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Depending on your internet situation, you might have found yourself seeking the best USB Wi-Fi adapter for your computer. Everyone has a different opinion, with people posting to websites like Reddit to find information. You might also have specific needs, especially if you’re into gaming.
When making a decision, you need to look at power, antenna capabilities, how the adapter is deployed, and what sort of range you can expect from the device. If you game, you know a stable connection is essential to stop you from getting kicked from a server. Check out these options below to find a device that will work for you.
If you have a PC, and looking for a stronger connection, check out our post of the best PCI Wi-Fi adapters around. PCI adapters are stronger and will have a better connection.
Of course, if you want a stable internet connection, you may also want to consider upgrading your router as well. If so, check out our post of the best wireless routers. We dive into all the different costs and considerations you may be looking for.
Comparison of the Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters For Gaming
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What Are The Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters For Gaming?
Want the best USB adapters, regardless of price? Then look here!
After looking at a ton of different USB Wi-Fi adapters we've found four standouts that rise above everything else, and are worth looking at.
Review of the Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters For Gaming
Netgear NightHawk AC 1900
After comparing different models, the absolute best USB Wi-Fi adapter is the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900.
With the newest USB 3.0 for the fastest connection, this is built for speed. The NetGear USB adapter also has an option to use their USB extender cable that is around three feet, giving you a better chance of finding the best Wi-Fi reception for your location.
Having this cable allows the NightHawk to be one of the best long-range USB adapters out there. The NightHawk USB adapter is the best due to price and performance.
The Netgear Nighthawk is the favorite of many people, and it’s easy to see why. This particular USB Wi-Fi adapter is one of the best buys for any individual because it is the perfect combination of reliability, price, range, and power. It resembles a small USB stick with a small rectangular antenna that can be brought anywhere.
In terms of stats, the Netgear Nighthawk obtains speeds of 600 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5 Ghz. This adapter is one of the most flexible, although it performs best on Windows.
It works on almost every operating system, including Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS X 10.8.3.
One of the greatest aspects of this adapter, though, is that it connects with any internet router and can turn on the Beamforming+ feature, which allows you to boost the device’s power for extra range.
This Wi-Fi adapter also has a 3x4 MIMO design which means that the device has three antennas and radios which can receive data via three streams.
This adapter is also the most portable, making it great for playing on the go. This device can be folded up to look like a larger USB flash drive. In addition, the Nighthawk has an optional USB extender, measuring around three feet long, allowing you to use the cable, if needed.
If you’re reasonably up to date on your tech and know you’re going to be on the move, why not game with something you know will be reliable? The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 a7000 is therefore the absolute best USB Wi-Fi adapter you can get for gaming.
ASUS USB-AC68 Dual Band AC1900
When ASUS created the AC68 Wi-Fi adapter they made something that was perfectly geared for the high-end market. The AC68 is beautiful, and better than 99% of Wi-Fi adapters out there.
The AC68 has a cable for the receiver, allowing you to position the USB adapter for better reception.
Unfortunately it's 99% more expensive as well, and is pretty comparable to our top pick.
However if design is very important to you, then you might want to grab this instead.
The ASUS USB-AC68 Dual-Band AC1900 Wi-Fi Adapter is a USB adapter that connects to a singular device or pad that is easy to set up and includes a cradle for the antennae. It features a powerful 3x4 MIMO design and is foldable as to be portable. If you always want to game on the go or just suffer from poor service regularly, then this might be the adapter for you.
Some specs for this device include its ability to run at 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz. It also works on most Windows and Mac operating systems. People have had success using this USB Wi-Fi adapter on Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and Mac OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10/10.11.
As a side note, the ASUS USB-AC68 has one of most aesthetic designs since it is black and red, resembles a small tower, and adds a bit of flair to any gaming setup.
3. Alfa Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200
If you're looking for a USB Wi-Fi adapter that has really long range, then Alfa has your number.
The ALFA Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter is an extremely reliable model that connects to the computer and comes with two separate antennae. The dual band nature of the device almost guarantees constant access to the Wi-Fi and ensures you can game in peace and security.
This particular adapter is a little different from other devices in that it connects to some of the oldest operating systems still currently available on the market. These include Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1; Mac 10.5 or later, and Linux. You will note that this Alfa Dual-Band AC1200 does NOT work with Windows 10.
So, this is a great option if you own an older computer and still want to join the world of faster, high-speed online gaming without needing to invest all of your funds into a new PC.
The Best Value Wi-Fi Adapter For Gaming
4. Techkey 1750Mbps USB Wi-Fi Adapter
When looking for the best value adapter, we're not looking for something that's the cheapest or best, but just something that's going to get us the best bang for our buck.
Techkey offers performance that is very close to the best USB Wi-Fi adapters at a little more than half the cost. That alone has pushed this adapter to the best value spot.
The dual-band antenna allows for some of the longest ranges you can get from a USB Wi-Fi adapter, which is very important if you live in a big house or apartment complex. This is also critical for gamers, as it will lead to a consistent connection. The last thing you want is to be in an intense match and get thrown out because you cheaped out on your Wi-Fi adapter.
Another noteworthy point is how easy it is to just plug this adapter in and get going. A lot of these adapters have very annoying setup sequences, and this one doesn’t, which is something that is very important for all users.
A strong connection is essential, but what about the actual download speeds? This Techkey adapter features 1750 Mbps download speeds (2.4 Ghz - 450 Mbps, and 5.0 Ghz - 1300 Mbps!). These speeds for the price are absolutely stellar! Most other comparable USB Wi-Fi adapters are only 1200 Mbps.
The last really cool thing we want to mention is the ability for this thing to setup its own hotspot. So if you have something that can’t get a connection, this adapter can actually connect you to the internet!
At this point. you can see why this adapter is on our list as the most bang-for-your-buck USB adapter. Whether you’re gaming, watching a movie, or just browsing the internet, one of the most important things is having a good, strong connection, and Techkey’s adapter provides just that.
Other Adapters That Offer Good Value
5. BrosTrend AC3 1200Mbps Long-Range USB Wi-Fi Adapter
If you want something with a long range that is a bit cheaper than our top pick, you might want to consider the Brostrend AC3 Wi-Fi Adapter. Its downloads speeds are slower, but the price is a bit cheaper.
The BrosTrend AC3 Long-Range Internet Receiver is an adapter that works great for people who want a little extra power and don’t mind spending some extra money. This device is a USB Wi-Fi adapter with a USB stick that connects a separate platform with two antennae to the computer.
The average expected speeds of this device are 867 Mbps wireless speed on 5 GHz or 300 Mbps speed on 2.4 GHz. It’s not as fast as some other models, but works on almost every single operating system. It’s designed to help you connect to the internet if you have Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10 or Mac OS X 10.9-10.4.
Finally, the BrosTrend AC3 Long-Range Internet Receiver comes with a 24-month warranty from the manufacturer. This means you can get it repaired or replaced if something goes wrong and don’t have to worry about how you will play games if your USB starts to struggle.
6. TP-Link Archer T4U V3 (1300 Mbps) - Wi-Fi Adapter
TP-Link's Archer USB Wi-Fi adapter has some serious specs. 1300Mbps download speed, and really long range, all combined in a small package.
The only reason why this isn't in the #1 value spot is because of the ridiculous value that Techkey has brought on with their Wi-Fi USB adapter.
If you want something that looks futuristic, check out the TP-LINK T4U V3 Wireless Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter. This black USB stick contains a single antenna, but don’t let its size fool you. This adapter includes support for the next generation of connections, being able to form a stable link to the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
This adapter has some pretty standard connection speeds. You can expect 400 Mbps at 2.4 GHz or 867 Mbps at 5 GHz. It also works with tons of operating systems, including Windows XP/Vista/7/8.1/8/10 and Mac OS 10.9/10.10/10.11/10.12/10.13.
This device is foldable and designed to be portable. It looks like a regular USB stick when not in use, so it always fits in a backpack, briefcase, or laptop bag.
Unlike some other products, the TP-LINK T4U V3 comes with 24/7 technical support that is always available to answer your questions.
7. Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 USB Wi-Fi Adapter
Linksys's USB Wi-Fi adapter is good, but when you account for the price, there are much better options out there, which is why we recommend looking at our top value pick for something that's better for less.
Unless you are looking for something that is very portable. If so, you might want to give this a look.
If you want something small but reliable, the Linksys WUSB6300 Dual-Band Wireless USB 3.0 Dongle is for you. This USB Wi-Fi adapter looks like the average USB stick but packs quite a punch for a tiny price. The only catch is it is compatible only with all wireless AC 802.11ac routers, access points, and extenders. This means if you don’t have Linksys, Belkin, or something similar, it won’t work on your PC.
In terms of speed, this is one of the more average adapters. It can produce 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz or 867 Mbps at 5 GHz. It also only works on Windows operating systems, but is compatible with some of the oldest versions. You can expect reliable results with Windows Vista/XP/7/8/10.
So, while this may not sound like the best USB Wi-Fi adapter out there, it is definitely the greatest choice if you have an old PC that you’re uncomfortable trying to install a wireless internet connection to. So, even if you’re behind with your tech, you can still play online games.
Most Affordable USB Wi-Fi Adapter
8. Inamax USB Wi-Fi Adapter 1200 Mbps
Inamax offers a consistent and powerful USB Wi-Fi adapter for a cheap price. If you're on a budget, then this is the adapter to get.
Not everyone has an unlimited amount of money, and sometimes you need to get the best you can at an affordable price. The good thing is that brands like Inamax have you covered. Inamax's USB Wi-Fi Adapter is the best adapter under $20, by far.
So what makes this Wi-Fi adapter so great? Well, first you’re getting very fast speeds. Those speeds are 867 Mbps for 5.8 Ghz and 300 Mbps for 2.4 Ghz. For the price, It’s almost impossible to get these kinds of speeds.
It’s also USB 3.0 capable, which is great if you’re trying to get your max speeds, but it also works with USB 2.0, as well.
The range is also very good for the budget. Most of these adapters at this price range are very short.
Last but not least, it’s plug and play, which is something that is hard to get at this price range. Most of these cheaper USB Wi-Fi adapters make things difficult and you have to install their drivers before being usable.
With all that being said, even if you’re on a shoestring budget, you’re still getting something that will allow you to game, stream, and do whatever else you want with a strong internet connection.
Other Affordable USB Wi-Fi Adapters To Check Out!
Best USB Wi-Fi Dongle for Gaming:
TP-Link Archer T2U 11AC USB Wi-Fi Adapter
If you're looking for a very small adapter, and we mean VERY SMALL, then TP -Link has you covered.
The TP-Link Archer T2U 11AC USB Wi-Fi Adapter is another one of those small USB dongles that is tiny but packs a punch. It also resembles the insert you see with most wireless mice and is inexpensive, but not as cheap as the Comfast. It works with 2.0 USB ports and is exceptional if you need to travel often.
Because of its size, the TP-Link Archer T2U 11AC USB Wi-Fi Adapter is not the fastest around but is still capable of helping you out. It provides you with 150 Mbps at 2.4 GHz or 433 Mbps at 5 GHz. These speeds will work for most older online games, even though they don’t sound impressive, and can also help you connect to the Internet while at work or in public.
In terms of operating systems, you can use the TP-Link Archer T2U with Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10 and Mac OS 10.7-10.3. Unfortunately, it does not support Linux.
Unlike some other USB adapters though, the TP-Link Archer T2U comes with 24-hour tech support if you run into problems. Because of this, the TP-Link Archer T2U is the best USB Wi-Fi dongle for gaming.
10. Comfast USB Wi-Fi Nano Adapter Dongle
This is the cheapest, and most portable adapter of the whole article. Unfortunately, this affordability comes at the cost of lackluster features. If you are interested in doing anything substantial like gaming we wouldn't recommend this.
However for just browsing the internet, this is fine.
The Comfast USB Wi-Fi Nano Adapter Dongle is perhaps the smallest and portable USB Wi-Fi adapter currently available on the market. The USB resembles the tiny insert you normally see with wireless computer mice, meaning it is extremely portable and great for individuals who are always on the go.
While this USB adapter doesn’t have the speeds of some other models, it is the least expensive device you can find that still promises a stable Internet connection without forcing you to compromise. So, you can expect to receive speeds of 150 Mbps, no matter which bandwidth you use.
The Comfast USB Wi-Fi Nano Adapter Dongle also works on a variety of operating systems and us USB 2.0 compatible. You can get this little device to run well on Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10 and Mac OS 10.6-10.15. It also works with Linux!
So, if you game on the go or just struggle to get a stable internet connection – especially if you live out in the country, then this adapter is highly recommended for you. The speeds may not be great, but you’ll appreciate having Wi-Fi and a connection to the online world!
11. D-Link AC1900 Ultra Wi-Fi Adapter
This is one futuristic USB Wi-Fi adapter! It's a 1900 Mbps adapter just like our top pick, but costs a bit more, and while the design is cool, it's also cumbersome.
This strange sphere is the D-Link Systems DWA-192 Wi-Fi Network Adapter design to suit people who want a way to connect to the internet router easily but might not have the most money to spend. It’s perhaps the most aesthetically interesting device since it is literally a black and silver sphere that connects to your computer’s USB port.
The D-Link Systems DWA-192 is backwards compatible, capable of connecting to Legacy 802.11N/g/a networks. It works with old and new computers and promises reliable speeds of 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz. Depending on your setup, you might even reach 1900 Mbps, making this model perfect for heavy-duty online games!
Also, this product comes with a warranty and return policy. If it doesn’t work for your PC setup, you can always return it and find something else that does. However, this particular adapter works great on Windows 10, making it the best Wi-Fi adapter if you’re running one of the latest operating systems.
Why would you need a USB Wi-Fi Adapter? As technology has changed over the last thirty years, more and more people have moved away from installing Ethernet cables in their homes and are instead relying on the power of wireless internet.
Unfortunately, this comes with all sorts of problems, especially related to making stable connections between the precious internet and personal computers.
Besides the lack of Ethernet, a lot of laptops and old desktops do not have wireless capabilities. This is especially true of some of the older or cheaper models you can buy. To become wireless, you would usually have to buy and install a PCI Wi-Fi card, which is best. Unfortunately, there might not be room inside your computer for this to be an option.
So instead, invest in getting the best USB Wi-Fi adapter. You can peruse sites like Reddit and read all sort of reviews, but always remember to put your own needs and preferences first. Also, be sure to know your operating system.
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