Best USB Wifi Adapter: The Complete Buying Guide
In this day and age, it is almost impossible to live without a good internet connection. Whether you need to stay connected for work, and school, or simply keep in touch with friends and family, a reliable internet connection is a must.
However, not all homes are equipped with Wi-Fi, and even if they are, the signal may not be strong enough to reach all areas of the house. That’s where a USB WiFi adapter comes in handy.
By plugging the adapter into a USB port, you can extend the reach of your home’s Wi-Fi signal and get online from anywhere in the house. In addition, a USB Wi-Fi adapter is a great way to stay connected when you’re on the go.
Whether you’re at a hotel or camping in the middle of nowhere, as long as there’s a USB port available, you’ll be able to get online. So if you’re looking for an easy way to stay connected, a USB Wi-Fi adapter is the perfect solution.
What is a USB Wi-Fi Adapter?
A USB Wi-Fi adapter is a device that allows a computer to connect to a Wi-Fi network. The adapter plugs into the USB port on the computer and then connects to the Wi-Fi network, allowing the computer to access the Internet wirelessly.
In most cases, the adapter will be detected and installed automatically by the operating system, making it easy to get up and running with Wi-Fi.
USB Wi-Fi adapters are an ideal solution for computers that do not have built-in Wi-Fi, or for situations where the built-in Wi-Fi is not working properly. They are also handy for connecting to Wi-Fi networks in public places, such as coffee shops or libraries.
Top 10 Best USB Adapters For PC & Laptops
1. Trendnet TEW-809UB
The Trendnet TEW-809UB is at the other end of the size spectrum from nano adapters (opens in new tab). The speeds and powerful, adjustable antennas (four total, each with a strength of 5dBi) of this networking adapter make up for its lack of portability.
A driver is supplied but no other software is included. Windows is in charge of networking instead. Although MU-MIMO is not supported, Beamforming is, thanks to the adapter.
Though the TEW-809UB’s range is impressive, it’s worth keeping in mind that its performance tends to fluctuate the further away you are. In addition, it’s bigger than the other USB Wi-Fi adapters we’ve included in our comparison. Having four big antennas, it
While in usage, the Trendnet TEW-809UB remains steady and quick. It makes excellent use of its antennae, outperforming all other adapters in our tests for wireless range at the edge of the network, on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
If you need to use Wi-Fi in an area with a poor signal, this is a fantastic option.
|Great range||Not the most portable|
|Fast AC1900 speeds||No bundled software|
2. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter
The NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter offers high-speed wireless connectivity for your home or office network.
With data transfer rates of up to 1900 Mbps, it’s perfect for streaming HD video, gaming, and downloading large files. The adapter also includes a built-in USB 3.0 port for connecting to an external hard drive or other USB devices.
The Nighthawk AC1900 is a powerful and portable adapter, but it is also very large in comparison to its competitors. And for added convenience, it comes with a desktop stand and a magnetized base for easy placement on a desk or table.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing wireless network or establish a new one, the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter is a great option.
|Included Desktop cradle||A somewhat bulky design|
|Excellent dual-band connectivity||Not the fastest option|
3. ASUS USB-AC68
If you’re looking for a high-performance WiFi adapter, the ASUS USB-AC68 is a great option. This adapter uses the latest 802.11ac technology to provide speeds of up to 1900Mbps, making it ideal for streaming HD video or gaming online.
Plus, it comes with dual-band external antennae for maximum range and performance. The ASUS USB-AC68 is also very easy to set up – simply plug it into an available USB port and follow the on-screen instructions.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your home network or connect to a public hotspot, the ASUS USB-AC68 is a great choice.
The USB-AC68 adapter from Asus is notable for its folding shape and multiple, retractable antennae. It has a 3×4 antenna configuration and supports USB 3.0, the AC1900 standard, Asus AiRadar Beamforming, and MU-MIMO.
Despite performing well in close-range 2.4GHz tests, this Asus adapter performs poorly in long-distance tests. Despite the fact that the 5GHz tests are far more trustworthy, it was not the quickest in either the near or far-distance tests.
When it comes to performance and range, the Trendnet TEW-809UB is our top pick, but it isn’t exactly the most compact or portable option. If you plan to utilize your adapter for mobile gaming, the Asus USB-AC68 is the way to go.
One more thing going for it is that it only costs $75 on the street. There is a cradle for at-home use, and the adapter can also be plugged directly into a USB port for portability.
|Two deployable antennas||5GHz is not the fastest either|
|Plugs directly into USB or included cradle||Unimpressive 2.4GHz performance|
4. Edimax EW-7833UAC
The Edimax EW-7833UAC is a high-performance WiFi USB adapter that is perfect for those who want to upgrade their computer’s wireless capabilities. The adapter features a dual-band antenna that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, providing speeds of up to 433Mbps.
The Edimax EW-7833UAC is the successor to the EW-7822UAC. This adapter has faster rates than the AC1200 found in many popular models (N450, AC1300). The setup was easy, and Windows 10 took care of all the necessary configurations automatically.
Despite being roughly the same size as other popular adapters, it makes use of a cleverly designed deployable portion that contains three antennas to boost range and throughput. It also supports MU-MIMO and Beamforming, which is a boon to signal quality.
Additionally, the adapter includes support for the latest 802.11ac standard, making it backward compatible with older wireless devices. The EW-7833UAC also includes a convenient USB 3.0 connector, making it easy to connect to a wider range of computers.
Overall, the Edimax EW-7833UAC is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to upgrade their computer’s wireless capabilities.
|Deployable antenna||Runs warm after prolonged use|
|Dominated throughput tests||Not the best at the range|
5. Linksys WUSB6300
The Linksys WUSB6300 AC1200 USB 3.0 WiFi Adapter is a great way to upgrade your computer’s wireless capabilities. Featuring 802.11ac technology, it offers speeds up to three times faster than 802.11n devices.
The adapter also includes a USB 3.0 port for maximum speed and compatibility with a wide range of devices. In addition, the WUSB6300 comes with Linksys Connect software, which makes it easy to set up and manage your wireless network.
Whether you’re looking to stream HD video or simply browse the web, the Linksys WUSB6300 AC1200 USB 3.0 WiFi Adapter is an ideal solution.
The WUSB6300 strikes a nice mix between portability and sufficient transmission distance and data rate. While the 2.4GHz results are capped by the specification, the 5GHz speeds win on throughput for three of the six criteria in this increasingly competitive category of adapter, even with the longer distance tests.
When compared to the competition, which fares poorly in wireless fringe testing, this adapter’s performance at greater distances is even more amazing.
The Linksys WUSB6300 is a highly recommended option for an adapter to toss in a bag with your notebook or carry as a backup, at a list price of under $40.
|Supports MU-MIMO||Can block other USB ports|
|Very compact||Unexciting 2.4GHz throughput|
6. EDUP EP-AC1635 USB WiFi Adapter
The EDUP-1635 is a compact yet potent USB Wi-Fi adapter with an external antenna that extends your network’s reach and boosts your connection speed, allowing you to play games and watch videos anywhere in your home.
The antenna may be rotated in any direction to help focus the signal, however, in most circumstances, you won’t need to because our tests showed it made just a minor difference. Its most useful function is to keep it out of the way.
However, it discovered that the EDUP-1635 functioned exceptionally well at distances up to 20 feet, and it effortlessly managed numerous 4K streams from YouTube and Netflix, as well as gaming in Rocket League, regardless of position.
However, it was discovered that despite the external antenna’s appearance, this model’s Wi-Fi performance was not noticeably better than the one provided by the laptop itself.
This one is better suited to improving the performance of an older laptop with Wi-Fi 4, rather than increasing the range of a newer one. However, the EDUP-1635 offers remarkable functionality for its low price tag (about the same as a good lunch).
|Small and compact||Incompatible with Linux|
|Excellent speed and range||The external antenna might be a drawback for some|
|Includes driver disc|
7. Ourlink U631 USB Wi-Fi Adapter
Ourlink U631 is ideal for road warriors due to its ultra-compact design, which allows you to plug it into your laptop’s USB port and forget about it.
As it has a small profile, you may leave it plugged in without fear of it becoming detached or damaged, and it won’t interfere with any of your laptop’s other ports.
However, there is a significant loss in range in exchange for its reduced size. The U631’s speeds drastically decrease as you travel further away from your router because large antennae are difficult to fit into such a compact device.
Our tests showed that it performed admirably in close quarters but fell short when farther away, making it unsuitable for online gaming or video streaming.
However, even at a considerable distance, you’ll enjoy a connection fast enough for basic web browsing and email. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and the included CD makes installation a breeze.
The actual benefit, though, is that it’s so compact that it integrates seamlessly with your laptop, either as a replacement for or in addition to the built-in Wi-Fi.
|Very affordable||Some lag for heavy gamers|
|Windows, Linux, and Mac compatible||Linux setup can be tricky|
8. Netgear A6100-100PES
The Netgear A6100-100PES WiFi USB Adapter is a small and compact device that allows you to connect to the Internet wirelessly.
It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and it offers speeds of up to 150Mbps. The adapter also includes an internal antenna for better range and performance.
In addition, the adapter is easy to set up and use, making it a great choice for those who are not familiar with networking technology.
Overall, the Netgear A6100-100PES WiFi USB Adapter is a great option for those who want to connect to the Internet wirelessly. It is affordable, easy to use, and offers good speeds.
|Compact||Relatively slow speeds|
9. D-Link DWA-X1850
The D-Link DWA-X1850 is a powerful WiFi USB adapter that is perfect for homes and businesses that need reliable WiFi coverage. The DWA-X1850 provides up to 3x faster speeds than 802.11n adapters, making it ideal for streaming HD video, gaming, and downloading large files.
The adapter also includes a dual-band antenna which helps to extend the range of the signal, providing better coverage in homes with multiple rooms.
In addition, the DWA-X1850 is backward compatible with older 802.11g devices, making it a great option for upgrading an existing wireless network.
Overall, the D-Link DWA-X1850 is a high-performance WiFi adapter that is perfect for users who need reliable and fast WiFi coverage.
|Latest Wi-Fi standard||Windows only|
|Doesn’t obscure adjacent USB ports||Not the fastest kind of Wi-Fi 6|
How to figure out the Best USB adapter?
Numerous popular USB Wi-Fi adapters, including those made by the industry’s biggest names and those that keep popping up in product reviews and product recommendations.
There are various factors to consider before buying a USB adapter:
A USB Wi-Fi adapter is a device that allows a computer to connect to a wireless network. There are many factors to consider when choosing a USB Wi-Fi adapter, including speed, range, and compatibility.
One of the most important considerations is speed, as a slower connection will result in lower throughput. Another important consideration is a range, as a shorter range will limit the number of devices that can be connected to the network.
Finally, compatibility is also an important factor, as some adapters are only compatible with certain types of computers. By considering all of these factors, you can be sure to choose the best USB Wi-Fi adapter for your needs.
When considering a USB Wi-Fi adapter, the first thing to look at is the range. The range is determined by the antenna type and the number of antennas. The higher the number, the greater the range.
If you live in a large home or office, you’ll need an adapter with a high range. If you’re only using it in a small space, such as an apartment, you can get away with a lower range. Another important factor to consider is speed. The speed is determined by the Wireless standard.
The higher the Wireless standard, the faster the speed. If you’re only using your adapter for basic web browsing and email, you won’t need a high speed. However, if you’re looking to stream video or download large files, you’ll need an adapter that supports a high Wireless standard.
When considering a USB Wi-Fi adapter, keep in mind the range and speed that you need. With a little research, you can find an adapter that will meet your needs and help you stay connected.
This is a crucial consideration; a USB adaptor shouldn’t cost more than $40 to $80. You shouldn’t assume that spending more means getting better results.
Instead of spending more, you may upgrade your standalone router, connect your computer directly to the modem, or set up a home mesh network.
Good compact case and sturdy build quality
These two things will improve your experience with the USB adaptor. The smaller the adapter, the less likely it is that you will accidentally grab it on your arm and have it come loose. The downside is that these adapters typically have weaker radios and antennae.
Beamforming and MU-MIMO
When it comes to choosing a USB Wi-Fi Adapter, there are a few things you need to consider. One of the most important features is beamforming.
Beamforming is a technology that helps to direct the Wi-Fi signal to where it is needed most. This can be especially helpful if you have a large home or office and need to connect multiple devices.
Another feature to look for is MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO stands for Multi-User, Multiple Input, and Multiple Output. This technology allows multiple users to connect to the Wi-Fi at the same time without affecting performance.
If you are looking for the best possible performance from your USB Wi-Fi Adapter, make sure to choose one that supports both beamforming and MU-MIMO.
A good warranty
When you are choosing a USB Wi-Fi Adapter, it is important to consider the warranty. Many adapters come with a one-year warranty, but some companies offer extended warranties for an additional cost.
An extended warranty can give you peace of mind in knowing that your investment is protected in the event that something goes wrong. However, it is important to read the fine print before purchasing an extended warranty, as some companies only cover specific types of damage.
In addition, you should consider whether you are likely to need to use the warranty, as it may not be worth the extra cost if you never have any problems with your adapter.
Ultimately, deciding whether to purchase an extended warranty for your USB Wi-Fi Adapter is a personal decision that depends on your individual needs and budget.
If you have a laptop or desktop that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you’ve probably considered buying a USB Wi-Fi adapter.
Most of these adapters will work with Windows, but if you’re considering a switch to MacOS or Linux, you’ll want to make sure the adapter you purchase will work with your new OS. In general, multiple-OS support is becoming more common, but there are still some adapters that only work with Windows.
When choosing a USB Wi-Fi adapter, it’s important to consider compatibility to ensure you’ll be able to use the adapter with all the devices you need it for.
Ease of setup
When you are looking for an easy way to get your computer online, you should consider a USB Wi-Fi Adapter. This type of adapter plugs into your computer’s USB port and gives you the ability to connect to a wireless network.
The best part about using a USB Wi-Fi Adapter is that it is very easy to set up. In most cases, all you need to do is plug the adapter into your computer and then follow the on-screen instructions.
Once the adapter is installed, you will be able to start browsing the internet within minutes. Additionally, a USB Wi-Fi Adapter is very portable and can be used with any laptop or desktop computer that has a USB port.
If you’ve ever tried to connect to a Wi-Fi network in a public place, you know how frustrating it can be. Often, the signal is weak or non-existent, and you end up resorting to using your data plan instead. That’s where a USB Wi-Fi adapter comes in handy.
By plugging the adapter into your laptop or other devices, you can boost your signal and get online even in the most challenging environments.
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter is the best option for people who want to stay connected while watching videos or playing games while remaining affordable and compact for those who just need to stay online while traveling.
A USB Wi-Fi adapter can be a lifesaver if your computer’s internal Wi-Fi card fails or gets damaged. Whether you’re working on a presentation at a coffee shop or streaming a movie in your hotel room, a USB Wi-Fi adapter can help you stay connected and productive.