The 3 Best External Wi-Fi Adapters

Amazon/Bustle

When you have a laptop or PC with a weak Wi-Fi signal, it might be time to invest in the best external Wi-Fi Adapter to speed things up. External Wi-Fi adapters are a quick and straightforward solution to most connectivity issues. They're easy to install and connect to your home's current wireless network (or any Wi-Fi hotspot within range).

Though most of these handy adapters look similar, aesthetics don't necessarily mean that they'll all function the same. So, if you want to pick the best one to remedy your connectivity issues, you'll want to ensure your pick ticks a few must-have boxes. Also, a quick note: Your connection speed depends on the type of USB port on your laptop or PC. The average speed for a USB 3 port is 640 megabits per second, while USB 2 ports boast a standard speed of 60 megabits per second.

What To Look For In An External Wi-Fi Adapter

  • A wireless frequency strength of at least 2.4 gigahertz or 5 gigahertz. If you don't have lots of other wireless devices connected to your network, 2.4-gigahertz frequency is ideal, but you'd want to opt for the 5-gigahertz frequency for a stronger signal.
  • A compact size. The best external Wi-Fi adapters are small enough to avoid blocking any additional ports on your device.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the best adapters Amazon has to offer. They're all relatively small and made to plug and play!

1. Overall Best External Wi-Fi Adapter

The NET-DYN USB Wi-Fi adapter is a dual-band adapter capable of strengthening your home’s router signal up to 100 yards. As is the case with most USB external adapters, setup is easy: All you have to do is plug it in to get started. Boasting the option to choose between a 2.4-gigahertz band and a 5-gigahertz band based on your activity, this adapter gives you options. It's compatible with both Windows and Mac and provides connectivity speeds up to 300 megabits per second.

What fans say: "This adapter has been a work life saver for me. I no longer have to be on a wired connection to get a consistent signal ... It also has far better range than the internal wifi ever did."

2. Best For Gamers

For PC gamers, the Linksys dual-band AC1200 USB adapter is a top pick. With speed capabilities up to 867 megabits per second, you won't have to worry about any mid-game lagging. This adapter is also super easy to install and is compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8, and 10. It features a one-button connection to wireless routers or wireless access points, plus, through the brand's app, you can fully customize and manage all your connected devices. Bonus: It has up to 128-bit encryption to protect your personal information.

What fans say: 'Worked easily out the box. Fast enough for lag-free gaming online with the Wi-Fi router on the floor below. Good product for this price point."

3. Best Budget Option For Travel

At 22 millimeters in length, the OURLiNK 600Mbps AC600 Wi-Fi Dongle is the best adapter to take with you on the go. Despite its small size, it has a powerful dual-band connection and works as a Wi-Fi hotspot as well. It's backward compatible with connection speeds up to 600 megabits per second. Like others on this list, it's compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and, with an under-$15 price point, it's a great value.

What fans say: “Plugged it into my [Windows 10] laptop and within 45 seconds it was asking for my password to log into my [5-gigahertz] network. Getting a solid 433.5 [megabits per second]. It's amazing since this dongle is as small as a standard mouse dongle and it has a good range."

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