Best Powerline Network Adapter

A powerline network adapter turns the electrical wiring in your building into a computer network. You need at least two adapters working together, so you typically want to buy a kit to start with. One connects to your modem or router to receive an Internet signal, and then plugs into a wall outlet; this then turns your electrical system into a network. A second adapter plugs into another outlet and then connects to a computer, HDTV, or other device you want on the network. The data speeds indicated with these adapters are a best-case scenario and you'll probably get lower data rates, but it still gives you an idea of relative speed.

We’ve chosen the following as the best powerline network adapters since they offer the fastest speeds, with support for at least 500Mbps, though some of these can run even faster. All of these adapters include LEDs that indicate when the outlet has power and when a LAN signal is being received properly through the electrical system. Installing these models is very easy, requiring no software installation or upgrades, and they only need to be plugged into outlets. Plus all of these are starter kits that include the two necessary adapters for your new setup.

TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit

This is a pretty simple and straightforward device which works easily for setting up a powerline network in any environment. While a bit large, it includes an outlet so you can connect devices without giving up a plug on your wall. This is a Gigabit model offers excellent speed and performance, and it has three ports for optimal connectivity. Read Full Review

Why it's best:

There's a lot to like about this powerline network adapter kit which should work in just about any environment. This kit itself comes with two adapters, one to connect to your incoming network through a router, switch, or modem, and the other connecting to the devices you want part of your network. One of the nicest features of this adapter is it includes an outlet so when you plug it in, you can still use the outlet for additional devices. You get three ports on this model which is very unusual but gives you greater connection options than most other powerline adapters. This is a Gigabit model, so it offers the best speed and performance possible with this type of network and includes 128-bit encryption for added network security.

TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit

D-Link Powerline AV2 2000 Adapter Gigabit Extender Starter Kit (DHP-701AV)

This is an excellent powerline network adapter that offers terrific speed, but it just lacks a few features that keep it from being as good as the TP-Link AV1200. You get Gigabit performance with this model and it can be used with additional adapters for up to 16 connections. However, the adapter lacks a pass through connection so you give up an outlet by using it and it has only one port. Read Full Review

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    Why it's best:

    This is a Gigabit model which gives you terrific speed and performance as well as being easy to install with plug-and-play setup and pairing button that quickly and efficiently sets up the network. You can also extend your network with this adapter quite a bit, as it supports up to 16 total connections with additional adapters. One issue with this model is it lacks an outlet meaning you give up whatever outlet you plug it into. It also only has a single port so you need one adapter and outlet plug for each device you want to connect. If you only need one port and have an extra outlet, then this is a great choice, but those couple limitations can be a problem in many computing environments.

    D-Link Powerline AV2 2000 Adapter Gigabit Extender Starter Kit (DHP-701AV)

    TRENDnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Adapter Kit - TPL-421E2K

    There are a lot of great features with this powerline network adapter as it’s easy to set up and use as well as having an outlet built into it so you don't lose a power outlet while in use. You only get one port on this model, which is its biggest failing, though it is a Gigabit adapter so the speed and performance is excellent. Read Full Review

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      Why it's best:

      This powerline network adapter delivers Gigabit performance so it runs fast and gives you a great network throughout your electrical system. This model has a built-in outlet, so you do not give up a plug wherever you use it which is very nice. You can connect up to eight adapters on a single network with this model, which is probably more than enough for most environments. The biggest weakness of this adapter is it only has a single port. While you can use up to eight adapters, each one can only connect to a single device which can be an issue if you need to connect multiple devices at a single location. This is still a great option that’s easy to set up but it would be far better with one or two additional ports as part of its design.

      TRENDnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Adapter Kit - TPL-421E2K

      Netgear Powerline 1200 and Extra Outlet - PLP1200-100PAS

      This is a very nice powerline network adapter as it’s fast and easy to set up, with simple security features to keep your network protected and it has a built-in outlet. You only get one port on this adapter which limits its usefulness a bit although it does support up to 16 adapters on one network. Read Full Review

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        Why it's best:

        There's a lot to like about this easy to set up model, starting with the fact that it's a Gigabit adapter so you get fast performance through your network. It has a built-in outlet, so you’re not giving up an outlet wherever you plug it in. This one supports up to 16 nodes on the network, so you can include up to 14 additional adapters with the two provided in this kit. However, this adapter’s biggest design flaw is it only has a single port. While that’s mitigated somewhat by the inclusion of a noise-filtered outlet, (making it easy to place this adapter just about anywhere) it’s still an issue if you plan on using two or more devices in one location which each require a physical network connection.

        Netgear Powerline 1200 and Extra Outlet - PLP1200-100PAS

        ACTIONTEC 500 Mbps Powerline Ethernet Adapter and 4-Port Hub Kit (PWR514K01)

        If you don’t need Gigabit support for your network, then this is a great choice that works in a wide range of setups. It supports up to 500Mbps networking speeds and has four ports which is great for an entertainment center or other setups requiring multiple connections. The slower speed is a drawback, and it lacks an additional outlet so you do lose a plug with this model. Read Full Review

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          Why it's best:

          The biggest issue to consider before choosing this powerline adapter is the network speed that you need. This model supports up to 500Mbps data rates so if you need Gigabit support then this isn’t a good choice. However, it’s easy to set up and use and the adapter has four Ethernet ports on it which gives you a ton of options for connecting devices. This is a great choice if you need to set up a smart TV, video game system, and additional hardware with physical connections to your network. It includes 128-bit encryption for added security and comes with two Ethernet cables. However, there's no outlet on this model so be sure you have an outlet set aside for plugging in these adapters.

          ACTIONTEC 500 Mbps Powerline Ethernet Adapter and 4-Port Hub Kit (PWR514K01)
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