5 best card readers compatible with Windows [2021 Guide]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Affiliate Disclosure

  • Smart card readers provide you with an extra layer of security, and today we'll show you the best smart card reader for Windows 10.
  • All devices in this guide are simple to use, and they usually require no additional drivers.
  • Some items from this guide are portable and they require a USB connection to work properly.
  • If you're wondering how to use a smart card reader, you just have to connect it to your PC and that is usually it.
best smart card reader for windows 10

A Smart card Reader is an external hardware device used to read electronic smart cards. These are plastic cards with a built-in chip used for electronic processes, like authentications or financial transactions.

You will most probably need it because not all laptops include an incorporated card reader, and desktops do not have it at all.

Like many other peripherals, it can be or not compatible with a particular operating system. In this article, we’ll present you with the best smart card readers compatible with Windows 10.

What are the best card readers for Windows 10?

SAICOO DOD

  • Sleek ergonomic design
  • Recommended by militarycac.com
  • Piv and EMS ready
  • You have to install it, is not a plug&play device

SAICOO DOD Military is one of the best smart card readers on the market you can buy.

It is not only compatible with Windows 10 OS but also with older Windows versions. So, if you haven’t upgraded your system to version 10, this reader will work for sure.

You can use it for all contact smart card operations like online-banking or digital signature applications. 


Zoweetek Smart Card Reader

  • Compatible with all Windows versions, Linux and Mac OS
  • Advanced Realtek Chipset
  • Sleek ergonomic flat design
  • The mini driver disk provided in the package can't be used on slot-load drive

The Zoweetek smart card reader is another great and performant choice if you need a smart card reader.

It comes with a long USB 2.0 connecting cable so you can easily install it on the back USB ports of your desktop. Furthermore, it features multiple certification standards like  PIV, EMS, and Microsoft WHQL certifications.

You can also use it to sign PDF documents and it can work with foreign smart cards.


HID OMNIKEY 3121

  • All major operating systems supported, including Window 10
  • Plug&play on Windows 10
  • ISO 7816 Standard and EMVCo Terminal Level 1
  • Not very portable

The HID Omnikey is a smart card reader that comes with a standing base for convenient vertical use.

This reader complies with all official regulations and you can use this one with officially issued IDs.

It is solidly built and comes with an attachment sticker. If you don’t need to carry it, this card reader is great for static use alongside your business computer.


Identiv SCR3500

  • Windows 10 compatible
  • Has a loop for a key ring
  • EMV level 1 certification
  • For Mac OS it doesn't work as a plug&play device

The Identiv SCR3500 model is one of the most portable and lightweight smart card reader that you can find.

This device folds down to nearly half its size when not in use so it’s easy to store and transport. Besides its great look, it is compliant with all major smart cards and relevant industry standards.

It is also very easy to use with your Windows 10 OS, it will work as soon as you plug it, without the need of any driver installation.


Identiv SCR3310v

  • Operates quickly
  • Ergonomic design
  • Compatible even with Android platforms
  • You might need to install drivers if your OS is not up to date

Identiv SCR3310 is an ideal smart card reader option for a wide variety of secure applications.

It works seamlessly with virtually all contact smart cards and operating systems. In addition, provides full compliance with all major industry standards.

If you have a smart card for SSO or Network login, Identiv SCR3310 is ideally suited for these tasks.


Smart cards are widely acknowledged as one of the most secure and reliable forms of electronic identification. If you need to use a card like this, you’ll also need a smart card reader for it to function.

All of the above card readers work flawlessly with your Windows 10 systems, are easy to use, so be sure to consider them.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can use smart card reader to sign in to Windows 10 with Windows Hello feature. If you have any issues with this feature, check our Windows Hello not working guide.

  • In terms of functionality, smart card readers are more of less the same. Some models even work with credit card software.

  • To use a smart card reader, you need to connect it with a USB cable to your PC, and the card reader will read the chip from the smart card once you insert it.

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