Best Network Switches (Managed & Unmanaged) Windows Central 2020

When choosing a network switch to expand your home or office network, you have a choice between managed and unmanaged switches. Managed switches allow you to really dive deep into configuring the device to control a whole manner of functionality, while unmanaged switches are a little more affordable, but aren't quite as advanced.

Robust Networking: TP-Link TL-SG108E

Editor's choice

This is a great unmanaged switch choice with plenty of features. You get eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, network monitoring capabilities, loop prevention, cable diagnostics, QoS and much more. There's also a limited lifetime warranty.

$28 at Amazon

For gaming: Netgear S8000

Staff pick

If you're into gaming, Netgear has you covered with the S8000. It's a managed switch with an easy interface to use and a total of eight Gigabit ports for hooking up your consoles and gaming PCs. It's also not terribly expensive and doesn't look like a spaceship.

$80 at Amazon

For the office: TP-Link T2600G

TP-Link's T2600G is a superb managed switch, coming in a variety of configurations with different port arrays. This one, in particular, has 24 ports, which is more than enough for a home or small office network. It's also affordable without sacrificing much on functionality. You've also got four mini-BGIC ports that allow for not only computers and laptops to be hooked up, but also printers, IP telephones, other access points, and smaller devices.

$150 at Amazon

Workhorse: Cisco SG 300-20

Cisco is known for serious network equipment and the 300-20 is no different. It's designed for small businesses and enterprise deployment, but remains easy enough for almost anyone to configure. It's reliable, offers high levels of performance, but comes at a rather high price.

$190 at Amazon

Budget Ports: TP-Link TL-SF1005D

If you're on a tight budget, this TP-Link unmanaged switch is a basic five-port hub. It's able to do pretty much all you need it to do when attached to a small home network with very little to configure. Ideal if you want to plug and play.

$10 at Amazon

Capacity Overload: D-Link GS-316

When you have numerous PCs or other devices to connect to a network, this 16-port D-Link unmanaged switch has you covered with nothing to configure and silent operation. This switch has everything you need to create a robust network.

$59 at Amazon

Making the right switch

Choosing an unmanaged or managed switch depends entirely on your budget and how many ports you require. If you're only connecting a few PCs at home, the TP-Link TL-SG108E is ideal with a low price and plenty of features — you can even go a little further and check out the built-in configuration page to play with a few features and settings.

If you'd prefer a managed switch and happen to play games, the Netgear S8000 is a great tool to hook up all your consoles and gaming PCs with gaming in mind. This switch houses eight Gigabit ports for hooking up all your devices. It even rocks some advanced features like traffic prioritization and QoS management.

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