Best Ethernet Switches of 2018

Rebecca Armstrong ·
Phones & Networking Writer
Updated
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An Ethernet switch can be an inexpensive and easy way to expand your network in your home or small business. We spent 25 hours researching Ethernet switches to find the best options for different situations. Because of its stellar features, Gigabit speeds, energy efficiency and ease of use, we chose the D-Link DGS-1008G as the best overall Ethernet switch. Its plug-and-play design makes it a great option for most people. We also recommend the TP Link TL-SG1005D as an excellent budget option and the Netgear ProSAFE GS208 as the most versatile option.

Best Overall
D-Link DGS-1008G
The D-Link DGS-1008G requires little setup, making it an excellent choice for most consumers. It combines ease of use with features that make it smarter than the average unmanaged network switch.
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Best Budget
TP Link TL-SG1005D
The TP Link TL-SG1005D is the best budget Ethernet switch because of its affordability and performance. It provides Gigabit speeds, plug-and-play setup and energy efficiency.
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Most Versatile
Netgear ProSAFE GS208
The Netgear ProSAFE GS208 is an excellent choice for home or office use, as it is compact, quiet and easy to use. It offers eight Gigabit ports for excellent connectivity.
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Best Overall
The D-Link DGS-1008G is a great option for both small business and home networks. It includes eight Gigabit Ethernet ports and switching speeds up to 16 Gbps. Its body is compact and made of sturdy plastic. Like other unmanaged switches which have no remote configuration, management, or monitoring options, the D-Link switch is easy to setup.
It is fanless and therefore silent, which is welcome in both homes and offices. Additionally, the D-Link Ethernet switch provides other features that put it ahead of other products in this category. Quality of Service, QoS, features allow the D-Link DGS-1008G to prioritize data packets that are more important or time-sensitive, allowing you to use your full network speed for online gaming or VoIP calling. Its cable diagnostics function allows you to easily troubleshoot any cable and connection issues you run into. Another thing we like about the D-Link DGS-1008G is its eco-consciousness. It is designed with D-Link Green Ethernet technology and supports Energy Efficient Ethernet, allowing it to save energy without sacrificing performance by sensing when ports are idle and powering them down. It is Energy Star Level V rated and complies with RoHS standards, so you can be confident that it was made with reliable, safe materials. It even comes in recyclable packaging.
Pros
  • Switching speeds up to 2,000 Mbps
  • QoS features
  • Cable diagnostic function
Cons
  • Plastic case
  • Awkward power adapter connection
  • Not rack mountable
$24.99Amazon
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Best Budget
We recommend the TP Link TL-SG1005D as the best budget Ethernet switch because of its balance of affordability and performance. It is a great, standard switch with plug-and-play design. The ease of setup makes this a great option, even if you wouldn’t consider yourself technologically inclined.
This Ethernet switch features five Gigabit Ethernet ports and non-blocking switching, allowing the transfer of large files. The TP Link switch has a lightweight plastic body with five Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back and five corresponding LED indicators on the front, so you can easily tell which ports are in use. This Ethernet switch is good for your wallet both because it is inexpensive to buy and because of its energy-saving technology. The TP Link TL-SG1005D automatically detects when a port is not being used, whether because a connected device is turned off or simply not using the internet. It reduces the power consumption of idle ports, which can reduce the overall power consumption of the device by 85%. TP Link offers a two-year warranty on the TL-SG1005D so you can be confident that your purchase is protected against manufacturer defect. TP link also offers 24/7 technical support.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Non-blocking switch
  • Energy efficient
Cons
  • Not easily mountable
  • Lightweight body can move accidentally
  • LED indicator lights and ports on opposite sides of switch
$14.99Amazon
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Most Versatile
We recommend the Netgear ProSAFE GS208 because of its versatility. It is an unmanaged Ethernet switch that is suitable for both home and office use because of its super simple, plug-and-play setup that easily installs into any network.
It features eight ports that allow for flexible configuration of source and outlet cables and auto-MDI/MDIX to eliminate the need for crossover cables. It supports Gigabit speeds through all ports with non-blocking switching architecture, so each port can transfer data at maximum throughput for a total maximum switching speed of up to 16 Gbps. Each port also auto-negotiates connections so they work at the fastest common speed for each device connection. The ProSAFE can be purchased with either a sturdy plastic or metal casing. Both are compact and feature a fanless system, allowing the switch to work silently without overheating. This is great for use on desks or close to your workspace, as its quiet operation won’t cause a distraction. Each of the ports on the back has a corresponding front-facing LED that indicates the activity and power status of its port for easy monitoring. It is compliant with Energy Efficient Ethernet standards, so it can conserve power by limiting energy expenditures to idle ports.
Pros
  • Plug and play design
  • Versatile ports
  • Plastic or metal housing options
Cons
  • Awkward power connector placement
  • LED indicator lights and ports on opposite sides of switch
  • No speed indicator
$21.62Amazon
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Most Eco-Friendly
The TrendNet TEG-S50G supports five Gigabit Ethernet ports and 10 Gbps switching capacity.
The switch has built-in sensors in each Ethernet port that detect whether the port is in use and the length of the connected Ethernet cable. It then sends less power to vacant ports, inactive connections and devices connected with short cables if they’re longer than 5 feet. It also goes into a power save mode when no devices are sending data, resulting in up to 70% lower energy consumption. Aside from being eco-friendly, the TrendNET switch is easy to use. It has an unmanaged, plug-and-play setup, and it’s easy to monitor thanks to its front-facing status LEDs. Though it’s simple to use, the switch improves your network by providing advanced features like QoS data prioritization for audio and video downloads, full-duplex mode and jumbo frame support. Many Ethernet switches have plastic cases, but the TrendNET product has a metal body, which is nicer.
Pros
  • Metal exterior
Cons
  • Can’t sense cables under 5 feet long
$16.99Amazon
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Best Managed Switch
The Ubiquiti Networks EdgeRouter PoE has five ports and transfers data at a rate of 1 million packets per second.
It’s one of the most expensive Ethernet switches we tested, but its customizable features make it worth the price for advanced networks. The EdgeRouter can support 24V or 48V passive power over Ethernet (PoE) in each of its five Gigabit Ethernet ports, which cuts down your cable count. You configure the switch using EdgeOS, an online user interface that controls multiple devices at once. EdgeOS allows you to customize security, quality of service and user settings. Though impressive in its performance and custom options, the EdgeRouter is intended for more technical and business purposes and is overkill for a simple home network.
Pros
  • More customizable than unmanaged switches
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
$168.53Amazon
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Why Trust Us?
Our team is comprised of tech, research and data compiling gurus. In this round of reviews, we’ve added several weeks’ of researching home networking products, with 25 hours dedicated solely to the study of Ethernet switches, to our years of evaluating and testing networking gear. We’ve learned their pros, their cons, how they work, their differences from other tech and most importantly which ones are the smartest investments. After all that research, we know this tech backwards and forwards, and we’re sharing our wealth of knowledge in an easily-digestible form. We want your Ethernet connections to be plentiful and up to the task of keeping your desktops, laptops, gaming consoles, printers, TVs and anything else you want to connect to your router performing at top speeds. We sort through hundreds of products, seller listings, user reviews and online content to highlight only the best products so that you can make informed buying decisions easily.

How We Evaluated
Our team is intimately familiar with networking products after spending weeks researching the subject. We spent 25 hours learning about Ethernet switches alone. In all our testing and researching processes, we strive to recreate the consumer experience as closely as possible so that we can provide the information you want and need in the same buying process. Our study of Ethernet switches began by asking the same questions you would ask when looking to add another piece of equipment to your home or office’s network: What is an Ethernet switch? Why would someone need one? Which are the best options? We found the answers to these questions by digging through the wealth of information available to us online in the form of product descriptions, features lists, user reviews and manufacturer resources. We found highly rated, top performing Ethernet switches and compared them against each other in a battle royal of technical specs and product features.

What is an Ethernet Switch?
An Ethernet switch acts as a bridge to connect different parts of a network together. Many – though not all – routers include network switching capabilities to offer you multiple Ethernet ports. An Ethernet switch, however, is not a replacement for a router. Ideally, you connect a switch to a router and then connect all your wired devices into the switch. They are great if you prefer wired to wireless connections but have more devices than available Ethernet ports.

Ethernet switches are smarter than Ethernet hubs in that they sort information before sending it to only the proper destination, whereas hubs simply send and receive all information to all connected devices. This differentiation allows switches to make better use of your bandwidth. Ethernet switches are not wireless network switches, as they are used with wired connections.

Types of Ethernet Switches 
The first differentiation between different types of Ethernet switches is whether a switch is modular or fixed configuration. Modular switches are flexible because you can add to them to meet different needs. Fixed configuration switches have a set number of ports and components.

Fixed configuration switches can be further divided into managed and unmanaged switches. Managed switches are flexible and give you more control over your network. The three products we recommend are all unmanaged switches, which require no programming or configuration. These are easier to use and set up than managed switches and work well for home networks and small businesses. They are also less expensive than managed switches.

What to Look For: 

Price
Unmanaged Ethernet switches are inexpensive. Many of the products we reviewed cost $25 or less and have five or eight ports. Many products in this price range support Gigabit speeds as well. For most people, an affordable, plug-and-play unmanaged switch is best. Managed switches are more complex and cost anywhere from $100 to over $1,000.

Ports
It is important to buy an Ethernet switch with the appropriate number of ports to fit your needs. We recommend choosing a product with enough ports to connect all your computers, consoles and other devices plus one to connect the switch to your router. Typically, switches are available with five, eight, 16, 24 or 48 ports.

Speed
Most people will be best served by a Gigabit Ethernet switch supporting 10/100/1000 Mbps switching speeds, with some switches able to handle twice that while in Full-Duplex mode. Fast Ethernet switches are ten times slower, by comparison, and still cost about the same. In your network, you want all your components to be at or above the speeds you intend to use, otherwise something like a switch could create limitations. Even if you don’t have anything in your network that can handle Gigabit speeds, purchasing a Gigabit Ethernet switch is a sound investment if you plan to upgrade any connected devices in the future.