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Tech Accessories

Best USB Bluetooth Adapter

A USB Bluetooth adapter lets you connect any supported computer or laptop to other wireless Bluetooth devices. They’re small units that plug into a USB port and then connect wirelessly to other devices through Bluetooth technology. This type of adapter is ideal if you don’t want to add new hardware within your computer system, but need to connect to one or more devices through Bluetooth. Although there’s a wide range of manufacturers, most of these devices are fairly similar in their size and design.

We’ve chosen the following best USB Bluetooth adapters because they offer the fastest speeds possible thanks to support for the Bluetooth 4.0 specification. You get as much wireless range with these adapters as possible since all of them offer a minimum 20 foot range. All of these devices work with multiple versions of Windows and include encryption for data and hardware security, though some of them also work with computers running a Mac OS.

IOGEAR GBU521 Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter USB

In terms of speed and performance, this adapter about as good as it gets with Bluetooth 4.0 support for some of the fastest wireless connectivity available and this model is also backwards compatible with older versions of Bluetooth, so it works with a wide range of devices at different speeds. The range on this model lets you work up to 30 feet away but you need to connect from longer distances you may consider a different adapter. However, the shorter distance means there’s less opportunity for unauthorized access to your system from other Bluetooth devices. Keep in mind this device also provides data encryption and user authentication so security won’t be an issue. This adapter works with versions of Windows from XP to Windows 10, and though it works with Apple devices like iPhones and iPads, it doesn’t support the Mac OS.

Azio USB Micro Bluetooth Adapter V4.0 EDR and aptX - BTD-V401

This USB Bluetooth adapter supports Bluetooth 4.0 and a number of profiles such as Generic Access (GAP) and Headset Protocols (HSP), ensuring it works with a wide range of devices such as mice, keyboards, and audio equipment. This model is a particularly good choice for speakers since it includes audio codec compression to ensure streaming audio sounds great from your computer and into a set of Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones. You get a maximum range of 33 feet with this model which makes it comparable to most other adapters on the market. This pick supports versions of Windows from XP to 10 but unfortunately doesn’t support Mac OS.

Insignia Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter - NS-PCY5BMA

This is certainly a good USB Bluetooth adapter, but there’s a few restrictions to keep in mind to ensure it’s going to work with your setup and hardware. This adapters range is 20 feet maximum which can help protect your hardware from long range hijacking of your Bluetooth equipment or unauthorized attempts to access your computer. If you plan on only using this adapter in a fairly small area, you should have no issues. The other big consideration with this model is it only supports versions of Windows between Vista and 8.1, so this is not a good choice for a system running Windows XP or Windows 10. There is also no Mac support with this model, so keep that in mind.

Cirago Bluetooth 4.0 USB Mini Adapter - BTA8000

There are actually two different versions of this Bluetooth adapter available, one engraved with "A10" and the other lacking any engraving on the adapter itself. Both versions support Bluetooth 4.0 for great speed and performance as well as some of the best range you can find with a maximum range of 82 feet. That lets you use your Bluetooth devices at a much greater distance but potentially opens up your hardware and system to outside attacks, so keep that in mind.

The version of this adapter engraved with "A10" is a better option, with support for versions of Windows from XP to 10 and Mac OS support. The one without an engraving, on the other hand, only works with Windows XP to 8 and has no Mac OS support. You can only tell which version you are getting by looking at the adapter itself and seeing if it has an engraving, so that keeps this from being as reliably excellent a choice as it otherwise would be.

Greg Wiesen
With an AA in Computer Animation, I have spent years building computers and playing video games. I learned early on that the best way to figure out a new software program was to just start pushing buttons and see what happens (saving often, of course), and that is still my philosophy. From hard drives and motherboards to graphics cards and "holographic" keyboards, I enjoy checking out and playing with all the tech I can get my hands on. I have written hundreds of informative computer and technology articles in the past, and I believe that anyone can understand and use a computer. I'll worry about research and trying out different hardware, you just enjoy the results.
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