Each year we make a list of the top Kali Linux compatible USB adapters an usually there are big changes.
2016 has had little change so far in new USB adapters or 802.11ac dongles.
This can always change of course at any time and we will update this post with any new information but 2016 has the same problems 2015 had.
The first problem is the 802.11ac protocol and a compatible USB adapter that will work with Kali.
802.11ac 5GHz USB dongles that will work with Kali are slow to come and hopefully will happen soon.
Below is a list of the most popular USB a adapters that work with Kali or Backtrack.
They also will work with most any Linux Distro that requires a wireless card to go into monitor mode.
What Makes a Kali Linux USB Adapter Compatible?
The chipset and drivers written for a card is what makes a dongle compatible with Kali.
To do wireless Penetration Testing a card must be able to go into monitor mode and do packet injections most cards cant do this.
There are known chipsets that will work with Kali and Pen testing.
Most Popular Kali Linux Chipsets.
One thing to keep in mind with the list below is occasionally although rare manufactures can change the chipset in a adapter.
This happens when a new updated version of the adapter is introduced. Although it doesn’t happen often it has happened in the past with popular dongles.
Don’t forget to take the Poll at the bottom of the page for your favorite Kali Linux USB adapter of 2016.
Our Picks for Best Kali Linux compatible USB Adapters 2016
Adapters that use the Ralink RT3070 Chipset
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….AliExpress.com
Alfa AWUS036NEH 2.4 GHzâ€¦â€¦.Amazon
Panda PAU05 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
High Power SignalKing Signal King 48DBI…….AliExpress.com
Adapters that use the Atheros AR9271 Chipset
TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4 GHz…….Aliexpress
Adapter that use the RT3572 chipset
Alfa AWUS051NH Dual Band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz…….Amazon
Wireless G only USB adapters, Realtek 8187L chipset
The following USB adapters are dongles that were best sellers in the past but since they only support wireless G they have become dated.
Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….AliExpress.com
Netgear WG111v2 USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Sabrent NT-WGHU USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
If you are new to Kali Linux and wireless Pen Testing finding the right USB adapter can be confusing at first.
Any of the above adapters will work with Kali and it comes down to which one is right for your setup.
For example if you are using Windows 7 with VMware to run Kali the adapter will have to be Windows 7 compatible.
Some may want a longer range adapter to get a signal from farther away which an adapter with a bigger dBi antenna would be better with range.
Big adapters with big antennas are not very stealthy in which case a small USB adapter may be the better option.
For those who simply want to get started with Kali getting the cheapest dongle would be best.
What Is Your Favorite Kali Linux USB Dongle?
If you have a USB adapter that works well with Kali let us know in the comments.