Bluetooth adapter pc: The best Bluetooth USB adapters for PC in 2023

7 Best USB Bluetooth Adapters/Dongles for Windows PC

We almost take it for granted that every computer comes with Bluetooth technology. After all, every laptop, smartphone, game console, and even some coffee makers have Bluetooth!

Yet, if you have a desktop computer, the odds are it doesn’t have Bluetooth out of the box. You’ll have to add it using a PCIe add-in card or, much more conveniently, a USB Bluetooth adapter or “dongle.”

Table of Contents

    While these are generally inexpensive, it’s easy to buy a dongle that goes in the trash (or returned to Amazon) because it’s not fit for purpose. We’ve rounded up some of the best examples so you can buy the correct dongle the first time.

    What to Look For in a Bluetooth Adapter

    A USB Bluetooth dongle always has to balance size against range. Micro adapters have a small internal antenna and sit almost flush against the USB port. They are an excellent solution for people who want to use a game controller or wireless Bluetooth headphones at their desks.

    If you want to use Bluetooth at longer ranges, you’ll want to consider using a model that has a large antenna. This boosts the signal range and gives you some leeway to adjust the directional strength of the signal.

    As for technical specifications, it’s almost always the right move to pick a dongle that supports the latest Bluetooth Standard. At the time of writing, that’s Bluetooth 5.2. Newer versions of Bluetooth increase bandwidth, reduce power consumption, offer less latency, and can handle more devices simultaneously.

    Most modern computers have a few USB 2.0 ports, so you don’t have to sacrifice a USB 3 port for your Bluetooth adapter. On top of this, it turns out that USB 3.0 can cause radio interference that specifically causes issues with Bluetooth, so you won’t see many USB 3 dongles. New Bluetooth standards are backward compatible with older standards.

    EDR or Enhanced Data Rate is helpful since it allows for higher-quality audio thanks to much better data transfer rates. You’ll also experience less interference and stutter in audio.

    We’re focusing on adapters that support Windows here, but many of these products will also work on macOS, Ubuntu Linux, and more. So be sure to double-check compatibility before making a purchase.


    • Affordable price
    • Up-to-date BT features
    • Amazing range


    • Only works with Windows officially
    • Requires a long-range Bluetooth receiver device for the best results

    It’s easy to mistake the ZEXMTE Bluetooth dongle for a Wi-Fi adapter with its large external antenna. However, this high-gain antenna is crucial for achieving the theoretical maximum range of Bluetooth. Its Bluetooth 5.0+ EDR technology can work as far as 328 feet (100M), which is ten times as far as Bluetooth 4.0.

    That makes it perfect for situations where you want to use a wireless speaker that’s far away from your computer. The ZEXMTE isn’t just useful for desktop computer users since it will extend the Bluetooth range of any laptop compared to the typical internal Bluetooth radio.

    Unfortunately, since communication goes both ways, your target Bluetooth device must be a “Class 1” device to benefit from this dongle’s extended range. This dongle is only supported in Windows, as far back as Windows 7.

    2. Best for Upgrading Older Systems: TP-Link UB400


    • Very inexpensive
    • Small, low-profile
    • EDR and A2DP functionality
    • Windows XP support


    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • Windows-only

    The UB400 is an inexpensive Bluetooth wireless adapter, offering an older level of technology. This is only a Bluetooth 4.0 dongle using USB 2.0 connectivity, but it provides A2DP high-quality audio streaming and EDR. As long as the 65-foot (20M) range is good enough for you, it’s a fantastic nano-receiver.

    Best of all, it has drivers for Windows versions as far back as Windows XP. So if you have an older system that you want to re-use as a jukebox or you want to add wireless peripherals, the UB400 is a bargain. Just bear in mind that it’s only compatible with Windows.


    • Bluetooth 5.0 Features in a nano package
    • ASUS is a trusted brand with excellent driver support


    • Slightly more expensive than the competition

    The BT500 packs Bluetooth 5.0 technology into a nano form factor at a very reasonable price. So you get all the bandwidth and range benefits of the current generation of Bluetooth and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) for communication with battery-powered devices such as console controllers.

    It’s a few dollars more expensive than other comparable Bluetooth dongles, but ASUS is one of the most trusted names in computer hardware, so you have some peace of mind that there will be driver updates for some time and that those drivers will be stable.


    • Dedicated low-lag Bluetooth audio
    • Truly plug-and-play. No drivers are needed
    • Perfect for movies, games, or glitch-free audio


    • Costs more than the average dongle
    • Can only be used for audio, not keyboards or other Bluetooth gadgets

    Bluetooth is widely used for wireless audio, but one major weakness of the technology is latency. You may have noticed that audio lags behind what’s happening on-screen when watching a movie or playing a game.

    This is one of the reasons gaming headsets for consoles like Xbox use proprietary wireless standards to offer virtually lagless audio. Unfortunately, this usually means you can only use specific official headsets rather than any Bluetooth headset of your choice. If you’re a PC gamer, things are even worse since Bluetooth is your only choice, and the amount of lag can vary wildly depending on the headset and adapter combination.

    That’s where the Avnatree DG80 comes in. This audio-only dongle doesn’t present to the operating system as a Bluetooth adapter. Instead, it’s a USB audio device with an independent Bluetooth system. The DG80 connects to your headset independently and offers a dedicated, low-lag audio connection.

    It not only works with PC and Mac but also with gaming consoles that support USB audio devices. While you can’t use this for anything other than audio, it will almost always be the superior audio solution for wireless headsets.

    5. Best for Long-range Audio: Avantree Leaf


    • Long-range, low-latency audio that works with anything that supports USB audio devices


    • Only works as an audio adapter, no other Bluetooth connectivity

    If you skipped straight to this review, read the above for the DG80 first because just about everything we had to say about that adapter applies to the Leaf, another audio-only dongle from Avantree.

    It has the same features and approach to doing Bluetooth audio right, such as AptX support, and is completely plug-and-play. You can use it with many devices for audio, and it does not present as a Bluetooth adapter but as a USB audio interface.

    The difference between the Leaf and the DG80 is that the Leaf is a Class 1 device with an extended transmission range. It’s rated up to 60 feet (20M) without dropping quality or latency. This means you can play your Bluetooth speakers anywhere within that range, assuming nothing is blocking the signal, and you can comfortably sit far away from your PC or console while gaming with a headset.


    • Widely compatible and reliable.


    • Only Bluetooth version 4.0.

    The Kinivo BTD-400 is one of the most popular Bluetooth dongles on Amazon, with nearly 11 000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars. It’s not hard to see why either. It may only be a Bluetooth 4.0 device, but its strength lies in its broad compatibility.

    Not only will the BTD-400 work with Windows versions back to Windows XP, but you can also use it with Linux, Raspberry Pi, and macOS systems. The BTD-400 is based on the venerable and widely supported Broadcom chipset.

    If you absolutely must have Bluetooth 5.0+, then the BTD-500 is only a little more expensive but just as compatible.


    • Supports a robust number of Bluetooth Profiles
    • Supports Windows 7 and Vista
    • Exceptionally reliable according to customers


    • Only Bluetooth version 4. 0
    • No BLE support on Vista or Windows 7

    We take Bluetooth support in operating systems like Windows 10 for granted these days, but it hasn’t been a standard for all that long. Windows Vista and 7, which is now out of official support, don’t have the robust Bluetooth support of newer versions of Windows.

    Using the driver provided by Plugable, this dongle adds support for all of the classic Bluetooth Profiles to Vista and Windows 7. However, there is no support for Bluetooth Low Energy, which is restricted to Windows 8 and up.

    Sydney Butler is a social scientist and technology fanatic who tries to understand how people and technology coexist. He has two decades of experience as a freelance computer technician and more than a decade as a technologies researcher and instructor. Sydney has been a professional technology writer for more than five years and covers topics such as VR, Gaming, Cyber security and Transhumanism. Read Sydney’s Full Bio

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    Definition of Bluetooth adapter | PCMag

    A USB-based device that transmits and receives Bluetooth wireless signals. It plugs into the USB port to support Bluetooth mice, keyboards and other Bluetooth devices. Also called a “Bluetooth dongle.” See dongle.

    Bluetooth Adapters
    Bluetooth adapters are tiny and barely protrude more than a half inch from the USB socket.


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    Bluetooth adapter: types, characteristics, classes

    Bluetooth adapters are modern useful gadgets for creating affordable wireless communication between various devices: tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, laptops, PCs, acoustic centers and TVs. Adapters create a reliable connection for the quick exchange of useful information, files and work commands.

    Stable and high-speed wireless connection protocol – Bluetooth. The choice of adapter directly depends on the specific tasks for which it is intended.


    • Features
    • Types of Bluetooth adapters
    • Features of bluetooth adapters
    • Working connection profiles
    • Classes


    Consumers often confuse two similar terms – Bluetooth and Wi-fi connection. If Bluetooth technology is used for remote data transmission over short distances between various devices, then Wi fi technology is used to create a local computer network and organize remote access to the Internet.

    The maximum range of adapters is 50-60 meters, so they are used in apartments, houses, offices and shops.

    This technology is used to quickly exchange audio, video and text files, you can manage RAM, send and receive photos, manage work programs.

    The module is connected without additional cables and adapters, via a standard USB port. The advantage of the module is the ability to transfer data at high speed. The modules are able to establish and maintain wireless communication even with short-term wave interference that occurs between devices.

    Types of Bluetooth adapters

    Modern electronics are produced with the installed module, but there is equipment that requires the use of additional equipment due to its design and technical features.

    Bluetooth modules are available in two types – internal and external. Each of them differs in functionality and installation method.


    This type of device is a system board that plugs directly into the reader’s internal circuitry. They are reliable, durable, but difficult to install. They are used for stationary PCs, laptops and speaker systems.


    Its design features are similar to those of USB drives – it can be installed in any USB port. The module is suitable for modern electronic gadgets, television and video equipment.

    Ergonomic housing, ease of installation and safety of operation, combined with an affordable price, make these devices indispensable for creating local wireless networks and performing tasks of any complexity.

    Bluetooth adapter specifications

    There are 5 versions of Bluetooth based connection technology. Each version provides its own data rate, working signal strength, stacks and profiles.

    • 1.2;
    • 2.0+EDR;
    • 3.0+HS;
    • 4.0;
    • 4.1;

    Operational data transfer rate is 3-24 Mbps. Power technology has the following parts: 1; 2.5 and 100 MW. This indicator affects the coverage radius with similar indicators. The unit of measurement is meter. Devices of 1 MW with a range of 1 meter. Devices with a capacity of 2.5 MW are presented on the market, with an exposure radius of up to 12 meters.

    The latest hardware version in 4.1 provides coverage up to 60 meters.

    When choosing a device, you need to take into account the power and range.

    Working connection profiles

    Profiles are functionality that is supported by various hardware.

    Bluetooth technology supports the following profiles:

    • GAP – is intended to support the operation of other profiles, the security of the wireless connection.
    • A2DP – designed to transmit audio signals in a two-channel stream. It is necessary for the exchange of audio files, listening to music.
    • HSP – used for wireless connection of a headset (headphones, microphone) – mono sound transmission at a speed of up to 64 Kbps.
    • AVRCP – used to control sound on playback devices.
    • LAP – designed to organize a wireless network between two Bluetooth devices.
    • DUN – the profile allows you to use a phone as a modem.
    • HID – headset connection – computer mouse and keyboard.
    • OBEX FTP is a profile for connecting to the RAM of mobile and tablet devices from a laptop or PC.

    Even if the transmitting and receiving devices support working with protocols, the codecs used are taken into account when choosing bluetooth equipment.


    When choosing equipment for creating wireless communications, it is recommended to take into account class.

    Classes differ in radiation range:

    • class 3 – radius 1 m;
    • class 2 – radius 10 m;
    • class 1 – radius 100 m.

    Important! As the radiation radius increases, the connection between devices will weaken, which will lead to technical interference and errors in data transmission. A connection can be maintained by receiving devices of the same class, for which the specified communication range is observed.

    The selection of the appropriate adapter model depends on the intended use. In this case, useful functionality is determined by the profiles and protocols that the module supports.

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    How to choose and set up a Bluetooth adapter for the


    Almost all modern laptops have a built-in Bluetooth module, but the situation is reversed for desktop computers. Support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless modules is not found on every motherboard. Fortunately, equipping a computer with a Bluetooth module is not difficult.

    External or internal adapter

    Most Bluetooth adapters are presented as external USB dongles. This is a universal solution that will fit any computer with a free USB port. It can be easily disabled and transferred to another computer, and you do not need to open the system manager.

    Photo: Depositphotos

    There are also internal adapters connected via PCI Express. However, it will most likely be a Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth combo adapter. In general, this is a good way to upgrade a desktop computer. But for laptops, the internal version, of course, will not work.

    If the conditions are difficult, it is advisable to take the adapter through the extension to the open area. Also in such cases it is desirable to choose models with an external antenna.

    Which version of the adapter is needed

    One of the main parameters to pay attention to is the Bluetooth version. The last one at the moment is 5.2. But the versions are backwards compatible, for example, equipment with Bluetooth 4.2 will work with a more modern adapter. In the opposite situation, when the equipment, for example, headphones, supports Bluetooth 5.0, and the adapter only supports 2.1 + EDR, then everything should also work, but there may be problems due to a lower transfer rate: gaps, high delays, poor sound quality, etc. In simple terms, when Bluetooth versions are different, devices will only work with the older protocol.

    The differences between the Bluetooth versions are mainly in the data rate and range. The cost of adapters of different versions does not differ much, so it makes no sense to take dongles with Bluetooth 2.1 or 3.0 for the sake of economy. A reasonable minimum is 4.0.

    How to find out the version of the adapter

    If you already have an adapter or bought a dubious product, then you should check its version. When you know the adapter model, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and look at the specifications. But often Bluetooth adapters do not have any markings on the case. Especially when it comes to cheap dongles ordered from China.

    The easiest and fastest way to find out the version is to download the Bluetooth Version finder program. It is free and does not require installation. The interface is extremely simple.

    You can also find out the version using Windows tools without installing third-party programs. Go to “Device Manager”. To get there, right-click on “Start” and select “Device Manager”. You can also enter devmgmt.msc in the “Run” line (called through the Win + R combination).

    Select your adapter and double click on it. You can display both the name of the adapter and the Generic Bluetooth Radio device. In the window that opens, go to the “Advanced” tab. Check the “Firmware version” line, namely the LMP version:

    • LMP 0 – Bluetooth 1.0b
    • LMP 1 – Bluetooth 1.1
    • LMP 2 – Bluetooth 1.2
    • LMP 3 – Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
    • LMP 4 – Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
    • LMP 5 – Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
    • LMP 6 – Bluetooth 4.0
    • LMP 7 – Bluetooth 4.1
    • LMP 8 – Bluetooth 4.2
    • LMP 9 – Bluetooth 5.0
    • LMP 10 – Bluetooth 5.1
    • LMP 11 – Bluetooth 5.2

    What is Bluetooth power class

    The power class of the transmitter determines the maximum range. The best class is 1st. It corresponds to a range of 100 m. But it is better to specify this characteristic separately. So, it may be that the device is class 1, but the manufacturer claims a range of less than 100 m. In addition, the actual range will be much lower, due to possible interference in the form of walls or furniture.

    How to output sound via Bluetooth on Windows 10

    If you have, for example, wireless headphones, you can connect them to your computer, not just your smartphone. In general, there is nothing complicated here: you perform the usual pairing of devices. Press Win + I to open options, then go to Devices and click on Add Bluetooth or other device.

    When it comes to sound quality, Windows 10 can work with AptX on any adapter. It is impossible to see which codec is currently active using standard tools, but specialized programs like Bluetooth Tweaker can do this. The program is paid, but there is a trial period for 7 days, which should be enough for our purposes.

    If the headphones do not support AptX, then the SBC codec will be selected, which works on almost all Bluetooth devices.