Some modern computers come with Bluetooth adapters for all kinds of applications. For instance, they feature built in Bluetooth connectivity for the mouse or perhaps the keyboard. But then, most of these peripherals come with their own adapters. The Bluetooth connectivity is useful for other things though, such as connecting a smartphone or perhaps a tablet – rather than relying on wires. The same goes for wireless headphones – less wires, less trouble.
Luckily, you can overcome this issue if you invest in an adapter. Such things usually look like small USB sticks. They go into the computer and give it Bluetooth connectivity. Once in there, you can connect any other Bluetooth device to it. While quite inexpensive, adapters are extremely diversified – you want the best one to avoid potential complications and issues later on. Choosing the best Bluetooth adapter for PC requires a bit of research though.
When searching for a Bluetooth adapter, you may often run into different names for this tiny device. It is often referred to as a dongle. The device can connect to computers, laptops or mobile devices and provides Bluetooth connectivity. Devices work on a plug and play basis, so they do not require an actual installation. You can also find larger devices in commerce – they usually sit on the desktop and provide connectivity to devices that cannot go wirelessly.
|Techkey Bluetooth Adapter for PC||It features new technologies against interferences and has high compatibility standards.||4.3||$|
|TP-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC (UB400)||It has a good connectivity range and works with gaming controllers.||4.4||$$|
|ASUS USB-BT400 USB Adapter||It is built to last and compatible with many devices.||4.3||$|
|Mpow USB Bluetooth Adapter||It comes with Bluetooth 5.1 technologies and is compatible with Linux devices.||4.5||$$|
|Zexmte Bluetooth USB Adapter||It can connect to more devices at the same time and offers good value for money.||4.3||$|
This tiny device could be Techkey’s best Bluetooth adapter for PC if you want value for money. It is compact, easy to carry around and highly efficient – easy to lose too if you are not careful. The unit barely measures 4.8×4.1×0.5 inches. It is designed like a small USB stick, so it can go into any USB slot, whether you want to use it for your PC, laptop or mobile device.
The unit features the ultimate 5.0+EDR adapter, meaning you have low Bluetooth energy. It has an incredibly good anti interference capability. Techkey is one of the most advanced names on the market when it comes to deferring interferences, but this device takes it to another level due to a bunch of new technologies. At the same time, it has been improved to reduce the transmission loss to a minimum.
Compared to Bluetooth 4.0 devices, this adapter has a longer range and working distance. It is compatible with most devices that can take a Bluetooth connection, from speakers, headsets and headphones to mice or keyboards. Believe it or not, it is strong enough to take seven different Bluetooth connections at the same time. It can also take printers.
The range is standard for Bluetooth connections – up to 33 feet without any interferences, such as wireless networks or physical obstructions. When it comes to stereo headphones or printers, the rate goes up to 3Mbps. It supports multiple languages – irrelevant for a Bluetooth connection – and its compact size keeps it out of the way while saving space. In other words, there is no need to remove it.
The technology in this adapter is backward compatible with more Bluetooth connections, such as 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0 or 4.1. As for its connectivity, it is compatible with full speed USB 2.0 interfaces, not to mention the classic USB 1.1. Simply put, it will work wonders with almost all devices that can accept USB connections.
It is quite important to become aware of its limitations and compatibility standards regarding the operating system though. The unit supports Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. For Windows 10, it will need a driver, so you have to install it yourself. Other than that, it does not work for Mac OS or Linux systems. It is not compatible with gaming consoles or car stereo systems either.
What are the Pros?
- Compatible with most devices out there
- Stays out of the way, so there is no need to remove it when done
- Good connectivity range
- Less transmission loss for 2.4GHz interferences
- New technologies to reduce interferences
What are the Cons?
- Not compatible with a bunch of systems, such as Mac OS, Linux, gaming consoles or car stereo systems
#2. TP-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC (UB400)
TP-Link is one of the most reputable names on the market when it comes to such technologies and its best Bluetooth adapter for PC is less likely to disappoint you. The unit is small and compact and can fit in your pocket – given its size, you may not even have to remove it from the laptop or computer. It only measures 0.7×0.5×0.2 inches and weighs around 0.3 ounces – you will not even feel it in your pocket.
Compatibility will not let you down either. According to TP-Link, the Bluetooth adapter works wonders on Windows XP, 7 8, 8.1 and 10. However, it is worth noting that the box does not include all the systems it works with. Therefore, other systems might be included as well, but they are not mentioned. If you use a different operating system, simply get in touch with the manufacturer to inquire about it.
The adapter brings in the Bluetooth 4.0 technology. It is backward compatible with other versions of Bluetooth, so no worries there – 1, 0/1, 1/2, 0/2, V3 and Ub400. Unlike other similar adapters, this one is compatible with gaming controllers too. However, this compatibility is associated with computers only. In other words, it works if you use these controllers for your computer only.
The dongle works on a plug and play basis. Simply plug it in and you can start connecting Bluetooth devices. It works for Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. If you use Windows 7 or XP, you will need to install a driver for it. The driver is small in size and can be downloaded for free from the official website. Regarding operating systems, it does not work with Linux or Mac OS, not to mention television sets.
The adapter will surprise you with its convenience and reliability. Since it is so small, you can leave it plugged inside the laptop, even when you travel. It will not destroy the USB port. The same goes for computers – small and out of the way. As for the connectivity, you can connect computers, headphones, headsets, mobile devices, printers, keyboards, mice and so on.
The unit relies on the Bluetooth low energy technology to save energy and improve the wireless connectivity. Other than that, it has a better range than other adapters in this price range, being able to reach 65 feet without any interference. You can now play your favorite music in your headphones regardless of where you are in the house.
What are the Pros?
- Good connectivity range
- Compatible with a plethora of operating systems
- Convenient and reliable
- Works with gaming controllers
- Free driver if the operating system you use needs it
What are the Cons?
- Gaming controller compatibility works with computers only
#3. Asus USB-BT400 USB Adapter
Asus does not need too many presentations in the tech industry. The company is behind a series of reputable devices and gadgets, such as laptops, tablets, peripherals and so on. Its best Bluetooth adapter for PC is also worth a bit of attention due to the excellent value for money it brings in – cheaper than some of the competition, but highly efficient.
The adapter brings in the Bluetooth 4.0 technology. It is backward compatible with other similar Bluetooth technologies – including the older ones. While there are more advanced options out there, Bluetooth 4.0 is still one of the main standards in this industry, meaning it will work wonders with pretty much any other similar device out there.
The adapter is tiny and goes inside any USB 2.0 slot. It goes with laptops or computers. Given its size, it will not really be in the way. In fact, you might as well leave it inside the laptop while you travel, as it will not cause any damage. Based on the device you connect to it, the speed could go up to 3Mbps, yet it varies.
In terms of range and capabilities, this adapter will cover the classic Bluetooth distance – about 33 feet. Sure, there are better options out there, but 33 feet are more than enough to hang around the house with your headphones on. The distance might be affected by physical obstacles or wireless interferences though.
Operating systems are a bit limited though. Most Bluetooth dongles will work with Windows and this one makes no exception either. It supports Windows XP, 7, 8 and 10 – both 32 and 64 bit. Linux or Mac OS users will have to keep searching because the adapter is not compatible with these systems. They will have to find other alternatives.
As for the devices you can bring in, it is worth knowing the frequency band – 2.4GHz. Your Bluetooth adapter will work with headphones, mice, keyboards, headsets and mobile devices. It will not work with gaming consoles and controllers, but most units in this price range will find it impossible to connect to them anyway.
What are the Pros?
- Compatible with lots of devices
- Built to last
- Good connectivity without interferences
- Can take multiple pairings simultaneously
- Great value for money
What are the Cons?
- Newer versions of Windows will require installing a driver
#4. Mpow USB Bluetooth Adapter
Mpow has recently started to gain notoriety for its exquisite technologies. The company is involved with more devices and gadgets and each of them can dominate its segment. The same rule applies to its best Bluetooth adapter for PC, which brings in superior technologies and a compact size that will never be in your way.
The adapter comes with the Bluetooth 5.1 technology. It is the latest option on the market, so the performance can easily outweigh anything less than that. What does it mean compared to other similar technologies? The energy consumption is much lower, while the transmission is stable over a longer distance. The data rate has also been improved.
Stick the adapter into your laptop or computer and you will be able to pair four devices at the same time. The dongle is compatible with most wireless devices out there. You can use it for printers, headphones, mobile devices, speakers, mice, headsets or keyboards, among many others. The connectivity takes a few seconds only.
The installation – or setup – implies going through the simple steps. The process is compatible and does not require too much work. The stick is compatible with both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows. Unlike many other similar dongles, this one is also compatible with Linux based devices – a major plus over similarly priced adapters. Unfortunately, the unit is not compatible with Mac OS.
The anti-interface capabilities have been drastically improved, so the Bluetooth connection is less likely to be affected by other wireless connections. For example, the Mpow USB dongle can coexist with a nearby 2.4GHz wireless band. Such issues will no longer exist, as disturbances are reduced to minimum and the transmission is smooth.
Just like other similar Bluetooth adapters, Mpow’s unit is compact and tiny. It is smaller than an average USB stick and can go into laptops or computers. It is so small that you can leave it inside the laptop during transportation. It will not move around or cause the slot to weaken, so it is perfectly safe and convenient.
What are the Pros?
- Features Bluetooth 5.1 technologies
- Bluetooth connectivity can coexist with wireless connections
- Can take more devices simultaneously
- Compatible with Linux based systems
- Smooth and stable transmission
What are the Cons?
- There might be an echo if you use it to make calls with the headphones on
#5. Zexmte Bluetooth USB Adapter
Looking for a small improvement to enhance the connectivity of your laptop or computer? Zexmte has come up with a cost efficient Bluetooth adapter that will cost less than pretty much anything in its range. Value for money is great, but it does not mean that Zexmte has sacrificed the performance for it – the adapter works flawlessly.
The transmission rate is classic for such devices – no bells and whistles here. You can keep the connection over 33 feet in an open space. If you go to another room or there are walls around, the distance range will obviously be reduced. As for the speed, it goes up to 3Mbps – again, depending on the distance and obstacles.
The dongle is designed as a plug and play device. Simply stick it into a classic USB slot and it will turn your device into a Bluetooth enabled gadget. Of course, it depends on the operating system you use. While new systems will allow the plug and play convenience, older systems will require installing a driver – nothing to worry about, as the driver is available for free.
The dongle is compatible with most Windows based computers and laptops. The plug and play functionality is great for Windows 8 and 10. Drivers are needed for older versions. The dongle supports Windows XP and Vista too – both 32 and 64 bit versions. It does not work with Mac OS, Linux, television sets or car stereo systems.
Using the Bluetooth 4.0 technology, the adapter brings in a low energy consumption. It is also backward compatible with more versions of Bluetooth – 1.1, 2.0, 2.1 or V3.0. It will connect to headphones, headsets, mice, keyboards and mobile devices with no issues at all. There are a few steps to follow – the process barely takes a few seconds.
Given its tiny size, you can leave the dongle inside the laptop or computer without having to remove it. Its small size ensures it will not block surrounding ports. At the same time, you can leave it inside the laptop during transportation. Store it well and it should not move or cause the port to go loose. The adapter measures 0.5×0.2×0.8 inches.
What are the Pros?
- Compatible with new and old versions of Windows
- Can connect to more devices at the same time
- Compact size to avoid blocking surrounding ports
- Plug and play functionality for new operating systems
- Good value for money
What are the Cons?
- Range can be affected due to obstacles
What To Look For While Choosing The Best Bluetooth Adapters For PC
At a first glance, Bluetooth adapters may seem quite complex. There are lots of options out there – different makes and brands, as well as a plethora of features to consider. Generally speaking, they are relatively similar, but there are still a few considerations to think about when looking for the best Bluetooth adapter for PC. After all, this is not all about the price.
The cheapest unit on the market is likely to provide a cheap experience and stop working before you get to fully use it. On the same note, the most expensive adapter is not necessarily the best one – sometimes, you may pay double for the brand name. Instead, you need to find value for money and a great performance. Here is everything you need to keep in mind.
What you need the dongle for
So, what do you need a Bluetooth adapter for? Sure, you need it for your computer, but then, you have to consider the full functionality as well. Not all Bluetooth dongles will provide the best connectivity to every peripheral out there. Some of them are more suitable for low bandwidth devices, for instance. They work wonders with keyboards and mice. They may not be so good for high bandwidth alternatives, such as large stereo speakers. Therefore, your actual needs should dictate the type of dongle to invest in.
How much range you need
There are more standards when it comes to the actual range. Basic Bluetooth adapters can provide a clear connection at about 33 feet. This is a standard in this industry that applies to other devices too – such as wireless headphones. Some other dongles come with even more range – up to 60 feet. But then, there is always a catch.
Most brands provide the distance range assuming you are in an open space – a hall, a massive room or perhaps your backyard. A few walls and trees will seriously reduce it. At the same time, the range could also be reduced if there are other wireless connections around, such as one for the Internet.
The Bluetooth version you require
Again, there are a few standards in this industry, but one of them stands out in the crowd. Bluetooth 4.0 is the most common one these days. Most devices out there support it, from laptops to smartphones. While not so popular, Bluetooth 3.0 is not to be overlooked either. Such an adapter is more suitable for low bandwidth devices, like keyboards. On a more negative note, its transfer rates are not that good.
Furthermore, you can also find Bluetooth 5.0 these days, which is superior to all the other standards. It ensures a greater range and better connectivity. It requires less energy and makes interference related problems history.
What operating system you use
The operating system is often overlooked. Most brands will focus on Windows based devices only. Basically, their Bluetooth dongles will work with both new and old versions of Windows – including Windows 10. If you use Linux, the good news is there are a few good options out there, but you would have to pay attention to their compatibility. Things are a bit harder for Mac OS users.
Operation and functionality
Most Bluetooth adapters work on a plug and play basis. In other words, you plug them into the USB slot and they are ready to connect. There is no need to install anything. Some of them provide this level of functionality, but they may require installing drivers for specific versions of your operating system – whether it is too new or too old. There is not much to be concerned about though, as these drivers are available for free on the official websites.
How many devices it can take
A Bluetooth dongle will give your computer Bluetooth connectivity. It can be used for laptops as well. While most laptops come with built in Bluetooth connectivity, the range and power are not always the best, so an improvement can change all these issues.
Now, different adapters come with different standards. Some adapters can take four devices at the same time, while others can take twice as much. Then, there are also a few adapters that can barely take a couple of devices.
If you hope to connect more peripherals through your new Bluetooth connection, make sure you double check this aspect upfront. You do not want to disconnect one device to connect another one and so on.
Extra features and capabilities
Choosing the best Bluetooth adapter for PC depends on what you need it for. Some units are basic, but others come with a bunch of bells and whistles. The price will obviously go up as well, so make sure that you actually need these extras.
For instance, NFC compatibility is great if you want to connect your smartphone to your computer every now and then to transfer files. Without NFC compatibility, the connection would not be possible. Some other adapters come with an automatic pairing mode. Bluetooth devices are more intuitive, so you will no longer have to bother pairing them yourself whenever you need a connection.
Indeed, most Bluetooth adapters come in the same small size. They are designed like mini USB sticks. They go into a classic USB port and they have small parts sticking out for you to be able to remove them. Some adapters are built differently and they are a bit larger – whether it is a sleek extra, a fancy design or a posh handle.
While a larger adapter may provide less interferences and hassle, the truth is more and more people turn to the tiniest options they can find on the market. Once in the USB port, a tiny adapter will not block other nearby ports. It will not cause any issues and you can simply leave it in there. If you use it for a laptop, you might as well leave it inside the laptop – even during transportation, as it will not affect the port.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still undecided about the best Bluetooth adapter for PC?
Bluetooth 4.0 is the most popular standard on the market these days. It is the most widely used option – despite more advanced technologies being available. It came out on the market in the summer of 2010 and by 2011, it was well implemented in many devices. Compared to previous technologies, Bluetooth 4.0 came with a lower energy usage, which added to the battery. In 2013, it received its first update – Bluetooth 3.1. By 2014, it got its second one. These days, you can find Bluetooth 5.0 as well, but it is not growing as quickly as its predecessor.
Plenty of Bluetooth dongles work on a plug and play basis. They rely on a simple and direct interface that Windows can easily recognize. As you put the device inside the USB port, Windows will see it straight away and install a driver to enable it. It is a straightforward operation that does not require any effort from your side. Some other adapters come with their own drivers, which you can install yourself. Some versions of Windows may not necessarily recognize them. If you are not sure, simply check the instructions coming with the dongle.
The Bluetooth connection is a wireless one. In other words, any kind of data that can go over a wireless connection will go over Bluetooth as well. You can come up with data transfers, video and audio streams, peripheral device data and so on. Different adapters come with different quality standards in terms of how much bandwidth they can take. This is why such considerations are worth some attention. Some adapters are great for keyboards and mice, but terrible for stereo speakers – and vice versa, of course.
Generally speaking, you can only enable one Bluetooth adapter for your connection to work by the book. Obviously, you can install a few different adapters if you have more of them. But then, you can only enable one of them. You would not really need more adapters, unless you troubleshoot a connection, test or purchase a new adapter. Other than that, most adapters can take more connections simultaneously, so there are no reasons to try enabling more dongles at once.
As a short final conclusion, deciding on the best Bluetooth adapter for PC depends on nothing but your personal necessities. While they look similar, dongles are quite different and small features make the difference. If you only need the connection for a mouse or a keyboard, pretty much any adapter will get the job done. If you want to connect more powerful devices – like speakers, you might need to research your options.
On another note, small bells and whistles might be nice to have, but make sure that you actually need them before spending your money. Bluetooth adapters are not very expensive, yet you still want as much value for your money as possible. Take your time and browse the front runners before deciding.