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10 Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming

Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming

Gaming Industry has witnessed a huge boom in recent years; with the advancements in technology, anyone can easily play their favorite games.

Using the internet and tech-savvy gadgets like smartphones, laptops, desktops, gaming consoles, etc., you can play anytime, anywhere you want.

However, to connect to the internet, you need a good and stable WiFi connection which requires the best WiFi adapters for gaming. 

You might be wondering, Which WiFi adapter for gaming should I buy in 2021?

Choosing the right WiFi Adapter that suits you might be challenging for you, especially if you are not from the tech background. Deciding upon the different factors, comparing various products, and then arriving at a decision takes time.

Thus, to make it easier for you, we have analyzed the 10 best WiFi adapters for gaming currently available on the market and provided an in-depth review of each.

From a newbie to an expert, these WiFi adapters have something for everyone; depending on your requirements, you can choose the best one from the list.

Run Down of Gaming WiFi adapters

Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter
“With the Nighthawk, Netgear has come up with a product that provides good speed, range, and is very reliable.”

Best Overall Runner-up: Asus PCE-AC88 WiFI PCIe Adapter
“This product provides the best speed currently on the market, which makes it perfect for the user.”

Best Portable: Asus USB-AC68 AC1900 WiFi Adapter
“Compact and foldable. You can carry this Asus product wherever you wish!”

Best Compact: NET-DYN Mini AC1300 USB WiFi Adapter
“If you are in search of a tiny product that can still provide good performance, this product will be perfect for you.”

Best Budget PCIe: TP-Link AC1300 WiFi PCIe Adapter
“Hands down the best budget PCI-e Adapter for its features and affordable price.”

Best USB WiFi Adapter: TRENDnet AC1900 Wireless USB Adapter
“High speed, good range, and great reliability, the TRENDnet AC1900 is very easy to recommend as the Best USB WiFi adapter.”

Best Secure: Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Adapter
“If security is your primary concern, look no further than this Linksys USB WiFi adapter.”

Best Compatibility: D-Link Systems AC1900 Ultra USB 3.0 Adapter
“Do you have a lot of devices running on different platforms? This product should be able to take care of all your needs!”

Best Budget USB: EDUP USB WiFi Adapter
“With an intuitive interface, good speed, and range, the EDUP USB WiFi adapter is the best Budget USB currently available.”

Best For Linux: Alfa Dual-Band AC1200 USB 3.0 WiFi Adapter
“If you are still running this wonderful open-source OS, the product offered by Alfa should be perfect for you!”

Factors to consider before buying the Best WiFi Adapter for Gaming

While choosing the best WiFi adapter for gaming, one must consider a few important factors. These factors have to be considered carefully if you wish to use your purchase for a long time without facing any difficulties.

Form Factor:

Arguably the most important factor while choosing the best WiFi adapter for gaming is the form factor. WiFi adapters can be classified into two broad categories, internal PCI-e WiFi card, and external USB.

An internal PCI-e WiFi card is a device that you can connect directly to your motherboard. Every motherboard has a PCI-e slot that is dedicated to WiFi cards.

Considered a better option than the external adapter, these devices come with a very good range and provide high speed. Moreover, they also come with an inbuilt antenna providing seamless internet connectivity.

You can also go with the external WiFi adapter instead. You can connect this device to your computer via USB. Many external adapters also have the USB dongle option that plugs into your computer’s USB slot as well.

Importantly, these external adapters have different software, which you need to set up at the beginning. Such devices have a better range and also provide different extensions as well.

Antenna: 

An Antenna is a device that facilitates the wireless signal used for internet connectivity. The antenna determines the directional range of your WiFi connection.

It is a fact that the bigger the antenna, the better is the WiFi range. While choosing your WiFi adapter, you must think about the type of antenna it comes with. The two types of antenna are omnidirectional and directional antenna.

The former provides WiFi radiation in 360 degrees, while the latter focuses the beam in a specific direction. Moreover, the price difference between the two types is also pretty significant.

Wireless Range:

Wireless range is another important factor one must consider while choosing the best WiFi adapter for gaming. WiFi adapters need a good range to connect to the wireless router.

A good WiFi adapter offers a good wireless range, with some of the best adapters able to span the entire area of your house. Similarly, these devices must also be able to provide a good connection through walls, floors, and rooms. Always look at an adapter’s wireless range while making your purchasing decision.

Wireless Standard:

The wireless standard signifies the data speed the adapter can provide. Devices that support the standard 801.11g can provide a data throughput speed of up to 54Mbps. Meanwhile, the wireless standard 802.11n can provide a data speed of up to 900Mbps.

On the other hand, the 802.11ac is the current industry standard. Also known as wireless AC, this standard can provide the user with a speed of up to 1300Mbps. The standout feature of this standard is its low latency. If you are in the market for a WiFi adapter, an 802.11ac adapter is a must-have.

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AC Ratings:

We talked about the 802.11ac wireless standard, right?

Well, the AC in AC rating implies that your WiFi adapter can support the 802.11ac standard. There are many AC ratings supported, such as AC1200, AC1300, AC1900, and so on. The number denotes the speed the WiFi adapter can support. Hence, it is an important factor to consider while choosing a gaming WiFi adapter for a PC.

The number provided along with the word AC denotes the maximum bandwidth supported by the adapter. The higher the AC number, the faster will be your internet connection.

USB 2.0 vs 3.0:

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. The industry standard specifies the stability and speed of connections, communication, and power supply.

In turn, this means that USB 3.0 provides a faster connection than its 2.0 counterpart. However, USB WiFi adapters aren’t as fast as Ethernet connections.

It is impossible to avoid the interference which comes with wireless connections. If you are searching for the best USB WiFi dongle, the USB 3.0 connection is the better option to go for.

Price:

Manufacturers provide the best WiFi adapter for gaming in almost every price bracket. However, not everyone is in the market for the most premium adapter which provides the best features.

WiFi adapters start from as low as $10 and can even go as high as $7500. That is a big price difference between the two. Hence, we have provided the best WiFi adapter for gaming based on their price to performance ratio.

10 Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming

Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming
Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming

1. Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter

[amazon box=”B01I5T9KVC”]

Pros

  • Good range
  • High speeds and Good Stability
  • Dual-Band support
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • Bulky design

When we talk about WiFi adapters, one of the first companies to pop into your mind is Netgear. With the Nighthawk, Netgear provides an easy-to-use WiFi adapter that aims to provide the best gaming experience. This WiFi adapter comes with a 3×4 MIMO design.

The Nighthawk can provide data speed up to 600Mbps on a 2.4Ghz band network. Additionally, it can also reach speeds up to 1300Mbps on a 5GHz network. It can connect to your device via USB, making it very versatile as well.

The USB version provided with this model is USB 3.0. Netgear also provides Beamforming+, which increases the range, speed, and stability of the connection. Moreover, the product is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7. It will also work with Mac OS X 10.8.3 and later.

With impressive versatility and reliability, it is very easy to recommend the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapter as the best overall WiFi adapter.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 1.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1900
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 1900Mbps

2. Best Overall Runner-up: Asus PCE-AC88 WiFI PCIe Adapter

[amazon box=”B01H9QMOMY”]

Pros

  • 4 Antenna provide high range
  • Maximum data speed of 2100Mbps
  • PCI-e connectivity

Cons

  • Expensive

The best overall runner-up is the Asus PCE-AC88 PCIe Adapter. Asus manufactures this model with the 4×4 design, which gives it unparalleled speed and stability. If you do have a 4×4 router, you will get the best speed technology has to offer!

Asus provides its NitroQAM technology with this wireless WiFi adapter. This innovative technology allows the user to access speeds as high as 2100Mbps on the 5GHz network band. This makes it much faster than regular 3×3 adapters.

Alternatively, you can also reach 1000Mbps speed with the 2.4GHz network band. Such high speeds make it one of the fastest WiFi adapters for gaming!

Asus offers this model with the PCI-e installation method. The antenna can be directly connected to the PCI-e card, making for a more seamless and compact installation. Moreover, this WiFi adapter is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. Unfortunately, if you have a Mac, your device will not be able to support this WiFi adapter.

The Asus PCE-AC88 WiFi PCIe Adapter is perfect for the gamer who requires uninterrupted speeds with great stability and range. This makes it one of the Best Wireless WiFi adapters for gaming!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 2.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Interface: PCI-e
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC3100
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 2100Mbps

3. Best Portable: Asus USB-AC68 AC1900 WiFi Adapter

[amazon box=”B01I7QFR10″]

Pros

  • AIRador Beamforming
  • Dual network support
  • Foldable external antenna
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Reliability issues
  • Driver failure with Windows 10

Another popular option from Asus is the Asus USB-AC68 AC1900. This adapter is based on the popular 3×4 MIMO design. Along with three antennas, you also get two internal antennas. All the antennas work in correlation to bring the Asus AIRador Beamforming technology. This innovative feature provides high power amplification along with strong, stable connectivity.

You can get a maximum data throughput speed of 1900 Mbps with this WiFi adapter. On the 2.4 GHz networks, you can get a data throughput speed of 600Mps, while you can get 1300Mbps on the 5GHz network band. You can easily combine them both to get a lag-free, stable, and reliable internet connection.

Along with the product, you also get a USB 3.0 cradle. This feature provides more places for antenna placement. Moreover, you also get good desktop coverage. As a result, it is a good WiFi adapter for PC gaming!

The antenna is foldable, which makes it a great portable option. Moreover, it is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7. It also works with Apple’s computers and works with Mac OS X 10.7 and higher.

The Asus USB-AC68 AC1900 WiFi Adapter’s small size and foldable antenna also make it a  frontrunner for the Best wireless WiFi adapter for PC gaming!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 1.2 x 0.7 x 4.5 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1900
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 1300Mbps

4. Best Compact: NET-DYN AC1300 USB WiFi Adapter

[amazon box=”B01CBZRY78″]

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact and Portable
  • Good compatibility with Windows products

Cons

  • The range is not the best
  • Incompatible with Smart TVs

Now, we talk about the Best Affordable WiFi Adapter currently available on the market, the NET-DYN Mini AC1300 USB WiFi Adapter. This tiny device is as small as your regular USB Flash Drive!

The device supports the industry-standard 802.11ac. You can get a maximum data throughput speed of 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 5GHz band. These are incredible speeds for such a small device!

Despite its small size, compatibility is not an issue. The USB 3.0 device supports Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

You can even run it with Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000. Moreover, the device is also compatible with Mac OS X 10.9 and higher!

Weighing just 15 grams, this compact product is perfect for gamers looking for something light and tiny. This also puts it into contention for the Best wireless WiFi adapter for PC gaming!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.58 x 1.1 x 0.39 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1300
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 600Mbps

[amazon box=”B016K0896K”]

Pros

  • PCI-e adapter supports high speeds
  • The antenna provides a good range
  • Comes with a heatsink

Cons

  • Slow Speeds as compared to other adapters

The first product from TP-Link on our list is the TP-Link AC1300 PCIe WiFi PCIe Adapter. The standout feature of this product is the heat sink that it comes with. You have to connect this device to the PCI-e slot of your computer.

The product supports the 802.11ac wireless standard. It provides high-speed WiFi of up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Furthermore, you get speeds up to 867 Mbps on the 5GHz network band as well. You can combine both to get a maximum speed of around 1300Mbps.

The adapter is compatible with Windows laptops and desktops, as long as your OS is Windows 7 or newer. However, it does not offer compatibility with Mac OS. The device also comes with WPA/WPA2 encryption, which ensures that the wireless connection is secure.

It offers great value for an affordable price with impressive features and great compatibility, making it the Best Budget WiFi Adapter for gaming.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 4.76 x 4.74 x 0.85 inches
  • Interface: PCI-e
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1300
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 1300Mbps

6. Best USB WiFi Adapter: TRENDnet AC1900 Wireless USB Adapter

[amazon box=”B01EOQ61KI”]

Pros

  • High speeds
  • The antenna provides a good range

Cons

  • Bulky design

The TRENDnet AC1900 Adapter wins the Best USB WiFi adapter’s title for gaming. This device comes with an LED indicator that displays the device’s real-time status.

Also, the adapter can process a speed of 1300Mbps on the 5GHz network band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. These speeds allow you to surf through videos and play games in resolutions as high as 4K. You also get the Beamforming technology with this product. Owing to this, the adapter can detect your device’s precise location and direct the signal in that direction. Such features make it an ideal PC WiFi Adapter for gaming.

This device also comes with a USB 3.0 connection. Unlike most of its competitors, the Best USB WiFi adapter for PC gaming also offers compatibility for Mac OS 10.6 and above. It also works with Windows XP and newer devices.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 7 x 3 x 9 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1900
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Maximum Speed: 1300Mbps

7. Best Secure: Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Adapter

[amazon box=”B00EDOG8NC”]

Pros

  • Protected Setup button offers easy connectivity to access points
  • 128-bit secure connection
  • Good compatibility

Cons

  • Cheap build quality
  • Not the best data speeds

The Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Adapter is another device you must consider while choosing the Best WiFi adapter for gaming. Shaped like a USB dongle, it provides very secure network connections.

Like the other products on our list, it comes with dual network support. Not only does it offer speed up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, but it also supports speed up to 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. Moreover, your data network is always secured using 128-bit encryption.

To make it easy to use, Linksys provides a Protected Setup button that allows you to connect to a WiFi router or access point. It is also compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 6.1 x 5.31 x 2.36 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1200
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 867Mbps

[amazon box=”B00PVDM6W6″]

Pros

  • High network speed
  • Compatible with most devices

Cons

  • Bulky design
  • Connection drops from time to time

Another option for the best WiFi adapter for gaming is the D-Link Systems AC1900 Ultra WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter. With a rather unconventional design, this adapter is also a prevalent choice in the market.

This adapter comes with USB 3.0, which supports very fast data transfer speed. It can provide you with a maximum speed of up to 1900Mbps.

Moreover, the high-powered amplifiers ensure that the signal can easily penetrate through walls to provide you with a stable connection. You can also switch easily between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands.

The device also comes with an Advanced AC Smart Beam, which improves the performance and coverage of your adapter.

It can do so by directing the bandwidth directly between the router and the adapter. Also, it is backward compatible, which provides easy connectivity to 802.11N/g/a networks.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.15 x 3.03 x 3.15 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1900
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11N/g/a
  • Maximum Speed: 1900Mbps

9. Best Budget USB: EDUP USB WiFi Adapter

[amazon box=”B075R7BFV2″]

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Portable
  • Good speed for such a small size

Cons

  • Not the best software
  • Might be buggy with Windows 10

The EDUP USB WiFi Adapter is the cheapest adapter on our list. However, it also provides excellent value for its price, making it a worthy addition to our list. Thus, it is the Best Budget USB WiFi adapter for gaming!

EDUP ensures that the device can support speeds up to 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz network band. On the 5GHz band, you can get a maximum speed of 600Mbps. To enable dual-band connectivity, the device uses the 802.11ac wireless standard.

However, unlike the other options on our list, this device supports USB 2.0. As a result, the data throughput speed is also less. The device is compatible with Windows XP and newer. Also, it is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 and newer.

With an impressive price to performance ratio, the EDUP USB WiFi adapter is one of the best cheap WiFi adapters for PC gaming.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 1.1 x 5.5 inches
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC600
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11ac
  • Maximum Speed: 600Mbps

10. Best For Linux: Alfa Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 WiFi Adapter

[amazon box=”B00MX57AO4″]

Pros

  • Reliable and Secure
  • Supports Linux

Cons

  • Might drop connection now and then
  • Reliability issues with Windows 10

Rounding off our list is the Alfa Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 WiFi Adapter. It comes with rubber duck antennas along with the RP-SMA female antenna port.

In correlation, the antenna and antenna port provide a strong and reliable WiFi network that provides secure and fast connections. The device is compact and light as well.

The adapter comes with dual network band support. It can easily provide a data speed of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Moreover, you also get 867Mbps speed with the 5GHz band. Like other devices, you can combine the two networks to get a maximum speed of around 1200Mbps.

On the other hand, compatibility is the best when it comes to this adapter. You can use it with Windows XP and newer Windows versions. Alfa also extends compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 and above.

The device even works with the Linux Operating System as well. Its impressive compatibility makes it one of the best desktop WiFi adapters for gaming!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.4 x 1 x 0.5 inches
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz
  • AC Rating: AC1200
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11a/b/g/N/ac
  • Maximum Speed: 867Mbps

Conclusion

Well, we have listed the 10 best WiFi adapter for gaming after comparing several factors, so based on your needs won’t be difficult.

In our opinion, the Best WiFi adapter for PC gaming is the Netgear Nighthawk, offering a good WiFi range, speeds, and stability- all for a good price. The second one is Asus PCE-AC88; its NitroQAM technology can also provide very high internet speed.

If you are looking for something portable, then Asus USB-AC68 is a perfect option. The EDUP USB WiFi Adapter is the best option if you search for a budget-friendly USB adapter. For those who are fond of Linux, then Alfa Dual-Band AC1200 WiFi adapter is a great choice!

You can choose the best fit as per your requirements and what the device has to offer you.

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