Since Wi-Fi technology was introduced to the largest masses, it has become the most convenient way of sharing information. This is why finding the best USB Wi-Fi Adapter for your particular needs is important. We have reviewed a number of best-selling Wi-Fi adapters and here is the list of the ones we found the best, most useful and usable.
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How to Choose the Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter
There is a modern-day saying that if you want to see who a person really is, turn off their internet for a while. Does that tell you anything? Imagining life without internet is impossible, and slow and limited internet is frustrating regardless of what you are using it for – gaming, streaming a movie, conference video calls, and more.
To make your life comfortable and stress-free, you need to have a stable Wi-Fi connection. Choosing the right Wi-Fi adapter can be a mind-boggling experience if you do not know what you are looking for. So, here is a list of what to consider before buying one.
First of all, consider why you need a USB adapter. Even if your laptop has an internal Wi-Fi card, an external Wi-Fi adapter can significantly improve your streaming or buffering experience. Choosing the right one in terms of performance and cost, and considering where you can compromise, depends also on the type of tasks you will have to do and essentially use the adapter for.
The choice of speed depends on the work you will be doing. For regular use of the internet, 300Mbps is enough, some adapters give you the option to go as fast as 1300Mbps.
The size of the adapter depends on how much space you can dedicate to it because often, the USB ports are close together so a bulky Wi-Fi adapter will not to the job, however good it is if you cannot plug it in. The size you choose also depends on your personal preference.
Choosing between 2.4 GHz and 5Ghz depends on the environment more than anything. Adapters with 5 GHz are stronger but lose power with distance. Choose the 2.4 GHz instead, especially if you do not have many walls and other adapters the frequency of which can cause interference.
Match the wireless protocol to the one of your router’s. The 802.11ac protocol is fast, however, if your router comes with a/b/g/n protocols, which are slower, paying extra for an ac will not bring you any benefits.
Make sure that your wireless adapter is encrypted for WLAN safety.
10 Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters
Edimax EW-7822ULC AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter
This dual-band adapter reaches the speeds of 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 866 Mbps on 5GHz frequencies. Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, ac OS 10.710.13, Linux Kernel 2.64.15.
The Beamforming technology allows for great speed and stable connection when it is connected to a beamforming router. Due to its small size, it is great for laptops as it will not look bulky and out of place.
It works on 802.11n and 802.11ac protocols.
- Extra small and compact
- Supports latest 11AC Wave 2, MU-MIMO for problem-free streaming, surfing, and gaming
- Great compatibility- Windows, MAC, Linux, and others on request
- Targeted beamforming technology
- WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryptions ensure high safety features
- Uses only 2.0 USB ports
Elegance in Action
Compatible with any router it boosts and improves your wireless internet connectivity. IT is also compatible with Windows, MAC, and Linux. The WPS button allows for super easy setup.
It works on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and reaches the speeds up to 1300 Mbps on higher frequencies making it great for reduced buffering, and lag-free online gaming.
It uses 3.0 USB port and comes with a 3 ft cable and a cradle for more convenient mounting. Its design is simple and convenient. It has 4 internal antennas. Easily upgrades internet connectivity on old or cheap laptops.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- Dual Band
- 1900AC for reaching superspeeds
- Compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Has some issues for troubleshooting, easily resolved
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi USB Adapter (A7000-10000S)
This Wi-Fi adapter is great for online gaming, streaming, and uploading as well as regular internet usages. It reaches wireless speeds of 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz.
It comes with a magnetic cradle and a cable to mount it easily on metallic surfaces. It is compatible with the blue 3.0 USB port for faster, more stable performance. Explicit Beamforming+ technology boosts speed, range, and stability.
The 3×4 MIMO design allows for more bandwidth capacity when uploading and downloading.
- Very fast- reaches speeds of 600Mbps and 1300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz respectively
- Compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, (32/64-bit) and MAC 10.8.3 and later
- Modern design
- 4 internal antennas
- Not compatible with Linux
NET-DYN AC1200 USB Wireless WiFi Adapter
NET-DYN is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP and Mac 10.7 to 10.8. A driver is required to start although it is very easy to set it up. With a 100-yard coverage, you will not have wireless dead spots in your home.
It is a dual-band adapter and reaches the speed of 867 Mbps on 5 GHz which is great for online gaming and works well with gaming routers. It uses the 802.11 ac next-generation protocol. It reduces buffering and freezing while streaming HD movies.
This adapter amplifies your signal and is compatible with b/n/g/ac protocol. Comes with the internal antenna for a more compact look and great experience even for gaming.
- 100-yard coverage
- Lifetime warranty
- Best for the lag-free gaming experience
- It is not compatible with Mac OS Sierra
Techkey 1200Mbps USB Wifi Adapter
This USB AC wireless adapter is great for Windows 10 as no drivers are required, also, it is compatible with older Windows, MAC and Ubuntu. It has great security as it is supported by all WLAN routers. The cordless devices do not interfere with the signal.
It will not boost your router’s power but it will transmit signal up to 100 yards. It is one of the best for online gaming as it reaches the speed of 866 Mbps on 5 GHz. It is backward compatible with 2.0 and 1.1 devices but works best on 3.0 ports. Its antenna is high gain long-range 5 dBi, and rotatable.
- 100 yard Wi-Fi coverage
- 3.0 USB port compatible for higher speed
- Rotatable 5dBi antenna
- Not compatible with Linux operating system
Spider Web Master
This out-of-this-world looking Wi-Fi USB adapter with 4 5dBi high gain detachable antennas is sure to give you flawless wireless experience. With beamforming technology, it increases and improves wireless coverage.
The 802.11n on 2.4 GHz allows for 600 Mbps speed for surfing, webchat, and e-mails, while 802.11ac is great for 4K UHD movies, online gaming and video conference calls.
It upgrades your computer be it desktop or laptop to 1900AC. Connects via 3.0 USB port. WEP, WPA / WPA2-PSK wireless encryption for safety.
- Supprts up to 1300 Mbps superspeed for lag-free gaming and buffer-free 4K movies streaming
- 3-year warranty
- Compatible with only Windows and MAC
BrosTrend AC3 1200Mbps
Bro That’s Got Your Back
This adapter with two high gain antennas brings you great Wi-Fi experience whether you use a desktop or a laptop and regardless of your operating system as it is compatible with Windows and MAC. It is a dual-band adapter so with 5 GHz it can reach the speed of 867 Mbps, and with 2.4 GHz it reaches the speed of 300 Mbps.
Thanks to the 802.11 ac protocol chip its speed is three times faster than n protocol Wi-Fi adapters. The manufacturer claims that you can get great internet connection even from another floor thanks to its two 5dBi detachable antennas, and it uses the patented BrosTrend Wi-Fi range-extending technology.
The two-way rotation antennas can be adjusted to fit the appropriate direction for best performance. The adapter comes with 5 ft extension cable so you can plug it in anywhere you want. It has 3.0 gold plated port which is ten times faster than the regular 2.0 port.
- Dual-Band – uses both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency
- 2 High gain antennas
- Compatible with ac protocol as well as with other, older Wi-Fi protocols
- 5 feet extension cable
- USB gold plated port for more stable internet connection
- 3.0 port
- Compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, XP, Vista and with MAC
- It is not compatible with Linux
Long Range Performer
One of the cheapest, yet great Wi-Fi adapters out there, gives you a professional experience for a very affordable price. It is compatible with most of Windows and MAC operating systems.
It requires drive installation (comes with the adapter) or you can download the latest driver form their website. High power, high speed, with 2 high gain long-range 6dBi antenna, this adapter is sure to catch even the slightest signal.
It can create a hotspot with the Soft AP feature on a wired gaming PC which makes it the best Wi-Fi adapter for desktop computers. It is great for low lag online gaming, streaming, video calls, and others. Compatible with 2.0 and 3.0 ports.
- The Soft AP Feature helps you create a Hot spot
- Dual-band -supports 2.4 GHz (300Mbps) or 5 GHz (867 Mbps)
- Compatible with ac as well as any of the /a/b/g/n pro89tocols
- Wi-Fi Performance: AC1200Mbps (2.4G 300M / 5.8G 867M)
- High gain long-range 6dBi antenna
- Not compatible with Linux
Panda Wireless PAU09 N600
Strength of a Wild Animal
Panda Wi-Fi adapter is dual-band, and works with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, although the greatest speed it can achieve is 300 Mbps even for 5 GHz. It uses the 802.11n protocol.
It is backward compatible with 802.11b/g wireless networks, and 802.11ac/n. It is compatible with 2.0 ports and comes with the 5 ft extension cable.
- Supports both infrastructure and ad-hoc modes
- WEP 64/128bit, WPA, WPA2 (TKIP+AES) encryption
- 2 5dBi antennas
- Compatible with Windows, OS, Linux, Ubuntu, and others
- Max wireless connection speed is 300Mbps
- Not compatible with 3.0 ports
The Tiniest Warrior
This tiny Wi-Fi USB adapter is as strong as other regardless of its small size. It has great 1200AC power and it is dual-band, with speeds up to 867 Mbps for 5 GHz frequencies.
It can be instantly used as it is plug and play. It uses only 2.0 ports, and it looks a part of the ensemble because of its size. It gives you great streaming, multiplayer gaming, and downloading experience.
ASUS USB Nano uses 802.11ac and 802.11n protocols but can be compatible with other protocols as well. Its default setting is the best for Windows 10.
- Dual-Band 802.11AC MU-MIMO enabled
- Extra small size
- Mu-Mimo technology allows for maximum speed wireless with MIMO enabled devices
- Compatible for Windows XP/Vista/7/8/1/10 only
So, this is the list of what we consider are the best wireless USB adapters on the market right now. We hope that you will find this list, and the essentials of what a USB adapter needs to possess, helpful before you decide to purchase one for yourself. Remember, weigh your needs against the specs of the device you are considering, and you will get the most out of it.