Best Wireless USB Adapter For Gaming

Computer Station Nation is reader-supported.
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

The best USB Wi-Fi adapter will have you rocketing around the net, despite any disastrous networking failures that might disrupt your PC gaming experience.

If your built-in Wi-Fi or LAN ports break, or if you’ve bought a motherboard that lacks Wi-Fi (plenty of budget motherboards don’t), the best USB Wi-Fi adapter will be the stalwart stand-in you need.

If you’re looking to consolidate cable clutter in other areas, the best wireless computer gaming keyboards or the best wireless headsets should be your next stop. Let’s build a wireless future together.

Our Top 3 Picks of Best Wireless USB Adapter For Gaming

Trendnet TEW-809UB

Easy Setup Wireless USB Adapter For Gaming

 

There are nano adapters at the tiny end of the scale, and at the opposite end is the Trendnet TEW-809UB. This networking adapter tosses portability out the window, for faster AC1900 (N600, AC1300) speeds and serious antennas—four, to be exact, all positionable with a strength of 5 dBi each.

There is only a driver provided, but no software. Instead, Windows is in control of the networking duties. The adapter does not support MU-MIMO but does support Beamforming.

In use, the Trendnet TEW-809UB is stable and fast. It puts its antennas to good use, beating every other adapter tested on our wireless fringe location testing—on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. This is a great solution if you’re using Wi-Fi in a challenging situation with a weak signal.

With the Trendnet AC1900 High Power Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter (TEW-809UB), it’s easy to add 802.11ac Wi-Fi to a desktop PC or an older, 802.11n-equipped laptop.

It performs wonderfully in 2.4GHz and 5GHz performance tests at close proximity, but its 30-foot range performance was inconsistent, as it frequently dropped its connection to the router. If your PC is going to be in the same room as your router, the TEW-809UB will certainly get the job done.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easy to install.
  • Stable and fast.
  • Fast close-proximity throughput in testing.

Cons

  • Short USB cable.
  • Inconsistent long-range performance

Check it out on Amazon

Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter

Parental Control Wireless USB Adapter For Gaming

 

When it comes to the best gaming routers, there are few names as ubiquitous as the Netgear Nighthawk. Netgear has been producing excellent gaming routers for some time, but the Nighthawk AC1900 brings that same performance to a portable USB adapter.

This won’t necessarily get you a blazing fast connection in your local coffee shop, but at home, you can use the included magnetic desktop cradle to ensure your rig is getting the best possible connection from your router a couple of rooms away.

The Nighthawk AC1900 is a remarkably powerful and portable adapter but is somewhat bulky when compared to its peers; there were occasions where I was mildly concerned about snapping it off in one of my laptop’s USB ports, and its size means that it may not always find a vacant port with the necessary clearance.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Faster than comparable routers.
  • Stable WiFi signal.
  • Has parental controls.

Cons

  • To achieve the highest available speed of this router, connected devices must support 5GHz.
  • This router offers coverage on 1 or 2 floors, depending on the size of your house.

Check it out on Amazon

ASUS USB-AC68

Super Fast Wireless USB Adapter For Gaming

 

The ASUS USB-AC68 is a dual-band USB Wi-Fi adapter that instantly upgrades your desktop, laptop or even your NAS with Wi-Fi speeds up to 1300 Mbps (5GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4GHz) for a total bandwidth capability upto 1900 Mbps.

It features a 3×4 MIMO antenna design with ASUS AiRadar Beamforming which optimizes the Wi-Fi reception. Those functions and features in combination should provide you with a great result and worry-free wireless signals.

Thanks to USB 3.0 and its 5 Gbps capabilities, the USB-AC68 shouldn’t run into any bottlenecks connection wise and easily be able to deliver its full bandwidth of up to 1900 Mbps through the combined 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands.

This is particularly useful for mobile users with older generation Wi-Fi built-in. This adapter can easily reach 300% faster Wi-Fi compared to an 802.11n 3T3R setup that is built into many laptops and notebooks.

Being a USB adapter, you’d think that the antennas could be on the weak side. ASUS worked around that by adding built-in 3-position antennas that flip out from the body itself, allowing for better signal reception than internal positioned antennas. Next to those two external antennas, the USB-AC68 also features two internal antennas for a total of four.

The external three-position antennas design also give the adapter some extra design aspects and it looks pretty cool standing next to the system. Yes, you don’t even need to have this large adapter plugged directly into your system, although you can do that too. It comes with an included cradle stand with USB cable, allowing you to remotely place the adapter at an optimal position for better reception.

The adapter naturally supports all current encryption standards from 64-bit and 128-bit WEP over WPA2-PSK and WPA-PSK, to WPA-Enterprise and WPA2-Enterprise. While it isn’t the smallest adapter around, it’s still quite portable with its 115 x 30 x 17.5 mm physical size and a weight of just 44 grams.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • AiRadar ensures a larger and more stable WiFi signal.
  • The WiFi adapter has Wireless AC with a WiFi speed of up to 1,300Mbps.
  • WiFi Standard AC is up to 3 times faster than WiFi standard N.

Cons

  • The WiFi adapter isn’t small, so it sticks out of your laptop.
  • The drivers for Windows 10 aren’t included by default, so you have to download these from the Asus website

Check it out on Amazon

Conclusion

The Trendnet TEW-809UB dual-band wireless USB adapter brings fast close-proximity Wi-Fi to your desktop or laptop, though it has trouble maintaining a signal over long distances.

Yes, a wired connection will provide better stability and throughput—especially in combination with the best gaming router—but having a cable strewn across the floor isn’t always an option. So, we’ve brought together a list of our favorite USB Wi-Fi adapters, to help you decide which one best suits your situation.

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 R7000 supports Quality of Service, which allows you to prioritize the internet traffic that you consider important.

This feature makes sure Netflix isn’t buffering on your smartphone while your PC is downloading files. You can connect an external hard drive or USB flash drive to the router to gain access to your personal files when you’re not home.

Asus MIMO antennas and AiRadar technology ensure a stable and strong signal. Place the adapter in the stand to direct the external WiFi antennas for better range. Thanks to the fast WiFi Standard Wireless AC, the USB-AC68 is suitable for online gaming without glitches. To see similar products, visit Amazon.com