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The Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters

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The Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi has become an essential part of our lives. Gone are the days when connecting your computer to a router via a long and cumbersome cable was a necessary step to enjoying the internet. Most modern computers come equipped with internal Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to pick up wireless router signals without the need for an external adaptor. Yet just like every other component in your computer, these Wi-Fi components can go bad—resulting in a far weaker or even non-existent signal. And if the rest of your computer is still humming along when your Wi-Fi components begin to fade, investing in an expensive repair or shelling out thousands of dollars for a brand-new machine could leave a negative impact on your life’s savings. Thankfully, there’s a more budget-friendly solution: a USB Wi-Fi adapter. These devices can give machines with a USB port the ability to connect to the internet. They even increase the range of your Wi-Fi signal and give you a much-needed speed boost. They’re also compact in size, so bringing them around with you is no problem. Here are some of the best USB Wi-Fi adapters you can purchase in 2022.

01 Netgear Nighthawk AC1900

At first glance, you would think that the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is a device from the future or that aliens made it because it has a cool and modern design. This USB Wi-FI adapter can be used to provide your computer or laptop with Wi-Fi capabilities, or you can use it to simply upgrade the Wi-Fi performance of your device. The adapter features dual-band Wi-Fi, reaching up to 600 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300 Mbps on 5GHz. It isn’t exclusive to a specific operating system because both Windows and Mac users can use the adapter. Setting the device up will be a breeze because all you need to do is plug it into the USB port of your device. You will love how it allows you have lag-free gaming and fast high-quality streaming. The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 features explicit beamforming, which enhances range, reliability, and speed. It’s compatible with most Wi-Fi routers out there, and it comes with a dedicated WPS button for a quick connection process. The adapter comes with a magnetic cradle for when you want to make it stand up on your table, but you also have the option to plug it directly into your computer or laptop. The adaptor has a 3×4 MIMO design, giving you better bandwidth when downloading/uploading data. It might not look like it, but the adaptor comes with four antennas, which are all hidden inside the device. Users should download the Netgear Genie app for easy installation, and you can also control, monitor, and connect to your home network using the app.

Pros

  • Cool and modern design
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • USB 3.0
  • Explicit beamforming
  • Magnetic cradle
  • 3x4 MIMO design
  • Handy companion app

Cons

  • Takes some time to apply changes in its settings
  • 2.4GHz throughput could be better

Specification

  • Price $84.99
  • WiFi Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • USB Port 3.0
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900

02 TP-Link Archer T9UH

You won’t be disappointed with the TP-Link Archer T9UH because it can effectively boost your coverage and speed. It features next-generation 80211ac Wi-Fi, and you get access to a 2.4GHz and 5GHz band. It has four high-gain antennas that promise increased stability and range. The adaptor gives users highly efficient and more targeted wireless connections because it has beamforming technology. Some adapters from the past only support USB 2.0, but this adapter already supports SuperSpeed USB 3.0. You can expect up to 10x fast data transfer rates than its predecessor. There is more than one way to plug the TP-Link Archer T9UH into your computer or laptop. You can plug it directly like a USB flash drive or attach it to its cradle and plug it into your device using its 3-foot USB 3.0 cable. The adapter has a WPS button for convenient wireless security encryption with a simple click of a button. The device supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP. Sadly, not all Mac users can use this adapter since it’s only compatible with macOS 10.9-10.14. Upon purchase, customers will receive a two-year warranty and unlimited access to 24/7 technical support.

Pros

  • Not too pricey
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Excellent data transfer rate
  • 4 high-gain antennas
  • Beamforming technology
  • WPS button
  • Supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
  • 2-year warranty and 24/7 technical support

Cons

  • Will only work on macOS 10.9-10.14

Specification

  • Price $49.99
  • WiFi Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • USB Port 3.0
TP-Link Archer T9UH

03 Trendnet TEW-809UB

For those who don’t need the most portable USB Wi-Fi adapter, you can opt for the Trendnet TEW-809UB. You can use this adapter, which features dual-band Wi-Fi, whether you’re browsing the web, streaming movies, or playing games, because it supports Wi-Fi N (600 Mbps) and Wi-Fi AC (1,300 Mbps). The adapter works with macOS 10.6-10.13 and Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It has a high-power radio equipped with detachable high-gain antennas that boost your overall coverage. The antennas will take up the most space, which is why this isn’t the most travel-friendly option. The adapter uses beamforming technology to direct stronger wireless signals to your devices, wherever you may be. A unique thing about the Trendnet TEW-809UB is its LED indicator, which tells you your device status. Users won’t need to seek professional help to set up the adapter because you can get it working in a couple of minutes. Customers get a two-year Trendnet Manufacturer’s Protection when they purchase the adaptor. It will also come with a USB 3.0 Micro-B to USB Type-A cable and a quick installation guide.

Pros

  • Excellent speeds
  • Detachable high-gain antennas
  • Beamforming technology
  • Superb range
  • LED indicator
  • 2-year Trendnet Manufacturer's Protection

Cons

  • Not the most travel-friendly

Specification

  • Price $69.99
  • WiFi Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • USB Port 3.0
Trendnet TEW-809UB

04 TP-Link Archer T3U Plus

The TP-Link Archer T3U Plus is a fantastic option for those with a tight budget. This USB Wi-Fi adapter only costs $19.99. It supports AC1300 dual-band Wi-Fi, so you can get up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. Having two bands gives you much-needed flexibility in terms of connectivity. The adapter features MU-MIMO technology which enhances its overall efficiency and throughput. One thing you’ll notice about the device is that it looks like a USB flash drive with one large antenna. Its advanced high-gain antenna does an excellent job of bringing you better transmission signal strength and reception. Users can conveniently adjust the multi-directional antenna to get the best reception possible. You can use this adapter whether you’re a Windows or Mac user. The device features a user-friendly interface that makes its setup easy. It has WPA/WPA2 encryption, so you can rest assured that your wireless connection is secure. The TP-Link Archer T3U Plus isn’t the most powerful USB Wi-Fi adapter on the market, but it still offers incredible value at such a low price.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy setup
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • High-gain antenna
  • WPA/WPA2 encryption
  • Easy setup

Cons

  • Overall performance could be better

Specification

  • Price $19.99
  • WiFi Band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
  • USB Port 3.0
TP-Link Archer T3U Plus

05 ASUS USB-AC68

The ASUS USB-AC68 is suitable for those who do a lot of gaming daily. It will provide your laptops and desktops with dual-band AC1900 Wi-Fi with excellent throughput and coverage. You can expect to get top-notch reception with this adapter because it has a 3×4 MIMO design, featuring foldable three-position external antennas and two more internal antennas. The device is equipped with ASUS AiRadar beamforming technology that effortlessly strengthens your wireless connections and enhances your data transfer speed, stability, and overall coverage. Similar to many of its competitors, you can plug the ASUS USB-AC68 like a flash drive into your desktop/laptop while traveling, but you can also attach it to the included cradle when you’re at home. The adapter can boost your Wi-Fi to 1,300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Pros

  • Dual-Band Wi-FI
  • ASUS AiRadar beamforming technology
  • 3x4 MIMO design with foldable three-position external antennas and two more internal antennas
  • Can be plugged as a flash drive or attached to a cradle

Cons

  • Performance could still be improved
  • Pricey

Specification

  • Price $98.86
  • WiFi Band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
  • USB Port 3.0
ASUS USB-AC68

Nick

Sep 24, 2022

50 Articles Published

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