a quite good range.
which is best for a windows 7 pc?
They all are compatible with Windows 7. It more depends on your needs and budget. I personally would go for either Netgear and TP-Link adapters.
I am currently using the TP-Link Archer T3U. I need to inform you that you have to add Dropped Connections to your list of Cons. It happens frequently; normally no one would be able to tell, but I use my laptop to stream ‘live’ football events, and it becomes obvious immediately.
Another Con is that it usually connects to the 2.4Ghz network rather than the 5hz network, which I find myself having to do so manually eventhough the “Connect Automatically” box is checked.