Having multiple devices in your home or office that demand for a wired connection is a rather common scenario these days. Unfortunately, just owning a modem isn’t enough in that sort of situations and you are required to provide an Ethernet switch that will allow for each of your devices to have internet access.
Of course, finding the best Ethernet switch for your needs isn’t an easy task, but hopefully, this guide will help you with that job and make things a little bit clearer, even if you are a complete beginner in this matter.
Last update on 2022-01-21 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
How to Choose the Best Ethernet Switch
As previously mentioned, the search for the best Ethernet switch demands a serious analysis, but what if you have no clue what to look for? Well, in that case, the following few lines will clear the things for you and make sense of it all.
Although there are various aspects that separate products among each other, not all of them are “born” equal. Some of them are more important, and for that reason, pay attention to the following:
Depending on the network type and use, you will have to choose the supported speed of your switch. If your needs require fast data transfers, video streaming or video calls, you will have to go for the faster gigabit switches. On the other hand, if your demands are limited, you can also get through with a fast Ethernet switch that has supported speeds a few times lower.
The Number of Ports
Probably the most important characteristic of any switch is its number of ports. Carefully count how many wired connections you require and decide on the device in accordance with that.
Also, keep in mind that things change and that today’s requirement for six connections may very easily turn into eight or nine in the years to come. For that reason, don’t be strict about the needed number of ports and always give yourself a little bit of space and go for the devices that offer more ports that you actually require.
The device itself either does the job or not, and that is something no function can change. However, it can change its efficiency and altogether provide a completely new user experience and perspective. Therefore, do a little research and find out what features (PoE, QoS, Auto DoS, etc.) may have such an impact and decide for the switch that has them.
If you want an easy-to-use device, without too much involvement, go for the unmanaged switch. On the other hand, if you are a network expert, or just want to control every aspect of your connection, choose the managed one.
9 Best Network Switches
A Basic Gigabit Switch with a Large Capacity
If you are into more affordable devices, without too many advanced features, but with a large number of ports, TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116) is an ideal device for you.
Its fanless design, combined with steel housing, doesn’t bring anything revolutionary, but it guarantees for great durability. The switch itself is unmanaged, comes with 16 gigabit ports and is equipped with auto-negotiation (it optimizes the switch performance according to the link speed on the port) and Auto-MDI/MDIX (it eliminates the need for crossover cables) function.
TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116) complies with IEEE 802.3ab/x/u/i standards and is supplied with DSCP QoS and IGMP Snooping feature, which smooths the latency and allows for a quality video and game streaming. Along with that, this switch has a power-saving function, which reduces the power on the ports when they are not in use, and more importantly, offers a simple setup that makes it practical even for networking newbies.
All in all, if capacity and easy use are the crucial aspects in your decision making, TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116) is the device for you, and definitely the best gigabit Ethernet switch for this amount of money.
- Easy setup
- Lacks some of the advanced settings
A Budget-Friendly 2.5 Gigabit Switch
TP-Link TL-SG105-M2 is a reasonably priced, more basic-oriented five-port switch that, with a switching capacity of up to 25Gbps. This is a durable, well-built fanless device, with plug-and-play functionality and ease of use that doesn’t require any additional software, making it suitable for most users.
TP-Link TL-SG105-M2 comes with five 2.5Gbps ports and features an auto-negotiation function that adjusts the speed of the device to 100Mb, 1G, or 2.5G mode. Moreover, this switch comes with CE, FCC, RoHS certification and offers IEEE 802.3X flow control that garantees reliable and trouble-free traffic. In other words, it offers everything needed for a decent home network switching.
- Easy setup
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Durable metal build
- Wall-mounting capability
- A limited number of functions
A Highly-Reliable Compact Switch for Regular Everyday Users
Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008) is a device built for regular users that demand reliability and basic functions at a reasonable price. There are no advanced functions with this one, no PoE, or managing. This is a simple plug-and-play eight-port gigabit switch, optimal for beginners, but also a decent choice for experienced users.
As previously mentioned, its features are standard and among others, include QoS, Power Saving function, auto-sensing, MDI/MDI-X Ethernet cable detection, etc. The switch itself complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u standards and comes with a metal housing, which significantly adds to its overall great durability. Unfortunately, the warranty doesn’t go along with it and is limited to only one year.
Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008) comes with a wall-mount kit, but can also be put vertically on your desk, just be sure to give it as much space as possible, because it has a tendency to heat up too much.
Overall, if you are looking for the best home network switch that will offer a stable network for you and your family members, Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008) is more than a good choice.
- Metal housing
- It heats too much
A Cheap Gigabit PoE Switch
Finding an affordable, yet reliable device that offers a great level of versatility isn’t easy; nonetheless, such devices do exist and a prime example of that is the TP-Link TL-SG105PE five-port switch. The device comes with one uplink port and four Gigabit PoE 802.3at/af ports, with a total power output of 56W.
Moreover, this switch is easy to use and it offers plug-and-play functionality. Equally importantly, it features QoS, VLAN, IGMP, and Link aggregation, as well as PoE Auto Recovery that automatically detects and reboots unresponsive Apps and cameras, adding to the overall simplicity of use.
In addition, TP-Link TL-SG105PE comes in a durable metal housing and has a relatively simple PCB. Also, it is fitted with the Intelligent Power Management that turns off lower priority ports, whenever the consumption exceeds 56W.
All in all, TP-Link TL-SG105PE offers a solid value for the money and a pretty decent versatility for the price. Therefore, if you need a budget-friendly PoE switch that has a lot to offer, this one is the device to look for.
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Easy to use
- Link Aggregation
- PoE Auto Recovery
- Durable metal build
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Gaming Switch, GS808E-100PES
The Perfect Gaming Switch
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 (GS808E-100PES) is an attractive-looking, high-performing switch, designed for a gaming market, which makes it more of a niche product. To be exact, this switch is built primarily for gamers and the rest of the market is secondary. Therefore, it should be no surprise that everything about it is dedicated to that goal, from sleek looks, to special modes for Gaming and Streaming.
In other words, this switch comes with a ton of features that involve QoS, Link Aggregation, IGMP Snooping, Power Saving, and many other functions. Netgear Nighthawk S8000 (GS808E-100PES) is an eight-port switch, with 16Gbps bandwidth and easy reconfigurability that can be managed through the intuitive mobile-optimized interface.
In short, there is everything you may need for trouble-free gaming and streaming. For that reason, if you are after the best Ethernet switch for gaming, you may be sure that Netgear Nighthawk S8000 (GS808E-100PES) will pretty much fulfill your every need.
- Great looking
- Link Aggregation
- Three Preset modes
- A bit pricey
Cisco Business CBS110-8T-D
A Compact and Versatile Business Switch
If you are looking for an affordable, yet reliable and versatile Ethernet switch, Cisco Business CBS110-8T-D is the device for you. This is a more basic, unmanaged switch, with QoS support, loop detection, and cable diagnostics.
Moreover, it is elegant and it offers a compact build that makes it a good option for both homes and small offices. The switch itself is fitted with eight Gigabit ports, four of which are SFP uplink ones.
Cisco Business CBS110-8T-D offers plug-and-play functionality and is easy and practical to use, as the best Ethernet switch should be in the first place.
In other words, it offers a pretty good value for the money and presents exactly what an affordable, yet solid Ethernet switch should.
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Easy to use
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305)
A Basic, Simple-to-Use Switch for More than a Fair Price
Things don’t need to be complicated or expensive in order to be good. A proof of that is a NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305) that comes only with the basics, but still has the performance of much more expensive units.
It has five gigabit ports and offers a silent work that is a result of its fanless design. Because of its compact size, it can be easily placed on your desktop or mounted on the wall, while its plug-and-play function makes it easy to use for anyone.
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305) comes with both auto-negotiation and auto MDI/MDI-X function and flow control. It complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u/i standards, and more importantly, provides a low latency performance that is among the best in class and even better from some much pricier models.
Overall, NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305) has everything that the best Ethernet switch should have: cheap price, great performance, and on top of that, a highly respectable 3-year warranty.
- No QoS
A Good All-Around Switch Perfect for Large Capacity Needs
TRENDnet TEG-S16DG is easy to use, with plug-and-play function and great performance, more common in pricier devices. It is equipped with 16 gigabit ports that allow for a speed of up to 2000Mbps at full duplex, which results in the total switching capacity of 32Gbps.
TRENDnet TEG-S16DG is a compact switch, with a fanless design, a metal housing and a lifetime warranty that largely comes as a result of its durable build.
The list of its features includes Auto-negotiation, Auto-MDIX, 2Mbits of RAM data buffer, Green technology that lowers power consumption up to 70% and much more. The switch itself complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/x/u standards and provides almost quiet performance.
In other words, if you want a reliable, well-performing product that “doesn’t bite more than it can chew” this switch is an ideal choice. Yes, with this device you won’t get the best gigabit switch for a home network, but still, the proper value and quality performance are surely there.
- Almost silent performance
- Great speed
- No rack-mounting brackets
- No PoE
NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS348)
A Switch that Proves that Large Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Complicated
If you are in demand for a large network, with numerous fast connections, NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS348) may prove as a great deal for you. This switch is supplied with 48 gigabit ports and allows for a simple, unmanageable, plug-and-play use that, although limiting, is more than enough for the majority of both home and business users.
The switch itself provides silent work and complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u/i standards. Its construction is based on the fanless design and includes a sturdy metal casing that adds to its overall great durability. This switch, like every other NETGEAR switch, has gone through rigorous testing that involved checking its reliability, quality, and performance, and for that reason it has a very solid 3-year warranty, which isn’t that common among other brands.
NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS348) features include QoS, Auto-MDI/MDIX, Auto-negotiation, 1.5MB packet buffer, DiffServ Code Point (DSCP) support, Energy Efficient Ethernet and much more. Basically, all that might be needed by the standard user is present.
Unfortunately, its price is nowhere near affordable, but if you want a large capacity switch, with a decent set of features, you just need to dig deeper into your pocket.
- It is simple to use
- No PoE
- No link aggregation
We hope that we have been able to ease your search for the best Ethernet switch, and make sure it will be a successful one. You should now know everything you need to know in order to find your perfect fit. Good luck!