The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.Source: Windows Central

Best Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ethernet Adapter Windows Central 2019

Ultrabook laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon are fantastic, but one of their downsides is that they're too thin for ethernet ports. This means that you're restricted to using a Wi-Fi connection, and you won't have the option to go wired — unless, of course, you get yourself a nifty ethernet adapter. Capable of transferring an ethernet connection through an open USB slot, these adapters are perfect for giving laptop users access to all the benefits of wired internet. There are tons of these adapters on the market. Still, overall, we feel that the StarTech USB Ethernet Adapter wipes the floor with the competition thanks to its incredibly useful features, all while maintaining a relatively low price.

Best Overall: StarTech USB Ethernet Adapter

The StarTech adapter in action.Source: StarTech

If you're looking for the best of the best in terms of performance, then you can't beat StarTech's top-notch ethernet adapter. It supports 10/100/1000 networks without any issues whatsoever, but the real value in this adapter lies with the special tech built within it. It's got onboard Checksum, support for Large Send Offload, Jumbo Frames, and Crossover Detection and Auto-Correction. In layman's terms, these features improve the stability of your connection, and also reduce the amount of CPU power that networking will draw on your device, making it perform better. The adapter itself is also designed to be lightweight, making it an excellent choice for travel.

Pros:

  • Supports 10/100/1000 networks
  • Incredibly helpful bonus features
  • Lightweight, making it great for travel

Cons:

  • A bit pricey

Best Overall

StarTech USB Ethernet Adapter

The cream of the crop

Offering top quality at a strong price, it doesn't get any better than StarTech's option.

Best Multipurpose: Anker 3-Port Ethernet Adapter

The Anker 3-Port adapter.Source: Anker

If the sound of an ethernet adapter that doubles as a USB port hub appeals to you, you'll love this adapter. Aside from supporting 10/100/1000 networks, it doesn't come with any special ethernet-related features to speak of. However, it does give you three more USB-A ports to use for peripheral devices and accessories. This pick is a great way to essentially get two products in one and make the most out of your money. The helpful green LED is also convenient, as it informs the user when everything is working properly.

Pros:

  • Supports 10/100/1000 networks
  • Awesome USB port extension
  • Convenient green LED

Cons:

  • Most expensive
  • Lacks bonus features

Best Multipurpose

Anker 3-Port Ethernet Adapter

Two-in-one for the win

This adapter from Anker functions as an ethernet adapter and as a USB hub, offering immense value.

Best Mid-Range: AmazonBasics USB Ethernet Adapter

The AmazonBasics adapter.Source: Amazon

If you're looking for something middle of the road, check out Amazon's AmazonBasics adapter. It supports 10/100/1000 networks and comes with the same CPU-assisting Checksum feature that the StarTech adapter does, but nothing else. However, the lack of more specialized features means that the price increase isn't too high, ultimately making it a balanced pick that will satisfy the average user.

Pros:

  • Supports 10/100/1000 networks
  • Checksum feature
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Not as many bonus features

Best Mid-Range

AmazonBasics USB Ethernet Adapter

Going the balanced route

Offering a Checksum feature, this adapter fills the niche between an elite choice and a standard one.

Best Durability: Anker Aluminum Ethernet Adapter

The Anker aluminum adapter.Source: Anker

If you want an adapter that can take a beating and still work without any problems, Anker's aluminum adapter will be an ideal choice. The sturdy metal frame can go through quite a lot before any damage, and the device supports 10/100/1000 networks, allowing it to compete with other adapters. However, it is rather pricey for what you get, so only choose it if durability is a concern.

Pros:

  • Supports 10/100/1000 networks
  • Sturdy aluminum design

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Lacks bonus features

Best Durability

Anker Aluminum Ethernet Adapter

Armored advantage

This adapter is designed with durable aluminum, allowing it to stand up to damage with ease.

TP-Link's adapter.Source: TP-Link

If you want the best adapter out there in terms of compactness, look no further than this adapter. While it lacks distinctive features beyond the basic 10/100/1000 network support, the USB cable does have the unique ability to fold up into the chassis of the adapter, ensuring it will take up very little space in your pocket, pouch, or bag.

Pros:

  • Supports 10/100/1000 networks
  • Compact folding function

Cons:

  • Lacks bonus features

Best Compact

TP-Link Ethernet Adapter

Fold it up

TP-Link's adapter can fold up, making it incredibly compact.

Best Budget: Cable Matters USB Ethernet Adapter

The Cable Matters adapter.Source: Cable Matters

If you simply want an adapter that supports 10/100/1000 networks and has no other bells, whistles, or qualities to speak of, then the Cable Matters USB Ethernet Adapter will be perfect for you. It only offers the bare minimum, but that may be fine for you if you're on a budget or just don't care about the specialties offered by the other adapters on this list.

Pros:

  • Supports 10/100/1000 networks
  • Least expensive

Cons:

  • Lacks bonus features

Best Budget

Cable Matters USB Ethernet Adapter

Low pay, high value

This adapter offers solid ethernet connectivity for a very low price, making it an excellent budget choice.

Bottom line

Ethernet adapters are fantastic accessories that can give you the ability to use ethernet with your ultrabooks or other thin devices. They're not too pricey, and if you prefer wired internet over wireless, you'll get plenty of value out of them.

There are tons of different ethernet adapters out there, and each of them offers something that someone will find ideal. However, at the end of the day, we feel that the StarTech USB Ethernet Adapter is the clear-cut leader of the pack since it offers a ton of valuable features built into it that will improve connection stability and help your device conserve resources.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. He's relatively new to the writing scene, but he counters that lack of experience with a rock-solid work ethic and a desire to improve at every opportunity. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

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