The best powerline extenders can fill a home’s pesky Wi-Fi deadspots seemingly by magic. Using a house’s own power cabling, it sends signals in the walls to any connected AC outlet to spread the reach of your network to the farthest rooms, without blindly pumping fresh Wi-Fi signal.
We used and reviewed the top powerline extender kits under real world conditions to help you pick the best device. Our criteria emphasizes value with everything from the device’s price, design and power use to whether it has an AC outlet to make up for the one it uses, its throughput and range.
Using powerline gear couldn’t be simpler: plug a small sending box in near where your data broadband connection is and a receiver where you want data to end up. There’s no software, configuration or passwords to fuss with. On the downside, rather than a fresh Wi-Fi signal, the data come out of a wired Ethernet port. Plus, the farther the signal has to travel, the less data that gets through to the receiver so that older homes with complicated wiring suffer from reduced range. In the typical home, powerline extensions can reach about a hundred feet, plenty for all but a mansion.