Discover The Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter For Your Needs

Electronics & Computers

Have you ever wished to connect to the Internet while on the go when there’s no café nearby? USB Wi-Fi adapters are small devices that allow you to connect to the Internet when you are traveling. These devices are perfect for ditching bulky modems and routers without compromising your ability to stay connected.

USB Wi-Fi adapters pick up Wi-Fi transmissions even when you are not located in the middle of a hotspot. Some adapters can extend your device’s Wi-Fi capturing range. Wi-Fi adapters connect via USB ports. They are very useful for making devices Internet capable even if the gadgets didn’t originally come with Wi-Fi connection capabilities. If you have an old netbook or a tablet, a USB Wi-Fi adapter will let you connect to the Internet without needing a cable connection.

What to Look For in a USB Wi-Fi Adapter


When looking for Wi-Fi adapters, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider before making a purchase. Don’t worry though, because we’ve got you covered with an array of factors to bear in mind.

Adapter Size


If you intend on using a wireless Wi-Fi adapter for your laptop or computer, you’ll need to consider the size of your device compared to the size of the adapter. Some USB ports on devices are close to one another which reduces the amount of space you can have in order to access the other USB ports. If you intend on using most of your USB ports, you’ll require a fairly small adapter that still gives you other options. The size of the adapter might also be important to you if you have limited desk space.

Wireless Frequency


When searching for the best USB Wi-Fi adapter, you’ll typically come across two frequency speeds: 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz, so how do you decide the right frequency for you? If your home has a lot of walls, or you need your Wi-Fi to have a long range, opt for a wireless frequency of 2.4GHz. Alternatively, 5.0GHz is ideal if you intend to have multiple devices connected to your Wi-Fi adapter at the same time. This size can suffer from reaching a long range, which is a factor to certainly consider in larger homes or homes with multiple levels. This tends to come with a price increase, so consider if this is truly necessary for your needs.

Types of USB Ports


Your network adaptor should have a USB port that is suitable for the device you intend on using it on. If your laptop has USB 2.0 ports, the maximum speed you can receive is 60MB/z. However, a USB 3.0 port can receive 640MB/s, which is a huge difference. The Internet speed you receive it doesn’t just depend on your broadband subscription, but your USB ports.

Adapter Speeds


Most laptops currently on the market come with built-in adapters attached to their internal system which means that a USB adapter is an unnecessary purchase. But for laptops that are more dated, a wireless Wi-Fi adapter is a great purchase to improve your slow Internet connection. But, what adapter speed is right for you?

When Wi-Fi adapters first hit the scene, they typically produced speeds of 4 to 5Mbps, which is considered slow compared to today’s creations. The best USB Wi-Fi adapter for your money will reach 54 Mbps (although this depends on your broadband subscription, how many devices are programmed into the Internet, etc.). There are even some Wi-Fi adapters capable of reaching 300 Mbps, but these are much dearer than your average adaptor and can only reach that speed when used efficiently.

If you have a high-speed Internet provider, you’re likely paying the top price for this use, so ensure that you purchase a USB Wi-Fi adapter that can array this high speed, otherwise you’re wasting your money. Opting for a Wi-Fi adapter that can reach speeds of 10 Mbps but your Internet provider promises 100 Mbps will actually make your Internet run slower. As a result, we recommend comparing the adapter speed with your current Internet speed.

Security


Security is essential when looking for the best USB Wi-Fi adapter. These devices broadcast a signal of up to 200 feet, so you should be concerned about your security when using this piece of equipment around your home and in foreign places. To ensure you have the best security for your devices, make sure that your adapter can support WPA, WPA2 and ERP protocols to improve the safety of your network. If your adapter doesn’t support these features, then you’re at a greater risk of someone accessing your personal information without your permission.

The Benefits of a USB Wi-Fi Adapter


Before we find you find the best USB Wi-Fi adapter for your needs and money, let’s take a look at some of the common benefits of owning one of these devices.

Easy to Install


You don’t have to be an expert in technology to install and use a Wi-Fi adapter. Thankfully, they’re simple to operate and use, and there’s no specialized training required. As long as you have a USB port compatible with your adapter and a healthy Wi-Fi connection, anyone can install one of these devices into their home. 

Eliminates the Need for Wires


Wires can take up room and get you down. They make your office look messy and they’re not ideal if you have minimal space or toddlers running around. Thankfully, a Wi-Fi adapter doesn’t require any wires so your laptop can be the ultimate definition of portable and allow you to travel anywhere. Before the best USB Wi-Fi adapters came into the industry, one of the best ways to speed up your Internet signal was using an Ethernet cable. But this wasn’t an ideal solution for people on the go. As people are more prone to relocating with their laptop, the technology world has developed more interesting wireless creations.

Prevents You Having to Upgrade Your Laptop


If your Internet is poor, it could be down to your laptop and how it’s receiving the Wi-Fi signal. But, upgrading your laptop isn’t a cheap or easy solution, and not everyone wants to do this. However, purchasing a Wi-Fi adapter prevents this hassle and additional cost by allows you to insert an inexpensive device into your laptop to receive a stronger Internet signal. There’s no installation or additional costs required, and you don’t have to upgrade your Internet provider to achieve these benefits. 

Ideal For Multiple Devices


The best USB Wi-Fi device will enable you to use it with multiple devices easily with minimal set-up when switching from one device to another. As USB Wi-Fi adapters are external plug-ins, these are easy to unplug and insert into a computer, laptop or tablet. But, we always recommend checking the adapter’s compatibility before plunging into a purchase. It makes your life easier to use one adapter for all Mac operating systems and another for Windows systems, so check with your manufacturer on which model you need.

By offering excellent compatibility with an array of devices, this allows you to switch from multiple laptops to your tablet in seconds. If you intend on using this feature, make sure that the Wi-Fi adapter doesn’t need installing each time you use it. You should also double-check that your chosen Wi-Fi adapter is a suitable size and speed for all necessary devices.

Increases Your Internet Range and Speed


Finally, this is the most important point and probably the main reason why you wanted to purchase a Wi-Fi adapter in the first place. If you’re tired of your Internet running slow and feel like there’s more you can do to increase your upload and download speeds, a Wi-Fi adapter suited to your Internet’s needs can be the solution you’ve been looking for. This is great if you work from home or have little patience for a poor Internet connection. Perhaps you live in an apartment where your Internet signal is fighting against other people’s in the building. If so, this purchase can be a great way to improve your speeds.

Alternatively, if your Internet router is located downstairs while your home office is upstairs, it might be difficult to always have a healthy Internet connection. Thankfully, a USB Wi-Fi adapter is efficient in increasing your range without disrupting your installation or the need to re-install your Internet.

Editor’s Choice for the Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter


Before we share our incredible selection of the best USB Wi-Fi adapters with you, we’ve selected one adapter that is a great go-to should you be in a rush or are open-minded to your purchase. We’ve narrowed down our choice of nine Wi-Fi adapters to the Net-Dyn USB wireless adapter for many reasons.

First, this adapter is reasonably priced, making it an ideal Internet solution for people on a budget or if you don’t intend on using the adapter every day. It can cover a long range by reaching over 90 meters - ideal for the average-sized house. This large distance means that you can surf the Internet around your home without worrying that it’ll cut off during important moments. We also appreciate that this device is compatible with all WLAN routers, making it a versatile option for many households.

Setting up this device is painless and easy; you don’t need any technical experience, and it’s even ideal for people with limited patience. Before you start the installation process, plug in the Wi-Fi adapter into your USB port and install the drivers. There’s nothing else to do after that. It can operate on numerous operating systems including Windows or Mac, but Linux owners will have to fiddle around with the installation drivers for this adapter to work.

Finding The Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter From Our Selection


You can use a USB Wi-Fi adapter to control certain smart devices using a Wi-Fi connection. There are many more useful applications you can benefit from. Now without further ado, let’s look at some of the best USB Wi-Fi adapters available in the market today:

Panda Wireless PAU06

 

Product Info
  • Works with any 2.4Ghz wireless g/n routers
  • Max. wireless connection speed: 300Mbps
  • Supports both infrastructure and ad-hoc modes
Why we like it: This small Wi-Fi adapter offers many features including encryption protocols, low power consumption, high-speed threshold, backward compatibility, portable design, and much more.

Editor’s rating:

It’s small, neat, cute, and works exactly as advertised. The Panda Wi-Fi adapter can be easily connected to your computer through a USB port. Then it will deliver Internet through an 802.11n connection. The adapter boasts a data rate up to 300 Mbps. While the adapter doesn’t always reach the max speed threshold due to obvious practical reasons, it’s fast when it can be. If you encounter any speed issues, you can be pretty sure it’s not because of the adapter. Overall, this is the perfect adapter to have on the go because it’s so reliable.

This USB Wi-Fi adapter is designed for convenience as well. It has a small antenna that folds, so it’s much easier to carry in a pocket or a purse. There are many other features, as well. For starters, it’s backward compatible with 802.11g 2.4GHz wireless networks. Of course, there are many security features available as Wi-Fi is notorious for hacking. You will get the standard 64b/128bit WEP, WPA, and WPA2 (TKIP+AES) encryption protocols with your purchase. To top it all off, this adapter is a low power consumption so you can save battery drain on the devices you use.

Edimax EW-7811Un

 

Product Info
  • Supports 150 Mbps 802.11n Wireless data rate - the latest wireless standard. Permits users to have the farthest range...
  • Power Saving designed to support smart transmit power control and auto-idle state adjustment
  • Supports WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) Standard so that you can let different types of data have higher priority. It would...
Why we like it: This tiny USB Wi-Fi adapter is wonderfully compact and ensures fast speeds. One big reason to love this is the automatic power saving feature.

Editor’s rating:

Edimax EW-7811Un is one of the most popular Wi-Fi USB adapters, and it’s for a very good reason. We were impressed by the black and gold exterior of the small adapter. But looks don’t tell the remarkable functionality of this little device. Besides being designed to be highly portable, this device promises connection speeds up to 150 Mbps. That’s more than enough for everyday needs while on the go. You can easily use social media, send emails, and stream YouTube videos on a connection that reaches the speed limit. Speed will, of course, depend on where you are located.

This USB Wi-Fi Adapter connects using an 802.11n wireless standard. That’s a really good feature for ensuring a constant speed. Also, the adapter is energy efficient and won’t drain the batteries of the portable devices you connect this to. The adapter even has a feature built-in that automatically shuts it down when the adapter is idle. That’s a neat trick when you are using the laptop on battery. It doesn’t come with an antenna, but you don’t need one to connect. It’s extremely compact without one. You can connect this to a USB port, and nothing will jut out.

Net-Dyn USB Wireless Adapter

 

Product Info
  • "I'M HONESTLY WOWED AT THE DIFFERENCE IT HAS MADE." - You may be fed up with your old modem or router or have a broken...
  • WE CARE - Net-Dyn is a family-owned business. With various family members scattered around different states and even...
  • SAY GOODBYE TO SPOTTY WIFI DEAD ZONES- You shouldn't have to put up with slow internet speeds at home, even if you're...
Why we like it: This USB Wi-Fi adapter looks very good and also works amazingly. It offers dual-band connections with speeds up to 300 Mbps.

Editor’s rating:

Net-Dyn is definitely one of the most practical adapters out there. It comes with a sleek blue exterior that will look very cool when connected to your laptop or tablet. It’s shaped like a memory stick, so the device is very easy to carry. Thanks to the design, other people around you won’t notice that you are using a Wi-Fi adapter. It’s discreet and also very fast. This adapter can reach connections as speedy as 300 Mbps. So we highly recommend this adapter for those who love to stream on the go.

This USB Wi-Fi adapter impressed us with its level of compatibility. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android devices. This is a dual-band adapter so you can connect to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections. The coverage this adapter offers is really impressive. You can connect from distances up to 100 yards. Despite the distance, the connection speed never falters. Not many USB Wi-Fi adapters can claim something like this. We liked the security features on offer as well. There’s nothing revolutionary, but you get everything you need to stave off a DDoS hacker attack.

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TP-Link Wireless N Nano USB Adapter

 

Product Info
  • USB WiFi Adapter: Upgrade your WiFi speeds up to 150Mbps for lag free video streaming and Internet calls
  • Stronger Wi Fi Coverage: 2. 4GHz band Wi Fi covers Your house everywhere
  • Mini Design: allows you to plug it in and forget it is even there; Wireless modes ad hoc/ infrastructure mode; Wireless...
Why we like it: This hard not to love this USB Wi-Fi adapter not only because of its tiny body but also because of the reliable connections.

Editor’s rating:

This USB Wi-Fi adapter from TP-Link is proof that size really doesn’t matter. The adapter only comes with the USB connector and has no body that juts out of the device you use. It’s like the tiny USB receivers you get with wireless mice. You can connect this USB Wi-Fi adapter to your laptop or tablet and totally forget about it while you browse the net. The small design is definitely convenient, mostly because it does not affect the performance. Just like the other USB Wi-Fi adapters on this list, this dongle offers fast and reliable connections.

Connection speeds can reach up to 150 Mbps, which is rather standard, but we highly recommend this USB Wi-Fi adapter for travelers. First, it’s compact and is no hassle to connect. And secondly, the speed limit is highly reasonable considering that you will rarely reach 300 Mbps highs when you are café hopping. So you can save a lot of money with this nano adapter and achieve practical connection speeds. It’s also highly compatible across most operating systems. Plus, the adapter comes with a CD with backup driver software in case you need it.

EDUP Wifi Adapter 300Mbps Wifi Dongle

 

Product Info
  • Usb Wi-Fi adapter upgrade your Wi-Fi speeds up to 150Mbps for lag free video streaming and internet calls
  • Compatible OS Windows ( 10 8 1 8 7 XP Vista ) Linux and Mac OS X ( 10 6 -10 11 )
  • stronger Wi-Fi coverage 2 4GHz band Wi-Fi covers your house everywhere
Why we like it: This affordable USB Wi-Fi adapter is perfect for those who want a convenient signal always when traveling and working away from home.

Editor’s rating:

This is a single-band USB Wi-Fi adapter that will be most useful for budget users who want the Internet for work or business reasons. This adapter supports 2.4GHz bandwidth connections. Before you panic, keep in mind that single bandwidth connections are still highly suitable for nearly all types of web browsing. Loading times on HD videos may be a bit slow, but you will still be able to stream videos on YouTube without any major issues. In any case, the speeds and reliability this USB Wi-Fi adapter offer are largely similar to regular Wi-Fi you get at cafes, libraries, and airports.

It uses an antenna, so you get quite a good range as well. The antenna also adds a boost to make sure the signal is good. Despite being only a single band adapter, it does support speeds up to 300 Mbps. So if the connection is really good, you may be able to stream HD videos as well. The adapter comes with a CD to install the necessary driver. This is more convenient than getting a digital file because you will always have the installation file on backup just in case. Overall, we loved this USB Wi-Fi adapter.

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LTERIVER WiFi Adapter WiFi Dongle

 

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Why we like it: This cute little “dongle” offers something really rare: stable connections. It’s the perfect USB Wi-Fi adapter to stream HD movies.

Editor’s rating:

This USB Wi-Fi “dongle” can connect you to the Internet as well as act as a router that extends Wi-Fi range. We can say from the start that this device ensures fast connections. It was surprising considering the very low price tag on this USB Wi-Fi adapter. It has a sleek and smooth design and comes with antennae. But you can definitely consider this dongle compact and highly portable. It doesn’t weigh much and can easily fit inside a denim jeans pocket, making it great for travelers. The build is excellent, and so are the speeds. It impressed us with how stable the connections are.

Most USB Wi-Fi adapters boast lightning fast speeds, but not all can claim to offer steady and stable connections. When you are connecting from a crowded area, like a café or an urban neighborhood, there could be so many distractions that disrupt the Wi-Fi signal. This USB Wi-Fi adapter does its best to keep the signals stable, so your connection is rarely if ever, interrupted. You can definitely stream HD videos using this USB Wi-Fi adapter without experiencing any lag. For these reasons, we highly recommend this dongle to online gamers and streaming addicts. Also, budget users won’t dislike this either.

TP-Link Wireless N150 High Gain USB Adapter

 

Product Info
  • USB WiFi Adapter: Exceptional wireless speed up to 150Mbps brings best experience for video streaming or internet calls
  • Ultimate Range: High gain antennas ensure superior range and stability. Version 2. 0
  • Secure: Easy wireless security encryption at a push of the WPS button
Why we like it: This is definitely one of the cheapest USB Wi-Fi adapters out there. It costs less than a $20 microwave dinner!

Editor’s rating:

This is by far one of the cheapest and best USB Wi-Fi adapters we have come across. It costs less than $20, so even the most frugal Internet surfers can afford this adapter. We know; cheap price means cheap quality, right? Not in this case. This USB Wi-Fi adapter is amazingly well-built. The signal strength and speed definitely matched up to some of the more expensive adapters on this list. The maximum speed limit is 150 Mbps, which is adequate enough for nearly all modern Internet needs. While the speed is nothing to write home about, we were impressed with the quality of the signal.

This USB Wi-Fi adapter has a 4dBi omnidirectional antenna. It ensures that the signal is well received for a steady and reliable Internet connection. We really liked that fact that the antenna is detachable. When you don’t need to boost signal strength, you can just remove the antenna and the extra bulk. Some people find it difficult to type on laptops where the adapters with antennas are attached to the side. You definitely won’t have that problem with this USB Wi-Fi adapter. It also comes with 64/128-bit WEP encryption for connections without hacking worries.

USBNOVEL USB Wifi Adapter

 

Product Info
  • Innovative mini dual band wireless adapter, the newest and most powerful wifi technology - 3 times faster than wireless...
  • Works with any wifi routers, by using AC600 wireless adapter, you can upgrade your PC,laptop or Mac to work with the...
  • High speed 802.11ac wireless adapter, up to 600Mbps wifi speeds on 5GHz (433Mbps) or 2.4GHz (150Mbps) bands. 5G wifi is...
Why we like it: This dual-band USB adapter can reach speeds up to 600 Mbps! If that’s not enough, you can save a lot of money buying this instead of renting an N router.

Editor’s rating:

This little USB Wi-Fi adapter is a fantastic connection booster. It’s perfect for homes with thick walls or multiple stories where Wi-Fi is not available in every room. This little gadget will instantly boost the connection. What really amazed us is the dirt low price. It’s a new model so you can get a dual band adapter that actually costs less than $50. You can choose between a 5GHz or 2.4GHz band. With the former, you can reach speeds up to 433 Mbps, and the latter will give you speeds up to 150 Mbps. The bands in combinations offer a whopping 600 Mbps max speed!

This USB Wi-Fi adapter works seamlessly with wireless adapters at home. It’s actually three times faster than a typical wireless N router that your Internet provider would charge a fortune for you to rent. The adapter works with both PCs and Macs without an issue. You can use this adapter with a new AC router to experience amazing speeds that you can stream ultra HD videos on. It’s also a plug-and-play device for Windows 10 operating systems. For other operating systems, a driver CD is shipped with the adapter. Oh, there’s an accompanying 18-month warranty as well.

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Linksys AE1200 Wireless-N USB Adapter

 

Product Info
  • Supports Microsoft Windows 7, XP, Vista
  • High Speed (up to 300 Mbps) for fast wireless transfer rates
  • Extended range with multiple (MIMO) antennas
Why we like it: This USB Wi-Fi adapter is affordable, portable, reliable, and well built. It ensures speedy connections and connects on the go. What more could a netizen ask for?

Editor’s rating:

This sleek and smooth Linksys USB Wi-Fi adapter can connect your devices from anywhere, anytime. It’s great for use with laptops when on the go. But we have definitely succeeded using this adapter with non-computer devices like tablets and smart gadgets. If you need a Wi-Fi signal to rely on, this adapter will give you that. It looks and feels just like a memory stick, so you can store and carry it as one as well. It lacks an external antenna, which increases the portability of the device. Don’t worry; you will still get a great signal thanks to the multiple built-in MIMO antennas.

That’s right; the antenna is inside the adapter. You can get a good range and speeds up to 300 Mbps. We managed to browse the web, view online picture galleries, and stream videos using this USB Wi-Fi adapter without any lagging issues. We were amazed by how convenient this adapter is in comparison to using a massive modem. Despite all the features offered, the price is surprisingly affordable as well. It costs roughly the same as an Echo Dot or a pair of Bluetooth headphones. It comes with an excellent manufacturer’s warranty as well. You can use this at home, work, or just about anywhere.

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