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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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

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Tyler Lacoma
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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…
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