An ethernet switch is a great investment if you’re looking to expand the digital network in your home or small office. They are not expensive and provide far more efficient and faster transfer of data from your router/modem to your devices than Wi-Fi.
Buying an ethernet switching can be daunting because they are so extensively used. From small home networks all the way to giant networking corporations, you’ll find ethernet switches everywhere.
Best Ethernet Switch Reviewed
Ethernet switches come in all shapes and sizes. During your search for the best kind on the ethernet, you’ll come across some crazy complex switches that offer 24 to 48 ports and an insane amount of speeds.
These switches are large, heavy, and cost a ton, even when they are unmanaged switches. They’re not designed for home use, and are instead utilized by large corporate offices or networking organizations.
For your home and small office needs, you need a simple unmanaged switch. We’ve reviewed the 5 best unmanaged ethernet switches for home use you can currently buy.
NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000
Fast and Powerful
The Netgear Nighthawk is an ethernet switch designed for fast-speed, ultra low latency gaming, and for this reason it provides incredible performance through an easy setup and an excellent interface.
If you’re looking for the best ethernet switch for home or small office use, there isn’t one that can top the Nighthawk S8000.
Best Budget Buy
The TP-Link TL-SG1005D is a 5 port switch with 16 Gbps switching capacity that comes at an affordable price. It is a highly power efficient switch that utilizes an auto shut-off system to reduce power to any idle port.
With a tighter budget or for mainstream use, there’s no better option than the TP-Link TL-SG1005D. It is power efficient, reliable, and looks elegantly modern.
When it comes to ethernet switches for homes and offices, there’s not much you can do better than this Netgear switch. Designed with gamers in mind, this switch was built to perform. It provides speeds of up to a Gigabit for each of its 8 ports, with a total switching capacity of 16Gbps.
The design of the switch takes inspiration from most edgy and sleek modern gaming gadgets. Like in true gamer gear fashion, the powerful ethernet switch is designed to be plugged in and played without any setup.
Inside, this ethernet switch uses several different techniques to give you extremely low latency perform. The switch is capable of adjusting traffic flow according to the device connected to it, conserving energy and greatly improving the performance. There is individual traffic prioritization at 3 different levels, and it works incredibly well.
The user interface of the Nighthawk is easy and mobile-friendly. It also includes a one-click configuration made specifically for gaming and streaming. In addition to these rudimentary options, you can also add your own custom configurations if you want to.
For home use, the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 is an expensive product. However, gamers looking to maximize their potential and individuals who have an elaborate home network setup will greatly benefit from this switch’s incredible performance and low latency.
- Incredible performance
- Easy to set up
- Great bandwidth
- Light weight can be problematic when all ethernet ports are used
When you can’t afford to splash a good amount of money on an ethernet switch like the Nighthawk, a great alternative is the TP-Link SG1005D. This TP Link switch is designed for home and small office use. It provides five Gigabit ethernet ports that are non-blocking, allowing transfer of larger files.
The TP-Link TL-SG1005D has an automatic shut-off system that suspends any port that is not being utilized. It reduces the power consumption of these ports, which in turn can reduce the overall power consumption of the device by up to 85%, according to TP-Link.
The setup of this TP-Link ethernet switch is also quite simple. It has plug-and-play capability, so you can set it up easily.
The TL-SG1005D is ideal for homes and offices that will utilize 5 or less ports. The power saving function is ideal for individuals as large and more expensive network switches tend to soak up more power even when not all of their switches are used.
At the given value, the TP-Link TL-SG1005D is our favorite budget ethernet switch in the market. We recommend it to anyone looking to buy their first switch for a small office or home.
- Great value
- Easy to set up
- Power efficient
- Weight can be problematic when all ethernet ports are used
When 5-port ethernet switches aren’t doing the job for you, you’ll want to invest in a larger, more robust one. The TP-Link 8-Port Gigabit ethernet switch utilizes professional-grade design with its steel metal chassis, encompassing 8 ethernet ports with a total 16 Gbps switching capacity.
It is essentially a smaller version of the powerful TL-SG1024, which you’ll find in many professional high density networks. It obviously isn’t as fast nor can it handle as many connections (8 vs. 24), but it compensates with its fanless design and great value.
As a home switch, it is an upgrade over most switches because of the sturdier build and larger number of available ports. Within It are contained smart features such as IGMP Snooping to isolate ports that are not active. It also has TP-Link’s Green Technology that can save up to 72% on power consumption. Like other unmanaged ethernet switches, this TP-Link product also has plug-and-play capability.
The TP-Link TL-SG108 has the full duplex mode, where it can read and transfer data at the same time for any device connected to it. The processing speed of the data is up to 2,000Mbps. You also get 12KB jumbo frames support with this network switch.
The TP-Link TL-SG108 is a great solution for anyone looking for a sturdier ethernet switch that won’t topple when all its ports are utilized. It is heavy enough to provide stability, and affordable enough for everyday home and office use.
- Great value
- Good build quality
- Easy to set up
- Not as fast or versatile as some other network switches
- Power supply can get noisy
If you’re looking for an 8 port router that does a bit more than what the above TP-Link model offers, the Netgeat ProSafe GS208 is an excellent choice because of its versatility. This is an unmanaged ethernet switch that allows for flexible configurations with auto MDI/MDIX to eliminate the need for crossover cables.
The total maximum switching speed of the device is 16 Gbps, with a non-blocking architecture on all the ports to deliver maximum throughput across each one. The ports are also versatile because of their ability to auto-negotiate connections. This allows them to work at the fastest common speed for each of the devices connected to the ethernet switch.
Like most unmanaged ethernet switches designed for homes and small offices, the NetGear ProSafe GS208 has a plug and play design that allows an individual to easily start utilizing the switch without hassle. You can buy the switch in a sturdy plastic design or a specialized metal casing. The latter is ideal if you plan to use most of the ports, as the heavier metallic chassis provides better stability.
This is a fanless ethernet switch with a very quiet operation that won’t distract anyone. It is also compliant with Energy Efficient Ethernet standards, limiting energy provided to any idle port.
- Very versatile ports
- Multiple housing options
- Easy to set up
- Power connector placement is awkward
The D-Link DGS-1008G is a no-nonsense ethernet switch with 8 ports and switching speeds of up to 16 Gbps. This is a straightforward switch that has front-facing ports with dual-LED indicator lights in front of them.
It comes with QoS features, which automatically organize and prioritize important data packets for efficient delivery to the connected devices. With this, you get smoother media streaming and improved online gaming experiences.
Additionally, the D-Link DGS-1008G comes with cable diagnostic functions that immediately isolates issues with pin connections of a specific cable. It then promptly troubleshoots the cable issues, if necessary.
D-Link adds its own Green Technology into this ethernet switch that allows it to reduce heat build-up and consume less energy. It also supports Energy-Efficient Ethernet which powers down idle ports to save energy. With this feature, it can also detect the length of each cable connected to the switch, ensuring only the necessary amount of energy is being sent to the cable.
- QoS Features
- Cable diagnostic function
- Easy to set up
- Light weight makes it flimsy when lots of cables are connected
For home and office use, an ethernet switch that supports 10/100/1000 Mbps switching speeds will be adequate. If you have a switch with full Duplex mode, it will be able to handle speeds of up to 2000 Mbps for each port.
Generally, you want your speeds to be well above what you will intend to use. Because of the very small difference in price between Gigabit and Fast ethernet switches, we almost always recommend Gigabit ones that can handle speeds in the 1000s to be on the safe side. After all, you never know when you’ll upgrade your internet speeds.
Although switches don’t take up much power, they can be wasteful with bandwidth if the ports are not regulated. You want an ethernet switch that regulates its port in some form or manner. This means it reduces the power sent to an unused port or altogether switches it off.
Not all switches can manage cables, but several of them have special features that allow for the ethernet switch to adjust the power sent to the cable. Since ethernet cables are essentially a jumble of wires and pins, they have the tendency to break.
A break in a cable can lead to a lot of problems, and it’s not always easy to diagnose. Certain switches do the diagnosis for you and tell you if the ethernet cable needs replacement.
The ports of an ethernet switch should be versatile if you want to get more out of them. This means features like QoS (Quality of Service) to greatly improve the data transfer method, adequate speeds for each port, a high overall switching capacity, and more.[nb_accordions_list title="Chassis"]
The chassis may seem like the most unimportant part of a switch, but it isn’t. A chassis made of plastic is lightweight, which means that if a large number of lengthy ethernet cables are connected to it, it will move around and topple if it is resting on a table.
Metallic chassis look old-school, but they provide better stability. Additionally, metal is a far better conductor of heat, so a switch with a metallic chassis won’t heat up.
What’s the difference between an ethernet switch and a router?
A router is responsible for handling the internet connection with your modem or ISP, whereas a switch manages the location traffic coming from the router or modem.
Most modern routers have multiple ethernet ports that you can use instead of a switch. However, when that isn’t adequate or practical, an ethernet switch is utilized instead, allowing for more wired connections for your home network.
What about hubs – don’t they do the same thing as switches?
Hubs, as the name suggests, are a single junction with which all devices are connected. The major difference between hubs and switches is that the latter sort information before sending it. Hubs on the other hand send all information to all devices.
This makes the two quite different, and ethernet switches are inherently better at making more efficient use of your bandwidth.
How can a switch improve performance over Wi-Fi?
Ethernet switches greatly improve performance because data transfer from cable is far more efficient. Additionally, switches tend to “filter” bad packets in such a way that the data you received is streamlined, allowing for much faster and more efficient transfer.
For every day use, Wi-Fi is adequate. However, if you’re a hardcore gamer, stream regularly, or tend to transfer large data, a wired connection through a switch will be much faster than speeds over Wi-Fi.
Should I buy a managed switch instead of an unmanaged one?
An unmanaged switch requires no tinkering or adjustments to set up, making them excellent for home and small offices use. We recommend sticking to unmanaged switches, unless you’re an IT expert. The true power of managed switches is released in a more professional networking environment. They are also harder to set up. For regular purposes, an unmanaged switch is ideal.