The 7 Best Powerline Network Adapters to Buy in 2018

Here's how to eliminate all the dead Wi-Fi zones in your house

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 If you're living in a larger home, it's more than likely that there might be one or two areas of the house that have dead or weak Wi-Fi signals. To combat this, it's worth investing in a powerline network adapter. A powerline network adapter is different than a Wi-Fi extender/repeater in that it creates a signal that runs through the existing electrical wiring in your home. The first adapter gets plugged into the wall and router via Ethernet cable and the second one gets plugged into a wall outlet near the device(s) you're looking to boost signal to. Confused? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Read on to learn more about powerline network adapters and find the best one for your home.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: TP-Link AV2000 TL-PA9020PKIT

With the TP-Link AV2000 TL-PA9020PKIT powerline adapter kit and its high-speed data transfer rate of up to 2000Mbps, you'll never have to worry about poor signal performance again. Setting up the TP-Link is a snap: The first adapter gets plugged into the wall and router via Ethernet cable and the second adapter gets plugged into a wall outlet near the device(s) you want to signal boost. With two Gigabit ports available, you can connect to two devices at one time such as a video game console and television. The inclusion of pass-through technology allows the electrical outlet to remain usable even when the adapter kit is plugged in.

One-touch pairing features 128-bit AES encryption for maintaining a secure signal alongside intelligent LED indicators for notifying users about the strength of their connection. Compliant with Home Plug AV2, the 5.2 x 2.8 x 1.7-inch TP-Link features 2x2 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) beamforming technologies creating simultaneous and pointed connections for minimal impact to Internet speed while using multiple devices. Beyond performance, there’s good news for energy-conscious users: The TP-Link will power down when not in use, cutting energy use by up to 85 percent.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Zyxel PLA5456KIT

Offering pass-through and Home Plug AV2 2000 compliance, the Zyxel PLA5456KIT is an excellent powerline networking kit. Featuring two Gigabit Ethernet ports for multiple device connectivity, the front of the Zyxel features LED status lights for notifying users of signal strength on its 7.4 x 9.2 x 3.8-inch design. Plus, with MIMO technology, the Zyxel will offer dramatically improved coverage for game consoles and televisions, including streaming Netflix in 4K. Setting it up is easy, so you'll be up and running right after creating the hardwired connection into the router with the first adapter and placing the second adapter at or near the device seeking a performance boost. Offering speeds up to 1800Mbps, the Zyxel can easily be monitored through the downloadable smartphone app. You can even block potentially intrusive devices to keep your network connection secure. 

Best Budget: TP-Link TL-PA6010KIT

The 7.2 x 5.35 x 3.35-inch TP-Link TL-PA6010KIT powerline network adapter offers a superb range of 900 feet over electrical circuitry. With speedy performance up to 600Mbps, the PA6010 is still powerful enough to tackle HD video streaming and online gaming with ease. Beyond its plug-and-play setup that doesn’t require any extra drilling or wiring, the P6010 will help reduce up to 80 percent power consumption (after five minutes of inactivity) when not in use. And the HomePlug AV standard compliance ensures the TP-Link maintains a strong network signal using your existing home electrical wiring. The internal technology is now a generation old, which speaks for the budget-friendly price tag, but the ultra-compact design easily blends into wall outlets while still providing signal throughout the house. For the price, you can even purchase a second set of adapters and connect them together for added signal penetration.

Best Gaming: Extollo PowerLine LANSocket 1500

When it comes to online gaming, you want a super strong signal to ensure a lag-free experience. And the 2.5 x 1.5 x 4.5-inch Extollo PowerLine LANSocket 1500 is exactly what gaming fans need: a powerline network adapter with both high performance and low latency. Ideal for both gaming and online video streaming, the inclusion of MIMO and beamforming technology works to provide each device connected to the Internet with the best possible signal. The addition of 512Mbit (64MB) of DDR memory helps maintain and boost signal strength, which makes it one of the most reliable network adapters available today. The plug-and-play installation allows users to be connected and online within minutes and the pass-through outlet means you’re still able to connect a second connection to the outlet. All in all, with speeds up to 2Gbps, there’s no question the Extollo is ready to tackle whatever signal challenge lies ahead.

Best Speed: D-Link Powerline AV2 2000 DHP-P7101AV

Offering the latest in AV2 MIMO 2000 technology, the D-Link Powerline AV2 2000 DHP-P7101AV is a rock-solid network adapter with blazing fast speed. Capable of hitting speeds up to 2000Mbps (2Gbps), the P7101 can handle 4K/HD multimedia, transfer large files and take on online gaming without skipping a beat. The integrated pass-through socket is ideal for ensuring that no outlet goes to waste and, with a built-in noise filter, you’ll hardly notice the P7101 presence in a hallway or near an entertainment center. The P7101 offers the same energy-friendly design as its competition and it shuts down after a few minutes of inactivity, saving up 85 percent of power consumption. Setup remains simple as ever, thanks to a plug-and-play approach that has one adapter connecting to the router and the second connecting to a wall outlet near the devices that are hungry for an Internet signal boost. Additionally, there’s one touch security for added network encryption, which secures the D-Link against any potential network intrusions that could compromise the entire home network.

Best Value: Netgear’s Powerline PL1200-100PAS

Capable of offering up to 1200Mbps speeds, the Netgear’s Powerline PL1200-100PAS is more than ready to handle 4K and HD streaming, and lag-free gaming. It can even connect multiple adapters to continuously expand the network signal throughout a home. The inclusion of MIMO and beamforming technology adds simultaneous signal connections directed at active devices on the network and provides them the best possible signal strength. The 6.54 x 7.28 x 3.23-inch PL1200 sets up with a plug-and-play approach. Just connect the first adapter to the router via Ethernet cable and the second adapter into an outlet near the device you want to provide with a performance boost. Once both connections are set, the PL1200 does the rest while offering a one-touch button for encrypting the network to protect against intrusion. Like competitive models in this space, the Netgear adds an energy-friendly mode that powers down after a set time of inactivity, which helps minimize the impact on your energy bill.

Best Video Streaming: D-Link DHP-601AV PowerLine AV2

Small and compact at 3.4 x 0.2 x 2.4 inches, the D-Link DHP-601AV PowerLine AV2 1000 is a standout offering for HD streaming. While the D-Link lacks a pass-through power socket, the focus here is on the compact design alongside AV2 technology that powers speed up to 1000Mbps, which is ideal for multiplayer gaming, larger file transfers and HD video streaming.

Adding an additional level of security to your home network, the D-Link features one-touch security that automatically encrypts its connection at 128-bit AES, although there’s no software available for smartphones or PCs to monitor the network to detect and prevent intrusion. What the D-Link lacks in software and pass-through it more than makes up for with a rock-solid signal performance that handily works with HD video while allowing additional units to be connected to create an umbrella signal around the house eliminating dead spots.