Many would agree one of the best uses of computers is for playing video games in your downtime. Who doesn’t want to kill some bad guys in the virtual world and feel like an absolute boss?
But, have you ever been in a gameplay situation where a laggy Wi-Fi connection throws you in for a toss and turns your experience upside down? If YES!! then you will surely love our best USB wifi adapters review.
While reviewing these wireless adapters, we got to know that some of them perform exceptionally good on specific platforms.
In a Hurry?, Here are the Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters
- Best Overall. Net-Dyn AC1200.
- Best Value. TP-Link Archer
- Best for Gaming. Linksys Dual Band
- For Desktop PC – D-Link Systems AC1900
- Best Range Adapter – ANEWKODI
10 Best USB Wifi Adapters in 2018
TP-Link AC1900 Archer
ASUS AC1900 PCE-AC68
Asus AC1900 USB-AC68
Panda Wireless PAU06
1. TP-Link AC1900 Archer T9E: Best Value Network Adapter of 2018
Even though there are some great options for independent WiFi Router devices, it’s just not feasible to get them one, and that’s where USB WiFi Adapters come in. Renowned networking products brand TP Link is back in action with its latest wireless adapter that’s meant for hardcore gaming freaks and HD movie buffs alike.
This time the name of the game is the Archer T9E, a sleek and stylish adapter that aims to fulfill gamers’ needs, and is currently the best USB wifi adapter available in the market.
Thanks to its dual band standard, users won’t face any inconsistencies in their gaming experience. The speed we derived out of this small, handy wireless adapter was definitely fast with a consistent ping.
With a speed of over 600 Mbps in the 5GHz band and 200 Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, TP Link’s Archer T9E is worthwhile for anything ranging from HD video streaming to lag-free gaming.
Moreover, we were impressed with how easily the Archer T9E can be slotted into the PCI-E terminal without any hassle.
The most outstanding feature, hands down, has to be its beamforming tech which allows it to seamlessly receive directional signals, thus reducing signal loss. Also, it does help that this adapter comes equipped with 3 antennas that provide a great range.
After getting the hardware and drivers installed, we figured the Archer T9E’s speed was on par with a wired connection. However, one thing that surely wasn’t up to the mark was the slow reception and spotty signals in the 5GHz band especially on Windows 10.
The Archer T9E works just fine on all the previous editions of Windows but leaves us disappointed on the latest Windows OS.
Asus steps up the game with its best wireless network card offering called the PCE-AC68 adapter.
There are many things about this adapter that piqued our interest. From fast speed, PCI-Express interface to a relatively affordable price, it sure has quality features in store for gamers.
We managed to get a blazing speed of over 640 Mbps in the 5GHz band and over 200 Mbps in the 2.4GHz band coupled with our 802.11ac Asus RT-AC68U router.
The file transfer seemed like a matter of only a few seconds making it an ideal throughput (file transfer speed) for bubbling gamers. Though, the disadvantage with the PCE-68 is that it seems to give off a relatively faster speed exclusively with Asus routers.
Another drawback is the cable size of the PCE-68 that poses connection problems with Desktop PCs. We’d much prefer a longer cable to the PCE-AC68’s antenna base because desktop PCs are not positioned well enough to receive Wi-Fi, thereby leading to a signal compromise.
Nevertheless, we reckon it as the best wifi adapter for pc gaming as it gets the job done in a jiffy for gaming maniacs with zero packet data loss. So, yeah users can enjoy some uninterrupted Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty-Black Ops 2 action.
3. Asus AC1900 USB-AC68 With Lightning Fast Speed – Best for Windows
Asus USB-AC68 has another brand new wireless adapter up its sleeve that looks similar to a flash drive and incorporates some amazing features.
The slick USB-AC68 has been designed keeping in mind the requirements of gaming lovers who are not comfortable with a PCI-express solution.
At first look, you can see the Asus USB-AC68 dual antennas that are foldable making setting it up a breeze.
It comes packed with a docking station that can be used to plug it in wherever you want without any space constraints.
The performance on the 2.4 GHz band was rather satisfactory as we managed to pull a speed of around 160 Mbps.
However, we could detect some sort of lag at times on the 2.4 GHz band due to a change in distance. On the contrary, we could fetch a rather very impressive speed of over 600 Mbps on the 5GHz band.
Also, a USB 3.0 port connectivity gives this adapter the much-needed speed boost allowing users to have a lag-free gaming experience. However, we do have some reservations since the Asus USB-AC68 is not a PCI-express standard interface which would have helped it achieve an even greater bandwidth.
ASUS with AC1900 PCE-AC68 and this time with AC1900 USB-AC68 has established it’s their name as one the leading producers of best USB wifi adapters in the world.
4. D-Link DWA-192 “PokéBall Shaped Adapter” – Best Wifi Adapter for Desktops
Networking components maker D-Link has introduced the DWA-192 as a unique sphere-shaped, plug-and-play Wi-Fi adapter that has much more to offer apart from an “eclectic” spherical design.
This flashy Poké Ball-shaped USB adapter aims to be a valuable low-cost addition to desktop gamers’ networking arsenal.
The first thing that we noticed was that the ball-shaped DWA-192 adapter houses three antennas internally.
So, gamers won’t have to worry about knocking them over a desk by mistake. But, that also means that this adapter is fairly bigger in size than all the others on our list.
It certainly cannot be carried around in a pocket and its meter long USB 3.0 cable makes matters worse.
On the performance front, the D-Link DWA-192 doesn’t disappoint either.
We could get a decent speed of 504 Mbps on the 5GHz band, while on the 2.4GHz band it could deliver speeds up to 160Mbps similar to the Asus AC-68.
Although, at times the DWA-192 does a shoddy work when initializing a file transfer on the 2.4GHz band. One can imagine how long it would take to transfer packet data while playing online multi-player games like Call Of Duty-Black Ops 2 or CS-Go.
5. Trendnet TEW-809UB with Beamforming Technology
At first glance, Trendnet’s all-new TEW-809UB seems like a four-legged robot spider that is the exact opposite of a modern day nano adapter.
But, boy does it do wonders when it comes to some serious in-house gaming action? Here’s what we could make of it when we took it for a spin.
The best aspect of this adapter, to our mind, are the four positionable antennas all backed by a strong signal strength of 5dBi and powerful beamforming technology.
Due to a robust build, the TEW-809UB can, at times, give tough competition to some low-end routers in terms of signal strength.
But, since it does not support the MU-MIMO (Multiple users, multiple inputs, multiple output) formats, moving the adapter outside your router’s signal range will not make it work properly.
We were quite impressed with the TEW-809UB’s ability to hit speeds up to 569 Mbps in the 5GHz band. It can also secure a modest throughput of 178 Mbps in the 2.4GHz band.
Remember, these speeds are faster than D-Link’s DWA-192. Albeit, in the 2.4GHz band, the adapter tends to slow down its speed drastically if you move further away from the router.
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Gamers who use desktops will ultimately love this adapter for the stable and consistent speeds that it delivers. However, users who prefer laptops for their gaming needs or who are always on the go will find the TEW-809UB not quite endearing.
6. OURLINK 600Mbps AC600 : The Cheapest Adapter
The reason Ourlink’s AC600 wireless USB adapter is on our list is not that it is one of the smallest and cheapest adapters, but it seeks to offer great value for money and seems like a good option for in-house binge gaming sessions along with HD video streaming.
We were quite satisfied with the plug-and-play setup of the adapter which just takes a few minutes. The Ourlink AC600 adapter comes with an omnidirectional antenna that can reach all the corners of your house.
However, the size of the antenna is something that could have been built with some more deliberation. It’s so big that users can bump into it at times by mistake, obviously.
We could derive quite an impressive throughput of 433 Mbps in the 5GHz band and a decent speed of 150 Mbps in the 2.4GHz range.
We reckon it’s best to fit for live HD streaming, gaming as well as lag-free skype calls.
Albeit, we did bump into a couple of irritating lags whilst using the 5GHz band when we were streaming video. The drop in connection happens abruptly and can certainly put you off if you’re playing online multiplayer games like Battlefield 4.
7. Linksys AC1200 WUSB6300 : Best Wifi Card for Gaming
Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 USB 3.0 Adapter was launched way back in 2013, but it has remarkably stood the test of time since.
So what if this wireless adapter is not as brand new as most of its counterparts on our list? It’s still got a couple of things going (we discuss them below) for it that makes it suitable for gaming.
The installation doesn’t take much time and even a novice can do the setup on their own.
This flash drive-shaped wireless USB 3.0 adapter is as lightweight as it gets and can be a portable accessory for gamers on the go.
On the performance front, Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 USB 3.0 Adapter does not disappoint if you were to look at the price to performance ratio.
We were surprised to find that it maintains a consistent ping even when you are playing games for long hours at a stretch.
We could obtain speeds up to 400 Mbps in the 5GHz band, whilst the throughput was 151 Mbps in the 2.4GHz band.
One of the major drawbacks, however, is the latest firmware update (not the preinstalled one) that has slowed down the speed comparatively. Also, at times, we experienced a drop in signal connection in the 2.4GHz band when we placed the router away from the computer.
8. NET-DYN Dual Band N600 Adapter
NET-DYN has introduced the N600 as the go-to wireless USB adapter for avid gamers who want to get rid of spotty Wi-Fi lag and extract bandwidth from “dead zones.” Coupled with a throwaway price, this adapter has the potential to be a keeper.
One noteworthy feature about this USB adapter is that it is backward compatible with older networks such as IEEE 802.11b and IEEE 802.11g. The best bit about this adapter is the installation part.
You will witness that the setup is a snap and can be done by anyone! However, the end of the USB metal plug is quite fragile and can snap very easily. We feel NET-DYN could have done better in terms of built.
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The connection in the 2.4GHz frequency was quite decent, we could get blazing speeds of 230-240 Mbps even from a distance of 30 meters and users surely won’t run into any lags in between their gaming session.
Alas, we could not derive optimal performance in the 5GHz band range since it was frequently bogged down by sudden lags.
Also, while using Steam for games such as CounterStrike-Go, we realized the signal drops suddenly even though it provided a modest speed of 265 Mbps.
We feel this USB adapter is ideal for Windows gamers, especially Windows 10. However, mac users are in for some disappointment as it’s not compatible with the latest Mac OS and runs into some problems with older OS’s as well.
9. ANEWKODI 600Mbps USB Wifi Adapter
The ANEWKODI 600Mbps is a budget dongle that is meant for both regular computer users and gamers. Making it the best USB wifi adapter UNDER budget.
The name might sound like a Star Wars’ character, but it seems like a pretty good bargain for those who are looking to switch from their inbuilt desktop adapter to an external USB one.
We tried to check its maximum speed and, to be honest, it fared as per our expectations. While it clocked a speed of 420 Mbps in the 5GHz band, the throughput clocked in at 140 Mbps in the 2GHz range.
Not a lightning fast speed compared with the likes of Linksys WUSB6300, it still gives the OURLINK AC600 a tough run for the money in this department.
With that all being said, the ANEWKODI 600Mbps adapter does have its fair share of problems. To start with, users will notice that the signal becomes bleak if they move further away from the router or if there’s a wall in between the router and the adapter.
Also, the plastic built of the adapter is not sturdy enough and might snap at the end where the USB and antenna are conjoined. ANEWKODI should have definitely done better in terms of overall built quality.
One more thing we would like to point out is that this adapter bumps into some problems with laptops (pre-Windows 10) during the installation part due to some driver error issues.
On the plus side, the long-range 2dBi antenna doesn’t disappoint when it comes to boosting your Wi-Fi signals. Overall, it’s a very low-budget deal, and compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
10. Panda Wireless PAU06 300Mbps N USB Adapter
Panda released their one the best USB wifi adapter in 2014, and it got the chops to successfully provide a nice gaming and video streaming experience to users.
Weighing at a mere 45 grams, the PAU06 wants to be an affordable alternative for people who are fed up of their computer’s internal Wi-Fi adapter.
Moreover, Windows 10 users will be delighted with this plug-and-play adapter which can be easily set-up within seconds.
The signal strength remains very strong as long as you are indoors. However, not everything is as rosy with the older Windows operating systems.
We figured it doesn’t work well with older Windows OS such as Windows 7, 8, 8.1, etc.
The issue here seems to stem from faulty drivers. On the bright side, it does help that this adapter is backward compatible with the 802.11g standard on the 2.4GHz band.
Further, we could fetch a decent speed of 245 Mbps in the 2.4GHz range with the L-shaped PAU06 that proves to be more than good enough for 2.4 GHz g/n routers.
Thanks to its strong and stable single antenna, the Wi-Fi bars remain strong as long as you are indoors making it an apt addition to your gaming peripherals. We could not see any lags as long as we were in the vicinity of the router. So much so, this adapter does not consume much battery power on your laptop and runs quietly in the background.
On the downside though, the Panda PAU06’s signal tends to fluctuate as soon as the user moves their laptop away from the router.
You will notice that the signal becomes bleak and the bars become weaker as soon as you move out of the 30-meter radius. Also, it has a slight overheating problem after extensive use, but it is nothing serious to worry about.
All in all, if you are looking for a best USB wifi adapter that has all the features and is also quite pocket-friendly, you would want to try out the TP-Link AC1900 Archer T9E adapter.
If you are short on money and want anything that’s better than your computer’s internal adapter then check out the dirt-cheap ANEWKODI 600Mbps USB Wifi Adapter.
If money is not a factor and you want the best possible data transfer speed, then you must have a look at ASUS AC1900 PCE-AC68 adapter.
If you want to get the best range with your adapter, then Asus AC1900 USB-AC68 is a good bet.
If you want a lightweight and portable adapter, look no further than the Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 USB 3.0 Adapter.