Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The best Windows Hello USB fingerprint scanners

Windows Hello is Microsoft’s biometric sign-in option 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

Close-up of the Verifi P5100 scanner.

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.

The Verifi P5100 is 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

Close-up view of the PQI Mini USB Fingerprint Reader.

Small USB readers are designed to fit onto laptops without being a burden: Many of them are so small that 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. The PQI Mini USB Fingerprint Reader 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

Close-up view of the compact 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 Kensington VeriMark 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

The Lexar Jumpdrive Fingerprint Reader inserted into a laptop.

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 10 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. Regardless of what storage size you choose, the Lexar Jumpdrive Fingerprint Reader comes in one standard size that will protrude from your laptop’s USB port, so you can’t leave it in when you’re packing up your device.

DigitalPersona Reader

Close-up view of the DigitalPersona Reader.

The DigitalPersona reader is compatible with desktop computers, so it’s geared for businesses that want a durable fingerprint reader. There are a lot of purposes you can use this reader for, and it’s compatible with Windows, so it’s the ideal choice for PC desktops.

The software can be difficult to install, so unless you’re well versed in IT skills, you might not want to choose it for your home computer. The DigitalPersona Reader also includes a blue LED light so you know when it’s working, a surprisingly comforting feature.

Editors' Recommendations

Tyler Lacoma
If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not…
The best PC gaming accessories
Best PC gaming accessories

So, you have a lightning-quick gaming rig all set up and ready to go. Through its tempered glass side panel, the internal components are awash in the neon glow from your LED-lit fans, RAM, and motherboard. Plugging your old keyboard and mouse into it would seem like an affront to your PC's raw, unbridled power. It would be an unacceptable breach of etiquette -- or worse, disrespect. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here, we've assembled a list of the best PC gaming accessories money can buy.

Each one was hand-selected to complement your gaming rig, bring out the best in those cutting-edge internals, and elevate your gaming experience. Let's get started with the Logitech G Pro, which remains an excellent and affordable keyboard.
Logitech G Pro Keyboard

Read more
How to set up Windows Hello
Ditch your password and log in to your PC with just your face or fingerprint
Windows Hello authentication.

Thanks to Windows Hello, unlocking and logging in to your Windows devices is easy and secure. From Apple's FaceID feature found on iPhone, or the fingerprint and face scanners found on Android devices, physical text passwords are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Confused about how to get your Windows Hello credentials set up? Just follow these simple steps.
Setting up a Windows Hello Webcam
Step 1: Check for compatibility

Read more
Lenovo’s fingerprint scanner software is broken, update it today
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3rd-Gen

There is a lot of bad news lately when it comes to the security of our PCs and other devices. All kinds of nefarious parties want to break into our machines and access our most vital personal and professional information. That is what makes recent advances in biometric security, such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, so welcome. It's also what makes it so disturbing when there is a flaw in those systems, as was recently the case with Lenovo's Fingerprint Manager Pro software.

Fingerprint Manager Pro is a Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 utility that enables the fingerprint scanner on certain Lenovo systems to match a user's fingerprint and use it to log into the machine as well as to authenticate to websites without needing to type in a password. As Lenovo indicates in a recent support bulletin, versions of the utility older than 8.01.87 are vulnerable to attack thanks to a weak algorithm and a hard-coded password -- leaving sensitive data accessible to any user with local non-administrative access to a machine.

Read more