Best USB Wifi Adapters for Kali Linux in 2022


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Kali Linux ships with all the necessary software tools you need for pen-testing. However, for full-fledged WiFi Penetration Testing, you’ll need to use a special USB wifi adapter with Kali Linux.

Here’s the summary of the best USB wifi adapters for Kali Linux. These adapters are 100% compatible with Kali and support monitor mode and packet injection.

WiFi AdapterLink to Product
Alfa AWUS036NHASee details at Amazon
Alfa AWUS036ACHSee details at Amazon
Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900See details at Amazon
Panda Wireless PAU09See details at Amazon
Panda Wireless PAU06See details at Amazon

What’s wrong with the inbuilt Wifi Adapters?

A wireless adapter is the most useful tool to connect to a Wi-Fi network. Laptops have inbuilt Wi-Fi adapters.

However, not all Wi-Fi adapters are suitable for hacking. They do not support packet injection or monitor mode which is essential for tools like “aircrack-ng” to work properly.

In this situation, you’ll need to rely on an external/USB wifi adapter.

Before you Proceed:

Here are a few points, I would like you to consider before proceeding with this post.

1. The Kali Linux WiFi adapters mentioned in this post are made for ethical purposes. Do not use them for harming someone. I/TechSphinx shall not be held responsible for your actions.

2. You can buy these WiFi adapters from their official websites or Amazon. I have provided (Affiliate) links to Amazon for every adapter mentioned in this post.

3. If you are interested in WiFi pen-testing, then also check out the “WiFi hacking hardware device” list, which contains many different hardware tools to pentest WiFi networks.

Now, let’s have a look at the best WiFi adapters for Kali Linux.

5 Best Wifi Adapters for Kali Linux

1. Alfa AWUS036NHA – Wireless B/G/N USB Adapter

Alfa AWUS036NHA wifi adapter kali linux
Source: www.alfa.com.tw

There are many other manufacturers of wifi adapters for Kali Linux but Alfa is the prime choice of most pentesters.

Alfa AWUS036NHA is compatible with any brand 802.11b/g/n router that uses 2.4 GHz wave-length. It is bundled with Atheros chipset and works out-of-the-box with most Linux OS including Ubuntu and Kali Linux.                                  

Features of Alfa AWUS036NHA:

  • Atheros AR9271 Chipset
  • IEEE 802.11/b/g/n Supported WiFi standard
  • Compatible with 2.4GHz WiFi frequency
  • Compatible with WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA Mixed, WPS wireless security.
  • Better Range & Coverage with 2.4GHz 5dBi dipole antenna
  • Plug and Play with Kali Linux        

Shop now at Amazon

2. Alfa AWUS036ACH USB Wi-Fi Adapter

Alfa AWUS036ACH wifi adapter kali linux
Source: www.alfa.com.tw

Previously mentioned Alfa AWUS036NHA adapter is the best adapter for hacking Wi-Fi. However, it has a limitation, it is only compatible with 2.4 GHz wavelength.

Since many Wi-Fi routers nowadays work on both 2.4 and 5 GHz. You’ll also need an adapter that is compatible with both 2.4 and 5 GHz wavelengths.

Alfa AWUS036ACH USB Wi-Fi Adapter is bundled with Realtek RTL8812AU chipset which is compatible with both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency.

Please note that the Alfa AWUS036ACH is not a plug-and-play adapter like the Alfa AWUS036NHA. You may need to manually install the Realtek drivers. In Kali Linux, installation is pretty straightforward and you’ll find plenty of tutorials for the same on Youtube.

Features of Alfa AWUS036ACH:

  • Realtek RTL8812AU Chipset.
  • 2 x 5dbi External Antenna.
  • Dual-Band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) support.
  • 802.11b/g/n and 802.11ac/n Supported WiFi standards.
  • USB 3.0 compatible.

Shop now at Amazon

3. Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900

Alfa AWUS1900 wifi adapter
Source: www.alfa.com.tw

Alfa AWUS1900 is a dual-band WiFi adapter bundled with Realtek RTL8814AU Chipset.

It supports monitor mode and packet injection with both bands. The best part is, it has a high-gain quad antenna that has a very long-range (approx. 500 ft in an open area).

It is USB 3.0 compatible and you can attach this adapter to your laptop display with the screen clip provided in the box.

The only downside of this adapter is that it doesn’t work out of the box. You have to manually install the Realtek drivers, just like the previously mentioned Alfa AWUS036ACH adapter.

Features of Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900:

  • Realtek RTL8814AU Chipset
  • IEEE 802.11ac/a/b/g/n Supported WiFi standards
  • Dual-Band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) support
  • 4x 5dBi External Dual-Band Antennas
  • USB 3.0 compatible
  • Compatible with WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, WPS wireless security

Shop now at Amazon

4. Panda Wireless PAU09

Panda PAU09 Wifi adapter kali Linux
Source: www.pandawireless.com

Panda Wireless PAU09 is a dual-band wifi adapter. It supports monitor mode and packet injection on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11 ac/b/g/n WiFi networks.

Panda PAU09 is compatible with USB 3.0 and comes with a USB stand and dual 5dBi detachable antennas. This adapter is plug-and-play with Kali Linux, so you don’t have to install any drivers manually.

Due to its low power consumption, you will have no problem using it with any portable device like – Raspberry Pi.

Features of Panda Wireless PAU09:

  • Ralink RT5572 Chipset
  • Dual-Band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) support
  • Supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards
  • 2 x 5dBi antennas
  • Compatible with WEP 64/128bit, WPA, WPA2 wireless security
  • Low power consumption
  • Compatible with Kali Linux out-of-the-box

Shop now at Amazon

5. Panda Wireless PAU06

Panda PAU06
Source: www.pandawireless.com

The last on this list is the Panda PAU06 WiFi adapter which is bundled with a Ralink RT5372 chipset. It is cheap compared to other WiFi adapters that support Monitor Mode and Packet Injections.

It consumes less power even than the previously mentioned PAU09 model. Therefore, you can use this WiFi adapter with a raspberry pi and other portable devices.

Although this is the cheapest WiFi adapter for Kali Linux on this list, there is a downside, Panda PAU06 doesn’t work on 5GHz frequency.

Features of Panda Wireless PAU06:

  • Ralink RT5372 chipset
  • Supports only 2.4 GHz Frequency
  • Compatible with 802.11g or 802.11n router using 2.4GHz frequency
  • Supports 64/128bit WEP, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES) wireless security
  • Low power consumption
  • Plug and Play with Kali Linux

Shop now at Amazon

(Outdated) TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N

Although this was a great wifi adapter for Kali Linux, TP-Link has manufactured other versions of the same adapter (even with the same model number) but with a different chipset.

The v1 version with Atheros chipset works flawlessly with Kali Linux. However, the v2 and v3 version with Realtek chipset doesn’t support monitor mode, thereby being useless for wifi pentesting.

Many people end up buying the v2 or v3 version, only to return it afterwards.

TP-Link is not manufacturing the v1 version anymore. There are many outdated guides and answers on the internet claiming that “TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N” is the best WiFi adapter for pen-testing without mentioning the version details. That’s why I am putting this information here for you.

Conclusion

I hope this “best wifi adapters for Kali Linux” list will help you pick the right adapter for your pen-testing needs. You can always go with Alfa wifi adapters on this list as they are the best in the wifi pen-testing industry.

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Rahul R Nair

Rahul is obsessed with technology and programming. He is also the founder of TechSphinx. Being a technophile, he is always busy doing some techy stuff or learning about the latest technologies. When not busy with his usual routine (staring at the computer screen) he likes to write and share his knowledge with the world.