BEST ETHERNET SWITCHES | JANUARY 2018
Ethernet switches – also known as network switches – come in handy when you have multiple wired devices that you want to add to your home or business network. But which one is right for you? To help you answer that question, our team performed hours of in-depth research on Ethernet switches to curate this list of product recommendations. We considered number of ports, speed and both unmanaged and managed Ethernet switches. Learn more about those factors and others with our helpful Ethernet switch buying guide below. Read more about our methodology.
This Ethernet switch is fast, compact, and easy to set up. With 16 Gigabit ports and reliable Quality of Service functionality, this switch is sure to get all your devices connected to the internet and running with ease.Read full review.
Featuring plug and play set up and five fast Ethernet ports, the TP-Link TL SF1005D is a great pick for people on a budget who still want a reliable Ethernet switch. This switch can handle speeds up to 100 Mbps and offers a small, compact design ideal for desktop solutions.Read full review.
Best by Category
Best Ethernet Switch for Home Networks
The TP-Link TL-SG108 is energy efficient, features a sturdy design, and handles large data transfers with ease, making it a great overall choice for home networks with various devices. Add Quality of Service control to the mix, and you have a switch that can easily manage complicated networks.Read full review.
Best High-Performance Ethernet Switch
If you’re looking for gaming- and streaming-optimized performance in your Ethernet switch, look no further than the NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000. With eight advanced Gigabit ports, Quality of Service management, and an easy-to-use web interface, you can be sure to enable the best gaming experience possible with this Ethernet switch.Read full review.
Ethernet Switches BUYING GUIDE
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing any Ethernet switch should be the number of ports it offers. The number of devices you want to connect to your Ethernet switch will often be the first driving factor in your decision-making process.
The speed that the Ethernet switch provides is also crucially important to consider. If you have a fast internet connection, you’ll want your Ethernet switch to be able to keep up, or you’ll most likely find yourself disappointed at the decreased speeds once you connect your devices. Most switches come in either a 10/100Mbps or 10/100/1000Mbps configuration. The 10/100/1000Mbps options are becoming more popular as people are beginning to purchase higher-speed internet plans more than they have before.
Quality of Service
The whole point behind Ethernet switches is being able to connect multiple devices directly to your network at any given time and being able to expect a consistent level of performance from those devices. Ethernet switches with Quality of Service functionality help the speeds available to those devices. If one device is particularly active, while the others aren’t, Ethernet switches with Quality of Service functionality can dedicate more bandwidth to the more active devices on the fly.
Managed vs. Unmanaged
Ethernet switches can be managed or unmanaged, and most models come with both options available. Managed Ethernet switches perform basically the same function as unmanaged switches. However, they typically offer some kind of web interface that you can log in to and use to control what happens on your network. If you’re looking for more control, consider purchasing a managed switch.
The way your Ethernet switch is built can matter a lot when it comes to longevity, especially if you’re constantly connecting and disconnecting cables. Most switches tend to be built out of plastic or metal, and each has their benefits, although metal switches tend to last a little bit longer than plastic switches.
For less than $50, you can get a budget Ethernet switch. These switches typically offer a lower number of ports, usually 5, and are often made of plastic. You’ll also find that budget Ethernet switches only offer 10/100Mbps speeds. The Ethernet switches you can purchase in the $50-$100 range will satisfy the needs of most consumers and typically offer a range of port availability, usually between 8 and 16. The Ethernet switches in this range usually offer 10/100/1000Mbps speeds.. The higher-end models, above $100, are usually used for offices and offer 24 or more ports, along with more advanced functionality specific to larger networks.
FULL product reviews
We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.
BEST BY CATEGORY
Best Ethernet Switch for Home Networks
Home networks need to be reliable and flexible to accommodate the wide variety of devices that may be connected at the same time. While Ethernet switches for these networks may not need a huge number of ports available, they should have Quality of Service functionality and auto-prioritization in order to keep high-use devices connected and going strong.
Best High-Performance Ethernet Switch
If you demand a lot from your Internet connection by playing video games, streaming 4K video or just using many devices simultaneously, consider a high-performance Ethernet switch that has exceptional Quality of Service, large buffer sizes, and low latency rates.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 looks cool and performs well. With IGMP snooping, low latency rates, Quality of Service functionality, and three levels of network traffic prioritization, this Ethernet switch is made for gamers and streamers.
Why We Recommend It
- Incredible performance. The NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 was built to perform, and it lives up to expectations. It can provide speeds up to a Gigabit in each of its 8 ports, and it also offers link aggregation, which means you can combine up to four different ports into a single, incredibly fast connection. Even with eight different devices connected, each port can continue to deliver top speeds. The switch also delivers incredibly low latency rates, meaning your gaming and streaming sessions will be lag free.
- Traffic prioritization. This Ethernet switch uses several different techniques to give you the best network connection possible when you need it the most. First, the switch is enabled for IGMP snooping, which enables the switch to only send traffic to the devices that want it, instead of flooding all ports with the same traffic. You can also expect really good Quality of Service with 3 different levels of traffic prioritization.
- Easy to use web interface. You can configure each port to receive its own level of prioritization via the easy-to-use web interface. The interface also includes a one-click configuration made specifically for gaming that can be enabled from the web interface. You also have the ability to add your own custom configurations, if wanted.
- Built to look cool and last longer. The NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 is made from “cool-touch” zinc alloy, which gives it a sleek, edgy look. The appearance is sure to please the gamer’s eye and it looks good next to any gaming console or set up.
- Lightweight. The unit itself is relatively lightweight, which might cause some problems if you use each port. The weight of the cables may cause this to move around more than you prefer.