10 Best Cheap USB WiFi Adapters for 2023 (Review and Buying Guide)

Having a desktop computer has almost no disadvantages. Theyre powerful, usually have a large screen, and are easy to upgrade with new components – and that’s something laptops and smartphones can’t do.

Unfortunately, the desktops don’t have WiFi. And that’s something that can limit your connectivity options.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to buy the best USB WiFi adapter.

A WiFi adapter can save you when a cable breaks or wears out, when you’ install a new system, or when you’ take your desktop anywhere that doesn’t have a wired connection.

There’s no limit to where and how you can use an adapter like this. They’re definitely worth it – and here we’ tell you more about the best of them.

Top 10 Best USB WiFi Adapter Reviews

Let’s start directly with the ratings. You’ll learn all about the 10 best PC WiFi adapters out there. Here’s what you should know about each one:

1. TP-Link AC600 USB Wifi Adapter 600Mbps Wifi Adapter

TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter for PC AC600Mbps Wireless Network Adapter for Desktop with 2.4GHz/5GHz High Gain Dual Band 5dBi Antenna, Supports Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP, Mac OS 10.9-10.14 (Archer T2U Plus)


  • Supports up to 600 Mbps
  • Excellent OS compatibility
  • Straightforward installation
  • Works with 802.11ac systems


  • Not the best range available
  • Driver setup can take a while

There’ is no doubt about the popularity of TP -Link’ in the Internet products market. Whether we’ talk about routers, modems, range extenders or WiFi adapters – they’ are always there.

And it’s not surprising, because TP -Link always delivers excellent quality. And this AC600 USB WiFi adapter is no exception.

The first thing you’ll notice is its 802.11ac compatibility, which works with most of today’s Internet systems. This ensures a high-quality connection that makes it easy for you to achieve speeds of up to 150 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and up to 433 Mbps at 5 GHz.

Thanks to the dual-band design, you can enjoy excellent compatibility with most systems. The 5 dBi antenna ensures that you always have a reliable connection.

All this combines well with the support system of most OS. Whether its Windows 10/11 or macOS, you just need the driver, and the whole setup will be a breeze.

To make it work, you just need to connect it to the computer, install the driver, and you’ can enjoy great WiFi on your desktop.

Exceptional speed, compatibility and a straightforward installation make it one of the best options available.

Buy now on Amazon

2. EDUP Wifi Adapter ac600Mbps Wireless USB Adapter

EDUP Wifi Adapter Ac600Mbps Wireless Usb Adapter 5ghz /2.4ghz Dual Band 600mbps Usb Adapter 2dBi External Antennas Supports Windows Xp Win Vista Win 7 Win 8.1 Win 10 Mac Os X 10.7-10.14


  • Decent internet speed capacity
  • Excellent indoor antenna capacity
  • Super affordable for the quality
  • Compatible with 802.11ac technologies


  • The antenna is a little more fragile than expected
  • Installation CD does not help

There’s no point in buying a super expensive adapter when you can opt for the EDUP WiFi USB adapter.

At first glance, you’ll see that the device is super small and convenient. With it, the entire installation will be a piece of cake.

As for compatibility, you can use it with most 802.11ac WiFi connections. It’ll automatically update your computer so you can use the latest and most reliable system available.

Plus, the adapter is great for streaming video, gaming, and more. And its all thanks to its 5.8Ghz capacity of up to 433 Mbps and its 2.4Ghz compatibility that goes up to 150Mbps. In total, that’s an outstanding 588Mbps.

What sets it apart from the competition is its strong dual-band antenna with 2 dBi. That’s enough to give you good indoor wireless internet performance. For this adapter to work well, you don’t have to put your computer near anything.

After all, you just need to plug the device into a USB port, download the driver from EDUP website, and that’s it. Otherwise, you can use the CD to install the driver and start using the adapter in a few minutes.

Whether for social media browsing, video streaming, or even gaming, this small and reliable EDUP USB adapter won’t let you down.

Buy now on Amazon

3. Panda Wireless PAU06 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter

Panda Wireless PAU06 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter - w/High Gain Antenna - Win XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Centos, Kali Linux and Raspbian


  • Superb 300 Mbps capacity
  • High-quality security system for extra safety
  • Compatible with most Operative Systems
  • Effortless & time-saving installation


  • Only works with 2.4Ghz connections
  • Not the best distance to reach out there

If you’re a fan of ultra-small devices, ‘the Panda Wireless PAU06 is a near- perfect choice.

As soon as you pick this device up, you’ll be amazed at how small it is. Yet its compatible with most OS and connections, including 2.4 GHz.

The most exciting thing is the ability to work with 802.11n technologies or even 802.11g at 2.4 GHz for backwards compatibility.

All of this provides an outstanding 300 Mbps capacity that will keep even the strongest Internet connection running smoothly.

And the small design makes installation a breeze. All you have to do is plug it into any USB port on your computer, plug in the CD and install the driver in minutes. You’ll have one of the most convenient USB WiFi adapters on the market.

You don’t have to worry about using it either, because it works with most security systems, from WEP to WPA, WPA2 and more. Plus, it fits well with Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, and even Fedora or CentOS. You’ll have no problems installing it on any computer.

For those who love small devices because they’re practical and easy to use, this device is an excellent choice.

Buy now on Amazon

4. Techkey AC1200 USB Wifi Adapter 1200Mbps Dongle

USB WiFi Adapter 1200Mbps TECHKEY USB 3.0 WiFi Dongle 802.11 ac Wireless Network Adapter with Dual Band 2.42GHz/300Mbps 5.8GHz/866Mbps 5dBi High Gain Antenna for Desktop Windows XP/Vista / 7-10 Mac


  • Compatible with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz systems
  • Ultra-fast 867Mbps connection capacity
  • Easy installation with USB 2.0 and 3.0
  • Excellent antenna strength at 5 dBi


  • Large design can be a little tricky to hook up
  • Finding a driver online can be challenging

If we had to choose the best USB wireless adapter for PC gaming, then we couldn’t give the prize to any other model than the Techkey AC1200 USB 3.0 dongle.

This device operates at 1160 Mbps and works with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections. You won’t have any problems connecting it to your router or modem.

This goes well with its ability to work with 802.11n technologies at 300 Mbps or 802.11ac connections at 867 Mbps. You can get the most out of this device without wasting time connecting it.

With WPA, WPA2 and WEP security technologies, this system also offers you excellent security. With this device, no one can access your router or computer.

Besides, it works with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections. With the possibility of installing it on Windows as old as XP and 2000) or macOS (10.5), you won’t have any problems setting up this device.

The antenna is sufficiently strong at 5 dBi to work both indoors and outdoors without any problems.

Whatever you’re looking for, this adapter won’t let you down. Its a device for gamers and demanding users who want nothing less than the best. If this meets your needs, then grab it. You won’t regret it.

Buy now on Amazon

5. OURLINK 600Mbps mini 802.11ac Dual Band

OURLINK 600Mbps mini 802.11ac Dual Band 2.4GHz/5GHz Wireless Network Adapter USB WI-FI Dongle Adapter with 5dBi Antenna Support WIN VISTA,WIN 7,WIN 8.1, WIN 10,MAC OS X 10.9-10.13


  • Compatible with both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz systems
  • Powerful speed capacity at 688 Mbps in total
  • Small design fits almost anywhere
  • Practical plug-n-play function


  • The large antenna may fit loosely on USB ports
  • Drops connections from time to time

The OurLink Mini is an affordable dual-band system that makes wireless Internet possible on any desk, and it delivers great results.

It matches well with most 802.11ac connections, which is the most powerful of all. It’s compatible with both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz and offers a total of 588 Mbps, so you can enjoy exceptional Internet speeds.

The antenna has decent performance at 5 dBi, so you can use it indoors, outdoors, or in places with lots of interference. It detects the WiFi signal and connects without any problems.

For installation, you’ get a setup CD, but you can also install it directly from Windows via automatic updates. It also works with macOS and Mojave.

But the real advantage is the plug-and-play capability. You don’t have to set it up completely for it to work. Just run the installer, plug in the device, and its ready to go in seconds.

This installation system fits well with the super small USB design. Despite the massive antenna, the USB input goes in almost anywhere without a problem. You won’t have any problems connecting it to your computer.

Plus, it has one of the best prices on the market. With this system, you can effortlessly stream videos, play video games, and more without breaking your budget.

Buy now on Amazon

6. Techkey Wireless USB WiFi Adapter

Techkey Wireless USB WiFi Adapter, 1200Mbps Dual Band 2.4GHz/300Mbps 5.8GHz/867Mbps High Gain Dual 5dBi Antennas Network WiFi USB 3.0 for Desktop Laptop with Windows 10/8/7/XP, Mac OS X


  • Superb 5 dBi antenna capacity
  • Up to 867 Mbps of total connection capacity
  • Exceptional Access Point feature for convenience
  • Easy to use and set up


  • Tends to lose connection with long-range routers
  • Does not work with Linux or Ubuntu

Techkey comes back with an even better adapter, making it clear that they’ are one of the best brands on the market. This AC1200 USB model leaves nothing to be desired.

You get two antennas with 5 dBi each, operating on either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, so you have great compatibility with most systems and devices. Still, its the 802.11ac connection that makes it so effective, reaching up to 867 Mbps in total.

With this device, you can stream as well as play. You don’t have to limit yourself to browsing or simple internet connections. It also prevents lags and reduces freezing, which is common with poor systems.

It also has a USB 3.0 input, so you can connect it to your fast motherboard and get better internet performance. Otherwise, you can also plug it into any 2.0 USB port.

One excellent feature that not many other devices offer is the ability to work as a hotspot. Yes, you can make this adapter an access point so that other devices can connect to the Internet wirelessly through the wired connection directly to your computer. That’s just fantastic.

It’s still pretty easy to connect, and you can be using one of the most reliable products on the market in just a few minutes. You won’t regret buying this model – especially because of its dual antenna, which offers an excellent range.

Buy now on Amazon

7. QGOO AC1750 USB WiFi Adapter 1750Mbps Dual Band

WiFi Adapter 1750mbps,QGOO Wireless USB Adapter Dual Band 2.4GHz/450Mbps 5GHz/1300Mbps High Gain 5dBi Antennas USB 3.0 Wireless Network Adapter for Desktop Laptop PC Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10/11


  • Unbeatable 1750 Mbps connection capacity
  • Exceptional compatibility with most connections
  • Outstanding Hotspot function for practicality
  • Handy USB dongle for better installation


  • A little more expensive than competitors
  • Setup instructions can be a bit confusing

We couldn’t give any other model than the QGOO the title of best long-range USB WiFi adapter.

As soon as you see it, you’ll know it’s an excellent device. It works with two antennas of 5 dBi each, which are ideal for good indoor and outdoor range.

What makes it special isn’t only the antennas, but also the excellent 1300 Mbps at 5Ghz and 450 Mbps at 2.4Ghz. Together, they form the Ultra-Fast AC1750 system, a high-speed feature that provides excellent connections with a total of up to 1750 Mbps.

There’s simply no limit to what you can do with this device. Whether you’re gaming or streaming videos, you can get more than decent performance without having to spend money on super expensive products.

And it easily connects to a USB 3.0 or 2.0 port. With this device, you don’t have to look for a specific type of port, you can just plug it in wherever you want and it’ll perform decently. It even comes with a dongle or USB extender for a straightforward installation.

To make it an even better choice, you get a hotspot feature. With this soft AP or Access Point feature, you can get the adapter to use your wired desktop connection and transmit it. You literally turn your computer into a WiFi router that allows other devices to use your wired Internet.

Put everything this device offers together and you’ have one of the most fantastic systems on the entire market.

Buy now on Amazon

8. QGOO WiFi Adapter AC600 Wireless USB Adapter

QGOO WiFi Adapter ac600Mbps,Wireless USB Adapter 2.4GHz/5.8GHz Dual Band 802.11 ac Network LAN Card for Desktop Laptop PC Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista/Mac OS10.6-10.13 (Without Drive)


  • Achieves superb connection speeds
  • Compatible with both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz connections
  • Effortless installation with plug-n-play system
  • Super affordable despite amazing performance


  • Needs to be installed with internal drivers
  • Fragile constructions

There’s no point in having an ultra-fast connection at home if you can’t use it over WiFi. That’s what the QGOO AC600 Wireless Adapter for Computers offers – the ability to enjoy all that without any effort.

Whether you have a 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz connection at home, you’ can make the most of it with this adapter. Plus, it offers an excellent range of over 100 meters, so you can enjoy your home WiFi remotely if you need to.

Its still a super small and affordable option. You can use it on any computer without having to go through too much effort to set it up. That’s because its a plug-and-play design that you can use in seconds after installing it on a Windows or macOS computer.

But its the ability to provide an overall connection speed of 600 Mbps that makes it so amazing. With a small adapter on your desktop, you can achieve outstanding capacities to realize the full potential of your Internet connection.

No matter how you look at it, this is an exceptional product to consider. And on top of that, its one of the cheapest – so you won’t have to spend much on it.

If you’re looking for reliability, speed, and exceptional results, this is the product for you. Add to that its small design for straightforward installation, and it has no rival in this price range.

Buy now on Amazon

9. Cudy WU600 AC 650Mbps USB WiFi Adapter

Cudy WU600 AC 650Mbps USB WiFi Adapter for PC, 5GHz / 2.4GHz WiFi Dongle, WiFi USB, USB Wireless Adapter for Desktop/Laptop - Mini Size, Auto Installation, Compatible with Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10


  • High-speed connection capacity
  • Fantastic 802.11ac compatibility
  • Super handy Soft AP feature
  • Extremely small & practical design


  • Not the longest reach out there
  • May not detect all connections

The smallest model in the whole list, the Cudy WU650 offers excellent comfort without sacrificing performance.

Although it doesn’t have an antenna like its competitors, youll be able to reach a total speed of over 650 Mbps with a 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz connection. With this model, you won’t have to settle for low speeds.

Its small design doesn’t hinder streaming or gaming. You can use this system for both and still have more than decent performance.

The advantage of this small design is portability. You can take it anywhere and enjoy superior comfort. A bag to store the device is a thing of the past. Just put it in your pocket and carry it around with you.

Installation requires little to no effort. Just plug it into any USB 2.0 port on your computer and let the built-in driver install the device. The only thing you’ need to do is try it out after a few minutes of installation.

What makes the device unique is the Soft AP function . Yes, you can turn this ultra-small adapter into an access point for exceptional practicality. This turns your desktop into a hotspot router.

Whether you want to enjoy superb speeds, turn your computer into a router, or simply transform your desktop connectivity, this is the model for you. For its small design, it still offers plenty of benefits, making it simply one of the best on the market.

Buy now on Amazon

10. QGoo WiFi Adapter 1200Mbps USB 3.0 Wireless Network WiFi Dongle

WiFi Adapter for PC, QGOO 1200Mbps USB 3.0 Wireless Network WiFi Dongle with 5dBi Antenna for Desktop/Laptop, Dual Band 2.42G/5.8G 802.11ac, Support Windows 10/8/8.1/7/Vista/XP, Mac OS 10.5-10.14


  • Exceptional 1200 Mbps of connection speed
  • Compatible with both USB 3.0 for extra power
  • Convenient Plug & Play feature
  • Decent antenna reach with 5 dBi


  • Downloading the driver can be difficult
  • Intermittent connection with 5Ghz

A USB WiFi adapter that can reach a connection speed of 1200 Mbps is undoubtedly much more convenient to use than any other. And of course, the QGoo AC1200 is just that.

With its 5Ghz band, you can get up to 867 Mbps, and with its 2.4Ghz band, you can get up to 300 Mbps. Together, they can deliver up to 1200 Mbps on an 802.11ac connection. So you can easily get the fastest speeds for streaming or gaming that won’t let you down.

Another interesting part is the 5 dBi antenna. It has an excellent range, so you can enjoy great Wi-Fi in any part of the house. Along with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatibility, you can set the device to work well or great.

But the real advantage that sets this model apart from the competition is the Plug & Play feature. The driver is installed in seconds, so you don’t have to waste much time.

It can be installed on both Windows and macOS – and using it requires little to no effort. Within minutes of installation, you can be using WiFi on your desktop.

And for a reasonable price, you don’t get many options that are as reliable, useful, and practical as this one. If you value excellent quality, you won’t be disappointed with the QGoo AC1200.

Buy now on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best USB WiFi Adapter

Wireless gadgets

There’s no point going through all the different models that are out there if you ‘have no idea what to choose. Luckily for you, we know exactly what you need. Here are a few factors you should think about before you buy:

Speed Capacity

There’s nothing more important than making sure the adapter fits your speed needs. Just like wired connections, wireless connections work with Mbps to measure how fast they’re. And surely you’ll want something fast enough for your needs.

But it comes down to what really works with your system. Let’s say you have a modem at home and a router that delivers 400 Mbps at 5Ghz. Then you’ need a WiFi adapter that offers exactly that speed.

On the other hand, you might have a 2.4Ghz system with 150 Mbps. So you’ need at least this maximum value for your WiFi adapter to use your connection optimally.

Some adapters offer up to 867 Mbps for 5Ghz connections, while others manage up to 400 Mbps at 2.4Ghz. Make sure that the adapter that’s right for you meets your speed requirements.

Connection Technology

There are two types of connections to consider here: 802.11ac and 802.11n. You could say that 802.11ac uses only the 5Ghz band, while 802.11n uses both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz.

However, both are important to consider. So if you can get an adapter with both, it’s a much better product. Overall, though, 802.11ac is the fastest standard, reaching speeds of up to 1300Mbps. The only problem is that not many devices and connections use this type of technology.

If that’s the case with your system, you should opt for 802.11n instead. It’s not as fast as the others, but its fast enough that you can get up to 450 Mbps with the best adapters.

You should make sure it fits your router before you buy it. So check what technology your Internet system uses, and then choose an appropriate WiFi adapter.

Antenna Strength

If you want the best long-range USB WiFi adapter, you need a device with a strong antenna system.

Here, you’ first need to pay attention to whether the adapter is equipped with one or two antennas. The more antennas it has, the better it’s, of course. But you also have to consider the dBi value. This refers to the total strength of the signal they can generate to cover nearby WiFi connections.

The stronger the antenna, the more dBi it has. Typically, we recommend antennas with at least 3 dBi. But if you can opt for an antenna with 5 dBi or more, you’ll get a better product.

With a strong enough antenna you don’t have to worry about interference, walls or range. So go for the strongest antenna system you can find.

Inputs & Connectivity

Aside from the technologies, speeds, and range of the antennas, you should also consider the inputs. They won’t necessarily make a big difference if you dont know how.

For example, you’ll find that some models are compatible with USB 3.0, while others only work with USB 2.0.

USB 3.0 seems unnecessary, but it can actually improve connectivity exponentially. That’s because 3.0 can reach speeds of up to 1000 Mbps on 5 GHz systems. USB 2.0, on the other hand, doesn’t allow more than 480 Mbit/s total capacity.

If you want to get the most out of your system, you should go for USB 3.0. Otherwise, a USB 2.0 is sufficient.


Finally, the moment comes when you set up your device. Here’ you’ must think not only of convenience, but also of speed and simplicity.

We recommend a plug-and-play adapter to get the best setup experience. They don’t need to be installed, you just need to plug them in and that’s it.

Otherwise, youll either have to use a CD (if youre still using a CD player) or download the driver from the Internet. Both can be a bit tricky, especially downloading the driver from the internet.

So make sure that the adapter you choose makes the whole process easy. Otherwise, you may lose a lot of time and effort during the installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

After reading our reviews and buying guide, there’s still a chance you’re confused about what these adapters offer. But don’t worry. In this section, we’ll clear up that confusion.

1. How to install a USB WiFi adapter?

Installation depends a lot on the model you’ buy. For most models, all you have to do is plug the device into the USB port and install the driver. This can take anywhere from a few seconds, to several minutes, to an hour in the worst case.

2. Which is the best USB wireless adapter for gaming?

The best adapter for PC gaming should provide an uninterrupted connection at 5Ghz for at least 400 Mbps. That’s why we recommend you stick to the most reliable and powerful connection speeds, especially if you want to use the adapter for gaming and similar activities.

3. Should I know my internet system type before buying a WiFi adapter?

Not necessarily, but it may save you some disappointment. Remember that some adapters only work with certain technologies, connection speeds, and frequency bands. You won’t like getting one that doesn’t work with your system. So be careful before you buy.

4. How fast can a USB WiFi adapter go?

Usually they range from 100 Mbps to 1200 Mbps or even more. The best ones can reach speeds of up to 1750 Mbit/s without any problems.

5. Can a USB WiFi adapter work as an access point?

Yes, some models have a access point function or a hotspot function that allows them to work as routing devices. They repeat the signal from your computer’s wired connection and broadcast it around the area. This is a pretty useful feature to think about.

Final Words & Recommendation

You don’t have to spend hours searching for the best USB WiFi adapter for laptops and PC when you can rely on our advice and choose the right one.

That’s why we think the Techkey AC1200 is by far the best option on the whole list. It offers everything you need and more without a hefty price tag.

But of course, there are plenty of other options on the list, each of which offers a number of pros and cons. Before you buy your next WiFi adapter, consider them all. You won’t regret it.

Josef is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing gadgets reviews. His love for technology started at an early age and he has been writing tutorials about various aspects of technology ever since. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other people and helping them understand the latest innovations in this field.

1 Comment

  1. hi!

    thanks for the review but something botherin gme you choose the same wifi standard but not the same data transmission.
    you did’nt mention hat about the ASUS USB-AC68, Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 and tp link archer-t9uh or the archer T4U which have good reputation as brand


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