Why buy an Ethernet switch? Their simplest use is to provide extra Ethernet ports, handy if your router only has a few but you intend to plug in lots of games consoles, computers or set-top boxes. They vary in speeds and the number of ports they hold. But the big decision is whether to get an unmanaged or managed one.
Unmanaged Ethernet switches are the simplest. You just plug them in and, hey presto, you have more sockets. Managed switches allow for much greater control over how data flows through the network, but are of more interest to system admins than regular folk, so we will focus on the unmanaged type in this list of the best Ethernet Switches.
Best overall: TP-Link TL-SG1005D
Best for versatility: Netgear GS308E
Best performance: Netgear GS110MX
Best compact option: TP-Link LS1005G
Buy now:TP-Link TL-SG1005D
This offers five connections, effectively an additional four Ethernet ports, and all five are Gigabit-speed. Most of all, though, we like that this switch has a pleasant sloped front designed to fit into the average living room, not the classic brick shape that looks like it belongs in server room. Power and connections are on the same side, making cable management easy even if you want easy access to the switch.
A more living room friendly appearance than most
Easy to use
Best for versatility
Buy now: Netgear GS308E
It holds eight Gigabit sockets on its front, with the power connector around the back. This makes the Ethernet connections easier to access, at the expensive of a cable-free appearance. It is a tough switch too, as the housing is coated aluminium rather than plastic.
Tough metal casing
Lots of ports for little expense
Front-mounted connections offers easy cable access
It’s a functional design but not a pretty one
Buy now: Netgear GS110MX
The Netgear GS110MX has two ultra-high speed 10 gigabit ports, where most other models tap out at 1Gb. This is future-proofing for the most part at this stage, and also requires a 10Gb port on your router, but is required for best results in the ultra-fast home internet of the future. The remaining eight ports are the classic 1Gb kind, suitable for most of today’s devices.
Has two ultra-high-speed 10Gb ports
Large number of ports
Eight of the ten Ethernet ports are the conventional 1Gb speed
Best compact option
Buy now: TP-Link LS1005G
For anyone living in a small apartment, or even with a minimal amount of products that they need a direct connection for, it doesn’t make sense to fork out for one of the larger ethernet switchs which will only take up more space and be made largely redundant. If you’re among that crowd then the TP-Link LS1005G is the best bet, giving you five high-speed ports in a chassis that won’t get in the way.
Small and compact