If the term WiFi card sounds unfamiliar to you, it’s perfectly fine. After all, the world constantly moves away from opening computer cases to simpler solutions such as plug-and-play WiFi dongles.
But if you are like me and want to get all your computer slots busy, installing a WiFi card instead of using a dongle can be a great option.
A WiFi card is just a piece of hardware used to connect a computer to a wireless network. And yes, if you dislike Ethernet cables running around your house, a WiFi card is precisely what you need.
The most significant aspect of any WiFi card is data transmission speed and supported bandwidth.
The older WiFi cards enable subpar rates of about 300Mbps at the 2.4GHz frequency. In contrast, newer cards allow dual bands of 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz, enabling much higher speeds.
The latest cards come with a WiFi 6 Intel chipset providing up to 3000 Mbps transmission rates, the newest encryption algorithms for data security, Bluetooth support, and protective brackets.
Installing a WiFi card is a simple, straightforward process. First, open your computer case, attach the card to your motherboard and install the required driver on your system.
In most cases, a WiFi card comes with printed installation instructions and a CD containing the driver. However, it is best to download the driver from the manufacturer’s website to get the latest and greatest out of this piece of hardware.
That said, here are the top best 10 WiFi cards that we tested and can confidently recommend in 2021.
1. TP-Link AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card
TP-Link needs no introduction when it comes to wireless technology. The company is for many years a leading name among the brands providing the latest and greatest WiFi devices for end-users.
The TP-Link AX3000 PCIe card is powered by the latest Intel WiFi 6 technology, providing a truly remarkable speed, ultra-low latency, and no drops in connection due to build-in OFDMA and MU-MIMO architectures.
This card can reach incredible speeds up to 2.4 Gbps, respectively 2402 Mbps on 5 GHz or 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. Moreover, it performs excellently even in a busy WiFi environment dealing with packet collision exceptionally well. So, if you live in a busy residential area, this is most likely the option you need.
If WiFi coverage is a concern, worry no more. TP-Link AX3000 card comes with two high-performance multi-directional antennas with a magnetized base so you can place the antenna in an area with a stronger signal, such as your desk.
This WiFi card is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, twice faster and four times broader coverage than Bluetooth 4.2.
There is also good news for online gamers and VR addicts. Due to its extremely low latency rates, the TP-Link AX3000 WiFi card might be just that missing component in your PC to help you dodge that punch during an online gaming session.
The TP-Link AX3000 card performed exceptionally on 5GHz with download speeds up to 168 Mbps, and upload speeds up to 22 Mbps in our tests. This considering the distance to the main router of 13 meters, two concrete walls in between in a large residential building.
This card provides compatibility with different Windows versions: Windows 11, 10, Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. We also managed to run TP-Link AX3000 successfully on a Linux box with the latest kernels.
Pretty impressive card, right?
2. FebSmart Dual Band N600 WiFi Card
If you are looking for a WiFi card that can give you the best value for the money, look no further than the FebSmart Wireless Dual-band N600 WiFi card.
This card can deliver impressive connectivity at high speeds and in a cost-effective way. Hence, you don’t necessarily have to break your bank account to acquire this fantastic piece of tech.
The FebSmart N600 also includes IEEE 802.11 N, which is an astounding high-speed WiFi connection protocol. If you have a limited amount of USB ports and don’t want to have a WiFi dongle plugged in permanently, this card is what you’re looking for.
The FebSmart N600 card supports dual-band and can provide speeds up to 600 Mbps at 5 GHz and 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz.
Due to this capability or nature of the FebSmart N600, this card is mainly preferred for HD streaming or MMO gaming activities.
Assuming you don’t forget about the driver, it’s pretty easy to install this WiFi card. The only process required is to plug and play.
Another exciting thing about this card is its compatibility with different operating systems (OS) and Windows versions: Windows 11, 10, Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. The only type of Windows that the FebSmart N600 WiFi card doesn’t support is Windows Vista.
3. ASUS PCE-AC56 Dual-Band WiFi Card
The ASUS PCE-AC56 Dual-Band 2 x 2 AC1300 WiFi card is created by ASUS, another leading name for WiFi accessories and other computer hardware components.
Unlike the ones we’ve looked at above, this card is more of a premium choice. With this card, you get detachable antennas, a heat sink, and an antenna base as well.
It has a solid build, an extensible module specifically designed to ensure you can reach the best spot of your WiFi coverage. Moreover, the card has the IEEE 802.11 ac, a supercharged version of IEEE 802.11n that can increase data speed up to three times.
Because this card was designed to be sold at a premium price, it further features maximum flexibility and scalable design.
ASUS PCE-AC56 is equipped with Broadcom TurboQAM technology gives 33% faster 802.11n performance, with speeds up to 400 Mbps. This WiFi card also reduces wireless dead zones providing up to 150% greater coverage!
If you’re someone like me looking for quality instead of price, this is the WiFi card you need.
ASUS PCE-AC56 card is fully supported on most popular versions of Windows, ranging from Windows 11, 10, Windows 8, 7, to Vista and XP.
The drivers are available in 32bit/64bit versions.
4. TP-Link AC1200 PCIe WiFi Card
Just by looking at its name, you can tell this is the predecessor of the WiFi card that we’ve just reviewed above. And yes, this is again TP-Link, which doesn’t seem to slow down when producing high-quality WiFi devices.
The TP-Link AC1200 PCIe high-speed WiFi card is capable of supporting Bluetooth version 4.2 and features a dual-band of 2.4GHz /5GHz.
On the 5GHz band, you can get internet speeds of up to 876Mbps, and the 2.4GHz can deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps.
Suppose you want to engage in a lag-free gaming experience, VR operations, and HD streaming, among other activities that require fast and efficient internet speeds. In that case, this card can deliver as per your needs.
And like the previous TP-Link card reviewed above, this WiFi card comes with two antennas directly connected to the hardware module. We were able to stream 4K content while carrying an online gaming session without any visible lags.
And like its successor, the TP-Link AC1200 PCIe features WPA/WPA2 encryption standards for security. In addition, this card is fully supported on Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and Windows XP.
5. TP-Link T6E AC1300 PCIe WiFi Card
Offering speeds of up to 876 Mbps, this is another impressive TP-Link T6E AC1300 WiFi card to consider equipping your PC with. In addition, this card can offer you heat sink technology and increased range, thanks to its low bracket design that features a 2.4/5G Dual-band express PCI adapter.
Additionally, the TP-Link T6E AC13000 utilizes the latest WiFi standard, which is IEEE 802.11ac.
As a result, this card can deliver speeds of up to 3 times faster than your regular wireless N category. The quality tests of this card produce speeds of up to 400 Mbps at 2.4GHz and 876 Mbps over 5Ghz, which is high-speed WiFi.
In addition, as pointed out earlier, this card can offer you heat sink technology that helps to dissipate any heat from the adapter.
When this happens, the card can perform at a more stable rate and efficiently. And with better heat channeling, it’s most likely that you’ll also have increased internet speeds.
This card has its antennas attached though we have seen no difference in coverage or performance compared with the previous options. This card is fully supported on Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and Windows XP.
6. Ubit AX WiFi Card
The Ubit AX WiFi Card is equipped with Intel WiFi 6 technology chipset, the IEEE 802.11ax standard, thanks to this card’s Companion RF (RF1) module.
Built for the next-generation internet connection, the Ubit AX WiFi card can give you incredible internet speeds that reach up to 3000Mbps. Additionally, this card effectively supports 2 x 2 WiFi 6 technology, and it’s also made up of DL OFMDA, 1024QAM, and UL.
Thanks to these unique additions, this card can deliver data rates of up to 2.4Gbps. The card also features the latest Bluetooth 5 technology, which guarantees you increased connectivity with compatible Bluetooth devices.
In addition, it’s a beamforming technology that’s responsible for focusing WiFi signals towards connected devices. As a result, you get steady and reliable connections alongside a boosted coverage range. These new features are highly concentrated on offering a better user experience.
This WiFi 6 delivers high Gigabyte wireless speeds that dramatically improve your wireless internet connection.
As for the operating systems supported, the Ubit AX WiFi card supports Microsoft Windows 10 64-Bit, Chrome operating systems, and the Linux OS.
7. Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I REV Bluetooth 4.2/Wireless WiFi Card
If you want the best card for Bluetooth connectivity, then this is the one you are looking for.
With Bluetooth version 4.2, this WiFi card facilitates Bluetooth connection with other devices over long distances of up to 200ft. This range is usually where most Bluetooth-connected headphones start losing their connection to the host device.
Additionally, this card can deliver speeds of up to 3Mbps, which is enough to stream high-quality content over Bluetooth.
The Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I WiFi card also features a detachable antenna, meaning you can place it in a spot where your WiFi coverage is the best.
Compared with the other WiFi cards with external antennas in our list, Gigabyte GB-WB867D-I is equipped with a single antenna.
However, we’ve seen no significant performance difference compared with other cards in this list, Gigabyte GB-WB867D-I being to deliver impressive speeds up to 876Mbps in our tests.
8. Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100 WiFi Card
Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100 is probably the most feature-rich WiFi card on our list. And the first choice for experienced gamers who enjoy squeezing every drop of performance when playing online.
It’s a flagship desktop WiFi card made by ASUS which can deliver unmatched high wireless internet speeds – no joke. These speeds can reach a maximum of 2,100Mbps on the 5GHz band and 1,000Mbps over the 2.4GHz band. Very impressive!
Additionally, this card features four antennas that support high bandwidth connections for reliable internet connections. The four antennas are fully flexible, and you can either attach them directly to the card or externally by using the magnetic antenna base that also comes with this card.
With such flexibility, you can easily find a position where the Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100 WiFi card renders robust and efficient wireless internet speeds.
In addition, and to prevent the core components of this card from experiencing overheating, this WiFi card also comes with MU-MIMO support.
This is your card if you are looking for a WiFi card capable of getting a full WiFi signal in every corner of your home.
9. EDUP WiFi Card
Closing the list is this EDUP WiFi Card that can give you impressive speeds of up to 3000Mbps. It also features Dual Band functionality and WiFi 6 built-in for better and stronger network coverage.
Unlike the ones we’ve looked at on this list, this EDUP WiFi card is designed to optimize the network coverage of devices and their power consumption. And in user-intensive situations, this WiFi card can offer you high speeds because it features a multi-user concurrency.
It does this by maintaining minimum power consumption, high rates and access count, and low latency. The Dual Bands supported by this card are 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz that offer a maximum speed of 2400Mbps.
And with an improved Bluetooth 5.0, you can experience extended coverage alongside increased speed. Lastly, this card only supports Windows 10 64-Bit operating system.
10. OKN WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card
With WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 supported, this card can give some of the best speeds on the market. It can render data rates of up to 2.4Gbps, and it’s based on the Intel AX3000 chip.
This card also supports 802.11ax technologies like the Target Wake Time, OFDMA, and 1024QAM technologies supported.
You can seamlessly enjoy streaming 8K videos, facilitate larger file transfers, and home assistance without connection lags of any kind.
Moreover, this card is specifically designed to be compatible with Windows 10 64-Bit and Linux operating systems.
OKN WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card provides WPA3 security so you can browse with confidence, knowing that your high-speed WiFi is secure from hackers and viruses thanks to sophisticated WPA3 encryption. The use of WPA3 requires that both the APs and the system implement the relevant functionality.
Lastly, this WiFi card is straightforward to install on your PC, and the CD with the necessary drivers comes with the package. You can also download the latest drivers from corresponding websites, which is always highly recommended.
Finding the best WiFi card depends on many things that we’ve just analyzed above. There are cards designed to work better under certain circumstances. Some cards don’t mind the external surrounding and work effectively anywhere.
Choosing the best WiFi card will depend on several reasons, which include:
- The Signal coverage and strength
- WiFi bands supported (single or dual-band)
- System compatibility (Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 7 XP; 32-64 bits, and Linux support)
- Security features
When you consider these three factors, it’s inevitable to shortlist some of the best WiFi cards on the market. Finally, you now know all it takes to choose the best WiFi card for your needs.