Common access cards readers, also known as CAC, is used by the United States Department of Defense for multifactor authentication and identification. This is commonly issued to active military personnel, reserved personnel, and civilian employees as a form of identification card.
CAC’s are about the size of a debit card. It has an embedded microchip that allows the encryption of emails and the use of public key infrastructures. To read these cards, they use CAC specific readers which can be bought on tech stores.
However, it is quite difficult to find CAC card readers that are compatible with Mac. There are dozens of CAC card reader manufacturers that advertise their product to be compatible with both Windows and macOS. But, more often than not this card readers experience problems working with macOS but work perfectly fine on Windows.
Today, we are going to discuss some factors to consider before buying a CAC card reader for Mac.
Let’s get right into it.
What to Consider Before Buying a CAC Card Reader?
When buying a CAC card reader you should consider the following:
- Check the model of the CAC card reader that you want to buy and the compatible Mac models listed on the specification. This can give you peace of mind that the CAC card reader would work on your Mac.
- Double-check the CAC card reader’s specification and make sure that your current macOS version is supported by the reader. There are a lot of CAC readers that work well on an older version of macOS but struggles to function normally on the latest version of macOS.
- Try to find a seller that would agree to give you a refund in case the CAC card reader did not work on your Mac. In this case, you can find another reader without spending more money.
Now, let us get into the actual CAC card reader review.
Best CAC Card Reader for Mac
Here are the best Common Access Card Reader that is compatible with most Mac models. Check it out!
#1: Saicoo DOD Military USB Common Access CAC Smart Card Reader
The Saicoo DOD Military CAC card reader managed to get a 71% five-star customer rating on Amazon which gives you a guarantee that this card reader indeed works on Mac. It can read command access card types like 5V, 3V, and 1.8V smart cards. For the built quality, the CAC smart card reader is built from black ABS plastic which is solid and doesn’t feel cheap. It has a non-removable USB cable which is used to connect to your computer and Mac. The Saicoo DOD Common Access Card Reader is available on Amazon for $17 and comes with an 18-month warranty and lifetime technical support.
#2: Stanley Global SGT111-9 CAC PIV Smart Card Reader
If you are looking for a simple CAC card reader that you can use in the office then you should take a look at the Stanley Global Smart Card Reader. It is a TAA compliant, FIPS 201 approved, and CAC certified card reader. The Stanley Global card reader is suited for most versions of Windows, Linux, and works well on any version of macOS. For compatible cards, it can read ISO 7816 smart cards, common access cards, PIV, TWIC, and EMV cards. It has an 80 CM USB Type-A cable and comes with a price of about $19.
#3: Rocketek DOD Military USB CAC Memory Card Reader
The Rocketek USB CAC card reader is a portable type reader which also doubles as an SD Card reader. It is compatible with most versions of Windows like 10, 8, Vista, and works well on all versions of macOS. For built quality, the body is made of ABS plastic which feels a little cheap. However, the card reader can easily fit your pocket as it is almost the same size as a normal flash drive. The Rocketek card reader can read most smart cards that are ISO 7816, 5V, and 3V.
#4: ACR39U-N1 Pocketmate II
There’s nothing more compact than the ACR39 Pocketmate CAC card reader. It measures 2 inches in length and has a very lightweight material making it really convenient to carry around. The card reader is compatible with most operating systems like macOS, Windows, and Android. For compatibility, the Pocketmate II can read cards that are ISO 7816 Class A, Class B, Class C, and SIPRNET smart cards.
#5: AvidCard CAC USB Smart Card Reader
AvidCard is one of the best CAC card readers out there in the market that is fully compliant with all major industry standards like ISO 7816, USB ICCID, and Microsoft WHQL. It works plug-and-play on most operating systems including macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. This CAC reader is optimized for speed which can cut down transaction times to reduce the long queues in your office. It has an ergonomic design and doesn’t take up to much space from your desk.
#6: Identiv SCR3310v2.0 USB Smart Card Reader
Identiv USB Smart Card Reader promotes a universal compatibility feature that allows it to function plug-and-play on major operating systems like macOS, Windows, and Linux. It also has a seamless integration of the hardware made possible by the SmartOS which is included when you purchase this CAC card reader. It has a compact design that doesn’t compromise with built quality. The card reader is also fully compliant with most industry-leading standards like TAA, ISO 7816, and WHQL from Microsoft.
#7: Recbot CAC Card Reader Military Smart Card Reader
Last on our list is the Recbot CAC card reader. It has a simple design and ergonomically made for horizontal insertion of CAC cards. The Recbot CAC card reader is compatible with most operating systems especially macOS. It can read cards with ISO 7816 standards and Microsoft WHQL. In terms of built-quality, the Recbot CAC card reader has an ABS plastic outer shell that is solid and doesn’t feel cheap.
Also check out: Top 7 SD Card Adapters (microSD to SD to USB)
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