Trying to find the best CAC Card Reader for your needs can be difficult at first.
Many of the brand names may be unfamiliar. Unlike more widely used electronic products, CAC readers are a specialized item which most people never need to buy. It’s often difficult to cut through the jargon and find a CAC reader which will reliably read your DOD card, meet your needs, and perform as expected.
This article will explore the different types of CAC reader available on the market today. We’ll take a look at what’s out there to help you find the right CAC reader for your usage requirements.
Types of CAC Card Reader
Before you start thinking about the best CAC reader for your needs, it’s important to think about the different options available.
There are several types of CAC card reader and each is best suited to a different usage situation.
Broadly speaking, CAC card readers consist of –
- USB CAC Card Readers
- Keyboard CAC Card Readers
USB CAC Card readers typically come in the form of either a small device, similar to a USB stick, or a larger device, similar to an external hard drive.
If you will frequently need to transport your CAC card reader between locations, a smaller, lighter device is probably the way to go. If you’re unlikely to move your CAC reader around too often, you might wish to try one of the larger devices as they are more sturdy for desk use. Even the heavier CAC readers only weigh around 5 ounces, so aren’t too difficult to transport when you need to.
Keyboard CAC Card Readers are simply keyboards with a built-in card reader. If you will primarily use your CAC card on a machine with an external keyboard, this might be the right choice for you.
Now that we’ve covered the types of CAC card reader available, let’s take a look at the best options out there.
Best CAC Card Readers
The following tables show the best CAC Card readers for sale on Amazon. The ranking is based on factors such as price, performance and user reviews. If a particular CAC reader interests you, it’s worth taking the time to read more about it on Amazon, as each has a wealth of information available about it.
Best USB CAC Card Readers
|Rocketek RT-SCR3||Windows, Mac, Linux||4.5||$ 38.99||Driver|
|Saicoo V1||Windows, Mac||4.4||$ 29.99||Driver|
|Saicoo V2||Windows, Mac||4.4||$ 35.99||Driver|
|Rocketek SCR4||Windows, Mac, Linux||4.3||$ 38.99||Driver|
|Identiv SCR3500||Windows, Mac||4.3||$ 16.99||Driver|
|Stanley Global SGT111||Windows, Mac, Linux||4.1||$ 49.99||Driver|
|Rocketek SCR10||Windows, Mac, Linux||4.2||$ 42.99||Driver|
|Zoweetek 1||Windows, Mac, Linux||4.2||$ 24.99||Driver|
|HID Omnikey 3121||Windows||4.4||$ 25.00||Driver|
|Digiscan Smart Reader Desk||Mac, Windows||4.0||$ 29.99||Driver|
Our pick for the best portable CAC Reader is the Rocketek RT-SCR3. It is small, portable, and has a well-designed foldaway USB connection. It’s high review score, based on a large number of real reviews, is testament to its performance.
If you’re looking for a CAC reader for desk use with a horizontal card insertion point, the Saicoo Card Reader V1 is a great choice. It has the right mix of quality, durability and affordability.
Some CAC users prefer vertical insertion devices. If that’s the case for you, check out the Saicoo Card Reader V2. It works well with Windows and Mac and is a good option for keeping your CAC card visible and out of harm’s way.
Best Keyboard CAC Card Readers
If you prefer a keyboard with a built in CAC reader, the following table showcases some of the best.
|Dell SK-3205||Windows||4.5||$ 19.99||Driver|
|Dell KB-813||Windows||4.7||$ 67.37||Driver|
|Goldtouch Ergosecure||Windows||4.4||$ 115.98||-|
|IOGear GKBSR201||Windows||3.2||$ 35.86||Driver|
|Lenovo USB Smartcard Keyboard||Windows||-||$ 54.86||Driver|
CAC Card Reader Conclusion
Remember, there’s no best overall CAC reader – only the CAC reader best suited to your needs.
Take the time to explore your options, think about which is the ‘best fit’ for your circumstances, and read up on verified reviews. There really is a CAC reader suited to every circumstance. Time to find yours.