The best powerline adapter of 2023 may seem like a trivial consideration. Still, they can extend your coverage range 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 because they work slightly differently than routers or mesh Wi-Fi systems.
You need to connect one directly to an ethernet cable that hooks 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, like one of the best Wi-Fi extenders, 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 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, considering critical factors like speed, ease of connectivity, and cost. We rely on expert testing from our experienced team to help determine which powerline adapter is worth putting on this list. For those that do not have full reviews from our team, we have relied on the same experts to dive deep into notes, specifications, conversations with the company, and so on to build trust regarding the quality and ability of the device.
This might be the perfect way with speeds close to wired connections. 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 start.
The products below that do not have full independent reviews performed by TechRadar or TechRadar Pro have been extensively researched by our experts to confirm their place in this guide.
Best powerline adapters of 2023 in full:
Best powerline adapters in full:
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We believe the Devolo Magic 2 Wi-Fi 6 is still the best powerline adapter you can buy today. The Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6 delivers fast speeds, stable connection, and all the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi technology. These kits aren’t cheap, but the powerline and Wi-Fi connectivity combination will be ideal for homes with thick walls that block the Wi-Fi signal. This adapter's signal is so strong because it combines the "power" of a powerline adapter and a mesh Wi-Fi network in one system, creating a quality connection that offers the best of both worlds. Further, each adapter has two ethernet ports to help with connectivity around the home, office, or another complex, while the average powerline adapter only has one. This expands the wired connectivity options immensely (legitimately, twice as much!), providing even more devices with reliable, wired, ethernet connection. We could easily plug in our main docking station for our laptops and even plug in the other side to a tower PC we have in for testing, granting both the benefit of a wired ethernet connection without needing to rip into our walls in our office.
We can manage everything via the Devolo companion app on our phone, giving us 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. While this is not the fastest available, it's within the parameters of what we would expect and need for most use cases. As is common in these adapters, the passthrough power outlet ensures that we don't lose an outlet, helping reduce clutter or the need to pull power from another part of the room. Devolo states that this model is great for larger buildings, even those with multiple stories. We tried this across a generously sized three-story home without a problem.
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.
While it looks similar to the above listing, this isn't the same product as the Devolo Magic 2 Wi-Fi 6. But this older offering still delivers fast speeds and all the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi technology, making it worthy of second place. It’s an excellent jumping-off point for the G.hn standard, bringing noticeable improvements to network speeds.
Much like the previous product, this model also has two ethernet ports on the receiving end of the extended ethernet line, offering the same great connection abilities as the newer and more expensive model above. Where there is a difference from the above model is that there is only on ethernet port on the sending side of the powerline connection. For us, as well as probably most use cases, this is not a problem at all, as we don't have products right by our router that need ethernet. We have them further away, thus the need for the powerline adapter in the first place. And, if we did need to expand and put network-enabled devices right next to our modem and router, we could grab one of the best network switches to help bring more local ports.
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.
The TP-Link AV2000 is awarded the 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, built-in dual-band wireless ac networks, and a pass-through socket, a valuable space saver in socket-shy home offices. While we have not personally been able to test this powerline adapter quite yet, we have conducted extensive research to see that TP-Link can be trusted as a company and that this product is quality. From our research, we have found that this powerline adapter is quite fast and very stable and just as easy to set up as the above product offerings.
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. Much like mentioned above, if more ports are needed, there is always an option of putting a network switch on either end, expanding the port offering even further and allowing more devices to have faster hardline internet access.
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%.
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. While we have not personally tested this adapter yet, we have conducted independent research and feel confident suggesting this as one of the best available.
As the name suggests, this fast powerline adaptor can also broadcast a Wi-Fi network. Unlike other powerline adapters with Wi-Fi, the Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter has external antennae, allowing you to angle them for increased coverage. It means the units look slightly ugly compared to some competitors.
Like others on this list of best powerline adapters, the Asus has a plug-and-play installation. There's also added security in encryption that blocks unauthorized devices.
If you're looking for a nice, cheap, but reliable powerline adaptor, the TP-LINK AV600 is a great choice. It's much less money than many of the adapters on this list, but it still offers 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 control their network easily.
The Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac is one of the fastest powerline adapters on the market. It can reach speeds of 1.2 gigabits a second - though, as above, you should note that you won't often get those speeds as numerous factors can affect powerline speeds.
Still, this is a very fast powerline adaptor, and it can also broadcast dual-band wireless ac networks, making it a very versatile powerline adaptor. The adaptor also has a pass-through power port, so you won't lose a power socket - 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."
- Also check out our list of the best wireless routers
The best powerline adapters: How we test
In compiling this list of the best powerline adapters of 2023, we've tested several 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 for which adapters achieve the highest speeds.
Next, we've looked at each adapter's connectivity options, listing the number of ports supplied and 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 requiring a little more thinking time on the user's part. Finally, we've considered the cost of each device, from the initial outlay to the costs involved in any potential future network expansions.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 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 analyzed the connectivity and speeds you require, you’ll know whether you’re simply looking for a stronger Wi-Fi connection or 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, so if you’re unfamiliar with the subject, you’ll likely want to prioritize a plug-and-play option. Finally, these powerline adapters can vary significantly in price, so make sure you know your budget and tailor your choices accordingly.
Is a powerline adapter better than a standard Wi-Fi router?
Sometimes, a powerline adapter can be a better solution than a standard Wi-Fi router. If the area needing internet is across a building from the modem or the Wi-Fi signal is being blocked or weakened by barriers, a powerline adapter may be a great solution. Where Wi-Fi creates a wireless signal, powerline adapters extend a wired ethernet connection through the electrical wiring of a building, allowing for ethernet connections to be sent all around a building without running more cabling.
Does a powerline adapter slow down Wi-Fi?
Powerline adapters do not slow down wi-fi networks. In fact, they can actually speed up your overall network speeds by reducing the strain and freeing up network bandwidth for your router. Granted, if the device that you are choosing to connect by way of powerline adapter is not a heavy usage device, you may not notice a difference at all.
What if I need more ethernet ports than what the powerline adapter has built-in?
At either end of the powerline adapter, you can add a network switch that will expand the port offering by however many ports said network switch has. This will allow your receiving end of the powerline connection to turn one port into enough to run your entire office, for example. For suggestions on which switch to get, check out our guide to the best network switches.