Best Powerline Adapters For UK Home Broadband In 2020

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Gone are the days when we only needed an internet connection near our computers – now, with Smart TVs and streaming video becoming so popular, we need fast internet connections in more than one room – and WiFi is often not good enough.

Powerline Adapters offer a wired solution, which is based on wires you already have in your walls – the powerlines. They use advanced technology to pass data via those wires, and you then connect your devices to the adapter with an Ethernet cable.

In this article, I review the best Powerline Adapter kits you can buy in the UK in 2020 – for cord cutters, and for general use as part of your home network.

Best Powerline Adapters 2020

Editor's Choice
5/5

Excellent performance and speed, compact design and an affordable price

TP-LINK TL-PA7017 KIT 1-Port Gigabit Powerline Starter Kit, Data transfer speed Up To 1000 Mbps, Ideal for HD/3D/4K video streaming & Online Gaming(for Wired Only), No Configuration required

Our Rating
4.5/5

Super-fast connection with the latest G.hn technology, but more expensive

Devolo Magic 2-2400 LAN Starter Kit: Stable Home Working, Powerline Starter Kit Up to 2400 Mbps for Your Powerline Home Network, 1x Gb LAN Port, Ideal for Online Gaming, 4k/8k UHD Streaming

Our Rating
4/5

Highest speed available, great range, but you’ll pay more

TP-Link TL-PA9020PKIT 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit, Data Transfer Speed Up to 2000 Mbps, Ideal for HD Video Streaming and Online Gaming, No Configuration Required, UK Plug

Best Value Powerline Adapters 2020

Our Rating
3.5/5

Excellent price for a decent adapter kit with surprisingly good specs

Tenda PH3 1000Mbps Powerline Adapter Kit with Single Port/Home Plug AV2 UK Extender, for fast & stable network expansion, UK Plug Version - Pack of 2, White

Our Rating
3/5

Decent performance for a decent price from a well-known company

NETGEAR PL1000-100UKS PL1000 Powerline 1000 Mbps 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port Adapter, Homeplug Access Point

Are Powerline Adapters Better Than Wifi?

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 telly and everything else?

The answer 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 streams use up to 7GB per hour.

This means that if you’re watching one episode of Stranger Things in 4K, your TV or computer 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.

What is 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 a lot of 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 thick 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 200Mbps, but by the time it reaches your TV on the second floor, the poor thing only gets an equivalent of 20Mbps.

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 or computer are in a different room (let alone a different floor), you wouldn’t want to start pulling ugly cables throughout 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 (Yes, 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 kit).

Now, you take the second powerline adapter, and connect it to a power socket that is close to your TV or computer. Then, 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 favourite programmes.

Powerline Adapter Issues And Downsides

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 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 devices are 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/computer 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.

Best Powerline Adapters UK 2019

What Powerline Adapter Should I Buy – Things To Consider

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 600 became common, and there’s 1000, 1200, and the newest one – 2,400Mbps.

Internet Speed meter

Since the point is to give your TV internet at good speeds, don’t bother with 500-600 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 – 2,000, or even 2,400.

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 1,000Mbps 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 VS G.hn

There are several companies that manufacture powerline adapters, but thankfully, there’s a standard that many of them follow – with another, more advanced one, slowly creeping up.

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 neighbours 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.

The newer, G.hn standard, supports higher speeds – up to 2,400Mbps (again, that’s the theoretical maximum speed). The G.hn standard also promises a better range – so the distance between your powerline adapters can be greater.

However, G.hn devices are more expensive for now – and they’re not backwards compatible, so all your adapters will have to support the G.hn standard.

3. How many ports do I 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. Powerline Adapter With Passthrough or No-Passthrough?

Remember, even the best powerline adapters need to be connected directly to the wall, without any 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.

Powerline Adapter VS. WiFi Range Extender

A WiFi range extender/booster is another solution for “spreading” your internet connection further around your house. An extender sits “in the middle” between your broadband router and the rest of the house, and “sends” the WiFi signal further away than what the router alone can do.

The pros? You don’t need to connect any additional cables around the house, and you don’t need to rely on your electrical wiring. But can it truly replace a good powerline adapter?

The answer depends on your situation and your needs. If your WiFi reception around the house is bad (that can happen due to a bad router, heavy walls, etc’) then a WiFi range extender may just spread that faulty WiFi around the house, without actually improving it.

Additionally, if you want to reach different floors in the same house – a range extender may not be powerful enough (though a WiFi mesh system might help in this case).

My suggestion? If you need a permanent, stable and fast connection, far from your router – go with a powerline adapter. For connecting multiple devices, especially when speed and stability are less crucial – a WiFi range extender can help. (And it also might be needed for WiFi-only devices like a WiFi smart plug).

There’s also a solution that will give you the best of both worlds – a powerline adapter that ALSO creates a WiFi network around itself, extending your WiFi to other areas. The devolo Magic 2 WiFi is an excellent example of this – but it comes at a cost.

Best Powerline Adapters 2020: Our Picks

 Best Overall  

Excellent performance, speed and range

TP-LINK TL-PA7017 KIT 1-Port Gigabit Powerline Starter Kit, Data transfer speed Up To 1000 Mbps, Ideal for HD/3D/4K video streaming & Online Gaming(for Wired Only), No Configuration required

Editor's Choice
Price
5/5
Features
4.5/5
Overall
5/5

Pros

Cons

Features List

  • Speed: 1,000Mbps
  • Range: Up to 300m
  • Ethernet Ports: 1
  • Power socket passthrough: No

Bottom Line

This powerline adapter kit does an excellent job, and at a very fair price. Installation is a breeze, just press the pairing button on both devices and you’re done. Performance is great, just remember that faulty or old electrical wiring can hinder your results. These are not the cheapest powerline adapters out there, and they don’t have a passthrough socket, but you get excellent value from a known brand.

The speed is enough for most cord cutting scenarios (unless you’re connecting TWO 4K devices). There’s a similar model, the TL-PA9020KIT, which is faster at 2,000Mbps – but it’s more expensive, so check your needs.

This is a fast and reliable powerline adapter – sure, there are faster ones out there, but they’re expensive, and if you’re looking to stream HD or 4K content on your TV or computer, this is certainly enough.

Incredible performance and speed, but at a higher cost

Devolo Magic 2-2400 LAN Starter Kit: Stable Home Working, Powerline Starter Kit Up to 2400 Mbps for Your Powerline Home Network, 1x Gb LAN Port, Ideal for Online Gaming, 4k/8k UHD Streaming

Price
4/5
Features
5/5
Overall
4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Features List

  • Speed: 2,400Mbps
  • Range: Up to 500m
  • Ethernet Ports: 1
  • Power socket passthrough: Yes

Bottom Line

devolo’s Powerline Adapters are the current market leaders in terms of performance and the technology used – though that comes at a cost.

Using G.hn technology, these can reach speeds of up to 2,400Mbps (though that’s theoretical speed – the actual speed, which will always be lower, depends on the wires and distances in your house).

They offer great, stable performance, and you can easily add more units if you need to connect additional rooms.

If you also need to extend your WiFi, devolo offer the “Magic 2 WiFi next” model, which creates a WiFi mesh network around the adapters (see my full review of the Magic 2 WiFi).

All in all, it’s up to you whether to pay the extra cost – but if you do, you won’t go wrong with this excellent kit.

Super high-speed and stability

TP-Link TL-PA9020PKIT 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit, Data Transfer Speed Up to 2000 Mbps, Ideal for HD Video Streaming and Online Gaming, No Configuration Required, UK Plug

Price
3/5
Features
5/5
Overall
5/5

Pros

Cons

Features List

  • Speed: 2,000Mbps
  • Range: Up to 300m
  • Ethernet Ports: 2
  • Power socket passthrough: Yes

Bottom Line

If you’re less concerned about the cost, this is probably the best powerline adapter kit 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, a socket 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, but it’s also one of the more 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 overkill at that price.

Tenda PH3 1000Mbps Powerline Adapter Kit with Single Port/Home Plug AV2 UK Extender, for fast & stable network expansion, UK Plug Version - Pack of 2, White

Best Value
Price
5/5
Features
3/5
Overall
3.5/5

Pros

Cons

Features List

  • Speed: 1,000Mbps
  • Range: Not Specified
  • Ethernet Ports: 1
  • Power socket passthrough: No (But available on this model)

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a basic (and decent) powerline adapter that won’t have all the bells and whistles, but will do its job well – consider the Tenda PH3.

There’s only one ethernet port, and no socket passthrough, but you get good performance (for the most part) at an excellent price. 

As is often the case with cheaper tech, build quality sometimes suffers, so some buyers have reported technical issues problems with the speed – though most others were quite pleased. 

This powerline adapter kit also some with a “Power Saving” feature, which is supposed to turn the device off when not in use, saving you “up to 88% of power consumption”. However, as I’ve seen with several adapters that have this feature, it sometimes messes up and turns off your device when it IS in use, so be mindful of that.

All in all, for the price, you get decent performance and excellent value for money.

NETGEAR PL1000-100UKS PL1000 Powerline 1000 Mbps 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port Adapter, Homeplug Access Point

Price
4/5
Features
3/5
Overall
3/5

Pros

Cons

Features List

  • Speed: 1,000Mbps
  • Range: Up to 500m
  • Ethernet Ports: 1
  • Power socket passthrough: No

Bottom Line

You don’t always have to spend a lot to get a decent, reliable device – and the Netgear PL1000 is another one that fits that bill.

As a wired powerline adapter, it’s not the best you can buy – it only has one Ethernet port, there’s no electric passthrough (though you can get a similar model that has one, for a little extra), and some customers reported failings after only weeks of usage, and some issues with the “Power Saving” mode that might be a bit too trigger-happy.

But if you’re looking for a cheapish device from a reputable company – the Netgear PL1000 is a solid choice.