WiFi, probably one of the most important things we cannot live with today. Your laptops and phones automatically come with built-in features to connect to the internet. Your desktop on the other hand, may not.
In this article, we’ll go over the best WiFi cards for your PC on the market to meet the needs of any user.
If running an ethernet cable is not an ideal situation for you, then a WiFi card, or adapter, is the best next solution.
What Is a WiFi Card?
A small card-like object that you can connect to your PC that picks up WiFi signals. The adapter usually has antenna prongs at the end, helping solidify the connection for your device.
Depending on what type of card you get, it can either be plugged directly into your motherboard or a USB slot.
For USB slot adapters, these are typically known as USB dongles. While they are the most convenient, they are generally slower than WiFi cards you attach directly to your motherboard.
This article focuses on WiFi adapters that utilize PCI-E slots on your motherboard rather than USB dongles given the reliability and speeds of PCI-E adaptors.
What is the Best WiFi Card / Adapter for your PC?
- Best Overall: TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000
- Best Alternative for Older PCs: TP-Link AC1300
- Best for Gaming: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100
- Best Bluetooth Capabilities: Gigabyte GC-WB867D
- Best Budget: EDUP AC1300
TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000
Product URL: https://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B07ZV2CJL2
The best WiFi card adapter for your PC setup, whether for work or gaming, would be the TP-Link AX3000.
What makes this WiFi card great is the inclusion of all the modern features you need in a WiFi card including Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities, latest WPA3 security standards, WiFi 6 compatibility, and the ability to use both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
To optimize the speeds on this card, it also comes with a base with 2 antennas that you can place in an optimal location.
Unlike many WiFi cards that have antennas stuck to your motherboard, this feature allows your desktop to receive signals in optimal locations further away from your desktop.
- Includes all modern features like Bluetooth, WPA3, and WiFi 6 capabilities
- Base with antennas that can be placed away from your PC
- Near-perfect reviews on overall speed
- Not compatible with older computer setups and software
- Various reviews on weak Bluetooth signal
Best Alternative for Older PCs
Product URL: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016K0896K
If you have an older computer that can’t support the TP-Link AX3000 mentioned previously, then the TP-Link AC1300 is your alternative WiFi card.
The TP-Link AC1300 supports Windows even as old as Windows XP – though I highly recommend you update your computer if you are still running that version.
While it doesn’t have the fancy bells and whistles as more modern cards, it is reliable in the most important variable that matters the most: speed.
If you’re willing to forgo modern features, then the TP-Link AC1300 will provide up to 1300 Mbps (162.5 MB/s) speeds with ease – enough for 4K Ultra HD video streaming and gaming as well.
With its very small profile and antennas that are part of the card itself, ensure you have space near your motherboard and the back of your desktop to fit it in.
- Works with older computers and operating systems
- Very strong heatsink
- Very small size
- No Bluetooth or WiFi 6
- Antennas could be blocked depending on your computer setup
Best for Gaming
ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100
Product URL: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H9QMOMY
If having a reliable and blazing fast internet connection is the most important feature, then the ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 is one of the fastest WiFi cards currently on the market.
With speeds of up to 2100 Mbps (262.5 MB/s), it is extremely fast. While not as fast as let’s say the TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 mentioned above, it beats in one category: reliable connectivity.
With an antenna base that has 4 antennas, the AC3100 is just like having a personal router directly connected to your computer! You’ll have reliable speeds, no matter what you are doing, whether it’s gaming or streaming 4K movies.
Finally, the AC3100 doesn’t come with any Bluetooth or modern features like WiFi 6 or WPA3.
- Extremely reliable speeds with 4 antenna base
- ASUS optimized for gaming
- Size is rather large
Best for Bluetooth Capabilities
Product URL: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HF8K0O6
The Gigabyte GC-WB867D advertises itself on one feature that sets it apart from all others: fully qualified Bluetooth 4.2 capabilities.
If you’re looking for a WiFi adapter that has reliable Bluetooth connectivity to power your devices, such as speakers for audio streaming on your Bluetooth speakers or Bluetooth headset 200 feet away, then this is the WiFi card for you.
The WB867D also comes with an additional single antenna base to further optimize the connection.
While a great Bluetooth WiFi card, it is rather expensive given its slower than average top speeds of 876 Mbps (108.4 MB/s). Most users will never reach those speeds but those who are power users may find this limiting.
- Powerful and reliable Bluetooth capabilities up to 200 feet away
- Comes with simple 1 antenna base
- Rather expensive
- Speed may be subpar to some (867 Mbps)
Product URL: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FJZCHXV
For those looking to budget as much as possible and are willing to skip on the fancy features, the EDUP AC1300 is a great cheaper alternative WiFi card.
With reliable reviews across the internet, you’ll have no issues with the AC1300 whether you’re casually watching 4K movies or playing video games.
For most users, this card is more than enough as it has speeds of up to 867 Mbps (108.4 MB/s), faster than any single person would ever download at any given moment.
Finally, as an added bonus, this card comes with Bluetooth functionality. Albeit not reliable with limited distance, it is a nice added bonus to a rather inexpensive WiFi card.
- Comes with Bluetooth at a low cost
- Does everything most users would need for a WiFi card
- Poor range
- Extremely small size may not work for many PC setups
Why Don’t PCs Have WiFi?
Desktop PCs are usually built with the assumption that you will be using a wired ethernet cable. This is why ethernet ports are always included on desktop motherboards.
While wired ethernet cables are the most reliable speeds you can get, most modern WiFi signals can easily rival cables provided your WiFi card has unobstructed signals from your modem.
Newer PCs may contain onboard WiFi cards preinstalled on the motherboard however they are most likely of lower quality. Purchasing your own WiFi card is usually the most reliable option for strong WiFi signals.
Overall, the best WiFi card for any PC setup would be the TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 due to its inclusion of modern features such as WiFi 6 and WPA3 security.
With technology constantly changing every year, you will want to be up to date with the latest tech, especially on the security front and WPA3 fills that requirement.
Now that you’ve maximized your desktop PC experience, how about adding a laptop for when you’re on the go or working remotely? The best gaming monitors are also a must as well when you’re gaming at blazing fast speeds!