Guide to the Best Cheap Switches You Can Buy Right Now in 2021

A Guide to the Best Low Price Switches You Can Buy

If you are looking to buy a new network switch for your home or business needs, then chances are that you have noticed that the prices of these devices fluctuate all over the place. You can pick up a switch for his little as $30 or as much as $1000 and yet they look remarkably similar. Most people don’t even really want to have a particularly fully featured network switch and are just looking for an easy, reliable and cheap switch for the network setup. I have tested and reviewed hundreds of different switches over the last few years and today I want to recommend the best cheap switches you can buy that are still very good. Below I will cover everything from Gigabit to 10Gbe, from managed to unmanaged and from home to business. So if you are looking for a cheap switch that is going to do the jobs you need without fail, there’s a very good chance you will find it below. Let’s get started.

Important – Many of these switches I have personally used, tested for YouTube, reviewed or have found numerous good reviews online. However, I have not selected just the cheapest switch based on just price alone, but rather the lowest price switch that is STILL GOOD – so ultimately the best value network switch you can buy for each environment/setup. There is an important difference between value and low-price, with the former meaning ‘good for the cost’ and the latter being ‘low cost for other reasons’. So, take that into consideration when looking at the solutions below. Additionally, each recommended network switch type will feature an unmanaged option (i.e has no software or graphical user interface via app/computer, everything is fixed in terms of control) and an unmanaged option (i.e features software control, link aggregation, layered security, priority settings, etc). Typically the unmanaged version will be noticeably cheaper and run much more quietly, but the managed switch will have a great degree of control and customizable security and performance.

Best Cheap But Good 1Gbe Network Switch

If you are ONLY looking for an insanely cheap switch that is reliable, setup+forget and one you can get for just a few bucks, then you really are spoilt for choice. For simple gigabit connectivity of up to 5 devices, there are plenty of switches available in the market. However, the key thing to look for is lifetime warranty coverage and to make sure that the switch can handle at least 100MBs for each port – as many particularly budget switch options hide total switching-capacity in the specifications and often will bottleneck when multiple connections are active at once. So don’t ruin things for yourself in an effort to save just $5-10 along the way.

Best Unmanaged Best Managed
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet

Unmanaged Switch (GS305)

NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit

Ethernet Plus Switch (GS305E)

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

 

Best Cheap But Good 2.5Gbe Network Switch

Although 2.5Gbe has existed for quite a while, its appearance on the affordable home market is relatively new. Now that we are seeing more motherboards, routers and NAS server drives arrived with 2.5Gbe onboard at the same price as 1Gb, the demand for 2.5G network switches has grown to meet it. There are several different 2.5G switches on the market right now, however many capitalise on the current rarity of this kind of switch and are either overpriced or are cheaper builds that might struggle later. It has to be said that QNAP has really cornered the market in this area and have several 2.5Gbe solutions in their portfolio ranging from highly economical home devices to affordable Business solutions. There are lots of cheap 2.5G switches in the market right now but in terms of the best value for money, I would still recommend the QNAP QSW switches.

 

Best Unmanaged Best Managed
QNAP QSW-1105-5T 5-Port

2.5Gbps Auto-Negotiation

QNAP QSW-M2108-2S Managed Switch

8 port 2.5Gbps, 2 port 10Gbps SFP+

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

 

Best Cheap But Good Home 1G+10Gbe Network Switch

The demand for combo switches has grown noticeably in recent years, as many users wish to integrate 10Gbe setups into the home office and SMB setups, but do not feel the necessity or budget to fully integrate their entire architecture towards 10-gigabit in its entirety. These combo switches are generally comprised of a bank of 1Gbe ports and then one or two 10Gbe ports for dedicated high-performance network hardware that can be shared by all of the gigabit Ethernet-connected devices. Combo switch devices will either arrive with a combination of fibre and copper connections or will arrive purely in copper 10GBASE-T and 1GBASE-T RJ45 connectivity. Although QNAP and NETGEAR have released several very good combo switches in the last couple of years, some exceptionally well priced 10G/1G solutions have appeared from D-Link and TrendNet that, in terms of price, are near unbeatable.

 

Best Unmanaged Best Managed
NETGEAR 10-Port Ethernet Switch

GS110MX 8 x1G, 2 x10G

QNAP QSW-M408-4C Switch

4-Port 10GbE SFP+/RJ45 Combo

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

 

Best Cheap But Good 8 Port 10Gbe Network Switch

For those that are looking to fully integrate 10Gbe into the network environment, several very affordable pure 10Gbe switches have arrived on the market thanks to affordable component manufacturers like Aquantia (a microchip and SoC manufacturer that was a driving force behind 10Gbe components at 1/10 the price of those before). As desirable and well-placed as Netgear is in the network switch market in 2021/2022, their fully equipped 10Gbe solutions are considerably less affordable than many in the market today and this is perhaps an overreliance on the enterprise market that is starting to wane. Here are a couple of very good switches for those that are looking to completely jump their network to 10G effectively, but as cheaply as possible:

 

Best Unmanaged Best Managed
QNAP QSW-1208-8C Switch

8/12 Port with 8x 10GBASE-T

NETGEAR 8-Port XS708E

8x 10GBASE-T + 1x 10G SFP+

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

 

Best Cheap But Good 16 Port 10Gbe Network Switch

If you are a serious business user, someone looking to integrate a surveillance set up with multiple cameras or are managing multiple offices of network bandwidth and connectivity, this is when 16-port switches arrive on the market. The majority of 16 port network switches arrive managed, as at this point a degree of network management is heavily implied. Additionally, many of the switches will be rated as layer 2 or layer 3 security, and depending on your budget or layers of pre-existing security, this may be something you’ll need to look into. Then there is the impact of larger networks and distribution of available bandwidth, with large switches like this allowing unique functionality such as quality of service (QoS), the priority of service (PoS) and vLANs, that allows you to create numerous subnetworks within the larger network. It is network switches like these that just a few years ago would have set you back thousands of pounds and now can be picked up up4 somewhere between $500-1000 if you shop around just right. Here is what I recommend for a higher business class 10Gbe network environment.

 

Affordable Managed Best Managed
NETGEAR 16-Port 10G XS716E

10GBASE-T + 1x 10Gt SFP+

Cisco SG550XG-8F8T Switch

Managed 8x 10GBASET 8x SFP+

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

 

Best Cheap But Good SFP+ and Copper Combo 10Gbe Network Switch

Combo switches are designed to allow users to integrate both convenient and localised copper-based Ethernet connectivity along with much more far-reaching and low latency fibre optic connections. Generally arriving with combinations of 1G and 10G connections at the affordable tier, these systems arrived with dedicated RJ45 ports alongside SFP+ transceiver port to allow diverse fibre connectivity. Combo switch devices have also grown more popular with businesses having a central 10-gigabit ethernet NAS in a discreet distant location shared with a large 1Gbe base of hardware – these have now become increasingly more affordable too. QNAP has released some great combo switches in their QSW series and I highly recommend them for those looking at mixed ethernet network environments on a budget.

 

Best Unmanaged Best Managed
QNAP QSW-308S Switch

3x 10G SFP+ & 8-Port 1G Ports

QNAP QSW-M408-4C Switch

4-Port 10GbE SFP+/RJ45 Combo

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

Check Below for the Current Price on Amazon:

 

 

Need More Help Choosing The Right Network Switch For Your Needs?

Once you are looking at purchasing a new network switch, it can get remarkably confusing. The jump from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) router towards a switch assisted environment can be intimidating. If you need help choosing the right switch, or need some free advice on your network setup (i.e Settings, the right hardware, software or problem-solving), use the free NASCompares advice section below. It is completely free, requires no login etc and is manned by just myself and Eddie the Web Guy. It is a free service run by humans, for humans! Our replies might take an extra day or two (we have lives!) but before you go off and spend hundreds/thousands on a solution, why not ask us first – we can probably help you! Thanks for reading.

 

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    38 thoughts on “Guide to the Best Cheap Switches You Can Buy Right Now in 2021

    1. 4:10 – Switches have largely replaced hubs due to one specific feature: “Switching”. Switches learn what devices (MAC addresses) live on what ports and are intelligent enough to not send all packets to all devices. Hubs, are on the “Stupider” side of the scale and as such, create wasteful overhead on the network fabric by sending all data everywhere. Switches will only send data between 2 ports (source and destination), and largely leaves the rest of the ports to interact with the rest of the network without this “noise”. Also, for long-run cables, UTP is meant for indoors and short distances, STP is designed for back-haul between switches, it is a more robust and has better shielding
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    2. Thank you for such a phenomenal explanation of this topic!

      I am completely new to this topic and currently in the process of trying to set up a network/ 10gbe / switches and all that good stuff at our photography studio.

      I still have a long way to go but really value all your incredible knowledge.

      Thank you so much for sharing!! ????

      Love from Sydney, Aus.
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    3. You just have to accept that Americans will make fun of British people over how you pronounce “router,” “aluminum,” and certain other words. Anyone dealing with networking discussions on YouTube should be used to it by now.
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    4. Stumbled on your video while researching switches. How helpful it is! Short, but covers a lot. And what was surprising was the demo of the amount of noise that the Netgear switch puts out!! Thanks so much for this video….covered everything I had questions about.
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    5. Your site has been my ‘Goto’ source of straight good advice on all your topics!.
      In the market to change my DS118 to a 2 disk setup , my 2nd Synogy nas.
      I have decided to wait ’till they do their upgrades and then make my choice..
      In the meantime I’m upgrading to 2GBE to be ready;).
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    6. I only have 1 Ethernet port within my room and I need at least 2 more ports.Can I use either of these on a wall outlet that is directly connected to our internet? I’m not a tech person so I don’t know if there’s any other solutions that could help.
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    7. Not bad descriptions but for how long it was I was expecting a little more suggestions for when to use a managed vs unmanaged switch. Some use case scenarios would be helpful.
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    8. I’m with Sky broadband and we can get max 62mb download speed and 15mb upload seed. Is the GS305 going to allow me to achieve them max speeds across 3 devices at a time without throttle/bottleneck by it?
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    9. Need to check out the newest offerings from TP Link – the TL SX105 (5 port) and TL SX108 (8 port) 10Gbe switches. Also the Huawei AX3 Pro – changing my cables to all CAT7 also helped improve my network transfer speeds and reliability especially when it comes to streaming..
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    10. Great video! Im getting a new switch for my 2 Gig Google Fiber to connect my NAS and allow the ports in my house to work. Thank you for all the info in this video! You answered a lot of my questions
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    11. Good video apart from the 10gbe switch , unless u work for the government or using a big it or any other company 10 gbe wouldn’t be necessary let’s say for 80% or more of people considering most of people can’t even get full fibre at the moment and the max anyone can get with fibre is 3Gb down , the best switch on my opinion would be a gigabite or 2.5 gb
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    12. i think you’ll find the router is what allows different devices on your home network connect to the internet and a MODEM is “your gateway to the internet”
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    13. Hello I’m looking for a 8 port switch only used for cash register, kitchen printer , 1 office computer and maybe another computer and from for something else this is for a small business what do you recommend I get please any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    14. I think there is an error in your recommendations. You recommended the “Unmanaged Switch (GS305)”. I believe that you actually should have recommended the GS105, which actually has the lifetime warranty. The GS305 has the shorter warrany.