BEST BLUETOOTH ADAPTERS | NOVEMBER 2018

The majority of consumer electronic devices nowadays come with Bluetooth functionality built-in, but this wasn’t always the case. If you own a car, computer, or pair of headphones that was manufactured more than five to seven years ago, chances are you’ll need a Bluetooth adapter for it. This will allow you to do everything from pairing wireless keyboards and mice to controlling the device remotely using your phone. There are many options out there to choose from, which is why our team has conducted extensive research on different features and use cases to give you a clearer picture of which Bluetooth adapter is right for you. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

95

Pairing style with function, the TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter is our top pick for Bluetooth adapters. It boasts a long battery life, large, easy-to-use buttons, and the ability to switch between multiple paired devices on the fly.

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Best Value

92

The Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver is the smallest – and least-expensive – Bluetooth adapter on the market, making it an easy choice for our budget price category. It uses one-touch technology to pair devices in a flash, and boasts an impressive 40-foot range.

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Best by Category

Best Bluetooth Adapter for PC

91

The Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter is a compact Bluetooth adapter that can be left plugged-in to your desktop or laptop during travel without worry. In addition to Windows®, it’s also compatible with Linux and the Raspberry Pi platform.

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Best Bluetooth Adapter for NFC

94

Not many Bluetooth adapters take advantage of near field communication (NFC) for simple and speedy device pairing, but using this technology, the TP-Link HA100 Bluetooth Music Receiver allows up to eight wireless devices to be paired at once.

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Best Bluetooth Adapter for Stereo

94

The Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver has a unique “power plug” design that allows the Bluetooth adapter to be powered and another device charged at the same time. Included aptX low latency technology is perfect for streaming synced audio from TV shows or movies.

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Best Bluetooth Adapter for Headphones

89

The APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter features a lightweight, compact design with large, easy-to-use buttons and an integrated clip for securing it to your clothing while you run, work out, or generally go about your day. It also boasts an impressive seven hours of playtime.

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Best Bluetooth Serial Adapter

87

If you’re looking to bring your old electronic devices into the twenty-first century, the IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter is what you need. It provides Class 1 wireless connectivity with a high data transfer rate to any device with a serial RS-232 port, including printers, alarm systems and point-of-sale systems.

Read full review.

Bluetooth Adapters BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Range

    Just because your device is communicating wirelessly with a Bluetooth adapter does not mean you can go wherever you want. Every adapter has a “class,” which describes how powerful its antenna is, and the maximum distance you can be from the adapter before the signal becomes too weak or is dropped completely. High-end Class 1 Bluetooth adapters have a range of 100 m (330 ft.), Class 2 adapters – the most common – work up to 10 m (30 ft.), and Class 3 has a range of about 1 m (3 ft.).

    Power Source

    Depending on the use case for a Bluetooth adapter, it may be battery-powered or require connection to an electrical outlet. Portable Bluetooth adapters for things such as headphones and car stereos tend to have rechargeable internal batteries, while more heavy-duty adapters for Hi-Fi stereos and professional serial data connections need a wired power source to operate effectively.

    Multiple Device Connectivity

    Some Bluetooth adapters are only able to accept one input source at a time, while others can accept inputs from multiple sources. This normally corresponds with the adapter’s class, or the size and power of its Bluetooth antenna. Adapters for PCs should be able to support both a keyboard and a mouse; certain stereo adapters can handle inputs from multiple audio sources at once.

    Device Compatibility

    Some Bluetooth adapters can be easier to set up and connect to than others. Using a Bluetooth device once it is connected is easy enough, but there are times when you may have to navigate through multiple levels of settings before the devices are finally paired. This can be difficult for users who are not that savvy with technology, especially if required to download and update device drivers.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    With Bluetooth adapters, price points can vary quite a bit. However, the average is around the $20 mark for a standard adapter with decent audio quality and a range of about 30 feet. Slightly more expensive models will increase both range and audio quality, but the core technology remains essentially the same. Serial Bluetooth adapters tend to be a bit more expensive – around $50 for a typical serial adapter. However, this increase in price also increases reliability and effective range, which is close to 330 feet for a Class 1 Bluetooth adapter.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

741 products
considered
306K RATINGS
ANALYZED
28 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

TaoTronics TT-BR06G

Few Bluetooth adapters are compact and good-looking while maintaining a strong battery life, but the TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter pulls it off. Using “smart” Bluetooth 4.1 technology, this adapter is able to get close to 15 hours of audio streaming and 1.5 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. If the USB charging cable is plugged in, the adapter can still be used without interruption. The TaoTronics TT-BR06G can be used anywhere: your car, home theater system, personal computer, etc. Pairing multiple devices is also a breeze.

  • 95overall
  • 95quality
  • 95value
  • 93brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Easy switching between devices. Many users say that switching back and forth between multiple paired wireless devices is as simple as the press of a button.
  • Impressive range. A few commenters claim that the range of the TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter is almost double the 33 feet it claims to have.
  • Change and play. The TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter allows users to continue music playback or use the built-in microphone while the unit is being charged.
  • Attractive, compact design. Many reviewers commented on how sleek the TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter looks and how its wireless technology keeps the interior of their vehicles clear of loose cables.

Other Considerations

  • Average sound quality. Many users note that the TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter produces decent-quality sound, but it pales in comparison to direct connection via AUX cable.
  • Poor microphone clarity. Reviewers who used this Bluetooth adapter as a hands-free calling device in their cars claim that the microphone distorts their voices and makes it difficult for others to hear them.
  • Spam emails. Several commenters say that in order to register the TaoTronics TT-BR06G Portable Wireless Audio Adapter for an additional 18 months of warranty, the company website requires you to sign up for multiple “junk” email lists.

Best Value

TOP PICK

Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver

If you’re looking for an inexpensive entry into the world of Bluetooth adapters, the Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver is one to consider. It provides a compact, simple interface with decent battery length and broadcast range at a low price point. Best of all, it can be used even while being charged via the included mini USB cable, theoretically providing infinite usability while plugged-in. The Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver can also act as a hands-free mic for answering phone calls while driving. It comes with an 18-month warranty and excellent customer support as well.

  • 92overall
  • 92quality
  • 97value
  • 89brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Low price point. The Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver is the cheapest Bluetooth adapter on the market, and it boasts the latest version of Bluetooth to boot.
  • Usable while charging. Users rave about the Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver’s ability to continue playback while being charged via USB cable.
  • Free lifetime technical support. Reviewers who had to deal with Esuper tech support found it a pleasurable experience, and the product is covered by an 18-month warranty.
  • Easy to use. Many customers are pleased that the Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver is easy to use right out of the box and that it quickly pairs with devices.

Other Considerations

  • Doesn’t turn on automatically. Reviewers who use the Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver in their cars say they don’t like that it doesn’t turn on or off with their cars, which can occasionally lead to the battery running down.
  • No aptX low latency. The Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver doesn’t support aptX low latency technology, making it a poor choice for streaming synced audio for TV shows or movies.
  • Complaints about plug design. The Esuper Bluetooth 4.2 Receiver’s 3.5 mm audio plug is designed in such a way that it cannot be fully plugged-in to certain devices because the body of the adapter gets in the way.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Bluetooth Adapter for PC

why buy?

If you own an older model laptop or desktop computer, there’s a good chance it lacks Bluetooth capability. Traditional wired mice and keyboards are now a thing of the past, and in some cases can be more difficult to find than wireless versions. By using a Bluetooth adapter, or “dongle,” you can connect your PC wirelessly with additional devices, such as printers, speakers and projectors. These adapters typically have a small profile and simply plug into any open USB port on your computer. In some instances, new drivers will need to be installed to use certain Bluetooth devices.

Top Pick

Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter

When it comes to Bluetooth adapters for PC, you want a product that just works. The Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter is truly plug-and-play for Windows 10 machines, downloading and installing the drivers it needs automatically in a matter of seconds. Its compact size and low power requirement allows you to plug it into a spare USB port and never think about it again. For gamers, it offers low latency for connected devices, such as videogame controllers, and can transfer files at a lightning-quick 3 Mbps. This is backed up by Plugable’s excellent customer support.

  • 91overall
  • 92quality
  • 88value
  • 86brand

Why We Recommend It

  • USB power. The Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter is powered via the USB outlet it’s plugged into, so it never needs to be charged.
  • Plug-and-play with Windows® 10. Many reviewers are impressed with how the Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter automatically downloads and installs necessary drivers after being plugged-in to their Windows® 10 PCs.
  • Excellent technical support. Customers appreciate that the Plugable tech support team is willing to answer any technical questions they may have, and that they’re constantly updating the product to work with new devices.
  • Low latency for gaming. Users who play computer games using the Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter like that it offers low latency when it comes to using their wireless video game controllers.

Other Considerations

  • Only works for PC. The Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter is not compatible with car stereos, home theater systems, or TVs.
  • Short range. Users say the Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter should be plugged-in near the front of your PC to optimize its limited range.
  • Issues with Windows 7. The Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter requires special drivers to work with the Windows 7 operating system. Several users needed Plugable tech support to walk them through this process.

Best Bluetooth Adapter for NFC

why buy?

Near field communication (NFC) is new method of wireless data transfer that uses special chips that can communicate with each other when in close proximity. No Internet connection is needed, and it’s as simple as tapping two NFC-enabled devices together. Most smartphones now come equipped with NFC technology, allowing them to be used for everything from cardless payments to sharing data between users. This tech is also handy for pairing smartphones or other devices with Bluetooth adapters quickly and easily. Either the adapters themselves will contain the chip, or they will have a separate NFC chip that can be placed anywhere for easy access.

Best Bluetooth Adapter for Stereo

why buy?

Many new high-end stereo and speaker systems offer Bluetooth capability right out of the box. However, those with older speakers or classic “Hi-Fi” systems who want to play music from their phones, computers, or other portable devices without plugging them in will need a Bluetooth adapter for this. These adapters are usually powered via an electrical cord, which means they’re always on and ready to transmit audio instantly. They have either 3.5 mm or RCA audio inputs, though some higher-end adapters may have both.

Top Pick

Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver

If you’re looking for a versatile Bluetooth adapter that will work with virtually any home stereo or Hi-Fi system, the Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver is for you. The adapter is designed to plug directly into a power outlet, allowing a wireless device to be charged at the same time. It comes with both RCA and 3.5 mm audio cables, and uses the latest in aptX low latency technology to stream audio to wireless speakers or headphones remaining in-sync with the movies and TV shows you’re watching. It also has a 12-month warranty and excellent customer support.

  • 94overall
  • 95quality
  • 93value
  • 88brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Low latency streaming. Users love that the Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver uses aptX streaming technology to play audio from movies and TV shows without noticeable delay.
  • Device compatibility. Many commenters are pleased with the Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver’s compatibility with many different home theater and stereo systems via included RCA and 3.5 mm audio cables.
  • Mobile device charging port. A number of reviewers like that the Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver’s mobile device charging port essentially powers two devices from one power outlet.
  • Plug-and-play. The Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver will automatically connect to the most recently paired device once plugged in, which users say is a nice feature.

Other Considerations

  • Tech support is lacking. A few customers say that their experiences with Avantree customer support were pleasant, but the support team is not prepared to answer many technical questions.
  • Limited audio signal range. A couple of reviewers claim that the Avantree Roxa Plus Bluetooth Audio Receiver has difficulty receiving audio signals below 300 Hz, which may affect sound quality on certain Hi-Fi stereo setups.

Best Bluetooth Adapter for Headphones

why buy?

Bluetooth headphones have been on the market for a few years, but many of them are clunky, providing subpar audio quality, or have a short battery life. Recently, Apple released an iPhone that lacks a standard 3.5 mm audio jack, requiring users to use Bluetooth headphones. If you have a favorite pair of headphones that aren’t wireless, consider using a Bluetooth adapter. Simply plug your headphones into the adapter’s audio jack, and it will wirelessly connect them with your music player. Often, these adapters are small, battery-powered, and come with a clip so they can be worn on your person.

Top Pick

APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter

With some newer smartphones and mobile devices removing standard 3.5 mm audio jacks to decrease thickness, Bluetooth headphones have become a necessity. Unfortunately, good-quality models can be expensive. However, the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter is a budget alternative that allows you to keep using your current wired headphones. It weighs almost nothing and can be clipped to your clothing so you have excellent freedom of mobility. Its large buttons are easy to use even with gloves on. The adapter can be paired with up to two wireless devices and has a built-in mic for hands-free calling as well.

  • 89overall
  • 91quality
  • 82value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Less-expensive alternative to AirPods. Users with an iPhone 7 or newer device that lack a traditional 3.5 mm audio jack say that the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter is a budget alternative to purchasing Apple’s Bluetooth AirPods headphones.
  • Compatible with Siri and Google Now. Many reviewers note that the built-in mic on the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter makes using voice-activated phone assistants even easier than before.
  • Durable. A few customers claim the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter stands up to moderate abuse while used at the gym or during physical activity.
  • Large buttons. Though the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter is small, users say its buttons are large enough to be used even with thick winter gloves on.

Other Considerations

  • Can’t use while charging. Many reviewers aren’t happy that, unlike many other Bluetooth adapters, the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter can’t be used while charging.
  • Short battery life. Though the APEKX Clip Bluetooth Audio Adapter is advertised to offer up to seven hours of playtime, several customers say they get less than half that.

Best Bluetooth Serial Adapter

why buy?

Bluetooth serial adapters can be used to provide wireless functionality to a variety of electronic devices, from point-of-sale systems to printers and scanners. They provide general wireless RS-232 communication and secure encryption between devices where a direct cable would not be possible, and in some cases, can connect devices – such as alarm and security devices – without the need for a computer. Bluetooth serial adapters plug into multi-pin serial ports, which were mainly used before USB ports became standard. They require external power to operate, either through an electrical outlet or via USB power.

Top Pick

IOGEAR GBC232A

The IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter is a dependable device for providing wireless connectivity to older electronic devices with serial RS-232 ports, which was the standard before USB was introduced. Devices such as external modems, Palm Pilots, and older AV equipment can be given new life with a 2.4 GHz frequency and high-speed data transfer rate of up to 460 kb/s. This adapter supports both DCE and DTE devices, and as a Class 1 Bluetooth radio device, it has a maximum range of 330 feet. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10 operating systems.

  • 87overall
  • 91quality
  • 66value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Ease of use. Several reviewers say the IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter is compatible with multiple devices and programs, and in most cases does not require special drivers to use.
  • Trusted brand. A number of customers claim the dependability of the IOGEAR brand was a deciding factor in purchasing the IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter.
  • Extremely long range. The IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter is a Class 1 Bluetooth device, meaning it can transfer data up to 330 feet away, which should be plenty for most users.
  • Excellent warranty. Reviewers like that the IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter comes with a two-year warranty on parts and labor, as well as expert customer service.

Other Considerations

  • No video transfer. The IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter is designed for transferring data only and is not recommended for use on old projectors or monitors.
  • Requires external power. A few users don’t like that the IOGEAR GBC232A Bluetooth Serial Adapter is not battery powered, nor can it be charged via USB. It must be charged using the included power adapter and cable.