Best USB Wifi Adapter
When using the internet whether in your home or office, what matters most is the speed. Nowadays most people use routers to access the internet. However, sometimes these routers tend to be very slow depending on your location and provider.
Best USB Wifi Adapter Comparison
|Product||USB Port||Wireless Frequency|
|TrendNet AC1900||USB 3.0||600 Mps|
|ASUS USB AC68||USB 3.0||2.4 GHz|
|NET Dyn USB||USB 3.0||2.4 GHz|
|TP Link AC450||USB 2.0||5.0 GHz|
|Panda PAU 06||USB 2.0||2.4 GHz|
|Linksys AC1200||USB 2.0||5.0 GHz|
|D Link AC1900||USB 3.0||5.0 GHz|
|Netgear N300||USB 2.0||2.4GHz|
|Netgear AC6210||USB 3.0||2.4GHz|
|Linksys AE6000||USB 2.0||2.4GHz|
When this happens, there is no need to panic because there are many devices you can buy to boost the performance of your router or any wireless internet connection.
In this review, we shall look at Best USB Wi-Fi adapters which are the best in the provision of reliable internet connections. Are you ready to learn more about these devices? Read on.
Wi-Fi USB adapters are small devices that are plugged in a USB port of a desktop or a laptop to boost the connection range of the router.
In simple terms, they enhance the overall wireless connection between a router and the computer. If you are not careful, you can easily confuse them with flash drives since they have a similar appearance.
Are you worried that you are using an old desktop that does not have an internal wireless network card? Relax, the good news is that you can purchase a USB Wi-Fi adapter which is very easy to use instead of buying a new computer.
Wireless adapters of many laptops today have greatly been improved as compared to earlier models but still, they are not as good as USB adapters. Today, most USB adapters come with high-gain antennas to boost their performance.
People love them because they are reliable, small, affordable, durable and easy to use. You will also find that they work perfectly with almost all Windows operating systems. As a result, they are very common in many homes, businesses, offices, schools and other institutions.
There is no doubt that investing in a Wi-Fi USB adapter is a worthy investment especially if you love streaming HD videos, playing online games or surfing without buffering.
However, if you have been on the market in search of these gadgets you may have realized that it not an easy task. This is because today there are so many models on the market. You will also find that these devices are very similar although they don’t work the same.
Purchasing just any USB WI-FI adapter can be an expensive mistake because most of those you will find out there will not even work. This means that you need to be very careful when buying to ensure that the device you have selected will give you value for your money.
To make your work easier, have spent countless hours to compile a list of the best Wi-Fi USB adapters you can find today.
But why should you trust our reviews?
This is how we conducted our research. Firstly, we considered the best USB wifi adapters on Amazon. We also considered all the devices that feature on the “Best of” articles.
From the list, we identified 25 top rated USB Wi-Fi adapters. After this, we tried to compare the common features most buyers preferred. We also tried to compare the prices to ensure that the list will be suitable for people with different budgets.
After doing all this, we were able to come up with a list of the top 10 best Wi-Fi USB adapters you should consider. If you would like to confirm this, just click the links to check their reviews on Amazon. Please check them below.
Best USB Wi-fi Adapters
Are you searching for a universal adapter which can provide very high speeds? Trendnet AC1900 might be what you are looking for. It is an excellent device which has a very high speed since it works well with wireless standard 802.11 ac.
As a result, it is among the best wireless Wi-Fi adapters that you will ever find. Apart from that, it has dual-band capabilities, unlike others. The speeds are up to 600 Mbps on 5 GHz and 150 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. This means that you can comfortably use it to play online games or watch HD videos without buffering.
Another incredible thing about this Wi-Fi adapter is that it works perfectly with different Wi-Fi routers. You should also note that it is compatible with all versions of Windows operating systems and all versions of Mac-OS with both 32-bit and 62-bit variant. However, it doesn’t work with Linux computers and might be slow with laptops.
In addition, it comes with high gain and high radio detachable antennas to boost coverage.
Even if you are not a tech-savvy, you shouldn’t mind because it is very easy to install and use. However, the price is a bit high as compared to others but it provides the best performance.
According to our research, this one is absolutely the best. Click here to check the reviews. However, this does not mean that the other products in this article are of low quality. They are also reliable and comes with fantastic features as you will come to see.
Pros & Cons TrendNet AC1900
|*Easy to install||* Weak build quality|
|*Detachable antennas||* Some problems reported with laptops|
|* 3 Year warranty|
|* Compatible with windows & iOS|
Verdict – If you are looking for the best USB Wi-Fi adapter and you don’t have any problem in investing in an expensive device. Trendnet AC1900 is indeed one of the best. Unlike others, you will find that it comes with detachable antennas to boost the performance.
Some people feel that USB Wi-Fi adapters are somehow slow. However, this is not true and if you have been thinking of investing in a quality USB-Wi-Fi adapter, ASUS USB-AC68 can be a perfect option.
One of the most outstanding features of this device is the 3-position antenna and also the dual internal antenna which enables it to deliver amazing speeds. Due to these antennas, it works well with both laptops and desktops.
The best thing about these antennas is that they are very easy to fold which makes them suitable for laptops since they are portable. Apart from that, they provide strong reception for laptops. To boost the desktop coverage, it comes with a USB 3.0 jack which provides extra placement options for these computers.
Another unique thing about this Wi-Fi adapter is that it uses AiRadar beamforming which boosts stability. Apart from that, it boosts the speed of wireless connectivity. It also comes with a desktop cradle which allows you to place in a place with the best reception.
This feature comes handy in areas with Wi-Fi connectivity problems. The device provides a wireless connection of up to 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz.
Pros & Cons ASUS USB AC68
|* Dual band connection||* Extension cable on antenna quite short|
|* USB 3.0 Jack|
|*Works well with laptops|
Verdict – This one is among the top rated USB wireless adapters which provide a reliable dual-band connection. If you are using a desktop, it comes with a USB 3.0 jack to boost the performance.
One of the most impressive things about Net-Dyn adapters is that they come with a lifetime warranty.
Unlike others, this one supports dual broadband to provide a steady and high performance. Additionally, it is very easy to use and it takes about 3 minutes to install.
It has a speed of 150 Mbps which allows you to get the best performance. You will find that it has a high rating on Amazon. This means that it is among the rare USB adapters you can trust. It works with almost all operating systems. Furthermore, it is supported by WLAN Reuters which enable it to provide a strong signal. Check it here.
Pros & Cons Net Dyn Adapter
|* Affordable||*Limited speed|
|* Strong signal|
Verdict – What we liked about this model is that it provides a very strong signal. Moreover, it comes with a lifetime warranty which is a rare feature you can’t find in many USB Wi-Fi adapters. However, it may not be the best in terms of speed.
Here is another fantastic Wi-Fi adapter for those who are searching for a small device. The best thing about TP-Link TIU AC450 is that due to its small size, it fits easily in all laptops.
Another thing is that it won’t interfere with your work since it’s very tiny. Apart from that, it will not block any adjacent ports. It is very easy to use due to its simple design. You only need to follow a few configuration steps and that’s all.
When doing research we also noted that it has 802.11ac standard and it is also compatible with 802.11 a/n. However, you need to know that it does not support any other band apart from 5 GHz band.
This means that it is able to prevent any wireless signal interference. It has a speed of up to 433 Mbps which means that you can stream HD videos or play online games smoothly.
If you are worried about security, one thing you should note is that it works well with 64/128 bit WEP, PA2, WPA, WPA2-PSK/WPA-PSK. It is a great option for those who are on a limited budget.
The best thing is that it comes with 2-years limited warranty and unlimited support. Finally, yet importantly, it is compatible with all Windows, Linux and MAC OS.
Pros & Cons TP Link AC450
|* Easy to use||*Limited coverage|
|* Good speed|
|*Compatible with all OS|
Verdict – This one is one of the smallest USB adapters. Due to its small design, it doesn’t interfere with your work. Another thing is that it works well with all windows. However, it does not work with 2.4 GHz band.
This one is a plug and play device which means that it is very easy to set up.
It is one of the best for those who love streaming videos and playing games. It is also a great option for those who cannot afford the high-end models and those who are fed up with the internal Wi-Fi adapters.
As you can see here, it is among the most affordable options you can find on the market.
Most people like it because it provides a very strong signal when using it indoors. It also works with different operating systems such as Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, Ubuntu, Vista, and others.
It also supports both ad-hoc and infrastructure modes. Apart from that, it works perfectly with standard security features such as 64b/128b, WPA, WPA2, and WEP. This is a very important feature because it prevents unauthorized users from accessing the wireless network.
According to some users, the signal fluctuates when you move the laptop away from the router.
The best thing is that it works fine with 802.11 g on the 2.4 GHz band. It also provides awesome speeds of 245 Mbps in 2.4 GHz range. The L-shaped PAU06 works perfectly with 2.4 GHz g/n routers. Another thing you will like about this gadget is that it is power efficient.
You will find a user manual, installation CD and the wireless PAU06 USB adapter in the box.
Pros & Cons Panda PAU06
|* Affordable||* Can overheat|
|*Low power consumption||* Speed variation|
|*Easy to use|
Verdict –If you are searching for an advanced USB wireless adapter, this one is one of the best because it supports backward 802.11g. In addition, it doesn’t consume a lot of power.
This adapter has been on the market since 2013 and it’s one of the most preferred Wi-Fi adapters you can find today.
If you are shopping for a device that is reliable for online games, it can be a great option. You will find that it features USB 3.0 connection and as a result, it is one of the fastest. It is also lightweight for those who are in need of a portable Wi-Fi adapter.
We also found out that it works perfectly with wireless AC 802.11 ac extenders, routers and access points such as Belkin, Linksys and the rest.
It uses Beamforming technology to enhance speed and overall performance. As a result, you can check emails, listen to music, play games, stream movies among other things without problems.
You should also note that it is straightforward to use since it comes with an installation CD.
The speeds are up to 400 Mbps on 5 GHz band and 150 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band. You will also find that it is very cheap. It is also compatible with Windows 7,8, XP SP3 and Vista SP1/SP2. It is also compatible with 128-bit encryption WPA, WEP, and WPA2. In addition, it has Wi-Fi Protected Set up- WPS button which allows easy connection with a wireless access point or a router. You can check it here
Pros & Cons Linksy AC1200
|* Dual Band Support||* No external antenna|
|*Super fast||* Slow at 2.4 GHz|
|* USB 3.0|
Verdict – The best thing about this adapter is that it uses USB 3.0 which enables it to provide excellent speeds. Apart from that, it is affordable and provides a secure connection.
The first thing you will note about this devices it the unique design which enables it to provide amazing speeds of up to 1900Mbps on either laptop or desktop.
It also has an excellent dual band which consists of 600Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz band. Apart from that, it comes with an advanced AC smart beam which directs the wireless signal towards the smart beam router. As a result, the device is able to provide a better connection to boost the performance.
You can use the WPS button when you want to set up a secure and fast connection. You should also note that the device has backward compatibility with legacy 802.11 n/g/ac networks. The USB 3.0 means that it is 10 times faster than the USB 2.0.
It also provides 3 times range of the standard dongle. Another thing you should note is that it works well with all routers even the older ones. This one is one of the most preferred Wi-Fi USB adapters you can find as you can see here.
Pros & Cons D-Link AC900
|* Stylish design||* Sometimes unstable|
|* Compatible with all routers|
|* USB 3.0 connector|
Verdict – One of the most outstanding features of this adapter is that it provides a very high speed when browsing since it features USB 3.0. In addition, it comes with an advanced AC smart beam technology to boost the performance.
If you are searching for a budget-friendly Wi-Fi USB adapter, Netgear N300 might be what you are looking for. You do not need to buy a new computer to enjoy the faster internet. It is very reliable in terms of speed and performance.
You can use it for internet surfing, online games, online phone calls, emails, games and music streaming. You will find that it works fine with Windows 7, 8, 10, XP and vista. Irrespective of what you are doing online, it provides a great performance without disconnecting.
You will also find that it offers a better range than most of the cheap adapters.
Another thing is that you do not need to install any drivers since it comes with OS X Internet software which makes it easy to install. You do not require any skills to use the device since it’s a plug and play gadget.
As compared to the wireless-G adapter it has a higher speed and a better range. It also features a secure push ‘N’ setup with Wi-Fi Protected setup. It also supports WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK and WEP. This means that hackers cannot access your computer.
Pros & Cons Netgear N300
|* Portable||* Lacks dual band connectivity|
|* Impressive range|
|* Long USB cable|
Verdict – Are you searching for a wireless USB adapter which is affordable, easy to use and one with an excellent range? Netgear N300 might be what you need. The best thing is that it provides a very secure connection.
Netgear A6210-100 PES AC 1200 is one of the rare wireless adapters with the beamforming technology. This means that it is among the fastest options you can find on the market.
You should note that it provides exceptional speeds of up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz and 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. Unlike others, it comes with a dual band connection and a USB 3.0 support. Additionally, it works well with backward USB 2.0.
The other unique feature is the flip-up antenna and the dual antenna which highly contributes in boosting the performance of the device.
You will also be happy to note that it is compatible with the latest wireless standards such as 802.11 ac and 802.11 g/n/a. When we looked at these specifications, at first we thought that it was just a marketing strategy but we decided to test the product to confirm this and indeed, it was true. Even as you can see from the reviews, it is one of the most efficient USB adapters with unmatched performance.
Once you have purchased the device you will find that it also comes with an installation CD, user manual and a USB cable which has a desktop lock. It is very easy to install and provides an ultimate range. In addition, it features a dedicated WPS button to provide a secure connection.
Pros & Cons Netgear AC6210
|* Very Fast||* High price|
|* Easy to use|
Verdict – This one is among the most advanced models for those who are searching for the best USB adapters. The best thing is that the device is compatible with the latest wireless standards. It is easy to use and also comes with antennas to enhance the performance.
This one comes last in our list but that doesn’t mean that it is not reliable. What we liked about it is the fact that it provides high speeds of up to 400Mbps on 5 GHz band and 150 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band.
As you can see, the speed is a bit lower as compared to some of the models in this list. However, if you are on a tight budget or you don’t need a very high-quality USB adapter, it is one of the best you should consider.
In addition, it features a selectable dual-band connection on the two bands. Due to its design, it is very easy to set even if you are not a tech guru.
You will also find that it easily connects on the setup wizard or WPS option. It is also compatible with Windows 8, 7, XP, 10 and Vista. Do you still doubt the quality? Check out the reviews here
Pros & Cons Linksys AC580
|* Dual band||* Limited speed|
|*Easy to install|
Verdict – This one may be a bit slow as compared to other models but it is one of the most affordable options on the market.
Why Should You Buy A Wi-Fi USB Adapter?
Let us now look at some of the major benefits of having these devices.
- Ease of use – One of the major advantages of USB WiFi adapters is that they are very easy to use. You don’t need any experience since most of them are plug and play devices. You just need to connect them to any USB port on your computer and that’s all. They are very small which means that they do not occupy a lot of space. As a result, they work perfectly with either desktops or laptops.
- Compatibility – You will find that most of these gadgets are compatible with almost all types of Operating systems whether new or old. However, you need to note that the performance of USB WiFi adapters depends on the quality and location of the router.
- Portability– Due to their small size, these adapters are highly portable. This means that you can use them wherever you are. Another thing is that there are no restrictions when moving your workstation in different places because they do not require wires.
- Versatility– The best thing about USB adapters is that they can work with different devices since they are external gadgets. This means you can use them in different computers or laptops. As a result, it saves you the cost of buying many devices for every computer.
- Saves you the costs of buying a new computer– The best computers are very expensive. If your computer doesn’t have an internal wireless adapter, you can just look for a USB adapter and the best thing is that they are very affordable.
- No need to install internal hardware– You can install wireless adapters in your laptop or desktop to provide a wireless internet connection. However, most people may find it hard to install different hardware inside the computer. USB adapters can be a perfect solution to such people since they are plug and play devices. You do not need any skills to use them.
- Price –They are the most affordable WiFi adapters you will ever find. However, most of the parts are made of plastic which means that they break easily. If you are keen enough, they can serve you for a long time.
- Warranty– Most of them comes with a reasonable warranty which makes your work easier when determining their quality.
Key Things You Should Consider When Buying Wi-Fi USB Adapters
Searching for a reliable WiFi adapter is not an easy task since there are so many models on the market today. To make your work easier, we have highlighted some of the most important factors you should consider.
- Durability – You don’t need to waste your money on a device that will fail to function after a few days. The best USB WiFi adapter should be long-lasting. You should always check the materials to guide you on the durability of the product. Whether it’s made of plastic or metal, the material should be strong enough to withstand abuse.
- Performance –One of the major reasons why you should invest in a USB adapter is to boost the performance of your internet. You should always go for a high-speed wireless device. There are 4 types of Wi-Fi specifications that you should check and they are as follows.
- Wi-Fi Standard 802.11 b – This one works with 2.4 GHZ band and covers a maximum bandwidth of up to 11 Mbps. It is the slowest and most affected by various hindrances such as walls, network traffic, buildings among other things. However, it has a long range of up to 100 feet.
- Wi-Fi standard 802.11 a –This one has a better performance than b standard. It has a maximum bandwidth of 54 Mbps and it is less affected by hindrances coming from wireless devices and other appliances. It has a shorter range of up to 50 feet and it is a bit expensive.
- Wi-Fi Standard 802.11 g- This one is a combination of both standard a and b and it works in 2.4 GHz band. However, it is able to transfer data at a speed of 54 Mbps and has a range of up to 100 feet. The best thing is that it is not easily affected by interferences although it is affected by some electronic devices.
- Wi-Fi standard 802.11 n – This one is the best and the most reliable Wi-Fi standard. It uses multiple output technology –MIMI which boosts the speed of data up to 450 Mbps. It works well with both 2.4 GHZ band and 5GHz band
- User-friendly – Make sure that the device you are buying is very easy to use. It should also be easy to install and use. It should also connect easily with different routers.
- Price –In most cases, the price does not determine the quality of a product. However, purchasing a product just because it is affordable is a bad idea. You will find that the most expensive USB WiFi adapters are more reliable and provide a better performance than the cheap ones.
- 4 GHZ Versus 5 GHz band – Before buying a wireless adapter, you need to understand that wireless connection and routers use radio signals which are based on either 5 GHz band or 2.4 GHz frequencies.
The difference is that 2.4 GHz frequencies are slower than 5 GHz band. Apart from speed, they are easily affected by various interferences, unlike the 5 GHz frequencies. However, they have a better range than the 5 GHz frequencies because short frequencies travel farther than the high frequencies.
- Compatibility – It can be very frustrating to find that the product you have selected is not compatible with your laptop. Always ensure that it can work well with almost all types of windows.
- Strength of the Signal – This will help you in determining a quality adapter. The strength of the signal highly depends on the antenna of the adapter which can be internal or external.
- Reviews – One of the best things you can do before buying a product is checking the reviews of that device before spending our hard-earned cash. To do this, it is advisable to check what customers are saying about the product on Amazon. You should also check the products rating.
- Free USB ports – One of the most important things most people overlook when buying USB adapters is checking whether their computer has a free USB port. If your computer doesn’t have a USB port, you can consider purchasing a powered USB hub which provides several USB options.
- Dongle Placement – You should also consider the position of the USB port in your computer. A wireless adapter may take two slots on some computers if the USB ports are very close. You will also find that in many laptops, the USB ports are located at the sides. This is very risky since the USB adapter can be hit easily.
- Removable antenna – Some people don’t like USB adapters with large antennas. However, larger antennas are very important since they help in boosting the range of the wireless connection especially when there are obstacles between the router and your computer.
Types of Wi-Fi Adapters
It is important to mention that there are two major types of wireless. These adapters are USB Wi-Fi adapters and PCI based adapters. What are their differences? Check below.
- USB-Wi-Fi adapters – These ones are the most common since they are very easy to use. You can easily confuse them with flash drives due to their design. As we had mentioned earlier, they replug and play devices which are inserted in a USB port of a computer.
- PC1 Based Wi-Fi adapters – These ones are different from USB adapters because they come with an antenna or several antennas and are normally inserted in a PCI slot on the computer’s motherboard. They are not easy to install but they have an incredible wireless connection as compared to USB adapters.
Maintenance Tips of USB Wi-Fi adapters
USB Wi-Fi adapters are very effective but if you want them to serve you for a long time, always consider the following tips.
- Unplug when not in use- Always disconnect the device from your computer when you are not using it. This can be very risky because it can break off and cause damage to the USB port. This can even damage your laptop or desktop.
- Always ensure that it is free from dust. Otherwise, it will not perform as expected.
- You do not remove it unnecessarily
- Avoid turning it on and off carelessly
- Ensure you are using an updated driver from the manufacturer. You can always check upgrades from the manufacturer’s website.
How Do You Troubleshoot USB Wi-Fi Adapters Problems?
In case the device fails to function, it can be very frustrating to someone who doesn’t know much about gadgets. However, here are some of the things you should do.
- Wireless adapter should be ON – When using a PCI based adapter, ensure that it is always on. You can always check your computer manual on how to activate the PCI wireless device. When using a USB adapter just restart the machine or unplug it first for 30 seconds. Some devices also feature an ON/OFF slide button which you can use instead of restarting
- Install the correct drivers- In most cases you will have to install the product’s software before you start using it. Also, you should ensure that you are using the latest driver recommended for the device.
- Use the correct password – Always ensure that you are using the right password. In case it fails, you can contact the manufacturer for guidance.
What should you do to boost the Wi-Fi signal in your home?
- Ensure the Wi-Fi devices that you are using have the latest technology.
- Place the router at the centre
- Use the recommended wireless channel
- Remove any appliances that would affect the performance of the wireless devices
- Ensure that your Wi-Fi is password protected
- Ensure that the adapter is off when not in use
- Always update the network drivers
- You can allow automatic updates on your computer
- Allow the router to reboot at specific times.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing you should ensure when shopping for USB Wi-Fi adapters is quality. Make sure that you are sure about the device you are intending to buy if you want to get value for your money. While it seems difficult to find the best USB Wi-Fi adapter, you can’t go wrong with any of those USB devices we have reviewed above. As you can see from their descriptions, they are affordable, easy to use and are very fast. You will also find that they have excellent reviews on Amazon.
If you have been in a dilemma on the best USB adapter you should consider, it is our hope that this guide will be very useful when shopping. All you need to do is to compare the features of the products and also the price. This will help you to narrow down your options. Try any of them now to enjoy a faster and reliable wireless connection.