The Best Wifi Adapter – Our Top 10 Picks

Networking is important. Whether you’re a gamer, live streamer, content creator, or even just a casual content consumer, having a stable connection is imperative to ensure you enjoy your time on the internet.

Ideally, you’d connect your computer to your gaming router directly through Ethernet, but for many, that is simply not the case. In that case, they might be looking for the best USB wifi adapter.

I found myself in this position recently, and that was what led to this roundup. I was scratching my head at what on the market was the best buy for me, and there was little in the way of articles covering this topic, as it’s such a niche area of networking

Best Choice

Amped Wireless UA150C

Built-in antenna

Wireless AC support


Highly-amplified signal for stable connections

Premium

ASUS Dual-Band AC1900

Has a tri-antenna design

There’s heatsink on card which will help reduce heat

Best Value

TP-LINK Archer T2U AC600

Small, portable design for use with laptops

Fast wireless AC connectivity

After so much research, I could find the best wifi adapter in the current market. Now I’d like to share my knowledge with all of you so you can also benefit from this.

It’s also important to point out that most of the people prefer a USB wifi adapter since they’re easier to use, apart from being convenient and, most of the times, cheaper.

In this review, I’m also going to check adapters that are not USB. If you’re not sure what that means, it’s not a problem. You will understand straight out once you see that there is an antenna that comes with your wifi adapter.

Why would anyone need an antenna instead of a USB adapter? Well, some gamers might find it difficult to get good connectivity when they’re too far from their wireless router.

You can also find that what we call an internal adapter in reality has a much technical name: PCIe adapters. It’s not necessary to know that detail, but it’s always better to be aware just in case.

Now that I’ve explained that piece of information, please keep in mind that range is an significant factor to consider when choosing the best wifi adapter.

Find below some of the best options we’ve picked for you.

Best internal USB adapters

1

ASUS Dual-Band Wireless-AC1900

Let’s start off with what we’d call a heavyweight adapter, the ASUS Dual-Band AC1900. Any gamer who’s a floor or two below his wireless router can see this wifi adapter as convenient since its range is one its main positive characteristics.

To summarize the features:


Pros:

  • It has a tri-antenna design.
  • There’s an on-card or on-desk placement for antennas.
  • There’s heatsink on card which will help reduce heat.

Cons:

  • This PCIe adapter isn’t cheap.
  • the length of the cable is not the best.

As you could see this piece of equipment is not the cheapest option for the best wifi adapter you’ll find in the market. But it’s important to remark that what it offers is worth it.


For under $100 you can find an appealing design with robust features. Basically divided in two parts: the tri-antenna adapter and the PCI express card.


The PCI express card is what you will be connecting into your computer’s motherboard. It has a red color appearance and leaves it easy for the end-user to make the the connections with the antennas.

 

What’s so good about the card is what it brings with it, which perhaps not so many people are going to celebrate enough, and that’d be a built-in cooler.


Because of that simple but awesome feature, you can avoid to have a computer with excessive heat which might of course deteriorate your PC’s functionalities.


As already said, the biggest drawbacks for this wifi adapter would be its price and cable length. If you can ignore those two factors, then a high-end adapter will be awaiting you (just if you really need it, don’t forget what wifi range you require, you don’t want to pay more than what you should for an adapter).

1

TP-Link Wireless N900 Dual Band

This a more affordable PCIe adapter that brings fantastic results with its connectivity range, which is lower than the previous ASUS adapter but still quite strong.


It’s important to remark that if you’ve a much faster internet speed then this device isn’t what you’re looking for. Instead, what you’d need is an AC adapter.


Regardless, this is an excellent adapter. Just keep that in mind before purchasing, you wouldn’t want to regret it later when you notice you’re not having the maximum speed out of your router.


Pros:

  • Simple set-up

  • Comes with 2 mounting bracket sizes

  • It’s affordable

Cons:

  • Not wireless AC

  • Some reports of dropped connections

The TP-Link Wireless N900 Dual Band PCI Express wifi adapter is a budget option for connecting to wireless N networks.

 

It’s easy to set up. The only this that is required is to plug the PCI card into the PC’s motherboard.


The design is quite metallic and there isn’t much to stand out. It has three antennas just as the previous wifi adapter with the only difference that there’s not cable. The antennas are the PCI card are both party of the same body.


That means that if you’d like to position the antennas elsewhere, you wouldn’t have so many options (in reality none) since it’ll be just next to your PC’s motherboard.


The card is unfortunately not compatible with wireless AC networks.  Users report a painless install, but a few report connection dropping issues.

 

The card is compatible with both full height and half height expansion slots through the included wifi adapter.  If you’re looking for the bare bones, cost-effective option for connecting to a wireless N network, this is it.

3

TP-Link AC1900 WiFi PCI-Express Wireless Network Card

A wireless AC compatible PCIe device that enables to strong connectivity so that you can play any sort of games from your computer.


Customers report that the documentation which this product includes isn’t easy-to-follow. This is something to keep in mind but not a big issue since nowadays it’s possible to watch a video tutorial and do it without the manual in 5 or 10 minutes.


There’s no feedback in regard to overheating issues. Now please see below a summary where you can find the most remarkable aspects of this adapter.


Pros:

  • Wireless AC compatible
  • Passive heatsink
  • Comes with 2 mounting bracket sizes

Cons:

  • Windows 10 driver install is not well documented
  • Wireless AC performance is mediocre
  • Not so good 5GHz connection range

The TP-Link AC1900 WiFi PCI Express adapter is slightly above an entry-level option for connecting to wireless AC networks.


Users report that existing wireless network interface devices must be disabled in Windows 10 before the TP-Link drivers will function correctly.

 

There are also reports of disappointing 5GHz connection ranges. Be sure that your network supports at least AC1900 speeds to take full advantage of the speed this adapter offers. 

4

Rosewill RNX-AC1300PCE PCI Express Wireless Network Card

For under $50 it’s possible to find an excellent candidate for the best wifi adapter.

The selling point with this product would be its material which is made of high-density aluminium that doesn’t allow overheating.


What’s good about this is that when overheating isn’t an issue we can have a more reliable connection that doesn’t interrupt. Wavy connections are certainly a must avoid and this PCIe device does it well.


Pros:

  • Wireless AC compatible
  • Passive heatsink
  • Comes with 2 mounting bracket sizes
  • Should work painlessly on Linux

Cons:

  • Red aesthetic may clash with some builds
  • Generally bad connection range

The Rosewill RNX-AC1300PCE PCI Express adapter is an entry-level option for connecting to wireless AC networks.


Drivers for Windows 10 should be installed before installing the card.  Be sure that your network supports at least AC1300 speeds to take full advantage of the speed this best USB wifi adapter offers.  


This Rosewill offering also supports both half height and full height mounting options.

5

Rosewill Wireless N300 PCI-E Adapter Review

Even though there are other adapter with much better functionality out there, it thought it’d be a good idea to mention the Rosewill RNX-N300PCe since it’s affordable and it certainly does the work.


It’s a two antenna adapter which is easy to connect an receives a good range of signal. Although I’d not recommend to be too far from the wireless router since this is not the best wifi adapter you can find, overall since it’s two antennas and not three as the others.


Pros:

  • It’s affordable

Cons:

  • Inconsistent performance
  • Plagued by eerily-high failure rate

The Rosewill RNX-N300PCe USB wifi adapter is your best friend if you’re on a tight budget and in need of a quick fix for wireless connectivity. However, like many junkies, getting that first taste is going to send you spiraling.

 

While this card may be cheap, its price also reflects its quality, as many consumers report shoddy wireless connections, and some even go as far as to say their card outright died. However, for $20 and free shipping, you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper, faster candidate for the best USB wifi adapter.

6

ASUS 802.11ac Wireless-AC1200

This will be the last PCIe wifi adapter that we’ll mention in this review.

When it comes to the design, it’s quite standard although it doesn’t have apparent antennas. The device has some issues when connecting to Windows so better keep it in mind if that’s the operating system you have.


For any other operating system such as iOS or Linux there aren’t negative reviews.

The heatsink seems to be reliable and helps dissipate heating for how it’s been designed. Low heating will stand for stability, which is excellent if you want to avoid a wavy connection.


Pros:

  • Wireless AC compatible

  • Bluetooth 4.0 compatible

  • External antenna base

  • Comes with 2 mounting bracket sizes

  • Should work painlessly on Linux

Cons:

  • May cause problems with Windows shutdown and sleep mode

  • Spotty Windows 10 Bluetooth functionality

The Asus 80211ac Wireless-AC1200 best wifi adapter is an entry-level option for connecting to wireless AC networks.  Drivers for Windows 10 should be installed before installing the card.

 

Be sure that your network supports at least AC1200 speeds to take full advantage of the speed this adapter offers.  The Bluetooth functionality on this adapter requires a free USB header connection on your motherboard to function.

 

Apparently, some users also received a green instead of a blue card. Go figure.

Best external USB adapters

7

Linksys WUSB600N review

We’re starting our review on one awesome USB wireless adapter, the Linksys WUSB600N.


What’s so great about this USB is that it doesn’t necessarily have to go plugged in into your computer. It has a cable that connects to your computer, that way you can position your USB a  bit closer to your wireless router to improve connectivity.

What else? Well, this product can be a bit pricey for what it offers, however it’s still a great option to consider and certainly worth it to mention in this best wifi adapter review.


Pros:

  • USB Extender included
  • Compact size and built-in antenna

Cons:

  • A bit pricey

Linksys WUSB600N is a pricey USB wireless adapter intended for those who need a clean, compact wireless connection to their home or office network.

The device includes a USB extender, allowing it to be plugged in either directly into the machine, or into the USB extension base to be placed somewhere else.


The device, unfortunately, seems to offer inconsistent performance, as many reviewers highlight its frequent disconnections. However, as is the case with most tech products, other reviewers have reported flawless performance and claimed it was one of the best USB wifi adapters.


Some customers state that it’s not necessary to install anything. Once the USB adapter is plugged in, it’ll automatically install all the drives into your computer.

8

ASUS USB-N53 Review ​​​​

An easy-to-use USB wireless adapter that only requires you to connect it into your desktop computer.


For laptops it’s ideal since you can move the computer around without having to pay attention to any built-in antenna.

 

Another positive aspect is that customers don’t report overheating issues even for long gaming sessions.


The most important drawback would be the price, which above $100.


Pros:

  • Clean, compact design
  • Consistent performance

Cons:

  • Outdated drivers
  • Poor or non-existent Windows 10 5GHz support
  • Pricey

The ASUS USB-N53 is a USB wireless adapter with a fair, reasonable price and a nice aesthetic to match. Its performance is consistent across the field, and no reports have come up about frequent disconnections or other network-related issues.

 

Some users have reported that the available drivers from ASUS are out of date, and others struggle to maintain or even receive a 5GHz connection while using Windows 10. With that being said, other users have demonstrated otherwise, and so it’s very unclear how yours will manage, as your mileage may vary.


Many of its shortcomings can be chalked up to standard network affairs, however, as has become the standard for wireless networking. It’s a safe bet you’ll have a fine experience with this best wifi adapter, as the few often speak louder than the majority.

1

TP-LINK Archer T2U AC600 Review ​​​​

One of the TOP recommendations ever for the  best USB wifi adapter would be the super convenient TP-LINK Archer T2U AC600. It’s both cheap and effective.


For under $30 you have this device here that connects quite well to the router that enables to great gaming sessions with your desktop computer or laptop.

Also as expected from a USB wifi adapter it’s small which comes in handy.


Pros:

  • Small, portable design for use with laptops
  • Fast wireless AC connectivity
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Wavy connection

We’re in a bit of a tough one with this USB wireless adapter. It’s small, portable and affordable. Its wireless AC speeds are not often found on adapter at this price — internal OR external — and TP-Link is a very trusted brand, even by us here at Ultimate Game Chair.


The device does what it advertises, and nothing more. That is, for all intents and purposes, a good thing. Some users report shoddy performance, but a majority echo the same claim: this thing is a beast without the cost of the feast. It’s small, clean, simple to use and ready to go whenever you are, and we see no reason not to take the dive at such a low barrier of entry.

10

Amped Wireless UA150C

It looks like an external adapter but it’s not. Why do I say this? Well, you’ll notice once you see the built-in antenna!


We know that it’s strange that a USB wireless adapter has that in it. However, it’s for good reasons. The antenna permits a more stable and wide-ranging connection.


At first, to be honest, it’ll be annoying and inconvenient. After a while, you just get used to it and benefit from the fantastic results it brings with it.


Let’s see some important aspects to keep into consideration:


Pros:

  • Built-in antenna

  • Wireless AC support

  • Highly-amplified signal for stable connections

Cons:

  • It might be annoying to have an built-in antenna, but it’s not a product issue.

Here’s an interesting one. The Amped Wireless UA150C is a USB Wireless Adapter that offers an antenna and amplified signal to help achieve a stable, fast connection. It is the only device on our list we cannot find a flaw in.


For the price, you’re receiving a high quality, durable USB wireless adapter that breaks the norm of internal antenna by including an external one instead, and yet it still only consumes one USB port on your machine.

 

Many users express having a wonderful experience with this best wifi adapter, and we can see why. If you’re in the market for a USB wireless adapter, we can’t see why you’d need anything more than this for a majority of use cases.

Our recommendation

It’s what adapter is the winner after reading the article, but it’s important to emphasize what other adapters might suit you as well.


Everything here is about the range and price. If you don’t have your wireless router too far away, then you don’t need to spend so much money on a device, that even though it can be the best USB wifi adapter in the market, will not do more for you than what’s currently doing because of the range.


As previously mentioned, the winner is by far the Amped Wireless UA150C. Even though a bit pricey, it has the power of a PCIe adapter which connects right to the motherboard and the practicality of being a USB device.


Also, if your laptop is quite old and can’t connect to the wireless router in your home or a public place, then of course the best USB wifi adapter will be the best solution. Also the fact that it has an antenna makes this adapter good at connectivity.


Now if having a built-in antenna in your best USB wifi adapter is not what you’re looking for, then a TP-LINK Archer T2U AC600 will suit you much better since it’s just a plain adapter with no antennas or anything fancy.


A TP-LINK AC600 in your hands is just super convenient since it’s a small device that does a great job. His dimensions are 4,1 x 1,9 x 0,9 cm and it only weighs 4.54 g. So better make sure not to lose it!


And finally we can speak about a premium PCIe adapter such as the ASUS Dual-Band AC1900. Which, if you can afford, will be a great asset for you since it has the widest range among all of the adapters mentioned in this review.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you’re shopping for an internal or an external wireless adapter, there are many options available on the market right now. A word to the wise would be that many users will claim to see poor performance out of their USB wireless adapters, yet this may not always be true.

There are many factors to how well an adapter will perform, such as placement, network infrastructure, which radio and channel you’re using, and more.

It’s easy to be scared by negative reviews, but if you take every word with a grain of salt, you’ll see that many products are what they advertise and the consumers are the ones at fault.

Keep an open mind, make sure you shop for the best wifi adapter that’s right for you, and you’ll do just fine!

Interested in live streaming after picking up your shiny new USB wireless adapter? Consider checking out our recently updated list of capture cards for PC!



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