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Best Overall: TP-Link TL-PA9020P at Amazon
"With its high-speed data transfer rate of up to 2Gbps, you can wire up multiple devices without sacrificing performance."
Best Wi-Fi Extender: TP-Link TL-WPA8630 at Amazon
"With three Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, this can extend your network to every corner of your home."
Best Security: D-Link DHP-P701AV at Amazon
"A rock-solid network adapter with blazing fast speed."
Best for Simplicity: Netgear PL1010-100PAS at Amazon
"With speeds up to 1Gbps, the Powerline 1000 boasts enough horsepower to deliver expansive coverage and fast performance."
Best Value: Netgear PL1200-100PAS at Amazon
"More than ready to handle 4K and HD streaming, and lag-free gaming."
Best Budget: TP-Link TL-PA7010P at Amazon
"A great choice for those who only need to extend one or two devices and don't want to spend a lot of money."
Best for Gaming: Extollo LANSocket 1500 at Amazon
"Exactly what gaming fans need: a Powerline network adapter with both high performance and low latency."
Best for Media Centers: Zyxel PLA5456KIT at Amazon
"Will offer dramatically improved coverage for game consoles and televisions, including streaming Netflix in 4K."
Best Speed: Extollo LANPlug 2000 at Amazon
"This ultra-fast 2Gbps low-latency adapter is for users who need the fastest speeds."
Best for Streaming: D-Link DHP-601AV Powerline AV2 at Amazon
"Solid performance that handily works with HD video"
Courtesy of Amazon
Good wired speeds
Plug switching issues
With the TP-Link AV2000 TL-PA9020PKIT Powerline adapter kit and its high-speed data transfer rate of up to 2Gbps, you'll never have to worry about poor network performance again. Our testing showed that 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 extend your network to. With two Gigabit Ethernet ports available, you can connect two devices at once, such as a video game console and television, and the pass-through electrical outlet ensures you can still use it even when the adapter is plugged in.
One-touch pairing features 128-bit AES encryption for maintaining a secure signal over your home wiring 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 beamforming technologies creating simultaneous point-to-point connections for maximum performance.
"If you’re energy-conscious, the TP-Link kit also has a power-saving mode which can reduce consumption by up to 85 percent." — Jordan Oloman, Product Tester
Three Gigabit Ethernet ports
Built-in Wi-Fi Extender
Takes up two outlets
No passthrough plug
Sensitive to electrical wiring issues
Even though many Powerline adapters offer extremely fast speeds, few are designed to handle multiple devices nearly as well as TP-Link’s TL-WPA8630 kit, which not only offers three Gigabit Ethernet ports but also includes AC1350 Dual-Band Wi-Fi, letting you extend your Wi-Fi network into the hard-to-reach corners of your home; it's one of those rare Powerline adapters that offers up built-in Wi-Fi, saving you the need to drop in a separate wireless access point.
Offering 1.3Gbps of throughput, it can handle 4K UHD streaming and online gaming without missing a beat, and the built-in wireless extender means you can get much faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi into places that 5GHz frequencies can’t usually penetrate. It’s also really easy to set up; the Powerline aspect is completely plug-and-play and you can wire up three devices over Gigabit Ethernet without needing to add your own hub. A Wi-Fi clone feature also automatically copies the SSID and password from your router so that all of your Wi-Fi devices can connect right away without any need to reconfigure anything.
That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that the TL-WPA8630 is a bit bulkier than many other Powerline adapters, since it includes Wi-Fi hardware too, so it will likely take up two outlets, and doesn’t offer a passthrough plug either. Like many Powerline adapters, your maximum performance will also vary depending on the electrical wiring in your house.
"A Powerline network adapter that includes built-in Wi-Fi can be a great alternative to a Wi-Fi range extender, since it can add Wi-Fi coverage to places that your main router can't reach at all." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer
Connection quality indicator LED
Offering the latest in AV2 MIMO 2000 technology, D-Link's DHP-P701AV is a rock-solid network adapter with blazing fast speed. Our testing determined that it was capable of hitting speeds up to 2Gbps, and able to handle 4K/HD multimedia, transfer large files, and take on online gaming without skipping a beat. The integrated pass-through socket is also ideal for ensuring that no outlet goes to waste.
The P701AV offers the same energy-friendly design as its competition, letting it shut down after a few minutes of inactivity, using only 15 percent of its normal power consumption. Setup remains as 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 you need to wire in. 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.
"Each Powerline AV2000 adapter also includes a button that you can press to establish a secure connection." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester
Inexpensive way to expand wireless coverage
Easy to set up
Speeds could be higher
If you want to extend your wired network, the Netgear Powerline PL1010 is an excellent budget choice. Using the existing electrical wiring in your home, you can deliver an Ethernet connection to nearly any area that needs one. In a day and age when so many devices require fast internet to properly function, this inexpensive solution can be a lifesaver. With speeds up to 1Gbps, the PL1010 boasts enough horsepower to deliver long range and fast performance.
Easy to set up, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be ready to go with the PL1010 in a few moments. The included adapter plugs directly into your modem or router. The Powerline adapter is then plugged into any outlet where you need an extra Ethernet jack for a game console or wireless access point, and since it uses your household wiring, unlike a Wi-Fi extender you can set it up anywhere in a home regardless of obstructions like walls and doors.
What makes Netgear's budget-friendly products so great? Simplicity. This is a plug and play device that has almost zero barrier to entry. Performance is ideal for 4K streaming or multiplayer gaming online.
Poor socket placement
Capable of offering up to 1.2Gbps speeds, the Netgear PL1200 is more than ready to handle 4K streaming and lag-free gaming. You can even connect multiple adapters to expand the reach of your network throughout your home.
The 6.54x7.28x3.23 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 need to link up. 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.
"With an upper limit of 1.2Gbps in download, the sky really is the limit with this adapter, and it can even be applied in a small business setting where the network is already very strong." — Jordan Oloman, Product Tester
Single port only
TP-Link's TL-PA7010P is a solid choice for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money and don’t need blazing fast speeds for multiple devices. While it’s not as fast as some of the more expensive models, it still offers 1Gbps of throughput which will be more than sufficient if you only need to extend one or two wired devices into another part of your house. It’s also a bit large, but there’s a pass-through AC plug which means you won’t be wasting an outlet, and a power saving mode means it sips electricity when not in active use.
The TL-PA7010P also features the same plug-and-play configuration as TP-Link’s other Powerline adapters, which means you should be able to get going in a couple of minutes just by plugging them straight in and connecting your router on one end and your smart TV, game console, PC, or even a small hub on the other. It should be more than fast enough to handle 4K UHD streaming for up to two or three devices, although your mileage may vary depending on the electrical wiring in your house as this one can be a bit more sensitive to wiring problems and electrical noise.
"Getting maximum speeds from a Powerline Network Adapter can be tricky, since it depends very much on the wiring in your house; always be sure to plug them directly into wall outlets and avoid using extension cords or power bars. If you have an older home, you may want to consider using a Wi-Fi Extender instead." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer
Fast transfer speeds
When it comes to online gaming, you want a super-strong connection to ensure a lag-free experience. And the 2.5x1.5x4.5 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 also gives a speed boost and lets you place the adapter further apart. 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 1.5Gbps, there’s no question the Extollo is ready to tackle whatever challenge lies ahead.
"The high speeds and low latency make this kit a good choice if you need to connect a game console, and the extra memory allowed by the use of Linux really helps out if you stream a lot of video" — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester
Utility software is clumsy and unintuitive
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 7.4x9.2x3.8 inch design. Plus, with MIMO technology, the Zyxel can offer improved speeds for game consoles and televisions, including streaming Netflix in 4K.
Setting it up is easy too, so you'll be up and running right after plugging the first adapter into your router and placing the second adapter at or near the devices where you need a connection. Offering speeds up to 1.8Gbps, the Zyxel can easily be monitored through the downloadable smartphone app. You can even block potentially intrusive devices to keep your network connection secure.
"If you plan to extend your network reach to more than a single device, it’s a good idea to pick up a Powerline network adapter with more than one Ethernet port, since this can save you the trouble of having to add an unsightly hub or switch to your living room." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer
Problems with multicasting
Single Ethernet port only
If ultrafast performance is your main priority, Extollo’s LANPlug 2000 provides a solid 2Gbps of throughout with some of the lowest latency we’ve seen in a Powerline network adapter. It achieves this kind of performance through its use of the G.hn Powerline specification, rather than the more common HomePlug AV2, which means you won't be able to mix-and-match it with most other Powerline networking gear.
Still, the blazing speeds it can achieve make it great not only for 4K UHD streaming, but also ideal for multiplayer online gaming, and it can handle multiple smart TVs, game consoles, or PCs on the other end. Sadly, there’s no passthrough plug so you’ll need to take up at least one AC outlet in order to use it.
You’ll need to supply your own hub if you want to connect multiple devices, however, as the LANPlug 2000 only offers a single Ethernet port, which is kind of disappointing for an extender with this kind of performance. Otherwise, however, setting it up is really just a matter of plugging it in. There is one important caveat, however, in that the LANPlug 2000 has issues handling multicast traffic properly, which means you may not be able to use a Chromecast or share an iTunes library to your Apple TV, as these rely on multicast. Extollo says this has been addressed in more recent firmware updates.
No AC passthrough
Small and compact at 3.4x0.2x2.4 inches, the D-Link DHP-601AV 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 delivers speeds of up to 1Gbps, 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 performance that handily works with HD video while allowing more units to be added if you need to wire in additional devices.
Jesse Hollington is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing about technology and three decades of experience in information technology and networking. He's installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender in places ranging from single-family dwellings to office buildings. university campuses, and even coast-to-coast wide-area network (WAN) deployments.
Jordan Oloman is a proud Geordie from Newcastle in the United Kingdom and is passionate about adventure games, pirate archaeology, and how technology can improve your productivity. He has written for Tech Radar, PC Gamer, Kotaku, Eurogamer, IGN, GamesRadar, and RockPaperShotgun, among many other gaming and tech publications.
Jeremy Laukkonen is an experienced tech journalist with a background in automotive repair that has taught him the importance of breaking down complex technical subjects in understandable ways. He specializes in VPNs, antivirus, and home electronics, and manages his own automotive blog on the side.
Speed - One of the first features that should be considered when purchasing a Powerline network adapter for your home is its speed; ensure your unit supports faster Gigabit Ethernet speeds. If you are a gamer, look for units that offer low latency.
Security - Since you're using your home’s electrical wiring to transfer data, it's essential that you purchase a network adapter that can secure the information traveling through your walls. Most adapters offer some level of encryption such as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) — look for this in the description or on the box.
Usability - Lastly, consider whether a powerline network adapter is a correct solution for your needs; these network adapters only work well when they are on the same circuit. For example, if you plug one adapter into your living room and the other into your home office, and they are on separate electrical circuits, you likely won't get anywhere near the advertised performance. Modern Powerline adapters require modern wiring and also three-prong electrical outlets, so you may not be able to use them at all in older homes.