Test winner: The best Bluetooth audio adapter for computers, home theater, cars and headphones

Music transfer via Bluetooth is convenient and now a matter of course. It was not always like that. Just a few years ago the standard could be found in all smartphones, but wireless transmission was more of an exotic feature of televisions, stereo systems, car radios and headphones.

If you want to retrofit older components with Bluetooth, you need a corresponding adapter.

Desktop computers and older notebooks often have no Bluetooth on board at all. Even appropriately equipped computers often only allow a connection to one end device and also do without high-quality audio codecs such as AptX or AptX HD. This is sufficient for video chats or short Skype calls, but those who use their notebook as a media player for the sofa or long car journeys, for example, quickly reach their limits.

Small USB Bluetooth adapters from around 7 euros are available here. But you have to look closely at the specifications. If an almost latency-free codec such as AptX is to be used for movies or gaming, this must not only be supported by the headphones, but also by the Bluetooth adapter. If two headphones are to be supplied with sound at the same time, the adapter must also have a dual-link function. This is great, for example, when children use their parents’ laptop during long car journeys to watch children’s films and not all passengers feel like Bambi & Co.

Our test winner among the Bluetooth adapters for the PC category is a model from the manufacturer 1Mii that has been used privately for several months. The USB dongle about the size of a thumbnail 1Mii B10 works without any additional drivers under Windows and macOS. It can also be used on Playstation or Xbox and has been proven to work reliably with the PS4. In addition to AptX HD and AptX LL, the device is fully dual-link capable, so that two Bluetooth headphones can be supplied with high-quality sound at the same time. With many dual-link adapters, the latency-free codecs can only be used while connected to an end device.

In practice, both the simple commissioning and the stable and latency-free connection in conjunction with aptX headphones are convincing. Even if the price of between 25 and 30 euros is well above the cheapest USB adapters, the additional costs are worthwhile.

There are two different conceivable scenarios in the home theater and stereo system area. Either, for example, the sound from the television should be transmitted to one or more Bluetooth headphones or the sound from the smartphone should be played on the stationary music system. Since both application options make sense, combined send & receive modules are ideally used here. Unfortunately, only the transmitter or receiver is always active, which is why you should either buy two devices or switch over manually on the adapter if necessary.

Ultimately, the available devices differ in the audio codecs used and the available connections. Since latency-free transmission is mandatory for television, the AptX codec should urgently be on board. This point is negligible if only music is transmitted to the stereo system. When it comes to connections, it depends on your personal requirements.

Although we have had two devices in continuous use successfully for years, the Taotronics TT-BA09 adapter (test report) prevailed as the test winner. The reasons for this are the significantly more compact design and the fact that readers have received letters from Gespert regarding quality problems with the adapter (test report).

The use of Bluetooth in the car, van or mobile home is advisable for two reasons. On the one hand, playlists from Spotify & Co. can be played on the car’s music system, and on the other hand, the hands-free function required for conversations while driving can be conveniently used.

Older vehicles in particular, however, almost never have an audio input to connect the smartphone. Here the manufacturers then use the detour via the FM receiver of the car radio. How it works is simply explained. The adapter gets the power from the car’s cigarette lighter socket, connects wirelessly to the smartphone via Bluetooth and then sends the audio signal to the car radio via radio waves.

Our test winner in this category is the Cocoda T25, which we have been using privately in a car since the beginning of 2021. Compared to other models, we were convinced by the reliable automatic connection with the smartphone and the pleasantly interference-free audio transmission. Other devices are also capable of doing this, with prices starting at between 13 and 15 euros, the model is also inexpensive and provides two USB ports for charging smartphones.

If you are willing to spend at least 46 euros on the table, you will also receive an integrated DAB receiver, which, in addition to the Bluetooth connection, also enables the reception of digital radio. Our test winner including DAB + is the Bluefree DAB-106B DAB +.

If you want to supply headphones or the AUX input of the car radio wirelessly and without additional wiring with music from your smartphone, you need a mobile receiver with a battery. This needs a sufficiently long battery life and should be compact.

The test winner in this category is the very compact Bluetooth receiver from Eleginat (test report). It convinces with low latency despite the lack of an AptX codec and easy handling. For a price of 15 euros a worthwhile purchase, for example to broadcast Spotify to the radio of the rental car. In our opinion, retrofitting old headphones is only worthwhile in exceptional cases, as the prices for new headphones with Bluetooth are simply too cheap. More on this in our headphone theme world.

Sensible Bluetooth adapters are available from less than 30 euros. However, the device must match your own requirements. From our point of view, the most important thing is a reliable connection and easy handling. If you want to transfer sound while gaming or watching movies, you should also pay attention to the audio codecs. If you want to wirelessly supply more than one headphone with sound, you need a dual-link function.

In addition to our test winners, there are of course numerous alternatives; Amazon alone has more than 50 Bluetooth-Adapter mit ApX on offer. If you are still looking for a suitable headset or true wireless headphones, you should take a look around our headset theme.