10 Best Cheap USB WiFi Adapters for 2023

Having a desktop computer has almost no downsides. They are powerful, have a large screen most of the time, and make it easy to power up with new components – and that’s something laptops, and smartphones can’t do.

Sadly, desktops do not have WiFi. And that’s something that may hinder your connectivity options.

That’s why getting the best USB WiFi adapter is always a great idea.

A WiFi adapter can save you when a cable breaks or wears off, when you’re installing a new system, or when you’re taking your desktop anywhere without a wire connection.

There’s no limit to where and how you can use one of these. They’re totally worth it – and here we’ll tell you more about the best of them.

Top 10 Best USB WiFi Adapter Reviews

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

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)

There’s no doubt about TP-Link’s popularity in the internet-related marketplace. Whether we’re talking about routers, modems, range extenders, or WiFi adapters – they’re always there.

And it shouldn’t be a surprise as TP-Link always delivers exceptional quality. And this AC600 USB WiFi Adapter is not an exception.

The first thing you’ll notice is the 802.11ac compatibility, working with most internet systems nowadays. This also ensures a high-quality connection at all times, which makes it easy to enjoy decent speeds of up to 150 Mbps at 2.4Ghz and up to 433 Mbps at 5Ghz.

Thanks to its dual-band design, you can enjoy superior compatibility with most systems. Yet, it is the 5 dBi antenna that ensures a super reliable connection every time.

All of that pairs up well with the support system in most OS. Whether it is Windows 10 or macOS 14 (or the oldest ones), you only need the driver, and it will make the whole setup a piece of cake.

To make it work, you just need to hook it up to the computer, install the driver, and then you’ll be ready to enjoy superb WiFi on your desktop.

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


  • 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

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

There’s no sense in getting a super expensive adapter when you can go for the EDUP WiFi USB Adapter.

At first sight, you’ll see that the device is super small and practical. It will make the whole installation a piece of cake.

As for the compatibility, you can make it work with most 802.11ac wireless connections. It will update your computer automatically so you can use the latest and most reliable system out there.

Apart from that, the adapter works wonders for video streaming, gaming, and more. And all thanks to its 5.8Ghz capacity of up to 433 Mbps and its 2.4Ghz compatibility that goes up to 150Mbps. This will be an outstanding 588Mbps in total.

What sets it apart from the competition is the strong dual-band antenna at 2 dBi. This will be enough to get decent performance with indoor wireless internet. You won’t have to set up your computer close to anything for this adapter to work well.

And finally, you just need to connect the device to a USB 2.0 port, insert the CD into the computer and that’s it. Otherwise, you can download the driver directly from the EDUP site and enjoy the adapter in minutes.

Whether it is for social media browsing, video streaming, or even gaming – this small & reliable EDUP USB Adapter won’t let you down.


  • 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

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

If you’re a fan of ultra-small devices, then you’ll find the Panda Wireless PAU06 an almost perfect choice.

As soon as you set your eyes on this device, you’ll be amazed at how small it is. Yet, it is compatible with most OS and connections, including 2.4Ghz.

The most exciting part is the ability to work with 802.11n technologies or even 802.11g at 2.4Ghz as backward compatibility.

All this offers an outstanding 300 Mbps capacity that will make even the most potent internet connection work without problems.

And sure enough, the small design makes it a piece of cake to install. You just need to hook it up to any USB connection on your computer, insert the CD, and install the driver in just a couple of minutes. This will leave you with one of the most practical USB WiFi adapters on the market.

You won’t have to worry about anything when using it either, as it works well with most security systems going from WEP to WPA, WPA2, and more. Apart from that, it matches well with Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, and even Fedora or CentOS. You won’t have any issue installing it with any computer.

For those who love small devices for their practicality & ease of use, this one will come as an excellent choice.


  • 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

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

If we had to pick 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 is an 1160 Mbps device that works with both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz connections. You won’t have any problem hooking it up with your router or modem.

This pairs up 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 losing time pairing it up.

You can get superb security with this system as well, making use of the WPA, WPA2, and WEP safety technologies. No one will be able to access your router or computer with this device.

Apart from all that, it works well with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections. With the chance to install on Windows as old as XP and 2000, or macOS as old as 10.5, you’ll have no problem setting up this device.

The antenna is also decently strong at 5 dBi, which is enough to work indoors and outdoors without problems.

Whatever you’re looking for – this adapter will not let you know. It is a device for gamers & demanding users who want nothing less than the best. If that fits your demands then go for it. You won’t regret it.


  • 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

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

Affordability and outstanding results, the OurLink Mini is a dual-band system that will make wireless internet possible on any desktop.

It fits well with most 802.11ac connections, which is the most powerful of all. This goes well with the 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz compatibility, for a total of 588 Mbps so you can enjoy exceptional internet speed.

The antenna is decently powerful at 5 dBi, so you can make it work indoors, outdoors, or in places with lots of interference. It will grab the WiFi signal and hook well without problems.

As for installation, you’ll get a setup CD, but you can always install it directly from Windows using automatic updates. It also goes well with MacOS and Mojave.

But the real advantage is the plug-n-play capacity. You won’t have to set it up completely to make it work. Just run the installation program, insert the device, and it will be ready to work in seconds.

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

Apart from all that, it comes with one of the best price tags in the market. Without having to break your bank, this system will make it possible to stream video, play video games, and more effortlessly.


  • 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

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

Coming back strong with an even better adapter, Techkey makes it clear that they’re one of the best brands out there. This AC1200 USB model leaves nothing to be desired.

You will get two antennas at 5 dBi, each one working at either 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, so you can get excellent compatibility with most systems and devices. Yet, it is the 802.11ac connection that makes it so effective, getting up to 867 Mbps in total.

This device allows both streaming and gaming. You won’t have to stick to browsing or simple internet connections. It also prevents lag and reduces freezing that’s pretty common with deficient systems.

On top of all that, it comes with a USB 3.0 input so you can make it work with your fast motherboard and achieve superior internet performance. Otherwise, you can always hook it up to any 2.0 USB port.

An excellent feature that not many other devices offer is the chance to work as a Hotspot. Yes, you can make this adapter an access point so other devices can connect directly to your computer internet wirelessly by using the wired connection. That’s simply fantastic.

The connection is still pretty simple, and you can enjoy one of the most reliable products in the market in just minutes. You won’t regret getting this model at all – especially with its dual antenna that offers outstanding reach.


  • 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

7. Techkey AC1750 USB WiFi Adapter 1750Mbps Dual Band

USB WiFi Adapter for PC, Techkey 1750Mbps Dual Band 2.4GHz/450Mbps 5.8GHz/1300Mbps High Gain 5dBi Antennas USB 3.0 Wireless Network Adapter for Desktop Laptop with Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista, Mac OS

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

As soon as you look at it, you’ll know this is a superb device. It works with two antennas offering 5 dBi each, ideal for providing a decent range indoors and outdoors.

What makes it stand out is not only the antennas but the superb 1300 Mbps at 5Ghz, and 450 Mbps at 2.4Ghz. Together, they make the Ultra-Fast AC1750 system, a high-speed function that provides excellent connections at up to 1750 Mbps in total.

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

And it connects easily to either USB 3.0 or 2.0 ports. You won’t have to look for a specific type of connection with this device, just hook it wherever you want, and it will achieve decent performance. It even comes with a dongle or USB extender that allows a straightforward installation.

To make it an even better choice, you will get a Hotspot feature. This Soft AP or Access Point function allows you to make the adapter use your wired desktop connection and broadcast it. You will literally make your computer a WiFi router for other devices to use your wired internet.

Add everything this device offers together, and you’ll get one of the most fantastic systems in the whole market.


  • 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

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)

There’s no sense in having ultra-fast connections at home if you can’t enjoy them via WiFi. That’s what the QGOO AC600 Wireless Adapter for computers offers – the chance to enjoy all that without effort.

Whether you have a 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz connection at home, you’ll have the chance to get the most out of it with this adapter. Not only that, it offers superb coverage of over 100 yards so you can enjoy your home WiFi from far away if needed.

It is still a super small and affordable option. You can make it work on any computer without having to make too much of an effort when setting it up, either. In fact, it is a Plug & Play design that you can start using in seconds after installing it on any Windows or macOS computer.

But it is the ability to provide 600 Mbps of total connection speed that makes it so amazing. You can achieve outstanding capacities to reach the full potential of your internet connection with a small adapter on your desktop.

It doesn’t matter how you look at it – this is an exceptional product to consider. And on top of all that, it is one of the cheapest – so you won’t have to spend much on it.

If you’re looking for reliability, speed, and exceptional results, then you’ll find this one a perfect match. Add the small design for a straightforward installation, and it has no competitor in the price range.


  • 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

9. Cudy WU600 AC 600Mbps USB WiFi Adapter

Cudy WU600 AC 600Mbps 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

The smallest model in the whole list, the Cudy WU600, comes to provide superb convenience without leaving performance behind.

Despite not having an antenna like its competitors, you can still achieve over 600 Mbps in total connection speed with both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz connection. You won’t have to stick to low speeds with this model.

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

Yet, the advantage of this small design is portability. You can bring it anywhere and enjoy superior comfort. Having to bring a bag to store the device is a thing of the past. Just put it in your pocket and carry it around.

As for installation, it demands little to no effort. You will need to hook it up into any USB 2.0 port on your computer and let the built-in driver install the device. The only thing you’ll need to do is to try it out after a few minutes of installation.

Something that makes it a unique device is the Soft AP function. Yes, you can make this ultra-small adapter an Access Point so you can achieve exceptional practicality. This will make it possible for your desktop to become a Hotspot router.

Whether you want to enjoy superb speeds, make your computer a router, or simply transform your desktop connectivity –this is the model to go for. But it still offers tons of advantages for its small design, so it is easily one of the best out there.


  • 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

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

A USB WiFi Adapter that can meet 1200 Mbps of connection speed is undoubtedly much more enjoyable to use than any other. And sure enough, the QGoo AC1200 is precisely that.

You can achieve up to 867 Mbps with its 5Ghz band, and up to 300 Mbps with its 2.4Ghz. Together, they can provide up to 1200 Mbps using an 802.11ac connection. You will easily obtain the fastest speeds for either streaming or gaming that won’t let you down.

Another interesting part is the 5 dBi antenna. It can deliver an excellent reach so you can enjoy superb WiFi in any part of the house. This pairs up well with the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatibility, so you can make the device work decently, or outstandingly well.

But the real advantage that sets this model apart from the competition is the Plug & Play function. The driver installs in seconds, so you won’t have to waste much of your time with it.

It installs on both Windows and macOS – and using it demands little to no effort. You can enjoy WiFi on your desktop in just a few minutes after installing it.

And for a decent cost, you won’t get many options as reliable, useful, and practical as this one. For those who want excellent quality, the QGoo AC1200 will not let them down.


  • 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

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best USB WiFi Adapter

Wireless gadgets

There’s no sense in going through all the different models available out there if you don’t have any idea of what to go for. Luckily for you, we know exactly what you need. Here are a few factors to think about before buying:

Speed Capacity

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

But it all comes down to what really works with your system. Let’s say you have a modem and router at home that provides 400 Mbps at 5Ghz. Well, you’ll want a WiFi adapter that offers precisely that kind of speed capacity.

On the other hand, you may have a 2.4Ghz system at 150 Mbps. So, you’ll need at least that maximum measurement on your WiFi adapter to enjoy your connection to the max.

Some adapters can offer up to 867 Mbps for 5Ghz connections, and others can go as far as 400 Mbps in 2.4Ghz. Make sure the one for you matches your speed needs accordingly.

Connection Technology

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

Both are important to consider, though. So, if you can get an adapter with both then you’re getting a far better product. But overall, 802.11ac is the fastest of all meeting speeds of up to 1300 Mbps. The only problem is that not many devices and connections use this kind of technology.

If that’s the case with your system, then you should go for an 802.11n instead. It won’t be as fast as the other, but it will be fast enough so you can enjoy up to 450 Mbps with the best adapters out there.

You should make sure it matches your router before getting it. So check the technology your internet system uses and then choose a WiFi adapter accordingly.

Antenna Strength

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

Here, you’ll first have to consider whether the adapter comes with one or two antennas. The more antennas it has, the better it will be, of course. But you will also have to consider the dBi amount. This refers to the overall strength of the signal they can produce to grab nearby WiFi connections.

The strongest the antenna, the more dBi it will have. Usually, we recommend antennas of at least 3 dBi. But if you can go for something of 5 dBi or more, then you’re getting a better product.

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

Inputs & Connectivity

Apart from technologies, speeds, and antenna reach – you should consider the inputs. They won’t necessarily make much of a difference unless you know how.

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

Well, USB 3.0 seems unnecessary, but it can actually improve the connection exponentially. This happens because 3.0 can reach speeds of up to 1000 Mbps with 5Ghz systems. In contrast, USB 2.0 does not allow more than 480 Mbps of overall capacity.

If you want to get the most out of your system, go for a USB 3.0. Otherwise, a USB 2.0 will be enough.


Finally, it comes the moment of setting up your device. Here’s where you’ll have to think not only about convenience but also speed and simplicity.

We recommend a plug-n-play adapter for the best experience when setting them up. They won’t demand any installation, just connect them, and that’s it.

Otherwise, you will have to either use a CD (in case you still use a CD player) or download the driver from the internet. Both can be slightly difficult, especially getting the driver from the web.

So make sure that the adapter you go for makes the whole process easy. Otherwise, you may end up wasting time and effort with the installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

After reading our reviews and buying guide, there’s still a high chance of being confused about what these adapters offer. But don’t worry. In this section, we’ll get rid of that confusion.

1. How to install a USB WiFi adapter?

The installation depends heavily on the model you’re getting. For most of them, you will just need to insert the device into the USB port and install the driver. This could take between a few seconds to several minutes up to an hour in the worst-case scenario.

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

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

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

Not necessarily, but it can save you some disappointment. Remember that some adapters work only with specific technologies, connection speeds, and bands. You won’t like to get a system that does not work with your system. So be careful before buying.

4. How fast can a USB WiFi adapter go?

Usually, they can go anywhere from 100 Mbps up to 1200 Mbps or even more. The best ones can meet speeds of up to 1750 Mbps without issues.

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

Yes, some models have an AP feature or hotspot functionality that allows them to work as routing devices. They will repeat the signal from the wired connection of your computer and broadcast it in the area. That’s a pretty useful feature to think about.

Final Words & Recommendation

No need to spend hours looking for the best USB WiFi adapter for laptops and PC, when you can trust our advice and pick the one accordingly.

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

But sure, there are many other options on the list to consider, each one offering a specific set of advantages and disadvantages. Before you get your next WiFi adapter, make sure to think about 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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