7 Best Powerline Adapters for Gaming in 2021

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Aug 30, 2021

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best powerline adapter for gaming

If a direct Ethernet connection isn’t an option, powerline is easily the next best way to get your gaming room online. But choosing the best powerline adapter for gaming can seem like a daunting task. From the often incomprehensible model names to the differences in features, performance, and prices, there’s a lot of noise you need to cut through to find the perfect adapter.

To help you get your gaming room’s internet up to par, we’ve done the research and picked seven products that will capably offer powerline ethernet for gaming. Time to get stuck in.

Our Favorite Powerline Adapters for Gaming

1. TP-Link TL-WPA8631P

Best Powerline Adapter Overall

Maximum Speed1300 Mbps
StandardHomePlug AV2
Connectivity3x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Wi-FiWiFi 5 (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
Other FeaturesMIMO, OneMesh support, AC outlet

TP-Link’s TLP-WPA8631P is a WiFi-equipped powerline adapter that wins our pick for the best overall adapter right now. It has everything you want from a high-end powerline adapter including three gigabit Ethernet jacks, an AC passthrough outlet, and even Mesh WiFi support.

Sure, the 1300 Mbps maximum speed doesn’t look that great on paper. But you’re unlikely to see any substantial real-world difference between this powerline adapter and the “2000 Mbps” kits. If its predecessor (the TL-WPA8630) is anything to go by, you’ll still be getting good speeds despite the lower theoretical maximum. Tech Advisor managed to get 100 Mbps from the older adapter kit over Ethernet and 90 Mbps over WiFi.

Data for this exact kit is hard to come by right now. However, TP-Link’s strong track record with WiFi powerline adapters means we’re still comfortable recommending the TL-WPA8631P despite that.

TP-Link WPA8631p powerline adapter

Source: TP-Link

If you want to play it safe, you could go for the older version. It’s still a good product that will perform on par with newer powerline adapters. But the WPA8631P has a couple of improvements that make it a better choice overall.

First up is the addition of AC passthrough sockets to the WPA8631P. We think all powerline adapters at around this price range should have AC sockets, so it’s excellent that TP-Link added them here. You won’t be giving up any wall sockets with the TL-WPA8631P.

The TL-WPA8631P also has support for TP-Link’s OneMesh technology. You can pair it with a OneMesh-enabled router like the TP-Link Archer AX21 to set up a Mesh WiFi network. Note that the 8631P can’t create the network on its own, unlike our next pick from Devolo.

A visualization of TP-Link’s OneMesh. Source: TP-Link

The extra gigabit Ethernet port is also a plus point in the WPA8631P’s favor vs. other powerline adapters. It’s great if you have a smart TV, console, and PC you want to connect via Ethernet cable for maximum stability.

Overall, we think the TP-Link WPA8631P is a versatile unit that will serve you well for both wired and wireless use-cases. It might not be the absolute fastest or most cutting-edge powerline adapter you can buy, but it’s a capable product from a trustworthy brand known for its networking products.

2. Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next

Best Powerline Adapter for Mesh WiFi
Maximum Speed2400 Mbps
StandardG.hn Wave 2
Connectivity2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Wi-FiWiFi 5 (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
Other FeaturesMesh WiFi, MU-MIMO, access point steering, AC outlet

Live in a large (say, 3000 square feet and above) or multi-story house and need a powerline adapter kit that’s perfect for your gaming rig and mobile devices? Then take a look at the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi.

The Magic 2 WiFi is a cutting-edge powerline adapter kit that uses the newest G.hn Wave 2 standard, allowing for a maximum theoretical speed of 2400 Mbps. Real-world performance won’t hit those speeds, but 119 Mbps in Tech Advisor’s testing puts it roughly on par with the other best powerline adapters.

In contrast, Appuals managed a more impressive 217 Mbps. But the Magic 2 WiFi shines when you use it to create a Mesh WiFi network at home. The same Tech Advisor review reports “a consistent Wi-Fi speed of around 700 Mbps from both adaptors.”

Devolo Magic 2 Wifi next powerline adapter

Source: Devolo

The top-tier speeds go hand-in-hand with high-end features such as MU-MIMO and access point steering common to high-quality Mesh WiFi products. MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) reduces congestion when many users simultaneously try to access the router. If you have a large household, MU-MIMO will ensure that their devices won’t impact your gaming.

A visualization of access point steering. Source: Devolo

Access point steering allows each adapter to redirect a device to a different adapter with a better signal or reception. Most smartphones and laptops don’t automatically do this, so your connection quality will suffer as you move through your house.

Like to indulge in a bit of PUBG Mobile while you walk around the house? Access point steering will make sure you don’t lose a kill due to a dropped WiFi connection.

The major downside of the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi is the price. $300 for a whole home kit with the LAN adapter and two WiFi adapters isn’t cheap. But if you need a combination of Mesh WiFi and powerline, this is the only real option.

Devolo also sells a “starter kit” with only one WiFi adapter for a lower price if you don’t need as much coverage.

3. Netgear PLP2000

Best Non-WiFi Powerline Adapter
Maximum Speed2000 Mbps
StandardHomePlug AV2
Connectivity2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Other FeaturesMIMO, “Pick-a-Plug”, noise-filtered AC outlet

In the market for a high-speed powerline adapter for wired connections? Netgear’s PLP2000 powerline adapter kit is the kit for you. The PLP2000 has a maximum theoretical speed of 2000 Mbps, making it one of the fastest powerline adapters available. And while theoretical maximums are mostly unachievable, the PLP2000 at least manages to turn in some impressive real-world numbers, too.

Tom’s Guide managed 101.0 Mbps out to 100 feet, with performance dropping to 81.9 Mbps beyond that. You can go up to 600 feet with the PLP2000 before the performance begins to fall even further, but that should be enough for most gamers in average-sized homes.

Sure, you won’t be downloading or uploading at blazing-fast speeds, but even 81.9 Mbps will be more than enough bandwidth for Valorant or CS:GO. Ping is critical for competitive gaming, and it has more to do with the quality of your connection to the server than your bandwidth itself. As long as you’re not trying to split that 82 Mbps over multiple devices, you’ll be fine.

Netgear PLP2000 powerline adapter for gaming

Source: Netgear

Netgear has added two interesting features to the PLP2000 that we think are worth highlighting. First up is extra noise filtering on the AC outlet that the company claims will reduce interference and improve network speeds.

There’s also a “Pick-a-Plug” LED that helps you identify the wall outlet with the best network speeds, indicated by the color of the LED. It’s a nice feature that will save you the hassle of manually running a speed test on each outlet to find the fastest.

Overall, Netgear’s PLP2000 is an excellent choice if you want a high-speed wired powerline adapter. The 90-day warranty isn’t ideal given the roughly $100 price, but we think the performance is worth it. If WiFi isn’t essential and you need powerline ethernet for gaming, start here first.

4. Zyxel PLA6456

Best G.hn Wave 2 Powerline Adapter
Maximum Speed2400 Mbps
StandardG.hn Wave 2
Connectivity1x Gigabit Ethernet port
Other FeaturesAC power outlet, standby mode

Zyxel’s PLA6456 powerline adapter kit is worth checking out if you’re searching for the latest G.hn Wave 2 technology at a lower price than the Devolo kit. It’s not without its compromises, but the performance may be worth the minor drawbacks.

One of the biggest drawbacks to the Zyxel kit is the single Ethernet port. It’s OK if you only need to connect a PC or console, but it’s not ideal if you have multiple appliances requiring a wired Ethernet connection. You’ll need a router in that case, which will significantly add to the cost of your setup.

The speeds you can get out of the Zyxel adapter kit may be worth the extra expense of a router, though. Dong Ngo over at Dong Knows Tech managed to get 533 Mbps with the routers 10 feet apart and a still-impressive 350 Mbps with the powerline adapters “much further away.”

The 10-foot result is a bit academic since there’s no point using powerline for those distances. The 350 Mbps result is promising, though. G Style Mag also tested the Zyxel and found it was about 10 times faster than a HomePlug AV2 powerline adapter in the same house. The Zyxel managed 80 Mbps vs. the 8 Mbps of their older adapter.

Zyxel PLA6456 powerline adapter

Source: Zyxel

While both results are impressive, we should remind you that your mileage will likely vary depending on factors such as wiring quality and electrical interference. It’s worth noting that G Style Mag’s 80 Mbps is still slower than the speeds other reviewers obtained with older HomePlug AV2 kits.

The Zyxel PLA6456 is a worthy contender, as it’s potentially very fast and has the latest powerline technology. If you only need one Ethernet port and don’t mind taking a chance to see how G.hn Wave 2 performs for you, the Zyxel is worth checking out.

5. TP-Link TL-PA9020P

Best Powerline Adapter for Long Distances
Maximum Speed2000 Mbps
StandardHomePlug AV2
Connectivity2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Other FeaturesMIMO, AC outlet

If you’re looking for a powerline adapter that offers coverage that can compete with the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next for less money, check out the TP-Link TL-PA9020P (or AV2000). Sure, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Devolo kit, but not everybody needs those features. The TP-Link kit is a brilliant no-frills option with solid performance and broad coverage.

The TL-PA9290P’s central selling point is the impressive 1075-foot maximum distance between sender and receiver. But that doesn’t mean the TL-PA9020P isn’t useful at shorter distances, too: Tech Advisor reports 117 Mbps speeds with the TL-PA9020P, while Lifewire found that the kit increased speeds to “104.9Mbps download and 6Mbps upload, with under 10-millisecond ping.”

The performance will worsen the further out you go, but Tom’s Guide still managed to get a passable 36.3 Mbps in a “previously offline” garage. Netgear’s PLP2000 wasn’t able to do so, making the TL-PA9020P the better choice for exceptionally long distances.

TP-Link TL-PA9020P powerline adapter

Source: TP-Link

Sure, 36.3 Mbps doesn’t look like much. But it’ll still be enough bandwidth for esports titles, as long as you’re not trying to download or stream a bunch of other content at the same time. If you game in your garage or some other faraway corner of your home, this kit should do the trick perfectly.

The TP-Link TL-PA9020P is a no-frills powerline adapter. Beyond the class-leading distance, the only standout features are 2×2 MIMO for better speeds and stability and the AC outlets. This lack of eye-catching features isn’t a negative at all, and it’s good to see a product that isn’t overstuffed with features that most people won’t use.

If you need to extend your internet to the farthest reaches of your house without setting up a Mesh WiFi network, The TP-Link TL-PA9020P should be your first choice. Sure, it won’t offer you super-high speeds, but it’ll be enough for gaming and everyday use.

6. Comtrend PG-9182S4

Best Powerline Adapter for Multiple Devices
Maximum Speed2000 Mbps
StandardG.hn Wave 2
Connectivity4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
Other FeaturesMIMO, “Quick Noise Adaptation” technology

Powerline adapters generally top out at three Ethernet jacks. Comtrend, though, bucks the trend by offering four gigabit Ethernet jacks on its PG-9182S4 powerline adapters.

The Comtrend PG-9182S4 is a G.hn Wave 2 powerline kit with a maximum speed of 2000 Mbps. We haven’t been able to find any reviews with real-world speeds, but we expect it to perform similarly to the other Wave 2 kits on our list. With, of course, the standard variation depending on your electrical wiring and other factors.

Comtrend includes what it calls “Quick Noise Adaptation” (QNA) technology in the PG-9182S4. The company claims that QNA helps improve performance “via lower latency and jitter-sensitive applications.”

Comtrend PG-9182S4 powerline adapter

Source: Comtrend

The PG-9182S4 is relatively feature-light otherwise, lacking even the AC outlet you get on most of our other picks. That’s a slight disappointment, but it’s all about the four gigabit Ethernet ports here.

And it’s those four ports that earn the Comtrend PG-9182S4 a place on our list. The lack of actual data and limited customer reviews makes this a niche recommendation. If you only need one or two wired connections, consider any of our other picks first.

But does your gaming room have a PC, a couple of consoles, and a smart TV that need wired connections? In that case, the Comtrend PG-9182S4 will let you connect all of them without having to purchase an extra router.

7. Tenda PH3

Best Budget Powerline Adapter
Maximum Speed1000 Mbps
StandardHomePlug AV2
Connectivity1x Gigabit Ethernet port
Other FeaturesN/A

Can’t spend $100 on a powerline adapter? Consider the Tenda PH3, our pick for the best budget powerline adaptor right now. It’s a simple kit that does its job well, offering speeds that aren’t that much slower than the much more expensive adapters on our list.

Sure, 99 Mbps isn’t as fast as a kit like the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next. But it’s surprisingly close to most of the other powerline adapters on our list. Where the price shows is in the lack of features. Say goodbye to niceties like multiple Ethernet sockets, MIMO, and AC pass-through outlets.

But by giving up all that, you do get a significant reduction in price that makes the PH3 perfect for a single-room powerline ethernet solution. We wouldn’t recommend it for the entire house, but if you just need to get a single gaming room online? In that case, the Tenda PH3 should do fine.

Tenda PH3 budget powerline adapter

Source: Tenda

Tenda doesn’t disclose the PH3’s maximum range, but its budget price suggests it won’t trouble any of the pricier units here. That said, Tech Advisor achieved its 99 Mbps speeds with adapters two floors apart, so the range is at least passable.

Overall, the Tenda PH3 is a solid, if rudimentary, powerline adapter. It doesn’t have any eye-catching features, and the lack of something basic like MIMO makes it a relatively limited powerline adapter compared to the more expensive kits on our list. But it is less than $50, and sometimes you have to sacrifice quite a bit to hit that price point.

If you’re willing to pay around $20 more, the Tenda PH5 adds WiFi and an extra Ethernet port to the strong core performance of the PH3.

Before You Buy

Buying a powerline adapter is one of the best ways to speed up your internet. But before you proceed with your Amazon cart, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to make the best decision possible.

What’s Up With Those Maximum Speeds?

Powerline adapters, like routers, will often list a theoretical maximum speed on the box or in the promotional materials. 2400 Mbps, 2000 Mbps, 1200 Mbps; these are all top speeds that are only achievable in very carefully controlled test environments.

Factors such as distance between adapters, electrical noise, writing quality, and interference from other electrical devices will impact your powerline speeds. These factors (and more) are also why powerline speeds can differ significantly between reviewers.

Reviews are still helpful to get a general idea of performance, though. So make sure to read reviews on sites like Tech Advisor and Lifewire for real-world performance numbers. You likely won’t get the exact numbers you see in tests, so be prepared to return adapters if they don’t perform as well as you need.

Do You Need an Adapter with WiFi?

Some powerline adapters, like the Devolo Magic WiFi 2 next and TP-Link TL-WPA8631P, have built-in WiFi receivers. These routers are incredibly convenient, and you won’t need much (if any) technical know-how to get a usable Wi-Fi signal from these adapters.

On the other hand, a powerline adapter kit like the Netgear PLP2000 doesn’t have any built-in WiFi functionality. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use WiFi with it, only that you’ll need a second router to serve as a wireless access point. Using a router for WiFi takes up space and another plug point, which may be less convenient.

It also requires the willingness to dive into the router’s settings to set it up as a wireless access point. It’s not a complicated process, but it’s undoubtedly less straightforward than WiFi-enabled powerline adapters. Check your router’s manual for instructions, as they will differ between manufacturers and models.

wireless access point graphic

Source: FS Community

Non-WiFi powerline adapters are a bit cheaper, but the extra cost of a second router will make it more expensive overall than a kit with built-in WiFi. Powerline adapters with WiFi are more versatile and the safer option, but not everyone will need WiFi.

For example, maybe the signal in your room’s decent enough for your phone but is too unreliable for online gaming. If that’s the case, a non-WiFi powerline adapter should do the trick perfectly and save you a bit of cash.

Powerline vs. WiFi vs. Ethernet

When it comes to connecting devices to the internet, the simple Ethernet cable is undoubtedly the gold standard for speed and reliability. Cat5e cable supports 1000 Mbps, enough to take advantage of all but the fastest internet plans.

Ethernet cables are also reliable and don’t suffer from any interference issues whatsoever. That’s why we highly recommend you use wired Ethernet connections wherever possible. However, you sometimes just have to make do with extending your internet coverage. You can do this with either powerline or WiFi repeaters.

Powerline is preferable in almost all situations because it’s more stable and offers better connection speeds over long distances. Powerline also isn’t affected by the physical and radiofrequency obstructions—such as walls, glass, and electrical appliances—that negatively affect WiFi signals.

Powerline Diagram

Source: Zyxel

Powerline should be compatible with the electrical wiring in most homes. However, there’s no way of knowing for sure without testing yourself. Again, taking advantage of a good return policy is going to be essential here.

You will also have to spend time testing out each wall socket in your house to find the best one for carrying your internet signal. There’s no way of knowing beforehand, so you will have to go through the process yourself. But the slight initial hassle is worth it as it’ll be more reliable and faster than WiFi in most households.

Closing Thoughts

Choosing the best powerline adapter for gaming isn’t just a matter of throwing money at the most expensive product and calling it a day. If you don’t need Mesh WiFi, for instance, then the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next is just a waste of money. On a similar note, if you need a powerline adapter for mobile devices and laptops, you’ll ideally want one with WiFi like the TP-Link TL-WPA8631P or Tenda PH5.

So it’s all a matter of being aware of your needs and situations and then picking a suitable powerline adapter. A word of warning, though: you likely won’t get it right the first time around. There’s so much variability that the only way to know for sure is to buy a powerline adapter and see how it performs for you.

It might sound like a lot of hassle, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. All the best!

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