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Best powerline adapters of 2022: top picks for expanding your home network

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
best powerline adapters
(Image credit: Future)

The best powerline adapters of 2022 may seem like a trivial consideration, but they’re able to extend your range of coverage in a way that most other network solutions can’t, making them an absolute must-buy for anyone experiencing poor wireless at home. That’s due to the fact that they work a little bit differently than routers or mesh Wi-Fi systems

You just need to connect one directly to an ethernet cable that hooks into your router and plug it into an available power outlet. You can then plug a second (or more) unit into an outlet where you're experiencing low speeds and as long as they share the same power grid connection, you'll see that the connection is vastly improved.

Though there are other network solutions to try, if they don’t work, the top powerline adapter might be the answer to your internet problems, especially if you’re dealing with networks that just can’t reach certain areas of your home or office. Depending on the model, they can even broadcast their Wi-Fi signal.

To help you upgrade your network, we’ve rounded up the best powerline adapters here for you to choose from, considering key factors like speed, ease of connectivity, and, of course, cost.

With speeds close to wired connections, this might be the perfect way to go. You'll also need one of the best Ethernet cables to set up your powerline adapter, so it makes sense to pick one up before you get started.


Best powerline adapters of 2022 in full:

Two Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6 extenders on a white background

(Image credit: Devolo)
The best powerline adapter you can buy today

Specifications

Speeds: up to 2,400Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: 128-bit AES, WPA2/WPA3

Reasons to buy

+
Powerline and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
+
Easy to set up and use
+
Pass-through power socket
+
Two Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only dual-band wi-fi

Easily the best powerline adapter you can buy today, the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6delivers fast speeds and all the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi technology. These kits aren’t cheap, but the combination of powerline and Wi-Fi connectivity will be ideal for homes that have thick walls that block the Wi-Fi signal.

You can manage everything via the Devolo app on your phone, giving you control over both the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands providing download speeds of 100Mbps with the Ookla speed-test, and 12.5MB/s for Steam downloads. If you need to get some wiFi signal into a tricky location in your home, this is the new gold standard.

Read the full review: Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6 is only available in the UK. For US and Australian consumers, check out the D-Link Powerline Adapter AV2 on Amazon.com (opens in new tab).

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi

(Image credit: Devolo)
Top marks for ease of installation

Specifications

Speeds: up to 2,400Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: 128-bit AES, WPA2

Reasons to buy

+
Fast data speeds
+
Mesh Wi-Fi
+
Integrated power socket

Reasons to avoid

-
Not backwards-compatible
-
Only two LAN ports

While it looks very similar to the above listing, this isn't actually the same product as the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6. But this older offering still delivers fast speeds and all the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi technology, making it very worthy of second place. It’s an excellent jumping-off point for the new G.hn standard, bringing noticeable improvements to network speeds. 

Do be warned, it isn't cheap and nor is it backwards-compatible, meaning you’ll need to replace every unit with a new Magic 2 one, which may prove costly. But if that's not a deal breaker you'll enjoy the benefits you’re getting. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to install.

Read the full review: Devolo Magic 2 WiFi

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi is only available in the UK. For US and Australian consumers, check out the D-Link Powerline Adapter AV2 on Amazon.com (opens in new tab).

TP-Link AV2000 Powerline

Fastest powerline adaptor

Specifications

Speeds: Up to 2000Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: Wi-Fi, WPS, 128 Bit AES

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast
+
Wi-Fi included

Reasons to avoid

-
Two Ethernet ports

The TP-Link AV2000 takes the award for fastest powerline adaptor, with a maximum speed of 2000Mbps. Though, of course, as with all of the best powerline adapters featured on this list, actual speeds will be lower. Still, it offers fantastic speeds, along with built-in dual-band wireless ac networks, and a pass-through socket, which can prove to be a valuable space saver in socket-shy home offices.

In the starter kit, you'll get two adapters, one has a single Ethernet port, which you should use to connect to your modem or router, and the second one has two Ethernet ports for connecting wired devices. Compared to some of the others on this list that might prove a little short if you've more devices to link up.

The good news is its plug-and-play setup requires no configuration, and it also comes with a power-saving mode that claims to reduce power consumption by up to 85%.

Devolo Mesh WiFi 2

(Image credit: Devolo)
The best powerline adapter for games consoles

Specifications

Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz
Connectivity: 4 x RJ-45 10/100/1000M LAN ports
Features: multi-user MIMO technology, future-proofed G.hn Wave 2 standard, access point steering

Reasons to buy

+
Mesh Wi-Fi networking
+
Two Gigabit Ethernet ports on each adaptor

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Unhelpful app and documentation

Extend your network through thick walls and into the furthest corners of your home or office with the Devolo Mesh WiFi 2. Boasting both mesh Wi-Fi features and versatile powerline connectivity, this device can even follow you and your mobile devices around, automatically switching you to the closest adaptor and the fastest Wi-Fi band. 

It even has three adaptors that give you five Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast, wired connections. This is the best powerline adapter for games consoles, smart-TVs and other devices that work best with wired connections.

If your needs are a little less exhaustive, Devolo also offers save a two-piece Starter Kit for smaller homes that saves a chunk off the price. One thing worth noting though is that it could be a little more intuitive when it comes to installation.

Read the full review: Devolo Mesh WiFi 2

Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter

5. Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter

External antennae make it ideal for those needing increased coverage

Specifications

Speeds: Up to 1200Mbps
Connectivity: 3 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: Wi-Fi, WPS, 128 Bit AES

Reasons to buy

+
Good speeds
+
Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-
External antennae are a bit ugly

Asus may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think about networking devices, but it makes some very good products - such as the Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter.

As the name suggests this is a very fast powerline adaptor that is also able to broadcast a Wi-Fi network as well. Unlike other powerline adapters with Wi-Fi, the Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter has external antennae, which allow you to angle them for increased coverage - though it does mean the units themselves look a little bit ugly compared to some of its competitors.

Like some of the others on this list of best powerline adapters, the Asus comes with blessed plug-and-play installation, and there's also added security in the form of encryption that blocks any unauthorised devices.

TP-LINK AV600 Powerline Adapter Kit

Top budget offering

Specifications

Speeds: Up to 600Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi clone feature

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap
+
Easy to extend Wi-Fi network

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the fastest

If you're looking for a nice, cheap but reliable powerline adaptor, then the TP-LINK AV600 is a great choice. It's a lot less money than many of the adapters on this list, but it still manages to offer plenty of features.

For example, it can broadcast Wi-Fi, and with a Wi-Fi clone button that syncs settings like SSID and password, you can easily extend your existing wireless network. It also features two Ethernet ports, and the second adaptor in the set includes a pass-through socket so you don't lose out on a power socket when using the adaptor. 

While the 600Mbps top speed isn't as high as others on this list, it's still enough to transfer big files and stream media around your home. There's also a user-friendly tpPLC mobile app that allows users to easily control their network. 

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac

7. Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac powerline adapter

Perfect for those with shortage of socket space

Specifications

Speeds: Up to 1200Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: Wi-Fi, WPS, 128 Bit AES

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast speeds
+
Can broadcast Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only two Ethernet ports

The Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac is one of the fastest powerline adapters on the market. It is able to reach speeds of 1.2 gigabits a second - though, as above, you should note that you won't often get those kinds of speeds as there are numerous factors that can affect powerline speeds.

Still, this is a very fast powerline adaptor, and the fact it can also broadcast dual-band wireless ac networks makes this a very versatile powerline adaptor. The adaptor also has a pass-through power port, which means you won't lose a power socket - just plug other devices into the adaptor itself.

It's not the cheapest out there and the two ethernet ports may not be enough for more serious gamers, but it certainly delivers alongside Devolo's bold slogan, that it "cures weak Wi-Fi".

Devolo dLAN Duo 500 Powerline Adapter

8. Devolo dLAN Duo 500 Powerline Adaptor

A solid budget choice

Specifications

Speeds: Up to 500Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Features: 128 Bit AES

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap
+
Two Ethernet ports

Reasons to avoid

-
No passthrough
-
No Wi-Fi

This is an excellent entry-level power adaptor that does a very good job at transmitting your network traffic over your powerlines. 

It doesn't boast the highest speeds, nor does it have Wi-Fi or a passthrough socket. Given how important socket space can be to serious gamers, this might prove to be a barrier too far. But if you can look past those drawbacks, there's no doubting that it does the job well considering the price. What's more, its low cost means it's easy to add adapters to your network in the future, should you ever need to expand.

Aesthetically, it's also a pretty neat-looking piece of kit, housed in a compact square that shouldn't demand too much socket real estate and therefore avoid the frustration of some larger powerlines that are so big they prevent the adjacent socket from being used.

How to choose the best powerline adapters for you

The best powerline adapters provide a simple way of extending the reach of your home network, and as such there are several factors you ought to consider before you make your choice.

Firstly, consider your typical use at home. Do you simply use the Internet to access emails and read the occasional web page. Do you use streaming services like Netflix or Disney+? Or are you a serious gamer who requires top connection speeds to ensure you aren’t losing connectivity while engrossed in your games?

Once you’ve analysed the sort of connectivity and speeds you require, you’ll know whether you’re simply looking for a stronger Wi-Fi connection, or whether in fact you’d prefer the increased reliability of being plugged in via an ethernet cable.

But speed isn’t the only consideration. Not all of these powerline adapters featured are the most intuitive to install, and so if you’re not familiar with the subject then you’re likely to want to prioritise a plug and play option. Finally, these powerline adapters can vary quite significantly on price, so make sure you know your budget and tailor your choices accordingly.

The best powerline adapters: How we test

In compiling this list of the best powerline adapters of 2022, we've tested out a number of key elements on each adapter.

First off, we've road tested the speeds of each. And while you should know that stated top speeds are rarely achieved in real life - due to the many outside factors that can affect connectivity - they'll still provide a good barometer as to which adapters achieve the highest speeds.

Next up we've looked at what connectivity options each adapter provides, listing the number of ports supplied, along with additional useful features like Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi cloning.

We've also looked at ease of installation, with some devices leading the way in terms of plug-and-play simplicity, versus those that require a little more thinking time on the part of the user. Finally, we've considered the cost of each device, from initial outlay to the costs involved in any potential future network expansions.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Computing and Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.