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Best network switches of 2021: 1, 2, 5 and 10GbE hardware for small business and home office

(Image credit: Chris Ciapala/Pixabay )
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
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The best network switches of 2021 remain essential purchases for any business, especially ones that have large number of PCs, printers and other devices all connected to the same network.

For any company that requires fast and reliable network speeds - which, let's face it, is pretty much any modern company, then on this page you'll find the best network switches for your needs.

We've got a range of network switches that will be suitable for all kinds of budgets and network sizes, from small networks with only a couple of PCs, to large corporations with huge amounts of network-attached devices.

So, read on to find out what we think are the best network switches you can buy at present. Getting any of these great switches can help boost your network and future-proof your growing company.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line. 

(Image credit: Netgear)

1. NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS108)

A tough little 8-port switch for the office

Specifications
Ports: 8
Features: Plug-and-play, internet splitter, sturdy metal case, easy monitoring, gigabit ethernet, lifetime warranty
Reasons to buy
+Solid construction+Great performance

This Netgear switch is a sturdy little number that’s capable of handling heavy traffic in a home or office environment. It has a metal chassis that’s rugged, includes a Kensington lock port and positions eight RJ-45 ports around the back. Netgear advertises 16Gbps switching from the device, which runs its own management software that lets you switch configuration from any device connect to any port. It also comes with a handy utility that helps you find switches on the network.

(Image credit: Netgear)

2. NETGEAR 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (JGS524)

Runs efficiently and quietly

Specifications
Ports: 24
Features: Plug-and-play, versatile mounting options, silent operation, prosafe lifetime protection, energy efficient
Reasons to buy
+Plug-and-play+Lifetime warranty

So quiet you won’t hear a peep out of it, this unmanaged 24-port switch from Netgear can be mounted as a rackmount or desktop switch and is backed by an industry-leading warranty. It’s plug-and-play, making it suitable for small-to-medium-sized businesses – and it’s power efficient to boot. Additionally, each port is equipped with automatic speed and duplex sensing, in addition to auto uplink to adjust for straight-through or crossover cables to make the right link.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

An affordable and feature-rich switch

Specifications
Ports: 16
Features: Power-saving tech, non-blocking switching architecture, 3.2Gbps switching capacity, 9k Jumbo frame, Supports MCAC address auto-learning and auto-aging, auto-negotiation ports, fanless design, plug-and-play
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Power-saving tech

If you’re especially concerned about power efficiency, this switch features TP-Link’s energy saving tech that saves power up to 70%. This 1-port switch has a 3.2Gbps switching capacity and 9k Jumbo frame to improve the performance of large data transfers. It’s one of the quietest switches we’ve tested which is made possible by its fanless design – and because it’s plug-and-play there’s no configuration required. Oh, and it’s as affordable as switches of its kind come. What’s not to like?

(Image credit: Cisco)

4. CISCO SYSTEMS 24-Port Gigabit Switch (SG11224NA)

Can handle bandwidth-intensive scenarios

Specifications
Ports: 24
Features: Plug-and-play, compact and rack-mount versions, energy saving features, bandwidth-saving features
Reasons to buy
+Easy to setup+No configuration needed+Energy-saving functionality

Cisco’s monster 24-port Gigabit switch is an unmanaged switch designed for small office spaces. It’s plug-and-play, requiring zero configuration out of the box, and it’s available in both compact desktop and rack-mount models. As part of the networking giant’s 110 series, it’s designed for bandwidth-intensive video services, and this model can conserve energy by optimising power use without compromising features, which not only helps the environment – it’ll reduce your business’s energy cost too.

(Image credit: Netgear)

5. NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 8-Port Gigabit Smart Managed Plus Gaming Switch (GS808E)

A unique switch aimed squarely at gamers

Specifications
Ports: 8
Features: Management software, modern design, silent operation, 3year warranty, energy efficient mode, gaming dashboard
Reasons to buy
+It’s a gaming switch+Silent operation+Great design

Who says you can’t do a bit of gaming in a home office? Looking nothing like your conventional switch, this model has been designed with gamers in mind – and it some features that can be found in high-end business models. In addition to being fanless for whisper-quiet operation, it comes with management software with an easy-to-use GUI that lets you configure, secure and monitor the network it runs on. Its standout feature is a gaming dashboard that lets you view real-time network insights and auto-diagnostics.

(Image credit: Amcrest)

A network switch with power over Ethernet capability

Specifications
Ports: 9
Features: POE + 802.3at, maximum 30w power and 10/10mbp to each POE port, 96w power to all PoE ports, 10/100/1000mbps Gigabit Ethernet Uplink and SFP Optical Fiber uplink, plug and play, LED activity lights
Reasons to buy
+PoE for up to 8 devices+Sturdy metal construction

Amcrest’s tough metal switch sports PoE (power over ethernet capability, allowing you to power up to 8-PoE devices such as VoIP telephones, IP cameras, computers, TVs, gaming consoles and more over plug-and-play. Its LED lights indicate which devices are active on the network, and the switch’s light and compact (yet heavy-duty) design means you won’t be concerned when slinging it in a bag to take on the road.

(Image credit: Linksys)

7. Linksys Business 16-Port Network Switch

Can power up to eight devices using power-over-ethernet

Specifications
Ports: 16
Features: Power over ethernet, plug-and-play, QoS traffic prioritisation, Gigabit transfer speeds, supports 802.3at
Reasons to buy
+PoE functionality+High-speed performance

This unmanaged 16-port switch is housed in a sturdy metal enclosure. The switch is designed to minimise file transfer teams and streams high bandwidth files without interference, making it ideal for streaming high-quality video over the network. It’s PoE+ capable, meaning that you can power compatible devices using an ethernet connection, with a maximum power consumption of 13.41watts. Moreover, this switch offers huge Gigabit transfer speeds of up to 1,000Mbs, and its QoS (Quality of Service) traffic prioritisation ensure that the most important data always receives top priority. 

(Image credit: TRENDnet)

8. TRENDnet 8-Port Gigabit Long Range PoE+ Switch

Sends a long PoE+ signal to power devices far away

Specifications
Ports: 8
Features: PoE+ power, port isolation, low-noise operation, plug and play, TRENDnet Lifetime protection, eight gigabit PoE+ ports
Reasons to buy
+Supports PoE++Lifetime warranty

This switch from TRENDnet has one of the longest PoE+ signals on our list, reaching up to 200m at 10Mbps once its DIP switch is enabled. It can supply up to 30W of PoE+ power per port with a 65W total budget. Its other features are appealing too – it’s wall mountable, features a fanless design for silent operation and is incredibly easy to install and maintain thanks to its unmanaged nature and plug-and-play design. Oh, and its lifetime warranty will give you peace of mind.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

A low-cost network switch that is easy-to-use

Specifications
Ports: 5
Features: plug-and-play, Ethernet splitter, sturdy metal case, IEEE 802.3x flow control, up to 84 percentage power saving
Reasons to buy
+Simple to set up+Traffic optimisation controls

Designed for use in home office networks, this easy-to-use switch can be set up in just two steps – simply connect it to the power supply, and the connect your various devices. Its vast feature set includes traffic optimization including IGMP snooping to optimize traffic delivery and ensure a better network experience for applications like IPTV. There’s also QoS (quality of service) functionality which lets admins designate traffic priority to keep voice and video applications clear and free of latency.

(Image credit: D-Link)

A switch with a rich feature set designed for offices

Specifications
Ports: 8
Features: 8 x 10/110/1000BASE-T PoE ports, supports 802.1Q VLAN, auto voice VLAN and auto surveillance VLAN, compact desktop enclosure, lifetime warranty
Reasons to buy
+Supports PoE on all ports+Offers plenty of advanced features+Lifetime warranty

With this model, D-Link is targeting businesses who are looking for an affordable switch that doesn’t skimp on advanced features. It sports L2 switching features including VLAN and QoS, all delivered through a simple interface that will be easy to use for even the most inexperienced of IT managers. The switch also delivers PoE (power-over-ethernet) capability, making it easier for businesses to hook up IP cameras, VoIP phones, wireless access points and other standards-compliant powered devices.