Sure some desktop motherboards do come with built-in Bluetooth capabilities but these are the exception and not the rule.
Of course, this is nothing that a very minor investment can’t fix so if you need your PC to connect to Bluetooth devices a small USB Bluetooth adapter is a quick low-cost fix.
Also known as dongles they are extremely small, inexpensive, and easy to set up by plug into a USB slot on your computer.
If you have a computer that has no built-in Bluetooth or has an internal card that has gone bad it is an easy fix with a Bluetooth USB dongle.
Bluetooth USB dongles are small and barely notable once plugged in.
Most are simple to set up and are Plug-and-Play as long as the operating system matches the dongle.
This makes them ideal for quickly setting up a computer with Bluetooth.
The newest Bluetooth standard is 5.1 which is backward compatible with previous versions 1.0, 1.2, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.1 and 4.2.
Starting with Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy was introduced called BLE that have a low power usage.
|Bluetooth Version||Year||Transfer Speed||Backward Compatible|
|4.1||2013||1Mbps (Low Energy)||Yes|
|4.2||2014||1Mbps (Low Energy)||Yes|
|5||2016||3Mbps (Low Energy)||Yes|
|5.1||2019||3Mbps (Low Energy)||Yes|
Bluetooth has a range of roughly 33 feet. Of course, this will depend on the environment such as barriers or other wireless signals.
Our Picks for Best Bluetooth Dongles for a PC laptop or Desktop
- Kinivo BTD-400
- ASUS USB-BT400
- Avantree DG40S
- SZMDLX USB Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Receiver
- Friencity YYCH
- SoundBot SB340
Kinivo BTD-400 USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC (Bluetooth 4.0, Low Energy, Compatible with Windows, Raspberry Pi, Linux)
This small USB Bluetooth adapter is compliant with Bluetooth 4.0 version which is backward compatible with previous versions.
It is also compatible with many operating systems including Windows XP, 7, 8, 10, and Linux.
Bluetooth 4.0 introduced Low Energy usage that brought down the high usage the old Bluetooth units had.
If you are using a laptop or Desktop the Lower Energy usage will not be noticeable as it is mainly for IoT devices.
The Kinivo BTD-400 is a good unit with a wide range of compatibility from controllers to headphones.
ASUS USB-BT400 USB Adapter w/Bluetooth Dongle Receiver, Laptop & PC Support, Windows 10 Plug and Play /8/7/XP, Printers, Phones, Headsets, Speakers, Keyboards, Controllers
At first glance, the Asus name seems to be the only thing that sets the BT-400 apart from the cheaper units, except that it comes with a slightly more ergonomic design.
This Asus unit features plug-and-play compatibility with both Windows 8/10 and it even comes with the drivers for Windows 7 that work extremely well.
If you encounter any issues with the Drivers you can always install the latest ones from the Asus website.
It is a very good Bluetooth dongle with excellent instructions and support with a stable signal
The unit does cost more compered to other models but it definitely makes it worth the while for the good quality build, easy of use Plug-n-Play.
If you want to ensure the best Bluetooth connectivity for your PC laptop or desktop the BT-400 is a good unit to get.
Avantree DG40S USB Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter Dongle for PC Laptop Computer Desktop Stereo Music, Skype Call, Keyboard, Mouse, Support All Windows 10 8.1 8 7 XP Vista
This compact Bluetooth dongle is from Avantree and is compatible with most any version of Windows from XP to Windows 10.
It is a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter and backward compatible with Bluetooth V3.0/2.1/2.0/1.1.
The one downside to the Avantree DG40S is it only works with Windows and only plug-n-play with Windows 10.
This doesn’t mean that this dongle isn’t compatible with earlier versions of Windows just that you’ll likely have to install the drivers to make it work.
The package comes with a Driver disk and you can always download the Drivers from their website.
The Drivers are somewhat clunky so it is probably best to just letting Windows download the best generic Drivers.
Once the Driver s are setup the dongle itself is very reliable with a highly stable connection and it’s easier to use than any of the cheaper generic versions.
All-in-all it is a good unit that once setup works very well.
SZMDLX USB Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Receiver 3 in 1, HiFi Wireless Audio Adapter, Bluetooth 5.0 EDR Adapter with 3.5mm AUX for Car TV Headphones PC Home Stereo, USB Power Supply, Plug and Play
This unit from SZMDLX is a USB Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Receiver.
Bluetooth 5.0/5.1 is the newest protocol that has many added features such as low-power usage and better distance.
The SZMDLX has a switch on the side to go from transmitting Bluetooth to receiving a signal.
This makes it good in many scenarios such as sending a signal to a smartphone or headphones or receiving a signal into a PC.
The dongle also has a physical 3.5mm aux audio jack that a sound cable can plug into for audio.
Friencity USB Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Adapter for PC, Wireless Dongle for Laptop Home Stereo Pair to AirPods TWS Bluetooth Headphones Speakers, with 3.5 mm Aux, Dual Link aptX LL, Plug&Play
The Friencity YYCH is for anyone who is very serious about having a good Bluetooth signal on a PC.
It has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 protocols as well as a small antenna to get more range.
Small Bluetooth adapters will work for most with the Friencity YYCH a niche item for those who need more range.
SoundBot SB340 Universal Plug and Play Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter
This Soundbot dongle is good for those looking for a low-cost Bluetooth dongle.
It is a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter that works with a PC or Mac.
It also supports most any Windows operating system, Windows 8, Windows 7, XP, Vista, 2003, 2000, Me 64/32 bit
What is a USB Bluetooth Dongle?
A USB Bluetooth adapter is a small device that adds Bluetooth connectivity to a PC.
The small adapters have a built-in radio which communicates the wireless signals that Bluetooth needs to operate.
How Is a Bluetooth Dongle Installed and Setup?
To install a unit a dongle plugs into an empty USB slot on a computer.
Most computers will automatically find the Drivers for the dongle and have it set up ready to use.
If Windows does not find the Driver they will need to be installed from the Driver CD or from the manufacture website.
What Operating System are they Compatible With?
Every unit will have different compatibility but most will have a wide range of operating systems it can work with.
This includes Windows 7, 10, MAC, Linux and more.
Be sure to check the specifications of an adapter before buying it to be sure it works with your setup.
Adding Bluetooth compatibility to a non-Bluetooth computer is an easy process that most anyone can do.
Once set up they can send audio to headphones, speakers, TV or any other Bluetooth compatible device.
Most dongles simply need to be plugged in and will work automatically.
When buying a Bluetooth dongle simply be sure it is compatible with your version of Windows, Mac, or Linux.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure it is a good fit for your computer.