The best USB Wi-Fi adapters provide the perfect stopping point in case anything catastrophic happens to your gaming PC network capabilities. If your built-in Wi-Fi or LAN ports stop working, the USB Wi-Fi adapter will work again in no time at all. Or, if you’ve purchased a motherboard that lacks Wi-Fi (a lot of budget motherboards), these adapters might be the answer.
Don’t get us wrong, wired connection is still your best choice when it comes to stability and productivity, especially when it’s connected to Best gaming router, But having cables strewn across the floor of your apartment isn’t a great look, and sometimes it’s just not a possibility. So, we’ve tracked down all of our favorite USB Wi-Fi adapters below, along with a few points to help you decide which Wi-Fi adapter is best for you.
And if you’re looking to reduce wire clutter in other aspects of your gaming life, then … Best Wireless Gaming Keyboards Or the The best wireless headphones It should be your next stop. The future is wireless (hope you are well).
Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters
There are nano-transformers on the small end of the scale, and on the opposite end there is Trending TEW-809UB. This network switch takes portability out of the window, for faster AC1900 (N600, AC1300) speeds and dangerous antennas – four, to be exact, can each be positioned at 5dB each. Only a driver is available, but no software. Instead, Windows controls the networking duties. The adapter does not support MU-MIMO but does support Beamforming.
In use, Trendnet TEW-809UB is stable and fast. It puts its antennas into good use, beating out every other adapter we’ve tested in our test for locating wireless margin – on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This is a great solution if you are using Wi-Fi in a difficult situation with a weak signal.
When it comes to the best gaming routers, there are a few names as ubiquitous as Netgear Nighthawk. Netgear has produced excellent gaming routers for some time, but Nighthawk AC1900 brings the same performance to a portable USB adapter.
This won’t necessarily give you a fast connection at your local coffee shop, but at home, you can use the included magnetic desktop stand to ensure your device gets the best possible connection from your router a few rooms away.
The Nighthawk AC1900 is a remarkably powerful and portable converter but is rather bulky compared to its peers; There have been occasions when I felt lightly anxious about picking up on one of my laptop’s USB ports, and its size meant it might not always find a vacant port with the necessary clearance.
The Asus USB-AC68 Adapter features a new foldable design that includes dual deployable antennas. It supports USB 3.0, as well as standard AC1900, Asus AiRadar Beamforming, and MU-MIMO via a 3×4 antenna design. The results are a little mixed bag as this Asus adapter lags in our 2.4GHz remote tests. While the 5GHz tests are more reliable, they were not the fastest in the near or far distance test.
While Trendnet TEW-809UB is our favorite Wi-Fi adapter for its performance and range, it’s not the most compact or portable solution. For those hoping to use their adapter for gaming on the road, the Asus USB-AC68 is a much better option. And the low street price of $ 75 works in its favor, too. The adapter includes a stand for home use but can be plugged directly into a USB port for easy travel.
The Edimax EW-7833UAC Is an update of the previous budget adapter selection, the EW-7822UAC. While many of the main switches suffice with the AC1200 specification, this one pushes up the speeds of AC1750 (N450, AC1300). Installation was easy, with Windows 10 managing settings. While similar in size to other main switches, it intelligently features a small deployable segment that contains three antennas to increase range and throughput, along with support for both MU-MIMO and Beamforming technology.
The EW-7833UAC ignited the competition, with class-leading throughput in four of the six tests, which included both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. We’ve walked away particularly impressed with our 5GHz test close to 298.9Mbps, which is much faster than some of the other respectable switches. The only real weakness was in the remote tests as this adapter gave up some competition. Perhaps the best part is that the street price for this adapter is $ 34 which makes these types of speeds affordable for everyone.
The Linksys WUSB6300 is dubbed “Micro” by the Linksys personnel. To be fair, it’s just so young. It offers AC1200 speeds, which translate to around 860Mbps over 5GHz, and 300Mbps on 2.4GHz. Even with its compact size, it supports the latest technology for wireless adapters, including MU-MIMO and Beamforming.
The WUSB6300 balances compact size, range and productivity. While specifications limit the 2.4 GHz scores, speeds over 5 GHz, even in extended distance tests, beat throughput on three of the six benchmarks for this increasingly competitive class of the inverter. The longer distance tests of this switch are more impressive when compared to the competition which falls short on the wireless margin test. The list price of $ 40 makes the Linksys WUSB6300 an excellent choice for an adapter that can be packaged with your notebook or carried as a backup.
While many of us want to drive a Porsche or a Ferrari, many of us end up driving a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla. For those who want a lower price for a USB wireless adapter, we recommend Trendnet TEW-805UB, the little brother of the best full-size adapter pick, Trendnet TEW-809UB.
This Trendnet switch is well-sized – compact, but not too small to be lost. The textured outer surface also effectively keeps it from being smudged completely. It still has steady cross-board speeds, except for our 2.4GHz margin test, but remember we originally started using this site to test extenders at Wi-Fi hotspot, and this Trendnet switch still managed 61.5 Mbps of throughput, all of which were its scores The other is healthier.
How to test USB Wi-Fi adapters
Productivity testing conducted with NetPerf. A desktop with a Gigabit Ethernet port is used to send data over a wired connection to the router. Three tests were performed on each wireless adapter at both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, at three distances: near, far, and fringe, with the highest transmission rate recorded for each parameter.
The router used is ASUS RT-AX88UOur best gaming router. Productivity is tested at “close” 8 feet (2.4 meters) with a direct line of sight, and also at “far” 30 feet (9.1 m) with a floor and wall obstructions in the road, with some metals entering the ductwork.
For this review, we added tests at a “marginal” Wi-Fi site that we started using our site Best wireless extender, Except we did not connect an extender to make the wireless connection more difficult for the wireless adapter and to test its antennas.