As many individuals are using desktop PCs in their households whether that be for work purposes or just casual use, a strong wireless connection to your machine is almost a necessity. Having the best WiFi card for your PC will eliminate any worries you may have over your wireless connection and will pretty much ensure that it will never drop, at least from your PC’s side anyway. WiFi cards come in a number of shapes and sizes but they all do basically the same job so picking the best WiFi card for PC is a little bit tricky.
How We Picked
So, as alluded to earlier, it is quite hard to select the best WiFi card for PC as they all do the same job. However, what you need to look to separate the weak from the strong is; wireless range, what wireless standard they’re running off, the quality of antennae the WiFi card is utilizing. These are the three key aspects that we used to select our top five picks in an effort to secure the best WiFi cards on the market. Moreover, we have given certain WiFi cards awards such as best budget, best range, and best for gaming to try and make it even easier to pick the right WiFi card based on your needs.
Best WiFi Card for PC 2021
WiFi 6 ready
Bundled in Bluetooth functionality
The first of two TP-Link WiFi cards on this best WiFI card for PC list is the AX3000. It utilizes the latest WiFi 6 technology allowing for speeds of up to 2.4Gbps, therefore making it fantastic for today but also way into the future. To get these speeds means this WiFi card is dual-band, allowing you to connect to both 2.4Ghz and the faster 5Ghz networks. Moreover, with this card being built for WiFi 6, it results in ultra-low latency and uninterrupted connectivity with OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology, making it perfect for not only the average user streaming video but also gamers keen to get the best connection possible.
Looking at the wireless range, we can see that TP-Link has implemented two antennae on a platform that can be attached anywhere on your setup through a magnetized base. While these antennae are already powerful as they are, the ability to place them wherever you like on your rig allows you to find that signal sweet spot and further improve that wireless range aspect. You’re also able to rotate these in a 360-degree fashion, thus not being limited to the fixed antennae that some WiFi cards opt for.
While we’re focusing on the WiFi capabilities, there is another top tier feature this WiFi card for PC has – Bluetooth connectivity. Yes, not only is it a fantastic WiFi option, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of Bluetooth 5.0 technology for your PC, opening up the possibilities of wireless peripherals if you so choose. While this might not be a requirement for some who have Bluetooth enabled motherboards, a large majority of individuals do not, and will benefit those dramatically.
To conclude, this WiFi card for PC has incredible range due to those dual antennae that can be placed wherever you like in your setup. Additionally, with the WiFi 6 capabilities and dual-band network connectivity, you can take advantage of that range and have a super speedy wireless connection that even wired advocates would be surprised by. That Bluetooth 5.0 inclusion is also a nice addition and in our eyes is extremely handy, especially if you’ve got a bunch of Bluetooth devices.
No WiFi 6
The second TP-Link WiFi card we’ve selected is the AC1300. This WiFi card has some really great performance considering the price and with some additional design choices TP-Link has made, it’s built to last.
Firstly looking at the speeds, we can see that it utilizes 802.11ac wireless standard architecture which is the latest tech, ensuring gigabit broadband speeds can be fully utilized. Moreover, with its dual-band nature, you will be able to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, reaching speeds of up to 867Mbps for the latter. To guarantee you’re receiving these speeds, there are two external antennae at your disposal, increasing overall wireless range and keeping it stable, perfect for those who are using a PC that is multiple rooms away from their router.
To cope with the pressure you’ll be putting this thing under, TP-Link has made the wise choice of adding heatsinks. While you might think that this is a little overkill for a WiFi card, it actually really helps as heat sink technology distributes heat away from core components to improve reliability and performance, enabling 4k video streaming and gaming without any concerns that there will be detrimental effects.
All in all, if you’re looking for the best WiFi card for PC on a budget, this TP-Link variant is the way to go. It uses the latest wireless standard, enabling you to receive lofty broadband speeds, coupled with those two external antennae, ensuring your connection is stable and strong. Additionally, that heatsink technology is an added bonus and something that will deter your WiFi card from failing even under intense stress for months on end.
802.11ac wireless standard
No WiFi 6
ASUS, known for its plethora of computing equipment, also has some stellar WiFi cards to keep your wireless connection strong and stable. It is similarly known for its top gaming products and this WiFi card fits right into that category.
The PCE-AC88 on show here details 802.11ac ensuring that up to gigabit speeds can be taken on coupled with a dual-band architecture to boot. Looking at that dual-band feature, ASUS has implemented its NitroQAM technology which gives PCE-AC88 Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2100Mbps on a 5GHz network and 1000Mbps on a 2.4GHz network, which is impressive and more than capable of taking on the streaming and more importantly, gaming requests you may have of it.
The design of the WiFi card itself alongside the antennae is where it really sets itself apart from the rest. Looking at the antennae, it sports a four-pronged approach dramatically increasing WiFi range and signal stability. This, in turn, will improve signal clarity and overall wireless quality. Moving to the design of the card, like our budget pick, heatsinks make a return. These custom-made heatsinks improve stability and reliability when running bandwidth-intensive network tasks in hot environments, enabling you to game long into the night and not worry about it impacting your WiFi signal.
Overall, with this WiFi card using the 802.11ac wireless standard in conjunction with its four antennae and heatsinks, it all comes together to create a wireless experience that almost all individuals would be over the moon with. Furthermore, when putting all of these plusses into the gaming aspect, it will satisfy your performance requirements and put your worries to rest around if multiplayer gaming is possible when not plugged directly into your router.
Bundled in Bluetooth functionality
Change position of antenna
Only one antenna
No WiFi 6
This WiFi card from Gigabyte, while being one of the best WiFi cards for PC around, details a slightly different design than the rest allowing for a little more flexibility on the antenna placement. However, let’s first get into the speeds you’ll get from this device. It uses the latest wireless standard – 802.11ac allowing for a high-speed wireless connection up to 867Mbps. It’s dual-band too, meaning you can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks if you have them set up in your home, allowing for a potentially fast and more stable wireless connection.
Moving to that all-important antenna, we can see that unfortunately, you’ll only receive one this time but it comes attached via a wire and has magnetic qualities, enabling you to secure it in a variety of places in your setup to get the best wireless connection. SO, positives and negatives here, you’ll only receive one antenna but the ability to select where you are putting it rather than it being fixed to the back of your machine counters that aspect.
This WiFi card also sports another great feature – Bluetooth capabilities. This isn’t a necessity for those just looking for a WiFi connection but with many motherboards lacking that Bluetooth feature, having a WiFi card that does both could be your saving grace, especially if you have a bunch of Bluetooth devices that you want to hook up to your setup.
Summing this WiFi and Bluetooth combo card up, it has the ability to cope with a high-speed broadband connection and will keep it stable, alleviating any frustrations of a dropped signal. As stated earlier, yes, it does only have that single antenna but with the fact you’re able to move it around your setup and find the signal sweet spot definitely makes up for it. It’s not like the antenna isn’t powerful either and certainly has enough wireless range for the average person.
Things To Consider
Like all wireless products, you’re going to want stellar range to get the most out of your broadband speeds. This is, however, pretty much the defining factor of any WiFi card as many will be placing their setup in an office or a room upstairs, requiring a strong wireless connection. WiFi cards with superior range usually come in at a slightly higher price point but it’s more than worth so you’re not losing your hair over your connection dropping out every five minutes.
In a nutshell, there are three wireless standards you’re going to want your WiFI card to be apart of 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. All of these provide the higher echelon of wireless speeds, enabling you to have a speedy connection. Breaking down these three, however, it very easy to see you are going to be limited by 802.11g compared to 802.11ac with up to 54Mbps for 802.11g and up to an astonishing 1300Mbps for 802.11ac thus making the latter the much more attractive option. This does come at a cost though and for devices of that ilk you’re going to have to dig a little deeper in your wallet. It’s also a little more rare to find one of those devices in the wild so opting for an 802.11n with up to 900Mbps speeds might be the easier route to go down
With most, if not all WiFi cards you’re going to want and need some antennae to strengthen that wireless signal and keep your connection stable. Naturally, you might think that more antennae the better and yes, most of the time you’d be right but you’ve got to think about the quality of those antennae too. You may be able to take advantage of four antennae but it’ll probably be a little overkill unless you’re in a mansion or extra-large office space.
Looking at the positives of TP-Link AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card we think that this, overall, is the best WiFi card for PC, it has impressive wireless range and that all-important WiFi 6 technology ensuring that you’re going to get the broadband speeds you’re paying for. However, if you’re looking more on the budget side, the TP-Link AC1300 PCIe Wireless Wifi PCIe Card is definitely the avenue to take, it has more than enough range and certainly does the job overall when thinking about a stable connection. On the other hand, our best gaming pick – Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I is certainly not one to be overlooked and while it’s fantastic for gaming, its perfectly fine for general use too and potentially could be a perfect fit depending on your requirements.