BestConsumerReviews is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we earn a small affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more

Best Ethernet Card

Ethernet Card 2

Ethernet Card Reviews

If you’re looking to get the most out of your wired internet connection, replacing your network card is your best bang for the buck. You don’t have to be a computer genius to install a network card and the benefits of upgrading are more than worth the few bucks they cost. If you’re a gamer, or you have a computer that is a little past its prime, this is the perfect way to give it the extra juice to run faster. Computers come with a network card installed when you take them out of the box new, but they are often slower than a gigabit network adapter. Fast internet connections in the home are expensive so be sure you’re getting the most out of what you’re paying for.

Most Popular Ethernet Card


5/5 Product Rating

This genuine Intel desktop network adapter is sure to be high quality with the name that everyone knows and trusts. This gigabit network interface is built for high speed wired LAN connections with data transfer rates of 10/100/1000mbps. It is capable of duplex mode allowing speeds up to 20/200/2000 Mbps and also capable of 9k byte jumbo frame transfers for ultra-performance. It includes the Intel network adapter chipset and a low profile bracket for different configurations. This adapter increases performance while decreasing CPU usage for lower power consumption. Sleep mode allows reduced power consumption while the system is not in operation.

This Intel network adapter is automatically compatible with ethernet, fast ethernet, and gigabit ethernet networks. It works with a variety of windows configurations as well as other operating systems. Dynamic tests automatically report network problems such as cable error and automatically compensates for cable issues. Simple installation and setup takes only moments and includes CD and simple instructions packet. Customer support from Intel is available 24/7 online or by phone for troubleshooting or installation help.

  • Lifetime limited warranty directly from Intel
  • High performance and reliable
  • Increased performance with less CPU use
  • 9k byte jumbo frame payload transfer
  • Low power consumption and operation costs

Best Overall Ethernet Card


4.9/5 Product Rating

Trendnet has been building on an already reliable reputation for several years and this product is the same great quality. This unit features a single port for a wired connection with 10/100/1000 Mbps auto negotiation and auto MDI-X. Built-in first in first out buffers of 8k/64k reduce overhead of memory transfers. This Trendnet adapter card supports full duplex mode allowing data transfer rates to double to 20/200/2000.

Simply plug and play with windows auto-detect setup wizard making installation a breeze. This card works with windows 8.0 and older configurations as well as other operating systems. This is a full sized card, and it doesn’t come with the low profile adapter needed by certain desktop models. Trendnet technical support is available 24/7 via online or telephone for any issues installing this card.

  • Reliable performance at a low price
  • Plug and play operation in most cases
  • Supports jumbo frames up to 7000 bytes of payload
  • Faster transfer speeds
  • Easy to install includes Trendnet installation disk

Best Budget Ethernet Card


4.3/5 Product Rating

This TP-Link network adapter has created a name for itself based on value and performance. The features on this network interface card are quite impressive for the price it is offered at. 10/100/1000 Mbps auto detect with half duplex mode capable of 20/200/2000 Mbps. Flow control for full duplex mode and backpressure for half duplex mode make operation smooth in either mode. Capable of 4k byte jumbo frame payload this card has less of the bells and whistles and more of the basic necessities. Support power down and sleep mode cuts power consumption down to 1 watt while sleeping. Wake on Lan is another power saving feature that this card has to offer.

This network adapter works with all windows XP and newer versions 32 and 64 bit versions. It also works with Linux, Mac and other operating systems. This card comes with a low profile adapter and a mini CD to make installation a breeze.

  • Reliable network adapter for a budget price
  • Great performance
  • Power saving features control power consumption
  • Low profile bracket included
  • Operates with many operating systems

Ethernet Card Buying Guide

Ethernet Card

Purchasing an Ethernet card can sometimes be a frustrating and confusing task especially if it’s your first time. There’re also many different types of Ethernet cards in the market which can make the process of choosing one a bit complicated. For instance, we have the fiber Ethernet cards which are majorly used in fiber optic technology. They provide a fast and reliable connection for computer users at a transmission distance that exceeds Cat5 cable distance. Below are some factors to consider when purchasing an Ethernet card:

Factors to Consider

1. Connection Type

Before you purchase an Ethernet card, ensure you check the available connections allowed by the card. During the past, this was an essential aspect to consider compared to nowadays where many networks are using RJ-45. In case you find that your network utilizes another interface such as coax, you must verify the Ethernet card to ensure that it has that type of connection before purchasing. If you don’t verify, you may end up returning the card which can sometimes be a tedious process especially if you bought it in an online store.

2. Connection Speed

This is an essential factor to consider before purchasing an Ethernet card. Ethernet has replaced the older and less efficient LAN technologies including the token ring. Ethernet has three main speeds, i.e., 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1000Mbps. A hub also known as a network switch supports 2 or 3 rates of speed at once. The older Ethernet cards used to support transmissions of up to 10Mbps, unlike the modern ones which have dual Ethernet controllers that the ability to support transmissions of 10Mbps and 100Mbps.Choose the appropriate Ethernet cards depending on your speed needs.

3. Size

Some Ethernet cards are bigger in size than others. However, the major determinant on how big your Ethernet card should be depends on your computer setup. Because USB ports are usually located close to one another, you should be careful not to purchase large sized cards to prevent blocking the adjacent ports. If you’re using a laptop, for instance, look for a small sized card to reduce the chances of bumping into objects and breaking it while repositioning the PC.

4. Make Quality

Ethernet Card 10

The market today is flooded with low-quality Ethernet cards which still promise great performance only to find that they last for a single month. Be careful when choosing a specific card model because some manufacturers will just make cards that are just similar to other brands. Ensure you pay attention to the external part of the Ethernet card of your choice. If you find this confusing, you can look at different online customer reviews to see what people are saying about different models in terms of quality and cost. If a certain card model has issues, you won’t fail to see many complaints from people who invested their money on them. Some manufacturers are just trying to make money without even considering customer welfare.

5. Card Interface

It’s very important to consider the interface that the Ethernet card connects. There’re only 3 available card interfaces as follows:
• PCI- This is the recommended option for desktop computers and is fast and more efficient than ISA. The only limitation is that it’s relatively expensive when compared to ISA.
• ISA- Most cards are a cheaper option, although they’re much slower than PCI.
• PCMCIA- These are only effective for use in laptop computers. However, before purchasing a PCMCIA card, you need to consider the following two things:
1. Ensure you check their connection and the requirement for additional cables to connect the card to a network.
2. Ensure you verify if the Ethernet card being used has a type-II connection.

6. Price

Different Ethernet cards come at different prices depending on the model, speed, quality and the manufacturer. You’ll find that most high-quality cards are expensive. You’ll also get very cheap cards. However, it all depends on your budget. It’s recommended that people shouldn’t use price only as a criterion for purchasing Ethernet cards. In most cases, you’ll find that cheap cards won’t serve you well and long like the quality and expensive ones.

In conclusion, these are some of the top factors to consider when purchasing an Ethernet card.

Back to Top