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The Best Powerline Adapters For UK Cord Cutters In 2017

As a cord cutter, why would you need the best powerline adapter? It’s simple: for cable TV cord cutters, it’s all about broadband and speed. And for video and streaming TV, WiFi is often not enough.

For you to be able to watch streaming TV like Netflix (instead of cable or satellite based TV, such as from Sky or Virgin), your TV has to be connected to the internet. The connection might be directly to the TV, if you have a “Smart TV”, or through your streaming device (such as the Amazon Fire TV) – but one of these two has to be connected to the internet for the programmes to stream into your living room.

RankPowerline AdapterOur RatingPrice
1TP-Link 1000 2-Port⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

2TP-Link 1000 Passthrough⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

3D-Link DHP-601AV/B 1000⭐⭐⭐⭐

4TP-Link AV2000 Passthrough⭐⭐⭐⭐

5Netgear PLW1000 WiFi⭐⭐⭐

The Best Powerline Adapters 2017

I Have Wi-Fi In My House – Isn’t That Enough?

Since you’re most likely already connected to the internet with a router in your house, you probably already have a WiFi connection spread around the house. So, you might ask, if WiFi is good enough for using my smartphone or laptop around the house, why not use it for the TV?

The answer is not one-sided, and really depends on your situation. Generally speaking, HD streaming video needs a lot of bandwidth. According to Netflix, an HD stream uses up to 3GB per hour, and their 4K stream uses up to 7GB per hour.

This means that if you’re watching one episode of House of Cards in 4K, your TV would have to download almost 7GB of data. And since no one likes buffering, your internet connection – particularly the part connected to your TV – needs to be fast enough so it can catch up.

t

Buffering:

Streaming TV is being downloaded to your device in real-time. In order to prevent disruption in the middle of the programme/movie you’re watching, a small portion of it will be preloaded into your device.

Then, while you’re already watching, the device will keep downloading the next chunk and the one after that, with you still watching the previous chunk that was already downloaded.

If your WiFi connection (or broadband in general) is too slow, the streaming device can’t keep up – you will ‘finish’ watching the preloaded part before the next one had enough time to download, and your programme will STOP, until the device can fill the buffer again – i.e., download the next chunk.

Most Smart TVs and streaming boxes can connect to the internet via WiFi. WiFi’s been getting faster and more reliable in recent years – but its performance depends on many factors.

The first issue is the location of your router (that’s the box connected to your broadband provider’s hole-in-the-wall – some providers call it “the hub”). If your router is in one room, and your telly is in a DIFFERENT room, the WiFi connection will deteriorate as it travels between the walls.

Sometimes, it’ll still be good enough – but if the rooms are on different floors, or if you have particularly heavy walls – by the time the WiFi signal meets your TV or streamer, it might not be good enough for a fast, stable connection.

WiFi stability and speed can also be affected by the quality (and age) of your router, other airborne signals in and around your house, and even household electronics. So, you might have an incredible broadband package with a speed of 200Mb, but by the time it reaches your TV on the second floor, the poor thing only gets an equivalent of 20Mb

The solution? If your TV is really close to your router, you could always pull an Ethernet cable between the router and the TV – that’s actually the best, and fastest (in broadband terms) solution.

However, that’s not always a practical solution – if your TV is in a different room (let alone a different floor), you wouldn’t want to start pulling ugly cables all through your house. That’s when a powerline adapter is the best solution.

What Is A Powerline Adapter?

In layman’s terms, a powerline adapter is a device that can send data via the power lines in your home. And since every house already comes equipped with electric wiring (even the cheap ones in Central London) and sockets throughout the house, it’s like having your own, super-long broadband extension lead.

technicians working on Ethernet network cable and router

For the powerline adapter to work, you always need two devices (all the starter kits reviewed here already come with two). The first adapter is connected to the power socket closest to your router. Then, you connect the powerline adapter to your router with a regular Ethernet cable (usually provided with your adapter).

Now, you take the second powerline adapter, and connect it to a power socket that is close to your TV. This time, you connect the adapter to your TV (or streamer) with a second Ethernet cable.

Of course, you can also connect the second adapter to a computer, or any other device that needs a wired internet connection. Plus, you can create a multiple-room network – by connecting A THIRD (and a fourth…) powerline adapter in another room, you will get another wired connection to use with another device.

Now, you just have to press a button on both devices at once, and… voila! Like magic, the two devices create a data network inside your walls, and your TV/Streamer now have their own, direct line into the internet – and to your favorite programmes.

The Downsides Of Using A Powerline Adapter

Even the best powerline adapters reviewed here have their issues, and are not always the perfect solution.

Since they depend on your electrical wiring, old houses with problematic wiring might pose problems, which you will only find out about once you actually connect your adapters.

In addition, just like with WiFi (but for different reasons), the data signal degrades over long distances. So if you live in Downton Abbey, you might have issues connecting the kitchen to the upper bedrooms… but even in regular homes, making the connection travel between different floors will lower the speed your TV is getting.

Additionally, powerline adapters should not be connected via lead extension cables or surge protectors, as that will hinder their performance – so you need an available, separate wall socket next to your TV. (Some of the best powerline adapters come with an electric pass-through, which means you can still use that socket for other devices as well).

And, of course, there’s the cord issue – after all, we’re cord cutters, so we don’t want cords running around the house, right? So yes, you do need an Ethernet cable running between your TV and the adapter. But if your socket is close enough, you can use a short cable, and that’s a decent price to pay for higher-quality streaming.

Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Powerline Adapter

With so many models, manufacturers and speeds out there, it might seem difficult to choose the powerline adapter that’s best for you. I’ve tried to simplify the process by listing five of the best, with different needs in mind.

Whichever model you eventually decide to buy, there are a few points you should take note of before you buy:

1. Powerline Adapter’s Speed

Powerline adapters come in many different speeds (that means the broadband speed your TV will actually get through the adapter). The older models had 200Mbps (that’s megaBITS per second, not megaBYTES), then 500 became common, and there’s 1000, 1200, and the newest one – 2,000Mbps.

Internet Speed meter

Since the point is to give your TV internet at good speeds, don’t bother with 500 ones – you should get, at the very least, a 1,000Mbps powerline adapter. Keep in mind, those numbers are theoretical – they represent the maximum “possible” bandwidth speed, but in real life, you will get much lower numbers.

Still, 1,000 is enough in most cases – even for streaming 4K video. If, however, you plan on connecting the adapter to more than one device at a time (or use another adapter in a different room), you should look into a higher data speed – 1200, or even the newer 2,000.

Keep in mind that if at some point you decide to buy a third powerline adapter (for another TV, for example, or to connect a computer in a different room), the entire network will be as fast (or as slow) as your slowest adapter. So if you buy a 1000Mbps one now, and later buy a 2,000 one and connect it to the original one – you would still get 1,000.

2. HomePlug AV2 Standard

There are several companies that manufacture powerline adapters, but thankfully, there’s a standard that many of them follow.

The HomePlug AV2 Standard is a set of technical requirements and specifications for powerline adapters.

In addition to providing better support for high-speed connections, the standard also requires adapters to have an AES 128-bit encryption button – if you have neighbors who share your electrical wiring, encryption will stop them from “stealing” your data through your, well, walls.

Powerline adapters that carry the AV2 symbol are also inter-compatible, so if you wish to buy another powerline adapter in the future, and use it on the same network, you won’t have to buy the same model – but just one that also conforms to the AV2 standard.

3. How many ports do you need?

Some powerline adapters come with ONE Ethernet port, while others come with two (and even three). If you’re going to need to connect more than one device to your adapter, you should buy an adapter with two Ethernet ports. (For example – one to connect to your Smart TV, and a second one to connect to your Playstation 4).

4. Passthrough or No Passthrough?

Remember, even the best powerline adapters need to be connected directly to the wall, without and extension leads. And if you have a shortage of wall sockets next to your TV or your router, you might end up with a missing socket once you connect the adapter.

For those cases, you can buy a powerline adapter with an integrated passthrough which you can use as a regular power socket, so nothing goes to waste.

Cord Busters’ Best Powerline Adapters 2017

RankPowerline AdapterOur RatingPrice
1TP-Link 1000 2-Port⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

2TP-Link 1000 Passthrough⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

3D-Link DHP-601AV/B 1000⭐⭐⭐⭐

4TP-Link AV2000 Passthrough⭐⭐⭐⭐

5Netgear PLW1000 WiFi⭐⭐⭐

Netgear PLW1000-100UKS 1000

Price

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Features

⭐⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Ethernet AND WiFi Extender
  • Good speed and WiFi reception
  • Good price

Cons

  • Only one Ethernet port
  • Configuration can be a bit of a mess when things go wrong
  • Questionable long-term build quality

Bottom Line

Sometimes you need a wired Ethernet connection for your TV/streamer, AND boost the WiFi signal around the room. Instead of getting two devices, this Netgear powerline adapter will serve both needs, with a 1,000Mbps speed, for a decent price.

As a wired powerline adapter, it’s not the best you can buy – it only has one Ethernet port, there’s no electric passthrough (there’s a similar model that comes with that – but it costs around £20 more), and some customers reported failings after only weeks of usage, which sometimes indicates patchy build quality.

But if you’re looking for a cheapish device that solves both the Ethernet and WiFi issues – the Netgear is the one to beat.

TP-Link AV2000 TL-PA9020P Passthrough

Price

⭐⭐

Features

⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Highest speed currently available
  • Improved performance over long distances
  • Two Ethernet ports and passthrough sockets

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Big and bulky
  • Led status lights on the side – difficult to see from afar

Bottom Line

If money’s not a factor, this is probably the best powerline adapter you can buy today. It’s twice as fast as all the other adapters, with 2,000Mbps, which means you can watch TWO 4K streams at the same time, with devices connected to both ports.

It has two Gigabit Ethernet ports,  an outlet passthrough, and promises to work better over long distances – though, keep in mind, this still depends on the quality of the electrical wiring in your house.

The problem? The price. It’s not only the fastest, it’s also one of the most expensive powerline adapters out there, and if you’re just looking for a quick an easy solution for your living room TV, this might be an overkill at that price.

D-Link DHP-601AV/B AV2 1000

Price

Features

⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Small size, won’t cover an adjacent socket

Cons

  • Only one Ethernet port
  • The included Ethernet cables are too short
  • Makes some noise which might annoy you in a quiet room

Bottom Line

This D-LINK powerline adapter is like the mirror image of our 4th place – basic, no flashy features and no extra speed – but very cheap.

If you’re looking for something that does the job without too many bell and whistles – this is it. You get what you pay for, so if your electrical wiring is patchy, or if there’s a very long distance between your outlets, this might not be the best choice – but for this price, it’s hard to beat. 

TP-Link 1000Mbps TL-PA7020PKIT Passthrough

Price

Features

⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐

Pros

  • Excellent performance and speed
  • Easy, plug-and-play pairing
  • Decent price if you need a passthrough sock.

Cons

  • Power-saving feature can get too trigger-happy
  • The included Ethernet cables (2m) are a bit short for a living room

Bottom Line

Our choices for the 1st and 2nd place are basically the same adapter – but one has a passthrough and one doesn’t – so the price depends on whether your need that extra socket or not.

These do an excellent job, and at a very fair price. Installation was a breeze, just press the encryption button on both devices and you’re done. They’re not the cheapest powerline adapters out there – but the added price gets you better build quality.

The speed is enough for most cord cutting scenarios (unless you’re connecting TWO 4K devices). There’s a similar model, the TL-PA8010PKIT, which is a bit faster at 1,200Mbps – but you only get one Ethernet port for this price, so check your needs.

TP-Link 1000 TL-PA7020KIT

Price

Features

⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐

Pros

  • Good price if you don’t need a passthrough socket
  • Excellent performance and speed
  • Easy, plug-and-play pairing

Cons

  • Power-saving feature can get too trigger-happy
  • The included Ethernet cables (2m) are a bit short for a living room

Bottom Line

Basically the same model as the second place, but this one doesn’t come with a passthrough socket – so if you don’t need one, you’ll save some pounds on the price.

Installation is easy with one press of a button, performance is great, just remember that faulty or old electrical wiring can hinder your results.

It’s a fast and reliable powerline adapter – sure, there are faster ones out there, but they’re more expensive, and for a cord cutter looking to stream HD or 4K content on your TV, this is certainly enough.

Writer and news editor based in London, I cut the TV cord back in 2014 and never looked back. I watch A LOT of TV, and thankfully I can choose whatever I want to watch without depending on archaic channels.

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