These days, almost every laptop in the market comes with its own wifi card. But not all desktops offer users that luxury. If you are looking to build a modern gaming pc, you will be shocked to know that most of the high-end gaming motherboards don’t have an inbuilt networking card. The cheaper way around this is to get a USB wifi adapter.
But to find the one USB wifi adapter that provides you with great connectivity and reliable speed is tough. So to make things easier for you, we have come up with this list of the top 10 best USB wifi adapters that you can buy in 2022.
Best USB Wifi-Adapters
We have provided you with all the necessary information about the hardware and software of these 10 best-selling wi-fi adapters along with their special features to make it easier for you to decide which one is the best for you. Here they are:
1. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
We start our list with Nighthawk AC1900 from Netgear, which boosts the internet speed up to 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5Ghz. It comes with dual-band wifi which enables it to make a faster connection to more wifi networks. It is the USB wifi-adapter that offers a little bit of everything in a small package.
Once you have this wifi adapter, you don’t need to have a separate PCIe express wifi card to fulfill your networking needs. The AC1900 supports wifi five, which allows it to have good download and upload speeds.
It does have an optional dock for beamforming and has an adjustable antenna array. The only thing you need to take care of is to connect this beast with the USB 3.0 port on your computer and laptop. Otherwise, you will be leaving out a lot of performance on the table.
2. BrosTrend 1200Mbps Long Range USB wifi Adapter
This wifi adapter might seem like a machine that has come from the future as there are 2 antennas coming out from the single holder. This is one of the few off-brand adapters that perform at the same level as the branded wifi adapters.
There are 2 ways to use this adapter; either you can plug it straight into your device using one of your USB ports, or you can plug the dock that holds the 2 antennas and most of the machinery. The main issue here is that if you put it straight in the USB dongle, it doesn’t really plug all the way. Thus, leaving some space between the connector causes it to be exposed, making the dock wobble.
When you are using this wifi adapter, you can go up to 867 Mbps of speed on 5Ghz and 300 Mbps speed on a 2.5 GHz connection. It can easily handle all your heavy bandwidth requirements and can provide an extremely buffer-free 4k streaming service on your laptop and even on your desktop.
The 2 antennas are 5dBi high gain that has long-range and superior stability. The USB wifi adapter comes with a 5-feet long connector cable. As a result, you can connect it with any of your USB 3.0 ports and get the maximum speed from your internet connection.
In addition to this, if you don’t have a USB 3.0 port, you can still connect it with a USB 2.0 port as it comes with backward compatibility.
3. TP-Link N150 USB WiFi Adapter
TP-Link is a reputed name in the networking industry. Everyone knows if the product is from TP-Link, it is bound to perform well. The same holds true for the N150 USB wifi adapter. This USB wifi adapter has to be on our list. Otherwise, that would have been a crime.
The first thing which comes to mind when you see this adapter is, do we need an extra connector? Well, the answer is no, this is a nano wifi adapter, and it exactly feels like that USB connector that you get from a wireless mouse or keyboard.
You don’t need to buy a connector for this USB adapter from TP-Link. All you have to do is free up one of your USB ports, preferably a USB 2.0 port, and you are good to go. Also, you are getting all the usual encryption standards with this wi-fi adapter, including WPA2. Thus, even if the size of the adapter is small, there is no funny business with the network security norms.
Setting up N150 is fast and can be done easily. It can transfer data at 150 Mbps speed and works on a 2.4 GHz connection. It can run on both Macs and Windows devices. Support for Linux is also available. Moreover, you are getting a 2-year warranty with this wifi adapter and 24×7 technical support to solve any of the issues that you may come across during its use.
4. Asus USB-AC68
Asus’s USB-AC68 runs on the concept of direct plug and use. The design of this USB wifi adapter makes it stand out from the rest of the competition as it can be folded and has dual deployable antennas. It comes with the support of USB 3.0 as well as AC1900 standard and ASUS AiRadar Beamforming.
If you are using it with a 2.4 GHz connection, you will see it does lag some speed with an increase in distance to wifi. But that lag is nowhere to be seen if you shift to a 5 GHz connection. USB-AC68 is the best solution for those people who are looking to game on the road and want to have the best of the wifi connection.
The low price of this USB adapter makes it a good competitor to other adapters who are on this list. Surely, it isn’t the fastest USB adapter on our list, but you can rely on its connectivity and ease of use.
5. Linksys WUSB6300 Dual-Band AC1200 USB Wifi Adapter
When it comes to names of the companies that manufacture quality wireless routers, Linksys is a familiar name. The WUSB6300 USB wifi adapter from Linksys doesn’t come as a surprise in our list as it is pretty affordable and packs a number of features along with delivering a good performance.
The wifi adapter is the fastest model from Linksys. Also, WUSB6300 was the first-ever dual-band wifi adapter that came with the support of 802.11ac. As a result, you can expect great download speeds from this adapter. You can go all the way up to 867 Mbps on the 5Ghz band.
As you move further away from the router, you will start seeing why this wifi adapter is a bang for the buck. It doesn’t lose a single packet, and no matter how many walls are present in between the wifi and the adapter, the connection will remain intact and strong.
It has an adapter that is easy to carry around and set up. You need to plug it in in your USB 3.0 port for maximum performance. Linksys WUSB6300 is good for streaming 4k videos and playing videos on Youtube. But when it comes to streaming online games, that’s where you might find your ping to be higher than average.
It’s a great product for both home usage and office work, but for our fellow gamers, we want you to look for something else from our list. You can check out Asus’s USB-AC68, which is a great choice for gamers and provides the best gaming experience.
6. Trendnet TEW-809UB AC1900 High Power Dual Band USB wifi Adapter
Well, there are nano wifi adapters like TP-Link N150, and then there is Trendnet TEW-809UB sitting on the extreme opposite of the size spectrum. This wifi adapter throws portability out of the window. It has 4 antennas for providing reliable and fast internet connection at all times.
The strength of each antenna is 5dBi, to be precise, and in the box, you are getting a driver CD that you need to install to successfully run this behemoth of wifi adapter. The adapter does support beamforming but lacks MU-MIMO connectivity. It’s a great solution for those people who are using weak wifi signals and want to take advantage of the full bandwidth.
During our testing, we were able to deduce that Trendnet TEW-809UB AC1900 performs better than most of the wifi adapters when it comes to connectivity and speed. But, portability is the one factor which we can’t ignore and in that department Trendnet has a bad score.
If you are sure your laptop is going to be positioned at a single location and high-speed internet connectivity is what you are craving, then you should definitely check out this wifi adapter; otherwise, look at the other options from the list.
7. TP-Link Archer T4U V3
TP-Link Archer T4U is a bit bulkier than the other USB wi-fi adapters because of its six-inch external antenna. But with the help of this antenna, it can provide download speeds up to 867 Mbps on the 5Ghz band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band. It can be used with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, but to use its full potential, we would recommend using it with the former.
In addition to this, Archer T4U V3 is one of the few USB wifi adapters that comes with a mini-CD, which provides an installation driver and user manual. There is also an LED light on the antenna, which blinks green when you use it. The software which comes in the CD can manage your wifi settings if you want to make things simple.
On the other hand, you are also getting all the essential information which you need, including SSID, the type of network and the encryption that the network is using. For power users, TP-Link has come up with 2 advanced features, including the SoftAP mode and power saver mode. Well, both of these are off by default, so the user needs to start them manually.
Lastly, you are getting a two-year warranty from TP-Link on this USB wifi adapter. Also, the USB wi-fi adapter costs around $50 with a discount that you can easily find on Amazon and other e-commerce websites.
8. EDIMAX EW-7811UN
At number 8, we have a small wifi adapter for people who don’t want to spend too much on a USB adapter as they already have an ethernet connection at home. Edimax USB wifi adapter can provide download speed up to 150 Mbps from a distance. It runs on the 802.11n wireless data band, which is almost 6 times faster than 802.11b, but it still has backward compatibility.
In addition to this, it has an idle state adjustment, and it is compatible with the WMM standard. As a result, if you are using it for your virtual video calls and streaming, it will perform much better than you expect from such a small device.
EW-7811UN runs on a 2.4Ghz band and supports USB 2.0, which is good for 150 Mbps data transfer speeds. Moreover, in this small form factor, the company was able to put an internal chip antenna. Lastly, the setup interface is pretty easy, and it supports several languages to make it easier for non-English users to set the wifi adapter on their own.
9. Tenda wireless USB wifi adapter for PC
The ultra-compact design of Tenda is a global fan favorite as it easily fits in tight spaces and can easily provide users with a download speed of 150 Mbps. It is of great use if your wifi card just broke and you are on a trip. You need to plug this wifi adapter into one of your USB ports, and you are good to go.
Even with such a small footprint, you are still getting WPA and WPA2 security protocols on this wifi adapter. Furthermore, it supports a soft AP function which helps in making your computer a virtual router. Tenda believes highly in its manufacturing and thus, provides 3 years of warranty. Lastly, this Tenda wireless USB adapter supports macOS, Windows and Linux.
10. OURLiNK AC600 wifi Dongle
Last on our list is OURLink AC600, which is exactly of the same size as the other two wifi adapters that we mentioned before this one. This is an ideal pick if you are looking for a wifi connection that has a respectable range and comes with a decent download speed.
You will be surprised to hear it, but this small USB dongle supports the 5Ghz band meaning you can potentially have a download speed of more than 500 Mbps. But to get the maximum speed out of this dongle, you need to be close to the router.
Also, this is much of an entry-level wifi dongle, and it can surely help you with all your internet needs, but it can only be used in small areas. As soon as you go 10 meters out from the range of a wifi router, the signal almost becomes non-existent. If sitting close to the wifi router ain’t a problem for you, then go with this wifi adapter; otherwise, choose some other from the list.
Wifi has now become a necessary part of our daily routine and being not able to access one is a really big problem. But with the help of these wifi adapters, you can quickly get an internet connection without even changing your wifi card.
These wifi adapters are made for the sole purpose of making it easier for people to connect with the wifi connection and get their work done. If we have to choose one of the USB wifi adapters from the list, then we would go with TP-Link N150 as it provides a good connection speed and has some great range to it.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that these USB wifi adapters are not your permanent wifi or network card solution. Surely they seem less expensive, and you can easily set them up without getting any professional help, but sooner or later, you need to change your wifi card of the system and free that USB port of your laptop or desktop for plugging in other devices.