We’ve rounded up the best network switches of 2019 that can help you stay connected in this increasingly electronic and digital world. After thoroughly testing 15 different models, we’ve narrowed your options down to seven. We eliminated everything else that didn’t meet our standards in terms of speed, connectivity, performance, and ease of use.
Of all the best network switches we tested, the UniFi Switch 8 outshined the rest with its sleek and sound metal housing, its unrivaled operational performance, and its exceptional management software. Read on to learn more about the UniFi Switch 8 and six other options that are worth looking into as well.
- 1 Top 7 Best Network Switches Compared
- 1.1 #1 Ubiquiti Networks UniFi Switch 8-Port – Top Pick/Best Network Switch
- 1.2 #2 Netgear 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS316) – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Totolink 5-Port Unmanaged Network Switch (S505) – Best Budget
- 1.4 #4 Linksys Business 5-Port Gigabit Switch (LGS105) – Best Power-Saving Features
- 1.5 #5 TP-Link 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch (TL-SG108) – Best Value for Money
- 1.6 #6 Cisco Systems 24-Port Gigabit Switch (SG11224NA) – Best Large-Capacity Desktop Switch
- 1.7 #7 Aumox 5-Port Gigabit Switch (AM-SG205) – Best for Gaming
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Network Switches Buyer Guide
Top 7 Best Network Switches Compared
#1 Ubiquiti Networks UniFi Switch 8-Port – Top Pick/Best Network SwitchWHY WE LIKE IT: The Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 8 is a highly reliable managed network switch that’s capable of dealing with heavy traffic in a home environment. It provides advanced intuitive switching functionalities, ideal for tech-savvy homeowners who want to build complex home networks.
The UniFi Switch 8 model is a compact yet powerful managed switch. It comes with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, all of which support autosensing and Power over Ethernet (PoE+). The remaining two are SFP ports that deliver optical fiber connectivity. With advanced enterprise switching functionality, homeowners can use the switch to set up a complex home network.
Convenience is one of the best advantages of using this network switch. With its accessories, it can support any orientation. You can effortlessly mount this device on the wall or a desk. Thanks to Ubiquiti’s UniFi Controller, you can manage your network’s UniFi switches and access points from a single screen. Its price might be a bit steep for an 8-port switch, but if its solid build and intuitive features matter, then it makes a good investment.
#2 Netgear 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS316) – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: The Netgear GS316 offers compact, silent, and reliable connectivity for home and small office environments. It’s designed for growing businesses that need a budget-friendly way to secure and monitor their network.
An unmanaged switch with 16-autosensing Gigabit Ethernet ports, the Netgear GS316 is ideal for home or small office networks. It has a simple plug-and-play setup, requiring no configuration or software installation. It equips growing businesses with the ability to secure and monitor their network at a reasonable cost. However, without Power over Ethernet support, it can’t sync with every device.
Netgear’s 16-port switch complies with IEEE802.3az and features energy-saving functionalities that enable you to reduce energy costs and save the environment. Its whisper-quiet design reduces noise, which is perfect for a business setting.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Totolink 5-port switch is a budget-friendly and hassle-free smart network device, boasting a simple plug-and-play design. No configuration is needed, making it an ideal choice for homeowners who aren’t tech-savvy.
The Totolink S505 has five 10/100 Mbps auto-negotiated ports that feature auto MDI/MDIX support, which makes cable deployment so much easier. It fully complies with IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3x, and IEEE 802.3u standards. No configuration is needed when using the Totolink switch. All you have to do to expand your home network is connect your devices using Ethernet cables.
Measuring 3.31 x 2.13 x 0.98 inches, the Totolink S505 is ultra-portable. Its lightweight plastic build can easily be mounted on a desk or a wall. Since it features a fanless system, it can work silently without ever overheating. It comes with external PSU and LED indicators for monitoring activity, link, and power.
#4 Linksys Business 5-Port Gigabit Switch (LGS105) – Best Power-Saving FeaturesWHY WE LIKE IT: The Linksys 5-port Gigabit switch meets Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az standards, so it delivers greater network performance and efficiency while reducing energy consumption costs at the same time. It’s the right choice for small households looking to reduce the energy bill without sacrificing their network performance.
The Linksys LGS105, a 5-port Gigabit switch, improves your network’s ability to stream high-bandwidth files while minimizing interference and lag. It can easily enhance your network’s capacity thanks to its fuss-free installation and plug-and-play functionality. With five autosensing ports, the device automatically optimizes the speed for every connected device as well.
Furthermore, the Linksys LGS105 disables idle ports and turns off the device when it’s not in use. It also has LED lights that indicate port status.
#5 TP-Link 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch (TL-SG108) – Best Value for MoneyWHY WE LIKE IT: With Gigabit-speed support, a plug-and-play setup, and energy-efficient technology, the TP-Link Ethernet switch offers the right balance of affordability and performance. It’s ideal for most consumers who want value without having to break the bank.
The TP-Link 8-port Gigabit desktop switch comes in a sturdy steel case, which can be mounted on a desk or a wall. Designed to help users transition to Gigabit Ethernet, this device improves your network performance. It supports automatic connections at the highest speeds. With a non-blocking architecture, it guarantees fast data transfers. Each port has auto-negotiation functionality, which ensures optimal performance.
Equipped with energy-efficient technology, this TP-Link Ethernet switch can increase your network capacity without increasing your power consumption. It detects the status of each port and reduces the power consumption of idle ones, which can cut down power use by 82%.
#6 Cisco Systems 24-Port Gigabit Switch (SG11224NA) – Best Large-Capacity Desktop SwitchWHY WE LIKE IT: The Cisco Systems switch can support bandwidth-intensive environments and connect multiple devices to a wired network without raising the energy bill. Small businesses without tech support can benefit from its 24 Gigabit ports and simple plug-and-play setup.
The Cisco 110 series is developed for high-speed networking. It can easily meet the digital needs of small businesses as it comes with 22 10/100/1000 Gigabit ports and two SFP ports. Built with a plug-and-play design, it requires zero configuration. Advanced traffic management features enable you to run applications at peak performance.
Cisco’s large-capacity switch is made with a metal housing and coated with a matte finish. Instead of fans, it has a series of vents located on the opposite sides of the device to eliminate any noise.
#7 Aumox 5-Port Gigabit Switch (AM-SG205) – Best for GamingWHY WE LIKE IT: The Aumox 5-port Gigabit switch is a highly versatile device that lets you add a security system, a gaming console, a network camera, and other devices using Ethernet cables. It’s an excellent choice for tech-savvy households that need to optimize their home network for multiple smart devices.
The Aumox switch features five auto-negotiation Gigabit ports that can expand your network’s capacity, allowing power users to run high-bandwidth applications without encountering interference or lag. It can be used to connect a wide range of devices, from gaming consoles to network cameras and IPTVs. All ports support line speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, which guarantee smooth and stable data transmissions and video playback.
Its sturdy steel housing offers excellent durability, as well as heat dissipation performance. Perhaps the best thing about the Aumox switch is its lightning protection system. It prevents potential lightning damages to the device, guaranteeing reliable outdoor security surveillance.
How We Decided
There are all kinds of network switches on the market. To narrow down our search, we focused on devices that are geared towards small network environments, with 5 to 24 ports that offer speeds ranging from 10/100/1000 Mbps to 10/100/1000 Gbps. We selected switches that offer hassle-free setup and configuration, which any homeowner can deploy. Finally, we chose devices that have power- and energy-saving functionalities, which can minimize up to 82% of energy consumption costs.
Network Switches Buyer Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
Aside from price, there are other factors that need to be considered when you’re looking for a network switch that fits your needs.
- Forwarding rates – Look into a network switch’s forwarding and processing rates. The lower the number, the slower the forwarding rate. Take a 48-port Gigabit switch for example. At full-wire speed, the switch generates 48 Gbs of traffic. However, if its forwarding rate is 32 Gb/s, its ports can’t operate at full-wire speed at the same time.
- Future growth – Whether you want a switch for your home or your office, one factor you need to consider when making a purchase is future growth. For an increasingly digital space, you might want to buy a switch that can scale.
- Set-up – If you want to set up a moderately-sized home network but you aren’t tech-savvy, you can opt for a switch with a plug-and-play design. It requires no configuration and software installation. However, if you want control over your network, you might want to look for advanced features that let you manage or troubleshoot issues.
- Unmanaged or Managed Network Switch: Which One Is Better?
An unmanaged switch is suitable for smaller networks, particularly for homeowners with limited IT and tech knowledge. A managed switch, on the other hand, is ideal for large networks that require greater control over their traffic to achieve optimal network performance. The average homeowner doesn’t need a managed switch. However, in a smart home, a network switch is crucial as it allows you to connect multiple devices to your home network.