If you want to decrease your ping time while gaming or streaming films and TV shows in 4K, USB Wi-Fi adapters tin assist in enhancing the strength of your wireless connection. And if you’re facing serious connection issues, information technology’south not the best idea to purchase a cheap $9.99 USB Wi-Fi adapter, equally this is typically only helpful if yous’re running on a system that cannot constitute a connection to begin with.
Instead, you lot’ll demand to put down a decent corporeality of greenbacks to ensure your connection is strong and stable. This means you lot could end upwardly paying anywhere from $29.99 to $89.99, but deciding which adapter to purchase comes downward to a combination of factors. Without further ado, here are the best USB Wi-Fi adapters you can buy correct at present.
- Here are the best USB Blazon-C hubs
- Here are the best USB Type C accessories and cables
What are the best USB Wi-Fi adapters?
The best USB Wi-Fi adapter depends on which operating system you lot run. Every USB Wi-Fi adapter on this list supports Windows 7, 8 and 10, but if you’re running macOS or older versions of Windows, y’all’ll need to exist a bit more picky.
Our favorite USB Wi-Fi adapter is the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900, mainly due to its combination of high-data transfer rate, an included magnetic cradle, and its power to back up Windows 10 and macOS Catalina (10.xv). If you’re running Windows XP or Vista, yous’ll desire to look out for the Trendnet TEW-809UB, as it’s the but USB Wi-Fi adapter on this list that can support those systems.
The TP-Link Archer T9UH provides a great balance of affordability and performance, possessing information transfer rates every bit loftier as the best entries on this list, yet it only costs $49.99. However, it does non support
macOS Large Sur. If y’all’re just looking for the most affordable option that will still go you results, the TP-Link Archer T4U Plus is worth checking out. It has the everyman data transfer rate of whatever USB Wi-Fi adapter on this list, but information technology’s only $29.99, pregnant you’ll exist saving quite a bit of money.
And the ASUS USB-AC68 is also quite bonny thanks to its wireless USB capabilities. It’s the most expensive USB Wi-Fi adapter on this list, but if you don’t want a cord bothering you and are looking for high-information transfer rates, this could be a worthwhile investment.
USB Wi-Fi adapters macOS Big Sur support
We’ve noticed a shocking lack of macOS Big Sur support for USB Wi-Fi adapters, so if you are running this operating system, you lot might face a fleck of trouble getting it to work. There aren’t any official drivers for the TP-Link, Netgear, Trendnet and Asus adapters in this list, merely certain sections of the community have put in the work to become these adapters functional.
For example, on the
TP-Link forums, someone discovered a user-created driver and disabled SIP (System Integrity Protection) on macOS to make information technology compatible. We cannot confirm how rubber this method is, only it seems that information technology has worked for several people. If you’re not willing to take this chance, we recommend waiting until these companies put out official drivers that back up macOS Big Sur.
The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 costs $68.99 and is the best USB Wi-Fi adapter you lot tin can buy correct now. It provides a high transfer rate, managing 1,300 megabits per second on 5Ghz and 600 megabits per second on ii.4Ghz. It’due south also uniform with Windows 7, 8, 10, and from macOS X 10.8.3 upwards to ten.15 (download this
for Catalina back up). It should work immediately when plugged in, merely to become it operation optimally, we recommend plugging it into a USB 3.0 port. It’ll still work when plugged into a standard USB 2.0 port, but it won’t perform as well.
However, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is bulky. If you plug it straight into your laptop or desktop, it will take up a considerable amount of infinite, and if information technology’s surrounded by tons of other ports being used, we predict it won’t fit at all. Thankfully, the bundle comes with a USB iii.0 cable and magnetic cradle (the
comes with this). This allows you to connect the USB Wi-Fi adapter through a wire and ensures the behemothic matter isn’t taking upwardly precious port space.
If you lot’re looking for a USB Wi-Fi adapter that balances both affordability and performance, expect no further than the TP-Link Archer T9UH. Information technology costs $49.99 and tin manage 1,300MBps on 5Ghz and 600MBps on 2.4Ghz. USB 3.0 connection will assistance in increasing transfer speeds. Information technology’s quite a thick adapter also, pregnant you’ll want to employ the magnetic cradle information technology comes with and so it doesn’t get in the way of other ports. When comparing operation between a wired connection and wireless connection through this Wi-Fi adapter, both reached the maximum speeds possible past my internet connexion.
It also comes with a two-twelvemonth warranty, which should be more than plenty time to exam if information technology’s defective. And with the WPS push, establishing a connexion is fast and like shooting fish in a barrel. This device worked excellently in providing wireless internet to i of my desktops that lacked an internet menu. The adapter supports Windows XP, 7, 8, and ten. However, the Amazon page shows that it only supports macOS 10.12 to 10.8. After checking
website, it seems drivers for macOS Catalina and Big Sur are not available.
The TP-Link Archer T4U Plus is the best USB Wi-Fi Adapter for those on a tight budget. It’s just $29.99, and although it doesn’t possess as many premium features as more expensive alternatives, it’south more than satisfactory for those looking for a decent adapter without breaking the bank. It can manage 400Mpbs on 2.4GHz and 867Mbps on 5GHz, making it noticeably slower than the get-go ii entries on this listing.
However, it also comes with a USB three.0 port, meaning you lot can expect even higher transfer speeds if connected to the correct port. Information technology’s also compatible with Windows vii, 8 and 10, and macOS (a Catalina driver is available on the
website, but a driver for Big Sur is not yet bachelor). It also comes with a two-year warranty and free 24/7 tech back up.
The Asus USB-AC68 is a powerful USB Wi-Fi adapter that is worthwhile for those looking for high-data transfer rates without having to worry nigh a wired connection or an oversized USB dongle taking up an unnecessary amount of infinite. Information technology’due south equally powerful as most of the best USB Wi-Fi adapters, possessing a transfer charge per unit of ane,300MBps on 5Ghz and 600MBps on 2.4Ghz. Yet, it’south currently $83.59 at Amazon, and so you lot’d need to cough upwards a decent amount of cash to get your hands on it.
If you’re non interested in using a wireless USB, you can connect it through the included wire. It also uses USB 3.0, meaning you’ll demand to connect it to the correct port for optimal speeds. Information technology’due south compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10, and so if y’all’re nonetheless running XP or Vista, this isn’t the adapter for you. It’s as well surprisingly limited on macOS devices, merely uniform on anything from x.7 to ten.11.
The Trendnet TEW-809UB is the perfect choice for those needing a USB Wi-Fi adapter that can connect to more Windows operating systems than the others. It can exist used with Windows XP, Vista, seven, 8, viii.one and 10. Yet, it can just run macOS 10.half dozen-x.13, with the
website, showing no recent driver additions. Similar to the other USB Wi-Fi adapters, it’s operating at 1,300MBps on 5Ghz and 600MBps on 2.4Ghz. It’southward besides very large, coming in at 7 x 3 ten 9 inches. Still, I love its absurd all-blackness spider blueprint. And thanks to a simple USB cable connection and an LED indicator that shows the status of the device, y’all can claw it up quite easily.
One caveat is the $79.99 price, which makes information technology one of the more expensive of the USB Wi-Fi adapters on this listing. And for some reason, the antennas are entirely detachable. It besides comes with three years of TRENDnet Manufacturer’s Protection.
How to choose the best USB Wi-Fi adapter for yous
Selecting the best USB Wi-Fi adapter comes downwards to a combination of toll, data-transfer charge per unit, ease of connexion, and compatibility with your operating arrangement. The TP-Link Archer T4U Plus is the cheapest adapter on this list, but the $29.99 price tag ways you’ll experience a slower information transfer rate than if you were to buy some of the more expensive alternatives. On the other hand, the priciest adapter on this listing is the ASUS USB-AC68, only this volition provide much faster information-transfer rates and the option for a wireless USB connection.
If you lot’re looking for a adept residue between quality and affordability, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 and TP-Link Archer T9UH should keep your covered. Both provide data-transfer rates as high as the others entries on this list and won’t intermission the depository financial institution. And finally, the Trendnet TEW-809UB is definitely expensive, but if you lot’re nevertheless running Windows Vista (please
upgrade to Windows 10), information technology’due south the merely adapter on this listing that lists it as a compatible operating organization.