Best Wireless USB Adapters with Reviews and Speed Test

By | August 24, 2023

Best USB Wireless Network Adapters 2020 2
USB WiFi adapters work very well at connecting a desktop, laptop, or other electronics wirelessly to a router.

This makes it easy to set up a wireless signal and get online.

There are many USB WiFi dongles available with our favorite options below, along with full reviews, compatibility, and speed.
Review BrosTrend AC3 AC1200 Wireless USB Adapter Dual Band Laptop
There have been some changes to WiFi with a new naming scheme and new protocol released.

What Makes a Good Wireless USB Adapter?

Best USB Wireless Network Adapters 2020
WiFi has been upgraded with new protocols and naming schemes.

WiFi Protocols New Naming Scheme and Speeds

Protocol Old NameNew NameYear IntroducedTheoretical Speeds
802.11nWireless-NWiFi 42007300 Mbps
802.11acWireless-AC WiFi 52013866Mbps
802.11axWireless-AXWiFi 620203.5Gbps

There is also a new protocol called Wireless-AX WiFi 6 (802.11ax) that has the fastest wireless speeds.

Having the newest wireless protocols doesn’t automatically make an adapter the best.

Build quality, speed, range, antenna size, backward compatibility, and more all need to be considered.

Below we list the best WiFi USB adapters currently available along with reviews to see if one is a good pick for you.

As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, here, elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for your set up.

*This site contains affiliate paid links for which a commission earned.

Our Picks for Best Wireless USB Adapters

  1. D-Link AX1800 WiFi-6 Adapter
  2. Best Wireless USB Adapters with Reviews and Speed Test 2022 D-Link AX1800
    Available Here on Amazon

    D-Link is a well-known wireless manufacturer that makes many wireless-related types of equipment, including a new WiFi-6 USB adapter.

    It is dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz with a rated top speed of 1800Mbps.

    While testing, the unit was very impressive, with a wireless speed of 454Mbps, which was the fastest USB WiFi adapter we have tested.

    It also uses a USB 3.0 for faster transfer speeds.

    Like all WiFi-6 devices, it can use the new WPA3 security, which is a big improvement over the older WPA2 wireless security protocol.

  3. BrosTrend AC3
  4. Review BrosTrend AC3 AC1200 Wireless USB Adapter Dual Band Laptop
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The BrosTrend AC3 is a USB WiFi adapter that has two 5dBi antennas to help get a better wireless signal.

    The adapter uses the 802.11AC (WiFi 5) protocols and is dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz adapter.

    It will work with most any device old or new and has a good range.

    The unit is bigger compared to many other adapters and would be best plugged into a desktop computer.

    During testing in the 5GHz band, it gave some very good speed results of 225Mbps Download, and 20Mbps Upload.

    Read Full Review Here

  5. Panda PAU09
  6. Best USB Wireless Network Adapters 2020 Panda PAU09
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The Panda PAU09 is a good USB adapter that is compatible with most any operating system from Windows to Linux.

    It has two large 5dBi antennas for better range and comes with a USB extender to move it around for a better signal if necessary.

    It is also a dual-band USB adapter and works in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

    The one downside it is a Wireless-N dongle with none of the new protocols.

    Even though it is only a Wireless-N adapter its low-cost, very good range, and wide compatibility make it worth a look.

    Read Full Review Here

  7. EDUP AC600
  8. Review EDUP 802.11AC Dual Band AC600 WiFi USB Adapter
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The EDUP AC600 is a Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi adapter that works in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

    It also comes with a screw-on 2dBi antenna to improve range.

    802.11AC is a fast WiFi protocol and works in the 5GHz band.

    This makes it a wireless adapter that will work in most any WiFi network.

    The 2.4GHz frequency while slower compared to 5Ghz can travel farther and is still widely used when distance is a problem.

    While testing the 2.4GHz frequency using wireless-N 57Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.

    The 5GHz using the 802.11ac protocol gave some very good results of 213Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.

    Read Full Review Here

  9. Alfa AWUS036ACHM
  10. Review Alfa AWUS036ACHM Wireless USB Adapter Overview
    Alfa has a new dual-band USB WiFi adapter that works with the WiFi-5 802.11ac protocol.

    It is a larger WiFi adapter built for speed and distance along with a 5dbi antenna for good range.

    This makes it a good fit for a desktop or laptop that needs a better wireless signal.

    It also has broad compatibility with almost any operating system, including Mac, Windows, and Linux.

    Read Full Review Here

  11. Alfa AWUS036ACH
  12. Review Alfa AWUS036ACH AC 1200 Wireless USB Adapter Laptop
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The Alfa AWUS036ACH is an 802.11AC USB adapter built for fast WiFi speeds with good distance.

    It comes with two 5dBi antennas that greatly improves the WiFi signal.

    It is also compatible with most any Operating System from Windows 10 to Kali Linux.

    During our test, it worked with Windows 10 basically plug-and-play with some impressive wireless speeds, 213Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.

    Alfa USB adapters are widely used in the Pen Testing community for their strong Chipsets and screw on antennas that can be easily changed out for larger ones.

    If you need better WiFi coverage along with fast speeds this is a good adapter to get.

    The new AWUS036ACH from Alfa uses a Type-C USB connector which is backward compatible with older USB standards.

    Read Full Review Here

  13. Ourlink 1200
  14. review-glam-hobby-ourlink-mini-wireless-usb-802-11ac-adapter
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    This unit from Glam Hobby called Ourlink is a small low-cost 802.11ac dual-band dongle

    In our test it worked well with Windows 10/11 and ran at a solid 100Mbps download speed.

    Even though it did well for a low-cost dongle we could not get it to show up as a Wireless-AC unit and only Wireless-N. (Update: New Drivers have solved this problem)

    Read Here for a Full Review

  15. TP-Link Archer T2UH
  16. Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The TP-Link Archer T2UH USB Adapter is a lost cost entry-level 802.11ac adapter with basic WiFi capability

    In our test it worked well enough although not as good as we expected from TP-Link, but is compatible with Macs and Window machines.

    The downside was it is only a USB 2.0 dongle which will bottleneck at 480Mbps.

    TP-Link is a known manufacturer of wireless products. For those looking for a Name Brand WiFi dongle, it is a good one to go with.

    Read Full Review Here

  17. Panda PAU06
  18. Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    This adapter from Panda is a Wireless-N 2.4GHz network adapter with a screw-on/off antenna that gives it good range.

    It is only a 2.4 GHz Wireless-N dongle so the speeds are not the best but it works well for those who need more distance from their WiFi.

  19. Edimax EW-7811Un
  20. Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The Edimax EW-7811Un is a small and convenient wireless dongle. It is an 802.11n 2.4 GHz adapter.

    This is not a dongle built for speed or distance since there is no large antenna. If you are looking for a quick reliable cheap WiFi adapter this one will get you online. Just don’t expect it to do wonders.

  22. Review ANEWKODI 600Mbps Dual Band USB WiFi Adapter Anttena
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The ANEWKODI is a low-cost but reliable dual-band dongle.

    It uses the new 802.11ac protocol and has a small antenna to give it a boost in coverage.

    It is a good low-cost unit that will give coverage a small boost and get you online quick and easy.

    Read Here for Full Review

  23. USB Novel 600CU
  24. Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    The USB Novel 600CU is a small nano-sized wireless USB adapter that runs the 802.11ac WiFi protocol.

    Its small size would make a good fit to upgrade a laptop or add wireless to a desktop.

    While testing the unit gave some good results on the 5GHz frequency of 218Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.

  25. USBNOVEL 1200
  26. Review USBNOVEL 1200Mbps USB WiFi Adapter USB 3.0 with Dual Antenna
    Available Here on eBay

    The USBNOVEL 1200 is an 802.11AC dual-band USB WiFi adapter built for fast transfer speeds and distance.

    802.11AC is a newer wireless protocol working in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

    It is backward compatible so it will also work with older devices.

    While testing the 5GHz band gave some very good results of 216Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.

    The USBNOVEL 1200Mbps would be a good fit for a desktop or laptop that needs to pick up a signal from farther away.

  27. Inamax 1200

  28. Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    Inamax makes this low-cost WiFi adapter that uses the 802.11AC WiFi-5 protocol.

    During testing, the 5GHz band gave the results of 230Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload. This was some very good results and one of the faster units available.

    It is a dual-band unit so will also work in older 2.4GHz networks.

    It also has a 5dBi antenna to get a better signal making it a very good unit for the money.

    Read Full Review Here


Wireless USB Adapters Comparison Chart

Adapter NameProtocolSizeDownload Speed Test Frequency
D-Link AX1800 802.11AXLarge454Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
BrosTrend AC3802.11AC Large225Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
Panda PAU09802.11AC Large55Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
EDUP AC600802.11AC Medium 213Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
Alfa AWUS036ACHM802.11AC Large209 Mbps 5GHz/2.4GHz
Alfa AWUS036ACH802.11AC Large213Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
Ourlink 802.11AC Small48Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
Archer T2UH802.11AC Medium 92Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
Panda PAU06Wireless-N Medium 47Mbps2.4GHz
Edimax EW-7811UnWireless-N Small45Mbps2.4GHz
ANEWKODIWireless-N Medium 73Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz
USB NOVEL 600CU802.11AC Small 216Mbps 5GHz/2.4GHz
USB NOVEL 1200802.11AC Large216Mbps 5GHz/2.4GHz
Inamax802.11AC Medium 230Mbps5GHz/2.4GHz

Wireless USB Adapter Buyers Guide

When buying a USB network adapter knowing a few things will go a long way to fit your setup.

Finding a USB network adapter that works best for the desktop, laptop, tablet, and router you use is the main objective.

So let’s look at the things that are important to know with WiFi today.

2.4GHz vs 5GHz Frequencies and Distance

2.4GHz was the frequency used for WiFi until 2013 when the 5GHz band was opened up for wireless devices.

The thing is the higher the frequency the less distance wireless signals can reliably travel.

So a dongle using the old 2.4GHz will transmit and receive farther than the newer 5GHz dongles.

Why Use the 5GHz Band?

Simply put there are too many devices talking in the 2.4GHz frequency.

It has become overcrowded which slows everyone down trying to get a signal through.

When a WiFi signal packet collides with another packet it must be resent which slows the network down.

While the 5GHz band is not able to send a signal as far as 2.4GHz it is not crowded and relatively unused.

If you live in a crowded city using a 5GHz WiFi adapter is likely your best option.

If you need a signal from a distance and live outside a city with few if any neighbors a 2.4GHz dongle is likely your best option.

802.11 WiFi Protocols

802.11 is what sets the standards for device manufacturers to create their products that all talk together.

Here are the main ones to know.

  • Wireless-N WiFi 4
  • Wireless-AC WiFi 5
  • Wireless-AX WiFi 6

The WiFi Alliance now has a new naming system for wireless protocols.

This includes Wireless-N, now called WiFi 4; wireless-ac, now called WiFi 5; and Wireless-AX, now called WiFi 6.

The new naming scheme is simply a way for users to understand wireless protocols better.

Most WiFi USB adapters are 802.11n, also called Wireless-N. Wireless-N can work in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency ranges.

Dongles that work in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz ranges are called Dual Band.

Dual Band is ideal for backward compatibility with older devices.

Wireless-AC WiFi 5 (802.11ac) was introduced in 2013 and is much faster than Wireless-N.

Wireless-AC WiFi 5 only works in the 5GHz range, which doesn’t travel as far as 2.4GHz but has much higher speeds.

The new Wireless-AX WiFi 6 is the newest WiFi protocol with the fastest wireless speeds yet.

Like Wireless-AC WiFi 5 only works in the 5GHz range.

Wireless USB Adapter and Antennas

Internal antennas are good at staying low profile but will not transmit as far as an external antenna.

Adapters that come with an external antenna often use an SMA connector that will allow for easy-screw-on attachments of different sized antennas. This allows for very cheap solutions to connectivity and distance issues.

An antennas size is valued by its dBi number value, for example a 9 dBi antenna is bigger than a 5 dBi antenna.

How To Install and Setup USB Wireless Adapter

  1. Insert the USB adapter into a USB port.
  2. A PC will usually install the Drivers automatically.
  3. If the Drivers do not install a CD with the Drivers is usually included.
  4. If there is no Driver CD, search online for the manufacture website to download and install them.
  5. Once the Drivers are installed you should be able to connect to a WiFi signal

If you are unsure which USB network adapter will work in your wireless network be sure to get a dual-band dongle as they will work in almost any network.

Dual-band will work with both the older 2.4 GHz and new 5 GHz frequencies.

Also, be sure your operating system is supported by the dongle and the drivers available.

For example, a Windows 10 PC will need Win 10 Drivers.

The WiFi protocols will also matter since new protocols have more security and speed compared to older ones.

20 thoughts on “Best Wireless USB Adapters with Reviews and Speed Test

  1. larry silverstein

    need help install wifi drivers … parrot os … Panda PAU09

  2. walldoo99

    I have the Alfa and the paddle antennas. I was able to hit the hotel router about a mile away, but needed a guest password. LOL Still, I was connected to the router.
    I was using the Netgear dual band and after we got fiber optics I was getting 60Mbps upstairs in the front of the house. With the stick antennas on the Alfa I was getting 80-120 DL speeds and with the paddles I am getting in the 200Mbps range +/-

  3. Peter

    Very nice with a lot of tests of wifi adapters on this site – only problem is that many of them are useless, as your internet connection is not that fast in some of the tests (50Mbit/s), but even worse though – you are using a 100Mbit/s port along the way when doing iPerf tests on your internal network – so we can never see how fast the adapters actually are..

    You should buy a 1 Gbit/s switch and test all adapters again 😀 Please :D:D

  4. Lesley Collette


    I hope you don’t mind me contacting, but I need some advice about what to buy.

    My TV is connected to my Sky box that has a Freeview card in it. Tv is also Freeview.

    I want to use the Fire TV stick but don’t have an internet connection to the TV.

    I bought a wireless dongle to put into the TV in the hope that it would pick up the wireless broadband. (I have Sky downstairs and our phones, laptops and tablets are connected to it wirelessly)

    Is there dongle I can buy that I can put into either USB or HDMi port that will connect my TV to the broadband. I suspect I might need a dongle with an Aerial.

    Would be very grateful for your help

    Many thanks

    1. Dave

      There isn’t any compatible USB wireless adapters for TVs but there is Ethernet to WiFi adapters.

  5. Rich

    My building recently installed free wi-fi. I bought an AC600 dual band USB that came with an instalation disc. It worked fine at first but now it is sporadic.
    I am wondering if an adapter with an attached antenna will pick up better. Also wonder if the issue is with the recently installed system.
    Any thoughts are appreciated.
    Obviously now it is working, but it is driving me nuts


  6. DavPot

    good but what is the best for you ?
    realtek driver seems depreciated on linux

  7. Fred

    We purchased new four years ago a HP Pavilion HOE series desktop computer Midel No. h7-1160t whose operating system is now Windows 10 Professional. At the time of purchase there were not dual band wireless LAN cards available. The computer came with a single band 2.4GHZ wireless LAN card. Our Internet service provider, Comcast, has installed a Cisco Model No. 3939 dual band gateway in our home. What do you suggest as an upgrade solution to our desktop computer so it can access the 5.0GHZ band and have plug and play compatibility with Windows 10 Professional? We thank you in advance for your much appreciated response!

  8. Harald Rudell

    You need to provide the detected vendor and device ID when plugged into Linux usb so that the device can be looked up at linux-hardware[.]org

    You need to provide the internal chip vendor and model

    For each device you should provide the output of iw phy2 info

    For each device, please provide the results of a WPA3 interoperability test as access point and client tested against proprietary software such as macOS

  9. Taieb lotfi

    Do these adapters support monitor mode , and packet injection for the alpha I am pretty sure it does the rest i don’t know.

  10. Chung

    Can anyone recommend me the best WiFi adapter for PC gaming with consistent ping and compatible with Window 10?

  11. Heremes

    I have a custom built desktop and it doesn’t have builtin WiFi or a CD player, can I still install the drivers automatically like you did in the video? I am usually wired but I’m going to be away from home and I need a wifi adapter.

    1. Xia

      Generally there is no need to install the driver for Win 10, just plug WiFi adapter into your computer, then you can get WiFi signal at the right bottom of your desktop. Then click one WiFi signal that you want, and input the password, you will be connected with your WiFi adapter.

      However, if your computer’s operation is not Win 10, then you need to install the driver, but as you said, you do not have WiFi or CD player, then you need to download the driver from the website through wired internet, then installed the driver.

  12. John S

    I bought a TP Link T2U USB duel band mostly to get 5 Ghz access because my HP notebook has a dreadfully poor single band Realtek card. One of the worst cards ever, in my opinion. One thing a notebook should never cheap out on is a wireless card. So anyway bought the T2U and it does well but not great. 5Ghz is basically great for short distances but beyond 15 ft or start adding walls or floors and forget it. The 2 .4 Ghz side out performs the internal card but not by much. Clearly these devices have their limits without external antenna. Mainly because their size does not permit a decent internal antenna.

  13. gychang

    What is the fastest AC adapter that support Linux/Ubuntu?

    1. John

      I think you can try the BrosTrend AC3L or Panda PAU09, these two models are compatible with Linux Ubuntu I could found on Amazon.
      BrosTrend AC3L, AC1200 dual band long range.
      Panda PAU09, AC600, dual band long range.


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