Do Powerline Adapters Use a Lot of Electricity?

Powerline adapters are a useful way of being able to extend a wired internet connection throughout your home without the hassle of having to run new cables, but some people may have concerns around whether they use a lot of electricity given that they are always plugged into the mains.

Powerline adapters use as little as 2W of electricity which makes them energy efficient and very cheap to run. This equates to a cost of just $0.0027 per day and less than $1 over the course of an entire year.

How Does a Powerline Adapter Work?

If you aren’t familiar with how a powerline adapter actually works, let me give you a quick run down to bring you up to speed.

Powerline adapters are a quick, easy and affordable way to extend the network in your home to areas where Wi-Fi may not reach. Instead of having to run new cables to extend the network, powerline adapters transmit the signal along the pre-existing electrical wiring found in your walls.

It is simply a case of plugging the adapter into an available power outlet within the area of your house where you are looking to extend the network.

Powerline adapters can be very beneficial in the following situations:

  • If you have a large home and only a single router where Wi-Fi may not reach certain areas
  • If you want a potentially faster network connection without having to run new Ethernet cables 
  • If you want to connect devices to your network that don’t support Wi-Fi

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How Much Electricity Does a Powerline Adapter Use?

I have done some research into how much electricity powerline adapters use and was pleasantly surprised into how little it actually is. Having compared a few different powerline adapters from reputable companies, I found they typically use a maximum of between 2W and 3W of power.

Some brands use slightly more, whereas others use slightly less. The difference is very small though so it isn’t worth getting too caught up on.

The point is that powerline adapters use very little electricity to run regardless of the model you decide to use. Here is a handy table comparing some of the popular models of powerline adapters and the maximum amount of power in Watts they will consume when being used.

ManufacturerModelMaximum Power Consumption
TP-LinkTL-PA4010KIT2.3W
NetgearPL12001.93W
TendaAV10003.2W
ZyXelPLA52064W
Do Powerline Adapters Use a Lot of Electricity

How Much Does a Powerline Adapter Cost to Run?

With the fact that powerline adapters really don’t use much electricity in mind, you may now be wondering how this translates into how much they cost to run.

It’s really just a case of doing some simple math and I suspect you’ll be pleased to hear that running a pair of powerline adapters can cost less than a cup of coffee over the course of an entire year. 

As an example, let’s assume that a typical powerline adapter uses 2W of power and is used for 10 hours per day. The average cost for electricity in the United States is around 13.31 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

With this in mind, our example powerline adapter consuming 2W of power for 10 hours per day at a cost of 13.31 cents per kWh equates to a cost of just $0.0027 per day. This is less than a single dollar over the course of an entire year!

See? I told you they were cheap to run!

The cost of electricity does vary depending on where you are in the world, so I put together this handy table to help show you how much you could expect to have to pay to run a single powerline adapter where you may live.

CountryPower consumptionHours of user per day1 kWh costCost per year
United States2W1013.31 cents$0.97
United Kingdom2W1014.37 pence£1.05
Canada2W1011.85 cents$0.86
Australia2W1034.41 cents$2.51

As you can see, running costs for a powerline adapter do vary slightly depending on where you live and how much you have to pay for your electricity. The cost per year does appear to be quite a bit higher in Australia but do bear in mind that this is the cost for an Australian dollar. 1 AUD equates to around $0.70 in the US.

Related article: How Much Electricity Does a Computer Use If Left On?

Are Powerline Adapters Really That Cheap?

Yes, powerline adapters are cheap to run, but let’s not forget some of the other expenses that are involved in incorporating them into your home network.

It’s great looking at the above stats and seeing it will cost you less than a $1 to run an adapter per year, but don’t forget you must first make the initial purchase of getting the powerline adapters themselves.

Prices will vary depending on the brand and model you choose, but you can be looking at having to spend between $40 and $90 dollars for a pair of powerline adapters. For some, that is not an insignificant amount of money.

Also, notice I said pair there. For a powerline network to function, at least two adapters are needed. Thankfully most manufacturers will ship a pair of adapters as part of a starter kit.

This does mean, however, that the approximate $0.97 dollars to run a single powerline adapter in the United States immediately doubles.

In my opinion, yes, powerline adapters are a cheap way to expand the wired network connection in your home. You just need to get over the hurdle of purchasing the adapters themselves first. Once you’ve made that initial investment, it should be plain sailing in terms of running costs.

Conclusion

Powerline adapters are an incredibly easy and convenient way of being able to expand your wired network connection throughout your home without spending very much money at all, especially when it comes to running costs.

Powerline adapters make a great case for being one of the cheapest ways to potentially help improve your network connectivity at home, even when you consider having to make that initial purchase to even get the powerline adapters in the first place.

If you fear that incorporating some powerline adapters throughout your home will see your electricity usage skyrocket and result in your energy bills going through the roof, simply don’t.

These handy devices use next to no electricity and cost an almost unnoticeable amount to run for an entire year.