Wi-Fi Adapter vs Bluetooth Adapter: What’s The Difference?

We are seeing a lot of electronic devices and their usage in the real world. Wireless technology plays a key role in the present generation, especially Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks.

Today, we are going to discuss the similarities and differences between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks.

The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters use the same USB technology, but their type of use is different. The USB Wi-Fi adapter connects to the internet, whereas the Bluetooth adapter connects to the Bluetooth network at a 2.4 GHz frequency.

Ok, let’s get these things in detail.

The Wi-Fi adapter is a small pen drive shaped like an electronic device that is used in a computer to connect to the internet. The Wi-Fi adapter is only required for a computer only if the motherboard computer doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi.

Here you can find the necessity of a Wi-Fi adapter on a computer.

The Bluetooth adapter looks like a small pen drive shape and is used in a system to connect to the Bluetooth network. Compared to the Wi-Fi adapter, the Bluetooth adapter necessity is low because nowadays almost all electronic devices come up with in-built Bluetooth technology.

Both the Bluetooth and the Wi-Fi adapter use the same radio waves to transmit data from device to device. But what’s the actual difference between them? And why do we need two devices? Just read this article completely, to find answers to all these types of questions.

Why do The Adapters Have a USB port?

The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters are used for different purposes. But why do they both have the same USB port?

Based on the type of signal, range, strength, frequency, and power usage the port of a device can be designed. Here, the Bluetooth and the Wi-Fi adapter use the radio signals to transmit data between devices and the signal frequency is 2.4 GHz. Unlike HDMI and Display ports, they don’t process digital signals. The power usage is also very low. By considering all these things, the USB manufacturers make these devices (Wi-Fi & Bluetooth) with USB ports.

The USB ports are very convenient to use and they are more than any other port in a computer. Just in case your computer doesn’t have enough USB ports, don’t worry, you can buy a hub and use it on your PC.

Can Wi-Fi Adapter be Used For Bluetooth or vice versa?

No, in practice, the manufacturers designed the devices to take specific actions or functions. If you want to use the Wi-Fi adapter for Bluetooth, then the device must be compatible to accept both signals.

However, there is a way that you can use both networks with a single device. You can follow this guide to do it manually. Otherwise, you need to buy an adapter that is compatible with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks.

Difference Between Wi-Fi Adapter & Bluetooth Adapter

Not only the shape and the signal type, we also need to consider various factors to find out the exact difference between the USB Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters.

wifi adapter vs bluetooth adapter
Wi-Fi adapter vs Bluetooth adapter

Here I provide the table to find and understand them easily. Also, under the table, a detailed comparison will be there.

Wi-Fi AdapterBluetooth Adapter
Function in a DeviceA computer can connect to the internet with a Wi-Fi adapter.A computer can act as a host to other Bluetooth devices like headphones, mobile, etc, to connect to it. 
Signal typeThe device uses radio signals to workBluetooth adapter sends and receives signals in radio waves.
Versions802.11 a/b/g/n/acBluetooth v.2.0, 3.0…,5.0
Working Frequency2.4 GHz2.4 and 5 GHz
Signal strength50 MB to 1 GB per second3 MB per second
ShapeSmall Pendrive like structurePendrive shape
Port typeUSBUSB
Power Usage0.5Amps0.5Amps nearly
LifespanNo particular timeUnlimited
Cost$10 to $50$10 on average
Difference between Wi-Fi adapter and Bluetooth adapter

Device Functionality:

Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters use radio waves to make data transmission. I need to get this thing in detail with a completely decent article so that you can understand how wireless networks like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are working on a computer.

Versions in Use:

If the Wi-Fi adapter is compatible with the latest version of the Wi-Fi network, then it is more efficient than the older versions. The Wi-Fi network has different versions, such as 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.

Like Wi-Fi, the Bluetooth versions are also listed as 1.0, 1.2, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, and 5.0

The latest version of Bluetooth 5.0 can support up to 200 meters range with a 3MB per second maximum.

Working Frequency:

Both adapters can work with a 2.4 GHz frequency. The Bluetooth adapter can even work with 5 GHz also, but the Wi-Fi adapter under 5 GHz causes too many signal errors.

The Wi-Fi network might become lack stability when the bandwidth of a signal will increase more than the permissible range.

Data Transmission Speed:

With the Wi-Fi adapter, data transmission can occur with a speed of up to 1 GB per second. It varies from device to device. But with a Bluetooth adapter, you can only transmit data for up to 10 to 30 MB per second.

Based on different versions, the data transmission speed might be high or low. Also, the distance, interrupting objects in between the devices, weather conditions, etc, can affect the data transmission speed.

Device Architecture: 

Both adapters are coming with a simple mini Pendrive-like structure. And their type of use is also simple plug & play. Here you can find the installation process of a Wi-Fi adapter on a computer.


The cost of the devices is nearly the same but when you want more features like gaming, streaming, etc, then you need Wi-Fi adapters with a high-speed internet connection. In that case, you need to spend on the Wi-Fi adapters when compared to the Bluetooth adapters.

Conclusion –

There is nothing wrong with using both USB adapters on your computer. It is cost-efficient. Instead, if you want to use only one adapter for both functions, you can buy a compatible one.

Hope you find the difference between the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapter. Feel free to check our content on YouTube.