8 Best Cheapest WiFi Adapters For Kali Linux (2021 Picks)

All wireless network cards carry a chipset with which one can determine if it has capabilities to hack wifi. However, two modes are very important which include Monitor Mode and Packet Injection. This article lists the best USB Wifi Adapters for Kali Linux in 2021. You can use these wireless adapters for performing activities such as Wifi penetration testing and they are the cheapest ones available.

As there are many chipsets that support monitor mode but not packet injection, we did research online to see which ones are capable of both modes, and we can confirm these are compatible with Kali. We found out if the card supports packet injection then it must also support the monitor mode but not vice versa.

If the wifi adaptor does not support capabilities required for hacking if it is not using the correct chipset, therefore be sure that you use an adaptor that has a chipset mentioned above. Moreover, some manufacturers are known to change chipset on newer versions of their products. We also shared information about the Kali Linux wifi adapter drivers required.

Before you begin, I would advise having a look at some Kali Linux wifi hacking commands.

About the WiFi Adapter Chipset Required

Wifi Adapter Hackinng Chipset

In recent times it has been released which updated the world’s best penetration testing operating system with neat hardware support including few wifi adaptors to play with wifi networks. Following is a list of wifi adaptor which is 100% compatible with it which can go into monitor mode, inject packets and also perform everything which is required for a full-fledged wifi penetration testing.

All seem to get confused when they talk about the best USB wifi adaptors for wireless cards and Kali Linux. They do not know what they are and why they need them and which one to buy as there are many in the market but some are supported by it.

A wireless chipset is considered to be the brain or one can call it the mind of a USB wifi adaptor which does all calculations for it.  It determines either the USB wifi adaptor is good or bad. The brand is not relevant. It is a chipset inside a USB wifi adaptor that we need to take care of. Many chipsets are supported by this which can be used to perform different packet injections and another attack.

Importance of Monitor Mode and Packet Injection

The importance of Monitor mode also known as RFMON is that it allows you to alter the wireless traffic over a network you are connected to. Wifi adapters that do not have monitor mode only allow you to connect to your wireless connection only. Tools such as Aircrack-ng are useful for collecting the packets traveling over the network. This mode is slightly different than the previously known promiscuous mode as monitor mode allows you to be able to capture the packets on a wireless channel.

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This mode can work over any channel in the 802.11 frequency respectively. This mode is popularly used for wifi hacking and also for observing network traffic.

Packet injection mode is important because without this feature you cannot interpret malicious packets onto the network. This is used to restrict certain user(s) to access the network or redirect them to your malicious hotspot to capture the password.

The 8 Cheapest and Best Kali Linux Wifi Adapters for 2021

Atheros AR9271 – Supports Packet Injection

This chipset support packet injection monitor mode and master code which allows it to be used as access to make fake hotspot for an Evil twin attack. The only problem with this is that it supports 2.4 gigahertz frequency only.

TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N (v2 and v3) – Monitor Mode

Kali Linux Wifi Adatper TP Link

This is best for beginners. It is a cheap and compact adaptor that acts as a wifi adaptor towards home desktop PC, an alternate to your in-built chipset inside your laptop, and quite a handy module during traveling. It complies with IEEE 802.11N and gives speed up to 150Mbps.

This plug-and-play adaptor is compatible with many versions of Linux including Kali Linux. It also carries a 3 dbi omnidirectional antenna which shall extend the range of transmission or reception which makes it good for indoor penetration testing. We used this for making mobile hacking stations using Raspberry Pi.

Note: Its versions 2 and 3 have issues connecting with Kali Linux, but it shall work with a little tweak. We suggest TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N V1.

  • Chipset inside: Atheros AR9271.
  • Operating system required: Windows 8.1 32/64bit, Windows 8 32/64bit, Windows 7(32/64bits), Windows Vista(32/64bits), Windows XP(32/64bits), Windows 2000, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Debian.
  • Transmit Power: 20dBm add higher.
  • Signal frequency: 2.4 GHz.

READ ALSO: Free Wireless Hacking Tools a Hacker Should Know About.

Alfa AWUS036NH – Most popular adapter for hacking

Alfa Wifi Adapter for Kali Linux

It provides the best adaptors for penetration testing. This is the IEEE 802.11b/g wireless device at 54Mps. One can configure this with ad-hoc mode to connect with other 2.4GHz wireless systems, or with infrastructure, mode to connect with a wireless router or AP to access to the internet. This is also compatible with our Aircrack-ng tutorial.

This one is also a plug-and-play adaptor that is compatible with many versions of Linux including Kali Linux.

It comes with a 5 dbi omni direction antenna and a 7 dbi panel antenna. Moreover, it also carries a clip which is used to attach this on a laptop.

  • Chipset inside: Ralink RT307.
  • Operating system required: Windows 8.1 32/64bit, Windows 8 32/64bit, Windows 7(32/64bits), Windows Vista(32/64bits), Windows XP(32/64bits), Windows 2000, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Debian.
  • Signal frequency: 2.4 GHz.

ALFA AWUS036NEH – Best for Signal Range

This is yet another compact plug-and-play wifi adaptor that one can readily connect to the Kali Linux system and begin fun right away. Though this is a small device, the long high gain wife antenna shall give you enough range to capture even the low signal wifi networks.

It is compatible with Kali Linux, MAC, and Windows devices, it is quite handy and can be carried anywhere, and is best to create a drop box using Raspberry Pi.

READ ALSO: Kali Linux Beginners Guide (PDF).

Alfa AWUS1900 – Best Wireless USB Adapter for Monitor Mode

Alfa USB Wifi Adapter Monitor Mode

This shall take your hacking skills to next level. For now, this is the best one available for wifi security thefts.  Though, this is a bit expensive but worth the price.

It supports IEEE 802.11ac/a/n/g/b standards; which means it is able to manage 2.4 GHz (dualband), has a USB 3 interface with a wireless data rate of 600 Mbps for 2.4GHz up to 1300 Mbps 5 GHz.

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This USB Adapter brings the following specifications:

  • 1 x AWUS1900 Wi-Fi Adapter.
  • 4 x Dual-band antennas.
  • 1 x USB 3.0 cable.
  • 1 x Screen clip.
  • 1 x Installation DVD-ROM
  • Chipset: Realtek RTL8814U.
  • Standards: IEEE 802.11ac/a/n/g/b.
  • Interface: USB 3.0.
  • Wireless data rate: 2.4GHz [up to 600Mbps] & 5GHz [up to 1300Mbps].
  • Wireless frequency: 2.4GHz/ 5GHz.
  • Wireless security: WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA/PSK, WPA2-PSK.
  • Operation temp: 0-40°C.
  • Operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 32/64bit, MacOS. 10.12 supported, Linux kernel 3.0 supported.

READ ALSO: Hack Wifi WPA3 Encryption Network Passwords with ease.

Alfa AWUS036ACH – Dual Antennas and Dual-Band technology

Some time back Kali Linux was released and the popular distro came with a significant update, support for the RTL8812AU wireless chipset. This is a beast that has dual antennas and dual-band technology (2.4 GHz 300 Mbps/5 GHz 867 Mbps) that supports 802.11ac and a, b, g, n.

The antennas are removable and if a user wants a high range then he can connect the antenna with greater dbi value and use it as a long-range wifi link which makes it the best one.

  • Chipset inside: RTL8812.
  • Operating system required: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 , Windows 7, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Debian.
  • Signal frequency: 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz.

Panda PAU06 – Speed and powerful antenna

Panda Hacking Wifi Adapter

Panda with 300Mbps wireless 802.11n USB adaptor with high gain antenna upgrades wifi interface on the system with the latest 802.11n standard. The system is able to communicate wirelessly with any 802.11g/n wireless router at home, coffee shops, and many others.

It provides a data rate of up to 300 Mbps with 802.11n standard and is backward compatible with 802.11g 2.4GHz wireless networks. Supported security features are as followed: 64b/128bit WEP, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES).

READ ALSO: Kali Linux Wifi Penetration Testing Tools.

Panda PAU09 – Low power consumption and very cheap

This is yet another adaptor for Kali Linux and Parrot OS which works well with dual-band wifi routers. This means that the user will be able to attack both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wifi networks.

As it has a low power operation mode it can be used with Raspberry Pi dropbox and portable devices like laptops. Its maximum data rate is up to 300 Mpbs with 802.11ac/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. This is even reliable on USB 3 and works best with great and supports both injection and monitor mode which is rare on duel band card out of the box.

Kali Linux Wifi Adapter Drivers

All of the above-listed adapters are compatible with Kali Linux. This means that they will work for your ethical-hacking activities however a driver installation will be required. You should receive a CD that has the official drivers for 32-bit or 64-bit environments.

In most cases, these will be outdated by a few months or years. I recommend going to the official company site e.g. Panda, TP-Link, or Alfa, and get the latest version. This will ensure that you have the best range, stable signal, and your required packet injection and monitor mode working as expected.

Wifi Hacking Tools to use

  1. Kismet
  2. Reaver WPS Hacker
  3. Kali Linux WPA2 Wordlist (Txt).

Image Credits: Official product launch media kit and public images from vendor sites.

Conclusion: Which USB Wifi Adapter are you using with Kali Linux?

I know that we have given you the choice of the 8 best and cheapest USB Wifi adapters for Kali Linux 2021, but have you ever used any other? We have listed only those that support packet injection and monitor mode for your needs as requested. If you ask for my opinion and experience from the above list, Alfa and Panda Wifi Adapters are the best to use with Kali Linux.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Atheros AR9271
8
TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N
9
Alfa AWUS036NH
10
ALFA AWUS036NEH
7.5
Alfa AWUS1900
8.5
Alfa AWUS036ACH
9
Panda PAU06
7
Panda PAU09
8
Shaheer is the founder of SecuredYou. He is a cybersecurity freak and loves anything related to Computers and Technology. Apart from being a tech geek, he loves listening to music and going to the gym.

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