The best Windows Hello USB fingerprint scanners

Windows Hello is Microsoft’s biometric sign-in options for Windows 10, allowing you to sign in with a fingerprint or face ID. However, if you have an older computer or one without the right features, these Hello sign-in options may not be available to you. That’s where fingerprint scanner accessories come in.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find the right scanners for the job. Not all of them work with Windows Hello, and some are cheap knockoffs that aren’t worth your time. To help out, we’ve created a list of the best fingerprint scanners that are guaranteed to work with Windows Hello, starting with an excellent Verifi P5100 USB model.

Verifi P5100

Verifi specializes in sturdy, reliable fingerprint scanners, particularly for desktop models: The exceptional PF5100 model uses a large silicon sensor, which is more accurate than optical sensors, and even manages to give the all-metal design some style.

It’s compatible with password managers and even comes with a free download for the password manager Roboform. For setup, just log into Windows 10 and search for biometric devices to start the process. It’s ideal for protecting business or personal desktop computers, but the price may be a little high for some buyers. The wired design also makes this model more difficult to use for laptops.

PQI Mini USB Fingerprint Reader

Small USB readers are designed to fit onto laptops without being a burden: Many of them are so small than you can leave them and still fit your laptop into a case or bag without problems. PQI offers one of the best of these models, a fast and tiny reader that’s entirely compatible with Windows Hello.

You can program it with up to 10 different fingerprints to allow others to access your laptop as needed. It can also help you automatically encrypt files if you want to set up the software, although this part isn’t necessary for operation. PQI calls their fingerprint reader the fastest in the world, and while that’s hard to prove it really does just take a fraction of a second to read a fingerprint, which does help speed up the login process.

Kensington VeriMark Reader

This tiny, portable Kensington reader comes with a keychain fob so you can easily take it off and store it when on the go – although it’s small enough that you may not need to.

In addition to Windows Hello compatibility, the reader also comes with FIDO second-factor authentication, which is used to protect and access cloud files on Chrome. Encryption is also used to protect all the fingerprint data held on the reader. It’s a bit more expensive than other compact option, but the extra security features make it well worth it.

Lexar Jumpdrive Fingerprint Reader

Lexar’s approach to a fingerprint reader offers an additional benefit that could be just what you want: The fingerprint scanner is connected to a jump drive that offers 64GB of extra storage. Files on the drive are encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption, and yes, you can use both the fingerprint reader and the drive at the same time. You can program it with up to ten fingerprints as well.

The 64GB size is a strong middle-of-the-road option, but you can choose bigger or smaller storage sizes if you prefer. The downside to this model is that it does stick out of your laptop like a traditional USB stick, so you can’t really keep it in when transporting your laptop.

DigitalPersona Reader

Another strong desktop model, this DigitalPersona reader is primarily designed for business users and companies that want to invest in long-lasting fingerprint readers that they can use for a variety of customized purposes, including working on Windows computers.

However, installing the software and using the SDK does require some IT expertise, so it may not be the best choice for individual consumers who want security on a home computer. The model also includes a blue LED light so you know when it’s working, a surprisingly comforting feature.