Improve your home network speeds

With more of us working from home and using streaming entertainment services, having a fast home network is now as essential as a kettle or central heating. The quickest way of improving your home network speeds is adding Powerline adapters to the rooms that need the speed. Fear not, they are super easy to install.

What are Powerline adaptors?

Powerline is a simple-to-install digital home technology that can provide faster speeds than Wi-Fi for connecting devices to your network, regardless of whether or not they’re in the same room as your router.

It uses your home’s mains power wires to create a network connection that – in most cases – is faster than Wi-Fi. It isn’t limited to gadgets that have an Ethernet port: some Powerline kits can create powerful new Wi-Fi hotspots to give you a wireless signal in rooms or areas your router can’t reach.

It’s simple, easy to set up, and inexpensive given that it will greatly improve your home network for streaming HD TV, gaming and other data-hungry devices and services.

The best Powerline adapters are a better bet than Wi-Fi extenders or repeaters that merely push a weak signal further around a house. The longer the distance from your internet router and the more obstacles (walls, other devices), the weaker the Wi-Fi reception. With Powerline, distance and obstacles have a minimal effect on speed so you get close to the full potential of your broadband connection anywhere in your home with an adapter in a power socket.

Powerline physically wires fast Internet into your smart devices, such as your TV, games console, Sky or Tivo box, plus PCs and laptops.

Some Powerline adapters also have built-in Wi-Fi and create a new wireless network in that second room. This means you can get a strong, fast signal for your laptop, smartphone, tablet or another Wi-Fi gadget as well as a wired connection for smart devices. 

If you just want great Wi-Fi coverage across your entire home and not just a new hotspot in one weak room, an interesting alternative for larger homes is Mesh Wi-Fi (see our Best Mesh Wi-Fi Kits roundup), but Powerline is the fastest and can come with extra Wi-Fi hotspots built-in – especially useful for smaller homes. Devolo’s Magic WiFi range (see below) marries Powerline and Mesh technologies.

Here’s how easy it is to install Powerline adaptors. Plug one adapter into a power socket near your router/modem and attach it to the router with an Ethernet cable (usually supplied with the Powerline kit – or check out the best ethernet cables in our separate roundup).

Then go to the room where you want to hook up a device to the network, plug the second adapter into a nearby power socket, and connect another ethernet cable from that to the smart device (TV, SKy box, console, laptop, etc) you want to get online.

That’s it. It really is plug and play.

Most Powerline adapters come in a Starter Kit of two adapters, but can buy “whole home” kits of three. You can also add extra single adapters if you need to have a fast home network in more rooms.

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Best Powerline adaptor reviews

What other features should I look for?

You should consider adapters that have an integrated “passthrough” power socket and therefore don’t take up a valuable wall socket.

Also, look out for adapters that use the latest Gigabit Ethernet ports. All the Powerlines tested here do include this fastest Ethernet standard. You nearly always get at least one Ethernet cable in a starter kit.

Best Powerline adapters 2021

TP-Link AV1300 (TL-WPA8631P KIT) – Best Overall Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter

TP-Link TL-WPA8631P KIT Wi-Fi Powerline AV1300

  • Pros
    • Fast
    • Easy
    • Three Ethernet ports
    • Wi-Fi
    • Passthrough sockets
  • Cons

There are two models of the speedy TP-Link AV1300 Gigabit Powerline Starter Kit, each containing two adapters.

The TL-WPA8631P KIT features one Gigabit Ethernet port on the base adapter (actually a unit called the TL-PA8010P) that connects to your router and a generous three Gigabit Ethernet ports on the second-room adapter.

This is an excellent choice if you want to boost the speeds of multiple network devices (such as smart TV, games console, Sky/Tivo box, laptop, etc) with a fast, stable wired connection. Other Powerline adapters have just one or two Ethernet ports, to which you could add an Ethernet Switch for extra wired ports, but this is a much neater solution.

Handily both adapters feature passthrough sockets to save you from losing one at the wall socket when the adapters are plugged in.

This top-end value-for-money AV1300 Powerline Starter Kit includes the ability to add a new, fast Wi-Fi hotspot in the second room, which is a great help if your home Wi-Fi signal gets weaker the further you are away from the room that your router is set up in. This should significantly increase wireless speeds for your smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices.

The Ethernet ports are at the top of the adapter, which is handy if your power sockets are close to the floor line.

Read our full review of the TP-Link AV1300 Powerline range.

TP-Link AV1000 (TL-PA7071 KIT) – Best Budget Powerline Adapter

TP-Link TL-PA7017 KIT Powerline AV1000

  • Pros
    • Fast
    • Easy
    • Affordable
    • Compact
  • Cons
    • No passthrough sockets
    • No Wi-Fi hotspot option

TP-Links AV1000 family has many different models of Powerline adapter, and the entry-level TL-PA7017 KIT is perfect if all you require is one smart device wired up for stable and speedy Internet and network access in a second room far from your router.

It’s a no-frills starter kit of two tiny Powerline adapters. One connects to your router via the included Ethernet cable, and the other in a second room to the device that requires a fast download connection.

There’s no passthrough socket on either adapter so it will take up a wall socket in each room. 

If your home wireless signal is weak instead consider a Powerline adapter that can add an extra Wi-Fi hotspot.

Read our full review of the TP-Link AV1000 Powerline range.

Devolo Magic 2 Wi-Fi Next – Best Powerline for 2,400Mbps speed and Mesh Wi-Fi

  • Pros
    • Very fast
    • Easy
    • Passthrough sockets
    • Two Ethernet ports
    • Wi-Fi and Mesh options
  • Cons
    • More expensive than most
    • Quite large adapters

The Devolo Magic 2 Powerline & Mesh Wi-Fi Next kit offers the best of both worlds in terms of home networking. Using the latest G.hn network standard, it has the potential to blow away other Powerline adapters, and with advanced Mesh capabilities (Fast Roaming, Access Point Steering, MU-MIMO, Band Steering, Config Sync, and Airtime Fairness) it should excel in larger homes that require more than one extra Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Magic 2 is rated at 2,400Mbps, and can be purchased either as LAN only (no Wi-Fi) or with a Wi-Fi hotspot built-in. It’s available as a Starter Kit of two adapters, or a Whole Home Kit of three.

With Powerline, Mesh, passthrough sockets and two Ethernet ports, the Magic 2 Wi-Fi Next is loaded with features, and the best choice for larger homes that need some devices hard-wired for the best download speeds plus a sophisticated Mesh-based wireless system.

Speeds are fast, but you’re paying for Powerline and Mesh so this is best suited to homes that require more than one extra Wi-Fi hotspot. If you’re after a fast Mesh system this one really delivers.

Read our full review of the Devolo Magic Powerline range.

Tenda PH5 AV1000 – Best budget Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter

Tenda PH5 AV1000 Powerline Adapter Kit

  • Pros
    • Fast
    • Easy
    • Two Ethernet ports
    • Wi-Fi option
  • Cons

The Tenda PH5 AV1000 Wi-Fi is an able performer and extremely well-priced for its two Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi function.

We’d have appreciated pass-through power sockets on each adapter, but at this price, it’s a great starter Powerline kit that offers a new Wi-Fi hotspot in a second room.

The entry-level PH3 lacks the Wi-Fi and one of the Gigabit Ethernet ports, but is even more affordable.

Read our full review of the Tenda AV1000 Powerline range.

Read our full Tenda PH5 AV1000 Powerline Adapter Kit review

TP-Link AV1300 (TL-PA8033P KIT) – Best non-Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter with Multiple Ports

TP-Link TL-PA8033P KIT Powerline AV1300

  • Pros
    • Fast
    • Easy
    • Passthrough sockets
    • Three Ethernet ports
  • Cons
    • No Wi-Fi option
    • Quite large adapters

If you need to have wired Ethernet connections to multiple devices (smart TV, Sky/Tivo box, games console, and so on), then having multiple Ethernet ports on the second adapter is super helpful.

The AV1300 TL-PA8033P boasts three Gigabit Ethernet ports on its second-room adapter, and both adapters have passthrough power sockets.

If your Wi-Fi signal is acceptable and you can live without a new hotspot, and the TL-PA8033P represents great Powerline value.

TP-Link AV1000 (TL-PA7071P KIT) – Best Budget Powerline Adapter with Passthrough Sockets

  • Pros
    • Fast
    • Easy
    • Affordable
    • Compact
    • Passthrough sockets
  • Cons

The TP-Link TL-PA7017 KIT is our favourite budget Powerline starter kit, but if you want to save a couple of your home’s wall power sockets, consider upgrading to the TP-Link TL-PA7017P KIT that boasts a passthrough socket on both of the adapters.

Although it bears the same 7017 title, the 7071P looks very different because of the need for a larger adapter case to host the passthrough power socket.

That said, the adapters are still pretty dinky and won’t dominate your room, and the speed is just as admirable.

TP-Link AV2000 – Great value 2-port pass-through 2,000Mbps Powerline

TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Powerline

We were impressed by the real-world performance of the TP-Link AV2000, which scored as high as we’ve seen in our tests.

The inclusion of pass-through sockets on the TL-PA9020P KIT version and two Gigabit Ethernet ports per adapter (on both the TL-PA9020P KIT and TL-PA9020 KIT) are also welcomed.

There’s no extra Wi-Fi hotspot function but if your house Wi-Fi is acceptable this isn’t the worst omission.

If you want a fast Powerline starter kit with more than one Ethernet port plus pass-through this is highly recommended, and is at a decent price too.

Read our full TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Powerline review

Netgear Powerline 1000 – No frills budget 1,000Mbps Powerline

Netgear Powerline 1000

  • Pros
    • Affordable
    • Passthrough sockets
  • Cons
    • Just one Ethernet port per adapter
    • No Wi-Fi option

The Netgear Powerline 1000 is rather limited by its no-frills features: one Ethernet port per adapter and lack of wireless. But we do give points for the pass-through sockets.

While found lacking in features, it will still make a huge difference to your home network and PC or entertainment download speeds.

Read our full Netgear Powerline 1000 review

Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless Kit – Fast 1,200Mbps Powerline with 3 LAN ports

Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 (TPL-430APK)

  • Pros
    • Fast: Wi-Fi option
    • Three Ethernet ports
  • Cons
    • Large second adapter lacks passthrough socket

The Trendnet WiFi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless Kit (TPL-430APK) has a long name and a very large second adapter with prominent antennae to signal its Wi-Fi functionality.

This starter kit is actually two different adapters, the TPL-421E in Trendnet’s other non-wireless starter kit and a TPL-430AP adapter that builds you a new Wi-Fi hotspot in the second room.

Performance is impressive, but we were slightly put off by the giant adapter and its lack of pass-through power socket.

It does boast three Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connecting of multiple devices, but we find the TP-Link TL-WPA8630PKIT a more affordable option for three LAN ports and a Wi-Fi connection.

Read our full Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 (TPL-430APK) review

Asus PL-AC56 AV2 1200 Wi-Fi – 1,200Mbps Powerline with everything

Asus PL-AC56 AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender

  • Pros
    • Fast
    • Easy
    • Three Ethernet ports
    • Wi-Fi
    • Passthrough socket on the base adapter
  • Cons
    • Wi-Fi could be faster
    • Large second adapter without passthrough

The Asus PL-AC56 AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender performed well in our real-world wired speed tests, but less so from a Wi-Fi point of view despite its unique external antennae that suggested it would be a wireless champ. Asus claims the antennae will improve signal strength at greater distances than adapters with them built-in.

This second adapter is also pretty large and therefore is less discreet than most adapters we’ve tested.

The PL-AC56 is expensive (more than the Trendnet TPL-430APK and the TP-Link TL-WPA8631P KIT), but does boast all the bells and whistles (three Gigabit Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi, and a passthrough socket on the base adapter) of the latest Powerline starter kits, and so suits the top-end networking market well.

Read our full Asus PL-AC56 AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender review

Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Adapter Kit – Decent,…

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