While most modern laptops have Wi-Fi adapters integrated into them, you could still have a problem picking up the signal at a certain place. That leads to a slower connection, which in turn leads to a lot of frustrations!
Now imagine an alternate scenario. Perhaps you are using a desktop computer without an integrated Wi-Fi adapter. And you want to be able to connect to the office Wi-Fi.
In both these scenarios, what you need is a USB WiFi adapters.In this article, we will be looking at 7 of the best USB Wi-Fi adapters available today.
Best USB WiFi Adapter
|Device Name||Encryption||Frequency||Wireless Type||Check Price|
|Trendnet AC1900||WEP, WPA / WPA2-PSK||2.4GHz||IEEE 802.11 b/g/n||Check Price|
|Netgear N300||WPA-PSK [TKIP] or WPA2-PSK [AES]||2.4GHz||IEEE 802.11 b/g/n||Check Price|
|Panda Wireless PAU09 N600||WEP, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES)||2.4GHz & 5GHz||802.11ac/b/g/n||Check Price|
|Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750||WEP, WPA & WPA2||5Ghz||IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n||Check Price|
|ALZN 1200Mbps WiFi Adapter||WEP encryption,WPA/WPA-PSK,WPA2/WPA2-PSK||2.4G/5.8G dual band frequency||IEEE 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n||Check Price|
|Edimax EW-7811UN||WEP Encryption and WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK security||2.4GHz - 2.4835GHz||IEEE 802.11 n/b/g /X||Check Price|
|TP-Link Archer||64/128-bit WEP, WPA/PA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK.||5.8 GHz Radio Frequency||IEEE 802.11 ac/a/n||Check Price|
Table of Contents:
- Trendnet AC1900 – Overall Best
- Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 – Compatible With Most Systems
- Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750 – With 3T3R MIMO Technology
- ALZN 1200MbpsBuilt – Built-In WPS Secure Technology
- Edimax EW-7811UN – Energy Saving Design
- Netgear N300 – Affordable Pricing
- TP-Link Archer – Compact Design
- How To Select A USB WiFi Adapter
- Closing Thoughts
Trendnet AC1900 – Overall Best
The Trendnet AC1900 is a high performing adapter that comes with FOUR detachable high gain antennas! This means that you will almost never have to worry about weak signals. Roam around or go sit in the corner. The AC1900 will keep you connected.
Connection wise, the AC1900 creates two concurrent networks. A 1.3 Gigabit Wireless AC network and a 600 Mbps Wireless N network for smaller devices. This adapter comes with two connection ports, a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port. And it features beamforming technology.
Security wise, this is pre-encrypted, and it allows the creation of an isolated guest network. Also it features a parental control option, which might come in handy for parents who let their kids use this adapter.
- Comes with high-gain antennas that are detachable
- This is pre-encrypted
- It has parental control options
- Uses beamforming technology
- Needs better support for Mac OS
- Connection can drop sometimes
Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 – Compatible With Most Systems
The Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 is compatible with most operating systems. These, of course, include popular ones like Windows and Mac X OS, but also Linux distros such as Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS. Not having to worry about installing an additional driver when getting a WiFi adapter is definitely a huge plus.
Connection wise, the PAU09 N600 offers dual band connectivity. It is compatible with 802.11 ac/b/g/n wireless networks and works in a frequency band that varies between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Security wise, it supports ad-hoc modes and the WEP 64/128bit, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES) encryption standards.
Another great thing about this device is that it has been designed to consume a very low amount of power. So you won’t have to worry about it drawing a lot of batteries from your laptop.
- Is compatible with a lot of systems
- Has been designed to consume low power
- Supports dual-band connectivity & ad-hoc modes
- The connection tends to drop sometimes
Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750 – With 3T3R MIMO Technology
The Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750 is a great choice for many reasons. Firstly it offers beamforming technology. This means that it can guarantee reliable connections with no wasted signals. It is also compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux.
Connection wise, the EW-7833UAC AC1750 features the 3T3R MIMO technology. What this means is that this adapter is equipped with three different transmitter antennas and three different receiver antennas. This allows for maximum optimization and. The connection speed is quite flexible, ranging between 450 Mbps (in the 2.4GHz frequency band) to 1300 Mbps (in the 5 GHz frequency band). This adapter is perfect for HD streaming or gaming.
The EW-7833UAC AC1750 comes with a USB 3.0 port. Security wise, it offers the WEP, WPA and WPA2 (64-bit/128-bit) encryption standards.
- Supports dual-band connectivity
- Provides high level of security
- Supports Linux OS systems
- Uses beamforming technology
- Needs better support for the Mac OS
ALZN 1200MBPS – Built-In WPS Secure Technology
The ALZN is a plug and play device, meaning you won’t need to install an additional software to make it work. However if you won a Mac or a Linux system, you may need to install a driver. And it comes with a USB 3.0 port (backward compatible with 2.0) that be rotated up to 270 degrees. A small yet quite useful feature!
It features two high-gain antennas that can be used to adjust the signal strength. It also features the WPS Secure Technology. This means that with the push of a built-in button, you can have a wireless connection that is fast and reliable on dual bands. This means 300 Mbps (for the 2.4 Ghz band) and 867 Mbps (for the 5.8 GHz band).
The ALZN also offers additional features such as built-in invisible vents for cooling and an anti-dust system. These features help ensure a stable signal. ALZN promises a 100% satisfaction guarantee with this one.
- Comes with WPS secure technology
- Has two 3dBi High Gain antennas and supports dual-band connectivity
- The USB port can rotate up to 270 degrees.
- Poor support for Linux and Mac OS systems (requires additional drivers)
Edimax EW-7811UN – Energy Saving Design
The Edimax EW-7811UN is inexpensive that is easy to carry around. It comes with the EZmax setup that makes the installation process so much more easier.
This tiny USB WiFi adapter supports 802.11n connection, which is supposed to be 6 times faster than 802.11b. It is backwards compatible however, and will support 802.11b/g. The EW-7811UN has an internal chip antenna and can offer speeds of up to 150 Mbps and gives the laptop a large range of coverage. Its operational frequency band varies between 2.4GHz to 2.4835GHz. Also this adapter is compatible with the WMM standard, which means better streaming of real time data.
One of the best things about this is its energy saving design. It offers features such as auto-idle state adjustment and smart transmit power control.
- Is very affordable
- Has been designed to save energy
- Has only one USB 2.0 port
Netgear N300 – Affordable Pricing
For the price range, the Netgear N300 performs brilliantly. It offers a good connection speed and range and if you carry one of these around with you, it can come handy when you’re in a WiFi dead or slow zone. This adapter is perfect for all sorts of activities including playing games online, general surfing or streaming.
Perhaps the one weak point about this otherwise incredible WiFi adapter is that it has been designed specifically for Windows systems. It does support Mac X OS but you will need to set it up via an OS X Internet software. But if you own a Linux system, the Netgear N300 simply isn’t for you.
- Has a very affordable pricing
- The connection is very reliable
- Will only support Windows computers
TP-Link Archer – Compact Design
The TP-Link Archer is the last to be featured on our list but not the least. It features Nano design, making it incredibly tiny and easy to fit on any laptop. This adapter is so tiny (18.6 mm x 15 mm x 7.1 mm) that you could just leave it in the USB port of your laptop. It will not block any of the adjacent ports.
This has the 802.11ac standard. But it is backward compatible and so will also support the 802.11a/n standard. Setting up, is incredibly easy. There are very few configuration steps and you should get it running in no time. Also, unlike most of which only support Windows or MacOS systems, the TP-Link Archer also supports Linux systems.
Connection wise, the TP-Link Archer (unlike the other adapters on this list) only supports the 5GHz band. This however results in less wireless signal interference. And the speed can go as high up as 433 Mbps. Security wise, this adapter supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/PA2 and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK.
- Has a nano design and has 802.11ac standard
- When connected, the speed is incredible
- Is very affordable
- The coverage isn’t the best and the connection tends to drop sometimes
How To Select A USB WiFi Adapter
We made this list and selection based on several factors such as the size, the range and the speed. The design is another important factor. But that will depend on your personal taste. We are now going to outline what you need to consider in terms of the former 3 factors:
- Size: The Size of this is perhaps the first thing you want to consider. There are all sorts of sizes available in the market. Some such as the TP-Link Archer are tiny and easy to carry around, whereas others like the Trendnet AC1900 are much bigger but offer more power. Furthermore, the big ones are often packed with interesting features such as beam forming technology.
- Range: The Range of it is another important thing to consider before purchasing one. Most of us use a WiFi adapter to boost the connection. But there are times when the router is simply too far away and your laptop can’t pick its signal at all. Here’s where the range of the adapter comes into play. Some of the best adapters available today offer a range of over 100m.
- Speed: This is the reason most of us need a WiFi adapter to begin with. Most of the times, even when our laptops are connected to the WiFi, the connection is simply too weak. What this results in are slow loading pages and a stream that keeps buffering. (Frustrating, we know!) A good adapter can offer a speed of around 300Mbps. A really good one will go as high as 1200Mbps or even more. You will of course have to first ensure that the actual internet bandwidth is high.
So that was our article on the best USB WiFi adapters you could buy in 2019. We reviewed a total of 7 adapters and ended the article with a quick look at some of the key features to consider before purchasing one of these devices.
We hope this article helped you make a decision!
You might also want to check out this list of the best DD-WRT Routers available today.