Some time ago, there were only wired and Wi-Fi networking. That suited most people, but still, there were issues: wired approach demanded the installment of UTP cables, which wasn’t always practical or achievable, while Wi-Fi, although highly versatile, failed in the reliability field. In other words, there was a space for something new that will surpass the limitations of wires and Wi-Fi.
A device that did that is a powerline adapter that allows for the connection of multiple adapters (in the case of the best powerline adapter, up to 16 or 32 devices), on the same electrical circuit, while providing a stable and reliable network between them. The achieved speeds are not as high as those of the cable connection; nevertheless, they are still above the regular router wireless speeds, and more importantly, much more trustworthy considering network stability and with much lower latency.
If that is what you need in your office or home, the following guidelines will surely help you out in finding the best powerline adapter possible. Therefore, hop on and enjoy the ride.
How to Choose the Best Powerline Adapter
Similar to many other products, powerline adapters come with a few crucial aspects that separate the good from the not-that-good devices, and they are:
One of the most important aspects of any powerline adapter is its speed. Therefore, always go for higher numbers and keep in mind that gigabit speeds are a necessity these days. Also, be aware that declared speeds are only theoretical ones and that they are almost impossible to achieve.
In other words, don’t get surprised if your “gigabit” powerline adapter actually provides speeds drastically bellow 1000Mbps.
If you want a great gaming experience, everything has to go smoothly and without a significant lag. For that reason, go for the device with the lowest possible latency, in order not to get unpleasantly surprised and realize your investment in powerline adapter was a waste of money and it is completely unusable in fast-paced games.
Although this may not sound that important, have in mind that these devices are using your electrical circuit to transfer your data. In other words, whoever has the approach to your circuit can potentially “hijack” your files.
Of course, this doesn’t happen to everyone and it applies more to offices, rather than home use, but whatever the location is, it is better to be safe than sorry. For that reason, be sure that your adapter is equipped with some sort of encryption, usually 128-bit AES that will prevent any situation in which your files may be compromised.
One of the requirements for powerline adapters to work, is that all of them are plugged in the same electrical circuit. If that isn’t the case, the devices that are outside of it, will not work. For that reason, before the purchase, be sure that the desired location for the powerline adapters is suitable considering the mentioned requirements and that all of the devices will be in the same circuit.
Although officially most devices apply to compatibility certification standards, as HomePlug AV2 for instance, the fact is that in reality, these labels don’t mean much. In other words, the products may or may not work together, which isn’t an issue if you are buying your first powerline adapters set (they will surely work with each other), but is, if you want to widen your existing network and are looking for compatible products.
In that case, you have three options: 1) Search online to see other people’s experiences; 2) Contact the manufacturer’s support to see if the desired devices are compatible; and the last, but surely the safest, 3) If it is possible, buy the exact same product as the first time.
8 Powerline Ethernet Adapters
Good Performance and Excellent Reliability in One
TP-Link AV1000 TL-PA7017 is an affordable and solid-performing powerline adapter that supports data transfer speeds of up to 1000Mbpp and provides great compatibility, which allows for its use with Windows, Linux, and MAC. Also, this kit is compatible with all the TP-Link AV series Powerline devices and provides a solid two-year warranty.
This adapter comes with a single Gigabit LAN port and offers 128-bit AES encryption. More importantly, it provides both CE and RoHS certification and offers a special Saving Mode that is responsible for power consumption reduction of up to 85%.
TP-Link AV1000 TL-PA7017 is a compact device, with a 300-meter range over the electrical circuit and a plug-and-play functionality that makes it a great choice for a wide variety of users.
In other words, if you are after the best powerline adapter dedicated to mainstream users, you may be sure that TP-Link AV1000 TL-PA7017 is more than a solid choice that will fulfill your every need.
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Good compatibility
- Solid performance
- No Wi-Fi connectivity
NETGEAR PowerLINE 1200 Mbps (PL1200-100PAS)
A Great-Value-for-Money Powerline Adapter Ideal for Gamers
If you are in a pursuit for the best powerline adapter for gaming, or the one with the best value, NETGEAR PowerLINE 1200 Mbps (PL1200-100PAS) should seriously come into your closer observation.
This affordable, but a bit robust powerline adapter offers super-fast 1200Mbps speeds and allows for trouble-free 4K streaming. More importantly, especially for gamers, it allows for a lag-free gaming experience, which makes it a perfect choice for your Overwatch or Fortnite online duels.
Similar to wireless routers, NETGEAR PowerLINE 1200 Mbps is equipped with MIMO and Beamforming technology and offers an easy plug-and-play use, followed by the HomePlug AV2 support, energy-friendly mode and a touch of button encryption, for the secure data transfers.
Although it is equipped with many handy features, this adapter is still just a basic device, which lacks the Wi-Fi, pass-through socket and other similar, more advanced utilities. Nevertheless, it offers a fast, reliable service, with a nice 500m² coverage, which is more than enough for the majority of users.
- Easy to use
- Bulky design
- Only one LAN port
- No Wi-Fi
TRENDnet Powerline 1300 AV2 Adapter Kit (TPL-422E2K)
An Easy-to-Use Powerline Adapter for Mainstream Users
Fact is that the majority of users just need a device that will work properly. It doesn’t need to have a fancy outside or amazing features, it just has to be reliable and offer a decent enough performance for regular use… and TRENDnet Powerline 1300 AV2 Adapter Kit (TPL-422E2K) is an ideal example of such a device.
It is equipped with the basic features (128-bit AES encryption, one gigabit port, etc.) that are “reinforced” with MIMO and Beamforming technology, and it also offers the HomePlug AV2 support. Along with that, this kit comes supplied with a Sync button that allows for an instant change of the current Powerline encryption keys. It also supports the use of up to eight powerline nodes.
TRENDnet Powerline 1300 AV2 supports the 1300Mbps speeds, which is more than enough for HD streaming, and has the range of around 300m. Also, it offers a simple installation and comes with a very nice 3-year warranty.
Overall, this kit surely isn’t the best powerline adapter you can find, but if you are a regular and not a power user, this little kit will do miracles for you.
- Allows for HD streaming
- MIMO and Beamforming technology
- No pass-through socket
- No Wi-Fi
One of the Best Powerline Adapters Available
If you require only the best, TP-Link Powerline Adapter AV2000 Mbps (TL-PA9020P KIT) will be a perfect match for you. This a bit bulky device is packed with all the needed features and offers super-fast speeds of around 2000Mbps that are comparable with a rather small number of the devices.
TL-PA9020P KIT features, among others, include 128-bit AES encryption for safe data transfers, Home Plug AV2 support, 2×2 MIMO function, Beamforming, and two gigabit ports on each module. Also, there is an energy saving feature that reduces the power cost by 85% and even a noise filtering and a pass-through socket, which makes a rather nice addition to this overall great package.
Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi support and therefore, if you need it, you will have to pair it with a Wi-Fi extender or purchase some other powerline adapter with that function available.
Nevertheless, with its easy to install characteristic and amazing performance, which allows for the 4K streaming and on top of that fair price, TL-PA9020P KIT is a great option for the users not willing to accept compromise. It is altogether one of the best powerline adapter devices available on the market today.
- Easy setup
- Fair price
- Very fast
- No Wi-Fi
- A little bulky
CPL DEVOLO Magic 2
An Excellent Fast-Performing Powerline Adapter
If you are after the sheer top of the offerings among the best powerline adapters and are seeking the device that will bring you great performance, beautiful design, and plenty of features, CPL DEVOLO Magic 2 Starter Kit is the one for you.
Although a bit pricey, this adapter will bring you fast 2.4 Gbps data transfer speeds, Dual-Band Wi-Fi connectivity (2.4GHz and 5GHz one), and plenty of handy features such as Mesh Wi-Fi compatibility and the ability to be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
CPL DEVOLO Magic 2 Starter Kit contains a single Wi-Fi block and one CPL block; it comes with a three-year warranty and is super-easy to use. Unfortunately, it isn’t backward compatible, which is one of its rare flaws, along with its bulkiness. However, if you are looking for a powerline adapter that will deliver only quality and top-class performance, this is certainly the device you should be looking for.
- Three-year warranty
- Easy to use
- Good Wi-Fi connectivity
- Fast performance
- Mesh Wi-Fi compatible
- A bit large
- High power consumption
- It isn’t backward compatible
A Perfect Solution for a Reliable Home Network
NexusLink GPL-1200-KIT is a solid performing, fair-priced dual powerline kit that presents a pretty good solution for mainstream households, thanks to its overall quality and decent reliability.
This system comes fitted with LCD/FEC error correction responsible for video streaming optimization, MIMO Dual-Phase feature, and more importantly, very good performance that allows for 1200Mbps speeds.
Each of the two units in the kit comes with one Gigabit port, while together they can create a network capable of holding up to 16 devices. Due to the NDIM Signal Segregation Technology, the kit itself is perfect for highly urbanized areas with a high-density population. In other words, it can be efficiently used in offices, hotels, and similar spaces.
To conclude, if you are after a high-quality powerline adapter that will provide great reliability and solid speeds at an affordable price, NexusLink GPL-1200-KIT is the perfect match for you.
- Easy setup
- Solid performance
- MUMO compatibility
- LCD/FEC error correction technology
- No Wi-Fi connectivity
Zyxel Pass-Thru Ethernet Adapter AV2000 (PLA5456KIT)
A Very Fast Powerline Adapter that Sets Its Own Rules
If you are into fast, high performing devices for your network, you should seriously consider Zyxel Pass-Thru Ethernet Adapter AV2000 (PLA5456KIT) that offers very nice 1800Mbps speeds and lag-free experience, perfect for both 4K and game streaming.
The device itself is equipped with numerous features like 128-bit AES encryption, MIMO function, two gigabit LAN ports, a pass-through socket, LED status lights, and much more. Unfortunately, although it has the AV2 label, AV2000 doesn’t always work with other HomePlug AV2-certified devices, because ZyXEL did not obtain its license in the first place, and the resulting products apply to the required normative only to a certain extent.
Nevertheless, its performance is still great and among the best on the market, delivering smooth 4K streaming and a lag-free network gaming.
In other words, if you want to get yourself one of the best powerline network adapters, Zyxel PLA5456KIT comes as a really nice deal, with plenty of useful functions that even include a smartphone app for monitoring and controlling of the device. All in all, it’s a good powerline adapter, with a few flaws here and there.
- Good price
- Easy setup
- No Wi-Fi
Tenda AV1000 Powerline Ethernet Adapter Kit (PH6)
A Basic Powerline Adapter for the Not-too-Demanding Users
Tenda AV1000 Powerline Ethernet Adapter Kit (PH6) is an affordable device, with basic functions and features, good enough for a large portion of users, especially those that are looking for simplicity and easy use. Thanks to its plug-and-play function and automatic detection feature, all you need to do is plug this adapter into the power socket and everything will work by itself. There is also optional software, which allows for additional setups, but in reality, the majority of users will never need it.
PH6 adapter supports for HomePlug AV2 standard and offers decent speeds of up to 1000Mbps that are good enough for watching 4K videos. Also, it comes equipped with a LED area, a power-saving feature that can reduce the power consumption by 85%, and a pass-through power socket with noise filters for the reduction of various interferences.
Of course, there are also some minor issues, such as, its bulkiness and its tendency to heat too much, but that is expected from a device of this type, that doesn’t have the agenda to be the best powerline adapter, but to do the job.
Overall, PH6 adapter doesn’t bring anything innovative or impressive. Nevertheless, if you want a decent device at a fair price, this is the adapter to get.
- Good price
- Nice speed
- Bulky design
- It gets hot
This guide is made with a primary intention to help you find the best powerline adapter possible. If that is the case, its mission is more than fulfilled.