Bluetooth technology was originally developed by the Swedish company Ericsson in 1994. Its name is a tribute to a former king of Denmark and Norway, Harald Bltand, which can be translated as Harold Bluetooth in English. Its use has spread incredibly quickly due to the multitude of advantages it offers by allowing devices to be connected without bothersome cables.

However, many old generation devices aren’t compatible with this type of connection. To overcome this issue, you can use a handy adapter that you connect to your computer via a USB port. These tiny devices are very convenient and easy to use. They are also very affordable.

Key Facts

  • Bluetooth adapters let you connect a variety of devices to your PC without needing any cable: mice and keyboards, game consoles, speakers, headsets, and even virtual reality gear.
  • This Bluetooth connection generally has a range of up to 30 feet, with the ability to transmit information between devices that are in different rooms.
  • Existing Bluetooth versions are compatible with each other. It is usually recommended that the emitting device is from a newer version, but this is not a requirement.

Ranking: The best Bluetooth adapters on the U.S. market

In the following section, you will discover our selection of the very best Bluetooth adapters currently available on the American market. We’ve tried to choose products that are distinct and offer different features, while always having value for money as one of our primary goals. All these adapters have also received great reviews from other customers.

No. 1: TECHKEY Bluetooth Adapter

This no-frills Bluetooth adapter by TECHKEY is doing it right when it comes to wireless connectivity, and use ratings certainly back this up. As a matter of fact, this product has become Amazon’s Choice in the category, offering high-quality performance and affordability. This adapter is designed specifically for use on Windows and Linux operating systems.

Integrating the 4.0 Bluetooth generation, this device has low energy consumption. Its plug-and-play technology will allow you to connect your devices in no time at all. This model offers a range of 33 feet indoors, and up to 200 feet in the open air. Overall, TECHKEY’s Bluetooth adapter offers incredible value for money. This product is not compatible with Mac OS, TVs, or car stereos.

No. 2: TaoTronics TT-BR05

TaoTronics is an electronic equipment brand of California-based Sunvalley Group, and the TT-BR05 is an Amazon’s Best Seller to connect your devices to your car stereo. This Bluetooth 4.2 receiver car kit is a little different from other models because it is plugged in via a jack connector. This is very useful for older stereo models that do not have USB ports.

One great advantage of this device is that it doesn’t only work in your car. You can also plug your headphones in, turning them wireless in a matter of seconds. What’s more, it even features a built-in microphone to answer your calls. Remember that this product needs to be charged for use. The TT-BR05 comes with a minimum of 12 months of warranty.

No. 3: Avantree Oasis

Avantree is an industry leader in everything wireless, and while its Oasis model is the most expensive product in our selection, it’s definitely worth the investment if you need the very best. With a tested maximum range of 164 feet in the open air and up to 70 feet indoor, it’s unlikely you’ll lose your Bluetooth connection anytime soon.

As you can imagine, this is a class 1 Bluetooth device with a 4.1 version. Past users have particularly praised the overall versatility of the Oasis. It can indeed work as a transmitter or a receiver depending on the devices you want to use it with. The bypass mode included is another very useful function to have. A 24-month warranty comes with this product.

No. 4: ZEXMTE Bluetooth Adapter

Chinese brand ZEXMTE produces incredibly cheap wireless solutions for your home, so it’s no wonder this specific model is an Amazon Best Seller. In fact, it is the most affordable product featured in our ranking. Despite its extremely low price, you will still get a CSR 4.0 Bluetooth version with a maximum transfer speed of up to 3 Mbps.

You’ll be able to connect your devices within its limit range of 33 feet, and it is naturally backward compatible with older Bluetooth generations. Compatibility-wise, this adapter is designed to work on Windows OS and will not operate on Mac or TVs. The plug-and-play technology is suitable for Windows 8 and 10, but driver installation may be required on Win 7.

No. 5: MPOW BH129

MPOW is another Chinese company that has built a strong reputation on the wireless electronics market, with the BH129 also being an Amazon Best Seller. Specifically designed for use with your car stereo, it also works perfectly with any other device with a jack connector: all the speakers, headphones, and other amplifiers you might use.

Once plugged in, you can connect it to any of your Bluetooth-enabled equipment and make the most of this wireless connection. Much like TaoTronics’ TT-BR05 model, this adapter integrates a microphone so you can receive calls, but also to use your phone’s voice assistant on the go. MPOW’s BH129 comes ready with a 24-month warranty as a proof of quality.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about Bluetooth adapters

There is a series of key aspects that you will need to take into account before buying your own Bluetooth adapter. This is why we’ve designed the section to answer the most frequently asked questions about these small devices. You will know precisely what Bluetooth adapters are and how they work, as well as their main benefits and drawbacks.

Most Bluetooth devices currently sold on the market are using version 4.0 or higher.
(Source: Maciej Krynica: 40573375/ 123rf.com)

What is a Bluetooth adapter exactly?

This very small electronic equipment connects to a USB port and allows various devices to connect to each other using the Bluetooth wireless technology. This communication protocol gives you the possibility to transfer information wirelessly between devices that are within a short distance — generally 30 feet or less.

Nikola TeslaSerbian-American Inventor & Futurist

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Bluetooth adapters?

The biggest perk of Bluetooth adapters naturally lies in their ability to connect devices without any cable. They are also very easy to set up and are quite affordable. On the other hand, they are so small that you can lose them easily. In addition, Bluetooth connections can be interfered with.

Advantages
  • They allow you to connect electronic devices wirelessly
  • They are very easy to set up
  • Most are plug-and-play devices, so they are ready to be used
  • They are very affordable, many costing less than $15
  • They are small and compact, so they go completely unnoticed
  • You can connect computers that are in different rooms
Disadvantages
  • Their small size makes them relatively easy to lose
  • Bluetooth connections can be affected by interference

Is it worth buying a Bluetooth adapter?

If your computer doesn’t have a Bluetooth connection, getting one of these adapters will give you an additional wireless option so you can connect to more devices. You’ll be able to it’s possible to breathe new life into older equipment. They are also fairly inexpensive and easy to setup.

As you can see, Bluetooth connections offer many advantages. In fact, the connection of devices through this technology is practically essential today. The future of the industry is certainly wireless, and each new Bluetooth version brings us closer to this moment.

The newer the Bluetooth version, the faster the transfer and the better the features.
(Source: rido: 51077700/ 123rf.com)

How do Bluetooth adapters work?

Two or more Bluetooth-connected devices communicate with each other via radio frequency. Once you enable Bluetooth on your equipment, it will detect all other Bluetooth-enabled devices within its range. You will then need to pair them up. Once they are connected, they can share information with each other.

Can I pair Bluetooth devices using different versions with the adapter?

Not only it is possible to pair Bluetooth-enabled devices using different versions, but it is also the most common. While it is generally recommended that the emitting equipment be of a higher class, and therefore more powerful, this is not an actual requirement. As a matter of fact, the total compatibility between its version is one of the greatest advantages of this technology.

Shopping Criteria

There are various key aspects that you should take into account when the time comes to buy your very own Bluetooth adapter. To make this task easier for you, we’ve discussed the five most important criteria in the section below. We’re confident that they’ll guide you on the way to finding a product that best suits your needs.

  • Personal use and compatibility
  • Bluetooth version
  • Class
  • Range
  • Transfer speed

Personal use and compatibility

The very first aspect you should evaluate when choosing a Bluetooth adapter is naturally what you need it for. You don’t want to get the same type of device to connect a headset to your computer as you do to connect various game consoles. You may also want to use it with your car stereo.

In the same vein, you should know exactly whether you’ll use your adapter on a Windows, Linux, or Mac OS computer. The version of your operating system will obviously have to be compatible with your Bluetooth connector. Keep in mind that, while most devices are plug-and-play with the latest OS versions, you’ll need to install drivers for older generations.

Bluetooth version

Different Bluetooth versions are currently out there, the most recent being the 5.1 that was released in January 2019. Note that the use of the latest generation isn’t very widespread yet. In any case, you never have to worry about two devices being from different versions since they are designed to be backward compatible.

That being said, the newer the Bluetooth version is, the faster the transfer and the better the features will be. The latest versions offer some advantages over older ones: they have lower power consumption and greater reliability or protection against interference. We’ve also listed the maximum transfer speeds in the table below:

Bluetooth version Maximum transfer speeds
Version 1.2 Up to 1 Mb/s
Version 2.0 + EDR Up to 2 or 3 Mb/s
Version 3.0 + HS Up to 24 Mb/s
Version 4.0 From 25 Mb/s to 32 Mb/s
Version 5 50 Mb/s

Class

There are currently four types of Bluetooth signals or classes. Each one refers to the maximum connection speed and distance. This allows you to know exactly what performance to expect simply by checking the class of the adapter you want to purchase. You will find a table below with more information regarding the characteristics of each class.

It shows the maximum power in milliwatts (mW), in decibel-milliwatt (dBm) and the range expressed in feet (ft) for every type. Class 4 is the one used by Bluetooth version 1.0, so it has practically disappeared. Class 3 is now in a very similar position, working only with versions 2.0 or 2.1. The best option is naturally class 1.

Class Maximum power (mW) Maximum power (dBm) Range (approximate)
Class 1 100 mW 20 dBm 330 ft
Class 2 2.5 mW 4 dBm 15-30 ft
Class 3 1 mW 0 dBm 3 ft
Class 4 0.5 mW 0 dBm 1.5 ft

Range

As you now know, the range of your adapter’s Bluetooth connection will fundamentally depend on the class it belongs to. In that regard, the most common devices offer a range of 30 feet. The great thing about this type of connection is that you can have devices connected together from different rooms, even if a wall stands in the way.

Transfer speed

The majority of Bluetooth devices currently available on the market use version 4.0 or higher. This guarantees you speeds of up to 32 Mb/s (megabits per second), which is plenty enough for tasks like listening to music or connecting a mouse, for example. You should only truly pay attention to the speed if you intend on transferring large files between your devices.

Summary

It is undeniable that wireless connections offer many advantages. Bluetooth devices, for instance, are particularly useful for connecting headphones, mice, keyboards, or game controllers. Unfortunately, many older computers do not offer connectivity for this technology, which is why you might need a Bluetooth adapter.

These compact devices are extremely affordable. They also tend to be very easy to install and configure, making them very popular products. To pick the best model for you, you should consider your personal use, the Bluetooth version, and the class of the device. These last two factors will also determine the range and transfer speed of your Bluetooth adapter.

If you found our shopping useful during your selection process, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also our article on your social media!

(Source of featured image: Pochara Kulnarunartvanich: 20138582/ 123rf.com)

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