The Best USB WiFi Adapter for 2023

The USB WiFi Adapter gives your PC a new lease of life in WiFi capabilities.

In a world where the internet informs our daily activities from studying, working, to entertainment, internet access is crucial. Wireless internet access is almost a basic necessity. Through WiFi technology, we are enabled to wirelessly connect our devices such as personal computers to the internet.

Now, imagine a scenario where you have a WiFi router in your home or office but your PC is not internally enabled to connect to the network. What do you do to be connected to the WiFi network? Well, we marvel at the invention of the USB WiFi Adapter. Using this device, your PC can be connected to the WiFi network for your use including internet surfing, video gaming, and video streaming.

How We Picked

  • Connection Speed

    The network connection speed determines your user experience. Fast pace gives you a lag-free internet experience while you’ll experience lagging in slow connection speed. The connection speed is influenced by the protocol and USB generation adapted to the setup (USB 3.0 and 802.11ac protocols are optimal)

  • USB Type and Compatibility

    The generation of the USB port that the USB connects to on your PC is essential. The USB types of the WiFi adapter (USB 2.0 or 3.0) you acquire have to be compatible with your PC USB port, otherwise, the speeds will likely be compromised

  • Privacy and Security

    USB WiFi Adapter should guarantee secure connection and data transfer. Standards like Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) encryption, and effective authentication protocols of your USB WiFi Adapter are critical considerations

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    The cost is important when choosing a USB WiFi adapter. Although people generally prefer the minimal budget type, remember that cheap ones are terrible. Great ones are expensive but you can find an inexpensive (not cheap) that guarantees you quality for your money

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Netgear AC1900 WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter

Although this product may be pricier, it is worth every coin

Netgear AC1900 adapter stands out as the best overall product in this category. Its versatility sets it apart. It works with any WiFi router and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Available in different styles to choose from, it supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0 technologies with wifi speeds of up to 600Mbps and 1300Mbps.

Buy Now for $48.26

Netgear AC1900 is highly versatile with reliable WiFi speeds

Runner Up

ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900

With this product, your online gaming experience will never be the same

The ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 was designed with an online gamer in mind. Its wireless speed is impeccable and gives the users a competitive advantage. It has two 3-position antennas and two internal receivers to strengthen the signals. For this option, one has to dig deeper into their pockets to acquire.

Buy Now for $89.99

ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 is suitable for a smooth online gaming experience

Most cost-effective

TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi Adapter

This adapter gets the job done without having to break your bank

TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi Adapter is our most effective option that still gets the job done. It also maintains a reliable wifi connection while in use. It has extended network coverage. Apart from the pocket-friendly price, its minimalistic design is also its selling point. It is also simple to set up and operate.

Buy Now for $16.99

TP-Link AC600 is a cost-effective option that works just fine

Almost made the cut

D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300

Add fast WiFi connectivity to your laptop or desktop computer

The D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300 is a reliable alternative for your wireless connectivity. It operates on a dual frequency band (between 2.4 GHz and 5GHz) for flexible connectivity. It has a low profile design that makes it unobtrusive as it remains plugged into laptops and ultrabooks USB Ports. We love the adapter’s small size which makes it easily portable.

Buy Now for $21.94

D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300 gives fast-speed WiFi connectivity.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Netgear AC1900 WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter

Although this product may be pricier, it is worth every coin

$48.26

Buy Now

Runner Up

ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900

With this product, your online gaming experience will never be the same

$89.99

Buy Now

Most cost-effective

TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi Adapter

This adapter gets the job done without having to break your bank

$16.99

Buy Now

Almost made the cut

D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300

Add fast WiFi connectivity to your laptop or desktop computer

$21.94

Buy Now

Who This Is For

This product satisfies the need to connect your device, like a desktop PC, to a wireless network (WiFi) for your secure learning, work, or even entertainment.

What is a USB WiFi Adapter?
Simply put, a USB WiFi adapter gives your computer WiFi communication capability. Most computers come with inbuilt wireless cards that allow your device to connect directly to your router for Wifi connection. However, when your computer lack this wireless technology or the wireless card is damaged and you need an alternative to connect to a WiFi network, a USB WiFi adapter is that device that adds wireless capabilities to your device.

Can I use my USB WiFi Adapter For Gaming?
Your USB WiFi adapter can be used for gaming. A good high-speed USB WiFi adapter improves your gaming experience by reducing network latency and lagging especially in online gaming.

Is a USB WiFi Adapter worth it?
Circumstances dictate the need to invest in a USB WiFi adapter. It will be a worthwhile investment for anyone with a computer that does not have a wireless card to allow them to connect to a wireless network. You may not need it when your device has an inbuilt WiFi card. However, should your device’s wireless card be damaged or become obsolete, you’ll need to invest in a good adapter for a seamless wireless communication experience.

WiFi Adapters Vs Extenders
A WiFi adapter provides wireless capabilities to your computers. On the other hand, Wifi extenders receive, amplify, and transmit the WiFi signal. Extenders boost the existing WiFi network to improve its strength and coverage.

Why You Should Trust Us

From a wide range of products in this category, we have diligently selected the choicest options that will guarantee you value for your money, optimal functionality, and a secure wireless communication experience

How We Picked

There is a wide range of USB WiFi adapters available in the market today. Choosing the right product can be a daunting task. To ease this burden off your shoulders, we have gathered customer reviews on these products from their experiences. Scouring from this large pool of feedback, we have developed a list of our picks to make this process easier for you.

Our top picks were judged based on the connection speeds. In this criteria, the WiFi protocol and the USB technology used were considered. The USB WiFi adapters that use 802.11ac as opposed to the older 802.11n protocol were given preference for their enhanced speeds. The USB technology used in the adapter came into play. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 give different network speeds. Apart from determining speed, the USB’s compatibility with the device’s USB port was considered. The range of network coverage is too an important factor to overlook. Regarding privacy and security, USB WiFi Adapters should guarantee secure connection and data transfer. Also, effective authentication protocols for your USB WiFi Adapter are key. Of importance was also establishing the balance between cost and quality. Although people are quick to settle for the minimal budget type, cheap products are terrible. The great ones are also expensive. There is a balance needed in finding an inexpensive (not cheap) product that guarantees you quality for your money.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Netgear AC1900 WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter

Best Pick

Netgear AC1900 WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter

Although this product may be pricier, it is worth every coin

Netgear AC1900 adapter stands out as the best overall product in this category. Its versatility sets it apart. It works with any WiFi router and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Available in different styles to choose from, it supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0 technologies with wifi speeds of up to 600Mbps and 1300Mbps.

Buy Now for $48.26

Who it is for

Get this product if you want better signal overage and WiFi network speeds and versatile network connectivity with your devices.

Why it is great

This product has outstanding better overall performance whether it is used for internet surfing, streaming, or online gaming. It offers a stable connection and backward compatibility. Its versatility makes it compatible with devices that run on Windows and Mac OS.

Potential flaws

Its fabrication features a relatively larger body which may inhibit a fit into smaller or tighter spaces. Although it does not support the most recent WiFi 6 standards, it delivers a reliable and stable wireless connection.

Other features

This product is available in different styles ranging from AC 600, AC 1200, and AC 1900 speeds and USB 2.0 and 3.0 technologies that one can choose from depending on their needs. Although pricier, Netgear AC1900 is worth every investment. It is simple to set up and use and the Netgear Genie App makes configuring and managing this adapter simple and intuitive. Its dual-band WiFi technology makes it function optimally between these frequencies. It has four adjustable internal antennas to boost your network. It is universally compatible with all modern routers and can be used on devices that run on Windows OS or Mac OS. What a better way to work with a largely versatile device!

Runner Up - ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900

Runner Up

ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900

With this product, your online gaming experience will never be the same

The ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 was designed with an online gamer in mind. Its wireless speed is impeccable and gives the users a competitive advantage. It has two 3-position antennas and two internal receivers to strengthen the signals. For this option, one has to dig deeper into their pockets to acquire.

Buy Now for $89.99

Who it is for

Consider getting this product if you are an online gamer. It gives you a competitive advantage in online gaming owing to a lag-free wireless connection.

Why it is great

This product can handle very intensive gaming on a low-latency network. It has an impressive coverage range. Its unique design is its first selling point. It supports faster data transfer in contrast to other competitors in the market within the same price point.

Potential flaws

It has a bulky design. It is not the most compact device choice you will find. However, the design is flexible. This adapter comes with a cradle for use at home but it can also be plugged directly into a USB port for use even when traveling.

Other features

ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 incorporates dual deployable antennas for enhanced signal reception when deployed. When connected, it instantly upgrades your PC to a dual-band AC 1900 WiFi and this extends the WiFi coverage and produces a higher throughput. It uses USB 3.0 for enhanced network coverage. This product is compatible for use on devices that run on Windows and Mac OS. The setup is easy and user intuitive.

Most cost-effective - TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi Adapter

Most cost-effective

TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi Adapter

This adapter gets the job done without having to break your bank

TP-Link AC600 USB WiFi Adapter is our most effective option that still gets the job done. It also maintains a reliable wifi connection while in use. It has extended network coverage. Apart from the pocket-friendly price, its minimalistic design is also its selling point. It is also simple to set up and operate.

Buy Now for $16.99

Who it is for

Get this product if you are a casual internet user on a tight budget. It offers a reliable connection to your network and improves your connectivity.

Why it is great

It is the best budget WiFi. It has dual-band technology for a flexible wireless connection. We also love it for its minimalist compact design. Additionally, it is compatible with devices that run on iOS and Windows OS.

Potential flaws

There is a trade between price and quality. Although this is a low-budget product, cheap is not always the best. However, for this price point, it gets the job done.

Other features

It comes with an adjustable 5dBi high gain antenna that enhances the reception and transmission of WiFi signals. It comes with USB 2.0 hardware interphase. That it works well on Windows OS and iOS gives it versatility. TP-Link AC600 promises smooth lag-free connections with up to 200 Mbps and 433 Mbp on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands respectively. With these features, web surfing, gaming, and streaming online is much more enjoyable without buffering or interruptions.

Almost made the cut - D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300

Almost made the cut

D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300

Add fast WiFi connectivity to your laptop or desktop computer

The D-Link USB WiFi Adapter AC1300 is a reliable alternative for your wireless connectivity. It operates on a dual frequency band (between 2.4 GHz and 5GHz) for flexible connectivity. It has a low profile design that makes it unobtrusive as it remains plugged into laptops and ultrabooks USB Ports. We love the adapter’s small size which makes it easily portable.

Buy Now for $21.94

Who it is for

This product will work best for those people looking for a small adapter they can carry with them from one place to the next. It comes in as a handy standby option whenever your integrated WiFi card fails.

Why it is great

It is fabricated to operate between 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequency bands making it flexible. Notably, it supports WPA3/WPA2/WPA Encryption: Linux 5.6.1.5: MacOS 10.09-10.14: Windows 10/8/7 making it compatible with most wireless networks as well as laptops and desktop computers.

Potential flaws

The main flaw reported by several reviewers is that it offers pretty low speeds and the bandwidth was found limiting. This is definitely not the gadget to get if you are looking to engage in heavy gaming.

Care and maintenance

USB Port Compatibility
Ensure the USB WiFi adapter port matches the one on your laptop device. Your PC may have SB2.0 or USB 3.0. Ensure your USB WiFi adapter is compatible with the USB ports on your device for optimal functionality.

How To Use an Adapter to Connect to The Wireless Network
A USB WiFi adapter gives your device such as your PC without inbuilt WiFi connection capabilities to connect wirelessly to a wifi network. To use the adapter, follow the user manual that comes with the product. There are different adapter brands. You’ll need a Wi-Fi router to provide the wireless connection. Connect your adapter to the USB port on your computer and your computer’s OS will initiate the installation of this drive. Go to your manage your WiFi settings on your computer and select your network and key in the password to connect to the wifi. Your device will be connected to the WiFi network.

Can an Adapter Improve Internet Speed?
Although a USB WiFi adapter gives you a reliable and more stable connection, technically, it is not designed to boost WiFi network speeds. To achieve this purpose, consider investing in a good wireless repeater or booster antenna to boost your internet speed. However, in a case where your PC’s inbuilt WiFi card is designed to operate on lower bandwidth (2.4 GHz), using a USB WiFi adapter at a higher bandwidth (5 GHz) may give you improved internet speeds.

Understanding the Limits of USB WiFi Adapters
Although USB WiFi adapters help us to connect to WiFi networks, they have their limitations. Using a USB WiFi adapter connects only one device at a time to the wireless network, unlike connecting directly to the WiFi router which can allow the connection of multiple devices at a time.