A good Wardriving USB adapter must be capable of a few things, including packet injections, Deauth command, or basicaly working with the aircrack-ng suite.
There are other WiFi cracking tools such as Kismet but Aircrack is the most widely used and if an adapter works with Aircrack than it will more than likely work with other wireless pen testing tools.
Most people look for an adapter that is Kali Linux or Backtrack 5 compatible since all the WiFi tools are packaged into them, and this is a good way to look for a good adapter.
What is needed is the ability for the adapter to be able to do packet injections and kick a connection (Deauth). Most WiFi USB adapters cannot do the things necessary when Wardriving.
It is the chipset of an wireless USB adapter that makes it capable of Wardriving.
Here are the most common chipsets used.
Realtek 8187L (Wireless G adapters)
The Realtek RTL8187 is a wireless G only chipset and is not used much anymore.
The range of an adapter is another concern. Bigger dBi antennas can be used to get a signal from father away. The Bolo Brands 18dbi 2.4GHz Wifi High Gain Antenna is one such antenna.
Some WiFi USB adapters signal strength can be adjusted manually. If they can be adjusted manually be sure the adapter doesn’t get hot and burn up.
Also the power range is limited by law depending on how many big the antenna is. Read more here about manually increasing a USB adapter signal strength.
One last consideration is the new dual band WiFi. Old routers and devices only use the 2.4 GHz range while the new dual band uses both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz range.
Most electronics still use the 2.4 GHz range but 5 GHz is increasing in popularity.
After looking for a USB wireless adapter that can work in the 5 GHZ range I was only able to find one, the Alfa AWUS051NH which I did a write up on here. Kali Linux and the Alfa AWUS051NH Dual Band USB adapter review.
Although there may be more out there and I am still looking for other Wardriving 5 GHz USB adapters.
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Here are the top Wardriving wireless USB adapters
Adapters that use the Ralink RT3070 Chipset
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Alfa AWUS036NEH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Panda PAU05 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Adapters that use the Atheros AR9271 Chipset
TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4 GHz…….AliExpress.com
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
Cheap long range adapter that works with Kali
Here is an example of a cheap long range adapter (48 dBi) that uses the Ralink 3070 chipset that works well with Kali. It does have problems with any version of Windows that is not Windows 7 and does not work with Macs. For adapters that have good support go with one of the above wireless N name-brand-adapters.