Bluetooth is still an afterthought when it comes to most desktop builds. As such, there’s not a ton of fancy options to add the feature. Despite the limited selection we’ve put together a collection of the best Bluetooth adapters for PC, you can buy in 2020.
Despite the proliferation of Bluetooth technology in mice, keyboards, and headphones, there’s a surprisingly small amount of variety when it comes to Bluetooth adapters for desktop PCs. Almost every one you find will come in one of two forms:
- A dongle that connects via USB 2.0.
- A PCI-E x1 card, which includes an external antenna.
Unfortunately, there are no PC cases I’ve found that feature an internal antenna and Bluetooth chipset, which would give the best mix of functionality and cosmetic appeal. So, you’re pretty much stuck choosing one of the form factors above.
What should I look for in a Bluetooth adapter for PC?
If you’re looking to connect a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard to your desktop, any adapter will do. The grand majority of Bluetooth adapters for PC use either a Broadcom or CSR chipset, so there are no huge concerns about compatibility. Just pick one of the products below, and you should be fine.
Using Bluetooth headphones with your PC is a different story. Depending on what headset you’re using, there may be advantages to using a Bluetooth 5.0 adapter. However, few headsets have released that takes advantage of Bluetooth 5.0, so more than likely, you’ll be just fine with Bluetooth 4.2.
Form factor is the biggest concern when it comes to choosing a Bluetooth adapter for PC. Dongles are convenient and just plug into an available USB port. However, they can be unsightly, and they’re limited in range compared to the alternative.
A PCI-E Bluetooth adapter tucks away in your case and only requires you to position the (typically small) antenna. These adapters often have a better range than dongles and also can include Wi-Fi functionality. However, it’s a lot less convenient to have to open your case and install a card instead of just putting a dongle in a USB port.
Best PC Bluetooth Adapters 2020
The list below consists of some of the best Bluetooth adapters for PC you can find right now. However, keep in mind that with Bluetooth adapters, you’re not really paying for more features. These all function mostly the same. Instead, you’re paying for build quality.
TP-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC 4.0 Bluetooth Dongle Receiver by TP-Link
This TP-Link Bluetooth adapter follows the most common form factor you’ll see for Bluetooth dongles. It’s built well and is reliable. However, you’ll want to make sure you install it in a USB on the front or top of your case. Since it’s so small, its antenna isn’t powerful enough to receive or send data at long-range or too far out of line-of-sight.
Sabrent USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter for PC
This Sabrent Bluetooth dongle is a good and slightly cheaper alternative to the TP-Link product above. It works exactly the same and has the same limitations when it comes to range.
Avantree DG60 aptX-HD Long Range USB Bluetooth 5.0 Audio Transmitter Adapter for PC by Avantree
This Bluetooth adapter is a bit different from others on the list. The Avantree DG60 acts as an independent soundcard instead of a typical Bluetooth receiver. This means it can only be used for audio-applications. It’s a Bluetooth 5.0 transmitter and is compatible with Qualcomm’s aptX-HD audio protocol, which claims to deliver “better-than-CD” listening quality.
The Avantree DG60 can’t be used for Bluetooth controllers, mice, or keyboards, but if you need a dongle just for connecting your headset or Bluetooth speakers, this product is excellent. It has an integrated antenna, which gives it a range of 164 feet, which is a lot more range than your typical Bluetooth dongle. Additionally, it doesn’t require special software or drivers. It’s plug-and-play, so setup is straightforward.
MSI Dual Band AC Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.2 Long Range Wireless PCIe Network Adapter Card by MSI
This PCIe network adapter card from MSI pulls double duty as both a Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi AC adapter. This can be an incredibly useful card to have in your PC as it can transform your desktop from being slaved to wires to being compatible with the majority of wireless devices.
The card also has two antennas that deliver a much better range than a small Bluetooth dongle. This means you can install it and not have to worry about anything obstructing line-of-sight to the antennas. The only drawback compared to USB dongles is that you must open your case to install this card, and it takes up a PCI-E slot. If you’re using an ATX form factor motherboard, this isn’t usually a big deal, but Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX users might find they don’t have the PCI-E slot to sacrifice.
Asus AX3000 (Pce-AX58BT) Next-Gen Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Band PCIe Wireless Adapter with Bluetooth 5.0 by Asus
If you want to future-proof your Bluetooth setup, this PCI-E adapter from Asus is on the cutting edge. It includes Bluetooth 5.0 and Wireless AX capabilities and is compatible with routers that use MU-MIMO and WPA3 security. It’s more expensive than the card above, but it may be worth it if you have the equipment to take advantage of Bluetooth 5.0 and Wireless AX.
This card also allows you to be more flexible with where you place your desktop. The antenna connects to the card via two long cables, which enables you to site it wherever you need it. This is great if you keep your PC in a cabinet, but want to ensure you get the best Bluetooth connection possible.