Ever since they emerged, Bluetooth adapters have become very popular and almost indispensable in the technology world. They are sought after because many of them are portable, fast, affordable, easy to use, and offer relatively stable connections. These qualities and others make them a valuable alternative when it comes to available wireless connection options.
Over time, many competing Bluetooth adapter brands have come up with products that come with different features. Because of this, any attempt at identifying the top Bluetooth adapters from a saturated market will always involve some form of systematic investigation. We have, therefore, used certain measures such as data transfer speed, stability, range, latency, and others to decide on our top Bluetooth adapters for 2023.
You should also check out our list of the best powerline adapters for gaming.
In a hurry? Here are our top three picks when it comes to the best Bluetooth adapters for gaming in 2023!
Is A Bluetooth Adapter Good For Gaming?
Connecting to other devices is an important aspect of today’s digitally-driven world. People need to link up, no matter what has brought them to the internet. For individuals whose desktops and laptops do not include a Bluetooth feature, Bluetooth adapters have become an important tool.
For gamers, a Bluetooth adapter can serve a number of good purposes. They can help you chat in real-time while you play. You can also spice up your gameplay by hearing loud music from a connected headphone. These are just some of the benefits that Bluetooth adapters can offer gaming. More will be explored further down this article.
Do Bluetooth Adapters Have Latency?
A Bluetooth adapter is nothing but a radio conduit that wirelessly conveys information provided by computer software. Because of this, it operates at a very fast pace. Thus, any lag that occurs would usually be from software, data processing, and/or radio interference.
However, this is not to say that some lag is not inherent as data is processed via Bluetooth technology. But such Bluetooth originated lags usually occur very fast to be noticed. So the latency you observe in Bluetooth adapters mostly originates more from secondary sources such as those mentioned above.
Below are the Bluetooth adapters we consider the best for gaming in 2023.
1. ASUS USB-BT500 – Best Overall
ASUS is an electronics giant that has been providing us with quality monitors, motherboards, and other products for years. Their BT500 adapter follows that tradition of excellence and is our top pick for a number of reasons. This powerful Bluetooth 5.0 adapter can function at speeds of up to 3MBps, thanks to its Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) feature. This impressive speed rate is double the speed of Bluetooth 4.0. Its coverage range (as much as 10 meters) is also 4 times wider.
For connectivity, you can pair this unit with as many as 7 devices simultaneously. These include gaming peripherals such as Xbox wireless controllers, DualSense and others, computers, headsets, phones, keyboards, speakers, and many more. It also has backward compatibility with older Bluetooth versions and easily syncs with Windows 10 and Linux OS.
The BT500 comes with a low-energy technology that will save power for your devices and thus not worry your hardware. For all your gaming or other needs, just slot this ultra-tiny, portable, and cost-effective adapter into a USB 2,0 port and you are good to go.
Why is the ASUS BT500 the Best Bluetooth Adapter in 2023?
We have chosen ASUS Bluetooth adapter because it ticks all the boxes in terms of the criteria used to select the Bluetooth adapters on this list. Though it may not have ranked number one in every single factor we considered, we still gave it an edge when all the factors are considered, on average.
2. HomeSpot Bluetooth Audio Adapter – Runner Up
HomeSpot is a maker of an assortment of quality products such as chargers and adapters. This particular Nintendo Switch Bluetooth 5.0 adapter uses a type C connector and comes with a built-in digital microphone for in-game voice chats with other players. HomeSpot claims that this built-in mic is one of a kind in the whole world.
To use the microphone, pair your adapter with a headphone and then press the P1 button. The same button also turns off the mic which can also be used alone without pairing.
The Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX low latency technologies help ensure a lag-free experience even if you and your console are 10 meters apart (pairing devices must be aptX compatible to enjoy the low latency feature). One unique feature of this adapter is the ability to stream to 2 headphones simultaneously via aptX Low Latency.
Products supported by this HomeSpot Bluetooth audio adapter include those from popular brands like Sony, Audio Tehnica, JBL, Apple, and many others. Such products include headphones, speakers, mobile phones, stereos, etc. A USB C to USB A converter and a small pouch come along with the adapter which is backed by a 1-year warranty.
3. SABRENT USB Micro Adapter – Budget Pick
Though based on the older Bluetooth 4.0 class 2 technology, this very tiny adapter (has dimensions of 0.8 x 0.3 x 0.5 inches and weighs just 1.1 ounces) from SABRENT is still robust enough to cater to your gaming needs. It is energy-efficient, backward compatible with older Bluetooth versions (3.0/2.1/2.0/1.1),and will pair with several devices (mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, keyboards, and mice) to help optimize your gaming experience.
Note that this micro adapter works more efficiently on Windows 8 and above. It is compatible with lower Windows versions such as Windows 7 but you’ll not enjoy its Bluetooth low energy feature in them. It is also compatible with Linux but not with Mac OS. It neither works in car stereo systems nor television sets.
Upon purchase, just plug your product into any USB port to download and install the software for use. If you are easily irritated by notification messages that come after software downloads, you can easily set your device to block them because the makers of this product will send you constant notifications.
This very affordable adapter comes with a driver CD and is backed by a 1-year warranty that can be extended to two years upon registration of the product on the SABRENT website within 3 months of purchase.
4. TP-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC
Though this ultra-slim and portable dongle from TP-Link seems to sync more effectively with PS4 than Xbox game controllers, it is still a great tool when using console controls on a computer. It is a Bluetooth 4.0 device equipped with EDR and A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) mechanisms that ensure fast data transfer (3MBps maximum) in addition to stable audio output.
In terms of compatibility, apart from the above-mentioned game controllers, gamers can also enjoy this sleek nano-sized adapter on a wide range of devices such as phones, computers, headsets, keyboards, speakers, and printers. It is backward compatible with Bluetooth V3.0/2.1/2.0/1.1 and works on several varieties of the popular Windows operating system (from XP to Windows 11). However, this product will not function on Mac and Linux devices.
It includes the Bluetooth low energy feature which is a good omen for the host hardware. It can also cover a transmission distance of up to 10 meters, meaning that you don’t have to hug your computer always to enjoy crisp audio sounds with no interference.
With close to 30 years of experience and multiple awards to its credit TP-Link is one company that has continued to churn out quality products. This USB adapter is simply another brilliant addition to their outstanding portfolio.
5. Creative Creative BT-W3 Bluetooth 5.0 USB-C Audio Transmitter 3.5 mm
✅Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm Jack
|❌Analog mic input limited to 3.5 mm:
❌No multi-device support:
The Creative BT-W3 Bluetooth 5.0 USB-C Audio Transmitter is a versatile and user-friendly device that enables high-quality wireless audio streaming and voice chat support for various platforms. With compatibility for PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac, it offers a convenient solution for gaming and communication.
- Bluetooth 5.0: The BT-W3 is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, offering faster data transfer rates and improved stability compared to older Bluetooth versions.
- aptX LL and aptX HD support: The device supports both aptX Low Latency (LL) and aptX HD codecs, ensuring high-quality audio streaming with minimal latency. aptX LL delivers low latency audio, which is essential for gaming and real-time voice communication, while aptX HD provides high-resolution audio for a more immersive listening experience.
- 3.5 mm Analog Mic Input: The BT-W3 includes a 3.5 mm analog microphone input, allowing you to connect a compatible microphone for voice chat support during gaming sessions or online calls.
- Codec Indicator and Selection: A built-in LED indicator displays the currently active codec, and users can manually switch between supported codecs by pressing the side button. This feature ensures that you can optimize the audio performance based on your preferences and device compatibility.
- Plug-and-Play Functionality: The Creative BT-W3 is designed to be user-friendly and can be easily connected to compatible devices without the need for additional software or drivers. Simply plug it into a USB-C port, and it’s ready to use.
- Broad Compatibility: The device is compatible with a wide range of platforms, including PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac, making it an ideal accessory for gaming enthusiasts and users who require wireless audio streaming and voice chat capabilities.
- Compact Design: With its small form factor and lightweight design, the BT-W3 is easily portable and can be carried in your pocket or gaming bag.
In summary, the Creative BT-W3 Bluetooth 5.0 USB-C Audio Transmitter offers a seamless wireless audio experience with support for high-quality codecs, making it an excellent choice for gamers and users seeking voice chat functionality on various platforms. Its plug-and-play design and compatibility with popular gaming consoles and computers further enhance its appeal.
6. Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter
This class 2 Bluetooth device from Plugable is designed for a variety of products such as gamepads/controllers, smartphones and watches, speakers and soundbars, keyboards, mice, headphones. It has a data transfer rate of 3MBps and works well on 32 and 64-bit editions of Windows 7/8/10/11 as well as Linux. Note that Windows 7 users will not have Bluetooth 4.0 support and will need special drivers before they can use this adapter.
This adapter cannot be used in Mac OS, car stereos, and TVs. It is also not recommended for employer-provided computers. In terms of the range covered, it will connect for as much as 32 feet away from your device, which is decent enough. It is backed by a 2-year warranty like all other Plugable products.
7. USB WiFi Adapter, XDO 1200Mbps Wireless Network Adapter USB 3.0 Dual
✅USB 3.0 interface
|❌USB port requirement
The XDO 1200Mbps Wireless Network Adapter is a high-performance USB 3.0 WiFi adapter that provides an easy and efficient way to upgrade your PC or laptop’s wireless connectivity. With dual-band support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and a 5dBi high gain antenna, this adapter ensures fast and stable internet connections for various tasks such as online gaming, streaming, and web browsing.
- High-Speed Connectivity: The XDO USB WiFi Adapter offers up to 1200Mbps wireless speed, with 867Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, providing fast and reliable internet connections for bandwidth-intensive tasks.
- Dual-Band Support: The adapter supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, allowing you to switch between them based on your needs and signal availability. This helps to reduce interference and improve overall network performance.
- 5dBi High Gain Antenna: The included 5dBi high gain antenna enhances signal reception and transmission, ensuring a stable and robust wireless connection even in areas with weak signal strength.
- USB 3.0 Interface: The XDO WiFi Adapter utilizes a USB 3.0 interface, which is up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0, ensuring maximum data transfer rates and minimal latency.
- Wide Compatibility: The adapter supports a variety of operating systems, including Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP and Mac OS 10.9-10.15, making it suitable for use with most desktop and laptop computers.
- 802.11ac Support: The device is compatible with the 802.11ac wireless standard, offering improved performance, speed, and range compared to older wireless standards.
- Easy Setup: The XDO USB WiFi Adapter features a simple plug-and-play installation process, requiring no additional drivers or software for most systems.
In summary, the XDO 1200Mbps USB WiFi Adapter is an excellent solution for enhancing your computer’s wireless capabilities. With its high-speed connectivity, dual-band support, and wide compatibility, it is a suitable choice for users looking to upgrade their network performance for gaming, streaming, or general internet usage.
How to Choose the Best Bluetooth Adapter For Gaming?
Before stepping out to search for an adapter, there are a number of technicalities you need to put into perspective to help you make an informed decision. Understanding these technicalities is even more important if you are new to Bluetooth adapters and how they work.
When you understand the technicalities better, you can then relate them to your personal gaming needs, that is, the specific reasons you want to use an adapter for gaming. For instance, do you need a Bluetooth adapter to play music while you enjoy your favorite games? Will such needs include transferring large volumes of data at very fast rates? It could also be that your gameplay conditions will require that you simultaneously pair several devices. Maybe you need a Bluetooth adapter for a combination of reasons.
Whatever the case, this guide will help furnish you with information on some of the necessary variables to consider before choosing the most suitable Bluetooth adapter.
The common trend in the technology world is – the newer the version, the better the performance. This theory also holds in the adapter industry. Older versions of adapters have not been thrown away but if you want improved performance levels, then you should be looking at Bluetooth 4.0 and above. The most superior of the lot (which also happens to be the newest technology) is Bluetooth 5.0. With it, you’ll enjoy faster data speeds, energy efficiency, and minimal interference, among others.
An adapter’s range capacity is simply the distance within which it can maintain a stable connection. Any distance beyond that leads to signal failure. Some adapters will offer a range of just above 30 feet while others can go as much as 60 feet and beyond. Whatever the distance, it is usually advised that obstacles like trees, walls, electrical devices, and others should not obstruct the connection.
This is why most manufacturers assume that users are in places where there is virtually no obstruction and interference when producing adapters. The nature of your activities has a role to play here. If you are always close to your device, then there’s no need to worry about range. But if you stray away from it frequently, then you may want to opt for an adapter with strong range capabilities.
Product variations in the market mean that different adapters have diverse simultaneous connection capabilities. For instance, this article includes an adapter that can connect with 7 devices at once. There are adapters that can connect with even more than 7 devices simultaneously as well as those that can connect with only two. If you need to connect many devices at once from time to time, be sure to settle for a dongle with such capability, even if costs more.
With the overwhelming majority of desktops and laptops using the Windows operating system, it is not surprising that most adapter manufacturers design their products exclusively for Windows. However, you’ll find some quality Linux-compatible adapters and very few that work on the Mac OS.
Unless money is no longer an important variable for you, chances are that you are operating within a particular budget constraint and therefore will obey the principles of scarcity and opportunity cost, as economists will tell you. Although most dongles are very affordable, they still involve spending. So the onus is on you to clearly specify what you are willing to commit to a new adapter before proceeding to purchase one.
Playing games often consume a significant amount of system resources. If you want to avoid lags in input and unstable connections, it is best to look for an adapter that offers a data transfer rate of close to 3MBps and more. Luckily, you’ll find several affordable brands out there with this feature.
Adapters that tend to absorb a lot of power do not bode well for the long-term performance capacity of your computer. This is why the trend is shifting towards dongles with the Bluetooth low energy feature.
Plug & Play
For easy operations, consider a plug-and-play adapter that will save you the stress of downloading and installing drivers. However, older versions of operating systems (you shouldn’t be using unsupported operating systems, by the way) may sometimes require that drivers be installed before an adapter functions on them. This is why some products come with driver installation CDs and manufacturers make drivers available on their websites.
As you will have observed from this article, majority of Bluetooth adapters are designed to be very slim, sleek, and portable. They are just sizable enough to be inserted into and detached from a USB port with ease. Even with this micro or even nano-size, most of these adapters come with several modern functionalities.
The advantage of larger adapters is that they may be more useful in checking interference. But smaller adapters, especially those that have the most recent technologies (such as Bluetooth version 5.0) are not far behind when it comes to limiting interference.
Moreover, tiny adapters offer convenience to mobile gamers and other users since you can comfortably move with your PC with these adapters plugged in. Their small size also means they will not block other USB devices from being plugged into a computer. But note that being very tiny, these adapters can easily get lost.
Bluetooth adapters perform a number of useful tasks in today’s highly computerized world. In the area of gaming, they can also be utilized beneficially in a variety of ways. Due to their various use cases, many competing brands have put forward several Bluetooth adapter models that target gamers and other users.
After a thorough evaluation of several Bluetooth adapters based on some important factors, the 7 on this list are those we consider as the best for gaming in 2023. Therefore, they are highly recommended, not only for gaming but for all other everyday uses.