The best powerline adapters of 2022

Erin Gobler

Apr 24, 2021 — 5 min read

These devices plug utilize your home's electrical wiring to deliver a strong connection to any corner of the house.

If you find your online games lagging or your Zoom meetings glitching, you may want to try a powerline adapter to improve your home’s connectivity. 

These devices connect to your router and will help improve that connection.. We’ve rounded up the best powerline adapters available this year. 

What is a powerline adapter?

A powerline adapter is a device that helps you connect to the internet using the electrical wiring in your home. It actually comes with two separate adapters — one that plugs into a wall outlet where you want to extend your connection and another that plugs into your internet router. Like mesh networks, powerline adapters are a great solution if you’re struggling to extend your internet connection to distant corners of your home. 

Like traditional wired internet, powerline adapters use an Ethernet cord. But rather than connecting  your device to the router, you connect it to one of the adapters, 

One adapter takes the internet signal from your router and broadcasts it to the other adapter through your home’s electrical wiring. You can then connect your device to the adapter with an Ethernet cord. 

You can generally expect your powerline adapter to give you the same internet speed as if you connected your device directly using an Ethernet cord. The difference is that rather than having to work directly next to your internet router, you can work from anywhere in your home and still get the same great connection. 

When it comes to choosing the right powerline adapter, pay attention to the advertised speed, connectivity and any special features included.

What are the benefits of powerline Ethernet adapters?

There are several reasons someone might want to use a powerline adapter. First, these devices are beneficial because they’re generally faster than Wi-Fi speeds. If you struggle with a poor or unstable Wi-Fi connection in your home, a powerline adapter could be a great fix.

Powerline adapters also provide a stronger signal than Wi-Fi, meaning you can do more at once. This type of connection is well-suited for online activities like gaming, video streaming or transferring large amounts of data.

How we chose our favorite powerline adapters

When searching for the best powerline adapters, our goal was to find the ones that provided the best value, meaning a combination of outstanding features at a good price. We compared eight adapters using the criteria of speed, price, features and customer reviews. From there, we narrowed it down to our four favorites.

We didn’t just include four adapters with the fastest speeds. Our goal was to find those that offered speed with other important factors, such as budget and unique features. Prices for powerline adapters range from around $60 to $120, depending on how much speed you need.

Best Overall Adapter (Tied): TP-Link TL-PA9020P

What we like

  • Fast speeds

  • Excellent encryption

  • Generous warranty

Things to consider

  • Only two Ethernet ports, compared to three on some TP-Link devices

The TP-Link TL-PA9020P is an industry favorite for powerline adapters. It made our list for its incredible value — it provides fast speeds at a decent price. It’s one of the fastest adapters on the market, with speeds of 2,000 Mbps. As a result, it supports 4K streaming and live gaming. 

The TP-Link device comes with a thoughtful design that includes dual Ethernet jacks on the bottom, as well as a passthrough outlet so you aren’t sacrificing outlet space to use it. The setup process couldn’t be simpler. It’s plug-and-play, meaning you simply plug in both adapters, press the “pair” button, and you’re ready to go.

Best Overall Adapter (Tied): Netgear PLP2000

What we like

  • Fast speeds

  • Push-and-Secure button

  • Noise-filtered power outlet

Things to consider

  • One-year warranty period

The Netgear PLP2000 is tied as our favorite powerline adapter because it matches the TP-Link device in both features and price. This Netgear device offers 2,000 Mbps speed, fast enough for gaming and video streaming.

Like the TP-Link adapter, this Netgear device offers two Ethernet ports, as well as a passthrough outlet, so you can plug something else in as well. The device also has a Push-and-Secure button, allowing you to instantly encrypt the connection at the push of a button.

Best Budget Adapter: TRENDnet TPL-423E2K

What we like

  • Affordable price

  • Generous warranty

  • Strong encryption

Things to consider

  • 1,300 Mbps max speed, slower than some competitors

  • Only one Ethernet port

If you’re looking for something on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the TRENDnet powerline 1300 AV2 adapter kit. The kit comes with two adapters with 1,300 Mbps speed and a range of nearly 1,000 feet. The speed isn’t as fast as some of its competitors, but it makes up for it with an excellent price and many outstanding features.

Like the TP-Link and Netgear devices, the TRENDnet adapter offers a passthrough outlet and 128-bit AES encryption. It also has a sync button that allows you to change the encryption keys instantly for increased security.

Best WiFi Extender: Netgear PLW1000

What we like

  • Wireless connection

  • Push-and-Secure button

Things to consider

  • Expensive

  • Slower speeds

  • One-year warranty period

The Netgear PLW1000 offers a unique set of features in that it provides a wireless connection. While you have the option of plugging in your device using an Ethernet cable, you don’t need to. Instead, this device helps to wirelessly extend your Wi-Fi connection.

This Netgear device comes with speeds of 1,000 Mbps. It also has a Push-and-Secure button, allowing you to instantly encrypt your powerline network connection. Unfortunately, because of the wireless capabilities, this device comes at a slightly higher price point.

Powerline Ethernet adapter buying tips

When you’re preparing to buy a powerline Ethernet adapter, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Shop for the latest technology. HomePlug AV2 is currently the most advanced powerline protocol and will give you the best speed and widest range of connection.
  • Consider the size of your home. In a larger home where you’re working far from the internet router, it’s important to shop for an adapter with the widest range.
  • Prioritize encryption. Everyone wants to keep their data safe. Be sure the powerline adapter you choose comes with the best encryption technology.

Need a faster internet plan?

A powerline adapter can help speed up your internet, but it can only do so much on its own. To get the best your adapter has to offer, you must also pair it with a solid internet plan. If you’ve purchased an adapter but it isn’t working as you hoped, consider upgrading your internet.

The best internet providers vary depending on where you live. Shop around for the best plans near you, keeping in mind download speeds, data caps and service areas.

The bottom line

If you find yourself regularly gaming or streaming videos and find that your internet can’t keep up, a powerline adapter might be just the solution. For the best speeds, the TP-Link TL-PA9020P and Netgear PLP2000 are our favorite devices and the best for the money. But remember that your powerline adapter can only be as good as your internet service plan, so consider upgrading that first.